Friday, December 20, 2013

1 of 7 Pinoys killed in Yemen attack posthumously awarded

One of seven Filipinos killed in an attack in Yemen earlier this month was posthumously conferred the Medal of Duty by Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia said Thursday.

Hadi awarded the medal to Dr. Ruben Valenzuela and expressed gratitude on behalf of Yemen's people for Valenzuela's exemplary service in his 30 years of humanitarian work there, the embassy said.

"The Medal of Duty and Plaque was received by Vice Consul Redentor Genotiva on behalf of the family of Dr. Valenzuela during a ceremony on 16 December 2013 at the Presidential Palace in Sana’a," it said on its website.

Also, the embassy said a delegation from the Defense Complex Hospital will go to the Philippines to visit the families of those who died.

Valenzuela was among seven Filipinos killed in a terror attack on the Defense Complex Hospital (DCH) in Sana’a, Yemen last Dec. 5.

The embassy said the Medal of Duty is "an expression of gratitude…in recognition of his great medical services of both military and civil sides for thirty years… worthy of praise and appreciation.”

For his part, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Yemen Ezzedin Tago acknowledged Valenzuela's "invaluable services" to the people of Yemen.

“The conferment of the Medal of Duty to Dr. Valenzuela is testament to the invaluable services that Dr. Valenzuela and the other six Filipino medical workers gave to the Yemeni people,” he said. — LBG, GMA News

Thursday, December 19, 2013

OFWs pick GMA News Online again as their favorite news website December 19, 2013 2:34pm

For the second consecutive year, GMA News Online was chosen by overseas Filipino workers as their most preferred news website

GMA News Online received the most number of online and text votes from OFWs in different parts of the world and their families in the Philippines, according to Ma. Fe Nicodemus, chairperson of Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak at Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. (KAKAMMPI).

“OFW choice ito, sila ang nag-choose, nagbotohan. Tinanong namin yung mga affiliate group at ka-link namin sa ibang bansa at lumabas na gusto nila at nire-recommend yung content ng GMA News Online dahil balanse, reader-friendly, updated at fresh na fresh,” she said in a phone interview Thursday

“Pro-OFW rin yung mga storya nyo kasi yung iba sinisisi pa yung mga OFWs e. Hindi rin pangit ang istoryang nababasa at kalmado, hindi yung nananakot. Madali ring intindihin ng mga ordinaryong tao,” she added.

Nicodemus said among the articles OFWs are looking forward in the "Pinoy Abroad" section of GMA News Online are the tips and OFW guide.

Aside from news about OFW issues, Pinoy Abroad also posts content related to Filipino achievers overseas as well as self-help articles that Pinoys far from home can use. It also publishes articles by overseas content partners.

Nicodemus added that KAKAMMPI is also linking the stories posted on GMA News Online to their blog site.

“Ginagamit naming materials ang news sa GMA News Online sa mga write up,” she said.

The news website first received the OFW Gawad Parangal in 2012.

KAKAMMPI said OFW Gawad Parangal is their way of thanking individuals, groups and organizations, who unselfishly share their time, skills and resources for OFWs in need. Through this, it hopes to contribute its efforts in creating and nurturing a culture of care and concern for the Philippines' modern-day heroes whose remittances have, for the longest time, kept our economy afloat.

It gave the award “in grateful recognition of their meritorious leadership in advancing the welfare and human dignity of overseas Filipino workers” to GMA News Online Wednesday night, during the celebration of the International Migrants Day.

The award was received by Pinoy Abroad section editor Karl Kaufmann, who took the helm from Veronica Pulumbarit in 2013.

Vernie, as she is called by friends, spent three years as editor of the website's popular Pinoy Abroad section, developing many of its present components. She left the section on August 31 of this year in good hands, as Kaufman has been a veteran editor at the site since 2008.

“Thank you to KAKAMMPI for the honor they have given to the Pinoy Abroad section of GMA News Online. We are very grateful for the recognition they have given us and we hope we can continue doing good service,” Pulumbarit said in an interview on Thursday.

For his part, Howie Severino, GMA News Online editor-in-chief, said: "We take quiet pride in our commitment to covering the overseas Pinoy community. Half of our online audience is abroad, and many of those are hard-working, homesick OFWs who crave relevant information about the Philippines.Our staff put in many hours and much effort to produce it."

Other awardees were:

-GMA Vice President for News Programs Jessica Soho as best development-oriented magazine program host for Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho

-24-oras anchor Mel Tiangco as most popular television host and female newscaster

- Jay Taruc as most popular documentary host on OFW concerns

-Kara David as best documentary host on OFW affairs

-Tulfo brothers

-Charo Santos

-Noli de Castro

-Vice President Jejomar Binay

-Pag-IBIG Fund (International Operations Group)

-Social Security System (OFW Management Department)

-PhilHealth (Overseas Filipino Program)

-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Carmelita Dimzon

-OWWA Region III Ma Lourdes Reyes

-Bank of Commerce

-i-Remit

-Metrobank

-International Organization for Migration

-International Social Service Philippines

-Kaibigan ng OCW

-Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino

-Advancement of Workers Awareness Regarding Employment

-Teodora Inabayan

-Ricardo Casco

-Riza Sorima Matias

 Amita O. Legaspi /LBG, GMA News

OFWs pick GMA News Online again as their favorite news website


GMA News Pinoy Abroad team bags OFW award

GMA News Pinoy Abroad team bags OFW award. GMA News Online Pinoy Abroad editor Karl Kaufman (left) and writer Xianne Arcangel pose with their OFW Gawad Parangal Award for Most Dedicated Online News for OFWs during awards night at a hotel in Malate, Manila on Wednesday, December 18. TJ Pusong
For the second consecutive year, GMA News Online was chosen by overseas Filipino workers as their most preferred news website

GMA News Online received the most number of online and text votes from OFWs in different parts of the world and their families in the Philippines, according to Ma. Fe Nicodemus, chairperson of Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak at Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. (KAKAMMPI).

“OFW choice ito, sila ang nag-choose, nagbotohan. Tinanong namin yung mga affiliate group at ka-link namin sa ibang bansa at lumabas na gusto nila at nire-recommend yung content ng GMA News Online dahil balanse, reader-friendly, updated at fresh na fresh,” she said in a phone interview Thursday

“Pro-OFW rin yung mga storya nyo kasi yung iba sinisisi pa yung mga OFWs e. Hindi rin pangit ang istoryang nababasa at kalmado, hindi yung nananakot. Madali ring intindihin ng mga ordinaryong tao,” she added.

Nicodemus said among the articles OFWs are looking forward in the "Pinoy Abroad" section of GMA News Online are the tips and OFW guide.

Aside from news about OFW issues, Pinoy Abroad also posts content related to Filipino achievers overseas as well as self-help articles that Pinoys far from home can use. It also publishes articles by overseas content partners.

Nicodemus added that KAKAMMPI is also linking the stories posted on GMA News Online to their blog site.

“Ginagamit naming materials ang news sa GMA News Online sa mga write up,” she said.

The news website first received the OFW Gawad Parangal in 2012.

KAKAMMPI said OFW Gawad Parangal is their way of thanking individuals, groups and organizations, who unselfishly share their time, skills and resources for OFWs in need. Through this, it hopes to contribute its efforts in creating and nurturing a culture of care and concern for the Philippines' modern-day heroes whose remittances have, for the longest time, kept our economy afloat.

It gave the award “in grateful recognition of their meritorious leadership in advancing the welfare and human dignity of overseas Filipino workers” to GMA News Online Wednesday night, during the celebration of the International Migrants Day.

The award was received by Pinoy Abroad section editor Karl Kaufmann, who took the helm from Veronica Pulumbarit in 2013.

Vernie, as she is called by friends, spent three years as editor of the website's popular Pinoy Abroad section, developing many of its present components. She left the section on August 31 of this year in good hands, as Kaufman has been a veteran editor at the site since 2008.

“Thank you to KAKAMMPI for the honor they have given to the Pinoy Abroad section of GMA News Online. We are very grateful for the recognition they have given us and we hope we can continue doing good service,” Pulumbarit said in an interview on Thursday.

For his part, Howie Severino, GMA News Online editor-in-chief, said: "We take quiet pride in our commitment to covering the overseas Pinoy community. Half of our online audience is abroad, and many of those are hard-working, homesick OFWs who crave relevant information about the Philippines.Our staff put in many hours and much effort to produce it."

Other awardees were:

-GMA Vice President for News Programs Jessica Soho as best development-oriented magazine program host for Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho

-24-oras anchor Mel Tiangco as most popular television host and female newscaster

- Jay Taruc as most popular documentary host on OFW concerns

-Kara David as best documentary host on OFW affairs

-Tulfo brothers

-Charo Santos

-Noli de Castro

-Vice President Jejomar Binay

-Pag-IBIG Fund (International Operations Group)

-Social Security System (OFW Management Department)

-PhilHealth (Overseas Filipino Program)

-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Carmelita Dimzon

-OWWA Region III Ma Lourdes Reyes

-Bank of Commerce

-i-Remit

-Metrobank

-International Organization for Migration

-International Social Service Philippines

-Kaibigan ng OCW

-Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino

-Advancement of Workers Awareness Regarding Employment

-Teodora Inabayan

-Ricardo Casco

-Riza Sorima Matias

 Amita O. Legaspi /LBG, GMA News

Catering service fined after Pinoys contract food poisoning in Jeddah

A Jeddah-based food catering company has been fined SR732,700 (P8,648,384) for causing 215 Filipinos to contract food poisoning, the Arab News reported on Sunday.

The report said the Municipality of Jeddah announced the fine and month-long closure of the catering company last Thursday.

The decision came after a full-scale investigation was launched by the Yanbu Food and Drug Authority, the Health Ministry, and Jeddah Municipality's quality control department, linking the company to the incident.

separate report on Saudi Gazette said the inspectors found expired raw materials and unhygienic utensils in the facility.

Blood samples were also taken from the 50 workers on-site, none of whom possessed a health card.

Sami Nawar, spokesperson for the Jeddah Municipality, said the financial penalty imposed on the company is the largest fines imposed on a food enterprise.

Both reports did not mention the catering firm's name. — Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Pinay in UAE offers reward for 'remains' of daughter missing during Yolanda

A Filipina in the United Arab Emirates is offering a reward for information leading to the remains of her nine-year-old daughter, who she fears had died during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Jella Yu, 34, a documentation controller in an oil and gas firm in Abu Dhabi, is offering P20,000 pesos (Dh1,662) to find the body of Kasandra Mae Yu Villanueva, UAE-based news site Gulf News reported Thursday.

“I want a closure though sometimes I have hopes she may be found alive. I have to find her body to be sure that my daughter will rest in peace in heaven,” Yu, whose family is based in Tacloban City, said in an interview with Gulf News XPRESS.

The remains of Yu's younger daughter Shamel Anne, 8, had been found almost immediately in the wake of Yolanda, which left more than 6,000 dead.

Kasandra and Shamel were under the care of Yu's 67-year-old mother and her elder sister Jenny.

Yu said posters had been distributed in Tacloban City, with photos of the missing daughter.

“I just hope the money will work as an incentive and prompt people to search for her,” she said.

On the other hand, Yu's sister Naicy, 45, lost both daughters aged 21 and nine to Yolanda.

“I can only thank God that I brought three of my nine siblings to Abu Dhabi last year. If not, I would have lost more of my family,” she said.

"I have no reason to live. I do not know what God’s plans are for me. Nothing can fill the void left by my daughters,” she added.

Yu said she went to Tacloban City two days after the tragedy.

She said she bought groceries, clothes and medicines for her daughters, adding no one was willing to drive her to the place due to looting at the time. — LBG, GMA News

Before UAE court, Emirati proposes to Pinay maid he impregnated

A man proposed to a Filipina maid he impregnated seven months ago, as they faced a misdemeanor court in the United Arab Emirates Wednesday.

The unemployed man and the maid had admitted to having sex in the man’s carm according to a report on UAE-based news site Gulf News on Thursday.

“I want to marry her. She is carrying my son... I want to propose and give her some money for her personal expenditure,” the Emirati, 37, told the court before giving the Filipina Dh200 (roughly P2,400)

During the court appearance, the Emirati sought permission from presiding judge Jamal Al Jubaily to propose to the Filipina.

For her part, the Filipina, 29, nodded and agreed to marry her lover after Presiding judge Al Jubaily asked the court translator to ask her if she agreed to marry the man.

Judge Al Jubaily will hand out a ruling on December 29.

The couple had been accused of having consensual sex, while the Filipina was also charged for working for another sponsor without permission.

Authorities arrested the couple last October 30 during an early morning raid on the man’s home. At the time, police acted on a tip the man was involved in a kidnap and theft.

Police in the raid then discovered the Filipina had been staying with him. The couple then admitted they were living as man and wife.

According to the Filipina, she met the Emirati earlier this year and they became lovers.

"We had sex a number of times in his car at Jumeirah beach. I worked for an Emirati family around two years before my countrywoman helped me abscond. Then I worked for some people in Jumeirah for Dh1,500 until I met the man,” she said.

Also, the Emirati asked the police to treat the woman as his wife because she was carrying his child.

“I do not recall how many times we slept together but I want her to become my wife since she is carrying my son. I slept with her at a rented flat and sometimes at my brother’s flat,” he said.

The Gulf News report said the couple may get a suspended or reduced punishment if they get married ahead of the Dec. 29 judgement.

But the Filipina will still be deported if she is convicted and even if she marries the Emirati.

Citing the UAE Penal Code, the Gulf News report noted deportation is obligatory in sex-related crimes.— LBG, GMA News

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

POEA chief: Illegal recruiters may take advantage of labor market bubble in Japan

Recent unverified reports on job opportunities in Japan may result in illegal recruiters taking advantage of the situation to victimize Filipinos eager to work abroad, an official of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration warned on Monday.

According to POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, actual job orders (JOs) from employers for teachers in Japan are very low contrary to several published reports.

“I recognize that Japan needs English teachers and maybe even domestic workers but the JOs registered at the POEA currently do not reflect that,” Cacdac said.

He also said based on POEA data, there are no job orders for domestic workers in Japan.
 
“I fear that unscrupulous trainings institutions, language centers and illegal recruiters will take advantage of recent news articles that may have created a labor market bubble for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs),” he said in a text message.
 
Cacdac cautioned would-be OFWs to be wary of illegal recruiters, as he reiterated their call to check first with the agency the available job vacancies of the country they wish to be employed in.

“The demand for teachers and domestic workers in Japan is one thing, actual job orders from employers are another. Beware of illegal recruiters,” he said on Twitter. — KBK, GMA News

Balikbayan box takes centerstage in Fil-Canadian Mikey Bustos' latest video

When one grows up watching parents pack-up hard-as-rock packages for the holidays, one apparently has to make a music video about it.

Filipino-Canadian internet sensation Mikey Bustos, a 2003 Canadian Idol alumnus, made a “Wrecking Ball” parody at a friend's house in Caloocan to commemorate the season of balikbayan boxes.

“Balikbayan Box,” Bustos explained on Monday's “News To Go” program, was created out of memories he had of his parents—his mother in particular—sending these boxes home every holiday.


“Growing up, it was part of Filipino culture, so I said, 'Why don't I combine Miley Cyrus and a Balikbayan box?” said Bustos, clad in what he called his Hari ng mga Langgam ng Yelo costume.

In a sequence within the video, it showed him having difficulties opening the box—a sentiment shared by several Filipino commentators. Surprisingly, more US- and Canada-based commentators concurred with the video. Bustos said the scene came from watching his mom wrap boxes in layers upon layers of tape, rope, and even padlocks.

For now, he's itching for his mom's arrival to the country, since he can't open any of the three boxes she sent until her arrival.

Bustos recently blipped on radars for mashing up Psy's “Gangnam Style” and the traditional Filipino dance of tinikling.

“As ambassador of Filipinos online, I wanted to create a song that showed the world what makes us Pinoy. I wanted to rewrite a version (of “Gangnam Style”) that people could understand,” Bustos told GMA News Online back in January.

His videos are decidedly Pinoy-centric, and his antics even got him a commercial with a snack brand, where he teaches “Filipino lessons.” — Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

PHL officials in touch with Pinoy Harvard students after bomb threat

Philippine officials in the United States on Monday night said that they got in touch with 20 Filipino students enrolled at Harvard University, after four buildings in the campus were evacuated due to bomb threats.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. said the Philippine Consulate General in New York was continuing to monitor developments at Harvard.

The Philippine Consulate, meanwhile, said that the Filipino Harvard students were enrolled as undergraduates.

According to the embassy, Harvard officials ordered an evacuation following "unconfirmed reports of explosives at four sites on campus."

Around four buildings in the university were evacuated due to the threat.

But as of early Tuesday Manila time, Harvard's Science Center, Sever Hall and Harvard Yard, Thayer and Emerson Hall had been declared to be safe.

"All four sites now open," The university said.

Monday, December 16, 2013

PhilHealth intensifies enrolment at point-of-care


With PhilHealth, no one is left behind.
In its effort to provide true financial risk protection to all Filipinos especially the poor, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has further strengthened its enrolment program, this time at the very points where they are extremely needed.
In its Circular 32, s-2013 which took effect November 29, 2013, PhilHealth formalized its “point-of-care enrolment program” which targets non-members belonging to Class C-3 or D confined in government hospitals.
The program will also benefit existing members not currently eligible to financial protection due to lack of qualifying contributions and also classified as Class C3 or D.
Qualified patients and their qualified dependents shall be provided with PhilHealth coverage under the Sponsored Program. Their premium contributions shall be borne by the government facility, provided that they are certified poor by the medical social worker at the time of admission.
"This enrolment mechanism targets the poor which still comprise a significant portion of our society today" announced PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla. "We have partnered with all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals nationwide to mandatorily implement the POC" he stressed.
To date, there are 85 DOH-retained hospitals in the country and this number will further expand to widen access with the participation of Local Government-owned hospitals subject to PhilHealth’s approval.
The PhilHealth Chief expressed hope that POC will change traditional health-seeking behavior especially of the poor who opts to defer treatments because of lack of financial resources. "This program will change such behavior to one that voluntarily seeks medical treatment in hospitals, knowing that there is help waiting there from their PhilHealth" Padilla added.
Under the rules, those qualified using the intake survey sheet prescribed by the DOH shall be enrolled and paid for by the sponsoring hospital in the amount of P2,400 and valid "from the first day of the confinement month and shall end on the last day of the same year."
Beneficiaries shall be entitled to PhilHealth benefits which include inpatient, outpatient (except primary care benefit) and to the No Balance Billing policy where patients shall no longer pay the balance of hospital charges, if any.
In order not to defeat the objective of the program, the state health insurance agency emphasized that "under no circumstance shall the hospital ask the patient of any amount as their share for premium."
"It should be clear that poor patients should be afforded with financial protection at the point of need and not to give them more trouble by asking them incidental charges" Padilla further explained, adding that they are forwarding the list of qualified patients to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for possible inclusion in their poverty list, also known as Listahan ng mga Pamilyang Nangangailangan or Listahanan.
Indigent families in the DSWD list are automatically given PhilHealth coverage wholly financed by the National Government.

Christmas gift from the Philippine Embassy

13 December 2013 - Some Filipino children who are living in France received an early Christmas gift from the Philippine Embassy. In line with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ mandate of promoting Philippine language and literature throughout the world, the Philippine Embassy in Paris gave away as gifts different books on Philippine culture, art, architecture, myths and other stories to these Filipino kids. These books were donated to the Embassy by Mr. Bogie Caoili, a Filipino-French entrepreneur who owns Bocoray Shop which specializes in home furnishings and decors.
Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega, after receiving the books in a simple turn over ceremony at the Embassy, had a read-along with the children. Ambassador Ortega read and explained the significance of the Filipino classic, Bahay Kubo. Ambassador Ortega expressed hope that the parents of these children and other parents of children who are being raised abroad would continue to impart knowledge on Filipino language and culture for these children to be able to imbibe the spirit of nationalism in their hearts.
Some of the books donated included award-winning author Marla Yotoko Chorengel’s Maksing and Mona, The First Cashew Nut, Dikya, the Jellyfish, and Why the Sky is High. Other books include Philippine Wildlife edited by Jose Ma. Lorenzo P. Tan and Great Churches of the Philippines by Pedro G. Galende, OSA and Rene B. Javellana, S.J

Total deployment ban to Egypt lifted


 The POEA Governing Board has ended the total deployment ban to Egypt as the Department of Foreign Affairs further lowered the Crisis Alert Level in the said country from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 or Restriction Phase.
Under Alert Level 2, processing and deployment of workers shall be allowed only for OFWs returning to their current employers and are with existing employment contracts as determined by POEA. The deployment ban for newly-hired OFWs shall be maintained.

On 19 August 2013, DFA raised the Crisis Alert Level in Egypt to Alert Level 4, which resulted to the mandatory repatriation of OFWs and issuance of a total deployment ban to Egypt by the Governing Board.

The DFA, in view of the continued improvement in the political and security situation in Egypt, recommended on 04 November 2013 the lowering of the Crisis Alert Level to Alert Level 3, and to Alert Level 2 on 21 November 2013.

High school dropout creates Filipino-themed mobile game for iPhone

A Paramus, New Jersey family man with only a primary school education has created a mobile game for iPhone users.

Guy Pineda, 41, has recently launched Taboo Tyke which he described as an “adorable strategy game” suitable for all ages. It is the first game created by his Advanzweb company backed by a team of programmers based in Cebu.

The game features a cute and curious crawling baby named Tyler.

“Baby Tyler is oblivious to the world’s dangers, so Taboo Tyke challenges players to help him from getting hurt and waddle through different zones to get home,” explained Guy in an interview with The FilAm.

He continued with the details of how the game is played: “As baby Tyler walks continuously throughout the game, players must influence the toddler’s behavior with different Action Items to prevent him from falling or getting snatched. Action Items include teddy bears to make baby Tyler crawl down, lollipops to make him pause from walking, shoes to make him dash through obstacles, and helmets to protect him from falling debris and sneaky enemies.”

Unlike most games, the player does not have the control guides to manipulate baby Tyler’s moves. Instead the player resorts to “action elements” that will influence the baby’s movements. “You can’t make him stop,” urged Guy. “He’s a baby!”

The game can be addicting and ensures the player of several hours of “entertaining challenges,” he said further.

Not just a regular game, Taboo Tyke has incorporated some Filipino features in its design “to give it an interesting personality.” Seen in the background, for example, is a Cebuano street food stall called ‘pungko-pungko’ where baby Tyler is likely to stray into if the player does not act decisively.

“We are aiming to promote Philippine culture through mobile games,” said Guy.

Guy Pineda: ‘I am not formally educated in anything’

Born in Manila, Guy came to the US at the age of two. He returned to the Philippines where his parents intended for him to study high school, and stayed there for three and a half years. He never finished even after moving to three different schools.

“I am really not formally educated in anything,” he owned up. “I kinda didn’t take anything seriously and totally failed out of high school.”

Leaving Manila, he returned to Philadelphia in his teens and never went back to school, alluding in the interview to a “messed-up family life.” He decided at age 17 to declare independence from his parents. He received training in physical therapy and worked for many years in a clinic in New Jersey.

Guy and his wife, a physical therapist, have three children. The oldest daughter is 20 years old and is studying in Paris. The second daughter is 16, a student at Paramus High School and is active in cross-country running, choir, and volunteer work. The youngest is a boy, 11, who is in the 6th grade.

He is currently working as a brand manager for Salesone Jewelry in Connecticut, which specializes in stainless steel jewelry and accessories. He is a jewelry designer at the same time that he is in charge of the company’s Inox line.

“I work during the day for Salesone and when I get home at night, I work with my Cebu team for Advanzweb to build websites,” he said. “Usually, I’m working till 12 or 1 in the morning.”

He founded Advanzweb eight years ago initially as a web design and marketing solutions company. Today, it is staffed by seven employees from Cebu, three of them programmers, with Guy calling the shots via Skype from his split-level Paramus home. Taboo Tyke was born out of this modest operation.

“During a slow period, my team was needing some work to do and I’ve always wanted to build something for us and not for clients. So we began working on Taboo Tyke,” he recalled.

Taboo Tyke was developed for iPhone and iPod touch phones and is available for free. Guy’s team is working to make Taboo Tyke compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.

Not bad for one whose academic credentials boast only a kindergarten graduation.

“I’ve done pretty well,” said Guy. “My life is certainly full.”  The FilAm

2 Pinoy lifeguards plead innocence before UAE court over death in pool

Two Filipino lifeguards pleaded not guilty before a United Arab Emirates court this week over charges of negligence for the death of an Indian national in a swimming pool in August 2012.

Prosecutors accused the two Filipinos, aged 43 and 31, of failing to perform their duties which led to the man’s death, UAE news site Gulf News reported.

At the Dubai Misdemeanour Court on Thursday, the two Filipinos denied the accusation they were responsible for the 29-year-old Indian’s drowning.

The Indian victim had drowned while spending a day of swimming and entertainment with his brother and his family at Al Memzar Beach Park in August 2012.

He reportedly jumped into the four-meter-deep adults’ pool, but drowned and landed in the middle of the swimming pool’s bottom.

But the two Filipinos maintained the pool was crammed on that day, and asked the judge to adjourn the court until they hire a lawyer to defend them.

During the prosecution questioning, the victim’s elder brother said his children, his brother and he went to spend a day at the pool around 3 p.m.

A few hours later, he noticed a group of people surrounding the pool. When he went to check what happened, he realized his brother had drowned.

He said his brother did not know how to swim, adding he spotted first-aid equipment available near the poolside.

However, the lifeguards claimed they were not responsible for the man’s drowning.

“The park accommodates around 150-200 swimmers. I was seated at the rescue tower watching out the swimmers meanwhile (the other Filipino) was checking around the park’s three pools. Suddenly a man came up to me and said he spotted the victim at the bottom of the pool drowned and motionless," said one of the Filipinos.

He said he rushed to bring the victim out of the pool and save him, and dived to the bottom and pulled his body outside the pool.

"(W)e tried to resuscitate him and then he was rushed to hospital. Later we were told that he died,” one of the Filipinos said. — LBG, GMA News

PHL Embassy in Japan closed Dec 23 for Emperor's birthday

The Philippine Embassy in Japan will be closed on Dec. 23 to mark the birthday of Japanese Emperor Akihito.

In a notice on its website, the embassy indicated the "Emperor's Birthday" is part of the list of events and holidays in Japan.

The Japan-Guide.com website said the Emperor's Birthday is a national holiday.

Emperor Akihito became Japan's 125th emperor in 1989.

Meanwhile, the embassy said it will also be closed on:

- Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, a special nonworking day
- Dec. 25, Christmas Day
- Dec. 30, Rizal Day
- Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, a special nonworking day
 
— LBG, GMA News

PHL Embassy warns: Brokers of Korea-bound marriages may be traffickers

A warning to Filipinas being offered marriage in Korea: the offer may be part of a human trafficking ploy.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez issued this warning on his Twitter account Saturday.

Hernandez said the traffickers target Filipinas going to South Korea as wives and entertainers.

The Philippine embassy in South Kore issued a similar warning on illegal marriage brokering by Korean agents in the Philippines and the trafficking of Filipina entertainers into Korea following the Second Multicultural and Law Forum held in Ansan City.

Korean prosecutors and immigration officials, representatives of embassies and foreign community groups were invited to discuss challenges of multiculturalism in the South Korean society.

“Most of the serious cases were already problematic from the start as the Filipino women either went through illegal marriage brokers or were trafficked to Korea as entertainers,"  Embassy Second Secretary and Consul Aian Caringal said.

"As soon as the women reach Korea, their passports and other personal documents are taken from them by the employers, husbands or in-laws. Some are even not allowed to use or own a cellular phone,” he added.

Marriage brokering is illegal in the Philippines under the Anti Mail-Order-Bride Law.

The embassy warned victims of trafficking they may find themselves working as prostitutes for less than half the salary promised to them, or even killed. — LBG, GMA News

PHL Embassy warns: Brokers of Korea-bound marriages may be traffickers

A warning to Filipinas being offered marriage in Korea: the offer may be part of a human trafficking ploy.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez issued this warning on his Twitter account Saturday.

Hernandez said the traffickers target Filipinas going to South Korea as wives and entertainers.

The Philippine embassy in South Kore issued a similar warning on illegal marriage brokering by Korean agents in the Philippines and the trafficking of Filipina entertainers into Korea following the Second Multicultural and Law Forum held in Ansan City.

Korean prosecutors and immigration officials, representatives of embassies and foreign community groups were invited to discuss challenges of multiculturalism in the South Korean society.

“Most of the serious cases were already problematic from the start as the Filipino women either went through illegal marriage brokers or were trafficked to Korea as entertainers,"  Embassy Second Secretary and Consul Aian Caringal said.

"As soon as the women reach Korea, their passports and other personal documents are taken from them by the employers, husbands or in-laws. Some are even not allowed to use or own a cellular phone,” he added.

Marriage brokering is illegal in the Philippines under the Anti Mail-Order-Bride Law.

The embassy warned victims of trafficking they may find themselves working as prostitutes for less than half the salary promised to them, or even killed. — LBG, GMA News

UAE OFWs spending Xmas in PHL reminded to get overseas employment certificates

Overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates who want to spend the holidays in the Philippines were reminded over the weekend to secure their Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) first.

Philippine labor attache Delmer Cruz said the OFWs can get the OECs at one of 20 different centers in the Philippines to avoid long queues at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai, UAE news site Khaleej Times reported Sunday.

Cruz said the 20 areas include Duty Free Philippines in ParaƱaque, SM Manila, Trinoma in Quezon City, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for residents of Leyte and Samar affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

This early, there are already many applicants for the OEC at the POLO Dubai because it is peak season, the Khaleej Times quoted Cruz as saying.

Many OFWs are expected to flock to their homes in the Philippines in December to spend Christmas and New Year with their families.

Because of this, December and January are considered peak times for OFWs to return home.

Meanwhile, Cruz said OFWs can also get their OECs from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration regional offices in:

- Quezon Avenue, San Fernando City in La Union
- POEA Satellite Office Region II 13 Dalan na Pagayayya, Regional Government Center in Tuguegarao City
- POEA Regional Ext. Unit-CAR Benitez Court Compound, Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio City
- POEA Satellite Office Region III Clark, Angeles City in Pampanga
- POEA Satellite Office Region IV Hectan Commercial Centre Chipeco Avenue in Brgy. Halang Calamba City
- POEA Satellite Office No. V, Washington Drive in Legaspi City
- POEA Regional Center for Visayas corner General Maxilom Ave and Gorordo Ave in Cebu City
- POEA Regional Ext. Unit Region VI Ledesma corner Mabini Streets in Iloilo City
- POEA Satellite Office Araneta-Luzuriaga St in Bacolod City
- POEA Satellite Office DOLE Compound, Trece Martirez in Tacloban City

On the other hand, Cruz said those in Metro Manila may also get their OEC via POEA’s online appointment system at www.bmappointment.poea.gov.ph. — LBG, GMA News

UAE OFWs spending Xmas in PHL reminded to get overseas employment certificates

Overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates who want to spend the holidays in the Philippines were reminded over the weekend to secure their Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) first.

Philippine labor attache Delmer Cruz said the OFWs can get the OECs at one of 20 different centers in the Philippines to avoid long queues at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai, UAE news site Khaleej Times reported Sunday.

Cruz said the 20 areas include Duty Free Philippines in ParaƱaque, SM Manila, Trinoma in Quezon City, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for residents of Leyte and Samar affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

This early, there are already many applicants for the OEC at the POLO Dubai because it is peak season, the Khaleej Times quoted Cruz as saying.

Many OFWs are expected to flock to their homes in the Philippines in December to spend Christmas and New Year with their families.

Because of this, December and January are considered peak times for OFWs to return home.

Meanwhile, Cruz said OFWs can also get their OECs from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration regional offices in:

- Quezon Avenue, San Fernando City in La Union
- POEA Satellite Office Region II 13 Dalan na Pagayayya, Regional Government Center in Tuguegarao City
- POEA Regional Ext. Unit-CAR Benitez Court Compound, Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio City
- POEA Satellite Office Region III Clark, Angeles City in Pampanga
- POEA Satellite Office Region IV Hectan Commercial Centre Chipeco Avenue in Brgy. Halang Calamba City
- POEA Satellite Office No. V, Washington Drive in Legaspi City
- POEA Regional Center for Visayas corner General Maxilom Ave and Gorordo Ave in Cebu City
- POEA Regional Ext. Unit Region VI Ledesma corner Mabini Streets in Iloilo City
- POEA Satellite Office Araneta-Luzuriaga St in Bacolod City
- POEA Satellite Office DOLE Compound, Trece Martirez in Tacloban City

On the other hand, Cruz said those in Metro Manila may also get their OEC via POEA’s online appointment system at www.bmappointment.poea.gov.ph. — LBG, GMA News
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