Tag Archives: OFW

DUTERTE ORDERS AFP: Prepare air, naval assets for MidEast evacuations

OFW EVAC

In the wake of rising tension between the United States and Iran, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to prepare its air and naval assets which could be used in the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East should hostilities erupt in the region.

This, according to Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong in a message to reporters Sunday night.
DUTERTE EVAC OFW
SECURING OVERSEAS WORKERS. President Rodrigo Duterte convenes national security officials at the Malacañan Palace on January 5, 2020. During the meeting, the President discussed contingency measures to ensure the safety of Filipinos based in the Middle East amid tension between the United States and Iran. (Presidential Photo)
“The President has tasked the AFP to prepare its air and naval assets to evacuate and bring home our countrymen if and when open hostilities erupt in the Middle East that may endanger their lives,” Andolong said.
He said this order came after the Chief Executive called for an emergency meeting with DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, newly-appointed AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, Philippine National Police chief, and their principal staffs on Sunday afternoon.
The meeting, he said, was conducted to ensure the safety of Filipinos working in the Middle East especially those deployed in Iran and Iraq whose well-being could be endangered in the event of open hostilities.
“The sole agenda was how to ensure the safety of our countrymen in the Middle East especially those in Iraq and Iran as the tension between the US and Iran rises. There are 1,600 and 6,000 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq, respectively,” Andolong said.
Tensions escalated in the Middle East after top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq on January 3 which was reportedly ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Tehran vowed a fierce retaliation against those responsible for the death of Soleimani. (PNA)

DISTRESSED OFWs

GO BILL TO SAVE DISTRESSED OFWs

Wants new department for Pinoy overseas workersofws

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is pushing for the passage of a measure seeking to create an executive department focused on addressing concerns of migrant workers following the recent repatriation of undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) victimized by illegal recruiters from the Middle East.

According to a statement on Friday, Go assured that a technical working group has been created to finalize the bill on the Department of OFWs (DOFW), which he expects to be approved before the year ends.

Ingat po sa mga illegal recruiters. Huwag kaagad sumakay sa mga offers na alanganin. That’s why I’m pushing for the Department of OFWs, not only para sa documented na Pilipino na nasa abroad pero para sa mga undocumented (Beware of illegal recruiters. Don’t immediately accept sketchy offers. That’s why I’m pushing for the DOFW, not only for documented overseas Filipinos but also for those undocumented),” Go said.

Kawawa sila. Hindi sila makauwi. Kung merong departamento na tututok sa ganito, ito na po ang lalapitan nila (They’re pitiful. They cannot go home. If there is a separate department focused on this issue, they would surely seek its help),” Go said.

Go filed Senate Bill 202, which seeks to address concerns of overseas Filipinos, such as the need to improve coordination among concerned offices in responding to the needs, particularly of OFWs.

The bill proposes that the following agencies and their powers and functions, funds and appropriations, records, equipment, property, and personnel will be transferred to the new department to be established: Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Commission on Filipino Overseas, International Labor Affairs Bureau of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and National Reintegration Center for OFWs.

The bill also states that the powers and functions of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs under the Department of Foreign Affairs and all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and their officials under DOLE will also be transferred to the new department. (PNA)

“I DON’T NEED VOTES OF OFWs” STATEMENT TO TAKE HEAVY TOLL ON ROXAS PRESIDENTIAL BID

 

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An earlier statement by Mar Roxas that he does not need the votes of Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) to win the May election will farther inflict a heavy toll on the already losing presidential bid of the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.

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Roxas made the boast at the height of the Laglag Bala (Bullet Planting) scandal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

ladlag balaThe racket involved corrupt airport employees and security personnel who “plant” live bullets in the luggage of airplane passengers who are later extorted when the ammunition is “discovered” by X-ray machines.

Many of the victims, who cough up large sum to get off being charged with violation, were OFWs.

The militant Migrante, an international association of OFWs, slammed migranteLaglag Bala as part of the Aquino government’s incompetence in protecting the  OFWs.

As the Aquino administration was being severely criticized for the airport racket that sparked negative publicity worldwide, Roxas, former Interior secretary of President Benigno Aquino,  said OFWs knew it was a crime to bring bullets into the airport and should not be blaming the government if they are found to have ammunition in their luggage.

Roxas said OFWs have right to vote any candidate adding he would not shed a tear if they pick his rivals.

Roxas’ statement triggered a storm of criticism from the OFWs.

Migrante said it would launch a “Laglag Roxas” campaign worldwide to frustrate the presidential bid of Roxas.

Under the Overseas Voting Act, overseas Filipinos numbering more than a million registered by the Commission on Election (Comelec) are allowed to vote in the May election.

Migrante said the “Laglag Roxas” campaign generated strong support from the OFWs.

But OFWs may no longer need to push the campaign hard to stop a Roxas presidency.

Aggregated results of pre-poll surveys by prestigious pollsters Social Weather Stations (SWS), Pulse Asia and Laylo have already doomed Roxas’ presidential bid.

The survey results showed a statistical tie at third place between Roxas (20%) and Vice President Jejomar Binay (19%).

Top running Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leads the race with 33% against second placer Senator Grace Poe’s 22%.  

ALSO READ: FRANTIC APPEAL

ROXAS MAKES FRANTIC APPEAL TO OVERSEAS FOREIGN WORKERS (OFWs)

roxas ofw

BREAKING NEWS

AS OF 5pm  aPR 11

Start of absentee voting in the consulate in Jeddah KSA. Total Votes cast 846. Duterte got 732 votes or 86.5%

MAR ROXAS WILL PAY DEARLY FOR EARLIER SAYING THAT HE DOES NOT NEED THE VOTES OF THE OFWs TO WIN THE MAY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE MILITANT GROUP MIGRANTE, REPRESENTING ABOUT 1.5 MILLION PINOY OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWs) HAS WAGED A BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN AGAINST ROXAS. TODAY IS THE START OF THE OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING.

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ROXAS HONGKONG

ROXAS COOLING HIS HEELS AT A HONG KONG PARK DURING A VISIT FOR A CAMPAIGN RALLY THAT WAS RECENTLY ABORTED DUE TO LACK OF AUDIENCE. A PINAY WORKER AT RIGHT APPEARS NOT TO KNOW THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF THE LIBERAL PARTY

 

BINAY: GOV’T SHOULD NOT NEGLECT OFWs

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should not be neglected by the government.

“Hindi natin maaaring hindi bigyan ng atensyon ang ating OFWs. Dalawa lamang ang naging dahilan kung bakit gumanda ang ating ekonomiya at isa po rito ay ‘yong remittance ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya nga tinatagurian ‘yang bagong bayani,” Binay, the former presidential adviser on OFW concerns, said following a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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He stressed that the problem on illegal recruitment and undocumented workers should be given attention and carefully studied by the government.

“Kailangang upuan, pag-aralan. Hindi maaring habam-buhay magiging problema ‘yan. Isang dahilan kung bakit hindi accurate ang figures ng pamahalaan tungkol sa kung gaano karami ba ang OFWs, lalo na ‘pag nagkakaroon ng krisis sa Libya at sa Syria, ay dahil doon sa undocumented [workers],” he said.

“Kailangan upuan siguro talaga iyang pag-alis ng mga undocumented OFWs. Halimbawa, sa aking palagay kaya nangyayari [iyong maltreatment] ay dahil sa alam ng employer na undocumented ito. Kaya ito pwedeng takutin, o kaya [pinagmamalupitan],” he added.

“Palibhasa undocumented nga, iyong mga passport hawak-hawak ng employer, kaya ba kapag naga-abscond, umaalis doon sa tinitirhang bahay, hindi makakaalis iyon (ng bansa),” he further said.

binay iacat

Binay recalled the pre-departure verification implemented by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) during his term as chairman emeritus and said most undocumented workers leave the country as tourists and get recruited abroad.

“Itong undocumented na ito ay marami, nanggagaling sa Zamboanga, nadadaan sa Malaysia. O kaya naman sa airport natin, magmamang-maangang turista, pupunta kunwari sa Bangkok, pupunta sa Kuala Lumpur. Doon na makikipag-usap sa illegal recruiters,” he said.

“For a time, chairman [emeritus] ako ng IACAT, ang dami namang nape-prevent umalis kasi tinatanong saan pupunta. ‘Turista po.’ ‘Turista ka, ha? Meron ka bang ticket na pabalik?’ ‘Wala.’ So, medyo mahuhuli mo na ‘yon. Naalala ko nga ‘yong pitong madri-madrehan noon. Nakasuot ng [pang-]madre, pero nakasuot ng mamahalin, naka-[nail polish]. Paano ka maniniwala na madre nga ‘yon. On the part ng Pilipinas, malaki na ‘yong nape-prevent natin. Pero, naroon pa rin ang problema dahil sa nakakalabas na turista,” he added.

The Vice President also asked Senator Nancy Binay to look into allocating a budget for undocumented workers.

“Actually ‘yong huling budget, I proposed to increase the legal assistance fund, but unfortunately it was vetoed by the president,” the younger Binay said.

The Vice President said he hopes the UAE will soon implement a unified contract for household service workers (HSWs) similar to help improve the working conditions of OFWs and prevent undocumented workers.

The Philippines and UAE are currently in talks on the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor and on Household Service Workers (HSWs) Unified Contract.

“Ang isa doon ay tungkol sa verification, Naalala ko na ngayon, ‘yong verification ng mga dokumento and in principle, pumapayag na sila,” he said.

Binay said he called up Labor Secretary  Rosalinda Baldoz during his meeting with UAE Labor Minister Shaqr Ghobash so the two could talk directly.

“Noong magpapalitan pa ata ng sagutan, ang ginawa ko dito, nag-usap sila mismo ng Secretary of Labor, si Secretary Baldoz. Oo, pinag-usap ko sila sa telepono,” Binay said.

The Vice President said he hopes the unified contract for HSWs would be similar to what Saudi Arabia is now implementing.

“Ang Saudi Arabia ngayon ang model, sumunod ang Saudi Arabia doon sa resolution yata ng ILO (International Labour Organization). Ang Saudi Arabia pumayag na ang minimum wage is $400,” he said.

Binay said OFWs abscond from their jobs because of the less than desirable working conditions they deal with, adding that OFWs are maltreated because their employers know they are undocumented.

He reminded Filipinos seeking to work abroad to go through the correct and legal process and only deal with agencies and people duly accredited by the government.

“Lagi nating pagdidiinan, mga kababayan, kung kayo po ay nagbabalak na maging OFW, makipag-usap po kayo sa accredited agencies. Mas mabuti siguro na tumawag kayo sa POEA [para malaman] kung accredited po ba ‘yan. Pangatlo, kung ang usapan ay sa abroad mag-uusap, tiyak na lokohan na ‘yon,” he said.

binay ofw

 

 

He said he hopes someday Filipinos would leave the country as a matter of choice and not necessity.

“Sana ang mga kababayan natin ay hindi ba umaalis dahil sa necessity. Kapit lang sa patalim. Sana mangyari na dumami ang matatrabaho sa ating bansa at hindi na makaisip mangibang-bansa,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Vice President said he suggested to UAE officials the possibility of adding a collegiate level to the Philippine Global School in Abu Dhabi.

Naimungkahi namin sa kanila na baka naman pwede na tayong magkaroon ng collegiate level kasi dito sa ngayon, hanggang high school lang tapos umuuwi na sa Maynila. Sabi ng isang minister, magandang pagkakataon ‘yon,” he said.

“Maganda ‘yong sinabi ng isang minister. He finds Filipinos ‘the most wonderful human beings,’” he added.

Duterte: Laglag-bala syndicate to get bullets from rebel hitmen, death squad

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

downloadDavao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has abandoned his threat to force members of the laglag-bala (bullet-planting) syndicate to swallow live bullets.

This time, Duterte wants communist rebel hitmen and death squads to finish off the syndicate.

He also called on President Benigno Aquino to take “drastic action and not lip service” against the syndicate.

The syndicate, allegedly involving aviation, police and civilian personnel at the aiports, victimizes airplane passengers going abroad, nostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs),  through extortion after secretly planting bullets in their luggage. The victims are fleeced of large sums  and allowed to board their flight. Bringing bullets into aiports is a violation of the country’s firearms and ammunition law.

The bad press over the shakedown of passengers at Philippine airports has gone international that even the United Nationas (UN) warned its personnel travelling to the Philippines against the racket.

The government has ordered an investigation following public outcry over slow action against the syndicate  by  President Benigno Aquino. The laglag-bala racket is said to have been operating for years without airport authorities moving to stop it.  

With the 2016 national election coming in May, the brouhaha over the laglag-bala has become a hot political issue against the administration.

mar laglag balaLately, Mar Roxas, the presidential bet of Aquino’s ruling Liberal party, reaped a flood of criticism after saying that  government should not be faulted if passengers bring bullets into the airport. Roxas is Aquino’s former Interior Secretary.

Migrante, the militant group espousing and defending rights of the OFWs, said the millions-strong Filipino overseas workers would not vote for Roxas.

  download (2)In his latest pronouncement, Duterte gave the syndicate members caught at the Davao International Airport the choice of getting a bullet shot to the head from the “Sparrow or the DDS.”

The Sparrows, coined after Special Partisan Unit (Sparu), is the liquidation squad of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The deadly hitmen were blamed for the killing of hundreds of police and military personnel and civilians during the height of rebel occupancy in the 80s of Davao City then widely known as the Philippines’ “Killing Field.” The urban guerillas moved up to the city’s farflung mountain districts after Duterte, known for his close ties with rebel ground commanders, won his first mayoral term in 1988. Peace has since reigned in Davao City, considered today as one of Asia’s most peaceful cities. Duterte is on his way to three decades as mayor of the premier city of Mindanao.

Even as Davao City has shed off its image of the 70s and 80s as the NPA “laboratory of urban guerilla warfare,” the Sparrow unit is said to be behind some of today’s liquidation of targets in downtown Davao.  

The DDS is the motorcycle-riding 45.cal.-armed Davao Death Squad tagged as behind more than a thousand summary executions of suspected criminals, nostly involved in the drug trade. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has investigated Duterte for human rights violations for his alleged links to the death squad, which surfaced as an anti-crime vigilante group during the first mayoral term of Duterte in 1988.

download (1)You choose, the Sparrow or the DDS, said Duterte as an alleged victim of the laglag-bala racket carried  luggage snapped by X-Ray at the Davao airport with two 9mm bullets.

The victim, a 62-year old male hydrologist was on his flight out for Manila after attending a business meeting in Davao City. The victim, the first recorded at the Davao airport after the laglag-bala controversy exploded in Manila, has been charged with illegal possession of ammunition but fred on bail. He denied owning the bullets and told police he could not know why the bullets were in his luggage.

Duterte earlier said that he would force to swallow live bullets syndicate members caught at the Davao airport.

He also said he would himself finish them off at the hospital if they go for operation to have the bullets removed.

Duterte said the syndicate has “jeopardized” the Filipino people and called on President Aquino to take “not lip service but drastic action” against the syndicate.

Duterte has emerged as a strong contender to the presidency but is not running despite his high ranking in pre-poll surveys and strong public clamor for him to join the 2016 race to Malacanang.