Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fil-Am activists fear martial law will violate peace talks with Reds


Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
Posted at May 26 2017 04:11 PM
LOS ANGELES – For Filipino activists in the United States, martial law is familiar territory.
Tony Dorono, for example, was a protest movement organizer during martial law in the '80s, and received death threats as he pursued his activism.
Now, he and other Filipinos are back on the streets calling for a stop to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“When you hear this new president declaring martial law with the prospect of all throughout the country, then your memory returns to the fact that I have been through martial law during Marcos' time,” said Dorono, executive director of the Filipino Migrant Center.
The martial law declaration comes as peace talks between the government and rebel groups are expected to resume in the coming days.
“We feel the recent declaration of martial law in the Philippines clearly violates one of those agreements, which is the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law), which has ultimately been signed because it is supposed to uphold human rights in the Philippines,” said Nikole Cababa of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan USA.
“Martial law clearly violates that, and we urge President Duterte to be more concerned about the socioeconomic reforms that can address poverty in the Philippines.”
Shortly before they took to the streets, Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz hosted the protesters in his office to hear their concerns.
He is forwarding the activitists' sentiments to the president’s office, which has released a statement and video on Thursday outlining the process of martial law, hoping to ease concerns and stop any misinformation.

PhilHealth Cebu Brings Services Closer to Where it is Most Needed



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 princess_cruise17@yahoo.com and princess_cruise17@yahoo.com, 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. /EN

The Russians are coming, says tourism chief

By:  - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
 / 05:00 AM May 26, 2017
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Thursday said she and her Russian counterparts have signed a cooperation agreement that would pave the way for more Russian tourists visiting Philippine travel destinations.
The Joint Action Program of Tourism Cooperation (JAPTC), signed by Teo and officials of the Federal Agency of Tourism of Russia, was one of nine bilateral agreements sealed by the two countries during President Duterte’s shortened visit.
“The Russians are coming though they are very particular about safety and security in any prospective destination. The agreement signifies Moscow’s confidence in the Philippine government’s capability to resolve peace and order issues,” Teo said in a statement.
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She noted that Russia was listed among the “high growth markets” posting 9,152 arrivals in January-February period this year, a 29.24-percent increase from last year.
With the rising number of Russian tourists, Teo said Russian government was exploring the possibilities of organizing a Russian language training program for Filipino tourism industry workers.
The JAPTC is also expected to expand tourist flow between the Philippines and Russia as both parties agree to assist each other in establishing contacts between Philippine and Russian national tourism organizations, Teo said.
The JAPTC states that both parties would exchange information related to ensure tourists’ safety in the territory of the country.
While in Moscow, the tourism secretary met with private tourism businessmen, including the Russian travel and tour agency Vand International, Svetlana Muromskaya, who had already visited the Philippines 11 times.
“Our clients have very good opinion of the Philippines. The people, especially, are very nice. Fifty percent of Russians who go to the Philippines become repeat clients. They come back after a year or two,” the Department of Tourism quoted Muromskaya as saying.
Muromskaya said that aside from education and training, the exchange of information and expertise among tourist organizations of both countries was crucial in spurring tourism activity.

OFW nabbed in Riyadh for trafficking helpers


 / 08:31 AM May 30, 2017
An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) was recently arrested for alleged human trafficking in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Police nabbed the unidentified Filipino after he was accused of illegally employing two domestic helpers who previously escaped from their employers, police spokesperson Fawaz Al-Maiman told local news site Arab News.
He confessed to helping both of them escape from their employers’ homes and hiring them in his company. The Filipino is currently detained at a local police station while the rescued maids are under the care of the country’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

His arrest came following cases of fugitive maids, including Filipinos, who have been reported missing over the past few months.
After President Duterte’s state visit to Saudi Arabia last month, concerned Philippine authorities are eyeing to repatriate illegal OFWs stranded in the Middle East. According to the Department of Labor and Employment, 19,201 Filipino workers, mostly from Saudi Arabia, have been sent home and given monetary and livelihood assistance.  Gianna Francesca Catolico /ra/rga

AFP says 3 Malaysians, Indonesian killed in Marawi


A policeman looks at the glass window marked with bullet holes and cracks in a building at the site of an earlier gun battle between government forces and Muslim militants in Marawi Monday, May 29, 2017. AP
Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año reportedly said on Tuesday that three Malaysians, an Indonesian and possibly Arab extremists had been killed in Marawi since Islamists tried to take over the predominantly Muslim city last week.
The Associated Press quoted Año as saying that the military had made advances in containing the weeklong siege of Marawi. He said a top Filipino militant was believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded in the fighting.
According to Año, the extremists plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. CBB/rga

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bulacan farmer’s son headed to Harvard, cop’s daughter off to Columbia

Two scholars of the International School Manila are bound for fully funded study at Ivy League schools.
One of them is Romnick Blanco, a farmer's son who has been admitted to Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, on full scholarship.
Blanco, seventh of nine kids, used to walk two hours every day to attend school in Sierra Madre, Bulacan, where his father, Renato, works as a vegetable and rice farmer.
His Harvard scholarship will cover tuition, accommodation, flights, and even wardrobe.
Meanwhile, Jessica Cuadro, daughter of a policeman, will be attending Columbia University in New York, also on full scholarship.
Jessica Cuadro and Romnick Blanco are heading to Ivy League schools. Photo: International School Manila
 
Blanco and Cuadro are among the 13 graduating students of ISM who are headed to Ivy League schools.  Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/BM, GMA News

Japinoy rikishi reaches sumo's second-highest rank after 10th victory

Filipino-Japanese rikishi Akira Takayasu (ring name Takayasu) was promoted to the penultimate rank in sumo wrestling after winning his 10th match in Japan's Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
According to Nikkan Sports, Takayasu defeated Haramafuji Kohei (ring name Fuji) at the Ryogoku Sumo Hall in a hard-fought match that boosted the Japinoy's win-loss record to 10-2, enabling his promotion to Ozeki.
Takayasu told Nikkan Sports that he believes his hard work was rewarded by the difficult victory. He added that while he could not quite grasp his promotion yet, his career will not end at being an Ozeki.
Ozeki is the second-highest rank in sumo wrestling and leads to Yokozuna, sumo's highest rank.
Yutaka Hagiwara (ring name Kisenosato) was the latest rikishi to earn the prestigious rank of Yokozuna in January, which was most celebrated as he was the first Japanese-born Yokozuna in almost two decades.
Takayasu has been featured in a documentary by GMA News' Brigada a few years back. The Japinoy sumo star takes vacations in Visayas with his Boholano-raised mother, Bebelita Takayasu. Rie Takumi/ALG, GMA News

PHL, Israel eye pact vs. illegal drugs amid OFW arrests

The Philippines and Israel may soon forge a bilateral agreement to combat illegal drug trafficking amid the "growing" number of Filipinos arrested or convicted in Israel over drug-related cases.
A statement from the Philippine Embassy in Israel said Ambassador Neal Imperial met with Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last week to discuss the possibility of a Memorandum of Agreement to curb illegal drugs as a transnational crime.
Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial meets Israel's Minister for Public Security Gilad Erdan on May 18, 2017 in Tel Aviv, to discuss cooperation in combating illegal drugs as a transnational crime. PHL Embassy
The MOA will task each country to exchange information on pertinent laws, the modus operandi used by persons and organizations to smuggle illegal drugs, their trafficking routes, and to adopt measures to prevent illegal drug trafficking.
Israel shared with Erdan that a growing number of Filipinos have been arrested or convicted for their involvement in the illegal drug trade in Israel in the past three years.
According to the Embassy, Filipinos have been used as drug conduits, wittingly or unwittingly, by receiving parcels with concealed drugs from the Philippines.
Several advisories have been issued to the Filipino community in Israel reminding them not to engage in the illegal drug trade.
Imperial said the MOA will also be in line with the Duterte administration's active anti-illegal drug campaign.
"We propose institutionalizing cooperation through a formal agreement between appropriate agencies in the Philippines, particularly the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and in Israel under which information or intelligence sharing and other modes of cooperation can be implemented to combat this form of transnational crime," he said.
Erdan, for his part, assured the Embassy that his Ministry supported plans for the bilateral agreement and that Israel can help in the fight against illegal drugs by monitoring networks, engaging in counter-terrorism efforts, and aiding prevention and rehabilitation. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

OFWs to kin in Mindanao: Be vigilant, we're praying for you

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have relatives in Mindanao, which is now under martial law amid threats from local terrorist groups, are advising them to stay vigilant and to always pray that they remain safe.
"Just take care, pray, and believe that this will just last for days," said Nielma Biernesa, a 36-year-old data controller in the United Arab Emirates whose family resides in Midsayap, North Cotabato. 
"[You] are all in my prayers kasama na mga kababayan natin lalo na mga bata at matatanda. God bless everyone," she said.
Like other OFWs, Biernesa is keeping herself up to date with what's happening in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City where government troops are battling the Maute group, a local group that has pledged allegiance to the ISIS.
The presence of the Maute group in Marawi was what prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put the entire Mindanao under martial rule.
"Every day kausap ko naman ang sister-in-law ko na nakatira sa bahay ko. Magkakasama ang pamilya ko sa iisang compound. Alert is there pero okay naman sila," Biernesa said of her relatives in Mindanao.
Lalay Talusan, 39, a part-time cleaner in Russia, likewise advised her loved ones in Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao province to remain vigilant and to keep on praying.
"Always kumukontak [ako] sa kanila. Kanina lang, malinaw naman," she said.
"Sa aking pamilya at mga kaibigan diyan sa Mindanao, be vigilant sa nangyayari sa paligid. Huwag na munang lumabas if hindi rin masyado importante. Mag-iingat parati and pray to almighty Allah," Talusan added.
Though some sectors have criticized the declaration of martial law on the entire Mindanao, OFWs contacted by GMA News Online seem to be in favor of it, though some have reservations.
"As a Mindanaoan who always thinks of a peaceful place and a smooth way of life for each and every person mapa-Muslim, Lumad, o Kristiyano, ito ang kasagutan," Biernesa opined.
Biernesa stressed that her agreement for a temporary rule by military authorities in her home province was only brought by her desire for peace in Mindanao.
"Kung para sa ikakaayos ng gulo at maibalik ang Mindanao sa matiwasay na pamayanan, bakit hindi?" she said.
She urged terror groups in Mindanao to "open their minds" that Mindanao is a home [for] Muslims, Lumads and Christians alike.
Talusan said she has complete trust in Duterte, who is from Mindanao.
"Malaki tiwala ko sa ating mahal na pangulo at alam ko na gagawin niya lahat para sa ikakabuti ng Mindanao," she said. "Kung sa tingin niya ay Martial Law ang makakasugpo sa kaguluhan sa Mindanao, sumasang-ayon ako dahil sawang-sawa na ako sa walang katapusang kaguluhan."
A resident of Davao City for three decades before he moved to the United Arab Emirates, Mark Randall Lamoste said would just leave everything to Duterte, their former mayor.
"Knowing Duterte during his eight years of service as a mayor in the city—he always find and look for agreements and negotiations to maintain peace and order in the city. If walang nangyayari sa sinabi niya, doon na nagda-drastic moves," said the 36-year-old dentist. —KBK, GMA News

Mary Jane Veloso’s lawyers to seek SC nod on deposition

The camp of Filipino death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso would elevate to the Supreme Court (SC) its plea to allow the deposition of testimony against her alleged recruiters from her jail cell in Indonesia.
According to National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia, they would file the petition questioning the Court of Appeals' action against the deposition in the first week of June.
"We are preparing the petition," Olalia said in a text message on Friday.
Veloso's testimony was supposed to be gathered on April 27 in Yogyakarta prison but the CA 11th Division came out last March with a temporary restraining order (TRO) whose validity was extended through a preliminary injunction issued on May 22.
The CA action stemmed from the petition filed by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), counsel for Veloso's recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, who said the deposition was against the constitutional right of the accused.
The PAO cited Section 14 paragraph 2 of the Bill of Rights, which gives, among others, an accused the right to a speedy, impartial, and public trial and meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence.
"The recruiters assert that they want to confront her in person yet they themselves oppose and put all roadblocks every step of the way to make this happen," Olalia said.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad in April 2015 after she was found guilty of drug trafficking, but Indonesian authorities agreed to hold off the execution so she could testify in the case against her recruiters in the Philippines. — RSJ, GMA News

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pinoy killed in Sandakan hit-and-run incident

A Filipino plantation worker was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Sandakan, Malaysia, early Sunday morning, according to a report by New Straits Times.
The Filipino, whom the report did not identify, was killed when the motorcycle he was driving was hit by a four-wheel-drive vehicle while traversing Mile 21 of Jalan Labuk around 5:30 a.m.
District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Azhar Hamin was quoted in the report as saying that the driver of the 4WD lost control of the car, veered into the opposite lane, and rammed into the Filipino.
Police found the 4WD abandoned when they arrived at the scene. The Filipino, meanwhile, died of serious injuries.
Mohd Azhar urged witnesses to report information about the driver to Traffic Investigation officer Inspector Zabir Aripin or the district police operation center at 089 21 1222 or 089 24 2222.
The incident is being investigated under Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987 or death by reckless or dangerous driving.  —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Mary Jane Veloso camp rues CA injunction vs. deposition

The camp of Filipino death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso on Thursday expressed disappointment at the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to prevent her from spilling the beans on her recruiters who allegedly tricked her into transporting illegal drugs in Indonesia.
"The bottom line is: how in heaven's name can we get to hear the side of a fellow compatriot who is behind bars and waiting in death row in a foreign land and who cannot come home for said purpose?" said National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia in a text message.
Veloso's testimony was supposed to be gathered on April 27 in Yogyakarta prison but the CA 11th Division came out last March with a temporary restraining order (TRO) whose validity was extended through a preliminary injunction issued on May 22.
The CA action stemmed from the petition filed by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), counsel for Veloso's recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, who said the deposition was against the constitutional right of the accused.
The PAO cited Section 14 paragraph 2 of the Bill of Rights, which gives, among others, an accused the right to a speedy, impartial, and public trial and meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence.
Olalia said Veloso's recruiters invoked "what may be deemed esoteric and archaic legal argumentation under the peculiarities of the case."
"The recruiters assert that they want to confront her in person yet they themselves oppose and put all roadblocks every step of the way to make this happen," he said.
Veloso's camp described her situation as unique "that calls for judicial equity, if not flexibility."
"Indeed, it warrants common sense or basic empathy," Olalia said.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad in April 2015, but Indonesian authorities agreed to hold off the execution so she could testify in the case against her recruiters in the Philippines. —KG, GMA News

CA extends stay order vs. deposition of Mary Jane Veloso’s testimony indefinitely

Filipino death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso would still not be able to testify against the individuals who allegedly tricked her into transporting illegal drugs in Indonesia in 2010.
This developed after the Court of Appeals (CA) 11th Division issued on May 22 a preliminary injunction which effectively extended for an indefinite period of time the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) handed down last March on the deposition.
Veloso's testimony was supposed to be gathered on April 27 in Yogyakarta prison before the Filipino death row inmate's lawyers, prosecutors from the Department of Justice, representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs, lawyers of Veloso's recruiters, and the trial court judge handling the cases against her recruiters.
The appellate court also rejected the motion for reconsideration on the stay order
filed by Veloso's parents, Celia and Cesar Veloso.
Parties to the case were also directed to  submit their memorandum on the merits within 15 days from notice afterwhich the petition would be submitted for decision.
The Public Attorney's Office (PAO), which represents Veloso's recruiter Maria Cristina Sergio and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao, welcomed the CA action.
"Rule of law and truth prevail," PAO chief Persida Acosta said in a text message.
GMA News Online has already asked for comment from the camp of Veloso but they have yet to respond as of posting time.
Sergio and Lacanilao went to the CA after Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of the Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88 allowed the deposition last February.
The PAO opposed the deposition, saying it is against the constitutional right of the accused.
The agency cited Section 14 paragraph 2 of the Bill of Rights, which gives, among others, an accused the right to a speedy, impartial, and public trial and meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence.
Veloso was sentenced to die by firing squad in April 2015, but Indonesian authorities agreed to hold off the execution so she could testify in the case against her recruiters in the Philippines.  — RSJ, GMA News

Pinoy resto in NYC temporarily closed after health inspection

A popular Filipino restaurant in New York City has been temporarily shut down by the health department due to alleged violations discovered after an inspection, according to a report on Sunnyside Post.
The report said Kabayan 2, located on Roosevelt Avenue, was ordered closed after racking up 117 violation points during a health inspection, topping the 109 violations its first branch accumulated in August last year.
The City Health Department temporarily shuttered the restaurant for violations including lack of washing facilities near the food preparation area and toilet, and storing food in sub-optimal temperatures.
Kabayan 2 was opened shortly after its first branch, located on Queens Boulevard, was closed also following a health inspection.
Inspectors found out that the owner of the restaurant failed to obtain licenses for walk-in freezers and refrigerators on top of finding mice and flies in food and non-food areas.
An illegally-constructed hut was also found at the back of the restaurant. It was demolished as it was constructed without a building permit.
Despite the previous ruling, the owner of Kabayan opened the Roosevelt Avenue location. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Another Pinay falls to death while cleaning window in HK

A Filipina fell to her death while cleaning the window of her seventh-floor flat in Hong Kong, according to a report on EJ Insight.
Citing Chinese language sites hk01.com and Headline Daily, the report stated that the Filipina, 30, was found on a second-floor balcony after falling from her flat in the Mong Kok district.
Her Pakistani partner called the police after learning of her accident. She was pronounced dead at the Kwong Wah Hospital after efforts to resuscitate her failed, according to a South China Morning Post report.
The reports said police found no signs of foul play in their initial investigation, and classified the incident as an accident.
No reason has been given on why the woman, said to posses a temporary ID or form of recognizance while living with her boyfriend, was cleaning the windows of her flat in a way that would've caused her to fall.
The Philippines and Hong Kong have agreed on a window cleaning ban after several Filipino domestic helpers fell while cleaning the exterior of their employer's flat in high-rise buildings.
While contracts signed on or before December 31, 2016 were not affected by the ban, the order mandates employers or a representative to supervise the helper at all times and have window grilles installed during the cleaning process.
The SCMP noted that at least 11 people, including a Filipina and Indonesian domestic helpers, have accidentally fallen while cleaning windows or carrying out renovation work from high-rise buildings since 2015. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Number of abandoned Filipino babies in Middle East on the rise




The reason? Women who get pregnant but can't produce a marriage certificate face detention.
Jojo Dass, The Filipino Times
Published 9:55 AM, May 19, 2017
Updated 10:01 AM, May 19, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Cases of infants abandoned by their Filipina mothers after birth in hospitals in the Middle East are on the rise, an official from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
“Medyo dumarami (It’s slightly increasing),” Social Welfare Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin told The Filipino Times (TFT) in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi. “There’s an increasing trend of abandoned children or what is called ‘love cases.’” (It’s increasing. There’s an increasing trend of abandoned children or what is called love cases.)
“Base sa interview namin, sila siguro’y may asawa sa Pilipinas, peronagka-ayusan dito, nagka-anak, di pwedeng ikasal at pwedeng makulong,” said Gudmalin, DSWD Undersecretary for Exigent Concerns. (Based on our interview, they must have a husband in the Philippines but found somebody here and had a child. They cannot get married because they can go to jail.)
“Kung wala ka kasing marriage certificate, kulong ka. Kaya yung iba, di pumupunta na ospital. Sa bahay na lang nanganganak. Siyempre, may nagkakakumplikasyon. May namamatay.” (Because here, if you don’t have a marriage certificate, you’ll go to jail. So some do not go to hospital for labor, they do it at home. Of course, sometimes there are complications. Some die.)
But some manage to give birth in hospitals where they are led straight to the delivery room without being asked for proper identification. “‘Pag emergency na kasi, inaadmit agad, putok na panubigan, eh,” he said. (Because during emergencies, they admit you immediately.)
“Ang ginagawa para 'di makulong, after manganak sa ospital, aalis agad yung ina. Unang tumatakas ang tatay. 'Yun ang 'di maganda. Alam naman nila na ‘pag may asawa, ang ginagawa nila ay immoral; at kapag inabandon, lalo lang pinalalaki ang kasalanan,” Gudmalin added.
(What they do to avoid getting jailed is that the parents leave the hospital immediately after giving birth. The first to escape is the father. That’s not good because here, adultery is immoral, and when you abandon a child, you’re only making your sin worse.)
Gudmalin said that these parents usually leave the country while the baby stays and is cared for in the hospital. The embassy or consulate as well as the police are informed for documentation purposes.
Love cases
Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Constancio R. Vingno Jr said he was saddened by the abandonment cases. “Alam mo naman ang tama at mali. Magkasabay nga lang kayo sa daan, may immorality issue. What more kung nabuntis ka?” he said. (You know what’s right and wrong. Just walking on the streets together here can already be seen as immoral, what more if you got pregnant?)
“It’s not allowed. Why risk being jailed? These are the things we should be mindful of – know the rules of the host country and abide by them.”
He said the embassy has one active abandonment case so far this year. “Kukuha daw ng marriage certificate ‘yung ina kasi siyempre hinahanapan ng proof of marriage; hindi na bumalik (sa ospital),” he said. (The mother said that she was going to get her marriage certificate when she was asked for one but never came back to the hospital.)
More in Dubai
The figure is much higher in Dubai, where Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes said they have up to 10 such cases recorded from January this year alone – including children of jailed parents.
There were 14 abandoned Filipino children in the UAE two years ago; last year, there were 7, according to records at the DSWD obtained by TFT. But Gudmalin said he was still updating this data.
Officials said the actual number could be higher as it does not include babies born in the flats and villas who have been left by their mothers with friends.
Cortes echoed Gudmalin’s earlier statement, saying that because they do not have a marriage certificate to present to hospitals, many opt to give birth at home.
But he also said this is a dangerous option. “Siyempre, may nagkakakumplikasyon. May namamatay. Marami tayong cases na ganyan,” he said, without releasing actual figures. (Of course there are complications and some die. We have a lot of cases like that.)
Gudmalin, who was on the UAE leg of his Middle East trip early May for an assessment of the situation of overseas Filipinos in the region, said the embassy and the consulate usually arrange for the baby’s release from hospital care.
Gudmalin said that because there is no way to go after the parents, the abandoned child is given up for adoption at the DSWD office in Manila after repatriation, “unless the biological parents show up and claim the child.”
“Inaayos dito ng Philippine Consulate General (PCG) ang papeles ng bata in coordination with DSWD Manila,” Cortes said, adding that PCG shoulders the cost. (The PCG fixes the child’s documents in coordination with DSWD Manila.)
Gudmalin said that parents usually don’t show up.
“Sinusubaybayan naman nila. Kung nasa magandang kalagayan naman ang kanilang anak, pinababayaan na nila kasi mayroon silang iba pang pananagutan,” he said. (But they monitor them. If the kid’s in good condition, they usually just leave them already because they have other commitments,)
Report an abandoned child to the police
So, what should you do if you come across an abandoned child?
Report the matter (or convince the foster parent to report) to the police so that proper assistance can be arranged.
This is according to lawyer Barney Almazar of Gulf Law who said that it is "in the best interest of the child to have his stay in the country legalized.”
Almazar said the abandoned child should be turned over to authorities because he is not registered and has no birth certificate. “Even our government can’t do anything unless the parents accept the punishment for sex outside marriage, which rarely happens,” he said.
Moreover, those who have abandoned children under their care can be held liable for certain UAE penal and immigration laws.
“The child is being deprived,” said Almazar. “It’s the child’s right to have a nationality, to have a passport, to go to school,” he said.
Isabel Sy Nillas, social welfare attaché for UAE and Qatar, said she does not condone the practice nor does she pass judgment on the erring mother. “They have their own reasons for doing so and it has to be respected,” she said.
But she encouraged mothers who abandoned their children to surrender to the DSWD to declare the child legally free for adoption. – Rappler.com
This story was republished with permission from The Filipino Times, a Dubai-bases news outfit.
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