Thursday, June 16, 2011

Daily Maritime News at www.ufs.com.ph

Over 50 Filipino seafarers still being held captive by pirates
MOGADISHU –– At least 50 Filipino crewmen on board dozens of ships held by Somali pirates are still in captivity almost two years after their vessels had been hijacked on the Indian Ocean, and the actual count could be much higher.
Reuters on Monday released details of the vessels still in Somali pirates’ hands since late 2009 after they said at the weekend they had freed the Kuwaiti tanker MV Zirku. Read more at www.ufs.com.ph
Joint navy exercise reels off
COMBINED navy forces from the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States Navy is holding a 10-day annual combined exercise aimed to enhance interoperability and share best practices.
The combined exercise, dubbed Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) started Tuesday, June 14, and ends on Friday, June 24, is being held in Malacca Strait, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea. Read more at www.ufs.com.ph
Somali pirates free tanker for $12M
MOGADISHU –– Somali pirates have freed a UAE-flagged, Kuwaiti-owned oil tanker after a $12-million ransom was paid, the pirates said.
The pirates announced the release of the 105,846 deadweight ton MV Zirku late on Friday, just three days after they said they had freed a Chinese-owned cargo vessel they had held for nearly seven months off the lawless Horn of Africa country. Read more at www.ufs.com.ph
Shipping Industry Summit Steers Into the Blue
In news from here in Athens, a unique event took place last week when world shipping industry leaders met to discuss how to take steps towards limiting their environmental footprint, creating a so called “bluer” shipping industry. The Mare Forum Blue Shipping Summit was definitely a big step in the right direction for shipping. Read more at www.ufs.com.ph
Be updated with the latest development in the maritime industry. Browse the most popular maritime website
www.ufs.com.ph

Departure of 2 distressed OFWs from KSA delayed

Two distressed overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia are experiencing problems with their repatriation, an Arab news site reported Wednesday.

Arab News said the two housemaids — only identified as Leonora and Sofia — were scheduled to leave Riyadh on Tuesday night but had a problem with their plane ticket.

The housemaids had earlier escaped from their respective employers in Riyadh. They went to Majma, around 250 km north of Riyadh, where they stayed with five other Filipino housemaids.

Leonor and Sofia were later caught by authorities and were detained at a prison for women in Riyadh.

John Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said the Philippine government is sorting out the housemaids’ problems so they could eventually be with their families back home.

“Vice Consul Roussel Reyes told me that he went to King Khaled International Airport to assist them. He was able to talk to Leonora who told him that there was a problem regarding their tickets," Monterona said.

Leonora, of Baguio City in Benguet province, went to Saudi to work as a caregiver but ended up as housemaid. She is separated from her husband and has children who are under her mother’s care.

Sofia, on the other hand, is from Kalinga province. — JE, GMA News
Labor officials discuss reforms for OFWs in KSA06/15/2011 | 11:09 AM

Labor officials from the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) discussed recent reforms in the Saudi labor system that will benefit overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz met with Saudi labor minister Adel Fakeih at the Palais des Nations in Geneva at the sidelines of the 100th International Labor Organization conference.

“With the greater cooperation already established between Philippine licensed recruitment agencies with employers in the Kingdom, the Philippines continues to see the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) as a good OFW destination," Baldoz said.

According to a news release posted on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website Baldoz cited the need to improve the system of protection for low skilled workers, including household service workers, in both the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

She said the “high level of relationship" between the Philippines and the KSA would foster greater cooperation in implementing labor programs between the two countries.

Reforms in KSA

Baldoz said Fakeih discussed with her the major series of reforms in the employment practices in the Kingdom, assuring her that Saudi Arabia had launched a “new era of change and progress" in the field of labor and employment.

“The new measures will benefit both Saudi Arabia and foreign workers, including OFWs, who constitute an important segment of the Saudi workforce," she quoted him as saying.

Baldoz said the Saudi reforms the Fakeih cited include:


•The recognition of “intermediary hiring firms" that will serve as sponsors and co-employers of workers and who will be responsible for the OFWs' welfare and protection;


•A mandatory, broad-range insurance for OFWs; the premium will be paid by employers;


•A new remittance scheme for OFWs; and


•The expansion of e-government facilities, an associated wage protection system, and better enforcement of existing regulations, including the establishment of 24/7 hotlines to receive workers’ complaints in various languages, including Tagalog.

Baldoz said she and Fakeih also discussed the salary of Filipino domestic workers in the Kingdom, the hiring of nurses, and the possible visit to the Philippines of the Saudi labor minister this year. - VVP, GMA News

OFW from Taiwan tries to kill himself at NAIA

A depressed overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who had just arrived from Taiwan on Tuesday tried to commit suicide at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3.

According to airport officials, the man broke his legs and ribs after jumping from the departure area on the second floor of the NAIA,

He was rushed to the Pasay City General Hospital but his injuries were believed to be not life-threatening.

The victim reportedly arrived from Taiwan at 8:30 pm at NAIA 3 on Tuesday and was supposed to leave for Iloilo at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We are trying to get in touch with his family," Manila International Airport Authority spokesperson Connie Bungag said.

“We don’t have any idea yet, we are still waiting for the report from the airport police," Bungag said.

The incident caused delays in the terminal but

95 ‘runaway’ OFWs in Lebanon take first aid course

Before returning to the country last Sunday, 95 “runaway" overseas Filipino workers (OFW) completed a first aid training course, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Gilberto Asuque presented the certificates of completion to the 95 OFWs sheltered at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC).

Assistant Labor Attaché Salome Mendoza, Caritas Senior Social Worker Dima Haddad, and First Aid Trainer Lina Raoub assisted Asuque in handing out the certificates.

The training course was conducted by Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center (CLMC).

“The First Aid Training Course was conducted pursuant to the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Embassy and the CLMC to provide human resource training to Filipinos sheltered in the FWRC while waiting for the completion of their exit papers," the DFA said.

Signing the certificates were Asuque, Caritas Board Committee President Kamal Sioufi, and Caritas Director Najla Tabet Chadda, as an indication of the quality of first aid training and their support for the project.

During the awarding, Asuque stressed the training conducted by the Embassy, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and Caritas aims to increase their manual skills and knowledge and enhance their employment opportunities.

The 95 Filipinos were grouped into six batches to facilitate the first aid lectures and demonstrations. They took a pre-test examination prior to the start of the course and a final examination, which they all passed.

“The training course covered emergency medical guidelines, recognition of emergency situations, emergency assistance for victims of choking and electric shocks, taking of pulse and blood pressure, treatment of burns, bone fractures, sprains, wounds, minor and serious injuries, and first aid for chronic conditions such as asthma, chest pains, convulsions, seizures, hallucinations, vomiting, among others," the DFA said.

According to the DFA, the 95 OFWs ran away from their employers and were given shelter there while representations are being made by the Embassy, POLO and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) with the Lebanese immigration authorities for the issuance of their exit clearances.

Before returning to the Philippines, Asuque urged them to continue developing their skills.

Asuque also reminded them to follow the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) deployment process so as not to fall victims again to illegal recruiters.- VVP, GMA News

Russia hails PHL as vital partner in Asia-Pacific

Russia recognized the Philippines as one of its “vital and promising" partner in the Asia-Pacific region, as the Philippines marked its 113th Independence Day last weekend.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin disclosed this as he and Ministry of Culture Counselor Leo Dzugaev graced the event as the embassy’s guests of honor.

“[Borodavkin] called the Philippines Russia’s ‘vital and promising partner in the Asia-Pacific region, whose role in the global system of international relations and world economy is significantly increasing,’" the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Last weekend’s event also marked the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Russia.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Victor Garcia III noted that the partnership was founded on friendship and promotion of shared interests for the benefit of the people of the two countries.

Garcia pointed out that even before formal Philippine-Russia ties were established, historical accounts show the existence of earlier contacts between the two countries. A town in Eastern Samar served as sanctuary to some 6,000 “White Russians" from 1949 to 1951.

Bilateral relations

Since then, bilateral relations have been enhanced, and to date, the two countries have concluded framework agreements to facilitate further cooperation, notably in tourism and air services, defense and security, culture, and education.

Garcia stressed that there is much more in the horizon that the two countries can do together to bring the relations to greater heights.

Borodavkin said the celebration of the 35th year of diplomatic relations presents a good opportunity to evaluate the progress that has been achieved so far and to outline further directions of mutually beneficial partnership.

He expressed satisfaction that Manila and Moscow share the same view on various crucial issues such as the creation of an open and transparent security and cooperation architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

The similarity of the approaches of the two countries is an excellent advantage that enables the Philippines and Russia to strengthen political dialogue and open up new opportunities for mutual work on other key issues facing the international community.

Cultural cooperation

Dzugaev said cultural cooperation between the Philippines and Russia holds so much promise, particularly with the signing in 2010 of the Protocol on Cooperation between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Russian Ministry of Culture.

A major component of the protocol is the holding of the Days of Russian Culture in the Philippines in 2011 and the Days of Philippine Culture in Russia in 2012. He said that cooperation in this field would only bring the people of the two countries closer.

The embassy also held an art exhibit of Filipino scenes by visiting painter Nemi Miranda, a voice and piano recital by multi-awarded soprano Rachelle Gerodias and pianist Najib Ismail, and an exhibit of Russian Icon paintings by women expatriates of Moscow, including Madam Connie Garcia.

There was also a cultural performance of song and dances led by Madam Garcia, the embassy, and members of the Asia-Pacific Women’s Group.

There was likewise a reception attended by close to 300 guests from the diplomatic community, the Russian government, the business sector, and the Filipino community in Russia.

New level of maturity

The Philippines and Russia forged formal diplomatic ties on June 2, 1976.

“Since then, bilateral ties have reached a new level of maturity manifested through cooperation in such diverse sectors as defense and security, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, education, culture, and tourism. To date, a total of 31 bilateral agreements have been signed," the DFA said.

Official visits by leaders of the executive and parliamentary branches of the two countries have enhanced people-to-people contact.

Three Philippine presidents have already visited Russia — Ferdinand Marcos in 1976, Fidel Ramos in 1997, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009. — JE, GMA News

ILO’s 100th conference to tackle rights of domestic workers

World leaders at the 100th International Labour Conference (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland aim to address the rising global unemployment and giving social protection to domestic workers — most of whom are female and come from developing countries like the Philippines.

Aside from finding ways to protect the basic rights to millions of domestic workers, world leaders at the 100th ILO session are meeting from June 1-17 to highlight challenges in the world of work such as record high unemployment, the global youth employment crisis, the extension of social protection coverage, and fair treatment at the workplace.

ILO director-general Juan Somavia opened the conference by declaring that, “Our world of work is in turmoil."

The conference will also tackle the proposed international labor standard on domestic work that will impact millions of Filipino domestic workers in many Arab countries and Asian capitals such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

World leaders will also tackle the lingering uprisings in the Middle East and North African countries where some 3 million Filipino workers face massive displacement and security threats.

According to ILO data, there are at least 52.6 million domestic workers worldwide of which 12 million are in Asia — excluding China. Nine million of the Asian tally are women.

Child labor

The conference will also touch on the need to adopt policy measures to address the problem of child labor. The ILO Philippines said there are 2.4 million child laborers in the Philippines but the figures do not include children in the worst forms of child labor that include internet pornography and child soldiers.

Citing his report titled “A new era of social justice," Somavia told some 3,000 government, employer and worker delegates “whether a new era of social justice remains just an idealized vision of a desired future, or becomes a practical reality that takes hold in our societies, will depend in many ways on you, on us, on the ILO family."

The conference will be attended by world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Palestian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Finnish President Tarja Kaarina Halonen, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, as well as various former heads of states and heads of international agencies.

The conference has drawn some 3,000 delegates and advisers, including government representatives and leaders of workers’ and employers’ organizations from the ILO’s 183 member states. Each member state has the right to send four delegates to the conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently. — MRT/VS, GMA News

Monday, June 13, 2011

P2-B OFW reintegration program launched at 1st Nat’l Congress of OFWs and Families

Thousands of OFWs and their families trooped the spacious Function Room 3 of the SMX Convention Center in celebration of the 1st National Congress of OFWs and Families held June 7th, Tuesday in Pasay City. This event is in celebration of the Migrant Workers Day.


Top government officials in the persons of Akabayan Rep. Walden Bello and Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan were there to share in the momentous occasion for the OFWs.

OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon gave the welcome remarks, the keynote address of President Benigno Aquino III was delivered by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz. Also mentioned in the speech read by Sec. Baldoz were the other projects launched earlier by the DOLE, OWWA and the NRCO in direct assistance to the overseas workers and their families e.g. “Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay!” etc.
The reading of the Manifesto was led by Ms. Virgencita Lagunsay, a representative from the OFW Family Circles (OFC). The Manifesto was a concerted effort of the OWWA Regional Welfares Offices together with the OFWs, their families and other concerned public and private organizations. Included in the Manifesto were the collected issues and concerns relevant to the present conditions of OFW returnees, Pinoy workers abroad, and their families in the country.
Highlighting the National Congress was the Presentation of Cheques to the initial twelve availees of the 2 BILLION PESOS OFW REINTEGRATION PROGRAM. The total amount of cheques distributed was P 8.3 million. This nationwide financial assistance program is a joint venture of the DOLE, OWWA, NRCO, the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. The loan assistance offers a low-interest annual rate of 7.5% with a flexible payment scheme maximum of 7 years to pay. This OFW reintegration program was formulated to do away with conduit banks that may burden a borrower of high administrative costs.

A symposium on talks on business opportunities and concise guidelines on the reintegration program was also presented to the audience. Chinkee Tan, a known TV personality and wealth coach, disclosed the important how to’s on recognizing and grabbing possible business opportunities.

A press conference with the media was held led by DOLE Secretary Baldoz and she joined by DOLE Usec. Danilo P. Cruz, OWWA Adminstrator Dimzon and NRCO Director Vivian Tornea. The initial recipients of the 2 Billion Pesos OFW Reintegration Program were also interviewed by the media.
Exhibits of the products and services by the OFWs and OFCs were also showcased. Regional exhibitors from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao proudly offered their items and services on this one-day event. Event and corporate partners Globe Telecom, SM Super Malls and BDO-Unibank also had booths giving freebies to the OFWs and their families. This part of the national event was open to the public.
Capping the event was a mini-concert by the well known 70’s band Hotdog.

Pinay DH, pumanaw sa araw na makababalik na sana siya sa ‘Pinas

Naging mapagbiro ang tadhana sa isang distressed Pinay domestic helper sa Riyadh, Saudi Arabia dahil binawian siya ng buhay sa araw kung kailan sasakay na siya ng eroplano na maghahatid sana sa kanya pauwi ng Pilipinas.

Sa impormasyong nakalap mula sa grupong Patnubay, ang pumanaw na OFW ay kinilalang si Lilia Prestado, 44-anyos, mula sa bayan ng Taytay, at mahigit isang taon nang TNT o tago ng tago mula nang tumakas sa kanyang amo.

Ang Patnubay ay isang advocacy group sa Gitnang Silangan na tumutulong sa mga nagigipit na OFW.

Napag-alaman na nitong Pebrero ay inindorso ng Patnubay si Prestado sa Bahay Kalinga. Ito ay lugar na pinangangasiwaan ng pamahalaan, at kinukopkop ang mga nagigipit na OFWs.

Sinasabing may sakit sa puso at goiter si Prestado, bukod pa sa kanyang asthma, at iba pang komplikasyon sa kalusugan.

Ayon sa Patnubay, walong buwan lamang nagtrabaho si Prestado sa kanyang amo at pagkaraan nito ay tumakas na. Hindi malinaw kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit iniwan ni Prestado ang kanyang amo.

Batay sa kanyang medical report, lumitaw naman na ipinagamot si Prestado ng kanyang amo, kuwento ng Patnubay.

Mula nang tumakas sa amo, muling nagtrabaho si Prestado at maaari umanong napabayaan nito ang kalusugan kaya lumalala ang mga karamdaman hanggang sa iendorso na sa Bahay Kalinga.

Ikinagulat umano ng mga tao sa Bahay Kalinga ang biglang pagpanaw ni Prestado dakong 10:30 a.m. nitong Sabado dahil nakita pa nila itong masaya habang nag-eempake ng kanyang mga gamit. Nakakuha rin siya ng medical certificate na nagsasaad na puwede siyang bumiyahe.

Nais naman ng Patnubay na malinawan kung bakit inabot ng tatlong buwan si Prestado sa Bahay Kalinga bago makauwi sa Pilipinas samantalang may malubha itong karamdaman. Dapat din umanong maging malinaw kung sino ang dapat humawak ng mga kasong katulad kay Prestado na may malalang sakit.

Bukod kay Prestado, may isa pang OFW sa Bahay Kalinga ang namatay dahil sa sakit nitong Mayo 15, ayon sa Patnubay.

Sa panayam sa telepono kay Vice Consul Roussel Reyes, ng Assistance to National ng Philippine Embassy sa Riyadh, ipinaliwanag niya na naindorso sa kanila si Prestado nito lamang Marso. Kaagad daw nila itong dinala sa ospital para maipagamot habang inaayos ang mga dokumento sa kanyang pagpapauwi.

Ikinalungkot ng opisyal ang nangyari kay Prestado dahil pumanaw ito kung kailan nakatakda na siyang umuwi sa Pilipinas.

Ipinaliwanag ni Reyes na pinagtutulungan ng Assistance to National (ANS) at Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), ang pag-asikaso sa mga uuwing OFW na may sakit, lalo na kung TNT. Mas mahirap umanong maipasok sa ospital ang mga TNT at wala ring medical facilities ang Bahay Kalinga.

Kinumpirma rin ni Reyes na sakit din ang dahilan ng pagkamatay ng isa pang OFW na si Lokaya Talebombong noong Mayo. Pero hindi umano niya alam ang detalye nito dahil sa hindi siya ang may hawak ng kaso.

Dahil sa pagpanaw ni Prestado, sinabi ni Reyes na panibagong pag-aayos sa mga dokumento ang kanilang gagawin bago maiuwi sa Pilipinas ang kanyang mga labi.

Noong una ay na-wave daw ang lahat ng penalties ni Prestado. Pero dahil sa kanyang pagpanaw, kailangang kumuha ng panibagong exit visa para sa pumanaw na OFW at dapat bayaran na rin ang penalties nito.

Payo ni Reyes sa mga OFW na may karamdaman, makabubuting bumalik na sa bansa habang malakas pa ang katawan at huwag hintayin na lumalala ang sakit. -- Ronaldo Z. Concha/ FRJ, GMA

Pinay in UAE faces raps for 'reckless' child delivery

A Filipina faced a United Arab Emirates court over the weekend for allegedly delivering her cousin's baby in a reckless manner, an Arab news site reported on Monday.

Prosecutors claimed the 54-year-old woman, which the report did not name, intentionally endangered the life of her 30-year-old cousin, who was impregnated by an out-of-wedlock affair with a Pakistani Man, a Gulf News report said.

The woman delivered the illegitimate baby in a dangerous and impractical way that caused health hazards to the cousin, the prosecution said.

The accused woman was also charged for failing to report to authorities that her cousin has had consensual sex with the 30-year-old Pakistani man.

Giving birth outside of wedlock is considered a crime in the Middle-Eastern country.

The report said that when the Filipina appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court, she failed to deny or admit her crime before Presiding Judge Ebrahim Khalil Abu Shamma due to language difficulties.

The court has since decided to reconvene on Sunday so that a Filipino translator can be made available.

Court records showed the woman was arrested in her house in Deira during a random police raid against illegal residents.

The woman claimed the seven-month-old baby was her daughter, but DNA tests revealed she was not the biological mother of the baby.

This led to her admission that the baby was actually her cousin's, who was earlier deported following cancellation of her visa.

Another report, this time by Middle-Eastern tabloid 7Days, said the mother of the baby has been fired by her employer after finding out about the baby.

"She left a month later and I have been taking care of the baby," the woman reportedly said.

The report said the woman admitted she had no experience with childbirth and had not seen a delivery.

It added that the Filipina faces up to two years in jail followed by deportation and a fine of 1,000 dirham (around P11,800). — JMT, GMA News

Pinay in UAE faces raps for 'reckless' child delivery

A Filipina faced a United Arab Emirates court over the weekend for allegedly delivering her cousin's baby in a reckless manner, an Arab news site reported on Monday.

Prosecutors claimed the 54-year-old woman, which the report did not name, intentionally endangered the life of her 30-year-old cousin, who was impregnated by an out-of-wedlock affair with a Pakistani Man, a Gulf News report said.

The woman delivered the illegitimate baby in a dangerous and impractical way that caused health hazards to the cousin, the prosecution said.

The accused woman was also charged for failing to report to authorities that her cousin has had consensual sex with the 30-year-old Pakistani man.

Giving birth outside of wedlock is considered a crime in the Middle-Eastern country.

The report said that when the Filipina appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court, she failed to deny or admit her crime before Presiding Judge Ebrahim Khalil Abu Shamma due to language difficulties.

The court has since decided to reconvene on Sunday so that a Filipino translator can be made available.

Court records showed the woman was arrested in her house in Deira during a random police raid against illegal residents.

The woman claimed the seven-month-old baby was her daughter, but DNA tests revealed she was not the biological mother of the baby.

This led to her admission that the baby was actually her cousin's, who was earlier deported following cancellation of her visa.

Another report, this time by Middle-Eastern tabloid 7Days, said the mother of the baby has been fired by her employer after finding out about the baby.

"She left a month later and I have been taking care of the baby," the woman reportedly said.

The report said the woman admitted she had no experience with childbirth and had not seen a delivery.

It added that the Filipina faces up to two years in jail followed by deportation and a fine of 1,000 dirham (around P11,800). — JMT, GMA News

Pinoys asked to commemorate 'Day of Filipino Seafarer' on June 25,2011

The Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia has called on Filipinos here and abroad to commemorate the contributions of Filipino seafarers to the global economy following the government's declaration of June 25 as the "Day of the Filipino Seafarer."

"The Filipino Seafarers deserve respect, recognition and gratitude for their invaluable contribution to the national development efforts of the country, and have become ‘sailing ambassadors’... for having demonstrated before the global maritime community the best traits of the Filipino," the embassy said in a news release posted on its website.

In signing Proclamation 183 declaring June 25 as the Day of the Filipino Seafarer, President Benigno Aquino III urged "all relevant maritime agencies or instrumentalities of the government including government-owned and controlled corporations as well as private individuals or organizations... to support the commemoration of this important event."

The embassy noted that the United Nations has recognized the important role that seafarers play in the continued growth of the global economy and has included this day on its list of observance.

The Conference of Parties (COP), under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), approved a resolution declaring every June 25 as the “Day of the Seafarer," it added.

According to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data, a total of 330,424 Filipino seafarers were deployed worldwide in 2009, or about 23 percent of the total number of overseas Filipino workers deployed in that year. —JMT/CM, GMA News

OFWs in Saudi, Yemen urged: Invest in PHL, gain economic freedom

In time for the country's 113th Independence Day celebrations on Sunday, the government has urged Filipinos in Saudi Arabia and conflict-stricken Yemen to attain "economic independence" by investing in the Philippines upon their return.

Philippine Embassy charge d'affaires Ezedin Tago said the Aquino administration is working on economic programs that will benefit the common Filipino, including the overseas Filipino workers.

"We urge Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen to plan for their eventual integration into the Philippine economy to gain true economic freedom," Tago said in an Independence Day message posted on news site Arab News.

"Save what you earn while overseas and invest in our country and economy. There are many investment and business opportunities in various sectors that await any returning Filipino," he added.

The Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia also has jurisdiction over Yemen.

Tago also extended the embassy's invitation to foreign investors and business people to take "a serious and deep look into investment and business opportunities in the Philippines."

He said the first step toward this endeavor is to visit the Philippines as tourists and explore its natural beauty.

"There are many tourist destinations that fit the interests of any visitor, Filipino or foreigner, and it is an excellent chance for everyone to learn about our country and people," he said.

In calling for investments in the Philippines, Tago said President Benigno Aquino III had committed to advance freedom from poverty.

"When our president assumed office in June 2010, he committed not only to defend and uphold our freedom but also to advance our freedom from poverty through economic programs that benefit the common Filipino," he stressed. — JMT, GMA News

Report: Pinay maid killed in HK road accident

A Filipina domestic helper was killed in a road accident in Kowloon in Hong Kong, a report of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) said.

According to the report, the helper was taking a boy to school when they were knocked down by a coach in the Kowloon Tong area.

"The 30-year-old woman died but the boy escaped with minor injuries," the RTHK said.

RTHL said the incident was one of two road accidents in Hong Kong on Friday.

The second incident involved an 85-year-old woman who was killed after being hit by a vehicle while crossing Tin Kwong Road in Hunghom. - VVP, GMA News
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