Monday, September 30, 2013

Former Pinay nanny's journey to Canadian forces

Ret. Corporal Gina Pinangat. File photo
VICTORY, British Columbia - Gina Pinangat came to Canada in 1991 under the Foreign Domestic Movement Program now called Live-In Caregiver.

Like any other foreign worker, Pinangat had to fight off homesickness.

"The first two years, I wanted to go back to the Philippines. Ang sabi ko po sa sarili ko mag-iipon ako ng 2 years and then I'll go home," said ret. Corporal Pinangat.

But fate had other plans. Pinangat found a job at the Nortel Networks in Montreal and when she got laid off, she ended up enlisting in the Canadian forces.

"At first, there was a signing bonus of like humongous amount plus the offer was like really, really, good and plus the benefits were like top of the line," she said.

Pinangat was trained as an Aerospace Telecommunications and Information Systems technician. She never saw action in the war zone.

"At that time po, I was too valuable to be deployed," she said.

After nine years in the military service, Pinangat is now retired and helping the Filipino community. She has been a long-time volunteer of the Bayanihan Community Center in Victoria, assisting them with their technical and IT needs.

Pinangat is also a recipient of the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur which helps recently retired and transitioning Canadian forces members start their own business.

She met the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles through this program.

With all these experiences, Pinangat believes nothing is impossible.

"Coming as a domestic helper, it's really tough. Hindi madali po. But knowing na here in Canada you can be the best that you can be and marami po tayong pwedeng gawin," she said.

Pinangat recently joined the Ambassador's Tour in the Philippines hoping to explore business options in the country.

Before sending a balikbayan box, read this

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave some reminders for consumers, companies and overseas Filipino workers who send balikbayan boxes to the Philippines.
Before you send that balikbayan box, make sure the freight forwarder is accredited with thePhilippine Shippers' Bureau (PSB) to avoid possible problems. (A list of accredited freight forwarders as of end-December 2012 can be found here.)
"Accredited freight forwarders can be trusted because they follow government standards that guarantee their capability to provide reliable service to their clients," Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.
Maglaya said accredited freight forwarders also observe a code of ethics in doing business, as well as insurance coverage in case of accidents and non-delivery.
As of end-March 2013, there are 632 freight forwarding companies accredited with the PSB. This includes 422 Non-Vessel Common Carriers, 590 International Freight Forwarders and 157 Domestic Freight Forwarders.
The PSB has received 153 complaints on non-delivery of balikbayan boxes from around the world in 2012.
Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, PSB Director-in-Charge, said the non-delivery of balikbayan boxes usually occurs when foreign consolidators/ principal sea freight forwarders do not remit a portion of their collected charges to their accredited Philippine agents/ local sea freight forwarders to prompt the release and delivery of balikbayan boxes.
"When necessary funds are not remitted to accredited Philippine agent/ local freight forwarders, the shipment or the balikbayan boxes with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will not be released and will not be delivered to consignees/ recipients," he said.
Dimagiba further noted that most incidents of undelivered balikbayan boxes involved freight forwarding companies without PSB accreditation. He said the bureau accredits companies to weed out those who are not qualified to engage in the business.
"Therefore, DTI-PSB does not grant accreditation to freight forwarders who have pending or unresolved complaints at the time of their application," he said.
For complaints on the non-delivery, loss or pilferage of balikbayan boxes, send an email to the DTI-PSB ( of call (02) 751.3330.

Desperate OFW electrocutes self in Saudi

JEDDAH – A Filipino electrician survived after electrocuting himself out of desperation in Saudi Arabia.
Edgar Magwate has given up hope of ever resolving his problems. He has been staying at the so-called Tent City for several months now after leaving his employer.
Magwate said he pawned his house and lot and loaned money just to be able to work in the kingdom as an electrician.
But his bid for a better future failed when his salary was delayed and he was not given an iqama. He also suffered culture shock in Saudi Arabia.
Magwate said he was not prepared for the job and the culture of his host country. He admitted that he left the Philippines without going through the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS).
"Galing kami sa Lanao, pagdating namin sa Maynila tapos ibinigay nila itong certificate na ito sa PDOS, tapos sabi nila, bukas na lang sa airport mag-PDOS. Tapos walang nangyari, hindi kami na-orient," Magwate said.

Administrator Carmelita Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said that what Magwate experienced was likely to happen to OFWs whose agencies are in a rush to deploy them overseas.

"Maaring sa pagmamadali siguro, binigyan na lang siya ng certificate kahit hindi siya nag-attend ng seminar. Pwedeng mangyari iyon, pero bawal iyon. It's a violation ng rule ng POEA (Philippine Overseas Labor Office) at ng OWWA, na hindi dapat magbigay ng Certificate of Attendance na hindi naman naga-attend. Masama iyon at nanloloko iyon," Dimzon said.

Dimzon also appealed to OFWs to report to them agencies that are not providing their workers with the proper orientation before leaving the country.

"Huwag na nilang pabayaan na sila ay makaalis pa at magtagal doon. Mag-complain sila, kasi kailangan natin habulin ang agency. Kailangan maparusahan ang agency na hindi gumagawa ng hindi tama," she said.

Dimzon urged workers to report to them if their agencies failed to provide them with PDOS.
"Huwag na nilang pabayaan na sila ay makaalis pa at magtagal doon tapos magko-complain sila kasi kailangan nating habulin yung agency. Kailangang maparusahan yung agency na gumagawa ng mga ganitong bagay," said Dimzon.
The OWWA chief stressed that education is the best weapon for OFWs. Report from Charles Tabbu, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

OFWs in Saudi warned vs exit visa 'fixers'

MANILA - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia should be wary of people claiming they can have their exit visas quickly for a fee, the Philippine embassy in the kingdom warned on Thursday.
The embassy, in a press statement, said the fixers demand money from OFWs who want exit visas for repatriation.
"The embassy wishes to categorically state that it has not authorized any individual or organization to facilitate the issuance of exit visas," it said.
It added that only Saudi government agencies process exit visas of foreigners.
The embassy said it got several complaints filed against unscrupulous individuals who promised repatriation for a fee but instead supplied their victims with spurious exit visa reference codes.
It urged Filipinos who want to return home to contact the Philippine embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah for help.

SSS at 'Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel'



        Social Security System (SSS) President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. (top photo, left) gestures as he presented the SSS financial performance and accomplishments for the first half of 2013 during the “Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel” media forum held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City on September 24.
        De Quiros responded to various queries from the veteran journalists, columnists and media practitioners (bottom photo) who attended the event, with Deedee Siytangco (top photo, right) at the helm as moderator. The SSS chief cited the agency's P21.67 billion net revenue from January to June 2013, up by 16 percent from the same period in 2012, as bolstered by SSS efforts to improve coverage and collection in both the informal and formal sectors as well as its prudent management of benefits and operations expenses. Other major topics raised during the forum include SSS investment updates, Batas Kasambahay, AlkanSSSya Program, Annual Confirmation of Pensioners or “ACOP” Program and the SSS reform agenda.

PhilHealth holds maternal and child health advocacy

PhilHealth holds maternal and child health advocacy

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) conducted an advocacy activity for rural health units in Negros Oriental and Siquijor, encouraging these facilities to support national effort towards improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.
Participants from 19 local government units in Negros Oriental and from all six Siquijor towns attended the activity in Dumaguete City, together with representatives from the Barangay Health Workers Federation and some nongovernment organizations.
PhilHealth hopes to encourage facility assisted births among members, so it aims to engage all rural health units to participate as Maternity and Newborn Care provider.
"Pregnancy is a risk, therefore, delivery should be in a facility," said Dr. Maria Socorro Enterra, Maternal and Child Health/Center for Health Development (Central Visayas) Medical Specialist, one of the resource persons during the activity.
Once a rural health unit participates as Maternity and Newborn Care provider, members or their qualified dependents giving birth in the facility can avail of an P8,000 and a P1,750 PhilHealth coverage for mother and child, respectively.
The Maternity Care package covers pregnancy care from pre- to postnatal. The prenatal care component amounting to P1,500, is payable to the member upon presentation of receipts for prenatal services. The Newborn Care package covers newborn screening and hearing tests, as well as essential newborn care (including among others, Vitamin K administration, BCG vaccination and first dose of Hepatitis B immunization).
PhilHealth applies the No Balance Billing policy in all accredited lying-in clinics. So when members avail of these two benefit packages, no other amount will be charged for the normal delivery and the newborn care.
This is especially beneficial to poor constituents enrolled under the Sponsored Program, which includes those identified in the National Household Targeting for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and, consequently, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program beneficiaries.
Rural health units largely serve poor constituents. If it participates as Maternity and Newborn Care provider, it will receive reimbursement from PhilHealth for pregnancy care services rendered to poor patients because they are no longer charity cases but paying individuals. They have PhilHealth coverage through local and national government sponsorship of their premium contribution.
"Whether we like it or not, manganak man gihapon ng mga tawhana (these people are going to have babies). Nganong di na man lamang nato serbisyohan (Why don’t we just serve them) and get some reimbursement out of it," said Bindoy Mayor Valente Yap, an accountant and advocate for the National Health Insurance Program.
The rural health unit of Bindoy sets an example for other local governments in the Negros Oriental and Siquijor area in providing financial risk protection for the poor.
Bindoy has strengthened the capability of its rural health unit so that it is able to provide PhilHealth’s outpatient diagnostic and preventive care package (Primary Care Benefit 1), the TB-DOTS package for tuberculosis treatment, the Maternity Care package for normal deliveries, and the Newborn Care package for newborn screening and other essential newborn care.
As resource person during the advocacy activity, Mayor Yap shared that since 2002, when Bindoy got on board with PhilHealth’s Sponsored Program, the local government has paid about P14.28 million for the premium contribution of poor constituents. However, they have received back about P15.28 million in capitation payment from PhilHealth for the services provided by its rural health unit. Aside from that, PhilHealth has paid about P34.91 million for the hospitalization claims of Bindoy sponsored members.
"My point of presenting this is to show to you nga kun wala pa ning programaha (without this program), kining (these) hospital claims—dili gyud na kalikayan, magdaot man gyud ning tawo, ma-ospital man na (it cannot be avoided, people get sick, they get hospitalized)—og wala ning programaha, asa man kuhaa ng 34.9 million (without this program, where will that 34.9 million be coming from)? Gikan sa bulsa sa mga pobre natong mga kaigsoonan. This will be taken from the pocket of our poor families who can’t afford to pay the bills. So they’ll be forced to sell their carabao, mortgage their land, and other sources of money," Mayor Yap explained.
The mayor also shared that, as of 2012, Bindoy has received a total of P1.29 million from PhilHealth as reimbursement for Maternity Care services it provided to members.
PhilHealth plans to conduct a similar dialog in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol to bring all local governments in the region on board in this effort towards improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, two of the country’s Millenium Development Goals (MDG). (END)

Implementing Rules of New PhilHealth Law Approved

Implementing Rules of New PhilHealth Law Approved

The implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of Republic Act 10606, otherwise known as the National Health Insurance Act of 2013, was approved by the PhilHealth Board during a special meeting on September 12 at its main office in Pasig City.
The said IRR aims to simplify member’s experience with PhilHealth especially in registration and availment of benefits and operationalizes the new law, some salient provisions of which include mandatory coverage of the marginalized sector; entitlement of indigent members to the No Balance Billing policy, among others. Under the new law, even pregnant women who are non-members and who are about to give birth can also be entitled to financial health protection from PhilHealth.
In photo after a simple signing ceremony are (L-R) Department of Finance Undersecretary Jeremias N. Paul, Jr.; National Anti –Poverty Commission Vice Chairperson for Basic Sectors Atty. Marlon J. Manuel; Department of Labor and Employment Representative Leah T. Fortuna; PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla; Department of Health Secretary and Chairperson of the Board Dr. Enrique T. Ona; Human Resource Sub Sector – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Manager Reyda M. Quijano, OFW Sector Representative Jane M. N. Sta. Ana; Self-Employed Sector Representative Dr. Francisco Vicente F. Lopez; and Labor Sector Representative Dr. Alexander A. Ayco.

No blacklist from EU vessels amid October audit, VP Binay says

Filipino seafarers will not be blacklisted from European-flagged vessels amid an audit by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) this October, although they are advised not to be complacent and instead continue honing their skills.

"I have been assured by the businessmen in a meeting that the Philippines would not be blacklisted from European-flagged vessels," said Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) concerns, on Sunday.

"This was again reaffirmed to me last July by the Vice President for External Affairs of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Henry Schumacher," Binay added at the National Seafarers' Day in Manila.

On the other hand, Binay said Filipino seafarers should not be complacent and should instead further improve their skills. "These assurances are heartwarming, but should not be reason for us to relax our drives or aims," he said.  

Philippines is one of the biggest producers and suppliers of seafarers, alongside China, India, and several European countries.

Excerpts of Binay's speech were posted Sunday evening on his Facebook page.

According to the EMSA audit last April, the Philippines failed to meet EU standards on maritime education, training and competency certificates, specifically the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW).
The STCW Convention sets qualification standards for officers and personnel on merchant ships.

In his speech Sunday, Binay said he met with traders in Germany last June and assured them the Philippine government is taking steps to improve its maritime industry.  

He also said he reminded them of the ill effects on the maritime industry if Filipino seafarers are to be blacklisted from EU vessels.

Meanwhile, Binay said that while it is important to pass the EMSA audit, this is just the "first of many goals."

"EMSA is but a port of call as we complete our voyage of reasserting the Philippines as a maritime powerhouse, the first choice when it comes to seamen and marine professionals," he added.

The country on Sunday feted Filipino seafarers in activities culminating National Maritime Week. -- KBK, GMA News

PHL stresses responsibility of all states in fight vs. trafficking

Curbing the threat of human trafficking is a “joint responsibility" of all member-states of the United Nations, the Philippines declared this week in its fresh international appeal for unity against human trafficking.

The Philippines made the appeal during the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking in New York through Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) undersecretary for policy Evan Garcia.

"(Garcia) underscored that fighting human trafficking is a joint responsibility of member states – whether these be countries of origin, transit or destinatio," the DFA said in a news release posted on its website over the weekend.

The Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking held its fourth ministerial meeting last September 26 at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly 68th session in New York.

Garcia said fighting human trafficking is a core advocacy of the Philippines as the protection of overseas Filipino workers is a pillar of Philippine foreign policy.

He urged those in the meeting to advocate universal, human rights-based policies in tackling trafficking in persons, enhanced distribution of information and technical assistance, and a continuation of cordial relationships between nations.

The Philippines also promoted the ratification of the Palermo Protocol, a pact obliging UN members to “Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.”

Philippine policy against human trafficking has stepped up in recent months, yet remains at Tier 2 in the US’ 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report. Tier 2 is a list of countries with governments falling short of, despite significant efforts, the standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Present at the event were foreign ministers and deputy ministers belonging to the Group of Friends, as well as heads of UN agencies of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking (ICAT). -- Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

DFA: Pinoy UN peacekeepers earn Ban Ki-moon's praise

Filipinos serving as United Nations peacekeepers received praise from no less than UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

The DFA said Ban thanked DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario last Sept. 26, during a meeting with Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers.

"Mr. Ban publicly commended the Philippine government for maintaining Filipino peacekeepers in the United Nations Disengagement Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF) despite the two kidnapping incidents in March and May this year," it said in a news release posted on its website.

It also said Ban described the Philippine peacekeepers as "being extremely courageous in performing an outstanding necessary task."

Earlier this year, the DFA raised the issue of safety and security for the Filipino peacekeepers in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights following two abduction incidents this year.

At the time, del Rosario met with UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous and other key UN officials where he stressed the conditions set by the Philippine government for its continued engagement in UNDOF. — LBG, GMA News

Saudi-based OFWs set up group to help death row inmate

Overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia are banding to help another fellow OFW now in death row in the Kingdom's Dammam area.

The OFW Congress in Riyadh and Dammam said it will explore ways to help former seaman Jonard Langamin, Arab News reported Saturday.

“We cannot do this alone. We should join hands and work together if we want to save Langamin,” said Alex Bello, president of the Riyadh-based OFW Congress.

Dammam-based OFW Congress President Mary Jane Tupas added the group will discuss the matter in its next meeting.

“We will definitely take action and help Langamin so that he can also be released,” she said.

Dammam's high court in 2008 sentenced Langamin to death for killing Filipino Robertson Mendoza that same year.

Langamin's plight is similar to Rodelio Lanuza, who spent 13 years in jail and was sentenced to death for a killing in 2000.

But Lanuza has since been pardoned and was allowed to return to the Philippines.

The Arab News report said Langamin could have been released in 2012, but that his family cannot afford the blood money demanded by the victim’s family.

Vice President and presidential adviser on OFW affairs Jejomar Binay earlier said the Philippine government had not forgotten Langamin and is working to help him.

“We have not abandoned Langamin. We are currently negotiating with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh to resolve this case,” Arab News quoted Binay as saying. — LBG, GMA News

Women from Luzon and Mindanao outnumber men who go abroad

Women from the northern and southern areas of the Philippines far outnumber men who go abroad for work, according to a report by the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Despite NSO's report that out of the 2.2 million overseas Filipino workers abroad, there are generally more male OFWs, a 2007 survey by the same agency meanwhile reported that there is a gender discrepancy in the northern and southernmost regions of the country.
This data was put into an infographic by fomer University of the Philippines (UP) assistant professor Erika Fille Legara. (Also seen below)
A 2007 survey by the NSO reported that there is a gender discrepancy in the northern and southernmost regions of the country. Infographic: Erika Fille Legara
In Legara's graphic, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos region, and CAR in the north are dominated by women. Zamboanga, ARMM, and SOCCSKSARGEN in the south have the same ratio.

Laborers and workers
In the factsheet of the 2007 survey, it was shown that fifty-eight out of 100 of these women work as laborers and unskilled workers overseas.
“Women from those places usually go abroad as household service workers,” explained DOLE Spokesperson Nicon Fameronag in a text message.
The gender discrepancy is still apparent in NSO's 2012 statistical tables on OFWs.
In the south SOCCSKSARGEN and ARMM still sees more women than men traveling abroad, while CAR, Cagayan, and Ilocos Region in the north retain the same divergence in gender.
The number of women who work abroad are still mostly laborers and unskilled workers, with jobs in the service and market sales sector a distant second.
From 2007 to 2012, countries in Western Asia are consistently the top destination for OFWs, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates listed as having the highest volume of OFWs in the area.
Social Implications
While the economic benefits of migration may be great, the social cost it incurs has proven to be greater.
Authored in 2008 by Melanie Reyes of Miriam College, a review showed that children who are left behind by OFWs tend to long for parental care, as men are not seen performing the caring functions of mothers.
The United Nations Children's fund-sponsored paper also said that children left by migrant mothers are more prone to all sorts of abuse. They are also prone to feelings of abandonment similar to those felt by orphans and abandoned children.
The report even says that these children may even develop consumerist attitudes, as they can only see the “money equivalent” of migration, and associate their parents with money and gifts.
Commission of Filipino Overseas (CFO) Secretary Imelda Nicolas said support for these families should be included in any plans of the government regarding the situation of temporary migrants and their families.
In the 2013 preparatory roundtable discussion of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) last May 30, Nicolas said that policies created to safeguard OFW welfare and protection should be gender sensitive.
She said that a sex-disaggregated database should be maintained for government intervention to be more focused, and for support to be provided for the OFW family. – KDM, GMA News 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pinoy among 6 arrested in drug bust in Thailand

A Filipino was among six people arrested in Thailand Wednesday for allegedly being part of an international drug trafficking network whose operations included the United States and the Philippines.
The six were arrested in Phuket as part of a joint operation with Nigeria and Kenya, Thailand's Bangkok Post on Friday quoted police as saying.
Police arrested Joseph Manuel Hunter, 47, the drug network's alleged leader, and five suspected accomplices on Wednesday evening.
Arrested along with Hunter were two Britons, a Slovakian, a Filipino and a Taiwanese. The six were flown to Bangkok Thursday for questioning.
"This group was considered to be a big network that spanned many countries," including Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines," it quoted deputy police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang as saying.

Somyot also described Hunter as a "leading drug lord" wanted for drug smuggling, trafficking and other international crimes.
Narcotics Suppression Division 1 commander Chaiya Rujjanavet said police forces in Nigeria and Kenya conducted similar operations on the same day, arresting two eastern European men in Nigeria and two others in Kenya.
The Bangkok Post quoted police as saying Hunter served in the US Navy, and his alleged accomplices were also believed to have had military training.
"All these people were trained to kill," police Lt Gen Somyot said at a police airport in Bangkok.
The secret operation was a joint effort of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) working with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Hunter was on the DEA's most wanted list, the Bangkok Post report said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said Thursday the ministry had received a letter from the US embassy on Sept. 17.
The ministry then asked the Office of the Attorney-General to seek arrest warrants for the suspects. - ELR, GMA News

61 Saudi-based Pinays with children urged to report to passport dept

Some 61 Filipino women with children who are staying in Saudi Arabia and who underwent DNA testing were urged this week to go to the Passport Department to have their status verified.

The Philippine Embassy said that while the fingerprinting process is needed before exit visas can be issued to them, many of the mothers could no longer be contacted.

“We have done our best to contact them, but their cell phones are either switched off or have been sold onto someone else. They may have found a new employer in this time,” Saudi news site Arab News quoted an embassy spokesman as saying.

He said the mothers must complete the fingerprinting process, which is part of the process for the issuance of exit visas to leave for the Philippines before the November 3 deadline.

Saudi Arabia had given a Nov. 3 deadline for illegal workers to correct their status or leave the Kingdom without penalties. Its original deadline had been in July.

The embassy spokesman said the mothers should complete the verification process and return to the Philippines once they receive their visas, at least for the sake of their children.

He said the children are considered undocumented because they do not have birth certificates.

Arab News cited its sources who said some 2,000 Filipinos have been repatriated from Riyadh and 1,500 from Jeddah so far.

New employers?

Arab News also quoted an official at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh who said many of the undocumented Filipinos, including mothers with children, found new work.

“They want to continue working in the Kingdom. However, they have been coming to us to complain and ask for help because they have problems with their new employers. We tell them that it’s better that they leave their employers and go back to the Philippines,” the official said.

On the other hand, the official said many prospective employers promised Filipinos sponsorship but did not follow through. In some cases, the prospective employers charge them for the cost of transfer.— KBK, GMA News

Zamboanga City port, muling binuksan; seguridad mahigpit

Some MNLF gunmen remain defiant even in captivity
Some MNLF gunmen remain defiant even in captivity. Even at the last minute, a captured MNLF gunman shows defiance as government forces bring them to a police station in Zamboanga City to be processed on Thursday, September 26. About 17 more suspected MNLF members were taken into custody in Barangay Sta. Barbara. This brings to more than 200 the number of Misuari followers arrested as of 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Zamboanga City police. As of Wednesday evening, the military said at least 125 MNLF members, 15 soldiers, five police officers and 13 civilians were killed in the conflict. Chino Gaston
Matapos na isara ng mahigit dalawang linggo, unti-unti nang binuksan nitong Biyernes ang Zamboanga City Port para sa mga biyahe paunta at paalis ng syudad.
Ngunit sinabi ng Philippine Coast Guard na mahigpit ang seguridad sa daungan, ayon sa ulat ng Philippine News Agency gabi noong Huwebes.
Sa panayam ng PNA kay Coast Guard Zamboanga station commander Lt. J.G. Joemark Angue, sinabing  apat na biyahe lamang ang papayagan mula Zamboanga patungong Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi (o BaSulTa).

Ang mga biyahe ay ang mga sumusunod:
- Zamboanga City-Basilan via Isabela City at pabalik, 2 trips araw-araw
- Zamboanga City-Jolo, Sulu at pabalik, isang trip araw-araw
- Zamboanga City-Bongao, Tawi-Tawi at pabalik, isang biyahe araw-araw
Isinara ang Zamboanga Port noong Setyembre 9, nang pumasok ang mga tagasunod ni Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari sa syudad at nakipagbakbakan sa mga tropa ng gobyerno.
Ngunit, nabawi na ng militar at mga pulis ang karamihan sa mga barangay ng syudad na sinakop ng mga rebelde.

 Inspeksyon para sa seguridad

Samantala, ayon din sa ulat ng PNA, magpatutupad ang Coast Guard ng "three-layer inspection" para sa mga "inbound" na mga barko.
Ang inspeksyon na gagawin ay: pre-boarding inspection (sa pinanggagalingang lugar);  on-sea inspection sa may mga isla ng Sta. Cruz; at ang arrival inspection.
“No vessel can sail directly to Zamboanga City without being inspected doon sa Sta. Cruz Islands,” ayon kay Angue.
Sinabi rin ni Angue na ang lahat ng pampasaherong sasakyang-dagat ay kailangang kumuha ng clearance mula sa Naval Forces ng Western Mindanao Command bago pa man ang mga ito papayagang bumiyahe papunta at palabas ng Zamboanga City.
Magdala ng ID cards
Pinayuhan din ni Angue ang mga pasahero na magdala ng ID cards, dahil ipatutupad na ang "no ID, no ticket, no entry" rule.
Samantala, walang behikulo (pribado man, pampubliko, kahit yaong sa mga VIP) ang papayagang makapapasok sa prier.

Samantala, noong Huwebes, 17 pinaghinalaang MNLF fighters ang dinakip ng mga awtoridad sa Barangay Sta. Barbara.
Umabot na umano sa 200 ang bilang ng mga tauhan ni Misuari ang nadakip o sumurender batay sa tala noong Huwebes ng gabi.
Hanggang noong Miyerkules, umabot na sa 125 na mga miyembro ng MNLF, 15 sundalo, limang police officers at 13 civilians ang napatay sa bakbakan mula pa noong Setyembre 9.
Nagsimula ang krisis sa Zamboanga City sa araw na iyon nang pasukin ng mga rebelde ang syudad at nakipagbakbakan laban sa mga tropa ng gobyerno, at ginamit na "human shields" ang ilang mga residente na kanilang dinukot.

Pumasok ang mga rebeldeng MILF  sa Zamboanga City  sa pagtatangkang itayo doon ang United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik. — LBG, GMA News

Konsuladong Panlahat ng Pilipinas sa Jeddah Nagbabala Laban sa mga Nag-Aalok ng Repatriation Kapalit ng Pera

03 Setyembre 2013 - Nais pong bigyang linaw ng Konsuladong Panlahat ng Pilipinas sa Jeddah ang napabalitang pagsundo sa mga undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sa tinaguriang “Tent City” ng Jawazat nitong mga nakaraang araw upang sila raw ay pauwiin sa Pilipinas. Diumano, ang pagsundong ito ay utos ng hari upang mapabilis ang pag-uwi ng mgaundocumented OFWs sa Pilipinas.
Ang impormasyong ito ay kinumpirma ng Konsulado sa Jawazat. Ayon sa Jawazat, walang ganitong utos ang hari at walang sinuman ang makauuwi ng hindi dumaan sa proseso na naaayon sa kasalukuyang repatriation at regularization program.
Wala ring kinalaman ang Konsulado sa mga pangyayaring ito. Kung mayroon mang mga bagong proseso sa pagpapa-uwi ay agad itong ipagbibigay alam ng Konsulado sa publiko.
Ayon sa impormasyong nakalap ng Konsulado, ang mga undocumented OFWs na sinundo diumano ng Jawazat ay nagbigay ng hindi bababa sa 100 Riyals. Totoong sila ay dinala sa airport ngunit hindi rin sila nakaalis.
Inuulit po namin na ang pagpapa-uwi ay walang bayad at ang sinumang nabigyan ng exit visa at walang kakayhang bumili ng tiket ay maaring humingi ng tulong sa Konsulado.
Huwag magpaloko. Hindi kailangan magbayad upang malagyan ng “reference number” ang Travel Document, makapagpa-fingerprint o kaya ay mabigyan ng exit visa.
Pinaalalahan rin po ang ating mga kababayan sa Saudi Arabia na hindi agad agad mabibigyan ng exit visa o kaya ay tiket pauwi. Kinakailangang dumaan sa proseso. Ginagawa po ng Konsulado ang lahat upang mapabilis ang proseso.
Kung kayo ay nabiktima, maaring kayong humingi ng tulong sa Konsulado. Kung kayo ay may impormasyon tungkol sa mga manloloko, makipag ugnayan sa Konsulado. Tumawag lamang sa telepono bilang 02-6198478 o kaya ay pumunta sa Assistance-to-Nationals Section (ANS) sa ikalawang palapag ng Konsulado. WAKAS

Phl Embassy Reminds Overstaying Filipinos to Proceed to Saudi Deportation Office As Soon As Possible

12 September 2013- The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh renewed its call to all overstaying Filipinos in the Kingdom to proceed to the Deportation Office (Jawazat Wafideen) NOW and avail of the facilities under correction period before the November 03, 2013 deadline.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin H. Tago advised all overstaying Filipinos in Riyadh to proceed now to the Deportation Office (Jawazat Wafideen) and avoid delays in the processing of their documentation by Deportation authorities especially before the E’id il Adha holidays from October 11 to 20.
“The Embassy calls on all overstaying Filipinos in Riyadh to proceed NOW to the Deportation Office and avail of the facilities under the correction period before 03 November 2013 and avoid penalties and imprisonment,” Ambassador Tago said.
Ambassador Tago also noted that over 3,000 Filipinos have been repatriated using Philippine Government funds by the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah since the start of the correction period. The Embassy and the Consulate General will continue to provide assistance for the repatriation of Filipinos during the correction period.
For those in Riyadh, the schedule at Jawazat Wafideen are as follows:
For women
            When                         :           Tuesdays and Wednesdays
            Where                        :           Women’s Section, Jawazat Wafideen
Times                        :           From 5:00 PM
            Requirements         :           Original iqama; or
                                                            Original passport with entry visa or records; or
Those with fingerprint (basamat) record or printout
                                                            Valid Travel Document or passport
For men
When                         :           Thursdays
            Where                        :           Men’s Section, Jawazat Wafideen
Times                         :           From 5:00PM
            Requirements         :           Original iqama; or
                                                            Original passport with entry visa or records; or
Those with fingerprint (basamat) record or printout
                                                            Valid Travel Document or passport
All Filipinos are also reminded of the following:

  1. Proceed early to Wafideen. Nationals from other countries are also included in the designated schedule for Filipinos;
  2. Ensure that there are no pending car registrations, bank loans, or unpaid traffic violation penalty or any other records under your name before proceeding to Wafideen. Those who have pending blotter or police records will also not be issued exit visas.
  3. Ensure that all documents presented are authentic. Possession of fake documents may result in imprisonment.
For those in the Eastern Region, the Jawazat in Dammam accepts Filipino any day of the week.
For Filipinos who do not have (1) original iqamas; or (2) original passport with entry visa records; or (3) those whose fingerprints have not been registered in the Immigration database or those who cannot secure a printout of their immigration records are advised to coordinate with the Embassy. Such cases will be brought by the Embassy to the attention of concerned Saudi authorities. END

Payo para sa mga may Passport Application Appointments sa Araw na ito sa Kamaynilaan

23 Setyembre 2013 – Bukas ang Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) para sa mga may appointment sa pagkuha ng pasaporte ngayong araw, ika-23 ng Setyembre 2013. 
Gayunpaman, pinapayuhan ng DFA ang mga hindi makakapunta sa kanilang appointment ngayong araw na maaari silang magtungo sa tanggapan ng DFA sa Kamaynilaan anumang araw ngayong linggo, mula bukas, Martes, hanggang Biyernes, ika-27 ng Setyembre.
Kinakailangan lamang nilang ipakita ang katunayan na sila ay may appointment sa araw na ito (ika-23 ng Setyembre). WAKAS

Advisory to All Filipinos in Saudi Arabia

26 September 2013 – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh warns Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against dealing with individuals falsely claiming that they can facilitate the issuance of exit visas for repatriation in exchange for payment.
The Embassy wishes to categorically state that it has not authorized any individual or organization to facilitate the issuance of exit visas. Filipinos are also reminded that exit visas may only be processed through the proper Saudi authorities.
This advisory is a response to several complaints lodged against unscrupulous individuals who promised repatriation for a fee but instead supplied their victims with spurious exit visa reference codes.
Those kababayans wanting to be repatriated are advised to contact the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate General in Jeddah for assistance. END

News copy paste..;

Labor migration leaves many PHL families motherless


It was in a small barangay in the then Municipality of Mabalacat (now Mabalacat City) of Pampanga that we, a team of psychologists from the MLAC Psychosocial Services for Well Being, became witness once more to how several families were transformed into motherless homes with the greater demand for female contract workers in Middle Eastern countries.

About 70 percent of Filipino migrant workers are women, most of which are mothers and wives. Many of our Filipino female migrant workers are forced to work abroad because of the economic demands and lack of employment opportunities for the father. The phenomenon of the OFW mothers has altered the family landscape in several areas in the country.  

“Nawala ang ilaw ng tahanan” is how many families of OFW mothers describe their situation. It is also the title of a book by psychologists Dr. Honey Carandang, Chris Carandang, and Aileen Sison. The book puts together the stories of several families who, like so many others, are dealing with the impact of labor migration. Stories such as these have formed the impetus for organizations to embark on collaborative efforts in order to address the repercussions on Filipino families.

“Nawala ang ilaw ng tahanan” means so much more than its literal and metaphorical translation when seen in the context of OFW mothers having to leave their children and husbands. It embodies the experiences of hundreds of thousands of Filipino children and fathers as they confront life without the mother (ang ilaw ng tahanan) who, in practice and tradition, provides the necessary emotional and psychological foundations for the family.  It summarizes the brokenness that they feel and live with in her absence.

This is how many families in Barangay Sapang Biabas describe their lives with an OFW mother.  Children, quite often, have to face this reality with their own resources – too young to understand, sometimes taken for granted for their supposed lack of maturity and awareness.

One child I spoke to expressed his sadness by saying, “Nakakalungkot, dati si Mama ang laging nag-aasikaso sa amin.” (I feel sad. Mama used to be the one taking care of us.)

Another child said, “Nalipat sa amin (magkakapatid/kay Papa) yung mga ginagawa ni Mama sa bahay. Kung minsan hindi na namin nagagawa yung mga kailangan gawin sa school.” (We, my siblings and I/with Papa, are now responsible for the household chores that Mama used to do. There are times when we are unable to finish our schoolwork.)

The metaphor “ilaw ng tahanan” assigns the mother to a role that guides her children and her mate. She leads the way, takes part in decision-making on family matters, and acts as a homing beacon for those who need to find their way back home in the dark. She is the one entrusted with the internal needs of the family. We were able to meet one of the OFW mothers who decided to come home for a few days as soon as she learned that her child had dengue and had to be taken to the hospital – a choice that is not readily available to many women in her situation. As far as she knows, her child was sick and of course she had to come home.

The father, on the other hand, is traditionally called “haligi ng tahanan,” which literally means “the pillar of the home.” The metaphor assigns the role of protector and provider of support for the family unit. The father figure is responsible for the relationships affecting the family outside the unit. These are but a few interpretations people commonly give to this age-old metaphor for mothers and fathers.

With these challenges, there are children who deal with their sadness and longing by forging stronger ties with their siblings. They seek comfort and solace by turning to their peers and extended family relations. Interestingly enough, some of these children expressed a sense of being “pleasantly surprised” as they witnessed their fathers rise to the occasion – cooking family meals, bathing the younger siblings, washing clothes, and trying his best to take on both roles as mother and father in the household.

Fathers and mothers of OFW families, quite often, find themselves in a situation where they still see themselves in their traditional parental roles while they come to terms with the new demands of a transformed family unit. It isn’t really so much a reversal of roles, as perceived by the fathers and children I spoke to in Barangay Sapang Biabas, as it is an adding on of new ones.

Given the chance, an OFW mother will not think twice about dropping everything to come home to a child who is seriously ill. She will email or text reminders for Papa, Kuya, or Ate to make sure that the baby is taken to the health center for vaccination. She will constantly think and worry about her husband’s drinking sprees in the local sari-sari store.  All this as she manages her own sense of yearning, sadness, and guilt for abandoning her wifely and motherly duties in order to make ends meet.

In most cases, the father sees no choice but to accept the added role of taga-luto (cook), labandera (laundry man), and tagapag-alaga (caregiver).  He takes this on while still performing his traditional role as income earner (e.g. public transport driver, mechanic, carpenter, part-time or contractual laborer, etc.). He copes with his own sense of inadequacy and failure to bring in enough money for food and other basic needs thereby forcing his wife to take on a role that culture and society have conditioned him to think as traditionally belonging to the man of the house.  Many of them seek relief from a hurt sense of pride by drinking with their friends and reaffirming their male status by engaging in extra-marital affairs. Not all of them become unfaithful but it appears to be accepted as a common occurrence although an unfavorable one.

But there is a bright light that shines through these difficult situations OFW families face. In their brokenness, many fathers have realized their own strengths and capacities by going beyond traditional roles in the family. They express this with a clear sense of pride as they see themselves take on both maternal and paternal roles. I witnessed this in the fathers I met as I watched them dress their young kids and pat them with baby powder while talking to us. They sat together with their children during meal time making sure each one had enough vegetables on his plate while managing little brewing fights between siblings.

These fathers have learned to rise above their situation and accept their added role with pride. They have found the internal resources to redefine their role. They do not consider it as an exchange or a swapping of responsibilities. They did not appear emasculated by it. They see it as a growth and development of their traditional roles – over and above what they have been conditioned to think and accept simply because it needs to be done.

“Tumayo yung haligi, at naging ilaw pa,” they said.

The pillar has risen to the occasion to become the light as well – a very telling sign of how Filipinos are able to reconstruct and redefine themselves in response to the harsh demands of life. Labor migration costs may not justify the social costs to the family unit, but this is the bigger lesson to be learned from the sacrifices made by overseas Filipino workers and from the resilience shown by the families they leave behind.

The author is a member of an organization called the MLAC Psychosocial Services for Well Being, which has been working in cooperation with the CIAC (Clark International Airport Association) in a program designed to provide psychosocial support for families with OFW mothers in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, launched July 18, 2013. The program is called AMMA, which stands for Ama na Magaling Mag-Aruga sa Anak.

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