Monday, December 29, 2014

Parents below 60 years old may now be declared as legal dependents ---PhilHealth

THE country’s health insurer today announced that it is now extending its insurance coverage to parents below 60 years old but with permanent disability.
Thus, members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) whose parents are permanently disabled which renders them to be totally dependent to the member, may now include them as their qualified legal dependents. As beneficiaries, parents can avail themselves of PhilHealth benefits in any accredited health care institution nationwide.
This new development is embodied in Section 3.n. of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10606 or the National Health Insurance Act of 2013 which states that among the legal dependents that may now be declared are“parents with permanent disability, regardless of age as determined by the Corporation that renders them totally dependent on the member for subsistence.”
Members who intend to include their disabled parent as their additional dependent need to submit to the nearest PhilHealth office, a duly accomplishedPhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) and a detailed Medical Certificate issued by attending physician stating the diagnosis, extent of disability and the date when the disability was acquired. The PMRF may be downloaded from
“We are mandated by law to provide health insurance to all Filipinos and extending the coverage to parents below 60 years old but with permanent disability is an approach to achieve universal coverage,” said Alexander A. Padilla, President and CEO of PhilHealth.

He added that parents below 60 years old whose current admission to an accredited health care institution resulted to permanent disability, can immediately be declared as dependents, and that the said confinement shall be covered, provided that prior to discharge, the necessary have been submitted to any PhilHealth Office for evaluation and amendment of the active member’s Data Record (END).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

UAE court halves jail term of drunk sailor who tried to molest Pinay stewardess

A sailor who got drunk and tried to molest a Filipina stewardess aboard an Emirates flight last February got his sentence shortened by a United Arab Emirates court over the weekend.
The Dubai Appeal Court admitted the 28-year-old sailor's appeal and halved his jail term from one year to six months, but upheld a Dh1,000 fine, Gulf News reported late Sunday.
Presiding judge Eisa Al Sharif also ordered the accused deported once he serves his sentence.
However, the appellate ruling is subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 30 days.
The sailor had been charged for allegedly trying to force his way into the cockpit, and molesting and assaulting two stewardesses.
Court records showed the sailor ran up and down the aisle and tried to enter the cockpit, then allegedly groped a Romanian stewardess while hugging and trying to kiss the Filipina.
He also assaulted government employees including a security officer.
Before the court, the sailor admitted drinking alcohol but denied the other allegations, adding his assault on the plane's crew was in self-defense.
The Romanian stewardess said the incident took place 90 minutes after the plane took off from Singapore en route to Dubai.
She said the sailor tried to smoke a cigar and tried to enter the cockpit "a number of times" when he was drunk, prompting the crew to stop serving him liquor.
"The flight’s security officer and others managed to restrain the defendant and buckle him into his seat after the pilot ordered them to do so. The defendant groped me,” she said.
For her part, the Filipina flight attendant said the sailor molested her.  Joel Locsin/RSJ, GMA 

Monday, December 22, 2014

SSS profit up 14 percent in 10 months

The Social Security System (SSS) posted a 14-percent increase in profit to P37.3 billion in the 10 months that ended in October as contributions of members continued to show growth.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros Jr said SSS net profit increased from January to October buoyed by contribution collections which rose 16.9 percent to P100 billion from the same period last year.
Contributions, which constitute 77.5 percent of our total revenues, registered improved growth primarily due to the employed sector. We also noticed immediate improvement in collections after we implemented the new contribution rate and increased the monthly salary credit this year,” de Quiros said.
For the period, employers remitted about P86.9 billion in employees' contributions, followed by voluntary paying members at P8.6 billion, and self-employed at P4.5 billion.
The double-digit growth in collections was likewise achieved through the SSS AlkanSSSya program, which has covered 106,824 members from 1,061 informal sector groups and associations; intensified marketing campaigns for OFWs; and partnerships with 18 microfinance institutions, cooperatives and organized groups, de Quiros said.
The agency's total revenue stood at P129 billion, representing an increase of 13.2 percent or P15 billion compared to the same period in 2013. Investment and other income, which comprised 22.5 percent of total revenues had a modest increase of 1.9 percent to P29 billion despite lower interest rates in the market.
Profits slightly moved up with revenues posting an increment of 13.2 percent vis-a-vis expenditures of 13 percent. Significantly, we were able to keep our operations costs down while outperforming our target by 46 percent,” de Quiros said.
Total expenditures, which cover benefit payments and operating expenses amounted to P91.7 billion, of which 93.3 percent was spent on benefits totalling P85.6 billion, up 13.7 percent from P75.3 billion of the same period of 2013. More than half of the amount or P46.5 billion was paid for retirement claims, and about one-third or P28.1 billion was disbursed to survivors of deceased members.
The increase in benefit payments resulted from the five percent across-the-board increase for 1.8 million SSS pensioners that took effect this June 2014. Also part of the reason for the increase was the pensions we advanced to 3,931 pensioners including those affected by Zamboanga siege, Bohol and Cebu earthquake, typhoons Labuyo and Santi and to 17,394 pensioners affected by supertyphoon Yolanda,” de Quiros said.
Meanwhile, SSS operating expenses remained below its allowed charter limit at only P6.1 billion or 47.6 percent of the limit.
The financial position of the agency also continued to show solid performance with total resources reaching P436.6 billion, which was 13.5 percent higher than 2013 yearend level of P384.6 billion.
SSS assets achieved double-digit growth on the back of our investments that rose P57.9 billion to P409.6 billion due to robust growth in government securities of P23.3 billion driven by additional placements on higher portfolio accounts and initial placement of ECC fund into government bonds,” de Quiros explained.
The SSS has about P414 billion at fair value in investible funds. More than 60 percent of the total are invested in government securities and equities, 20 percent in housing and member loans, four percent in real estate, and 11 percent in corporate bonds and bank deposits.

SSS Media Affairs Department
7th floor, SSS Building, East Ave., Diliman, Quezon City
9206401 loc. 5052-5055, 5058 

Pinoy youths in Spain get tips vs. bullying

Filipino youths in Spain received tips on how to deal with bullies after attending a workshop conducted by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid.

The embassy said the workshop was conducted earlier this month at the multi-purpose hall of the Basilica de la Virgen Milagrosa in Madrid.

During the workshop, Master Guro Lawrence Oleriana taught participants "the importance of eye contact in a possible bullying situation."

Oleriana, president of the Spanish Association for Filipino Martial Arts, served as speaker at the event.

"He defined bullying using everyday situations and encouraged the participants to develop habits that promote safety. He also stressed the importance of eye contact with other people and self-confidence," the embassy said.

About 20 Filipino children aged 8 to 17 took part in the workshop while parents listened to "gain a better understanding of the nature and dynamics of bullying."

Step up or be stepped on

During the workshop, Oleriana adopted the slogan “step up or be stepped on,” suggesting actions to help prevent bullying.

He also taught the participants basic blocking and defense moves.

The embassy cited a recent survey showing 25 percent of about 25,000 students in Spain have encountered some form of bullying.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

POEA orders total deployment ban on Ebola-hit West African countries

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has imposed a total deployment ban in Ebola-hit countries Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said Saturday.
In a press conference, Cacdac explained that the POEA Governing Board Resolution had approved the deployment ban due to the Ebola virus and the Alert Level 3 issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
An earlier July POEA deployment ban on the three West African countries had prohibited the deployment of only newly-hired workers, after the DFA had raised an Alert Level 2 on those countries.
Government records show that there were about 900 OFWs currently deployed in the West African countries.
The World Health Organization reported that there are 19,031 Ebola cases, including 7,373 deaths.— DVM, GMA News

Pinoys hold fundraiser in Dubai for Typhoon Ruby victims

A Filipino non-government organization in the United Arab Emirates held a fundraising activity at the Philippine consulate in Dubai for the victims of Typhoon Ruby, a report from GMA's “News TV Live” program said Saturday.
According to the report, Sangguniang Masang Pilipino launched the event named “Brunch for a Cause” which was attended by at least 200 people. The event featured Filipino artists and bands who performed for the crowd.
The funds raised will be used to buy food and other necessities for typhoon victims in the Samar province and other areas.
On December 6, Ruby made landfall in Dolores, Eastern Samar and barreled through the province leaving at least 23 dead and countless homes destroyed.  Andrei Medina/JDS, GMA News

POEA warns recruitment agencies vs. placement fees for NZ

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration over the weekend warned recruitment agencies against charging placement fees from overseas Filipino workers bound for New Zealand.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said New Zealand's Wages Protection Act of 1983 bars employers from seeking premiums for the employment of any person.

Recruiters found charging or collecting placement fee for deployment of OFWs to “no placement fee” countries will have their licenses canceled, even on the first offense, he warned.

On the other hand, he advised job applicants to report to the POEA through Facebook the agencies that collect placement fees for New Zealand and other countries covered by the no-placement fee policy.

Aside from New Zealand, countries that prohibit the collection of placement fees include the United States (H2B visa), Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the POEA cited Section 3, Rule V, Part II of its rules governing the recruitment of land-based overseas workers allows a recruitment agency to charge and collect from its hired workers as placement fee, "an amount equivalent to one month salary, exclusive of documentation costs, except where the prevailing system where the worker is to be deployed, either by law or practice, does not allow charging or collection of placement and recruitment fee."  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Pinoy tops Saudi Arabia photo tilt

A Filipino copped the first prize in the smartphone category of a photography contest in Saudi Arabia, the Philippine embassy there said.

Herbert Bagolbagol took part in the “Colors of Saudi Arabia Forum 2014” last December 14 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

"Bagolbagol is the only Filipino who won in the competition along with other Saudi and GCC expatriates who participated in the competition," the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said.

Mr. Herbert Bagolbagol, together with H.E. Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago, shows his trophy after winning in the smartphone category of a photography contest in Saudi Arabia. — DFA Photo

It said his entry “Clay Tower Old Village of Rawdat Sudair” was taken last June, during a trip in Najd in central Saudi Arabia.

Other photographs taken by Filipino photographers were exhibited at the Diplomatic Pavilion inside the Forum. The Forum ran until Saturday.

The "Colors of Saudi Arabia Forum" is a yearly event organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

According to the embassy, it is considered the largest event in Saudi Arabia for photography and short films in tourism, culture and heritage.  Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Non-Saudi wives to get permanent residence permits –report

Filipinas who married Saudi citizens may be among the foreign nationals who stand to benefit from a policy to grant permanent residency to foreign wives, widows and divorcees of Saudi nationals, a Saudi news site reported Friday.

Arab News said the policy will give permanent iqamas to foreign mothers of Saudi children, with license fees shouldered by the state.

“These women will be counted as Saudis for Saudization purposes if they are employed, and they will be treated like Saudis when it comes to education in schools, universities and government hospitals,” Arab News quoted a source linked to the Cabinet as saying.

Passport Department spokesman Lt. Col. Ahmed Al-Lehidan said the permits guarantee rights to women, including divorced or widows, as well as their children's rights.


But the report quoted Al-Leheidan as saying applicants should prove they are or were legally married to Saudi citizens and had children with them.

Riyadh will review the applications before issuing permits. The renewable permits will last five years.

A Saudi citizen's wife or the mother of Saudi children can get the permit by presenting an official marriage certificate, or the birth certificate of the Saudi children and her passport.

If a woman is divorced, she has to show her divorce document, family card and children's birth certificates. —Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

US Embassy in PHL closed Dec 25-26, 30-31, Jan 1-2

The United States Embassy in Manila will be closed in most days of the last two weeks of December, in observance of the holidays.

In a media advisory, the embassy said it will be closed on the following dates:

- Dec. 25, Christmas Day
- Dec. 26, special non-working holiday
- Dec. 30, Rizal Day
- Dec. 31, special non-working day
- Jan. 1, first day of the New Year
- Jan. 2, additional special non-working day

The embassy said it will resume regular service on Jan. 5, 2015, the first Monday of the new year.Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

DFA releases schedule of authentication services during holidays

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday released the schedule of authentication services at its main and satellite offices in some provinces.

In a news release, the DFA said this is due to the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.

Covered by the schedules are:

DFA Aseana
DFA NCR-West (SM Manila)
DFA NCR-East (SM Megamall)
DFA NCR-Northeast (Ali Mall)
DFA NCR-South (Metro Gaisano Alabang)
DFA San Fernando-Pampanga (Robinson Starmills).

According to the DFA, expedite-filed documents filed Dec. 19 will be released Dec. 22; those filed Dec. 22 will be released Dec. 23; and those filed Dec. 23 will be released Dec. 29.

On the other hand, regular-filed documents filed Dec. 19 will be released Jan. 7; those filed Dec. 22 will be released Jan. 8; those filed Dec. 23 will be released Jan. 8; and those filed Dec. 29 will be released Jan. 9.

The regular authentication services schedule will resume on January 5, 2015. Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

Friday, December 19, 2014

With new technique, Pinay with heart ailment makes quick recovery in UAE

A Filipina made a swift recovery from a congenital heart ailment after undergoing an advanced and minimally invasive procedure in the United Arab Emirates.

Marissa Soriano, 36, underwent the procedure in Al Noor to fix a hole in her heart wall, UAE news site Khaleej Times reported Thursday.

“I have been suffering for a long time from chest pain and difficulty in breathing, even with a simple activity such as routine walking. I would feel tired just after taking a few steps,” she said.

She also said she had been uncomfortable with the conventional procedure that involves the breastbone being split open.

Last month, she decided to undergo the surgery after extensive research.

Dr. Norbert Augustin, a consultant cardiac surgeon at Al Noor Hospital, said the Filipina had suffered shortness of breath and was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart.

Agustin, who is also head of Cardiac Sciences at Al Noor Hospital Airport Road, performed a two-and-a-half-hour surgery using an "advanced minimally invasive technique” where he accessed the heart directly using an incision measuring 6 by 8 cm.

Such a technique allows a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time, he said.

"(The) patient was able to breathe on her own only four hours after surgery and was discharged from the hospital four days later,” he said.

He added he is "almost the only one" in the UAE doing such a minimally invasive technique.

Agustin said cases like Soriano's are usually detected during childhood, and the best time to close the hole is at five years.

"But in some patients, doctors don’t detect these things which means adults have congenital heart disease,” he said. Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

Comelec extends iRehistro pilot testing in Madrid for 30 days

Filipinos in Spain who want to register via the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) iRehistro project can still do so until the first week of January.

This was after the Comelec extended for another 30 days the pilot testing of the project, under which applicants are given the chance to choose their schedule time to register, thus minimizing the queuing time inside the embassy' premises while lessening the embassy's encoding workloads.

“The iRehistro Project shall be implemented initially at the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, Spain. The pilot testing shall be from November 3, 2014 to January 5, 2015 to cover both the sea-based and land-based applicants in the said Post,” Comelec said in a resolution dated December 9.

The Comelec said this is “to further study and improve on the implementation of the iRehistro project,” as recommended by the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV), the Information Technology Department (ITD), and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Using the websites or, Filipinos in Spain can electronically schedule and print their preferred time for biometrics capturing.

The applicant may then submit the printed form to the post along with the following on the date and time of appointment:

- valid Philippine passport
- photocopy of Seaman's Book for seafarers
- the original or certified true copy of Order of Approval of application to retain or reaquire Filipino - - -
- citizenship for dual citizens

Filipinos must submit these requirements to the post before undergoing biometrics capturing, the Comelec said.

Originally, the pilot testing in Spain was given only 30 days to be assessed of its viability before a recommendation is made to the OFOV.

Republic Act No. 10590 or the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 allows the Comelec to explore systems, whether paper-based, electronic-based or internet-based technology, for onsite and remote voter registration.

Registration for overseas Filipino voters started last May 6 and will continue until October 31, 2015.Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

With Smart Pinoy, calling home is only a few pesos away

This holiday season, the best gift Filipino overseas workers can get is a chance to come home and spend Christmas with family and friends. While not everyone can spare the time nor the money for a round-trip ticket home, PLDT Global Corp. can give you the next best thing—a chance to call home without breaking the bank for either you or your families via Smart Pinoy, one of PLDT’s international brands.
With Smart Pinoy, you can now call home without worrying about the high long-distance rates. Smart Pinoy's prepaid SIM comes with access to Smart's worldwide coverage, affordable call and text rates, excellent voice reception, and a broad range of additional services that cater to Pinoy tastes and sensibilities, even abroad. With a subscription to Smart Pinoy DOS, you can have two numbers on your SIM card - in addition to your regular number, you can also have a Philippine mobile number that enables you to call home or text your loved ones, all at local Pinoy rates.
Worried about running out of load? Smart Pinoy also has reload options available — recharge vouchers, e-loads, or pasa-loads. Getting more credits for your holiday calls has just been made so much easier and more hassle-free.

And that's not all—even if you can't be with your family during this special season, there's no reason you can't still spread some holiday cheer. TheSmart Pinoy Storeis not just any store—it’s an all-in-one secure and user-friendly online marketplacewhere you can buy and send gifts straight home to your loved ones, pay their bills, subscribe them to PLDT services, send them peso e-loads, and even enroll them in Maxicare.
And as an additional reward for all the hard work? Why not kick back, relax, and watch Pinoy tv shows with Smart Pinoy TV? Keep up with the latest news from home—as well as the latest episodes from your favorite tv shows.
This Christmas, have a merryand worry-free holiday with your family and friends—thanks to Smart Pinoy!

Recruiter loses license over excessive placement fees

A labor recruiter has been stripped of its license by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for allegedly charging excessive placement fees.

POEA statement said Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac ordered the license of Goodman International Manpower canceled over the alleged exorbitant placement fee it charged.

Cacdac also suspended Goodman's license for nine months and fined it P450,000 for each time it collected placement fee without issuing a receipt.

The POEA also sanctioned it for misrepresentation and deploying workers whose employment and travel documents were not processed by the POEA.

POEA's sanctions stemmed from the complaint of an overseas Filipino worker who worked as a manicurist in Singapore and claimed Goodman required her to pay P40,000 as partial placement fee.

"She paid the amount from the proceeds of a P147,000 loan she obtained from a lending company. The rest of the money went to Goodman’s counterpart agency in Singapore," the POEA said.

Worse, the OFW said Goodman did not issue her a receipt for her payment, adding she was deployed to Singapore using a tourist visa. The OFW resigned after three weeks.

Cacdac also ordered the disqualification of the firm's officers and directors from the business of recruitment and placement of overseas Filipino workers. —Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

Pinoy newlyweds, friend killed in Canada car crash

Three Filipinos, including a recently married couple, were killed in yet another car accident in Canada blamed on icy Alberta highways, reports said.

The three were on their way home from a language training class in Red Deer on December 13 when their driver lost control of the car, resulting in their vehicle crossing the center line and crashing with an oncoming truck.

The reports did not identify the victims, but said they worked at the Dairy Queen in Rocky Mountain House.

The 25-year-old driver was in critical condition as of Sunday in a hospital in Edmonton, according to a report on Global News.

separate report by CBC Canada said the damage to the victims' Ford Mustang was so extensive that police had trouble identifying the number of people inside the car.

Police stated that icy roads and driver inexperience were factors the incident. Next of kin notifications were ongoing.

Fe Deriquito, the couple's hairdresser in their wedding, told Calgary Herald that the couple were both in their 20's and knew each other before moving to Canada from the Philippines.

Honarary Consul General for the Philippines Esmeralda Agbulos noted that the accident happened less than a month after four Filipino workers were killed in a similar car accident near Leduc.

She said there was "a lot to do" and admitted to being "overwhelmed," yet swore to get more information about funeral arrangements. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

GMA Pinoy TV’s Home Away From Home, now on its second season

GMA Pinoy TV – the flagship international channel of GMA Network – is bringing back its award-winning mini-feature series, Home Away from Home, beginning December 20.

Hosted by Luanne Dy, Home Away From Home flew to Ontario and Vancouver in Canada, Los Angeles, Connecticut and New York in the US, and Dubai in Asia to bring new stories of success, hope and inspiration to its worldwide audience.
Taking centerstage in this new season are Filipino doctors, businessmen, artists, fashion designers and leaders of Filipino organizations abroad, who have become important parts of their communities and have shown success in their respective fields.
Aside from opening their homes, the featured achievers will once again be sharing their secrets to their successful family and professional lives with the hope of inspiring viewers from all parts of the world.
For its first salvo, the Home Away from Home will put the spotlight on businesswoman Elena Lapid-Salonga from Los Angeles, Dr. Solon de Guzman from Canada, fashion designers Michael Cinco and Ezra Santos from Dubai, Dr. Gino and Alma Ang from Connecticut, and Lolita Savage from New York.
Last May, Home Away From Home has gained international recognition by bringing home a Silver Award of Distinction at the 20th Communicator Awards, the leading international awards program that recognizes creative excellence in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work in print, video, audio and interactive formats.
Home Away From Home is an original creation of GMA International and can be seen on GMA Pinoy TV in the US, Canada, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific. For more details, visit the GMA International website, Facebook page, and Twitter page @GMAPinoyTV.  —GMA International

Pinay sales clerk in UAE helps catch man using fake bills

A Filipina sales clerk helped authorities in the United Arab Emirates catch a man using fake bills last July, a UAE news site reported Thursday.

The Nigerian suspect, 25, now faces charges for circulating fake currency and fraud before the Dubai Court of First Instance, Khaleej Times reported.

He eventually confessed to going shopping with fake $100 bills, according to the report.

A Filipina saleswoman said the man paid $100 when he bought a gadget and a box of color pens from her shop in a shopping center in Al Rafaa.

“When I went to convert the $100 bill at an exchange outlet, I was told it was fake,” she told investigators.

For his part, a police sergeant said they tracked the suspect after getting complaints from many shops in Bur Dubai.

He said they checked surveillance footage from the shop and identified the suspect.

The suspect was arrested July 24, when he went to the Al Rafaa police station to recover his passport seized due to a similar criminal case.

The separate criminal case stemmed from the suspect buying a wallet worth Dh79 and paying with a fake $100 bill last June 24. He got Dh286 as change. —Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

Search for 5 missing Pinoy crew members of ill-fated Korean ship continues

Search operations for the missing victims of the December 1 sea tragedy off Russia, which included five Filipinos, continue even though no bodies have been found recently, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

“Search and retrieval operations continue among South Korea, the United States and Russia,” DFA spokesperson Charles Jose told GMA News Online in a text message.

The victims were crew members of the South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501, which sank in Bering Sea off the coast of Russia's far eastern Chukotka region on December 1. Seven survived the incident – three Filipinos, three Indonesians and one Russian.
Twenty-seven fatalities have so far been reported — five Filipinos, 14 Indonesians, six Koreans and two unidentified nationals — while 26 remained missing. Among those missing were five Filipinos, 16 Indonesians and five Koreans.

“[Search continues] even while the survivors and remains of the deceased victims are being transported to Busan,” Jose said.

In an earlier press briefing, Jose said the Russian vessel Odin, which are carrying the survivors as well as the bodies of the fatalities, left for Busan on December 12 and is expected to arrive there on Dec. 22.
Jose said the ship will make short call first at Vladivostok to undergo necessary Russian government documentation. —Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK, GMA News

POEA to vacationing OFWs: Go online for employment certificates

Overseas Filipino workers wanting to spend their Christmas vacation in the Philippines may want to go online instead of lining up for their overseas employment certificates (OECs).
This was the reminder of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for OFWs who may worry about having to line up for the OEC before they are admitted back to their workplaces abroad.
"Sa BM (Balik Manggagawa) Online, mas mabilis ang proseso at tipid sa gastos katulad ng pamasahe at pagkain keysa kung pupunta pa sa POEA," POEA head Hans Leo Cacdac said.
OFWs can access BM Online at
However, those not qualified for BM online processing, such as those who are not in POEA's database, may set up appointments to get their OECs.
They may log on to to get an appointment, or personally get their OECs at POEA BM processing centers.
Processing centers can be found at:
  • Trinoma in Quezon City
  • SM Manila
  • Duty Free Philippines in ParaƱaque City
  • Pag-IBIG main office in Makati City
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration main office in Pasay City
  • POEA office at Ortigas.
They can also get OECs processed at POEA offices in:
  • San Fernado, La Union
  • Tuguegarao. Cagayan
  • Baguio City
  • SM City Pampanga
  • Calamba, Laguna
  • Legaspi City
  • Cebu City
  • Iloilo City
  • Bacolod City
  • Tacloban City
  • Davao City
  • Zamboanga City
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Koronadal City
  • Butuan City
  • Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
However, the POEA said these offices, including those in shopping malls, will not open on regular and special holidays.  Joel Locsin/RSJ, GMA News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Canada seeks 50 millionaires for test of immigration program

VANCOUVER - Canada is looking for 50 wealthy foreigners to join a pilot run of an immigration program for millionaires, although applicants will have to be far richer than those who entered under a previous scheme and will also need language skills to get in.

The federal government, which scrapped its previous investor class visa earlier this year amid criticism it was allowing rich Chinese to buy their way into Canada, will start accepting applicants for the new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital plan in January.
Under the new program, would-be immigrants will have to invest a minimum of C$2 million ($1.7 million) in Canada for a 15-year period and must have a net worth of at least C$10 million, the government said on Tuesday. They must also meet a new requirement that they speak English or French, among other criteria.
Many of Canada's wealthy immigrants flock to major cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
Realtors who sell homes in Vancouver's top neighborhoods said the new language rules will exclude many people who had hoped to enter under the previous program.
"For investment immigrants, before, if you had enough money, then it was very easy to come here," said Na An, an agent with Royal Pacific Realty Group. "But with the language requirement, I think they will block a lot of people."
Na said that could push wealthy foreigners to choose other jurisdictions, like Britain or Australia, or they could simply enter Canada under a 10-year multiple entry visa.
Launched in the mid-1980s, Canada's immigrant investor program promised a fast-track visa for foreigners with a net worth of C$800,000 and some C$400,000 to invest. The minimums were later upped to a net worth of C$1.6 million and C$800,000 to invest. There was no language requirement.
The program was wildly popular, particularly with ethnic Chinese investors - first from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and later from mainland China. Vancouver, with its proximity to the Asia-Pacific region, was the preferred destination.
But applications surged over the last decade and the scheme was frozen in 2012 as officials scrambled to clear the backlog. Canada officially canceled the program earlier this year. ($1 = 1.1587 Canadian dollars).   Reuters
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