PNoy is serious on human trafficking


Riyadh, SAUDI ARABIA – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office or POLO organized a forum on Human Trafficking held at Philippine Embassy Chancery yesterday afternoon (28 October 2011). The guest during the meeting was no other than Associate Commissioner Atty. Abdullah S. Mangotara of the Bureau of Immigration.

The visit of Associate Commissioner Mangotara, a former Lanao Del Norte congressman is in line with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III serious fight on human trafficking.

According to the 2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, Philippine men, women, and girls were trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation to other countries and used Philippines as transit country for victims trafficked from China.

Commissioner Mangotara explained that in accordance to PNoy’s directive to combat human trafficking, immigration personnel’s assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are doubled as well as conducting thorough intelligence gatherings by the bureau’s Intelligence Division.

Pnoy is not only serious in eradicating human trafficking at the airport but also eliminating corruption at the Bureau of Immigration more particularly those personnel assigned in the airport in connivance with illegal recruiters and syndicates operating around our major airports in the country”, Commissioner Mangotara added.  

The Commissioner informed the participants to report any suspicious and verified information of those corrupt BI personnel assigned in the airports.

Associate Commissioner Atty. Abdullah S. Mangotara of the Bureau of Immigration.

It was discussed during the forum that undocumented OFW’s who were able to enter the Kingdom and work illegally using business and visit visas assisted by unscrupulous recruiters and immigration personnel if proven guilty – is against Republic Act 9208 known as “Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003” more particularly Section 5, Paragraph “d” and “e” of the mentioned law.

DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis asked Associate Commissioner Mangotara to visit Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s information campaign on Human Trafficking. He is also scheduled to visit United Arab Emirates after Saudi Arabia. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Bureau of Immigration are focal members of the Inter-Agency Council on Trafficking (IACAT).

IACAT is an inter-agency panel created by the Government for the purpose of prosecuting persons accused of human trafficking. 

In Year 2006 the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) increased the minimum monthly wage from $ 200 to $ 400 and raised the minimum age from 18 to 23, and it required prospective domestic workers (Filipino Household Service Worker)  to get a certificate of competency from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration.

In 2007, the government’s Interagency Council Against Trafficking established its first Ninoy Aquino International Airport anti-trafficking task force.  

Associate Commissioner Mangotara further explained that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country but in order to prevent human trafficking, the government had no choice but to imposed some requirements like Affidavit of Support for Filipino travelers and Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for OFWs.” 

IACAT is represented by Department Secretaries of Department of Justice as Chairperson, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Heads of  DOLE, BI, PNP, POEA, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and representatives from End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT), Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and OFW Sector. –  by: BongA

Huroob-Saudi Labor Law


Huroob is a common phenomenal in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now. All categories of employees included in Huroob menace irrespective of profession, status, wealth. Surprisingly, among Huroob victims, 10 % belong to the high profile job category. Only 1 % fights against illegal Huroob and rest of the 99 % leave the Kingdom to their home country through Tharheels with frustrated mind and empty savings.
Huroob is not defined in Saudi labor law. It is an Arabic term which means Absconder/Escapee. It is a kind of termination of work contract in a special situation. It is true that, as per Saudi labor law a Sponsor/ employee has to report his expatriate employee’s absence in employment site for a specified period of time to the passport authorities to declare him as Huroob (Absconder / Escapee), in order to escape liability of illegal activities of the employee during his absence. It is mandatory in Saudi labor law. Otherwise the sponsor will be penalized. Unfortunately now a day’s many sponsors misuse this protective provision of law for ulterior motives. If one becomes Huroob, his residency permit in Saudi Arabia will be cancelled and his stay in the kingdom will be illegal. In this circumstance, his all rights and benefits as a legal employee will be cancelled and he can leave the country only through Deportation (Tharheels) centers.
In Saudi Arabia, the Sponsor (Kafeel) has immense controls over his foreign worker. The Sponsor can only take work permit, Resident permit (Iqama) and Exit / Re-Entry visa of the employees legally. Even though Saudi labor law has given many rights to worker, but many of them cannot avail directly by the worker because of these controls. So if a person wants to return to his mother country, he has to depend Sponsor or Labor Court. Even though Saudi authorities prohibit taking possession of Passport of the worker by their Sponsor/employer, around 99 % of the employers possess the passport of their employees and give only Iqama with them. This is to prevents the worker run away from his employer, even if in the worst cases and he has to depend his employer in case of Exit.
Misuse of Huroob provision: Sometimes the issue of Huroob may be very complicated. The authorities cannot identify the real victims and problem makers in many cases. Some employers misuse this provision in a very cleaver manner. Somebody use this legal provision as an opportunity. If an employee is going to approach labor court against his employer for nonpayment of salary, mistreatment or any other causes, the employer may make a complaint against the worker stating that the worker did not report to him for the last few days consequently worker shall be declared Huroob and consequently the sponsor will be escaped from the allegations and payments and the Huroob employee will be deported to his home country at the State expense also.
Many allegations have come out in regard to the mediators/agents also in between sponsors and worker. Many occasions the mediators/agents mislead sponsors for their own profit motive. Sometimes some sponsors procure work visas from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to recruit expatriate workers to Saudi Arabia. They sell these visas to local agents in Asian countries etc, and make a high profit. When employee reach in Saudi Arabia, the mediator / agent will mislead and Saudi sponsor submit application to declare him as a Huroob, so that the Saudi sponsor can approach the authorities and ask for the same number of visas again that he made Huroob. Some Saudi sponsors themselves doing like this for getting new visa’s.
Legal provisions in Saudi Labor Law: Articles’ 74 to 83 deal with termination of work contract. It is stated that there should be a valid reason behind all terminations and other stringent conditions in favor of the employees as well as protect the rights of employees as well as employers. Saudi labor law does not discriminate rights of employee/ expatriate/ employer etc. it is a fair law. Some clever persons are behind the sabotage of these noble provisions.
Thanks to Expat CornerPlease click to read more >>>>

New Philippine envoy will meet FilCom leaders quarterly to discuss OFW issues and concerns


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia:  The new Philippine envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago reiterated his commitment to meet with Filipino Community leaders  every three months to discuss issues and concerns affecting overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom. He made the statement during the acquaintance meeting with the Filipino Community leaders in Philippine Embassy along with the embassy staff and POLO/OWWA officials last Thursday, 15 of September 2011 at the Philippine Embassy grounds.

It was recalled that Ambassador Tago  just recently presented his credentials to HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.  Tago is now officially and formally designated as Philippine Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen.

In the meeting, Ambassador Tago announced some changes to improve the embassy’s services to its nationals. Working hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and no lunch break and Thursday’s is open from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

The Consular Section also introduced an appointment system for passport renewal. “With the new appointment system, applicants will be able to request for a specific date and hour during regular working days” he added. The applicants in this new system will no longer have to wait in long lines at window 1 for processing and directly proceed to the encoding area.

Ambassador Tago reminded the community to directly transact business with Philippine embassy staffs and officials and urging Filipinos doing business in the Embassy not to deal with fixers and those individuals claiming as Embassy employees. He also ordered the member of the diplomatic corps to wear the official embassy ID’s all the time.

POLO Labor Attaché Albert Valenciano when asked what are the implementing guidelines of the host country for those workers whose categories belong to Red and Yellow who wishes to transfer to Green and Excellent Zones, “as of this time, the host country and the Ministry of Labor website has yet to announce the specific implementing guidelines for this purpose” he said. Labor Attaché Valenciano advised OFWs to keep visiting the Embassy website for any fresh developments about Nitaqat.

Welfare Officer Atty. Cesar Chavez pointed out that OFWs should not be worried about the new Saudization law, “OFWs are still bound to continue working till the employment contract is finally over” he said.  Even if the worker is belong to Red and Yellow categories, expatriate workers are still oblige to continue working until their contract expires” he further explained. Chavez however, reminded that pre-termination of employment due to Nitaqat should be reported to POLO. Termination due to the implementation of Nitaqat is a violation of Saudi Labor Law. Chavez also said that the new Nationalization law may not affect OFWs presently working in Saudi Arabia but to those future OFWs who wants to work in Saudi Arabia.

Overseas absentee voting registration was among the agenda discussed during the open forum. The Embassy will write a formal letter to the host country asking permission that mobile OAV registration will be conducted in Batha area in Riyadh and Philippine schools in the Kingdom. OAV registration starts October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012. -end-

New CoM, First Order of Business


First Order of Business

9/12/2011, RIYADH:  Just recently H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago presented his credentials as new Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom to His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. Upon formally assumed office as the new Chief of Mission (COM) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago’s first order of business is to bring the Embassy closer to its nationals.

The Filipino Community in Riyadh received an invitation coming from POLO Labor Attaché Albert Q. Valenciano, inviting the Filipino Community organizations to participate in a meeting on Thursday, 15 September 2011 at the Embassy Chancery.

H.E. Ezzedin Tago, Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen will  discuss with the Filipino Community leaders the following agendas: New Saudization Policy of the Kingdom, Government Repatriation Program, the Absentee Voting and other relevant concerns.

The Saudi government started yesterday, September 11, 2011 the implementation of the Nitaqat restrictions to those companies who failed to comply with the Saudization targets. The sanction for non-complying companies will be the non-renewal of work permits of foreign workers. However, companies categorized in Red categories may still have time to comply up to December 11, 2011 while those in Yellow categories are given up to March 11, 2012 to improve the compliance.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah advised OFWs in the Kingdom to check from time to time the Embassy ( http://www.philembassy-riyadh.org ) and  Consulate ( http://www.pcgjeddah.org ) websites respectively,  for new developments.

In an advisory released last month by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stated that the Embassy, through the POLO officers, will provide the necessary assistance to affected OFWs.

Other important matter to discuss is how to improve the present program of the Government in assisting the repatriation of  Filipinos who overstayed in the Kingdom and to make sure that the shelter where our kababayan stay inside the Hajj Terminal are in good condition and comfortable while awaiting for their scheduled repatriation.

It may recalled that the used of Hajj terminal is a special arrangement made by the Philippine Government represented by the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah with Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the approval of the Office of the Emir of Makkah to address the cases of Filipinos staying under the Sitteen Khandara overpass.

Among issues to be discussed are the plight of OFWs in distressed or OFW runaways housed at Filipino Workers Resource Centers and those in the Saudi Welfare Administration facility run by the Saudi government where female expatriates runaways in various nationalities are housed pending the required exit clearance from their sponsors to be deported.

In the upcoming meeting of  the FilCom and Embassy/POLO/Riyadh includes; the continuing Overseas Absentee Voting registration. The one year OAV continuing registration will start from October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012.

In the last two absentee voting exercises, Filipino community participation were among seen as one of the contributing factors of the low turnout of voters registration and voters turnout during 2007 and 2010 elections. The new Philippine Chief of Mission in Saudi Arabia, H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin Tago will see to it that the Filipino community organizations must be involved this time.

The Philippine Overseas Absentee Voting mechanism was implemented in 2003, 2007 and 2010 Philippine elections to provide an opportunity for Filipinos abroad to exercise their right in electing the President, Vice President, Senators and one Party-list Representative. –end- BongA

Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago Presents Credentials to HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal


Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ezzedin H. Tago and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal at his office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jeddah

September 8, 2011, RIYADH: Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ezzedin H. Tago, was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal at his office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jeddah on 7 September 2011.

Ambassador Tago presented a copy of his credentials to HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal. During the call, Ambassador Tago reiterated the Philippine Government’s desire to enhance bilateral relations and elevate them to higher levels, particularly in areas that mutually benefit both countries and peoples.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal welcomed Ambassador Tago to the Kingdom, and expressed the Ministry’s full support to further develop relations between the two countries.

The presentation of  his credentials is a diplomatic process  in which an ambassador is certified as one country’s official representative to another. Diplomatic accreditation occurs when a new ambassador presents “letters of credence“, or credentials, to the host country’s head of state. Letters of credence, which are signed by the ambassador’s own head of state, confirm that the ambassador is authorized to represent his/her country, and ask that the host country respect this fact.

The diplomatic accreditation of  the then Charge D’ Affaires  Consul General Ezzedin Tago, as  the new Philippine Chief of
 Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now officially confirmed. Ambassador Tago’s diplomatic expertise in Foreign Service and as a career diplomat could promote friendly relations between the two nations as well as promoting our very own government foreign policies.

Ambassador Tago is the youngest Ambassador appointed by the Philippine government to head a foreign mission. – BongA

KACST will make Kingdom Global Research Power by 2025


Competition, Tough Standards, Bring New Vigor to Saudi Science
AAAS News and Notes
Edited by Edward W. Lempinen

Several years ago, Saudi Arabia’s leaders were confronted with a challenge: The kingdom had a well-established science sector and strengths in several areas, but while research publications were surging in some Middle Eastern nations, Saudi publication numbers were flat. Science competition was escalating, and they were falling behind.

King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology-KACST

To reverse the trend, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology—KACST, the Saudi national science agency—committed to an ambitious research and education plan designed to make the kingdom a global research power by 2025. As one element in this effort, KACST asked the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program to help shape a grant competition based on international standards and tough, independent peer review.

Today, research funding has increased, and competition for grants is growing more intense. With the support of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with extensive new science-related construction and projects. And the KACST-AAAS partnership is expanding into important new areas.

“From the start, we decided that… we should raise the bar quite high so that we get our researchers used to tough competition and strong evaluation,” said Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud, KACST’s vice president for research institutes. “And we chose AAAS because of its experience in this—it is a leading science organization and it has done evaluations like this in the United States and other places. We think that this is the right organization to work with.”

Left to Right - Dr. Abdulaziz AlSwailem (Vice Pres. for Scientific Research Support-KACST), H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel (President-KACST) and His Highness, Prince Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud (Vice Pres. for Research Institutes-KACST)

The AAAS-KACST relationship reflects the kingdom’s broad science ambitions and growing international recognition of the venture. It has established partnerships with corporate giants, leading universities, and top scholars. It built the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a state-of-the-art, coeducational research center, to serve as an engine of innovation.

AAAS President Nina V. Fedoroff, while serving as Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, delivered a keynote address at the university’s inauguration ceremonies in 2009. Today, the influential plant biologist is a distinguished professor there.

KACST was founded in 1977. In 2002, the kingdom’s Council of Ministers approved a national S&T policy, and in 2007 the science agency adopted its National Science, Technology, and Innovation Plan.

Turki, who earned a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, explained the plan’s goal in an interview: With investments, partnerships, and initiatives to develop the skills of the kingdom’s 26 million people, Saudi leaders want to transform their oil economy to a knowledge economy. The plan focuses on more than a dozen areas of research and advanced technology, from water desalination and solar energy to nanotechnology, biotechnology, and space science.  read more>>>>>

Nitaqat: Important Dates


Nitaqat is said to enable employment mobility for ‘guest workers’, what is the duration period for this? How long would an employee have to look for a job, apply and land a job?

The ability of an employee to move from one organization to another will be effective only as of Muharram (1433) next year (December 2011 in English/Gregorian calendar) and we’re currently doing the final reviews of these detailed period and steps and relationships between when the visa expires, vs. when the work permit expires vs. when the residence permit expires, this aspect spans across the Labor Ministry and Interior Ministry. Details should be announced before the end of Ramadan  Additionally all employees will not be asked to leave the country as long as their work permit is still valid. Second, we will stop renewing work permits for expats in Red entities as of 1st of Muharram 1433 ( 26 November 2011 in Gregorian Calendar).  So expats working for Red entities will not be able to renew after this date, so they have to find another Green entity or Premium if they wish to renew their work permit by then. Last, for expats working in Yellow entities, they will not be able to renew after 1st of Rabie II (March 2012) so they have to find a Green entity or Premium by then if they wish to renew their work permits.  Again, I am repeating, they will not be asked to leave after the above dates, so they can stay as long as their work permits are valid, but they will not be able to renew after above dates with their current noncompliant company.  –  Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih

Read More>>>>> 

A legitimate concern of Saudization


 “Back in the eighties the growing infrastructure of this country and the challenges we faced was of such magnitude that we all pitched in to put forth a quality service product. In the early nineties, things started to change. The expatriates were gradually replaced with Saudis, some from within and some who were appointed from outside the company. And it was then that the seeds of incompetence were sown.”

SAMIR, a Saudi, has been working with a national civil organization that serves a large sector of the population Kingdomwide.

A chance encounter with this long time acquaintance last week brought forth revelations about the inner workings of this government organization whose primary mandate is to serve the public.

Samir is retiring soon. And he is visibly relieved and elated. After 32 years of service in that particular company, he is counting the remaining days until he bids a final farewell to an organization to which he has given his all. During our talks, I wondered whether there were any slight misgivings among all that joy.

“Oh yes, Tariq, there have been many, but they are no longer my concern. I am leaving and let those who remain attempt to sort out the mess we have become. I can no longer fight against an immovable brick wall of incompetence and that I have had to put up for many years.”

Ma'assalama

When asked to elaborate, Samir continued, “I joined this organization when it was vibrant and dynamic. Primarily foreigners who in the capacity of advisers were not hesitant to recognize local talent and allow it to develop and flourish steered this company. If you were good, you stood out and moved forward. And if you were not, then you were quickly shown the proverbial door.

 “Back in the eighties the growing infrastructure of this country and the challenges we faced was of such magnitude that we all pitched in to put forth a quality service product. In the early nineties, things started to change. The expatriates were gradually replaced with Saudis, some from within and some who were appointed from outside the company. And it was then that the seeds of incompetence were sown.”

To read more>>>> 

Note:  The author Mr. Tariq Al-Maeena is an independent columnist of Arab News and western-educated Saudi. He has been actively involved in people, production and logistics for more than 30 years both in the USA and in Saudi Arabia.  He is an experienced professional with a proven track record of turning around a failing venture into a productive and profitable enterprise through constructive team-work and worker participation. He was also the author of  Arab News article titled  “When the Color is Red“.

New OFW regional group sworn into office by Street Sweepers


Tacloban City – Taking oath before a “Street Sweepers” may not be a good idea under Section 41 of the Philippine Administrative Code but that doesn’t stop for a newly constituted organization to take their oath of office administered by street sweepers in the city.

Pagkakaisa OFW & Family in Region 8, Eastern Visayas

PAGKAKAISA OFW and Family in Region 8, Eastern Visayas were sworn in before the Tacloban street sweepers during the association’s First General Assembly on June 18, 2011 held at the Boulevard Restaurant in Tacloban City.

The group comprised of OFWs, active and ex-OFWs and so with their families is a non-stock and non-profit association under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines.

The gathering was witnessed by more than three (300) hundred participants. The affair was honored by the presence of relatives and families of the OFWs from Region 8. The affair had its many firsts, unlike other induction ceremonies, there were neither big names nor fun fare for having celebrities and politicians as its honorary guests of honor.

The association invited three street sweepers from MMDA to induct them into office; they are Mr. Virgilo Bostrillo, Mr. Darwin Balderama and Mr. Francisco Salas.

The officers of  the association firmly believes that the three symbolizes the  true  Filipino values, which is, despite of difficulties and hardships  they’re facing, they are still proud on what they are doing of serving  the public and do everything  to improve their personal living conditions. One of them is a College Criminology graduate.

“The Honorable Street Sweepers” Mr. Virgilo Bostrillo, Mr. Darwin Balderama and Mr. Francisco Salas

The association believes that it’s about time for the OFWs and their families to come together and form a worthy cause that will not only benefit the OFWs and their families but would somehow lessen the alarming poverty rate among the people in Region 8. The group will embark on the concept of  TEAM WORK and synergy among its members as the saying goes: “kung kaya nila, kaya rin namin.”      

The Founding President, Mr. Alex Veloso Bello, the  MOFYA 2010 National Special Awardee in his acceptance speech stressed the need for a strong commitments among its members. He pointed out to achieve the following objectives:

– To conduct an opportunity for its members to gather a liberal discussion on issues involving the OFWs and their families in Region 8.

–  To promote strong unity and machinery and together they will express their own opinions and suggestions on how to further improve the lives of the OFWs and families in Region 8.

–  To create a global network of federal association among other regions through modern technology and communication in coordination with the Philippine government.

–  To formulate and support advocacies and significant bills to the Philippine government concerning the welfare, benefits, education, training, deployment and re-deployment and other related matters that are beneficial to OFWs or ex-OFWs and their families.

Participants (OFWs, ex OFWs and Family)

Bello emphasized that the association’s objectives can only be realized through strong devotion and dedications among its officers and members. “It is the officer’s aspirations to develop its members to become leader’s in the future through proper education and honing their interests” he added.

The group believes that as poverty line of the Filipino people increases, there will be more people suffers from poverty and blaming the government for all of these is not the solution. Pagkakaisa OFW and Families will take part of helping the people in Region 8 to become self- reliant and to motivate them to help themselves.

Bello explained that “it is about time that OFWs like us should think of ways and means to help the government alleviate the living conditions of the people in Region 8. The profile of our Region shows that there are more middle class and lower class families who cannot afford to send their children to school.”

He also reminded the OFW families who are left behind to handle properly the finances being sent by the family member who happens to be an OFW worker and just don’t rely on the remittances being sent.

The newly inducted officers are; President: Alex Veloso Bello, Executive Vice President Noel Sia, Vice President for Northern Leyte: Violeta S. Sabornido, Vice President for Southern Leyte: Leo Quirante, Vice President for Western Leyte: Paul Villamor, Vice President for Eastern Samar:  Angelita Alalim, Vice President for Western Samar: Reynaldo Tuazon, Vice President for Northern Samar Danilo Pancho, Vice President for Biliran: Pablito Cuizon.

OFW and Families of Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) Founding Chapter

The Executive Officers are; Secretary: Rosario Macapugas, Assistant Secretary: Nida Cortez, Treasurer: Delia Reyes, Assistant Treasurer: Norma Enerlan, Auditor: Floresa Tabuloc, Asst. auditor: Julie Saldana, Marshals: Victor Quimbo and Arturo Bello, Jr.

The Board of Directors are; Tacloban City: Dr. Pantaleon Hobayan (Chairman of the Board), Rogelio Labbarete, Evengeline Bello, Lolita Entong, Tess Contado.

Tanuan: Beatriz Aleta, Dulag: Eugenio Alicando, Alang-alang: Annariza Alve, Ormoc City: Araceli Sevilla (Vice Chairperson), Isabel: Cecila Orsalez, Calubian: Nida Robin, Almeria: Crisanto Calvez, Basey: Flor Lagutan, Calbayog City: Edgar Madeja, Babatngon: Cesar Nacorda, Baybay: Teresita Gabi.

The association Board of Advisers: Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and 2009 OWWA Land Based  “Most Outstanding OFW Awardee  Engr. Francisco “Jun” Aguilar, Jr.

Although, PAGKAKAISA agreed to develop self – reliance among them but, they are still expecting support from the government and Non Government Organization to start the projects that they started to conceptualize.

The group also encourages other regions in the country to organize PAGKAKAISA OFW and Family and to consolidate their strength  that could eventually bring and empower OFW families into the mainstream of the Philippine society. – end – by: BongA

Saudization: A two-way process


By: MUHAMMAD ARSHAD, ALKHOBAR  (ARAB News
 
For the past 20 years I have been in the Kingdom, we have seen a number of plans, programs and projects aimed at Saudization of the work force. In fact, the Saudi government has always aimed for a realistic average figure of about 25 to 30 percent Saudization in order to facilitate a smoother and viable transition.

100 % Saudization

Even at this low target, all the previous programs failed miserably, simply because Saudis have not been able to motivate themselves to grab the positions and opportunities offered to them, almost on a silver platter, and to top it all, at double to triple salaries and benefits paid to the expats, working in the same position and carrying out same duties. Other than banks and other essential government services, for which Saudis have been deemed as must, most of the private sector has been constantly struggling to meet government quotas of Saudization fixed by the Kingdom.

Sometimes this pressure on the private companies have led them to resort to illegal ways and circumvent the laws.

I feel, and I think most of us do know, that Saudization cannot be a one-way process. No matter what programs or plans are put in place, unless Saudis respond to it through their own motivation and eagerness to work, the government will continue to review and revise old or existing plans to Saudize.

When we will witness many Saudis working as mechanics, landscapers, carpenters and masons, A/C technicians, tailors, salesmen and restaurant workers, then only we will begin to realize that Saudization is taking root. The onus is on the Saudis to grab offers of jobs being made, accept salaries according to the average living standard, and most of all shun all the stigma connected with the idea that working with our own hands is below the dignity of a Saudi. In truth it’s the other way round. Saudization is a two-way proposition. Saudis are the only people in almost the whole world, to be lucky enough to have myriads of opportunities lying at their feet, and a very generous government to give them the chance, if they are willing to accept and work.  (10 July 2011)

Within your reach…


(We are a land-based recruitment agency, registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Concerned with your business’s specialized needs, we provide only competent, highly qualified professionals and multi-skilled workers. We cater our services to businesses of: Healthcare | Information Technology | Education | Construction & Infrastructure |Hotel & Travel | Industrial Sector Globalization is our main thrust and you can rest assured that all your manpower needs will be met. “Man Resources” works closely with institutions whose ethics and values are in line with ours – believing that to strengthen one’s global position and keep it strong, one must start with a competent, well-treated, and motivated work force. “All Access”. Thru phone, email, cable or the internet, we are always within your reach whenever and wherever in the world you may be. “At Home”. Philippines: the site of the best human resources. It is one of the largest and the most globally competitive in the world. “Power Handling”. Our senior management personally handles your needs and our staff is highly competent, that each specific sector’s manpower will be filled expeditiously with the right people. “Tried & Tested”. We are linked to various educational and training centers because our pre-selected applicants get continuous training depending on your company’s requirements. “Legitimate business”. Duly recognized by the SEC and other government agencies,, you can be assured that every transaction and arrangement with us is legitimate and real.)

A well flowered description of a reputable, license and premier recruitment agency in the Philippines where a probable employer’s trust is the main mission of their agency’s profile but not to a prospective OFW applicant.

Our attention has been drawn to this particular recruitment agency in Philippines whom I will not name in this entry, perhaps at this time.

A distressed OFW, now roaming around Batha is a victim of a contract substitution by his employer and probably in connivance with this premier recruitment agency.

This poor OFW signed a two year contract through this recruitment agency in the Philippines as “Electro Steel” with a monthly salary of USD 700.00, equivalent to SAR 2,625.00 or an equivalent to Philippine currency of P 30,445.00 yet when he arrived in Saudi Arabia he was transferred to new employer. His salary was reduced to a mere SAR 1,200, worst he didn’t even receive his salary for nine months. He received a mere SAR 50, SAR 100, SAR 80 and forced to sign a blank paper every time he received such an amount. Worst he was assigned in a remote area near the Yemen border, 50 kilometers away from the nearest town of where he was situated.

Awful, he didn’t work as“Electro Steel” whatever this work is – but instead work as a helper in a small printing press. He was maltreated like an ordinary household worker, and sometimes beaten whenever he made mistake to any job this employer wants him to do.

He told me that every night, he asked to himself “paano kung di ko na makayanan at mapatay niya ako at kung hindi, ako ang makapatay dahil sa galit?” (what if this physical abuse caused my life or reach to the point that I may accidentally kill my employer out of rage?)

This was the question he keeps on asking to himself every time he goes to bed. He always weigh the consequences of what will happen to his family of four at home if he will be in jail forever or worst – beheaded. One day he decides to run-away, “buti na lang po may pumara sa akin na truck sa highway kaya po nakarating ako dito sa Riyadh” he narrated to me his ordeal while his hands was shaking. A decision that he never regrets rather than stay in his employer that he may be feel sorry for the rest of his life, he told me.

ATTENTION to all recruitment agencies in the Philippines, “MAN Resources” in particular, tingnan nyo naman kung sino ang mga kliyente ninyo? Kawawa naman po itong mga kahanay namin na pina-paalis ninyo or dini-deploy ninyo at ngayon nagliwaliw sa Batha at nakikitulog at nakikikain na lang sa kung saan saan. Di na ba kayo naaawa sa mga OFWs na ito? Hindi nyo ba alam na ang Saudi police ay hindi na po nang-huhuli ng takas? Kung hinuhuli man, ikukulong muna ito ng matagal bago e-report sa ating Embahada. Hindi ba ninyo alam na kung hindi magbibigay ng Exit clearance ang magaling ninyong kliyente puwedeng habang-buhay magliwaliw sa Saudi Arabia ang pina-alis ninyong OFW? Magbasa naman po kayo ng diyaryo pagkatapos ninyong maningil ng placement fee sa inyong mga pinapa-alis na OFW!

The idea of slavery is not anymore happening in the 21st century; however, it is also hard to imagine that the remnants of it still exist in some areas of the Middle East and perhaps in the other part of the globe.

We are here working legally under the protection of our government as a documented OFWs. However, sometimes OFWs like me find just the very opposite, we find ourselves abused, isolated and exploited. Sometimes no one else can turn too, not even the government agencies stationed in the receiving countries that are supposed to protect us from further humiliation. The same government agencies that says “magpahuli ka na lang para ma-deport or di kaya’y magtrabaho ka na lang kahit walang work permit para makaipon ka ng pamasahe pauwi or pambayad sa tinakasan mong employer para bigyan ka ng exit clearance dahil hindi mo tinapos ang iyong kontrata”.

Para saan po ang OWWA mandatory membership? Para saan po ang mga binabayaran namin bago makakuha ng OEC? Saan na ang tinatawag ninyong Bagong Bayani?

Ngayon pa lang Madame Mai Anonouevo of ATIKHA at 2010 Model OFW of the Year winner for the land-based sector Kagalang-galang Mr. Ermie Garon, kung totoo po na maging isa kayo sa mga bagong Board of Trustee ng mga government agencies na ito, isama nyo na po sa inyong listahan ang mga problemang ito upang mabigyan ng pagbabago ang takbo ng mga ahensyang ito at  maging sulit po ang binabayad namin sa mga nakatagalang Board of Trustees  sa mga ahensya ng gobyernong dapat kami ay pangalagaan.

MAN Resources, I challenge you now – tulongan nyo po na makauwi ang OFW na ito dahil kung hindi ipa “All Access ko kayo thru phone, email, cable or the internet, IWAGAYWAY ko po ang inyong pangalan sa google search. Kung may tanong kayo I am always here  within your reach.”

By: Bong Amora (10 July 2011)

Tidbits: the Nitaqat and POEA FDP


The Nitaqat

Many expatriates are afraid of what would be the outcome of this new Saudi policy, and some says it can create chaos among OFWs that will be affected on it. For me, there’s nothing to worry, I don’t even agree that our low skilled and semi skilled OFWs will be displaced. You know why?  Under the Nitaqat system an expatriates or a foreign worker will be given a free hand to transfer to another sponsor without even asking for the original sponsor’s consent.  This category falls under the Yellow and Red categories.

To those fellow OFWs who wrote in our blog asking if their employer’s move terminating them is legal – my answer is No! Under the Nitaqat system those companies belong to Yellow and Red categories will not be able to renew their foreign workers’ visas – it means, the worker still have the chance to complete their contract till his/her work permit expires (unspecified period) or contract expires (specified period).  If your sponsor terminates your contract, don’t panic, don’t sign any documents accepting the termination, tell them that you understand the  point and instead  submit a letter of non-renewal of contract. In this manner, the worker can receive all the benefits under the law.

Another option is – the worker can transfer his services or can transfer employment to another company even without the original employer’s consent.  So why panic? Stop worrying because we are not affected at all. Many good companies especially those belong to Green and Excellent categories will surely hire our services – Filipino pa! Alam nila kung paano tayo magtrabaho. So, those OFW’s out there, if you sense that your company will surely be affected by Saudization for not complying the recent Saudi government Nitaqat system, it’s time for you to start looking for a new employer but just do it cool and ask for their consent if necessary. (Click this link>>> The Facts About Nitaqat “The Nitaqat System in a Nutshell”)

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PHL Recruitment Agencies should be aware of the Saudi’s Nitaqat policy; particularly their clients belong to Yellow and Red categories.  In the same time job seekers should be smart in accepting job offers from Saudi firms nowadays. Find out how long the Saudi employment company has been in business, see to it that the firm’s present financial condition is stable and more importantly, these companies are in line with the Saudization policy.

One more thing, job seekers or applicants who passed interviews from their prospective employers, please do not sign any documents or comply to the recruitment agencies instruction like, to undergo medical examinations, advance payment of placement fees and others without accepting first the employer’s JOB OFFER in accordance with the POEA Full Disclosure Policy.

The following terms and conditions must be written in the mentioned job offer or Full Disclosure of Employment Contract:

1)      Salary per month

2)      Food allowance ( If there is)

3)      Designation (Work Position)

4)      Contract Duration ( includes Yearly/after 24 months with number of days paid vacation)

5)      Free Airfare Ticket (upon completion of contract: 1 Year or 2 Years, it depends)

6)      Probation period (3 months)

7)      Transportation ( Allowance or Provided by employer)

8)      Accommodation ( Allowance or Provided by employer)

In addition, an OFW should always be aware of his/her Visa Category. If the visa category is different from the official work at site, an OFW should acknowledge that he/she is aware about it BUT salary and official designation shall be applied at site. This document should be signed by both the OFW and the Manager or Owner of the recruitment agency.

Upon arrival at site or country of destination, DO NOT sign any documents or new contract in which the basic terms and conditions are not the same in the Job Offer you signed with your recruitment agency in the Philippines. –End-