Monday, March 30, 2015

After 2 years, OFW who figured Dubai accident finally home

After nearly two years, an overseas Filipino worker who spent almost two years in a United Arab Emirates hospital after being paralyzed in a traffic accident finally returned home to Cebu.

Teresita Castro arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport past 4 p.m. Thursday – after her townmates in Asturias raised funds to get her home, GMA Cebu reported Friday.

Castro, who lost the ability to move or speak, was transported to the town's infirmary clinic from the airport via an ambulance.

"May fracture siya sa pelvis pero na-operahan naman. Tapos, may severe injury siya sa brain," said nurse Crystal Balatayo.

An investigation showed Castro started work in Dubai as a domestic helper in March 2013 to support her six children.

But she figured in an accident and spent nearly two years at Rashid Hospital.

Her town-mates in Asturias banded together to raise funds to bring her home.

"Gumawa kami ng grupong makaka-raise ng funds para matulongan siya at kanyang pamilya rito. Tapos, may mga volunteer din na nakabase sa Dubai na siya ring nag-process ng kanyang documents upang makauwi siya," said Jehann Aguanta, one of those who raised funds for Castro's return.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Palace: Govt doing everything to spare Pinay from Indonesia death row

MalacaƱang on Saturday reassured the kin of Mary Jane Veloso – the Filipina facing execution in Indonesia over an attempt to smuggle 2.6 kilos of heroin – that the Philippine government continues to do everything possible to save her from death row.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine government is moving within Indonesia's legal framework to save Veloso.

"Ginagawa ng ating pamahalaan ang ating magagawa within the legal framework of Indonesia. (Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario) said the Philippines will continue to push other legal avenues to help her case," she said on government-run dzRB radio, amid appeals from Veloso's mother for compassion.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Friday, said an initial appeal for judicial review of Veloso's case was denied by the Indonesian Supreme Court.

But del Rosario reiterated the government "will continue to exhaust all possible diplomatic and legal means to save Mary Jane’s life."

Last March 24, del Rosario made a humanitarian visit to Veloso at the Yogyakarta Penitentiary to check on her condition and to personally offer comfort.

He also reassured her of the Philippine government’s continued support for her.

"We wish to assure her family that the Philippine government is giving its full attention to this case and that it stands ready to provide them with all the assistance they may require," he added.

Veloso was arrested in April 2010. The government has since hired a private lawyer to help Veloso pursue a legal review of her case.

The DFA also arranged for Veloso’s family to visit her in prison from February 19 to 21. The DFA remains in close contact with Veloso’s family.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

POEA cancels recruiter’s license over concealed visas

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has canceled the license of a recruitment agency for its attempt to deploy two Filipinos abroad with concealed visas.

Chanceteam International Services Inc. tried to deploy the two to Dubai as household service workers, POEA head Hans Leo Cacdac said.

“This is a clear case of reprocessing that constitutes misrepresentation to circumvent the POEA rules on recruitment and placement of household service workers,” Cacdac said.

Investigation showed the Bureau of Immigration barred the two Filipinas from boarding their Dubai-bound plane after they presented two sets of visas for different positions but with the same permit numbers.

Both workers' declared visas showed they were processed at the POEA as cashier and hairdresser but their hidden visas showed they would work as housemaid and babysitter.

Cacdac said this meant Chanceteam "used other non-domestic worker job orders for UAE to facilitate their deployment and ultimately evade responsibility to protect Filipino domestic workers."

The POEA also found the recruitment firm liable for altering the two sets of visas, which have the same permit numbers.

With the cancellation of the license - a penalty for three misrepresentation offenses - the agency's officers and directors at the time the offenses were committed are disqualified from recruitment and placement of overseas Filipino workers.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pinoys who still refuse to leave war-torn Yemen asked to text waiver

Filipinos who still refuse to leave strife-torn Yemen despite repeated warnings from the Philippine government have been asked to send the Philippine Embassy a waiver through a text message.

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh – which has consular jurisdiction over Yemen –  asked Filipinos who want to stay there to do so by supplying the needed personal information as indicated in the waiver template.

"Sa mga Pilipinong desididong hindi umuwi, paki-text ang sumusunod: Ako si (Full Name), at desidido akong HUWAG UMALIS ng Yemen sa kabila ng abiso ng DFA," it said.

Also, it said Filipinos in Yemen can send the message to 730187540, 737426292, 733844958 or 730194165.

The same numbers can be reached to register with the embassy. The embassy can also be reached via email at

In the meantime, the embassy said it continues to contact Filipinos in Yemen and urge them to avail of repatriation service.

Philippine officials had placed Yemen under Alert Level 4, meaning mandatory repatriation for Filipinos there. Alert Level 4 had been raised there since February.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Indonesia court rejects death row Filipina’s appeal

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia's Supreme Court has rejected an application by a Filipina on death row for a judicial review of her case, taking her a step closer to being executed along with several other foreign drug convicts. 
As well as the Filipina, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, two high-profile Australian inmates and convicts from France, Brazil, Ghana and Nigeria are set to face the firing squad after they recently had requests for presidential clemency rejected.
In her application for a judicial review, Veloso's lawyers had reportedly argued that she was not provided with a capable translator during her first trial. 
But the Supreme Court's website said that judges on Wednesday rejected Veloso's application for a review of her sentence. It did not provide details about the ruling and a court spokesman could not immediately be contacted for comment.
Veloso was caught at Yogyakarta airport, on the main island of Java, carrying 2.6 kilograms (5.73 pounds) of heroin on a flight from Malaysia.
Jakarta plans to execute all 10 of the convicts—nine foreigners and one Indonesian—at the same time, but has said it will wait for any outstanding legal appeals to conclude.
Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, leaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug-smuggling gang, as well as Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, currently have appeals that are working their way through the courts. 
Chan and Sukumaran have lost two previous attempts to get judicial reviews of their cases, but their legal teams have lodged a further, rare appeal. 
Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world, and President Joko Widodo has vowed there will be no clemency for traffickers on death row, as the country is facing an "emergency" due to rising narcotics use.
Jakarta put to death six drug convicts, including five foreigners, in January, sparking a diplomatic storm. —Agence France-Presse

Pinay artist’s paintings to be featured in 2 California exhibits

Two watercolor paintings of artist Lynda A. N. Reyes will be featured in two California exhibits in Brea, Orange County and San Francisco.

“An Afternoon Stroll at Venice Beach,” a transparent watercolor painting done on a full size 300 lb. Arches paper was juried into the 30th Annual Made in California Juried Exhibition of the City of Brea Art Gallery located at 1 Civic Center Circle, Plaza Level in Orange Country.
The artist: Moving on closer to mainstream American art. The FilAm photo
The exhibit will be on view starting March 28th until May 8th, 2015. The exhibit will celebrate the proud tradition of displaying works from artists all over California selected from over 1,000 statewide entries.

This multi-disciplinary survey of art features artists working in all mediums and highlights established artists in their quest for new creative movements in the California art scene.

A three-person panel of experts from the Orange County area selected 69 artists to display their works in the 6,500 square foot exhibition space of the City of Brea Art Gallery. The show marks the third national exhibit for this painting of a typical California summer afternoon on the beach walk.

“An Afternoon Stroll at Venice Beach” was first exhibited in the Aqueous 2013 of the Kentucky Watercolor Society and in 2014, it was chosen for the MTWS Water Media Exhibit at the Bigfork Museum in Montana.

Lynda will participate in another juried exhibit at the Arc Gallery on 1246 Folsom Street in San Francisco from May 2nd until June 20th, 2015. Her watercolor painting titled “California Mom” will make its debut in this themed exhibit titled “Fusion” at the ARC Gallery.

The statement about the painting reveals why the painting vividly supports the theme of the show:

“Forever connected.
Boundaries do not exist in the fusion of 2 living bodies.
A mother and child ready to trek yonder.
Someplace farther to further connect…”

The juror of the ARC exhibit is Olivia Ongpin of Luna Rienne Gallery in San Francisco. Arc Gallery & Studios occupies the former location of New Langton Arts Foundation, which closed in 2009. The partners of Arc Gallery are pleased to carry on the tradition of the space as an arts venue contributing to the vitality of the diverse South of the Market (SOMA) neighborhood of San Francisco.

The year 2015 continues to be a most promising year for Lynda. She has participated in five museum exhibits and her paintings have been featured in different national and international shows in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Montana, Kentucky, Maryland, Wisconsin, Colorado, New York, California (Berkeley, Salinas, Orange County, Monrovia, Bergamot Station in Santa Monica) and in Canada. It seems that Lynda has an exhibit every month and that her watercolor or oil paintings continue to capture the attention of both jurors and viewers in different parts of the U.S.

In a span of more than six years, Lynda has truly been moving on and on into the mainstream of American art. She resides and maintains her studio and gallery in Glendale, California. —The FilAm SF

Pinoy helpers in UAE face vacation trip delay over exit clearance

Filipina household helpers in the United Arab Emirates who want to go home for the Holy Week and summer (dry season) may face long delays in getting clearances at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, a UAE news site reported Thursday.

Employers of the Filipino housemaids are complaining about the long waiting period for the exit clearance or overseas workers travel permit, Gulf News reported.

“My maid had to visit the embassy twice last week but could not get a form. The queue was that big,” said an Emirati sponsor.

He said his helper had to wait "more than three hours for her turn.”

Some domestic helpers had to line up outside the embassy premises as early as 6 a.m., the report added.

Another sponsor said his helper waited from 7 a.m. until noon to get the travel clearance.

The clearance is a requirement for OFWs to return to the UAE after vacationing in the Philippines.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News


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