Thursday, September 29, 2016

PhilHealth, DOH lead nationwide Walk for Life for Elderly

AT 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 1, around 6,000 elderly are expected to join the simultaneous Walk for Life in Metro Manila and in selected cities in the country.  This is the kick-off activity of the Elderly Filipino Week celebration and is spearheaded by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Department of Health.

The activity aims to promote healthy lifestyle and wellness among the elderly.  Participants may also avail themselves of the services offered in the sites such as medical consultations, random blood sugar screening, cholesterol screening, bone scanning, blood pressure measurement and vaccination. 

PhilHealth will also put up service desks to answer queries and accept membership enrolment and data amendment.    Other government agencies will also set up booths to provide services to elderly participants.

The activity sites are  PFVR Gym in Baguio City, San Fernando City Plaza in La Union, Ayala Mall in Legazpi City, Almont Inland Resort in Butuan City, SMRAA Sports Complex in City of Koronadal and SM Malls in Pasay City, Cauayan, Isabela; Lucena, San Fernando, Pampanga; Batangas, Iloilo, Seaside-Cebu, Ecoland-Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

Registration is free.  

For details, contact the DOH's Disease Prevention and Control Bureau at 732-2494, 651-7800 locals 1750 to 1752. (END)

Reference:  Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas
                   OIC-Vice President, Corporate Affairs Group

Expert to OFWs: Bringing kids abroad not always a good idea

An expert on mental health on Wednesday bared the possible negative effects of a child being brought to another country by his or her OFW parent.
At a forum in Quezon City, Dr. Kathryn Tan, assistant chief of the acute female division of the National Center for Mental Health, noted that children and adolescents who have to move abroad must cope with essentially a new life.
"You're tearing them away from their home country, from their friends, from their relatives, from their comforts, and you're transferring them to another continent with different people, exposed to racism, different language, different culture. It's culture shock," she said.
She said such adjustment to a new environment could sometimes lead to substance abuse, promiscuity, truancy and even depression.
"The problem would be more often their coping mechanism to the stress," Tan said.
The child's studies, Tan said, will also be adversely affected, as he or she will have to deal with an educational system that is very much different from that in the Philippines.
"Ang naging isang problema nila ay yung pagaaral sapagkat hindi valid yung klase ng edukasyon na ibinibigay dito pag nakakarating na sila sa [ibang bansa]," Tan said.
The forum, held at Lido on Mindanao Avenue, tackled the effects of migrant labor to Filipino children.
Another resource person, Fr. Benny Tuazon, parish priest of St. Anthony Parish, reminded OFWs that lost time could never be regained.
"If you lost time, you cannot bring it back around na yung pag-uwi mo, tapos you will pamper your children, hindi 'yun eh," he said.
Tuazon advised parents that if they could help it, they should just seek employment in the Philippines. —KBK, GMA News

NAIA-1 opens 'Wellwishers Lounges' for departing OFWs

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Wednesday opened its "Wellwishers Lounges" and encouraged OFWs and their families to avail of them.

Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal, joined by OFW Girlie Maalihan who is leaving for Riyadh, cut the ceremonial ribbon for the lounge.
—KBK, GMA News

POEA lifts deployment ban on OFWs returning to Libya

The government has lifted the processing and deployment of returning Filipino workers with valid and existing contracts to Libya following the downgrading of the alert level there.
From Level 4 (mandatory evacuation), the alert level in Libya has been downgraded to Level 2 (restriction phase), allowing the deployment of returning OFWs.
The partial lifting of the deployment ban was formalized in Resolution No. 16 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Board.
"The POEA Governing Board now allows the resumption of the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to Libya," said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the POEA Governing Board, in a statement Wednesday.
The order noted that only returning OFWs with valid and existing contracts are allowed to be deployed in Libya. For this they must submit the following:
  • copies of existing contracts;
  • certification of salaries and benefits of OFWs;
  • letter from the employer requesting for the return of the OFWs;
  • security and safety guarantees through valid company certifications; medical and life insurance coverage; and
  • guarantee of immediate repatriation based on submitted contingency plans

Bello said the deployment ban for newly hired OFWs shall be maintained until further notice.

The POEA suspended the processing and deployment of OFWs bound for Libya on May 30, 2014 due to the heightened political unrest there.

On June 13, 2014, Governing Board Resolution No. 9 was issued which allowed for the processing and deployment of certain skills categories of returning workers to Libya, while on July 22, 2014, the POEA, through Resolution No. 17, allowed additional skills categories of returning workers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has conducted jobsite visit to Libya to assess the general situation there on August 18. —KBK, GMA News

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No notarization needed for travel agency invitations to Dubai

Invitations or sponsorships of travel agencies issued to Dubai-bound Filipino travelers need not be notarized starting October 3, 2016, the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai said Tuesday.
In an advisory, the Consulate General said this is to give "due priority to the Bureau of Immigration's examination of the traveler's documents and determination of his/her capacity to support the travel abroad."
Foreigners who wish to enter the United Arab Emirates for personal, tourism, visit to relatives or friends, or similar reasons are required a visit visa.
The applicant for this type of visa should be sponsored by a person who is presently residing in the UAE. In the absence of a relative, a visitor can apply in any travel agencies in Dubai. —KBK, GMA News

Pinoy doctor recognized in US for championing reproductive health

A former doctor to the barrios, or a doctor who serves in rural areas, became the first Southeast Asian doctor to join the 120 Under 40 campaign for youth leaders who champion the cause of reproductive health around the world.

Dr. Marvin Masalunga will join nine others in a series of talks at Maryland, Washington, and New York as part of the program by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute.
"It’s a validation of what I, and our group of rural health workers in Palawan, do for the people. Aside from that, it speaks that I am probably doing something right in my service," said Masalunga, who works in Coron, Palawan, as a deputy municipal health officer.
Masalunga, 27, was nominated by the the Forum for Family Planning and Development, a non-government organization concerned with population management.
Of his involvement with the Forum and rural health, Masalunga said, "In my involvement with the rural health community, I brought along with me three causes that are close to my heart – the disabled people, reproductive health, and mental health."
"These are the people who are at the laylayan (the outskirts of society). And they are the ones who need medical attention, the most," he added.
Masalunga is hoping to improve maternal health and educate the youth of their reproductive health rights to lessen the cases of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy in Coron and other rural areas.
Masalunga also plans to take up pathology as his specialization and to create an adolescent forum to "empower the youth to know more about their reproductive health rights, and how they can take care of themselves better."
120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders was launched in 2015 to recognize "the achievements of the next generation of family planning leaders worldwide."
All 40 winners, who are chosen through public voting, are rewarded with $1,000 and will be part of a roster of 120 youth leaders after a repeat of the ceremony in 2017 and 2019.
The assembly is in support of Family Planning 2020, a partnership that "aims to enable 120 million additional women and girls to access life-saving contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies." Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Pinay singer Ivy Grace Paredes leaves 'The X Factor UK' in style

Filipina singer Ivy Grace Paredes left "The X Factor UK" in style after she received the best crowd reaction and praises from the judges alike during her last performance in the reality-singing TV show.
Paredes, 33, impressed judges Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell on Sunday (UK time) with her rendition of the Filipino-favorite "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston.

Scherzinger commented that Paredes' voice was "way too big for the Philippines" while Cowell said her performance was exciting despite not being "the most original thing" the judges have heard.
"I know why you left the Philippines because your voice is way too big for the Philippines alone, it's meant for the entire world to hear," Scherzinger said.
"Is it the most original thing we've ever heard? No. Is it exciting? Yes. Should you be in a chair, yes," Cowell added.
Though Paredes earned a slot in the next round of the show, visa troubles forced her to quit "The X Factor UK."
Paredes was refused an American visa, making her ineligible to continue to the US leg of the competition, according to a report on The Sun.
Paredes was a singer at a comedy bar in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates seven years ago and was supposed to sign a contract with a prominent hotel when she was invited to audition for the X Factor UK.
Paredes, who was from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, started singing in competitions when she was nine years old. She stopped going to school at age 14 to sing professionally to financially support her family. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Asian dishes take centerstage in Pinoy couple's new resto in UAE

For their third food business, a Filipino couple in Abu Dhabi has decided to go Asian. And they did it on the back of the successes of their two previous endeavors.
"Spoon & Bowl is the product of TFKR and RO. Kaya kami nakapag-create ng new restaurant in less than a year ay dahil sa dalawa," shared Len Gutierrez Calara, 30, referring to The Filipino Kitchen Restaurant and Rice Overdose in an email.
"My husband and I thought about the idea. We based it on the location, which is on the main road and where there are a lot of Filipinos people passing by," the 30-year-old added.
For these business ventures, Len had to quit her lucrative job as a nurse in Australia to help her husband, Joseph Ronald "Jayr" Calara, handle the day to day affairs of the restaurants in the United Arab Emirates.
"As of now, bread and butter na namin ang resto. Jayr already quit his job as an engineer last December para makapag-focus muna sa business," she said.
Located along Al Wahda, Spoon & Bowl eyes Asians and other nationalities who are into sushi and dumplings, Len said.
Even though businessmen in another country, Len said they are not bothered by their competition, banking, in part, on their "homie ambience" and affordable dishes.
"We have approximately six competitions. [But] we’re different because we just don’t serve Filipino dishes. We also offer breads and pastries, and we have a homie ambience," she said.
"Ang price range namin is very affordable. We have goto for Dh10 (P130) lang, ramen at Dh15 (P195), sizzler at Dh19 (P247) and rice bowls with either beef gyudon, beef teriyaki, or sweet n’ sour fish fillet at Dh22 (P286). Then breads from 50 fils (P6) to cake slices at Dh8.50 (P110)," she added.
Len also noted their "grab-and-go" section, which is self-service. "Nag-create din kami ng menu for ‘hot foods’ na kaya namin ilabas within five to 10 minutes."
So far, feedback is good, Len said. "As of now, most of the people love the food. For a one-month operation, we didn’t expect this much customers." —KBK, GMA News

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bello, POEA raise red flag over Ireland-based recruitment firm

Filipinos seeking jobs abroad have been warned against bogus job opportunities being spread through email by an Ireland-based recruitment company.
In a statement Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has already cautioned licensed recruitment agencies about e-mailed offers of overseas employment by foreign manpower firms.
"We received information from POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac that a certain Omegal Manpower Services Limited, claiming to be based in Ireland, is offering commissions to interested manpower brokers or individuals that can supply workers for various job openings in Canada, Mexico and Europe," Bello said.
"We caution the public to be wary of this offer," he added.
According to POEA, Omegal, in its email, promises local recruiters an amount equivalent to one-month salary of every worker supplied as agency commission.

"The POEA has searched the online presence of this manpower company allegedly based in Ireland, but it all turned negative. There is no such agency named Omegal Manpower Services Limited," Bello said.

Cacdac also warned applicants against falling prey to unscrupulous individuals that post supposed job vacancies in fake websites and Facebook pages especially those that require immediate payment of fees.

Cacdac said job applicants must ignore unsolicited emails that offer jobs in hotels and hospitals but require applicants to pay fees for testing, interview and language seminar, or visa orientation.
He also advised applicants to validate the authenticity of job offers through POEA’s verification system at the website, mobile phone application, or by calling its telephone hotlines 7221144 and 7221155.

Bello also invited the public to alert the DOLE of any similar illegal recruitment activities by calling DOLE hotline 1349.

The DOLE hotline service is open 24/7 to attend not only to queries about labor and employment issues but also to other critical incidents affecting local and overseas-based workers. —KBK, GMA News

Civil service exam eyed for OFWs in HK who want to work in Duterte gov't

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has sought the help of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for the conduct of the civil service examination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong who want to return to the country for good.
In a press statement Monday, Bello noted that "thousands" of OFWs are now interested to work in the government under the Duterte administration, based on the result of a sign-up campaign initiated by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong.
"As part of the Department of Labor and Employment’s reintegration campaign to encourage OFWs to return to the country for good, we are working with the Civil Service Commission, through Chairperson Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala, to conduct the civil service professional and sub-professional examination among the OFWs, initially in Hong Kong," he said.
The sign-up campaign of the POLO showed that many OFWs working in Hong Kong want to come home,  be with their families, and work for the government.
Passing the civil service examination is one of the basic requirements in applying for a position in government. The career service exams would result in the conferment of either professional or sub professional eligibility appropriate for appointment to corresponding permanent positions in the government.

The examination is open to individuals, regardless of educational attainment, who are Filipino citizens including those holding dual citizenship, at least 18 years old at the time of filing of application, and have not taken the same level of examination within three months before the date of examination.
POLO Hong Kong Labor Attaché Jalilo O. Dela Torre, who has been making representations with CSC officials for the realization of the undertaking, said the CSC proposed for the paper and pencil examinations in Hong Kong to be held this September.

However, he had to ask them to move the examinations to November due to the teachers’ licensure examination to be administered by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) also in September. 

Dela Torre said the CSC is now benchmarking with the PRC on the mechanics of holding an examination overseas.

Bello expressed optimism that the initiative will support the reverse migration advocacy of the government considering the social cost of migration, especially to the children who are being left behind when one or both parents leave to find better employment. —KBK, GMA News

Monday, September 26, 2016

Drug dependency-related cases, covered by PhilHealth

PHILHEALTH REACHOUT BOOTH: Bringing PhilHealth Closer to Health Care Professionals

POEA issues guidelines on online registration of seafarers

 The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration yesterday issued the guidelines on the online registration of seafarers in compliance with POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 13, Series of 2016. Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said the online seafarer registry system was implemented to replace the seafarer registration certificate (SRC) which was issued exclusively at the POEA main office.

Cacdac said seafarers for marine and non- marine categories, and land-based workers who are in possession of skills and work experience required of a particular sea-based position may register. The registrants should be at least 18 years old (except cadets); graduate of maritime courses or any related courses applicable to maritime employment; with Seafarer’s Information and Record Book (SIRB) issued by MARINA; and with no medical or legal impediments to qualify from overseas employment.

Cacdac said seafarers who have previously registered under the SRC system need not register using the online registration of seafarers. He said seafarers should register to be included in the list of qualified seafarers for overseas employment which will be source of valuable information on maritime labor market for policy research and development.

 “The online seafarer registry shall likewise pave the way for the development and implementation of a universal identification system for Filipino seafarers that is acceptable to all government agencies and Port States in compliance with ILO Convention No. 185 or the Seafarer’s Identity Document Convention” Cacdac added. Cacdac said the online registration is absolutely free and is available at the POEA website starting September 26, 2016.

Gov’t plans to have a bank for OFWs, says Bello

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government is planning to establish a bank for overseas Filipino workers, a report on Unang Balita on Monday said.

Bello said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has pooled almost P20 billion from the contribution of OFWs.
The government is planning to use this money to buy a bank and name it OFW Bank, the Labor secretary told OFWs in Hong Kong.
Bello also met with labor officials in Hong Kong regarding the suggestion to add a clause in OFWs' contracts saying the cleaning of windows in high-rise buildings is not covered by the service agreement.
A 35-year-old Filipina domestic helper fell to her death in August as she was reportedly cleaning the outside of the windows of her employer's apartment. 
Domestic helpers in Hong Kong then marched in protest on Sept. 4 after several maids fell to their death from tower block windows as they tried to clean them.
The Hong Kong government has no commitment yet regarding this matter.
Bello also visited Filipinos in temporary shelters seeking refuge from employer abuse.
He assured OFWs planning to return to the Philippines that the government will assist them so they can start a business. —KG, GMA News

POEA issues guidelines on online registration of Pinoy seafarers

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has issued guidelines on the online registry of seafarers as part of government effort to secure a universal identification for Filipino sailors. 
“The online seafarer registry shall likewise pave the way ... for Filipino seafarers' identification that is acceptable to all government agencies and Port States in compliance with ILO Convention No. 185 or the Seafarer’s Identity Document Convention” said POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac in a statement.
This set of rules is in compliance with POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 13, Series of 2016.
Some of the guidelines include:
  • Those who may register are marine and non- marine categories, and land-based workers who are in possession of skills and work experience required of a particular sea-based position
  • Registrants should be at least 18 years old (except cadets); graduate of maritime courses or any related courses applicable to maritime employment; with Seafarer’s Information and Record Book (SIRB) issued by MARINA; and with no medical or legal impediments to qualify for overseas employment
Cacdac said seafarers should register to be included on the list of qualified seafarers for overseas employment, which will be source of valuable information on maritime labor market for policy research and development.
Also, he said that the online seafarer registry system was implemented to replace the seafarer registration certificate (SRC), which was issued exclusively at the POEA main office.
The online registration is absolutely free and is available at the POEA website starting September 26, 2016, he added.
Cacdac likewise said that seafarers who have previously registered under the SRC system need not use the online registration system. — LBG, GMA News

In Denmark, Pinay au pairs risk abuse in name of ‘cultural exchange’

COPENHAGEN - Dressed in a red-and-black lumberjack shirt, jeans and sneakers, she looked more like 16 than her actual age of 19.
The petite au pair wrung her hands as the policeman took her statement.
"He didn't rape me, but he kept saying he wanted to have physical relations with me and wanted to kiss me," she said. "That's still wrong, isn't it?"
"Of course it is," the policeman said.
The young Nepalese woman had come to Denmark to live with a host family as an au pair through a scheme billed as a cultural exchange program.
Common in Europe, such programs allow young people, usually women, to immerse themselves in an overseas culture while helping with child care in exchange for food, accommodation and a modest allowance.
In Denmark, rights groups say inadequate protections leave au pairs vulnerable to labor exploitation and sexual harassment.
For the woman in the red flannel shirt, who declined to be identified, problems had started right from the beginning.
When her host father met her at the airport, he held her hand, telling her "this is how Europeans are". When he sent her text messages asking to visit her room late at night, she wanted a way out.
Another au pair told her she could leave her host family and look for another, but she worried about not finding one immediately since it would mean having to fly back to Nepal, penniless and with debts.
She had paid a broker there $6,000 to find her host family. "He created a Skype account and pretended he was me. He arranged everything. The Nepalese au pairs I've talked to here all paid between $4,000 and $6,000 to their brokers."
With the help of the Au Pair Network, a consortium of labor and religious support groups funded by the Danish government, she found the courage to go to the police, who are now investigating.
‘Domestic work’
"Au pair" is French for "on equal terms". The earliest programs in Europe date back to the years right after World War Two when it was one of the few ways young women could travel abroad and earn cash.
In 1969, the Council of Europe adopted protocols to standardize conditions governing the placement of au pairs.
Rules vary slightly by country. In Denmark, au pairs must be unmarried and aged 18-29. They live with host families and are supposed to do "light household chores" for no more than 30 hours a week, giving them time to immerse themselves in language and culture.
In exchange, they get a $600 monthly allowance and free accommodation.
The reality is that many end up working as de facto domestic servants, vulnerable to sexual harassment or worse, support groups said.
Reports of abuse and maltreatment prompted the Philippines, the biggest source of au pairs to Denmark and Norway, to ban participation in the program in 1998.
Still the au pairs came.
Denmark and Norway continued to issue au pair visas. Interviews with former Filipino au pairs revealed that many allegedly bribed Philippine airport officials called "escorts" with as much as $500 to clear them through immigration.
Others arrived on tourist visas and changed them to au pair visas once they found host families.
The Philippines lifted its ban in 2012 when it forged agreements with 13 countries introducing protections such as seminars to inform young people of their rights and closer monitoring of allegations of abuse.
Those European countries were Denmark, Norway, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Finland and Italy.
The latest data from the Danish Immigration Service shows that more than 80 percent of the 2,000 au pairs who come to Denmark on average each year are from the Philippines. The rest are from emerging economies like Nepal, other European Union countries and the United States.
"On paper, it is a cultural exchange but in practice it is more of a domestic worker program," said Jean Gocotano, spokesperson for the Au Pair Network. "Some host families even say they prefer an au pair with domestic work experience."
For many Filipino women, being an au pair in Europe is still better than being a domestic worker in the Middle East or Hong Kong where they earn between $400 and $500 a month.
"The cultural program was not my priority," said Imee, who came to Denmark from the Philippines as an au pair in 2011. "I just wanted to leave. I was tired of my low-paying job packing pineapples."
Imee, who declined to give her full name, paid a "consultant" in the Philippines $1,500 in "research fees", which included looking for a host family, preparing her papers and training her to answer interview questions at the embassy.
"Applicants wouldn't be able to get that amount of money easily," said Hans Cacdac, head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. "They will have to borrow that from someone else."
In its Global Wage Report for 2014/2015, the International Labor Organization pegs the average monthly wage in the Philippines at $202.
According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the government agency that oversees the au pair program, charging fees is classified as illegal recruitment.
"The au pair program is not an employment scheme," said Ivy Miravelles, officer in charge of the CFO migration integration division. "However, it cannot be denied that there may be entities that abuse the program and mislead participants for financial gain."
A 2014 survey of 90 au pairs by Radio 24 SYV Denmark showed that around 30 percent had paid someone between $225 and $1,000 to get them to Europe.
"Many of the au pairs come here already indebted, making them more pressured to make the host family relationship work," said Andreas Riis, au pair coordinator of Caritas Denmark, one of three support organizations that make up the Au Pair Network.
Helle Stenum, a researcher at Denmark's University of Roskilde and author of several books on the au pair program, said "the fact that your residence permit is tied to your employer is a well-known trap for the labor market".
Lawmaker Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, a member of Denmark's far-left Red Green Alliance, was also critical.
"Au pairs have no rights when they get fired," he said. "They have no protections under Danish labor law because it is not considered work."
Another lawmaker, Merette Riisager of the Danish Liberal Alliance, defended the program.
"It provides economic and cultural benefits to women who would normally not have the means," she said.
The Au Pair Network is now handling 166 cases and complaints, most of which are claims for unpaid wages.
"We have to acknowledge that the program is being misused on both sides, with the au pairs at more of a disadvantage," said Riis from Caritas Denmark.
"We need to end the program, or change it to one that has stronger labor protections for au pairs."
Research for this story was supported by a travel grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.  Reuters

Friday, September 23, 2016

Former OFW shot dead in Parañaque City

A former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in Parañaque City shortly before midnight Thursday, according to a report by radio dzBB's Luisito Santos.
The victim was identified as Allan Francisco, who died on the spot after suffering multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of his body.
The report quoted Francisco's relatives as saying that he was an OFW who came home from Abu Dhabi in 2014 after his contract as an electrician expired.
The shooting occurred in Sitio de Asis in Barangay Martin de Porres, the report said.
The report also said nobody witnessed the shooting. —KBK, GMA News

Some Europeans bothered by news coming from PHL

Some Europeans are bothered by recent news coming from the Philippines, particularly the killings related to the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs, according to a report by GMA News' Jay Sabale on State of the Nation on Thursday.
The report said in Brussels, Belgium, where the headquarters of the European Union is located, the spate of killings in the Philippines has become a common topic of conversation among ordinary Europeans.
"Punishing drug dealers or suspected drug dealers without justice. That sounds, compared to the human rights standards here in Europe, it sounds really scary," said a Czech national who refused to be identified.
For her part, Jacqueline Hale, a British national, said: "We all have to address the problem of crime, but to do so in a way which is so violent? It shouldn't happen anywhere. Not in Europe, not in the Philippines."
Jerick Parrone, a Filipino in Brussels, said foreigners have suddenly become curious about the drug situation in the Philippines.
"Ngayon ang unang lumalabas ay ang situation about our government, situation about drugs.  Nakakapanibago na marinig yun sa mga kaibigan kong banyaga kasi 'yun ang una nilang naiisip," he said.
According to the latest police tally, a total of 1,197 drug suspects have been killed in police operations since the Duterte administration started its intensified campaign in July. These do not include the 1,971 suspects killed by unidentified culprits, many of them found with cardboard signs identifying them as drug pushers.
The spate of drug-related killings has prompted the European Parliament to issue a resolution expressing its concern to "the high numbers killed during police operations in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign."
It also urged the Philippine government to "launch an 'immediate investigation' into them and adopt 'specific, comprehensive policies and programmes', in full compliance with national and international obligations and respect for human rights."
Pinoys in Europe: Don't judge
Meanwhile, several Filipinos in Europe urged foreigners not to easily judge the Philippines, noting the realities on the ground.
"Meron tayong sariling kultura, meron tayong sariling kasaysayan. Hindi natin kailangan gumaya sa iba. Kaya anuman ang sabihin ng ibang bansa sa nangyayari sa Pilipinas, wala tayong pakialam," said Michael Tan, a Filipino worker in France.
"Before you make judgments, ask what's happening in the Philippines, and don't judge Filipinos as a whole because of what's happening," said Ethan Gumpert, a Filipino-American student in Brussels. —KBK, GMA News

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Immigrants have little impact on native-born workers —US stud

WASHINGTON - An influx of immigrants is likely to have little impact on wages and jobs for native-born US workers, unless they have less than a high-school education, according to a study published Wednesday.
The report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine looks at economic and demographic trends in the United States over the past 20 years.
It found that "the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small," particularly when examined over the course of a decade.
"To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills," it said.
The report also found "little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers."
In fact, an inflow of skilled immigrants may even force wages higher for some subgroups of native-born workers, along with boosting the broader economy.
"Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the US," said the study.
First-generation immigrants tend to cost state and local governments more than their children.
But the second generation is "among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the US population, contributing more in taxes than either their parents or the rest of the native-born population," said the report.
"The panel's comprehensive examination revealed many important benefits of immigration—including on economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship—with little to no negative effects on the overall wages or employment of native-born workers in the long term," said Francine Blau, a Cornell University economics professor who chaired the panel that wrote the report.
"Where negative wage impacts have been detected, native-born high-school dropouts and prior immigrants are most likely to be affected." —Agence France-Presse

Suspect in chop-chop murder of OFW in Dubai nabbed

The suspect in the murder of an overseas Filipino worker in Dubai last May has been arrested, Unang Balita reported on Thursday.
The Dubai Police has arrested the suspect, Glin Ambro, said to be a relative of the victim, Manormeeta Salwaro.

Salwaro's head was found near the University Road in Alwar-Ka, Unang Balita said, citing a report by Khaleej Times.
Police said Salwaro had escaped from her employer for a week already before her body was found.
The Philippine Consulate in Dubai is coordinating with the police to get more details about the case. —KG, GMA News

Taiwan relaxes visa for PHL, five other ASEAN countries, India

To attract more travelers, Taiwan has relaxed its visa policy for the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and India, its representative office in Manila said Wednesday.
Eligible applicants from these countries will be issued multiple-entry visas valid for three months and allows single stays of up to 30 days if they hold permanent resident certificates issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Schengen Agreement signatories, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Holders of a visa or a resident card from one of these countries “either valid or expired within 10 years from the date of expected arrival in Taiwan” are also qualified to apply under the simplified visa scheme.
The new policy was enforced on September 1.
Visa applications should be filed online here to obtain a Travel Authorization Certificate, which is free of charge.
“The adjustments come following consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Immigration Agency, and the Tourism Bureau which aims to furthering the interactions with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) said in a statement.
At present, nationals of Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan.
Taiwan’s new visa regulation, TECO said, also eases application for those joining group tours from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.
Travel agencies representing tourist groups from these countries can file applications here after receiving a permit from the Tourism Bureau’s overseas offices.
A 30-day single-entry eVisa will be issued to the qualified members of the group.
“These programs are expected to attract more travelers to Taiwan for short-term tourism, business, visits to relatives, and cultural exchanges,” TECO said.
It also aims to further increase interactions between Taiwan and ASEAN member states, as well as India, while implementing a people-centered “New Southbound Policy,” it said.
Manila and Taipei have no formal diplomatic ties in deference to the One-China Policy. Taiwan is represented by TECO, which acts as its de-facto embassy in the country.
Taiwan, a self-ruling democratic island which separated from mainland China in 1949, is regarded by Beijing as its renegade province. —KBK, GMA News
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