Friday, July 31, 2015

ADB Delegates Visit Pag-IBIG Fund During Cross-Regional Forum on Remittance

 Pag-IBIG Fund was one of the three key institutions in the country recently visited by around 37 delegates of the international forum on Promoting Remittance for Development Finance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The event was the first cross-regional forum on remittance attended by delegates from development member countries (DMCs) of the ADB. The site visit, as indicated in the program, is on “remittance innovations in the Philippines.” “We are honored that ADB has chosen Pag-IBIG Fund as one of the three government institutions in the Philippines to be visited by the delegates of the cross-regional forum on remittance,” said Pag-IBIG Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe during her presentation of Pag-IBIG Fund Benefits for Migrant Workers before the delegates at the Pag-IBIG office in Justine Bldg., Makati City. Atty. Berberabe presented to the ADB delegates Pag-IBIG’s programs for OFW members, including access to financial services like remittances and loans wherever they are in the world.

Atty. Berberabe informed the delegates that OFW membership with Pag-IBIG Fund continues to grow, reaching 3.9 million as of December 2014, and remitting a total of P1.7 billion Pag-IBIG membership contributions in the same year.

 OFW members of the Fund represent 27 percent of the 14.8 million total Pag-IBIG membership level. They are one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of Pag-IBIG membership. “In response to the growing Pag-IBIG membership of OFWs, we established an OFW Center at our Justine Bldg. Makati office that provides an integrated service for OFWs,” Atty. Berberabe added.

 In partnership with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the OFW Center offers services such as membership registration, remittance of member’s savings and loan payments, issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate, pre-departure orientation, investment center for modified PagIBIG 2, and acceptance and release of housing and short-term loans, among others. “We recognize the sacrifices and efforts of our OFWs in order to give their families a better future. It is only right that we give them the best service,” Atty. Berberabe added. The ADB delegates conducted a site visit for them to learn about public and private support activities for migrants and remittances.

PhilHealth XI Joins Serbisyong Tatak RMN

LHIO Tuguegarao City Moves to New Location

PhilHealth and the Press: Moving Towards Universal Coverage

Back-to-back PhilHealth SHInES in Laguna Province

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation recently conducted back-to-back Social Health Insurance Education Series (SHInES) at the El Cielito Hotel in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the benefit of the local media and Local Chief Executives (LCEs) of various municipalities in the province.
“It’s good to empower the media to make them PhilHealth advocates for our members to have correct and timely information regarding their program whenever possible,” said Dr. Shirley B. Domingo,  PhilHealth’s Vice President  for Area II which covers Lucena, Laguna, Cavite and Quezon province.
At least 20 media practitioners and information officers from several media outfits and government offices in the provinces of Quezon and Laguna attended the activity.
The SHInES for Media was immediately followed by the SHInES for LCEs of the different municipalities of the province led by Mayor Ronald Sana of Mabitac and Mayor Remona Muramatsu of Famy. Also present were representatives from Nagcarlan, Paete, Pakil, Pagsanjan, Pangil, Pila, Rizal, San Pablo City, San Pedro, Siniloan, Sta. Rosa, Victoria, Majayjay, Magdalena, Liliw, Cabuyao, Los Baños, Lusiana, Biñan, Baet, and Alaminos.
Alberto C. ManduriaoOIC-Vice President for Member Management Group discussed the Membership Program, while  Dr. Jennifer Raca,OIC-Senior Manager and  Dr. Marvin GalvezMedical Specialist III of the Benefits Development and Research Department presented the New and Enhanced PhilHealth Benefits. Vergil De ClaroOIC-Division Chief of Corporate Planning Department talked about the National Health Insurance Act of 2013 while Dr. Edwin OriñaRegional Vice President of PhilHealth Regional Office IV-A tackled the important role of the LCEs in support to the NHIP. Amelita ButedOIC-Division Chief of the Corporate Communication Department discussed the role of media in advocating the NHIP.

In his message, PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padillasaid that the activity is very important for PhilHealth  to discuss the needs of the LCEs in their respective localities “We wish to really have good working relationships with you (LCEs) because we also want to provide better service to your constituents,” Padilla said.
Questions raised during a two-day activity touched on  double membership, enrollment under the National Household Targeting System (NHTS), enrollment of senior citizens who are not included in the NHTS, inclusion of barangay volunteers such as bantay bayan and day care workers in PhilHealth coverage, frequency of availment of benefits by dependents, package inclusion for subdermal implants and availment of benefits for senior citizens who are not yet registered with PhilHealth under RA 10645. (END)  
 Reference:  Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas
                      OIC-Vice President, Corporate Affairs Group
Photo Captions:
Photo1: The LCE participants expressed their affirmation on the recently conducted SHInES as they make their okay signs together with PCEO Padilla(seated at the middle) and other PhilHealth Officers.
Photo 2: A thumbs up from the press for a successful orientation on the NHIP.
Photo3: Mayor Remona Muramatsu of Famy (seated 4th from left) and Mayor Ronald Sana of Mabitac (seated 4th from right) joined the PhilHealth President, officers and staff for a group picture.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How foreigners have transformed Subaru’s hometown in Japan

OTA, Japan - Afghan children studying at a madrassa, Catholic mass in seven languages, workers from over sixty countries.
It's not New York, but Ota, a town north of Tokyo with an economy powered by Japanese automaker Subaru. It's here that Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, got its start building engines and the Hayate fighter plane for the Imperial Army in the 1940s. A recent influx of foreigners has transformed the Subaru hub, making it a rare example of multiculturalism in a country stubbornly resistant to immigration.
Drawn by the prospect of jobs in factories supplying Subaru's export-driven boom, Ota's foreigners —many of them asylum seekers and indebted trainees—work long hours for low pay. Some have established communities centered around mosques and churches. But others feel alienated by punishing work schedules and scant assistance with Japanese language from the town's authorities, they say in interviews.
Ota's history with foreign laborers dates back to the late 1980s, when a short-staffed Subaru invited descendants of Japanese immigrants to Brazil to fill its busy production lines under a special visa category. They took jobs that Japanese workers shunned, including many at Subaru's factories.
Around the same time the Brazilians were arriving, Asian migrants also came to work in Japan, entering on tourist visas and staying without papers. A crackdown on visa overstayers cut the number from 224,000 in 2002 to 59,000 in 2014, according to government data.

A global crossroads; Pinays in bars
Since 2012, the foreign population of Ota and neighboring Isesaki has grown to over 18,000, almost three times the national ratio of Japanese to foreigners. The town, with a population of 222,000, is home to 63 nationalities, municipal data show.
In Ota's center, a rundown concrete grid south of Subaru's main plant, a remittance store does brisk trade wiring money to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
A few streets away is the town's kilometer-long red light district. Over 10 percent of Ota's foreigners are women from the Philippines, many of whom work in the clubs and bars advertising "newly arrived" women that line the wide street.
There is little interaction between Ota's newcomers and its Japanese residents. "All the workers do is go back and forth between their dorms and the factories," Ota mayor Masayoshi Shimizu told Reuters.
The center of Ota is quiet six days a week. On Sundays, for many their only rest day, foreign workers mill around the train station, or congregate at churches and mosques. Ota's Catholic church offers mass in Tagalog, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Japanese and Korean. Its pastor, Father Kim, is from South Korea.
In Ota's auto industry, labor brokers and a manager at a Subaru supplier said ethnicity plays a part in how workers are placed: Japanese workers are at the top of the chain, followed by Brazilians of Japanese descent, who have been in the country longer under a special visa category and can speak the language. They're followed by South Asians, many of them asylum seekers, and lastly, African workers at the bottom of the pyramid.
An executive at one local manufacturer said he favored asylum seekers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, who he said are more willing to take on difficult jobs for lower pay.
"We carefully examined the matter and confirmed that this was not the case," Subaru said in a written response to questions from Reuters.
On the outskirts of the town, men in traditional Islamic dress spill out of the Darussalam mosque after prayers, heading to a halal cafe for a meal of chicken with saffron rice. Afghan women in burqas take their children to a madrassa next door.
A community of Muslims from countries including Mali, Yemen and Afghanistan has taken root around the mosque, said Abdullah, its Japanese imam.
"Many here don't speak Japanese or each other's languages," he said. "But we pray, sleep and cook together." Reuters

Kuwait authorities probe alleged rape, robbery of Pinay by 'detective'

Authorities in Kuwait are investigating the alleged rape-robbery of a Filipina in Ahmadi town, supposedly by a man claiming to be a detective, a Kuwait news site reported Tuesday.
The Filipina told authorities she was raped and mugged inside her apartment in a complex in Ahmadi, Kuwait Times reported.
Citing a security source, the report said initial investigation showed the woman was in her bedroom while her boyfriend was in the living room at the time of the assault.
According to the Kuwait Times report, someone knocked hard on the door, claiming to be a detective. He kicked the boyfriend out, locked the apartment door, then supposedly pulled a knife. The suspect then ordered the Filipina to open a safe and took KD1,100 (P165,231), then raped her before escaping.   Joel Locsin/ELR, GMA News


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