OFW-BLOGGER MANUEL A. AMORA “PROFILE OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS”
The OFW Blogger Advocate MANUEL A. AMORA was an OFW for 20 years in Saudi Arabia from November 1993 up to December 2014. Prior employment abroad he worked in Manila from 1985-1993.
Manila: 1985 – 1993
The blogger is a Boholano by blood and born in Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte. Grown up and graduated intermediate (Nasipit, Central Elementary School) and secondary course (Saint Michael’s Institute now, Saint Michael College of CARAGA-SMCC) in Nasipit, Agusan Del Norte.
Graduated Associate in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering course at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics-PhilSCA formerly Phil. Air Force College of Aeronautics-PAFCA, in Mactan Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
In 1985 after graduation from college, he went to Manila. He tried his luck working on the job training as an aircraft mechanic with Philippine Airlines, but unfortunately he was not able to pursue the training due to health problem.
Unemployed, he worked as a waiter, disc jockey and bartender with his cousin’s sing-a-long club in Makati Avenue. Fortunately, he met a lawyer from Mindanao (Davao) who gave him a break to work as a messenger in a law firm in Makati. He was promoted from messenger to clerk and later as a Para Legal Officer from June 1986 to October 1993.
Jeddah: November 1993 to November 1997
It was on November of 1993 that he decided to try his luck overseas and found A.M. Bahlas Establishment in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a place to start as an Overseas Filipino Worker.
In 1994 he became an active member of a regional group originated from Bohol and Leyte. He was the founding member of the Overseas Filipino Cooperative Council (OFWCC), a group comprised of different OFW cooperative organizations and was elected as Board of Director of the Bohol-Leyte OFW Cooperative (BLOC) and; Chairman of the Committee on Education of the Boholano Community in Jeddah (BC-J). He received various citations from the mentioned organizations.
During the Kabuhayan 2000 program of POLO/OWWA, the blogger was deputized as authorized lecturers for pre-membership education seminars on cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority.
Riyadh: 1998 to 2014
He transferred to Riyadh with new employer in 1998. He worked with Al Ajial Co., Ltd., at the 2nd Industrial Area of Riyadh from 1998 to 2007. Away from the city of Riyadh, he made his time worthy by organizing sports events in the company where he worked. He was also the Liaison Officer of the 200 plus Filipino working in the said company, such as the renewal of passports, application for OECs and securing travel tickets for his co-Filipino employees.
In one of his routine visit to Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh to secure attestations of the End of Service Award from his fellow OFWs at site, he met Labor Attaché Jainal “Jhun” Rasul, who advised him to form a group in the 2nd Industrial Area of Riyadh. Thus, the Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia (KAKAMPI-KSA) was born.
In 2003 Labor Attaché Jainal Rasul, Jr. invited him as one of the Resource Speaker in the “First OFW Conference on Reintegration” held at Marriot Hotel, Riyadh with his paper titled “A Chance to Make It Right“. The former OWWA Administrator Marianito ”Nitoy” Roque along with the then H.E. Ambassador Bahnarim Guinomla presented him a “Certificate of Appreciation” for his significant contribution to the first ever OFW reintegration conference in Saudi Arabia.
As an experienced community leader in Jeddah, he was able to unite all the Filipinos working in the mentioned Industrial area of Riyadh. Filipino sports events, like table tennis and basketball tournament were introduced as OFW sports activities among many companies in the areas where there were Filipino workers.
KAKAMPI-KSA Inter-company Bonafide Basketball Tournament was tapped to promote the Overseas Absentee Voting due to its poor turnout in the registration of absentee voters.
It was also during his leadership where the first mobile special registration for Filipino Absentee voters was conducted in various locations of the Industrial Areas of Riyadh. It was also during his time that organized events for mobile special registration initiated by KAKAMPI-KSA under the auspices of the Philippine Embassy, POLO/OWWA was then conducted in different companies in the area for the preparation of the 2004 and 2007 Philippine Election.
The former Ambassador to the Kingdom H.E. Bahnarim Guinomla presented him a “Certificate of Appreciation” for his active involvement in the conduct of the OAV registration and absentee voting in Riyadh.
He was elected Secretary-General of OFW Congress in 2004 and was instrumental for the collection of P 204,740.00 cash money donations for the survivors of the Feb. 17, 2006 landslide in the central Philippine Village of Guinsaugon, Leyte. The fund was endorsed through the then OWWA Administrator Nitoy Roque to OWWA Region 8 officials.
For nine (9) long years working in the Industrial Zone of Riyadh, he was able to organize many OFW Forums in the vicinity of the area. Officials from the Philippine Embassy, POLO/OWWA were invited to deliberate face to face discussion of their concerns and enlighten OFWs on their rights as workers in the Kingdom.
He initiated and arranged meetings between POLO officials like former Labor Attache Arturo Sodusta and factory employers and at the same time provide on the spot guidance and assistance to OFW grievances and complaints.
OFW Forums were also conducted during the leadership of POLO Labor Attache Manuel Roldan in the OFW accommodations of Al Sharq Plastic Factory, Saudi Ceramics, Saudi Lightning and even restaurants and other locations where there were large concentrations of OFWs. The said forums organized by the blogger were under the auspices of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office/OWWA.
In many of the forums that the blogger organized, the representatives from SSS, Pagibig, Philhealth, Philippine banking institutions was also invited to promote their respective programs for the OFWs.
Mr. Alexander Asuncion (now POEA Board of Trustee) popularly known as “Ang Inyong Lingkod” was among those prominent OFW personalities and community leaders invited as resource speaker in the many OFW forums in the area.
In 2010, despite of having a new place and a new employer, the blogger still remember his fellow OFWs and friends in the Industrial Area where he stayed for many years. January of 2010, KAKAMPI-KSA organized a new “OFW Forum” dubbed as “Know Your Rights and Obligations as OFW in the Kingdom.” It was held at New Islamic Center, 2nd industrial Area, Riyadh.
The forum was initiated under the on-site Labor Education Program of POLO & OWWA under the supervision of POLO Labor Attaché Rustico Dela Fuente and Welfare Officer Atty. Cesar Chavez. The Philippine Embassy officials from the office of the Assistance to National Section were also invited to educate OFWs of the strict laws of the Kingdom pertains to criminal offenses and their consequences.
In 2005, he created a blog named “OFWEMPOWERMENT” for the purpose of disseminating or by posting important information for the benefit and welfare of the OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (http://ofwempowerment.com)
He was then on the receiving end of encouragement from colleagues in the Industrial Areas in Riyadh and community leaders in Saudi Arabia and so with his many readers at home and from fellow bloggers, OFW Advocates, friends, relatives and loved ones.
Important OFW information campaigns from OWWA, POEA and even NGO’s advocating OFW issues and concerns were given space in OFWempowerment blog, especially when it comes to OFW Issues and Concerns. The blog became a home of and for OFWs, not only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but to other countries as well where there are OFWs.
He was also vocal in the campaign of OAV Postal Voting and the creation of an OFW Bank and involved in soliciting help from Filipino organizations to give donations such as medicines, grocery items and other personal needs for the less fortunate and runaway OFWs housed at the Filipino Workers Resource Center or FWRC in Riyadh.
Today, the OFWempowerment blog is considered a home for many OFWs asking for his advice in their problem; may it personal and problem on site. You can read OFW woes and concerns in so many angles in which the blogger provides relief to someone who is asking for his guidance.
Taking appropriate action under the circumstances, he even approached in person the managers and even owners of companies where the distressed OFWs are employed to mediate their grievances without regard for his own personal safety. The blogger has performed deeds and exemplary service to the OFW community above and beyond the call of his duty as a Filipino community leader.
On December 10, 2013, he was conferred as one of the OBRA Awardee (Outstanding Balikbayan OFW Reputation Award – OFW Blogger Advocate) organize by EXLINK Events.
The blogger was the former Secretary General of the OFW Congress-Riyadh. He served as Secretary General of OFW Congress for 10 years (2004-2014). He was the Founding President of both KAKAMPI-KSA and Nasipitnon-KSA International. He is an Honorary Member and Adviser of All-Filipino Table Tennis Association in Riyadh (AFTTA). He is also a recognized member of the OFW International organizations whose members are Overseas Filipinos worldwide, to name a few: OFCI-Overseas Filipino Council, International and Adviser of United Filipinos Worldwide for Community Development-UFWCD-Riyadh Chapter. Back home, he is currently the Vice-President of the subdivision homeowners association where he lives.
His last employment was with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, a Saudi Science government institution (counterpart of the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines) as Administrative Officer assigned in the Directorate of International Cooperation reporting directly to the Director and the President of KACST. On December 16, 2014, he decides to return back to his mother land and to his love ones for good.
During his employment with KACST, he was given a special recognition from the former KACST President-Minister Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel on his outstanding contribution as part of the team in organizing the first meeting of the Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (STIO) held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The blogger-OFW returned to the Philippines as he promised in his OFWempowerment blog theme “Pangako Babalik AKO Bayan Ko”. He is still actively giving personal advice to OFWs who seek help, guide and opinions in his blog “OFW Empowerment”.