Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TESDA to launch training program for OFWs

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on Tuesday said it will launch an "Emergency Skills Training Program" on May 31 to assist returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the country. 
"Ila-launch natin itong emergency skills training program dahil maraming taong nangangailangan ng skills agad-agad. Kaya binuksan natin lahat ng skills training centers ng TESDA sa buong bansa," TESDA's Director General Guiling "Gene" Mamondiong said in a press conference held at the TESDA Central Office in Taguig City.

"Napakarami ng OFW na umuwi sa ating bansa na kailangan nila 'yung skills training kung gusto nilang bumalik sa ibang bansa. Kasi noong pumunta sila roon, 'yung skills nila ay hindi tugma sa pangangailangan ng kanilang mga employers," he added. 
The project aims to assist not only returning OFWs but also other target beneficiaries including out-of-school youth, rehabilitated drug surrenderees and their families, immediate relatives of policemen or soldiers who died in the line of duty, dependents of traffic enforcers, and the marginalized sector (informal settlers, persons with disabilities, and indigenous persons). 
The Emergency Skills Training Program is part of the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) and Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) of TESDA. 
"Ito po ay consistent sa TESDA development reform agenda na headed by Sec. Gene Mamondiong. Ito pong emergency skills training program ay tungkol po sa quick response training intervention para sa mga vulnerable groups," TESDA Women Center chief Maria Clara Ignacio said. 
"This is about creating noong tinatawag nating bagong pamahalaan, bagong mamayan, [at] bagong pag-asa," she added. 
Ignacio said that applicants should be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate. They should also bring at least two pieces of 1 x 1 photo with white background and fill up the application forms required. 
Online application will also be available, but Mamondiong advises applicants to go directly to TESDA centers. 
Those who want to participate in the program may start submitting their application forms on May 1 in Taguig and all district offices of TESDA - National Capital Region. 
The program will first be offered in TESDA training centers in the National Capital Region—TESDA Complex, TESDA Women's Center, National Language Skills Institute, and Human Resource Development Institute all located in Taguig City, and Quezon City Lingkod Bayan Skills Development Center. 
"In consonance with this, all Regional and Provincial Training Centers including TESDA Administered Schools are directed to maintain a skeletal force to accept applicants to the said program starting May 1, 2017 (Labor Day)," Mamondiong said in a memorandum he issued. 
Only 25 slots per course will be available. The application is on a first come, first serve basis. Those who will enroll as early as possible will be included in the first batch. 
Meanwhile, initial courses that will be offered by TESDA for the emergency skills training are: service engine mechanical components (12 days), carpentry (24 days), masonry (16 days), maintainance and repair of audio/video products and systems (30 days), and food processing by salting, curing and smoking (10 days). 
Cookery, welding, plumbing, electrical installation maintenance, bus or truck driving, visual arts, programming and other training programs will be offered as well. 
Aside from these, training for different languages will also be available: Japanese Language and Culture (150 hours), English Proficiency for Customer Service Workers (100 hours), Arabic Language and Saudi Gulf Culture (100 hours), Mandarin Chinese Language and Culture (100 hours), Spanish Language for different vocations (100 hours), and Italian Language and Culture (150 hours).
Mamondiong said that aside from the free tuition, the agency will also provide other forms of assistance such as free assessment and certification, free starter tool kits, transportation allowance and free food. —KG, GMA News

Brooklyn moves to help minor offenders who are undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation

NEW YORK - The public prosecutor's office in the New York borough of Brooklyn will change the way it deals with minor infractions by undocumented immigrants to lessen their risk of expulsion under the Trump administration, it said Monday.
Brooklyn's acting district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, said in a statement that his office would do everything possible to help those accused of minor crimes "avoid disproportionate collateral consequences such as deportation."
The attorneys in his office will be instructed that when possible, "if an appropriate disposition or sentence recommendation can be offered that neither jeopardizes public safety nor leads to removal or to any other disproportionate collateral consequence," they should recommend that option, Gonzalez said. 
Assistant district attorneys are being told to "consider alternative offenses the defendant can plead to"—different from those a citizen might face—as well as "reasonable modifications to the sentence recommendation."
But Gonzalez added that such alternatives should, when possible, "be similar in level of offense and length of sentence to that offered to a citizen defendant."
Gonzalez's announcement was welcomed by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), a non-profit working to defend immigrants' rights, which has denounced Trump administration threats to cut federal funding to cities that fail to cooperate in deporting the undocumented.
But Gonzalez insisted that he was not attempting "to frustrate the federal government's function of protecting our country by removing noncitizens whose illegal acts have caused real harm and endangered others."
He said his office recognized that many felons, and particularly violent felons, would face "appropriate collateral immigration consequences."
Gonzalez's statement was the latest reflection of attempts by the Democratic authorities in New York to resist the Trump administration's tough stance on deporting many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, particularly those with criminal records.
The administration in early April instructed law enforcement officials to be much more stringent in dealing with undocumented immigrants.
New York, the largest US city, is one of 200 "sanctuary" cities that have instructed their police and other municipal employees not to assist federal immigration agents in finding and detaining undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes. 
The Trump administration has threatened to cut federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office is one of the largest in the United States. 
Last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo named Gonzalez as acting district attorney to succeed Kenneth Thompson, who had died of cancer. Gonzalez is now seeking election this fall to a full four-year term. —Agence France-Presse

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PhilHealth Holds Outreach Program for Elders

PhilHealth to OFWs: Beware of Fake Receipts

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) again warned its members, particularly the Overseas Filipino Workers, against fake official receipts for premium contribution payments circulating in various parts of the country. Reports have reached PhilHealth that a number of recruitment agencies are issuing counterfeit PhilHealth Official Receipts (PORs) to OFWs as part of their document processing. This development prompted the state-run health insurer to issue a series of advisories reminding the public to be vigilant about the proliferation of the fake PORs. “Only PhilHealth Regional and Local Health Insurance Offices are authorized to issue the POR,” PhilHealth said in an earlier advisory. Likewise, PhilHealth called on its OFW members to be more cautious and be watchful of persons or establishments issuing such counterfeit receipts when paying their premium contributions as these may result to non-availment of their PhilHealth benefits. The number of confirmed cases of fake PORs increased from 199 to 201 as of November 21, 2016, and of the 201 cases, 184 or 92 percent were already submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for appropriate action. The PhilHealth management is currently working with the POEA and other concerned offices to further intensify its campaign against agencies that will be found guilty of committing such illegal acts. PhilHealth urged the public particularly the OFWs to immediately report any incidence of suspected issuance of fake PORs to the nearest PhilHealth Regional or Local Health Insurance Office or call the Treasury Department at (02) 638-3082 or the Fact Finding Investigation and Enforcement Department at (02) 637-6460.(END) (Michelle S. Nisperos)

Illegal recruiter gets 8 years jail sentence

 A regional trial court has sentenced an illegal recruiter to 8 years in jail after finding her guilty of deceiving two Filipina nurses she promised jobs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Judge Caesar C. Buenagua of RTC Branch 37, Calamba City found Cristina Averion y Ilagan guilty of engaging in the recruitment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) without proper authorization from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

 In a joint affidavit, two complainants in the case alleged that Averion represented herself as an employee of Crosswind International Manpower Services and recruited them to work as nurses in Dubai with a salary of Php30,000 a month. One complainant alleged that Averion collected from her Php35,000 supposedly as visa fee, Php10,000 for airfare to Dubai, and Php3,500 for medical examination.

 The other complainant said she paid Averion Php35,000 as initial payment for placement fee, Php3,500 for medical examination, and Php6,200 for OWWA membership and PhilHealth insurance. After six months and despite payment of fees, however, Averion failed to deploy the complainants for their supposed jobs in Dubai.

 Upon verification with the POEA, the complainants found out the license of Crosswind International Manpower Services was already cancelled and the name of Averion was not included in the recruitment agency’s list of officers and staff. The nurses filed a complaint with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNPCIDG) in Laguna.

A CIDG team conducted an entrapment operation and subsequently arrested Averion. Aside from the penalty of 8 years imprisonment, Judge Buenagua also ordered Averion to pay a fine of Php250,000 and to indemnify the two complainants the amount of Php35,000 and Php75,000 respectively.

Health department cancels accreditation of OFW clinic

 The Department of Health, on March 13, 2017, has revoked the accreditation of God’s Way Diagnostic Center as a medical facility for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The DOH’s Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau issued a notice of violation and Cease and Desist Order against God’s Way Diagnostic Center after it was found non-compliant to various DOH regulations and standards.

The medical clinic is located at 128 Alhambra St., corner United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, OFWs are advised to have their medical examination only with medical facilities accredited by the Department of Health.

Beware of cruise ship recruitment scam

 The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration advises jobseekers to ignore emails offering supposed jobs in international cruise ships. In an email forwarded to the POEA , the sender email informs the recipient of being “shortlisted to become a Cruise group crew here in Ontario Toronto, Canada”. Princess Cruise Ship Company, the purported employer, offers a monthly salary of US$3,500 and US$300 allowance, with free food and accommodation and medical insurance. It also offers free visa and work permit.

 The catch, however, is that the applicant is required to send US$350 to the company’s account officer through a remittance company. The recipient was told to send payment to a certain Kelvin Jacob Sloan of Maple Grove, Minnesota, USA. The sender used the email addresses and, a telling sign that the job offer is a scam.

The following are other signs that the job offer is a scam: 1. The offer seems too good to be true. You are offered a job that you probably never applied for, with high salaries and a lot of benefits. 2. Grammatical errors. An email from a large company should be free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. 3. Requests for fees. Scammers always ask for advance payments supposedly for documentation or processing fees. 4. Free email domains. Scammers will not spend on paid email address and use free email services like hotmail, aim, yahoo or gmail. 5. Suspicious or no addresses. If there is no physical address, you are being scammed. If there is a physical address, check it out using google and see if it’s a real address. 6. Untraceable payment method. The scammer’s most preferred payment method is through remittance companies such as Western Union. Don’t pay anyone advance fees by any means if you have the slightest suspicion it is a scam. 7. Pressure.

Scammers will often put pressure on their victims and urge them to pay immediately or lose the opportunity. The POEA advises jobseekers to be aware of the warning signs and heed them to avoid being the victim of a scam. /END

Germany needs 400 nurses for Triple Win Project

 The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is now accepting qualified applicants for nurses for deployment in Germany under the Triple Win Project. The International Placement Service of the German Federal Employment Agency (ZAV/BA).

This time, needs qualified applicants to fill up its vacancies for ICU, general, and geriatric care wards. The Triple Win Project is supervised by the POEA through a government-to-government arrangement with the Federal Republic of Germany. Qualified applicants must be Filipino citizen and permanent resident of the Philippines with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (four years professional education), active Philippine Nursing License and at least two years of professional experience as nurse in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and care institutions.

 Applicants must have German language proficiency and is willing to undergo German language training in the Philippines to attain Level B1 (to be paid by the employer) or with Bl or B2 language proficiency level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Successful candidates shall have a starting monthly salary of €1,900 (gross) and an increase to € 2,300 after recognition as a qualified nurse. The employer will pay the visa and airfare from the Philippines to Germany and will assist the employee find a suitable accommodation. The selected nurse will bear the expenses in full or in part of the board and lodging.

Qualified applicants should register online at www.ereqister. ph and personally submit the following documents (fastened in a folder) under the heading "Triple Win RSF No. 17003" at the Manpower Registry Division, Windows S and T, Ground Floor, Blas F. Ople Bldg. (formerly POEA Bldg.), Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City:

 Cover letter and curriculum vitae with colored passport size picture, in English and, if possible, in German  High School Diploma (notarized copy)  Diploma of nursing (notarized copy)  Board Certificate from Professional Regulation Commission  Certificates of employment from former employers (notarized copy)  Certificate of German language skills, if available  Copy of valid Passport Applicants are required to present their original documents for authentication of written information before forwarding the resume to the employer. The deadline of submission of application is on May 15, 2017.

Suspension of direct hire processing

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has ordered the suspension of processing and issuance of overseas employment certificate (OEC) for all directly hired overseas Filipino workers starting April 25, 2017 until further orders. All pending applications for OEC as of date were covered by the suspension.

456 Pinoys have received exit visas since start of Saudi amnesty

Some 456 undocumented overseas Filipinos have been given exit visas, with the assistance of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, since the Saudi Arabia government's amnesty program started last March 29, consulate officials said on Monday.
Consul General Imelda Panolong said that, of the 456 undocumented Filipinos, some of whom were minors, 104 have flown home using air-tickets provided by the Philippine Government
Around 3,500 undocumented OFW’s have so far sought the assistance of the consulate general under the amnesty program, Panolong added.
Apart from assisting the undocumented OFWs in the processing of their exit visas at the Immigration counters, the Consulate General also provides free bus services to the Saudi Immigration office in Shumaisy, which is about 100 kilometers from Jeddah; and to the airport once the undocumented OFWs have secured their visas.
The DFA, DSWD and POLO/OWWA-Jeddah are providing the plane tickets for those who do not have the means to buy tickets.
Also, Philippine government support was not limited to Jeddah. The Consulate General also has mobile amnesty  services in other parts of the Western Region of Saudi Arabia, such as Abha/Khamis Mushayt, Jizan, Najran, Madinah, and Tabuk.
Once they arrive in the Philippines, the repatriated OFWs can avail of livelihood and other socio-economic support programs being provided by DSWD, DOLE, OWWA and TESDA.
The Saudi government's amnesty program will last for 90 days. The amnesty allows illegal workers to leave the Kingdom without fines or jail sentence for violating residency and labor regulations.
Panolong has called on undocumented OFWs who have not yet applied for amnesty to visit the Consulate at the soonest possible time before the program ends.
“I would like to reiterate our call to our Kababayans who are undocumented in the Kingdom to avail themselves of the golden opportunity to go home to the Philippines,” the consul general said. — Ronaldo Z. Concha/DVM, GMA News

Cordillerans in HK celebrate special day with dances, music

HONG KONG — Despite the distance, Filipino workers here who traced their roots to Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province celebrated Cordillera Day 2017 on Sunday.
Dancing their traditional dances and banging their gongs, those who hailed from the region expressed their unity and solidarity to defend their land and ancestral domain.
In a statement, the Cordillera Alliance, Abra Tingguian Ilocano Society, and the United Filipinos in HK said, "Thousands of Cordillerans in Hong Kong are living testimonies of forced migration resulting from lack of jobs, decent wages, and displacement from agricultural and ancestral lands back home despite the so-called 'development' propagated by past and present regimes."
The group cited the impacts of mining, militarization, quest for just peace, access to social services, employment, and just wages as among their issues of concern.
"Many Cordillerans in Hong Kong attest that their families have experienced losing their homes and properties as a result of mining and military operations," the group said.
"Like the general aspiration of the Filipino people, we Cordilleran migrants hope and look forward to a   solution to the struggles of indigenous peoples," it added. —KBK, GMA News

How to get a US visa

et a US Visa

Design by Jannielyn Ann Bigtas

Ever wanted to explore Los Angeles' Hollywood Walk of Fame? Breathe New York City night life or enjoy wild, carefree nights in Las Vegas? Whether you're a high-roller or just a simple tourist with simple destinations in mind like San Francisco's Jack Kerouac Alley, the United States of America has a lot in store for you. However, a passport is not enough to gain you entrance to the US. For that, you have to have a visa.
Here are some useful information one should know in applying for a US visa.
—prepared by Rie Takumi and Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/KBK, GMA News

MIAA: Terminal fee exemption to make ticket purchase easier for OFWs

OFWs can soon purchase airline tickets with much ease and speed as they no longer have to pay terminal fee, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said Monday.
Under the recently signed memorandum of agreement between MIAA and air carriers, OFW exemption shall be recognized at any point of sale in the Philippines or abroad beginning April 30, 2017.
"As they buy their ticket, one has to state or declare that he is an OFW for exemption to be recognized," MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said. "The selling agent may or may not ask for a proof of entitlement during transaction."
"If no proof is shown during transaction, the passenger should be able to present one during check-in at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) where same shall be validated," he added.
Meanwhile, beginning July 31, 2017, air carriers will start honoring OFW exemptions at any point of sale for tickets purchased online, through telephone and mobile applications.
Montreal reminded the OFWs that a passenger may be asked to show his proof of entitlement upon check-in at the NAIA. These include documents under the Balik Manggagawa exemption, namely valid employment contract or recent payslip, among others.
Previously, only the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is honored as proof of entitlement.
At present, OFWs, though exempted by law, have to pay terminal fee and are only refunded later on — a process, OFWs said, that is tedious and time-consuming.
According to Montreal, owing to the one year validity of airline tickets, the MIAA shall retain refund counters at the NAIA Terminals until April 2018.
"Beyond that date, refund may be done at the MIAA Collection Division in the MIAA administration building along MIA Road," he said.
Monreal clarified that refund has no expiration and may be done through a representative provided proper authorization is present. —KBK, GMA News

Saudi Oger '70% done' in processing retrenched OFWs' claims –PHL official

Retrenched Filipino workers of Saudi Oger in Saudi Arabia are set to know in two months' time the amount of financial benefits they will receive from the company, according to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Jeddah.
Citing company officials, POLO OIC Rose Mangahas said the processing of the workers' claims, which include unpaid salaries and end-of-service benefits, is "70 percent done."
"Ang sabi po nila ay nasa sitenta porsyento na sila ng proseso at madi-determine na kung magkano ang claim ng bawat isa," Mangahas said.
She said the process includes "reconciling" the amount the OFWs said the company owes them and the amount in the company's records.
"Asahan daw natin mayroon nang desisyon sa loob ng dalawang buwan," said Mangahas, who recently visited the affected Filipino workers who are still in the Kingdom.
Saudi Oger is one of the largest employers of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
Most of the retrenched OFWs have already gone home, taking advantage of the government's 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ex-AFP chief Roy Cimatu newest member of Duterte Cabinet

Malacañang on Sunday confirmed that former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Roy Cimatu is now a member of President Rodrigo Durterte's Cabinet.
In his speech at the opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2017 in Antique, Duterte mentioned Cimatu and addressed the former military chief as "secretary."
"The other member of the Cabinet is really Secretary Roy Cimatu," Duterte said. "(He is) an Ilocano. Many, many years ago, he was assigned in a division in Davao. Doon kami nagkakilala," the President said.
"He's a candidate for another [position]— Cabinet na siya ngayon, eh. But this time, I transferred him to a busier job," he added.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement following Duterte's speech that Cimatu's Cabinet position is Special Envoy for OFW Refugees.
In his visit to the Middle East during the Holy Week, Duterte announced that he was talking with Cimatu for a possible Cabinet position.
Cimatu was appointed by Duterte as his special envoy to the Middle East last year. He held the same position during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Duterte said during his Middle East visit that Cimatu was Arroyo's go-to man for the mass evacuation of overseas Filipino workers.
Cimatu, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1970, was AFP chief from may to September in 2002. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/ALG, GMA News

Kin get replica of lost Purple Heart medal for Pinoy WWII vet

A Filipino World War II veteran whose Purple Heart medal got lost in the aftermath of the war received a replica of it earlier this month, according to the US Embassy in the Philippines.
A Purple Heart is a United States military honor given to those wounded or killed in the performance of their duty.
The replica of the medal was received by Elisea Alagon Jamoralin, the only surviving daughter of hte late Private First Class Adriano Alagon, in a formal ceremony at the historic Fort Shafter headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Wednesday (US time).
"Through the horrors and terror of this period, we can take what endures over the years: the freedom and sacrifices made for our two nations by Soldiers like Pfc. Alagon," said Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander of the US Army Pacific, before presenting the medal.
Alagon was originally presented the Purple Heart for his service with the 14th Engineer Battalion, Philippine Scouts, a unit that served with US forces during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
According to the US Embassy, Alagon "gallantly served shoulder-to-shoulder with American forces" during the Japanese occupation.
On his birthday, Alagon was captured by Japanese forces and "made to endure the horrific march across Bataan, and subsequently killed by his captors after spending nearly two years in brutal conditions as a prisoner of war."
At that time, his daughter, Elisea, was only eight years old.
Elisea is the mother of Gina Jamoralin, the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu who researched her grandfather’s saga and contacted the US Army about a replacement award.
"Today's event is the culmination of my search for answers in what might have been forgotten by succeeding generations," Jamoralin said during the ceremony on behalf of the family. "While we miss our grandfather, we are consoled by the fact he died for his country and we are deeply proud of him."
The family also brought a framed copy of an original letter signed by then President Harry Truman, saying: "He stands in the unbroken line of Patriots who have dared to die so that freedom might live, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives- and through it- he lives." Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Friday, April 21, 2017

150 distressed OFWs in Saudi Arabia turn up for amnesty

OFWs applying for exit visa in Jeddah. --Ronaldo Concha
Philippine foreign officials in Saudi Arabia early on Thursday morning accompanied some 150 undocumented OFWs to the deportation center (shumaysi) in Jeddah to get their exit visa as they take advantage of the Kingdom's amnesty program for runaway foreign workers.
Sources from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Jeddah told GMA News Online that the OFWs, together with POLO and OWWA officials, left the consulate on four buses at past 6 a.m. 
Aling Leny, wife of a runaway (huroob) OFW who was deported in November last year, told GMA News that she is taking her chances of getting an exit visa to correct her record under the 90-day amnesty program.
She said that the amnesty program was her only hope to return to the Philippines with a clean record from the Saudi government.
“Binigyan ng release ang mister ko pero hindi na delete ang huroob status niya (runaway) niya. Kaya nung nadakip sya ay nadeport sya, Nagpunta po kami sa consulate ng ma-deport ang mister ko pero sinabihan kami na hold muna dahil may minor kaya naghintay kami hanggang sa maabutan na kami ng amnesty,” Neny said.
Many OFWs who have applied for exit visa have huroob status, she said. 
One of the qualifications to avail of the amnesty program is the huroob status.
Last year, over 11,000 OFWs in the kingdom alone were rendered jobless due to the oil slump and the Saudization program in the oil-producing country. They had gone broke and had to scavenge and beg for food for months to survive.
The Department of Labor and Employment has reported that as of mid-April 2017, some 19,000 stranded and undocumented OFWs have been repatriated from the whole of Middle East since July 2016.
In a news release on April 19, the DOLE said that 19,201 OFWs were repatriated through OWWA's Relief Assistance Program (RAP).
Most of the repatriated workers were from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar, all in Saudi Arabia, the country hardest hit by the oil crisis that rocked the Middle East last year. —LBG, GMA News

New York museum to aid green-card holders in US citizenship quest

NEW YORK - With the Trump administration trying to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries from the United States, the New-York Historical Society and museum is launching a new initiative to help green-card holders become American citizens.
The program will include free workshops and classes, paired with displays and a scavenger hunt at the museum on Manhattan's Upper West Side, all linked to questions on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test—the final hurdle to citizenship.
"As far as we are aware, we are the first institution to develop a higher program of on-site workshops using our object collection with the exclusive purpose of promoting citizenship for as many legal immigrants as possible," said Louise Mirrer, the society's president and chief executive.
About 13.1 million people across the United States were green-card holders on Jan. 1, 2013, and 8.8 million of them were eligible for naturalization, according to the most recent figures from the US Department of Homeland Security.
The New-York Historical Society, founded in 1804, teamed up with the City University of New York to launch the initiative this summer, aiming to help the 1 million green-card holders in the metropolitan area.
Green-card holders have the right to live and work in the United States. But they were originally included in President Donald Trump's January executive order banning refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States.
That executive order, which initially prompted chaos and confusion, and a revised version that removed green-card holders and Iraq off the banned list were blocked by US judges . But concern has remained high among immigrant communities, with a chief executive whose presidential campaign focused on cracking down on illegal immigration.
"We decided the time (for the program) was now," Mirrer explained in a phone interview. "The demand for help in becoming a citizen on the part of green-card holders has ramped up hugely."
To become citizens, green-card holders must pass an English literacy test and an oral government and history exam by correctly answering six of 10 questions from a total pool of 100.
Questions range from "What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?" to "What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?"
"These are things that Americans should know but most Americans do not," said Mirrer. (For a practice version of the civics test, please see:
The society's initiative will include a new gallery with interactive displays designed around the 100 questions. It is a model that other historical societies and museums could follow to help green-card holders and educate Americans.
"In an environment in which many legal immigrants are feeling concerned, we want to help them," Mirrer said. "We deeply believe that immigration has been the bedrock of this country from the start." Reuters

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DOLE offers livelihood package to repatriated OFWs

duterte ofw saudi
President Rodrigo Duterte hands P5000 cash assistance from OWWA to the repatriated OFWs from Saudi Arabia. He was assisted by Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello and Social Welfare Sec. Jusy Taguiwalo. Photo by Nikko Dizon
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday offered a package of services from the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) WELL program to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated under the Saudi amnesty program.
WELL stands for Welfare, Employment, Livelihood, and Legal Assistance which will give OFWs a chance to work and sustain their families.
In a statement, DOLE said that the agency’s team headed by Bello and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) team extended airport assistance to returning OFWs, such as the travel document processing, use of a special immigration lane, and baggage assistance.
President Rodrigo Duterte, together with Bello and other cabinet members welcomed 139 Filipinos granted exit visas under Saudi Arabia’s “Nation without Violations” amnesty program on Monday.
The 90-day Saudi Arabian amnesty program was launched last March 29.
“On the same day, I deployed a ‘Rapid Response Team’ composed of DOLE Undersecretary Dominador S. Say, Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, OWWA, Deputy Administrator Brigido J. Dulay, OWWA lawyer Cesar L. Chavez, Jr., OWWA and POEA lawyer Anna Patricia P. Jacobo to assess the situation of the OFWs availing of the amnesty program,” Bello said.
He said that due to the goodwill generated by Duterte’s visit, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia chartered a plane to fly the OFWs back to Philippines and shouldered the expenses.
Meanwhile, OWWA provided post-repatriation services to its members which include temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home, psychosocial counseling and stress debriefing, as well as transport services.
Each worker, whether an active or inactive OWWA member, received P5,000 cash assistance from the Office of the President as well as an additional P5,000 from DOLE and OWWA.
OWWA members can also avail a non-cash livelihood package worth P10,000 consisting of a starter kit and techno-skills training, called the “Balik-Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program.”

No placement fee collection for Japan Household Workers Jobs – POEA

FILIPINO household service workers (HSWs) bound for Japan must not be asked to pay for their placement fee.
This was the stern reminder of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), saying it is not allowed under their newly-released guidelines for the HSW hiring in Japan.
“Collection of placement fees from the housekeepers by Employment Agencies, Sending and Specified Organizations for placement of housekeepers is prohibited,” said POEA Governing Board Resolution 08-2016.
Similarly, the guidelines indicate that other administrative fees, whether indirectly or indirectly, as well as deduction from their salaries are not allowed.

Housekeepers shall only be required to pay for their passports, barangay and NBI clearance, preliminary medical examination, PhilHealth membership, and Pag-Ibig Membership.
The reminder comes after the POEA said Filipino HSWs will already be allowed to be deployed in Japan by the private sector but will only be pilot-tested in the Kanagawa Prefecture, including the City of Yokohama.
The POEA said qualified to apply as HSWs are those at least 23 years old, with minimum one year work experience in housekeeping services, and has Tesda National Certificate II (NC II).
There are no specific skills and language training required from the housekeeper in general but can be asked by their respective Japanese employers, who will then shoulder the cost of additional skills and language competency training they shall require.
Once hired, they will be employed on a full-time basis, at a minimum of five days per week or 35 hours per week, with salaries equivalent to those being received by Japanese housekeepers.
Housekeepers are then expected to clean households; care and protect children, including picking up and dropping off; perform acts necessary for daily life at home, such as sewing, packing, receiving packages and mails, prepare beddings, gardening, and repair services; and assisting and accompanying senior citizens, except providing physical nursing care services.
Prior to allowing HSWs, Japan only has a hiring program for Filipino nurses and caregivers under the Japan–Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.
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