Thursday, November 22, 2007

Migration and Ageing

overseas labor migration has implications for the elderly. For one, owing to rising numbers of younger women leaving for overseas work, there seems to be a decreasing number of caregivers for older persons and children, as well as a greater need for older persons, especially women, to substitute for their absent daughters (POPCOM, 2002)

Many pieces of anecdotal evidence have shown the important role of elderly in the emerging reconfiguration of family roles as an offshore of migration.

When parents are away working abroad, grandparents usually assume the role of rearing the children. They have assumed this role not because of the need to have an adult take care of the children's needs, but also because they would want to have a hand in ensuring the welfare of their children. Performing this role is a challenge to older people's health. ( Cruz, 1996 POPCOM,2002)

Noticebly, Filipinos over 60 years old are also migrating. CFO data of registered emigrants include 103,004 Filipinos who had migrated when they were over 60 years old and become permanent resident and emigrants from 1981 to 2005.

In the United States, for example, 334,022 Filipinos over 55 years, and 165,748 who are 65 and above. Many of these elderly Filipinos, if given the chance, will work to earn in the host countries.

The elderly have played a key role in reducing the strain experienced by Filipino families because of international migration.Probing deeper into their conditions as overseas workers or as caretakers of children left behind warrants further studies.

Feminization of Migration

An increasing feminization of migration has been observed over the past decade.That is, more and more women, compared to men, are going abroad to work. indeed, records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) shows that more females are getting newly hired for overseas jobs in recent years.

This explain why female OFWs are fast gaining in on the number of males employed abroad.

POEA records show that during the period 2000-2003, females made up over 70 percent of the newly-hired OFWs.

in 2006, six out of ten newly-hired overseas workers were females.

Majority of OFWs are collage graduates (44%). But a considerables number are only high school graduates (31%). Some finished only grade school(12%).These data shows that that while one may get lucky sometimes to find overseas employment even with only an elementary or high school education, migrants with higher educational attaiment are still favored.

(State of the Philippine Population Report)

OFW Petition on Affordable Air Access

Air passage is vital to international labor migration. As overseas workers, we need to fly to and from our host countries the fastest but safest way, preferably the cheapest way too. While on paper it looks like our employers are shouldering the cost of air fare, in reality, we are paying for it through the exorbitant placement fees charged to us.


For the longest time, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has monopoly over Philippine air. This stranglehold has meant higher airfare, limited seats, and not so top of the line pre-flight and in-flight services. But do we have to endure all of these because PAL is the so-called “national carrier?” Are we selling the national patrimony if we object to PAL’s monopoly? What we have done for our families and to the nation in general should put to rest any question about our love for the homeland. And as unsung heroes, don’t we deserve a better deal?

Opening up air passage means accessibility. With freedom to choose from among wider choices of airlines and airports comes lower airfare and better services. If fares are lower, our families can now afford to visit us in our jobsites. This eases the pains of separation and loneliness. Thus, the social costs of labor migration is greatly reduced..

Giving air access and opening up the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) and other secondary airports in the archipelago, like Laoag, Mactan, and Davao, to other airlines on a mutually advantageous basis will also redound to the benefits of the country and our compatriots. Available data already show more tourists have come in via DMIA. For Central Luzon up to Northern Luzon this means the creation of more jobs and pump-priming industries and services like agriculture, retail, manufacturing, and others. When business and industries are alive outside Metro Manila, we also reap the benefits of decongestion. Along this line, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) need not travel all to Manila to fly out. Those in Central Luzon can use the DMIA. Those from Northern Luzon can fly out via Laoag. Those from the Visayas can use Mactan, while those from Mindanao can fly out through Davao.

Air access and opening up the skies is not the death peal for PAL. It is a wake up call for them to improve their services and pricing, and compete fairly and squarely. More than that, the benefits for us OFWs would be tremendous.

The logical step to this direction is signing and implementing a consistent and stable long term policy that will afford consumers like us greater accessibility, seats availability and better services from various airlines at lower prices. We count on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to lead the way in dismantling the monopoly of PAL over Philippine skies and give us consumers a better deal.

We are urging her to sign E.O. 500-B the soonest time possible.

19 Filipinos in Malaysia deported, to sue agent

At least 19 Filipino jobseekers deported from Malaysia vowed to file large-scale illegal recruitment charges against a couple in Cagayan province who promised them jobs in Kuala Lumpur.

Radio dzRH reported Friday that the 19 were part of a batch of 32 Filipinos "deployed" to Malaysia but were caught and deported back to the Philippines.

The dzRH report said the 19 Filipinos, who were due to arrive at Clark in Pampanga province Friday, relayed to relatives their plans to sue John Sabiniano, 42, and his wife Elma, 40.John and Elma, based in Barangay 2 in Jones town, already face charges of illegal recruitment along with alleged Manila-based ring leader Diana Lacson from a victim based in Quirino province.One of the earlier victims, Elmer Labasa of Quirino province, claimed the couple duped him of P160,000 in "placement fees" as early as February 2007.

Labasa, in a complaint he lodged before the provincial prosecutor's office in Quirino, said he paid the P160,000 placement fee in three installments, in exchange for a job in Korea.When he felt suspicious he was being duped, he went to the couple's Manila-based "affiliate" office, the Star Care Human Resources and Training Center in Pasay City.

There, he said Lacson "convinced" him that he would be deployed to Korea after the May 14 elections.But when he still failed to leave the country by August, he decided to check if the suspects' agency was registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).

His fears were confirmed after POEA anti-illegal recruitment prosecution division lawyer Rosemarie Duque told him that Star Care was not registered with the government. - GMANews.TV

Help rescue 40 other sex slaves in Malaysia, VP asks DFA

Vice President Manuel “Noli" de Castro on Tuesday asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to help rescue at least 40 Filipino women working in a sex den in Labuan, Malaysia.

In a press statement, the Vice President, also presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers, said he had sought the help of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs to immediately coordinate rescue operations for the Filipino women left behind in the sex den.De Castro took the move after meeting in his office three women who were rescued on November 9 from the same sex den in Labuan.

The women returned to the country on Nov. 15. During the meeting, De Castro vowed to relentlessly pursue a campaign against illegal recruiters who exploit fellow Filipinos with tempting job offers overseas only to end up as sex slaves.

The three Filipino women De Castro met said they were recruited to work as waitresses, but were forced to work in a sex den upon their arrival, radio dzBB reported on Tuesday.

Their recruiter was purportedly a Filipina with connections to a Malaysian immigration officer.The three, whose names were withheld, had sought the help of De Castro’s office in ending their ordeal. They left the Philippines through Zamboanga where they took a ferry to Kota Kinabalu, and then to Labuan.

Once they arrived in Malaysia, they were made to work in a karaoke lounge in Labuan, about three hours away from the capital of Kuala Lumpur where the Philippine embassy is based. They however managed to seek help from Philippine authorities there.

The women said they were not allowed to go out of the building where they were housed. They said more than 40 other Filipino women were kept there, and more were being recruited.

They said they wanted to tell their ordeal so that potential recruits would be properly warned.

“Mabuti na lang at naging mabilis ang pagkilos ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno kasama ang CFO at DFA katuwang ang aking tanggapan, pati ang Filipino community sa Malaysia upang hindi na lalo pang mapariwara ang ating mga kababayang nasadlak sa imoral na gawain," the Vice President said in a statement.

The families of the victims were first contacted through cell phones and the victims relayed the unexpected sufferings they are being subjected to. The families, in turn, asked the help of the OVP for the plight of their loved ones.

“Nakakahiya talagang may kapwa Filipino tayo na nagtutulak sa ating kaawa-awang mga kababayan na naghahanap lamang ng disenteng pagkakakitaan. Kaya inuulit ko ang aking panawagang makipag-ugnayan sa POEA at sumunod tayo sa tamang proseso ng paghahanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa," he stressed.Wrongfully confinedThe Malaysian Star also reported in Tuesday about three Filipino singers who were rescued by police from an apartment in Batu Uban in Penang, Malaysia last Friday.

The women, aged between 18 and 22, claimed that they were poorly fed and did not have beds to sleep on. They said the door of the apartment where they were kept was padlocked on the outside whenever they were in the unit.

One of them said they were only given two meals of rice, some vegetables and a small piece of salted fish a day and that they slept on comforters on the floor. She said she was forced to dress in short skirts while performing.

Another singer said he arrived in Penang eight months ago. The second arrived six months ago and the third three months ago. He said two of them worked for about three months at various hotels here while the other had yet to start working.

“In the Philippines, we were told that we would only owe the agency money for providing each of us with a laptop and for the expenses incurred to bring us here.

“But when I arrived, I was told that I owed the agency RM15,971 (about P205,000) not only for expenses incurred to bring me here but also for costumes and second-hand music equipment," he said yesterday. On Monday, the Star reported that the police detained a man for wrongfully confining the three singers, two of them women, after one of them sent an SMS to alert a friend about their predicament. Police picked up the suspect at 9.30pm on Friday after the friend tipped off the authorities. The police released the three Filipinos after taking their statements. - GMANews.TV

Villar seeks probe on plight of Pinoys jailed abroad

Senate President Manuel Villar Jr has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry on the plight of Filipinos in overseas jails.In Resolution No. 189, Villar is urging the committees on labor and employment and on foreign relations to jointly find out the condition of detained Filipinos in different countries to be able to formulate remedial measures and devise a package of assistance to protect them.

“An assessment of the legal and social remedies being afforded by our embassies and consular offices to our kababayans detained abroad for various offenses is imperative to ascertain sufficiency of assistance for the protection of OFWs," Villar explained.Sen. Loren Legarda also called on the government to make sure OFWs facing legal troubles, especially those who have been sentenced to die, in overseas jails are given appropriate attention.

Legarda stressed that while justice must be afforded to all crime victims, justice must also be accorded to accused and convicted OFWs by way of ensuring they have ample legal representation abroad.

"Our concern is for all OFWs in trouble to be afforded due process in their host countries. This is a basic responsibility of the state to its citizens, wherever they may be," Legarda said.

In as much as OFWs in trouble are punished under the laws of other countries, Legarda said that the Philippine government can always appeal for humanitarian consideration for OFWs facing the death sentence.

"Sadly, the queue of OFWs to the gallows is getting longer. As a country which has abolished the death sentence, the Philippines should exert efforts to appeal for commutation of their sentence," she said.

At present, two more Filipino women in Kuwait are on the list of OFWs on death row.Legarda said she would make representations with other Middle East countries, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to get more compassionate sentence for the two Filipinas.In his recent visit to the Middle East, Villar learned that more than 5,000 Filipinos are in prison for various cases ranging from theft to violations of illegal entry and similar immigration laws and serious criminal offenses which can be considered acts of self-defense in countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.

He added that a number of Filipinos are victims of internal rebellion and civil strife as documented in countries such as Nigeria and Iraq.

“A comprehensive strategy that will strengthen legal assistance being provided by our attaches and other legal and social remedies provided by our foreign service officials must be made including coordination efforts with various governments of other countries," Villar said. - GMANews.TV

3 girls held as sex slaves in Malaysia return

Three Filipino girls deployed to Malaysia only to be turned into sex slaves returned to the country this week, radio dzBB reported Tuesday.

The report said the three, whose names were withheld, had sought help from the office of Vice President Manuel "Noli" de Castro Jr in ending their ordeal.

The three were reportedly promised jobs in Malaysia as waitresses and left the Philippines through the southern backdoor in Mindanao.

Once they arrived in Kota Kinabalu, however, they were made to work in a brothel. They managed to seek help from Philippine authorities there.Upon learning of their plight, de Castro instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs to work for the repatriation of the three girls. - GMANews.TV

Mindanao Christian, Muslim groups plan prayer rallies for Ranario

Christian and Muslim groups based in Mindanao are planning a series of prayer rallies to save overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Marilou Ranario from the death penalty.

Church-run Radio Veritas reported Sunday that the groups based mainly in Surigao City also appealed to the Philippine government to intercede for Ranario.

The groups called on Malacañang in particular to make representations with Kuwait to spare Ranario from death row.

A Kuwaiti court is likely to hand down on December 27 its decision on Ranario, who was charged with murdering her employer in January 2005.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Philippine government officials are now closely monitoring developments in the case.Philippine ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya reported that the 11-member Court of Cassation heard oral arguments on the case November 13.During the hearing, two highly respected Kuwaiti defense lawyers, Ahmad Qurban and Abdel Majid Khuraibet, argued Ranario’s case at the instance of the Philippine government.For now, the DFA said Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. and Ambassador Endaya are “personally overseeing efforts to save the life of Ranario.

"The DFA said that throughout Ranario’s detention and the judicial proceedings, the Philippine government had spared no effort to assist Ranario and her family.

Philippine Embassy officers have regularly visited and counseled her and attended court proceedings.Also, the DFA said the embassy assisted Ranario’s parents in their travel to Kuwait in April 2006 to visit her at the Sulaibiya Central Jail.

Ranario’s two children have received counseling from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and scholarship from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

On the other hand, the DFA said five seasoned and highly respected Kuwaiti lawyers have so far been provided to defend her.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, vice president Manuel “Noli" de Castro Jr. and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo had made representations to Kuwaiti authorities for clemency, the DFA added.

“Through the efforts of the Office of the President, the department and the embassy, tanazuls (affidavits of forgiveness) have been secured from the family of the victim," the DFA added. - GMANews.TV

Convicted Pinay's fate in Kuwait known Nov 27, not Dec 27 - DFA

The fate of convicted Filipino domestic helper Marilou Ranario in Kuwait will be known on Nov. 27, not Dec. 27 as inadvertently announced earlier, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.

Kuwait’s Cessation Court will hand down its decision on Tuesday next week on the appeal for clemency of Ranario, a 35-year-old Filipina domestic helper from Surigao del Norte who had been convicted for killing her employer in January 2005.Ranario, a mother of two, left a teaching job in the Philippines in 2003 to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo M. Endaya reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs Thursday last week that Kuwait's 11-member Court of Cassation heard oral arguments on Ranario’s appeal on Nov. 13.

Two highly respected Kuwaiti defense lawyers --Ahmad Qurban and Abdel Majid Khuraibet -- argued Ranario's case at the instance of the Philippine government.

The court has set the promulgation of its decision for Dec. 27, 2007, Endaya said.But in a text message Wednesday, DFA spokesman Claro Cristobal issued a clarification that the court will promulgate its decision on Nov. 27.The militant Migrante International quickly lambasted the DFA for allegedly "concealing" the information from Ranario's family.

"This is incredibly distressing news, especially since the DFA did not even have the temerity to contact Marilou's family about either the December or November verdict dates. Either they are guilty of deliberately concealing this information or they are just incredibly inept," said Lian Santos, deputy secretary general of Migrante in a news conference in Quezon City.

She said Ranario's father and Migrante leaders were told of the Nov. 27 verdict date by the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs executive director Cresente Relacion last Monday when they held a picket at the DFA premises.Ranario was charged for the murder of her Kuwaiti employer Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak on January 11, 2005.

Kuwait’s Court of First Instance sentenced her to die by hanging eight months later. The Court of Appeals upheld the sentence last February.

“Throughout her detention and the judicial proceedings, from the Criminal Circuit Court to the Appellate Court and the Court of Cassation, the Philippine government has spared no effort to assist Ranario and her family," Endaya assured.

Philippine embassy officers have regularly visited and counseled her and attended court proceedings. The department and the embassy assisted Ranario's parents in their travel to Kuwait in April 2006 to visit her at the Sulaibiya Central Jail.

Ranario's two children are provided counseling by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and scholarship by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, he added.Five seasoned and highly respected Kuwaiti lawyers have so far been provided by the government to defend her, Endaya further said.

Representations to Kuwaiti authorities for clemency have been made on Ranario's behalf by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Vice-President Noli De Castro and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, he asserted.

Through the efforts of the Office of the President, the department and the embassy, tanazuls (affidavits of forgiveness) have been secured from the family of the victim.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos and Endaya are personally overseeing efforts to save the life of Ranario, according to the DFA.On Oct. 31, an alliance of migrant workers’ groups launched an online petition to save Ranario from death by hanging. Migrante International, one of the members of the alliance that spearheads the Save Marilou Ranario Movement (SMRM), lashed at President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration for what it considers as systematic criminal neglect of migrants, especially those languishing in death row.

When the final appeal was due for oral argument on Nov 13, Filipino groups in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States staged simultaneous protest marches and pressed for clemency for Ranario.Members of the Kalipunan ng mga Filipinong Nagkakaisa (KAFIN), Philippine Women's League of Japan, the Filipina Circle for Advancement and Progress (FICAP), and Migrante – Japan trooped to Kuwait embassy in Tokyo and appealed for Ranario whose conviction is on final appeal at the Kuwaiti Supreme Court.

“For humanitarian reasons, Marilou Ranario must be spared her life," said Dolores Balladares of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil-Migrante-HK).Balladares said Ranario's employer took video footages of her and tried to sell her to two men.“As desperation drove her to go abroad, cruelty under the hands of her employer brought her to such deed.

It will be unjust to make her and her family to suffer more," she said.Prior to the murder, Marilou reported to her family of that she was verbally and physically abused by her employer, Balladares said. - GMANews.TV

Homecoming of stranded Pinoys in Iraq delayed

The homecoming of the two Filipino seamen stranded in Iraq since July hit a snag after the Iraqi State Agent refused to approve their release papers on Tuesday.

Rodolfo Limjap and Abril Ricablanca were supposed to take a ferry ride from Umm Qasr at 5 p.m. to the Port Rashid in Dubai, but last-minute appeals to concerned Iraqi authorities to release them were useless.

The 10 Indians who have been stranded with the two Filipinos were also not allowed to leave the port. “Please be advised that the release paper for all the crew (10 Indians + 2 Pinoys) was rejected by the Iraqi State Agent as they are not accepting any responsibility in case some problem will occur with the repatriation of all crew," said Renee Dominguiano, a Filipino assistant port manager of Inchcape Shipping Services, who has been helping Limjap and Ricablanca taken out of Iraq.

“We have tried our best and talked with concerned authorities for the release of the crew but (our efforts) were in vain," Dominguiano emailed to GMANews.TV at Tuesday night ( afternoon in Iraq). “We have decided to speak with the judge and asked him a favor to release the two Pinoys and one sick Indian crew (all them are ratings class).

This afternoon I sent my Iraqi colleague to the residence of the judge in Safwan, Iraq in order to get the release paper, and luckily we got the approval for the three persons at 5 p.m.," he said.“In order to complete the formalities, we have to bring the paper tomorrow morning to the office of the Iraqi State Agent to get a no-objection stamp.

The judge assures us this will be okay," Dominguiano said.“We have managed to solicit food for all the crew from Agility Logistics and the company is willing to help provide for food and water for the rest of the crew members," he added.“There will be another ferry tomorrow for Dubai and will depart here in Umm Qasr about 6 p.m. We will advise you once everything is settled tomorrow," he further said.

Limjap and Ricablanca, who have been stranded in Iraq since July and abandoned without money and food by their employer since September 1, have been sustained by donations of food and potable water by other Filipinos in the port city of Umm Qasr.A kind-hearted Filipino who simply wanted to be identified as a “concerned Pinoy from Umm Qasr" has agreed to provide for their Dubai-Manila plane tickets and pocket money.

The benefactor hosted dinner on Sunday and gave $500 each to Limjap and Ricablanca for their plane ticket, which would each cost roughly $300, and the rest for their pocket money.

Dominguiano brought the two seamen to their benefactor on Sunday afternoon.The two had been issued visa by the Philippine consulate in Dubai, and Dominguiano has been trying to arrange for their flight to Manila on November 1 via Qatar Airways, but with the delay in the approval of their release paper, their flight would have to be moved.If the two would be able to get out of Iraq tomorrow, they would be arriving in Dubai on Friday.

Limjap, 33, from Rosario, Cavite has a son who is turning three years old on Nov. 17 while Ricablanca, 35, from Iloilo City, has five children aged between three to 10. Dominguiano has assisted in securing the required documents and waiver of visa fees with the Umm Qasr Port Authority for their repatriation.

The two are among the crew of MV Pishgam, registered at St. Kitts & Nevis, but its real owner is an Iranian who had abandoned the ship when it got embroiled in a court case, Dominguiano said.MV Pishgam is under the management of Aries Shipping management, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipping company, and chartered by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines to take Dubai, Iran and Kuwait routes.The ship arrived in Umm Qasr on July 21 and a few days later, an Iraqi judge ordered a hold departure order for the vessel, stemming from a court case a consignee had filed in an Iraq court.

Philippine officials and agencies promptly responded to appeals for help through CMA executive director Ellene Sana who has been coordinating the efforts from early morning until late into the night.“I talked already to Limjap and his Indian captain.

Iraqi court may lift travel restrictions on Monday but (the ship) captain needs guarantees that ferry fares of two Filipino seamen are refunded and entry visas to Dubai arranged," said Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya on Saturday. “I sent already a report to DFA for immediate action.

"Endaya used to serve as charge d’affaires in Iraq before his transfer to Kuwait months ago.Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Marianito Roque also quickly responded to the request of CMA for assistance through the OWWA representatives in Dubai, which has agreed to shoulder the ferry fares of Limjap and Ricablanca from Umm Qasr to Dubai.

Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis; Crescente Relacion, executive director of DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA); charge d’affaires Wilfredo R. Cuyugan in Amman, Jordan; and Philippine consulate and labor officials in the United Arab Emirates have been helping process the repatriation of the two stranded seamen to Manila.

Limjap’s wife, Dizza dela Rosa, said their son Rodolfo Jr. has been praying to have his dad home when he turns three years old on Nov. 17.

"Talaga pong pinanghihinaan na ako ng loob kasi hindi ko na po alam kung ano ang gagawin ko kasi nagwo-worry na po ako sa asawa ko na nagkasakit na po.

‘Yung dumi n’ya po may dugo daw. Hindi naman daw po pwedeng dalhin sa hospital gawa ng delikado kaya dun lang daw po sila sa port," Dela Rosa said.

“Kahit po undocumented at ‘di nagdaan sa POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) ang asawa ko pinatos n’ya ang offer na direct hire kasi gusto n’ya po makaipon dahil gusto n’ya po ipagamot ang anak n’ya kasi ang baby po namin pag umiyak or nasasaktan biglang na ngingitim at hindi na nakakahinga," she explained.

“At ang isa pa po n’ya na reason ay gusto n’ya hanapin ang tatay n’ya kasi 29 years na po silang hindi nagkikita. Hindi n’ya po alam kung nasaan po. Sabi n’ya pag may ipon na s’ya madali n’ya magagawa ‘yun, kaso paano n’ya pa po magagawa ‘yun gayung kahit s’ya nasa delikadong sitwasyon," Dela Rosa said.

“Kaya din po n’ya tinanggap ‘yung trabaho na ‘yun kasi ang dami n’ya na po inaplayan dito wala po tumanggap sa kanya kasi wala po s’yang US visa kasi lahat po ng seaman na tinatangap ngayon ay ‘yung may mga US visa na daw po.

Sabi n’ya kung hindi n’ya daw po tatanggapin ‘yun paano n’ya pa raw po maipapagamot ang anak n’ya at paano n’ya pa rin daw po mahahanap ang tatay n’ya," Limjap’s wife added.

“Sana matulungan n’yo na makauwi ang asawa ko na may sakit. Hindi bale na po na hindi niya makuha ang sweldo niya ng eight months basta makauwi na lang po sila," she appealed.Ricablanca's sister, Melinda Valenzuela, said from Iloilo City that Ricablanca accepted the job in the Middle East out of desperation to earn a living for his family.

She said he did not have a regular job before leaving for abroad. “Nag-e-extra lang sa construction. Ang asawa wala ring trabaho." “We know they have been stranded but we do not know what to do. We don’t know where to go. We have no money," she said. She said Ricablanca is the 10th in a brood of 11.

DOLE revokes order on partially lifting ban to 3 countries

After raising the hopes of overseas Filipino workers aspiring for jobs in Nigeria, Lebanon and Afghanistan, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) again dashed their hopes two days later when it recalled a department order partially lifting the ban on the deployment of OFWs to the three countries.

The DOLE said the order was revoked due to the "inconsistent foreign policies of the Arroyo Administration."Upon orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DOLE has put on hold Department Order No. 86-7 signed November 15, 2007 which partially lifts the deployment ban to Afghanistan, Nigeria and Lebanon and issuing guidelines on the manner of deploying workers to those conflict areas.

The order would have opened the doors to thousands of Filipinos who want to work in Afghanistan in the coalition bases, the International Red Cross, the Red Crescent and other UN related organizations involved in the reconstruction and development of that country, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The order also states that Filipino workers may now be deployed to Nigeria especially near the urban cities and in case the job-site is Niger Delta the Office of the Secretary would study the application on a case-to-case basis.The Lebanon situation will allow the departure of household service workers under the new policy of $ 400 US dollars minimum salary and those international organizations or offices willing to give work contracts under the new policy.

The recruitment industry is incensed that DOLE and the Administration find it so easy to recall department orders without any reasons at all.

"The opportunity to earn dollars for their families and help in the building up of dollars reserves which have contributed to the rise in the peso against the dollar has been denied our OFWs," recruitment agencies lamented.

Some 4,000 documented OFWs who have been working in Iraq for the past six years want to come for Christmas; however, the OFWs want to return to work after the holidays.Filipino contract workers for Prime Projects International whose contracts with the US Armed Forces for the operation and maintenance of US bases want DOLE Secretary Arturo Brion to clarify his statements over the radio over the weekend in which he said that vacationing workers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Nigeria would be allowed to come for home for the holidays and return to their jobsites.

The Filipino workers in Iraq do not want a repeat of what happened to 600 workers who came home for a Christmas vacation in 2001 but were prevented to return to Iraq due to the deployment ban enforced in July 7, 2001 over the Angelo de la Cruz kidnapping, a truck driver based in Saudi Arabia delivering logistics to Iraq.

Most of them found their way back to their jobsites through the borders of Kuwait and flights from Dubai to Baghdad.After the Iraq war in 2000, six thousand Filipinos were deployed to the war-torn country before the ban to participate in the US $ 50-billion infrastructure and development projects given to multi-national construction companies.

Some five thousand more have skirted the ban through Kuwait and Dubai to work in heavily-paid jobs offered by scores of maintenance and construction companies.

Brion calls for stronger partnership among maritime ...

Brion calls for stronger partnership among maritime industry stakeholdersLabor and Employment Secretary Arturo D. Brion has called for stronger partnership among various stakeholders in the maritime sector to effectively respond to the fast-changing developments in the global maritime industry.

Speaking at the recent Philippine Manning Convention which sought to address increasing global demand for seafarers, Brion commended the convention’s theme – Joining Hands to Meet the Global Demand for Seafarers Towards a Committed Partnership – as an attestation to the stakeholders’ resolve to face the challenges of the future together.

“We in the government, and the DOLE family in particular, stand ready to be counted as a full participating member of that partnership,” Brion stressed."It must be a partnership that calls for the expansion of our spheres of cooperation beyond the traditional human resources demand and supply considerations of the (maritime) industry.

It (partnership) must embody a social dimension that will allow the pursuit of both economic and social goals and gains for all of the industry’s players – the ship owners, foreign principals, manning agents, the seafarers, and government – who must then look to each other as truly contributing ‘partners’ in the fullest sense of the word,” he said.In a paper presented by AMOSUP President Capt. Gregorio S. Oca at the convention, among the factors cited as causing the crewing crisis was the tendency of a lot of maritime officers to retire at a young age after having attained the highest position in their particular department then opt to take on jobs at shore.

These officers no longer aspire for top positions in both the deck and engine departments as they already are contented with the current positions they hold. Data from AMOSUP indicated that 20-25 percent of those filing for retirement claims are less than 50 years old.

Other significant factors cited in the paper include increasing responsibilities of senior officers and their burdensome administrative functions brought about by new security regulations and reportorial requirements.

These have increased stress and fatigue, pushing these officers to work harder.Brion said that further education and skills training for seafarers would be a good starting place for stakeholders to jointly address.

“A shared responsibility of our partnership may be in this area where the benefits can be common to all ­the seafarer, his family, ship owners and manning agencies, the industry, and the home country will all benefit as the seafarer expands and deepens his knowledge and skills base.

”He also called on the industry and foreign principals to help search for ways that the remittances of seafarers can be protected against the uncertainties of foreign exchange fluctuations.The effort, he said, will directly benefit the seafarer, his family, and the home country, but indirectly it will also benefit the industry as it will establish seafaring as a reliable career.

He added that it will help in the advocacy of inviting the youth to maritime careers.Brion also cited vital interests of the DOLE that relate to dispute management and labor and employment education.

He emphasized that one of DOLE’s approaches toward dispute avoidance is through education, even as he relayed a plan of launching the “Continuous Labor and Employment Education” to be administered by DOLE regional offices nationwide next year.

Likewise, Brion proposed the establishment of a maritime voluntary arbitration body in consideration of the special nature of maritime labor disputes.The special voluntary arbitration body, he said, will be formed through the designation of ten Senior officials from the DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration as ex-officio voluntary arbitrators from the government side.

“It may be best to start with a small compact group with 10 representatives each from labor, management, and government,” he said as he offered the services of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board as interim secretariat that later on, can be replaced by an independent one supported by the maritime industry.

The Population and Development

More dependents, More migrants

The Philippine population has grown fourfold in the last 50 years, from about 20 million in 1950 to 86.4 million today. This is one of the highest rates in the developing world, with around 2 million in Filipinos added every year. It is the 12th largest and the 8th densest population in the world (Ogena, 2004)

The country's young population has its biggest segment in the 0-14 age bracket. Half of the population is under 21 years of age. This implies a high dependency burden on the working-age population having had to support a large number of dependent family members.

In 2004, ratio was 69 persons in the dependent ages (below 15 and over 60) for every 100 members of working age (15-60). This may seem good, yet in reality, only 67 percent of the economically productive ages in 2004 were in employed, and 13 percent of them were actually unemployed.Thus, likely dependency ratio is 187 dependents per 100 employed Filipinos, or almost two dependents per one economically productive worker (Raymundo, 2004)

The extent of international migration which has contributed to the population changes in the country is somewhat yet unclear. Base on the assessment of the Technical Committee on Population and Housing Statistic, international migration still has little effect on the country's total population. The National Statistical Coordination Board and some demographers, however, find this assumption contentious and called for the conduct of further studies to establish
more sound bases for estimating international migration trends

(State of the Philippine Population Report 4)

Monday, November 19, 2007

DFA warns Pinoy travelers vs Singapore's new law ...

Friday, November 16 2007 @ 12:32 PM UTCNews affecting OFW's


16 - DFA warns Pinoy travelers vs Singapore's new law on bearing physical currencyThe Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday warned all Filipino travelers against new law being enforced by the Singaporean government that took effect last November 1, requiring any person bearing physical currency and bearer negotiable instruments (CBNI) amounting to more than SGD30,000 or its equivalent in a foreign currency, to submit a report of the transaction to the concerned Singaporean authorities.

In an advisory, the DFA said that examples of bearer negotiable instruments include bills of exchange, cheques, promissory notes, bearer bonds, traveler's cheques and money orders or postal orders."Travelers entering into or departing from Singapore carrying CBNI in excess of SGD30,000 or its equivalent in a foreign currency, are advised to accomplish and submit the form to the immigration officer at the immigration checkpoint," it said in a statement.

The department also noted that the forms can be obtained at major immigration checkpoints, visitor centers in Singapore, commercial transport operators or downloaded from the Singapore Police Force website at www.spf.gov.sg and www.cad.gov.sgAs for senders, carriers or recipients, the form must be submitted to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) no later than one business day (or if the report is to be sent by post, no later than two business days) prior to the moving of the cash or, if it is not reasonably practicable to do so, at the first opportunity thereafter prior to the movement of the CBNI.Any person who receives cash exceeding the prescribed amount from outside Singapore is required to submit the report to the STRO within five business days upon receipt.

The penalty for failure to disclose a full and accurate report is a fine not exceeding SGD50,000, or an imprisonment term not exceeding three years or both.

The CBNI may also be seized if the person fails to give the report."This initiative is part of Singapore's overall efforts to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and other transnational crime. It is not a currency control measure," the DFA said in the advisory.

"There are no restrictions to the type or amount of CBNI which may be moved into or out of Singapore nor does it seek to restrict legitimate cross border trade payments for goods and services, or the freedom of capital movements," it added.

'Tale of a mail-order bride'

COLUMN: OFW HELPLINEOFW HELPLINE is a regular weekly column in Q & A form which dispenses advice, information assistance to Filipinos living or working abroad and spotlight their stories to cull lessons from.

Q: I do not have a problem but I want to share my experience as a mail-order bride, which has a good ending. I am now 45 years year and live in Australia with my second husband, a good man.

My first husband was also from Australia. We were pen pals. I was 19 then and he was 50. When he asked me to marry him, I accepted because he said he would help take care of my family in Cebu.

We got married in my hometown and all my relatives came to congratulate me for my good fortune. Before we left for Australia, my mother told me to obey my husband and to make sure that he would send the money he promised every month.I did not cry when we left Cebu. I was too excited to see my new country and the house that I would live in but saw only in pictures. But my husband was a different man in Australia.

He would slap me when I was slow in getting him his beer or when he did not like the food that I cooked.

He said I was stupid and he would lock me in the closet when I was disobedient. My mother wrote many times that she had not received the money promised from Australia.

One day, I woke up to find our house burning. I ran downstairs and found the doors and windows locked.

I was crying from fear and from the smoke when I remembered that there was a small window in the basement. I squeezed out of the house from that window. I was shaking and crying and asking the police to look for my husband who came to see me only when I was already in hospital.

During police investigation, it was found that my husband took an insurance policy on me for five million Australian dollars a week or two before the house burned. The police said my husband tried to kill me for the insurance.

This was a bad time for me but I could not divorce him until I became an Australian citizen.I want your readers to be very careful in marrying foreigners they have never met. They may be bad people.

“Inday” of Australia
A: Thank you for your story with a happy ending.With the internet, it is now easier to meet other people. You do not only see how the person looks like but also how he sounds like. Whether courting in person or through the internet, however, people are normally on their best behavior.

Here are some useful tips:

*Research on your suitor. Use the internet to your advantage. Newspapers worldwide have online editions and most of these are free. Link with up Filipinos or the Church in the city or town where your suitor is based. Ask them to help you. You want to find out what other people think of your suitor, whether the house that he posted in the internet is really his, that kind of stuff.

*When you marry and move to your husband’s country, register with the nearest Philippine consulate. Remember that being a Filipino citizen means you can ask help from the nearest representative of the Philippine government in a foreign country.

*Open your own separate bank account . This is where you put the money that you save from your household expenses, birthday and anniversary cash gifts, earnings from small jobs performed. This is your emergency money. Remember, do not use money from this account for your household expenses. Instead, use the money from your joint account with your husband or the supplemental credit card issued by your husband’s card company.

*Buy life insurance. You can buy as many policies as you want. Make your husband a beneficiary of one and make family members the beneficiaries of other policies. These days, life insurance benefits can be enjoyed by the policy buyer herself while she is alive and not necessarily just the beneficiaries after one’s death. Buy variable universal life or VUL products, which will give you more money than what you put in after the policy matures because it combines life insurance and mutual funds which are invested in stocks and government loans.

*Instead of relying entirely on your husband to help your family in the Philippines, find a job. You can find a part-time job that will allow you to work from the house so you can still take care of the house and your husband’s needs. Whatever you earn from this job is yours to spend for personal things or to send home to your family. (I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions that need answers or you just want to drop a line, I may be reached at lahdiday@yahoo.com).

Maids in Beiruit

Filipino maids chat as they walk their employers' dogs in Beirut, Lebanon Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007. Thousands of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon and the Arab world face abuse at the hands of their employers. Some of these workers — estimated at up to 150,000 in Lebanon — come from places as far as Madagascar and Nepal, but the majority are from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

OFWs cheer, jeer verdict on Estrada plunder case

Members of a group of migrant workers expressed mixed reactions on the Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict on the plunder case against deposed President Joseph Estrada on Wednesday.“Some of our members in Canada and the Middle East sent messages of cheers and jeers on the anti-graft court verdict," said Maria Fe Nicodemus, executive director of the Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng mga Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. (Kakammpi).

“Some of our members in Canada were happy about the guilty verdict as Canadians congratulated Filipinos because of the ‘strong’ justice system in the Philippines that has dragged a former president to jail," Nicodemus said.The Sandiganbayan found Estrada guilty of plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment), or a jail term of 20 years and one day to 40 years.

He was particularly convicted of the crime of receiving P545-million protection money from jueteng collectors and P189.7 million commission for the purchase of P1.8 billion worth of shares of Belle Corp. by the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) during his presidency.The allegations that he pocketed part of the P130 million diverted funds intended for Ilocos Sur province from the tobacco excise tax and the accumulation of P3.23 billion deposits under the Jose Velarde account in Equitable PCIBank were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

The former president's, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and his lawyer, Edward Serapio, were found 'not guilty" as co-accused in the plunder case.Estrada was found "not guilty" in a separate case of perjury where he allegedly falsified his 1999 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth, claiming he was worth only P37 million, including P35 million cash on hand and in bank and business interests in three companies.Florentino Caballero, a skilled worker in Canada said in his text message that “the verdict against Erap has brought honor to expatriates in Canada. Canadians praise Filipinos because of our fair justice system." However, some of Kakammpi’s members in Saudi Arabia were not happy about the verdict, Nicodemus said. She quoted a text message from Saudi as saying, “Kawawa naman si Erap. Ang daming magnanakaw sa gobyerno hindi naman nahatulan ng ganyan. Wala talagang maaasahan sa sistema ng hustisya sa Pilipinas."

“The guilty verdict would not make any difference, knowing the justice system in the Philippines. Soon, the lawyers of the deposed president will appeal the case and before we know it, court processes have already run for a decade," Nicodemus quoted another text message from Saudi.The Sandiganbayan convicted Estrada of plunder and sentenced him 40 years in jail.

The court however acquitted the former president of the perjury case.In the meantime, the court allowed Estrada to return to his Tanay, Rizal rest house, instead of being hauled off to prison. Estrada said the verdict is "a political decision" by "a kangaroo court," adding that the verdict is expected as Sandiganbanyan Special Division was created to convict him."What is important is the support of the people, and they have overwhelmingly acquitted me," Estrada told the media on Thursday. - GMANews.TV

Method of giving PDOS useless - migrants group

A group of migrant workers urged the government on Saturday to assess the system of conducting pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) as most overseas Filipino workers couldn't even remember the basic things to do in times of distress.

Kakammpi, an organization of families of OFWs, told GMANews.TV that many of its members don’t know where to go for help if they are in trouble abroad.

“The three-hour schedule for the five modules of PDOS is inadequate to equip OFWs with the basic knowledge needed to face harsh realities abroad," said Ma. Fe Nicodemus, executive director of Kakammpi.

“Besides, PDOS is usually given a day before departure, the worst time for OFWs to sit and listen to lectures as numerous personal and family concerns snatch away the attention to lectures," she said.

She added that each of the five modules in the PDOS needs more time and focus, as the topics are big ones -- realities of migration, culture of receiving countries, where to go for help in times of distress, health and family concerns, and reintegration.In addition, some institutions that sponsor the venue for the seminar (such as banks) take a share of the time for the sessions to introduce their investment products and more.In the last few years, we in Kakammpi have observed a deterioration of the quality of PDOS, partly because the government has allowed recruitment agencies to conduct the seminar for their recruits.

“Recruitment agencies giving PDOS to their recruits is self-serving. Of course, agencies would not teach their recruits how to file a case against them [agencies] in case of contract violations," Nicodemus said.

“The ‘how-tos’ module is most important of all because it teaches OFWs what to do when they are abused, or discriminated against, or unfairly treated, or are forced to work under hazardous conditions and other unfair labor practices," she added.

Way back in the ‘80s, Nicodemus said, only 10 non-government organizations got accreditation to give the PDOS, and that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) prohibited recruitment agencies from doing so.

We have been making appeals to concerned government agencies to tighten the rules on accrediting agencies giving the PDOS. If possible, the POEA should revive the system used in the ‘80s, she said. During the ‘80s, the POEA allowed only 10 NGOs to give the PDOS and assigned seminar participants to nearest NGO training center where they would get the seminar. - GMANews.TV

2 of 10 overseas DH uninformed on repro diseases - NGO

A migrant workers’ group raised fears on Friday that sexually transmitted infection (STI) and reproductive track infection (RTI) could be a growing health concern among overseas Filipino domestic helpers due to lack of knowledge about these diseases.

Ma. Fe Nicodemus, executive director of Kakammpi (Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng mga Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.) said that 23 (7.3 percent) of the 302 overseas domestic helpers surveyed in 2005 had no idea about STI and RTI.

The group has been observing increasing cases of the ailments among its members.In simple terms, it means two out of 10 domestic workers did not have sufficient knowledge about diseases affecting their reproductive health.

“Among our members, we have recorded STI cases resulting from induced abortion. The problem alarms us especially that same survey shows that 23 of the respondents indicated pregnancy while working abroad as one of their problems," she said.

“We assisted a domestic helper who got serious RTI because she used a hanger to hook the fetus out of her uterus," she said.The Action for Health Initiatives, Inc. (Achieve), a health group helping women migrant workers, conducted in 2005 a study entitled, “A Survey of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Status and Needs of Filipino Female Overseas Domestic Workers" in the National Capital Region, Davao City, Cebu City and La Union.

A total of 302 respondents were interviewed in the survey aimed to generate baseline data on the current reproductive health situation and needs of overseas Filipino women working as domestic helpers.The respondents were between the ages of 24 - 44 and majority of them were married.

Almost half of the respondents went to college while 33 finished secondary education. Reproductive health concerns identified in the survey include becoming pregnant, 7.3 percent (23), while working abroad. Other ailments include hysterectomy, myoma, breast cyst, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, painful urination, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and induced abortion.The health group said some overseas domestic helpers are prone to reproductive health problems because of lack of knowledge on reproductive health.

Twenty-three of the respondents did not know anything about STI/RTI.“The findings of the survey are significant because Philippine migration has assumed a woman’s face, with seven out of 10 overseas Filipino workers leaving the country being women," Nicodemus said. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

Bilateral labor ties with OFW host countries urged

A migrant workers’ group wants the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to focus on negotiations for bilateral labor agreements with countries hosting Filipino workers.

Kanlungan Center, a group assisting distressed OFWs, is urging the POEA to do its responsibilities now that it has regained a broad mandate over the local migration industry under RA 9422, the law that strengthens its regulatory functions.

“RA 9422 has strengthened POEA’s role in protecting the rights of OFWs. One way to lessen abuses against our workers is to send them to countries that have labor agreements with the Philippines," said Rosemary Trajano, executive director of Kanlungan Center.

“The new law is a huge success for OFWs, and POEA must not fail them," Trajano said in an interview in a radio program hosted by Ma. Fe Nicodemus of Kakammpi, an organization of migrant workers and their families.

According to Trajano, the Philippines has bilateral labor agreements with only 13 out of the 197 countries hosting OFWs.

Twelve of those are labor-receiving countries and one (Indonesia) a labor sending country.These countries are Norway, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Taiwan, Switzerland, Libya, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Indonesia.

Trajano praised the POEA for its efforts in helping OFWs. In fact, she said, the Philippines has most advanced policies and laws on migration among Asian countries. On April 10, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act 9422, repealing Sections 29 and 30 of RA 8042, also known as Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

RA 8042 mandated the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment to phase out the regulatory functions of the POEA within five years from June 7, 1995.

Migrant workers’ rights advocates had lobbied for the repeal of Sections 29 and 30 that allowed private sectors to participate in the recruitment and deployment of migrant workers in an unregulated atmosphere.

“The POEA shall continue to exercise its power to regulate private sector participation in the recruitment and overseas placement of workers by setting up a licensing and registration system," Administrator Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said in a statement after the signing of the new law.

“In order to ensure that the rights and welfare of the migrant workers will not be sacrificed in foreign lands, the POEA shall deploy only trained and competent Filipino workers to countries where the Philippines has concluded bilateral labor arrangements," she said. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

About 500,000 of the 1.2 million members of the overseas workers program (OWP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation are inactive, an officia

SunStar: Zamboanga City - Sixty people have already enrolled to undergo free computer skills training, as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), in partnership with Microsoft Philippines, inaugurated Tuesday the Community Technology Learning Center (CTLC) in this city with the expansion of Microsoft's Tulay: An Unlimited Potential Program for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Microsoft Philippines gave a grant of $44,000 to Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-Anak ng Manggagawang Migranteng Pilipino Inc. (Kakammpi) to set up a Tulay center for OFWs and their families in this city.

The program gives OFWs and their families access to both technology and technology training. With the help of Owwa, Tulay delivers sufficient training to provide skills for otherwise unskilled workers. The CTLC is located at the Owwa regional office in this city and aims to reach out to 800 OFWs and their families by the end of this year.

It has 16 computer units provided by Microsoft Philippines. The 15 units will be for the students while the remaining unit is for the class instructor.

Owwa Regional Director Liddy Rasul-Tañedo, also a labor attaché, said the Tulay center serves as a venue, where OFWs and their beneficiaries receive training in basic computer fundamentals from Internet basic to web design.

It also provides access to email and video chat to enable the OFWs and their families stay in touch with each other, Tanedo said.
Each class will have a total of 15 students depending on the module they prefer to take. There are eight modules available for the interested OFWs and their dependents to choose, Sheryl Joaquin, Owwa 9 information officer, said. "We recognize that OFWs encounter a lot of challenges when working overseas, and one of these is loneliness.

We want to help the OFWs preserve and strengthen their ties with their loved ones," Kakammpi-Mindanao spokesman Remon Maria Flores, said. "By working with organizations like Microsoft, we are able to address the need for access to technology and at the same time to provide IT skills training for OFWs and their families," Flores added.

As of 2006, four out of the 10 OFWs come from Mindanao, according to the Center for Migrant Advocacy Philippines. Zamboanga Peninsula has the highest number of woman-workers deployed abroad over the last three years. "With the expansion of Tulay in Zamboanga, we hope to bring technology to more Filipinos and their families," Microsoft Philippines Managing Director Antonio Javier, said. "By working with Owwa and NGOs, like Kakammpi, we are enabling OFWs to realize their full potential with the aid of technology.

Through the new Tulay Center in Zamboanga, OFWs and their families can now learn skills that will hopefully help them to find better career opportunities and give them a way to communicate with their families across the distance," Javier said.

With the opening in this city, there are already a total of six Tulay Centers in the country. The others are in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, La Union, Philippines Overseas Employees Administration (POEA) office in Ortigas and Owwa center in Manila.

The program is also in place in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. This year, Microsoft is also extending the program to Rome and Milan.
Tulay utilizes the Unlimited Potential curriculum - customize training modules developed in the US and used in more than 30 countries - to train OFWs and their families in basic computer fundamentals, word processing, spreadsheet, internet and e-mail fundamentals, digital media, presentation and database fundamentals.

This curriculum has been accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). To date, Tulay has reached out to more than 5,000 OFWs and their families who have been able to find better employment opportunities. - GMANews.TV

41% of 1.2M PhilHealth-member OFWs are inacti

About 500,000 of the 1.2 million members of the overseas workers program (OWP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation are inactive, an official of PhilHealth has said.

“In my initial review of the OWP database, I discovered that about 500,000 (41.6 percent) of our members are inactive.

But I still have to crosscheck the figures," said Greg Rulloda, PhilHealth’s vice president.“Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) tend to forget their monthly dues.

The database system automatically reports as inactive expired membership," Rulloda told radio host Ma. Fe Nicodemus of Kakammpi, an organization of migrant workers and their families.

“PhilHealth is asking members to update their membership to avoid problems over claims later," Rulloda added.

He said that the OWP is doing everything to make registration and payment processes easy.He also noted that the program would adopt electronic-registration and electronic-payment system early in 2008 to help members do transactions with PhilHealth anytime, anywhere.

In August this year, PhilHealth introduced its expanded and enhanced outpatient benefit (OPB) package. It set aside P6 million for the initial implementation of OPB services from July to December 2007.

These services are consultations, diagnostic services, preventive and promotive health services and other tests.Diagnostic services cover complete blood count, routine urinalysis, fecalysis, fasting blood sugar, blood typing, hemoglobin/hematocrit, electrocardiogram and hepatitis B screening test. Examinations that fall under the promotive and/or preventive health services are periodic digital rectal exam, visual acetic acid screening for cervical cancer, periodic clinical breast exam and nutrition or dietary counseling. Visual acuity exam, psychological evaluation and debriefing, auditory evaluation and treatment for urinary tract infection, upper respiratory tract infection and acute gastro-enteritis are also part of the OWP package.

As earlier announced, these services were supposed to be available at all Department of Health accredited hospitals in various parts of the country beginning October 2007. - GMANews.T

Caregiving work in Japan is not an easy task - NGO

A Japan-based organization for migrant workers is asking Filipino nurses who want to work in Japan to be cautious and to think about their decision many times over.

“Care giving work in Japan is not an easy task as many aspiring Filipino nurses think it is. Foreign care givers get second-rate treatment and lower salaries compared to Japanese nurses," says Katsuo Yoshinari, chairman of the Asian People’s Friendship Society (APFS).

“Even if a Filipino has already adjusted to the culture, won many friends and learned our language, they still could get second-rate treatment," he said in a radio interview with Ma. Fe Nicodemus of Kakammpi, a Manila-based organization of migrant workers and their families.“It’s true that Japan needs foreign caregivers. We have an aging population.

Many old people are sick, needing others to care for them," Yoshinari said.But Japan’s seeming dependence on foreigners to care for its aging people has not changed its low regard for foreign workers, he stressed.

When asked about his opinion on the hiring of Filipino nurses under the proposed Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, he said: “As I told you earlier, Filipino nurses should give much thought about their decision to work in our country."

“If Filipinos really need to seek employment in other countries then they should nurture personal strength because working in foreign lands is not an easy thing to do," he said.

Yoshinari invited distressed Filipinos in Japan to get in touch with APFS for consultation about their problems.

He said APFS doors are open to foreigners who come to consult their problems. "We also encourage those who are aspiring to work in Japan to consult with us before they come to the country.

"The APFS is a non-government organization established to give support to foreigners staying in Japan and to protect their human rights to promote friendly co-existence between foreigners and locals.

APFS encourages Japanese and foreign residents living as neighbors to work together to create a multicultural coexistence. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

Many OFW children lose interest in education - IOM exec

An officer of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has observed that most of the children of Filipino migrant workers have lost enthusiasm to finish their studies, and have preferred to follow in the footsteps of their parents.

These children would right away leave the country if given opportunities to go abroad, said Ricardo Casco, IOM-Philippines’ national program officer for labor migration support. Casco was interviewed by Ma. Fe Nicodemus of Kakammpi, an organization of migrant workers and their families.“Because they are not graduates of any course in the Philippines, they are forced to take up whatever jobs abroad they can set their hands on... however menial," he said.

He suggested that government encourage overseas Filipinos to put up projects for the education of migrants' children.

Casco also observed that Filipino immigrants tend to lose touch with their communities of origin.“Some Filipino immigrants are not keen on making efforts to contribute something for the development of the local communities they left behind," he noted.Such an attitude could have impact on the country’s development, he said.“Millions of talented Filipinos in their most productive years leave the country and the insights they gain from various fields of work abroad are vastly untapped for the development of local communities," Casco observed.

When asked to comment on the role of migration in development, Casco said: “Migration could deter achievement of development goals if migrants would not contribute for the progress of local communities." According to him, lack of concern for home community and the absence of a government strategy linking up migration and development can bog down the country’s progress.

Casco lashed at graft and corruption, saying, “Filipino philanthropic groups overseas have a hard time negotiating for donations among corporations abroad because of the well-reported-on corruption in government."The Philippines, along with 191 member states of the United Nations, signed the Millennium Declaration in September 2000.

The Philippines made commitments to pursue the eight time-bound and specific targets under the declaration, which in general aims to reduce, if not eradicate, poverty by the year 2015.The eight Millennium Development Goals are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV /AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing global partnerships for development. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

Only 1 in 5 OFWs in Lebanon is treated well

Roughly, only one in every five Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon is lucky enough to be spared from physical, verbal, sexual and other forms of abuses, according to an ex-worker from Lebanon who has been involved in a migrants advocacy group.

“The unlucky ones are locked up inside their employers’ house for years and are made to work for long hours," said Ma. Socorro dela Cruz, a domestic helper for almost four years in Lebanon.

Dela Cruz has joined the Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng mga Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino,Inc. (KAKAMMPI), a group attending to the needs of distressed workers overseas.

In a recent reunion of Filipinos who used to work in Lebanon, only 15 out of 75 former domestic helpers said they got fair treatment from their employers and did not experience physical, verbal, sexual and other forms of abuses, Dela Cruz said on Thursday.

She said most of her Filipino friends in Lebanon shared their ordeal in the hands of their employers. “Only a few shared happy stories while we were in a refuge center there," she recalled.
Inside the houses of their masters and unseen by the community, domestic helpers face all forms of abuses, she added.

According to her, most Lebanese employers confiscate passports of helpers. They look at and treat helpers as the lowest forms of slaves. They feed their “slaves" with leftovers, prohibit them from having friends and from using the phone.

“It takes years to gain the trust of Lebanese employers," she said. Employers withhold salaries of helpers for months, even for a year for fear the worker will flee if they have money.

Filipinos in Lebanon are estimated at 30,000.

Sister Amelia Torres of the Daughters of Charity, directress of the Afro-Asian Migration Center in Lebanon, said it is difficult to determine the exact number of Filipino domestic helpers in Lebanon, partly because many are undocumented.“Despite the travel ban to Lebanon, I see young Filipino women coming into the country. They come in by groups of eight or twelve,"
Sr. Torres said in an interview aired on radio recently.

Cases of abuses alarming

A wire agency reported earlier this week that domestic workers in Lebanon often face abuses. The report cited a story of a domestic helper from Sri Lanka who was locked up and cut off from her family for nine years, without even a penny for the endless household chores she had to do.

Quoting a press report, the article said that foreign domestics number about 150,000 in the country of four million.It added that although many employers treated their household helpers kindly, stories of abuse abound.

It also said that human rights organizations in Lebanon have begun sounding the alarm over reports of rape and exploitation against domestics.This year four of these domestics have reportedly committed suicide, the report said.

"Everyday I receive calls and text messages about sexual harassment," the report quoted Father Augustine, a Filipino priest, as saying."Many employers refuse to pay the workers for months. Some beat the maid to keep her obedient," said the priest, who works closely with Caritas.

"The girls that you see out in church on Sundays are the lucky ones," he added. "The majority tend to be locked up at home, not even allowed to use the telephone."You cannot really tell who is abusing their maids, they could be Christian or Muslim, educated, respectable looking, hard to tell," he said.

Shelters at the Filipino and Sri Lankan embassies accommodate dozens of women who have run away from abusive employers. Hundreds of others, who have fled their employers or remain in the country illegally, are kept in a deportation center waiting to retrieve their passports, the priest added.

The victims of severe abuse are kept in a Caritas "safe house" in an undisclosed location in cooperation with Lebanese authorities.Nonetheless many incidents go unreported as employers threaten the victims with deportation or withholding their wages.

Better off Filipinos get better pay and treatment compared to Indonesians or Sri Lankans, Dela Cruz said. “To have a Filipino house helper is a status symbol among Lebanese employers. So, Pinays are paid higher, but this doesn’t mean they are safe from abuses," Dela Cruz. The average monthly salary is $200-300 for Filipinas and $100-150 for Sri Lankan and Ethiopians. Employment agencies in Lebanon charge an average of $2,000 to import the workers and commit them to a tightly binding two-year contract. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

Pinay migrants should learn self-defense - NGO

Female migrant workers, especially domestic helpers, need to learn the art of self-defense to avoid abuse, especially attempts of rape by their male employers, a Manila-based organization of migrant workers and their families said Tuesday.

“Rape and physical abuse are real daily threats against domestic helpers inside the homes of their employers in various destination countries," said Ma. Fe Nicodemus, executive director of Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng mga Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. (Kakammpi).

“Female workers should be taught martial arts to prepare themselves," she said in an interview.Bill Hyde, International Organization for Migration (IOM) deputy representative for the Asia-Pacific region, noted that the volume of women migrants has dramatically increased over the years and the number of incidents of rape and physical abuses have also risen.

Hyde said that domestic workers can prepare in advance against rape and other forms of physical abuse.In his introduction to the IOM’s documentary entitled, “The power to choose self-defense for women migrant workers," Hyde said victims of rape have suffered so much in silence.Because the possibility of rape is real, “domestic helpers must plan in advance; they must be aware and be safe," he said. Nicodemus said that many rape victims who sought Kakammpi’s help told her they were in torment. “They are anxious, confused and helpless.
They can’t tell their parents, or children, or husbands they were raped.

Every time they called home they had to pretend they were okay."The IOM’s documentary, however, made it clear that martial arts for domestic helpers must be used for the sole intention of avoiding dangerous situations, and not to fight.“The true meaning of martial arts is to stop the sword even before it is unsheathed. Self-defense is to avoid a dangerous situation," the IOM’s documentary film said. - Luis Gorgonio, GMANews.TV

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sister Of Filipino On Hijacked Ship Says Ransom Demand

News affecting OFW's

Sister Of Filipino On Hijacked Ship Says Ransom Demand May Come SoonThe hijackers of a Japanese tanker near Somalia's coast are expected to demand a ransom soon, the sister of a Filipino crew member said, as Manila insisted it will not deal with the pirates directly.

The Golden Nori tanker was believed to be anchored off Somalia, the sister said Thursday (1 November).The U.S. Navy has been tracking the Golden Nori as the pirates hold hostage its 23 crew members - nine Filipinos, two South Koreans and 12 Myanmar citizens.

On Sunday (28 Oct), a U.S. destroyer fired at and destroyed two pirate boats tied to the ship, which is loaded with highly flammable benzene.Josefina Villanueva - the sister of the crew's Filipino supervisor, 48-year-old Laureano Villanueva - said in Manila that the pirates let the ship's Filipino captain call his wife and relay the message that all on board were "OK," and that "nobody aboard the boat was harmed."She said that she got the information from the DFA, and that the department also told her the ship was anchored in Somalian waters.

"The pirates are still on board with the crewmen. They cannot leave," Josefina Villanueva said.Asked if a ransom was being demanded, she said: "The talks are just starting. I think the pirates will later on demand something."Separately, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos said the government is "doing everything" to save the crew, but cannot disclose details.

Conejos said there has been no direct contact between the Philippine government and the pirates."We won't talk directly to them. We talk with the host government or the Filipinos' employer, in this case the Japanese company" that owns the ship, he said. "We're hoping for the best. We're praying for the best."

"The problem is there is no central government in control (in Somalia)," he said.Villanueva said the Filipino sailors' families were being updated regularly by the Department of Foreign Affairs and officials of Seacrest Maritime, an agency that recruited the Filipinos to work on the ship.

She said her brother, the eldest of nine children, is the "family breadwinner, a very loving person, very kind.""All of us are worried. We want to ensure the safety of our brother," she said. "We're holding daily prayers in our house. his family and other relatives all come. I hope the government can help us deal with this problem so my brother could be free again."

Sen.Legarda bats for gov't support for OFWs facing legal woes

News affecting OFW's

Sen.Legarda bats for gov't support for OFWs facing legal woesSenator Loren Legarda urged on Monday the government to leave no stone unturned in providing assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) facing legal troubles, especially those who have been sentenced to die.

Loren stressed that while justice must be afforded to all crime victims, justice must also be accorded to accused and convicted OFWs by way of ensuring they have ample legal representation abroad.

"Our concern is for all OFWs in trouble to be afforded due process in their host countries. This is a basic responsibility of the state to its citizens, wherever they may be," Loren said.In as much as OFWs in trouble are punished under the laws of other countries, Loren said that the Philippine government can always appeal for humanitarian consideration for OFWs facing the death sentence."Sadly, the queue of OFWs to the gallows is getting longer.

As a country which has abolished the death sentence, the Philippines should exert efforts to appeal for commutation of their sentence," she said.At present, two more Filipinas in Kuwait joined the list of OFWs who were sentenced to die by their host countries.Loren said she would make representations with other Middle East countries, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with the hope of a getting a more compassionate sentence for the two Filipinas.

In the past, death sentences meted out on OFWs had been commuted in consideration of widespread appeal for justice to be based on compassion, said Loren.In the Middle East, some other sentences had been reduced in severity through the acceptance of so-called blood money by the relatives of crime victims.

Loren emphasized that the Philippine government must stack up all the mitigating circumstances in favor of OFWs, who serve as a pillar of the Philippine economy."One such mitigating factor is the fact that in most cases, convicted OFWs are first-time offenders who may have succumbed to the inhuman treatment by their employers," she said.

"Nothing can justify the commission of crimes, but a hallmark of civilized society is that that they have not been convicted of any crime in the Philippines.The senator pointed out that OFWs get clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before they are allowed to work abroad, attesting that they have not been convicted of any crime in the Philippines.Loren said the government should consider enjoining the help of the European Union, which frowns on the death penalty,

Angara secures the retirement years of domestic labor ..

Angara secures the retirement years of domestic labor force and OFWS

With the Philippines emerging as one of the top recipients of foreign remittances, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today emphasized the need to secure the financial stability of every hardworking overseas Filipino worker especially during their retirement years.In a joint report of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Philippines ranked as the fourth-biggest collector of money transferred by overseas workers after receiving $ 14.65 billion last year.

"Overseas Filipino Workers make a huge contribution to our economy in terms of remittances. Their remittances provide for their families' day-to-day consumption, but leave very little savings for one's retirement. It is time that we help them enjoy the fruits of their labor through long-term savings," said Senator Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banks and Financial Institutions.

"If we help our OFWs save at least a substantial part of their total remittances, this would translate into a more dependable and sustainable retirement plan," he added.With this goal, Senator Angara sponsored the Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA) bill which will supplement the existing government-sponsored pension scheme provided by SSS and GSIS by setting up a privately funded retirement fund.

Senator Angara said that PERA will encourage long-term savings and reduce heavy reliance on the already overwhelmed publicly-funded retirement scheme.Under the PERA bill, an individual contributor may make a total maximum annual contribution of P50,000 to his PERA account.

The contributor shall be given an income tax credit equivalent to five percent (5%) of the total PERA contribution.Income from the contribution as well as the eventual distribution of the PERA to the contributor shall be tax-exempt.

This amount is withdrawable when the contributor reaches the age of 55."By assuring their financial stability during retirement, we allow them to enjoy the fruits of many years of labor," Senator Angara said.

9 Filipino fishermen in ship invasion to arrive in Manila

News affecting OFW's

The nine Filipino fishermen, who took control a Taiwanese fishing vessel, are scheduled to arrive in Manila Friday night, according to Foreign Affairs spokesman Claro Cristobal.The fishermen were identified as Roderic R. Sumang, Delter M. Alday, Dennis L. Tolentino, Edwin M. Lee, Cirilo V. Moraleja, Jesus B. Baniqued, Socrates F. Silan, Jose C. Mempin, and Noel M. Cusi.Cristobal said the fishermen are set to leave Port Louis, Mauritius, Thursday at 11:20 p.m. (Mauritius time) via EK 702 and would arrive in Manila 10:30 p.m. Friday, via EK 334 from Dubai.

Citing the report of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Esteban Conejos Jr., he said the fishermen took over the ship Sunday due to abuses they were apparently experiencing from their Taiwanese captain.Cristobal said the fishermen are complaining of inhuman working conditions: 24-hour work shifts, non-payment of wages, and once-a-day meals.The government of Mauritius earlier assured the Philippines of the safety of the nine Filipino fishermen.

[WARNING] NBI warns public vs new modus 'want text2SAWA'

News affecting OFW's

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) warned Saturday the public against a new modus operandi - Want to "Text2Sawa" (send unlimited number of text messages)?.

Head Agent Roland Argabioso, chief of the NBI–Field Operations Division (FOD), said the bureau uncovered that such “cellcard” did not provide unlimited text sending capacity for 30 days.

This developed as Argabioso recommended the filing of a case in violation of R.A. 8484 ( Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998) against Mark Lyndonn Marquez, 24, of 1426-C Newton St., San Isidro, Makati City and Virgilio Cruz, 43, of Lot 9 Block 1 Phase 3, Greenheights, Marikina City.Marquez and Cruz were apprehended following a complaint lodged by Pablito Aleman, 50, of 413 P.D. Marso St., Pasay City.

Aleman complained that recently Cruz enticed them to buy Text2Sawa cellcards for P150.Cruz allegedly told Aleman that by availing of the cellcards, the user can have unlimited text messaging for 30 days supposedly to all cellular networks.But, despite following the instructions at the back of the card, the complainant noticed that the unlimited text did not work.

This made Aleman seek the help of the NBI-FOD and found out from the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) that such cellcards are not authorized by the commission.Also, the NBI learned that Smart Communications Inc., Globe Telecoms., and Sun Cellular, have already issued statements that Text2Sawa is not authorized by their respective companies.

The NBI-FOD then set-up an entrapment operation against the suspects and entered into a deal, involving the purchase of 90 Text2Sawa cellecards for P110 each.A poseur-buyer met with the suspects at a fastfood store on Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City.Cruz even reportedly offered during their negotiations that he could even lower the price of the cards to P105 if the said poseur-buyers were willing to purchase 500 pieces of the cards.

The entrapment resulted in the arrest of the suspects shortly after the suspects handed over the cards, while the agents gave the payment.As soon as the suspects accepted the marked money, the NBI agents arrested them.

Migrant workers contributed RM1.9 bil

Malaysiakini: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/74280
Nov 1, 07 6:13pm Adjust font size:

The government has collected RM1.9 billion in levy and other fees from immigrant workers last year, Parliament was told today.

Home Ministry parliamentary secretary Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said that the amount was collected in forms of levy, temporary working pass, and visa. Abdul Rahman (BN-Pokok Sena) was replying a query from Mohd Zaid Ibrahim (BN-Kota Baru) who asked the Home Ministry to state the amount of levy and other fees collected from immigrant workers yearly.

Abdul Rahman said that in 2005, the government collected RM1.7 billion, whereas, as of August this year, the amount collected is RM1.5 billion.

Menial jobsHe explained that it does not come as a surprise that Malaysia, as a more developed nation among the poor and underdeveloped neighbouring countries, attracts foreign workers. "Malaysians are not interested to do dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs. Also, they have many choices of the jobs they want to do. So we need foreign workers to work in our farms and plantations, " Abdul Rahman explained.

However, he denied that the government has allowed many foreign workers in the country to collect more money from levy and other fees. He said that the government's initiatives to promote Malaysia as an education and tourism hub was also a reason for the influx of foreigners into the country. "We only have two million registered foreign workers. Many more are interested to work here but they are not allowed entry to this country," he said.

On the other hand, he added, students who come into the country with student visas and tourists who are granted visa on arrival are working here.

Regular inspections In a separate development, the domestic trade and consumer affairs minister said it has taken several steps to control the price increase of essential food products. In a written reply, Shafie Apdal said that his ministry has increased inspections on wholesalers, distributors and grocerers in the country. "The inspections are done regularly so that businessmen would not increase the price of essential products," he said. Shafie added that his ministry has also controlled the price of several essential items during the festive seasons.

Shafie was responding to Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) who asked the minister to state the steps taken to halt the increase in prices of essential food commodities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stand up Speak out

MANILA, Philippines -- Some 2,000 Filipinos, including government officials, teachers, students and soldiers, Wednesday joined a global campaign to end poverty by standing up and making a symbolic pledge at the Rizal Park in Manila.

They pledged to reject not only excuses that allow 50,000 people to die every day because of extreme poverty but also the growing gap between the rich and the poor.


They also urged government leaders to govern fairly, fight corruption and fulfill human rights.
Many of them wore white wristbands with sketches of multicolored human figures.
Organizers in the country expected three million people to stand up and make the pledge -- in parks, government and private offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants -- around the country from 5 a.m. to midnight Wednesday night.
An auditing firm will do a head count and hopefully, a record of sorts will be established for

possible submission to the Guinness Book of Records, Agnes Aleman, UN national information officer, said.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The “Stand Up, Speak Out” pledge is part of the UN campaign to \npromote the Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme \npoverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and ensuring a \nsustainable environment by 2015.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“Hopefully, this will encourage our leaders to fulfill their \npromise,” said Aleman.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Biggest headway\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Asia-Pacific region had more than one billion people living \non less than $1 a day in 1990, but that number has dropped to 641 million and is \nlikely to be cut in half by 2015, according to an Asian Development Bank-UN \nreport.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>China has made the biggest headway, with one in every three \nChinese living in poverty in 1990, compared with one in every 10 today, the \nreport said. But other countries were lagging behind, among them the \nPhilippines, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“We would like to be one with others in recognizing our effort \nto fight against poverty,” Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral \nsaid.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>In 1990, about 27 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty \n-- on less than P1,022 a month -- but this has gone down to 17 percent, she \nsaid.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The country’s financial stability and social services, including \nsubsidies for food and medicines, have helped reduce the incidence of extreme \npoverty, according to Assistant Secretary Dolores Castillo of the National \nAnti-Poverty Commission\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Guinness record\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Last year’s “Stand Up Against Poverty” campaign holds the \nofficial record title in the Guinness Book of World Records for 24 million \npeople who stood up against poverty in 24 hours in 87 countries.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Philippines ranked third in the Asia-Pacific region with 2.4 \nmillion joining the campaign, after India (9 million) and Nepal (over three \nmillion).",1]
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The “Stand Up, Speak Out” pledge is part of the UN campaign to promote the Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and ensuring a sustainable environment by 2015.

“Hopefully, this will encourage our leaders to fulfill their promise,” said Aleman.
Biggest headway

The Asia-Pacific region had more than one billion people living on less than $1 a day in 1990, but that number has dropped to 641 million and is likely to be cut in half by 2015, according to an Asian Development Bank-UN report.

China has made the biggest headway, with one in every three Chinese living in poverty in 1990, compared with one in every 10 today, the report said. But other countries were lagging behind, among them the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“We would like to be one with others in recognizing our effort to fight against poverty,” Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said.

In 1990, about 27 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty -- on less than P1,022 a month -- but this has gone down to 17 percent, she said.
The country’s financial stability and social services, including subsidies for food and medicines, have helped reduce the incidence of extreme poverty, according to Assistant Secretary Dolores Castillo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission

Guinness record
Last year’s “Stand Up Against Poverty” campaign holds the official record title in the Guinness Book of World Records for 24 million people who stood up against poverty in 24 hours in 87 countries.

The Philippines ranked third in the Asia-Pacific region with 2.4 million joining the campaign, after India (9 million) and Nepal (over three million).
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>By holding fun activities on Wednesday, organizers said they \nhoped the youth would become aware of the need to eradicate poverty.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Exhibit, rock concert\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Apart from the event marking the International Day for the \nEradication of Poverty at the Rizal Park, an exhibit was held in Quezon City and \na rock concert and cultural show were staged in Makati City.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>At the Liwasang Aurora in Quezon City, the Global Call to Action \nagainst Poverty (GCAP) challenged government officials and policymakers to be \n“one with the poor” and live with only P41 for a day to “truly experience” what \nit is like to live on an empty stomach.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>GCAP-Philippines said about 68 million Filipinos (more than 77 \npercent of the total population) were living on only P96 or less a day. Yet, the \ngovernment claims that the poverty threshold is P41, thus creating an illusion \nof a reduced number of poor people in the country, according to the \ngroup.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“The government is feeding us with words and inaction perhaps \nbecause words are the only thing that the P41 per person can afford,” Erning \nOfracio, an urban poor, said at a forum attended by some 60 nongovernment \norganizations.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>At the fair, NGOs put up booths selling products of local \ncommunities and handing out advocacy materials. The fair became a place for \ndiscussions and exhibits on various initiatives aimed at ending \npoverty.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Poverty Requiem\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Poverty Requiem, an artistic performance against poverty that \ncombines visual arts, music and movement, was performed at the Liwasang \nAurora.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>GCAP-Philippines claimed that the P10 billion in additional \nbudget for hunger and poverty mitigation programs announced on Monday was part \nof a “publicity” stunt.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“The government’s declaration of it’s six-month war on hunger \nearlier this year proved to be ineffective, simply palliatives or band-aid \nsolutions to worsening hunger and poverty,” Nora Protacio, GCAP-Philippines \nAmbassador said in a statement.",1]
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By holding fun activities on Wednesday, organizers said they hoped the youth would become aware of the need to eradicate poverty.
Exhibit, rock concert

Apart from the event marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the Rizal Park, an exhibit was held in Quezon City and a rock concert and cultural show were staged in Makati City.

At the Liwasang Aurora in Quezon City, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) challenged government officials and policymakers to be “one with the poor” and live with only P41 for a day to “truly experience” what it is like to live on an empty stomach.
GCAP-Philippines said about 68 million Filipinos (more than 77 percent of the total population) were living on only P96 or less a day. Yet, the government claims that the poverty threshold is P41, thus creating an illusion of a reduced number of poor people in the country, according to the group.

“The government is feeding us with words and inaction perhaps because words are the only thing that the P41 per person can afford,” Erning Ofracio, an urban poor, said at a forum attended by some 60 nongovernment organizations.

At the fair, NGOs put up booths selling products of local communities and handing out advocacy materials. The fair became a place for discussions and exhibits on various initiatives aimed at ending poverty.

Poverty Requiem
Poverty Requiem, an artistic performance against poverty that combines visual arts, music and movement, was performed at the Liwasang Aurora.

GCAP-Philippines claimed that the P10 billion in additional budget for hunger and poverty mitigation programs announced on Monday was part of a “publicity” stunt.
“The government’s declaration of it’s six-month war on hunger earlier this year proved to be ineffective, simply palliatives or band-aid solutions to worsening hunger and poverty,” Nora Protacio, GCAP-Philippines Ambassador said in a statement.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>She was reacting to a recent survey by Social Weather Stations, \nwhich showed that 21.5 percent of Filipinos had experienced involuntary hunger, \nthe highest level recorded in the country.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Notes on dioramas\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>In Baguio City, everyone walking down Session Road caught a \ncatchy note posted on wire-framed dioramas placed on Session Road on \nTuesday.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The noted read “Sana magutom din ang Presidente (I hope the \nPresident starves)!”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>It was one of many notes written by students, vendors, teachers \nand bank employees who interacted with Baguio artists on the eve of the annual \nStand Up Against Poverty campaign.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>On Tuesday, sculptor Kigao Rosimo, musician Shant Verdun and \nperformance artist Rene Aquitania shaped ordinary wire into 15 human figures to \nrepresent the country’s enduring war with poverty.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>They covered the frames with colored plastic sheets to simulate \nstained glass, and installed the dioramas on Session Road.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cu\>\u003cem\>Christmas wishes\u003c/em\>\u003c/u\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The artists asked every one who walked by to post early \nChristmas wishes on the dioramas.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>But people offered angry messages against President Gloria \nMacapagal-Arroyo because of various scandals that have embroiled her \nadministration, Rosimo said.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Foremost among the issues discussed by pedestrians was the money \nthat Malacañang allegedly had given local officials.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“That is cruel. The people are starving yet she is still capable \nof granting politicians favors,” said a resident.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>He wrote: “Tama na! Sobra na! Alisin ang mga corrupt sa gobyerno \n(Enough! We’ve had it! Remove all corrupt officials from \ngovernment!).”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Another wrote: “Sana matugunan ng residente ang hinaing ng mga \nmahihirap (I wish the President can finally address the complaint of our poor \npeople).”",1]
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She was reacting to a recent survey by Social Weather Stations, which showed that 21.5 percent of Filipinos had experienced involuntary hunger, the highest level recorded in the country.
Notes on dioramas

In Baguio City, everyone walking down Session Road caught a catchy note posted on wire-framed dioramas placed on Session Road on Tuesday.

The noted read “Sana magutom din ang Presidente (I hope the President starves)!”
It was one of many notes written by students, vendors, teachers and bank employees who interacted with Baguio artists on the eve of the annual Stand Up Against Poverty campaign.
On Tuesday, sculptor Kigao Rosimo, musician Shant Verdun and performance artist Rene Aquitania shaped ordinary wire into 15 human figures to represent the country’s enduring war with poverty.

They covered the frames with colored plastic sheets to simulate stained glass, and installed the dioramas on Session Road.

Christmas wishes
The artists asked every one who walked by to post early Christmas wishes on the dioramas.
But people offered angry messages against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because of various scandals that have embroiled her administration, Rosimo said.
Foremost among the issues discussed by pedestrians was the money that Malacañang allegedly had given local officials.

“That is cruel. The people are starving yet she is still capable of granting politicians favors,” said a resident.
He wrote: “Tama na! Sobra na! Alisin ang mga corrupt sa gobyerno (Enough! We’ve had it! Remove all corrupt officials from government!).”
Another wrote: “Sana matugunan ng residente ang hinaing ng mga mahihirap (I wish the President can finally address the complaint of our poor people).”
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The National Statistical Coordination Board has classified about \n50 percent of Cordillera farming families as poor.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Innabuyog, the Cordillera affiliate of the party-list group \nGabriela, said sharp increases in Cordillera malnutrition, which was noted this \nyear by the government, confirmed that most poverty-alleviation projects have \nfailed.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Tuesday event led to a major concert Wednesday at the Baguio \nCity Public Market where country western musicians were to be joined by 500 \nporters who would speak out against poverty.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"2\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cstrong\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Headlines&p\u003d49&type\u003d2&sec\u003d24&aid\u003d20071017188\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cspan style\u003d\"padding-bottom:1px\"\>3 million Pinoys ‘stand up, speak out’ \nvs poverty\u003c/span\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/a\>\u003c/strong\>\u003c/font\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"2\"\>\u003cem\>\u003cspan\>By \nKatherine Adraneda\u003c/span\> / \u003cspan\>Thursday, October 18, 2007\u003c/span\> \n\u003c/em\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>\n\u003cdiv style\u003d\"font-weight:bold\"\>\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>\n\u003cdiv\>\u003ca name\u003d\"115d6767728f5d64_p0\"\>\u003c/a\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Millions of Filipinos \nacross the country literally stood up as a symbolic pledge in this year’s global \ncampaign against poverty in commemoration of International Poverty Eradication \nDay.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The participants in part \nrejected government excuses that allow 50,000 people to die every day because of \nextreme poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor. It urges government \nleaders to save the lives of the poorest citizens, tackle inequality, govern \nfairly, fight corruption and fulfill human rights.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“After the government’s \ndeclaration of its six-month war on hunger that brought about the release of the \nP1-billion fund for their hunger and poverty mitigation programs, hunger rose to \nrecord high levels,” declared Nora Protacio, ambassador of the Global Call to \nAction against Poverty-Philippines (GCAP).",1]
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The National Statistical Coordination Board has classified about 50 percent of Cordillera farming families as poor.

Innabuyog, the Cordillera affiliate of the party-list group Gabriela, said sharp increases in Cordillera malnutrition, which was noted this year by the government, confirmed that most poverty-alleviation projects have failed.

The Tuesday event led to a major concert Wednesday at the Baguio City Public Market where country western musicians were to be joined by 500 porters who would speak out against poverty.
3 million Pinoys ‘stand up, speak out’ vs povertyBy Katherine Adraneda / Thursday, October 18, 2007

Millions of Filipinos across the country literally stood up as a symbolic pledge in this year’s global campaign against poverty in commemoration of International Poverty Eradication Day.
The participants in part rejected government excuses that allow 50,000 people to die every day because of extreme poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor. It urges government leaders to save the lives of the poorest citizens, tackle inequality, govern fairly, fight corruption and fulfill human rights.

“After the government’s declaration of its six-month war on hunger that brought about the release of the P1-billion fund for their hunger and poverty mitigation programs, hunger rose to record high levels,” declared Nora Protacio, ambassador of the Global Call to Action against Poverty-Philippines (GCAP).
\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Philippines will \ntake part in the “Stand Up, Speak Out” pledge of the UN campaign to promote the \nMillennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty and \nhunger, achieving universal primary education and ensuring a sustainable \nenvironment by 2015.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>About 2,000 government \nofficials, teachers, students, soldiers and ordinary citizens, many of them \nwearing white wristbands with sketches of multicolored human figures, assembled \nearly yesterday at the Rizal \nPark to make the \npledge.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Agnes Aleman of the UN \nInformation Center said the Philippines was targeting 3 million people to stand \nup and make the pledge – in parks, government and private offices, schools, \nhospitals, restaurants and even at Starbucks stores – around the country from 5 \na.m. to midnight.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>An auditor working with \nthe UN office in Manila will certify \nthe final figure for the country, in which initial reports said have reached \nfive million.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Stand Up and Speak \nOut against Poverty campaign targets a Guinness record of 50 million people \nworldwide standing up and speaking out against poverty and \ninequality.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>A window from 5 a.m. Oct. 17 to 5 \na.m. Oct. 18, for which volunteers and advocates could hold their \ndemonstration, was set by event organizers in consideration of differing time \nzones around the globe.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Last year, 24 million \npeople from 87 countries around the world stood up against poverty, with \nIndia leading \nAsians with 9 million people, followed by \nNepal with 3 \nmillion and the \nPhilippines with \n2.4 million.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“We would like to be one \nwith the others in commemorating our fight against poverty,” Social Welfare \nSecretary Esperanza Cabral said.",1]
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The Philippines will take part in the “Stand Up, Speak Out” pledge of the UN campaign to promote the Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and ensuring a sustainable environment by 2015.

About 2,000 government officials, teachers, students, soldiers and ordinary citizens, many of them wearing white wristbands with sketches of multicolored human figures, assembled early yesterday at the Rizal Park to make the pledge.

Agnes Aleman of the UN Information Center said the Philippines was targeting 3 million people to stand up and make the pledge – in parks, government and private offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants and even at Starbucks stores – around the country from 5 a.m. to midnight.
An auditor working with the UN office in Manila will certify the final figure for the country, in which initial reports said have reached five million.

The Stand Up and Speak Out against Poverty campaign targets a Guinness record of 50 million people worldwide standing up and speaking out against poverty and inequality.
A window from 5 a.m. Oct. 17 to 5 a.m. Oct. 18, for which volunteers and advocates could hold their demonstration, was set by event organizers in consideration of differing time zones around the globe.

Last year, 24 million people from 87 countries around the world stood up against poverty, with India leading Asians with 9 million people, followed by Nepal with 3 million and the Philippines with 2.4 million.

“We would like to be one with the others in commemorating our fight against poverty,” Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said.
\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“It is a gesture that we \nrecognize our effort to fight poverty, as well as the fight itself – what we are \ndoing in order to eradicate poverty in our nation,” she \nsaid.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Cabral said in 1990, \nabout 27 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty – on less than P1,022 a \nmonth – but this has gone down to 17 percent \ncurrently.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Cabral, however, \nappealed to the people to help the government eradicate poverty in the country. \nShe said the poor must do their part in solving this \nproblem.\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Assistant Secretary \nDolores Castillo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said the country’s \nfinancial stability plus a combination of government social services, including \nsubsidies for food and medicine, have helped reduce the incidence of extreme \npoverty.\u003c/font\> \u003cem\>\u003cstrong\>– \u003c/strong\>Helen Flores, AP\u003c/em\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\u003ctable\>\u003ctr\>\u003ctd width\u003d\"100%\"\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cstrong\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/oct/18/yehey/prov/20071018pro4.html\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>Advocates \nbring antipoverty campaign to \nBaguio\u003c/a\>\u003c/strong\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/td\>\u003c/tr\>\u003ctr\>\u003ctd width\u003d\"100%\"\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>By Harley Palangchao \u003ci\>Correspondent \n\u003c/i\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>BAGUIO CITY: Local folksingers, \nwith the special participation of a Bolivian artist, performed at the city’s \npublic market and shared the humanitarian message of songs against poverty. \n\u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>There was revelry in one of the \nmost populated areas in Baguio when local folksingers from two bands—Binhi and \nShakilan—joined other advocates in a concert in line with the global “Stand Up \nAgainst Poverty” campaign. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The campaign was held at the \ncity market, particularly at the vegetable section, purportedly to stir \nawareness on the need for people, especially those in the grassroots level. \n",1]
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“It is a gesture that we recognize our effort to fight poverty, as well as the fight itself – what we are doing in order to eradicate poverty in our nation,” she said.
Cabral said in 1990, about 27 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty – on less than P1,022 a month – but this has gone down to 17 percent currently.
Cabral, however, appealed to the people to help the government eradicate poverty in the country. She said the poor must do their part in solving this problem.
Assistant Secretary Dolores Castillo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said the country’s financial stability plus a combination of government social services, including subsidies for food
and medicine, have helped reduce the incidence of extreme poverty. – Helen Flores, AP

Advocates bring antipoverty campaign to Baguio
By Harley Palangchao Correspondent

BAGUIO CITY: Local folksingers, with the special participation of a Bolivian artist, performed at the city’s public market and shared the humanitarian message of songs against poverty.
There was revelry in one of the most populated areas in Baguio when local folksingers from two bands—Binhi and Shakilan—joined other advocates in a concert in line with the global “Stand Up Against Poverty” campaign.
The campaign was held at the city market, particularly at the vegetable section, purportedly to stir awareness on the need for people, especially those in the grassroots level.
\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>More importantly, the campaign \nis in support of the call for all governments to make good their pledge to help \nattain millennium development goals, particularly that of poverty \nreduction. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>Millions of Filipinos have \nparticipated in this campaign initiated by the United Nations and billed as \n“Stand Up Against Poverty”, which is also in support of millions of Filipino \nfamilies living below the poverty threshold. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>In the Cordillera region alone, \nan estimated 440,000 people are in the threshold of poverty, which is why the \nRegional Development Council is urged to focus more on antipoverty programs and \nprojects. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>“Stand Up Against Poverty,” the \nglobal campaign in 2006 organized by the UN Millennium campaign holds the record \ntitle in the Guinness Book of World Records for 24 million people in 87 \ncountries standing up against poverty in 24 hours from October 15 to 16, 2006. \nSome 2.4 million Filipinos counted among those who participated in the said \ncampaign. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>The Philippines is one of the \n191 states that signed the Millennium Declaration, which embodies commitments to \nachieve the millennium development goals—a set of time-bound and measurable \ntargets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and \ndiscrimination by 2015. \u003c/font\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>These goals include eradication of \nextreme poverty and hunger; intention to achieve universal primary education; \npromotion of gender equality and empowerment of women; reduction of child \nmortality; improvement of maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other \ndiseases; ensure environmental sustainability and; to develop a global \npartnership for development.\u003cimg height\u003d\"7\" src\u003d\"?ui\u003d1&attid\u003d0.1&disp\u003demb&view\u003datt&th\u003d115d6767728f5d64\" width\u003d\"8\" border\u003d\"0\"\>",1]
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More importantly, the campaign is in support of the call for all governments to make good their pledge to help attain millennium development goals, particularly that of poverty reduction.
Millions of Filipinos have participated in this campaign initiated by the United Nations and billed as “Stand Up Against Poverty”, which is also in support of millions of Filipino families living below the poverty threshold.
In the Cordillera region alone, an estimated 440,000 people are in the threshold of poverty, which is why the Regional Development Council is urged to focus more on antipoverty programs and projects.

“Stand Up Against Poverty,” the global campaign in 2006 organized by the UN Millennium campaign holds the record title in the Guinness Book of World Records for 24 million people in 87 countries standing up against poverty in 24 hours from October 15 to 16, 2006. Some 2.4 million Filipinos counted among those who participated in the said campaign.
The Philippines is one of the 191 states that signed the Millennium Declaration, which embodies commitments to achieve the millennium development goals—a set of time-bound and measurable targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and discrimination by 2015.

These goals include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; intention to achieve universal primary education; promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women; reduction of child mortality; improvement of maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and; to develop a global partnership for development.
\u003cfont size\u003d\"2\"\>--Harley Palangchao \u003c/font\>\u003c/em\>\u003c/font\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\n\u003chr\>\n\u003c/font\>\u003cem\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cstrong\>Features / \u003c/strong\>Philippine Center for \nInvestigative Journalism\u003c/font\>\u003c/em\>\n\u003cp\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003ccite\>\u003cstrong\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p\u003d2013#more-2013\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>New national hunger record \nbelies MDG achievement\u003c/a\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/strong\>\u003c/cite\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003ccite\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>Posted by: \u003cstrong\>Isa \nLorenzo\u003c/strong\> \u003cem\>on 17 October 2007 at 2:48 pm\u003c/em\> \u003c/font\>\u003c/cite\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cdiv\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>MIDWAY to the 2015 deadline of the \u003c/font\>\u003ca title\u003d\"Millennium Development Goals\" href\u003d\"http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>, \nthe Arroyo government \u003c/font\>\u003ca title\u003d\"RP failing in 'gut-level' MDG indicators -- ADB\" href\u003d\"http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p\u003d2009\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>reported\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\> last week that the country is \nwell on its way to achieving its commitments, highlighted by a drastic reduction \nin the proportion of Filipino families living in extreme poverty.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Yet a week prior to the government declaration, the \nresults of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) \u003c/font\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.sws.org.ph/pr071001.htm\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>survey\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\> seemed to negate this rosy \npicture as a new national hunger record of 21.5 percent of Filipino households — \nor about 3.8 million families — was found to have experienced involuntary hunger \nat least once in the last three months.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>The new record, up from 19 percent tallied in \nFebruary and November 2006, is almost ten points above the ",1]
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--Harley Palangchao
Features / Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

New national hunger record belies MDG achievement
Posted by: Isa Lorenzo on 17 October 2007 at 2:48 pm
MIDWAY to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Arroyo government reported last week that the country is well on its way to achieving its commitments, highlighted by a drastic reduction in the proportion of Filipino families living in extreme poverty.

Yet a week prior to the government declaration, the results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey seemed to negate this rosy picture as a new national hunger record of 21.5 percent of Filipino households — or about 3.8 million families — was found to have experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the last three months.
The new record, up from 19 percent tallied in February and November 2006, is almost ten points above the
\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.bas.gov.ph/\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>BAS\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>), according to SWS President Mahar Mahangas, already revealed \na national hunger rate of 19 percent.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cimg alt\u003d\"sws-hunger-oct2007.jpg\" src\u003d\"?ui\u003d1&attid\u003d0.2&disp\u003demb&view\u003datt&th\u003d115d6767728f5d64\"\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>With even more Filipinos now going hungry, Global \nCall to Action against Poverty (\u003c/font\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.whiteband.org/\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>GCAP\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>)-Philippines says the government’s six-month campaign against \nhunger has proved worthless.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Declaring a war against hunger, President Gloria \nMacapagal-Arroyo announced the release of P1 billion in March to fund school \nfeeding and food for work programs, barangay food terminals, and \u003cem\>Tindahan \nNatin \u003c/em\>and\u003cem\> Gulay ng Masa \u003c/em\>projects to address hunger in the \ndepressed areas of Metro Manila and several provinces. The hunger response ended \nlast September.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cspan\>\u003c/span\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Despite this, hunger has \nremained on the rise.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>“This just shows how ineffective the government \nhunger intervention programs are,” said GCAP, a local network of nongovernment \nand people’s organizations which is part of the biggest anti-poverty alliance in \nthe world. “We said it in March and we say it again, more strategic solutions, \nrather than palliatives or stop-gap solutions, are needed to fight worsening \nhunger.”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty is one of the \neight MDGs. Extreme poverty refers to the proportion of families living below \nthe subsistence or food threshold. The Philippines is said to be on track in \nmeeting its target of halving the proportion of people below the food threshold. \nAs of 2003, the proportion of people with incomes below the subsistence \nthreshold was ",1]
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11.8 percent average in 38 quarterly SWS surveys from mid-1998 to the present. Hunger declined briefly to 14.7 percent last June. A survey conducted last year by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), according to SWS President Mahar Mahangas, already revealed a national hunger rate of 19 percent.
With even more Filipinos now going hungry, Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP)-Philippines says the government’s six-month campaign against hunger has proved worthless.
Declaring a war against hunger, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the release of P1 billion in March to fund school feeding and food for work programs, barangay food terminals, and Tindahan Natin and Gulay ng Masa projects to address hunger in the depressed areas of Metro Manila and several provinces. The hunger response ended last September.
Despite this, hunger has remained on the rise.
“This just shows how ineffective the government hunger intervention programs are,” said GCAP, a local network of nongovernment and people’s organizations which is part of the biggest anti-poverty alliance in the world. “We said it in March and we say it again, more strategic solutions, rather than palliatives or stop-gap solutions, are needed to fight worsening hunger.”
Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty is one of the eight MDGs. Extreme poverty refers to the proportion of families living below the subsistence or food threshold. The Philippines is said to be on track in meeting its target of halving the proportion of people below the food threshold. As of 2003, the proportion of people with incomes below the subsistence threshold was
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>However, the government uses the subsistence \nthreshold in measuring extreme poverty, instead of the $1 per day international \nbenchmark. The present subsistence threshold is pegged at P40.73 per person per \nday, with P27.36 allotted to food. This means that one would only need P9 per \nmeal.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>“P41 is not enough for any person to live a decent \nlife with,” GCAP said. “The government is mocking us all by saying \nso.”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>For these “ridiculously low” figures, several \ncivil-society groups have thus tended to believe that poverty incidence is \nwidely underestimated.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Official poverty statistics are also suspect, pointed \nout GCAP’s Ma. Victoria Raquiza. “To begin with, the comparability of the \nofficial poverty estimates of the National Statistical Coordination Board from \n1990 to 2003 is undermined by the 1992 and 2003 major methodology changes,” \nRaquiza said. Comparisons with earlier data sets of the Family Income and \nExpenditure Survey (FIES) have been deterred by the methodology change in 2003 \nwhose implementation was applied retroactively only up to 1997 \nfigures.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Raquiza said FIES data also underrepresent the poor \nsince these exclude the ambulant poor, or families without “official and \npermanent residence.”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Worsening hunger has been caused by a decrease of \npurchasing power and rising unemployment and inflation, according to a PCIJ \n\u003c/font\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.pcij.org/i-report/1/hungry.html\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>report\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>. Food takes up 60 to 70 percent \nof a person’s income, thus unemployment and underemployment would greatly affect \none’s ability to buy food.",1]
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13.5 percent (10.2 percent of all Filipino families), down from 24.3 percent (20.4 percent of families) in 1991.
However, the government uses the subsistence threshold in measuring extreme poverty, instead of the $1 per day international benchmark. The present subsistence threshold is pegged at P40.73 per person per day, with P27.36 allotted to food. This means that one would only need P9 per meal.
“P41 is not enough for any person to live a decent life with,” GCAP said. “The government is mocking us all by saying so.”
For these “ridiculously low” figures, several civil-society groups have thus tended to believe that poverty incidence is widely underestimated.
Official poverty statistics are also suspect, pointed out GCAP’s Ma. Victoria Raquiza. “To begin with, the comparability of the official poverty estimates of the National Statistical Coordination Board from 1990 to 2003 is undermined by the 1992 and 2003 major methodology changes,” Raquiza said. Comparisons with earlier data sets of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) have been deterred by the methodology change in 2003 whose implementation was applied retroactively only up to 1997 figures.
Raquiza said FIES data also underrepresent the poor since these exclude the ambulant poor, or families without “official and permanent residence.”
Worsening hunger has been caused by a decrease of purchasing power and rising unemployment and inflation, according to a PCIJ report. Food takes up 60 to 70 percent of a person’s income, thus unemployment and underemployment would greatly affect one’s ability to buy food.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cfont size\u003d\"3\"\>In 2004, the 5.8 percent food inflation rate \nwas higher than the 5.5 percent overall inflation rate. It was also the highest \nfrom 2000-2004. “With the double whammy of higher unemployment and \nunderemployment, as well as higher inflation, hunger will inevitably increase,” \nsaid Agriwatch Chairperson Ernesto Ordoñez.\u003c/font\> \n\u003chr\>\n\u003cstrong\>\u003cem\>Opinion\u003c/em\>\u003c/strong\> /\u003cem\>Ma. Ceres Doyo / Human Face / Philippine \nDaily Inquirer\u003c/em\>\u003c/font\>\n\u003cp\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/div\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cspan\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>\u003cstrong\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://archive.inquirer.net/view.php?db\u003d1&story_id\u003d95127\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>World \nPoverty Day is our day \u003c/a\>\u003c/strong\>\u003c/font\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cem\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>\u003cspan\>First posted 02:18:58 (Mla time) \nOctober 18, 2007\u003c/span\> / \u003cspan\>Ma. \nCeres P. Doyo / Philippine Daily \u003c/span\>Inquirer \n\u003c/font\>\u003c/em\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cspan\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>MANILA, \nPhilippines--We who are not on the extreme side of the economic divide, we who \nare fortunate to have a little more than the have-nots, but who have so much \nless than those who talk six to eight zeros in boardrooms and on golf courses, \nhave no reason to feel that there is nothing important or impactful for us to \ndo.\u003c/font\>\u003c/span\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>We are many, in fact, we are the majority, and we \nhave the power. And I do not mean only on election day. If only we could bring \nforth that power. If only we knew how.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Yesterday was the United Nation’s official World \nPoverty Day. It was not a day to be celebrated, but rather to be observed. It \nwas a day to remind the world that a third of the human citizens of this planet \n-- the “have-nots” -- could be dying because of hunger, disease and disasters at \nthis very moment because of the neglect, greed and ignorance of the few “haves” \nwho have too much in their hands and those who have the power, might and numbers \nto change the order of things but don’t.",1]
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In 2004, the 5.8 percent food inflation rate was higher than the 5.5 percent overall inflation rate. It was also the highest from 2000-2004. “With the double whammy of higher unemployment and underemployment, as well as higher inflation, hunger will inevitably increase,” said Agriwatch Chairperson Ernesto Ordoñez.
Opinion /Ma. Ceres Doyo / Human Face / Philippine Daily Inquirer

World Poverty Day is our day
First posted 02:18:58 (Mla time) October 18, 2007 / Ma. Ceres P. Doyo / Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines--We who are not on the extreme side of the economic divide, we who are fortunate to have a little more than the have-nots, but who have so much less than those who talk six to eight zeros in boardrooms and on golf courses, have no reason to feel that there is nothing important or impactful for us to do.
We are many, in fact, we are the majority, and we have the power. And I do not mean only on election day. If only we could bring forth that power. If only we knew how.
Yesterday was the United Nation’s official World Poverty Day. It was not a day to be celebrated, but rather to be observed. It was a day to remind the world that a third of the human citizens of this planet -- the “have-nots” -- could be dying because of hunger, disease and disasters at this very moment because of the neglect, greed and ignorance of the few “haves” who have too much in their hands and those who have the power, might and numbers to change the order of things but don’t.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>For the two billion people who live on less than $2 \n(or about P90) a day, every day is poverty day. Half of them live on less than \n$1 a day. The UN’s official day -- they’ve never heard of it, and for them it \ndoesn’t matter when it is.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Seven years ago, in 2000, 189 nations committed \nthemselves to cut that grim figure in half. Four years later in 2004, the \nfigures still looked grim, swinging from hope to despair to hope.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>More than 100 million children were still out of \nschool. Each year, about 10 million children die before their fifth birthday. \nSome 40 million people are living with HIV and AIDS of which five million die \neach year.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>UN figures remain grim. Every day, about 25,000 \npeople die of hunger or hunger-related causes. This means one human being every \nthree and a half seconds, with children being the most likely to \nperish.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Is there not enough food to go around? Oh, but there \nis enough food to feed the teeming millions. The problem is that there are \nmillions who are trapped or held hostage by poverty and can’t get to where the \nfood is because they have no money, they have no work, they can’t go anywhere. \nAnd when they are further weakened, they become even poorer, sicker and less \nlikely to find work and get to where the food is. They can’t even grow the food \nthey must eat.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Without intervention from outside, they are trapped \nin a spiral that goes further down. This spiral has to be broken. Doing this is \nnot easy, it is not going to be broken by simply pumping aid money or building \ninfrastructure. Development aid without regard for the human factor will \neventually fizzle out.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>There are many ways of dealing with the poverty \nspiral or breaking it softly, so to speak. Development workers would often speak \nabout “food for work” programs that would enable jobless adults to get up slowly \nand build for themselves the infrastructure that would help them get out of the \nmire. And for children, there is the “food for education” where children are fed \nwhile they are in school.",1]
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For the two billion people who live on less than $2 (or about P90) a day, every day is poverty day. Half of them live on less than $1 a day. The UN’s official day -- they’ve never heard of it, and for them it doesn’t matter when it is.
Seven years ago, in 2000, 189 nations committed themselves to cut that grim figure in half. Four years later in 2004, the figures still looked grim, swinging from hope to despair to hope.
More than 100 million children were still out of school. Each year, about 10 million children die before their fifth birthday. Some 40 million people are living with HIV and AIDS of which five million die each year.
UN figures remain grim. Every day, about 25,000 people die of hunger or hunger-related causes. This means one human being every three and a half seconds, with children being the most likely to perish.
Is there not enough food to go around? Oh, but there is enough food to feed the teeming millions. The problem is that there are millions who are trapped or held hostage by poverty and can’t get to where the food is because they have no money, they have no work, they can’t go anywhere. And when they are further weakened, they become even poorer, sicker and less likely to find work and get to where the food is. They can’t even grow the food they must eat.
Without intervention from outside, they are trapped in a spiral that goes further down. This spiral has to be broken. Doing this is not easy, it is not going to be broken by simply pumping aid money or building infrastructure. Development aid without regard for the human factor will eventually fizzle out.
There are many ways of dealing with the poverty spiral or breaking it softly, so to speak. Development workers would often speak about “food for work” programs that would enable jobless adults to get up slowly and build for themselves the infrastructure that would help them get out of the mire. And for children, there is the “food for education” where children are fed while they are in school.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Of what use are a school and a good curriculum (and \nbroadband networks) if the students have addled brains because they are \nmalnourished? They wouldn’t be able to get to the school house because they \nsuffer from vitamin and mineral deficiency, their lips and gums are sore, their \nbodies are ravaged by infection, etc., etc.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>One small step at a time. A global problem could find \nsome local solutions that would mean the difference from here to there. And the \npoor themselves, if they are not yet so crippled by disease and hunger, could do \na lot for themselves, with a little help, of course.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>The theme for the 20th International Day for the \nEradication of Poverty (that’s the official name) is “People Living in Poverty \nas Agents of Change.” This suggests recognition of the poor people’s role in \ntheir own emancipation.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>There are as many stories on this as there are many \npoor families. I have seen stories unfold around me. I have seen failures and \nsuccesses. I have seen crossovers from despair to hope.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>It is difficult for a journalist to remain on the \nfringes. I have always needed to savor what it is like, to be there, to \nsometimes put in something where my mouth is. But one must forget that something \nwill ever come back. Oh, but something does, but not in the way we might \nexpect.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>And then, one must remember that local efforts are \nnot everything. On the occasion of World Poverty Day, Jubilee South (a global \nnetwork of social movements, including those from the Philippines) has issued a \nreminder that one of the biggest challenges for the global debt movement today \nis to correct the perception that the debt problem has largely been solved by \nthe debt relief programs offered by lenders in recent years.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>“The majority of the peoples of the South continue to \nsuffer from the injustice and staggering burden of debt. It is a burden not only \nbecause of the huge amounts of debt payments in the face of poverty and \ndeprivation. It is unjust not only because our people did not benefit from much \nof the debts they are forced to pay. The debt is also used as an instrument to \nensure that our economies generate profits for global corporations and meet the \nrequirements of global markets instead of providing for our needs.",1]
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Of what use are a school and a good curriculum (and broadband networks) if the students have addled brains because they are malnourished? They wouldn’t be able to get to the school house because they suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiency, their lips and gums are sore, their bodies are ravaged by infection, etc., etc.
One small step at a time. A global problem could find some local solutions that would mean the difference from here to there. And the poor themselves, if they are not yet so crippled by disease and hunger, could do a lot for themselves, with a little help, of course.
The theme for the 20th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (that’s the official name) is “People Living in Poverty as Agents of Change.” This suggests recognition of the poor people’s role in their own emancipation.
There are as many stories on this as there are many poor families. I have seen stories unfold around me. I have seen failures and successes. I have seen crossovers from despair to hope.
It is difficult for a journalist to remain on the fringes. I have always needed to savor what it is like, to be there, to sometimes put in something where my mouth is. But one must forget that something will ever come back. Oh, but something does, but not in the way we might expect.
And then, one must remember that local efforts are not everything. On the occasion of World Poverty Day, Jubilee South (a global network of social movements, including those from the Philippines) has issued a reminder that one of the biggest challenges for the global debt movement today is to correct the perception that the debt problem has largely been solved by the debt relief programs offered by lenders in recent years.
“The majority of the peoples of the South continue to suffer from the injustice and staggering burden of debt. It is a burden not only because of the huge amounts of debt payments in the face of poverty and deprivation. It is unjust not only because our people did not benefit from much of the debts they are forced to pay. The debt is also used as an instrument to ensure that our economies generate profits for global corporations and meet the requirements of global markets instead of providing for our needs.
\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>“We continue to struggle for freedom from debt. We \nstruggle not only to wipe out the outstanding debt claim from our countries but \nto transform the structures, the institutions, and the relations of power that \nhas led to the accumulation of unjust and illegitimate debt.”\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\" size\u003d\"3\"\>Poverty has a human face, a name, a voice that we \nknow very well. We need not journey far. We who are un-poor and un-wealthy can \ndo a lot.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>* * *\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>Log on to \u003c/font\>\u003ca href\u003d\"http://www.freerice.com\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>www.freerice.com\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>, use your word knowledge and win grains of rice for the poor. I have \nwon 1,000 grains in one sitting. Someone please check and tell me if this is for \nreal.\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>* * *\u003c/font\>\u003c/p\>\n\u003cp\>\u003cem\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>Send feedback to \u003c/font\>\u003ca href\u003d\"mailto:cerespd@info.com.ph\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>cerespd@info.com.ph\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\>\u003cfont face\u003d\"Arial\"\>. \n\u003c/font\>\u003c/em\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/p\>\u003c/td\>\u003c/tr\>\u003c/table\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>\n",0]
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“We continue to struggle for freedom from debt. We struggle not only to wipe out the outstanding debt claim from our countries but to transform the structures, the institutions, and the relations of power that has led to the accumulation of unjust and illegitimate debt.”
Poverty has a human face, a name, a voice that we know very well. We need not journey far. We who are un-poor and un-wealthy can do a lot.
* * *
Log on to www.freerice.com, use your word knowledge and win grains of rice for the poor. I have won 1,000 grains in one sitting. Someone please check and tell me if this is for real.
* * *
Send feedback to cerespd@info.com.ph.
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