Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Free health check-up, consultation for Filipinos in Dubai

Dubai-based Prime Medical Center is providing free medical check-up and consultation to Filipinos in three of its branches every Friday during the month-long Ramadan, according to a report.

The free consultation will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at its branch located adjacent to the BurJuman Metro station along the Trade Center Road towards Creekside in Bur Dubai on August 20; on Salahuddin Road opposite Reef Mall in Deira on August 27; and at Jumeirah Plaza along Beach Road in Jumeirah on September 3, according to a report in Khaleej Times.

Dr Jamil Ahmed, Prime Healthcare Group director, said the free medical consultation is part of the company’s community outreach initiative.

Filipina medical practitioner Dr. Daffodils Guevarra will be available for consultation to visitors, who will undergo blood pressure measurement and blood sugar check.

The article noted that Guevarra, a specialist in
rehabilitation medicine, has experience in general medical cases like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, back/neck/shoulder pain and chest pain, among others. - Jerrie M. Abella/KBK, GMANews.TV

Some 800 Filipinos still stranded in Jeddah — OWWA

Around 800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remain stranded in Jeddah despite government efforts to repatriate them, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

OWWA administrator Carmelita Dimzon said these OFWs are waiting to be cleared by their foreign employers before they can return to the Philippines.

“The 800 remaining OFWs in the Jeddah center could be growing again as more runaways and unregistered OFWs from outside Jeddah seek sanctuary," she said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.

Dimzon vowed to send home all Filipinos sheltered in various Philippine welfare centers overseas.

She said the agency has shouldered the repatriation of 466 OFWs and their children from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from June 27 to August 9 this year.

Nonstop repatriation

“The repatriation of distressed overseas Filipino workers and children in Filipino Workers Welfare Centers abroad will continue until all are flown home under the accelerated repatriation program ordered by the Department of Labor and Employment," Dimzon said.

A total of 1,757 stranded OFWs have been repatriated during the first six months of 2010. In 2009, OWWA said it has repatriated 1,903 OFWs.

Dimzon said OWWA welfare officers are working with the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and the Department of Foreign Affairs to complete the documentation of the stranded OFWs and their children.

She added that stranded Filipinos will be repatriated within a month from obtaining exit clearances, and complying with biometric and other departure procedures of immigration authorities.

OWWA has been paying the meals and renting space at the Hajj Terminal to accommodate the overflow of Filipino workers awaiting clearances in Jeddah, Dimzon said.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz had instructed OWWA to fly home distressed Filipinos in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s concern over the welfare of Filipinos seeking assistance in Philippine welfare centers.


Meanwhile, Dimzon clarified in the same statement that OWWA members paid membership fees totaling to P1.5 billion for 2009, not P12.5 billion as earlier reported.

Dimzon explained that the P12.5 billion is the aggregate amount of the OWWA trust fund from contributions by member-OFWs and their employers, as well as income from investments and other sources.

“Expenditures can be made only if authorized by OWWA’s board of trustees," she said. - Jerrie M. Abella/KBK, GMANews.TV

DOLE: Embassy centers to offer 'care and services' for OFWs

Resource centers of Philippine embassies will be "transformed" to offer a wider range of "care and services" for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) instead of simply being sites for skills enhancement.

This was announced by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday, citing President Benigno Aquino III’s agenda to further strengthen OFWs.

Under the agenda, Filipino Workers Resource Centers (FWRCs) — subsumed under the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) of embassies — will offer expanded onsite services for Filipinos working abroad.

As a result, "full psychosocial assistance will be provided by the POLO and its network of reputable social workers and faith-based non-government organizations," a statement issued by the DOLE said, quoting Labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

The FWRCs’ new role will complement the “wholistic approach" in providing welfare and protection as well as “reintegration assistance" to OFWs, the statement said.

Economic and reintegration assistance will include placement services, skills retraining, assessment and certification, and livelihood education assistance for dependents.

Skills training and upgrading will be offered to OFWs as soon as they arrive at their overseas destination to prepare them for their reintegration upon returning to the country, the statement said.

Reintegration planning will now be part of the Pre-Departure Orientation Services (PDOS) and Post Arrival Orientation Seminars (PAOS), which OFWs routinely undergo before they go abroad and after they arrive back.

“The FWRCs as onsite centers for expanded protection will play an important part in the reintegration process," Baldoz said.

The DOLE secretary cited the FWRC in Malaysia, which has been offering various skills training programs for OFWs.

For instance, it offers courses such as arts and crafts, Bahasa language, basic accounting, arnis, cosmetology, hair culture, nursing home care, business management, computer courses, culinary arts, dressmaking, English, financial management, reflexology, tailoring, voice lesson, and orientation on Philippine and Malasyian laws.

These courses, Baldoz said, will equip OFWs with appropriate skills that would enable them to find better jobs or embark on livelihood projects that will help them sustain their overseas earnings and improve their economic chances upon their return to the country.

She said the conduct of various skills training will be replicated in other FWRCs in other parts of the world where there is a high concentration of OFWs.

Baldoz said these initiatives are in line with RA 10022, the law which amends RA 8042, or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.

“We are now full blast in redesigning our onsite protection and reintegration programs in accordance with the provisions of R.A. 10022 and its implementing rules and regulations," Baldoz said in the same statement.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, International Labor Affairs Bureau, Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are the DOLE agencies tasked by Baldoz to implement this agenda in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs.—Robert JA Basilio/JV, GMANews.TV
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