The Sarah Villegas experience (with illegal recruiter)

May 27, 2008

I just would like to share some news from the travails of Sarah Villegas, an OFW who was a victim of illegal recruitment who ended up distressed in Singapore (no jobs).

We posted her appeal to some forums, and we are thankful to kind people who passed her appeal among friends. There were lawyers who volunteered to take her case, pro-bono.

We also caused the publication of Sarah’s letter to the Inquirer’s Global Nation website, under Mailbag.

According to Sarah, as a result of that posting, she received a call from the POEA adminsitrator inquiring about here case, since they receive a letter from the office of Sen. Chiz Escudero regarding Sarah’s case. They (Sarah & co.) were also invited to his office to discuss their case.

Sarah said that she also received e-mails from the offices of Sen. Noynoy Aquino and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada indicating their support on her plight.

Also, other victims of the said illegal recruiter were encouraged to file their own cases with POEA. But during a conciliation meeting sometime in May 13, 2008, a POEA conciliation officer named Rose Andres and a certain Miss Claudette, representative of NRS Recrutiment Agecy, allegedly told the new complainants that NRS agency will file a LIBEL case against Ms. Villegas.

Her lawyer assured Sarah that the libel suit will not prosper, and is just a plain harassment.

We thank everyone who responded to help Ms. Villegas, and consequently provided moral support to other victims to file their claims also.

We will monitor this case, if we see something positive will come out of this collective action, such as: criminal prosecution of the illegal recruiter, return of their advance fees plus interest, blacklisting/delisting of all the dummy agencies of the illegal recruiter, administrative action against erring POEA employees who will be found to have connived with illegal recruiters.

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My Letter of Appeal for Support
( Sana Inyong Dinggin at tulungang lutasin )

PLEASE HELP ME: A CALL FOR JUSTICE
(The Voice of a young Filipino who suffered a great and traumatic experience as OFW in Hong Kong)

By: SARAH N. VILLEGAS
Matti, Digos City
Province of Davao del Sur
Contact Number: 09289507404
Email add: sararoejade@yahoo.com.ph

I spent almost P 200, 000.00 in my humble desire to work in Hong Kong. It was very painful to be away from my family. Yet, I gamble because I want to save my family from too much poverty. It was too late to know that a simple dream became a worst nightmare. I almost died to fight for a cause. I didn’t loss hope even until now that I am here… in God’s divine mercy… back in the Philippines with my family.

I am Sarah N. Villegas, married, 35 years old and a native of the province of Davao del Sur. I am just a simple housewife …tried my luck to hopefully take the advantage of going abroad as an OFW.

I know you will agree with me that hundreds if not thousands of Filipinos working abroad or planning to work abroad who encountered serious problems. Admittedly, I am one of them. But my case is different. I have a serious case. Please consider the following facts:

A powerful placement agency like NRS PLACEMENT INC, LOVE MANPOWER AGENCY still deploying OFW’s in different countries who have juicy connections with POEA, still operating their business even behind a lot of charges filed in different courts.

The said agency is having a special arrangement of the employers abroad to earn huge amount of income and bargaining transactions in the expense of a poor Filipino. There are even complainants who only settled for P 10, 000 to P 20, 000.00 from over P 200, 000.00 placement fee including other expenses spent in their application just to avoid lengthy court litigations.
It is a fact that NRS PLACEMENT INC. and LOVE MANPOWER AGENCY is opening different branches like and even establishing new placement agency, name BLS agency just to continue their operations. But I cannot understand why all these agencies are still protected by the POEA.

The POEA aware that most of the recruitment agencies are refusing to give a receipt in every payments has been made by applicants.

Other Conflicts

1. Philippine Government Agencies in Hong Kong like the Philippine Consulate are not really there to serve and solve problems of the OFW’s. The truth is they are conniving with the agencies. I am a witness of different transactions.

2. Most of the victims of injustice and / or illegal recruitment were displaced. Some were arrested, maltreated and sexually abused. Others were lucky and blessed because they knew where to go. In my case, I went to a catholic center where I was given the moral support of the religious community.

Important Consideration

I was instructed by HongKong magistrate court to be a prosecution witness because the evidence collected by Hongkong Police is sufficient to sue my employer.

I reported to the media when I was still in Hong Kong where it created a big story. The impact was great because the Philippine Consulate got panic.
I have all the facts, documents and lead to establish a strong case.

The problem is the case is no longer working for almost a year now.

I decided to go back home after 6 months of initial battle in Hongkong because my situation was very difficult.

I was not allowed by Hongkong Government to have a job because I am a prosecution witness.
Manifestations

My family is in great pain. We could hardly survive because we need to pay our debts.
We need to save other OFW’s who are still in Hong Kong and those who went home with broken dreams particularly the victims of this agency.
There is need for those people involved in this case to be brought to court and be accountable.
The case must be given an utmost attention.

Please help me. It is my prayer that with your support we will be able to solve my problem especially that I am so much affected, not only of my personal convictions but also with my concern with other Filipinos who need your PRECIOUS attention.

Maraming Salamat po!

Sa inyo gumagalang,

SARAH N. VILLEGAS
NLRC CASE NO.

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‘Decking system’ on OFW medical exams opposed

May 22, 2008

05/16/2008 | 08:58 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs will summon officials of GCC Accredited Medical Clinics Association (GAMCA) that was tasked to conduct medical examination to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) bound for the Middle East.

Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsasay said Friday that members of the panel have many queries regarding the operation of GAMCA.

Magsaysay said the panel is conducting an investigation on lowering the fees or expenses of OFWs.

In Wednesday’s hearing of the committee, migrant groups led by the Center for Migrant Advocacy, Global Filipino Nation, Migrante International, association of recruitment agencies as well as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration have denounced the ‘decking system’ imposed by GAMCA.

GAMCA has a select 17 medical clinics arbitrarily all based in Metro Manila imposed by Middle East countries for the medical examination of OFWs bound to the oil rich region.

Representatives of the migrant groups scored the Department of Health for failing to implement the Administrative Order No. 5 signed by then Secretary Manuel Dayrit in 2002 suspending the implementation of the GAMCA Centralized referral system.

Jun Aguilar of the GPN said the decking system cause inconvenience to applicants aside from imposing exorbitant medical fees.

Migrant groups said the system makes it difficult for workers in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to undergo the medical exam since all the GAMCA clinics are in the Manila area.

Ellene Sana of the CMA welcomed the proposal that DOH will put up its own OFW medical clinic in every region.

However, Sana said the issue of medical exam for ME bound OFWs is beyond the DOH.

“Kailangan ng bilateral agreement because of the GAMCA. Kailangan ang tulong ng [Department of Foreign Affairs] DFA dito (We need bilateral agreements because of the GAMCA. We also need the DFA’s help in this),” Sana said.

Federated Association of Manpower Exporters president Eduardo T. Mahiya told the body that the recruitment agencies have long expressed their willingness to forego with the rebates.

Mahiya, concurrent president of OPAP (Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines), has opposed the GAMCA system since 1999 when it was first implemented by the medical association accredited by the GCC states medical technical committee.

Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz also expressed her opposition to the decking system with the inconvenience of workers being sent to distant clinics and the unnecessary examination involved in Phase 2 of the medical protocol, where the workers pay for it even they are not sure of passing Phase 1.

The congressional hearing was investigating in aid of legislation HR. 402, looking in to the excessive collection of fees on OFWS and HR 395, the shortage or lack of airline seats for departing OFWs. -Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/95724/Decking-system-on-OFW-medical-exams-opposed


Independence Day celebration in Lagos, Nigeria

May 21, 2008

Philippines and Filipinos will soon mark its 110th Independence Day celebration in June 12.

Different folks have different ways of commemorating this day in our nation’s history.

For Moros and NPAs, there wasn’t any independence, as we are still tied to the yoke of colonial mentality, western interventions and internal oppression.

For the classical nationalists, it’s a realization of the struggle of our patriotic politicians to gain for us an independence from direct foreign control, and into the arms of lady Liberty — dressed in tattered robes, barefoot, hungry, and living in squalor in the slum areas of our nationhood, because that it was what they wanted – a nation run like hell by the people, and for the people. We just got handed down from one foreign master to a domestic master – our politicians.

But for most of us, it doesn’t matter what was the outcome, long after the cries and shouts for independence has died down. The idea of being an independent nation is one that gives us pride as citizens, no matter what. It is the moment. It is the feeling. It is the sense of having overcome a three and a quarter of century of foreign domination that thrills most of us into celebrating Independence day, regardless of our social circumstances.

We celebrate Indepence Day because it is not only our duty as citizens of the Republic, but it is our identity – what makes us Pinoys and Pinays.

And we carry this sense of pride wherever we go, even overseas.

And so here in Nigeria, we join the entire Filipino nation and with Filipinos around the world in celebrating the 110th anniversary of our nation’s declaration of independence from foreign subjugation.

It is always the year’s highlight in our stay in this gracious host nation of Nigeria.

We are the Naija (Nigeria) Pinoys and Pinays.

Our presence here is a testament to the global professional excellence of Filipino workforce, as most of us are here in Nigeria because of our skills and professions. And we have come to love working and staying in this country that has provided us well with amenities and friendships.

Some of us have brought our families here. Some of us have our children born and raised in Nigeria. And still some of us married Nigerians (or is it the Nigerians who got married to Filipinos/nas?) and are proud of it.

Despite the occassional job hazard to life and limb, working and living in Nigeria is like a vacation. We are never far from home in most aspects. And we are proud and happy being Naija OFWs.

Heroes of the millenium.

It is a nice catchy phrase. But everytime we hear it, we can only smirk and chuckle about what it really means to us — nothing.

The fact that the Philippines continue to impose an employment ban against Nigeria is something of an irony to the government’s paean to OFWs. After the spate of kidnappings directed towards expatriates in the oil fields in Southeast Nigeria has dissipated long time ago, the government continues to implement the ban because it wanted to avoid hassles and embarassment, like what happened to Lebanon and Iraq OFWs. They lined up Nigeria with Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. But we beg to disagree. Nigeria is a far better country, and relatively peaceful than the others.

But yes, we are heroes. In the sense that we braved to work in foreign lands, risking our life and limbs, in order to help our family and the national economy through our remittances,

For our families left back home, we are heroes, indeed..

For our government and politicians, we are just 0.01 percent of the remittance. No heroes. Just a problem everytime a Naija OFW is distressed.

We continue to hope and pray that the Philippine government will soon lift any ban to Nigeria, and consider this nation a mutual friend and ally.

We will celebrate our independence in Nigeria, with the usual pride and pomp.

Proud to be Naija OFWs. Proud to be a Filipino.

Mabuhay !


Hinaing ng mga Nigeria OFWs

May 21, 2008

This was last year 2007 efforts. And still no answer.

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Kagalanggalang at pinagpipitagang mga Lingkod ng Bayan,

Ikinagagalak po namin ang pagtawag ninyo sa amin bilang mga MODERN DAY HEROES. Bilang mga BAGONG BAYANI nawa eh pakinggan ninyo at paglaanan ng panahon itong aming mga sinasabi

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, Pilipinas lang ang bukod tangi at nag iisang bansa ang naglabas ng TOTAL BAN papunta dito sa Nigeria. Kung sa bawat bansa na may makikidnap ay magpapalabas kayo ng Ban sa pangunguna pa naman ni Kabayang NOLI eh siguro marapat din na mag BAN kayo sa ibang bansa. Tama po ba? Nung nakaraang lingo ay may namatay na pinay sa Canada, o bakit di kayo mag impose ng Ban doon para maipakita sa ating mga kababayan sa Pilipinas na CONCERN kayo sa aming mga OFW. Siguro sasabihin ninyo na isolated case iyon. Eh kung sabihin din natin na ang nangyari kay G. Bacani ay isolated case din.

I doubt kung sakaling may ma rape sa Saudi ay mag impose kayo ng Ban doon. I doubt kung sakaling may namatay sa UAE ay mag impose kayo ng Ban doon.

  1. Sa bilang ng OFW sa lugar ng Niger Delta siguro eh maaaring meron na makasama na Pinoy sa makikidnap. Ratio and Proportion po, ganun kasimple. Pero bakit ang ibang mga nasyon ay di naglalabas ng total ban. May namatay po nung nakaraan na isang British National, pero bakit hindi sila naglabas ng ganyang kautusan. ILL- ADVISED.

  1. Kasabay ng pagkidnap kay G. Bacani ay nasawimpalad at namatay ang isa nyang kasamahan na Columbiano, PERO BAKIT hindi sila (Columbian Govt.) nag impose ng ban para sa mga overseas workers nila na nandito? Kayo lamang na mga administrador – Vice Pres, DOLE, POEA, NBI ang bigla biglang nagpalabas ng ganyang kautusan.

  1. Ang mga tao po dito sa embahada natin ay di man lamang hiningan ng inputs bago kayo nag implement ng ban na yan. May mga kasama po kami na nagtanong muna sa mga tao ng Embassy kung mag ba BAN ba, ng sa ganun eh hindi sana sila muna magbabakasyon gaya ng nangyari nung Pebrero ng taong ito. Since nagbigay sila ng GUARANTEE na hindi naman daw, sumulong ang iba naming kasamahan. Sa puntong ito lumalabas na TRINAYDOR sila. Nasaan sila, andun sa kanilang mga bahay, dumadalangin na sana ma-lift ang BAN. May iniaabot ba naman ang gobyerno sa kanila pra pangtustos sa kanilang araw araw na gastos. Saan sila ngayon kukuha ng pambayad sa eskwela, ang baon ng mga bata, ang pang monthly amortization sa bahay, sasakyan or lupa?

  1. Sa ginawa po ninyong ito ay inalisan nyo ng karapatan na magkaroon ng oportunidad na magtrabaho at iangat ang antas ng aming mga sariling buhay. Para kaming mga bata na inagawan ng kendi, buti sana kung may TOBLERONE kayong ipapalit dito, pero WALA naman. Ang nangyari tuloy ay napipilitan ang mga kumpanya na kumuha ng ibang lahi para sa sana eh mga posisyon at trabaho para sa Pilipino.

  1. Sabi ni Sen. Mar Roxas sa kanyang kolum sa ABANTE, “Payong kapatid lamang, siguro’y mas mainam na dito na lamang kayo makipagsapalaran sa ating bayan.”. Ang malaking katanungan po para sa amin ay kung sakali bang umuwi kami ng Pilipinas, may naghihintay bang trabaho para sa amin? May mga programa bang nakalaan para sa amin? Base sa nakaraang pag impose ninyo ng ban nung February 2007, may napala ba yung mga na-stranded dyan sa atin? May nakuha ba sila mula sa ipinagmamalaking OWWA, POEA at DOLE, wala po, ni SINGKONG DULING!

Madali pong sabihin para sa kanya dahil sa estado ng kanyang buhay. Pero naranasan na ba nyang pumila sa mga agency sa Malate, Singalong…Sa dami ng nag aapply gusto nyo bang makidagdag pa kami doon?

  1. Ang nangyayari na pagkidnap sa Niger Delta ay di natin pwedeng ikumpara sa sitwasyon ng Jolo, Sulu. Unang una, dito po ay ganitong sequenze ang nangyayari KIDNAP-RANSOM-RELEASE. Mas mainam pa rin kung tutuusin kesa sa pamumugot ng ulo na ginagawa ng mga bandido sa atin. Kahit po ang gobyerno ng America sa aking pagkakaalam (correct me again if I’m wrong) ay di naglabas ng Total Ban na magpunta dyan ang kanilang mga citizens, manapay isang ADVISORY LAMANG. Ano ang mararamdaman ninyo kung ang i-impose nila ay TOTAL BAN sa kahit saang sulok ng Pinas kasi magulo sa Sulu lamang.

Dito, inimpose nyo na buong Nigeria samantalang sa iisang lugar lang may nagaganap na kidnap for ransom na sitwasyon. Kung ikukumpara naman sa atin di hamak na dito di ka maga alala na ma-snatch ang celfone mo. Di ka kinakabahan pag naglalakad ka sa kalye na baka may holdaper. Subukan nyo pong magpunta dito para makita at maranasan nyo ang aming mga sinasabi. Ika nga ni Kasamang Manny G. Figueroa, bukas ang kanyang bahay para sa inyo.

  1. Ngayon, kung talaga naman na di na kayo matitinag sa inyong desisyon, siguro (I don’t know If everybody will agree with my proposal here), Papirmahin nyo na lang kami ng waiver, any OFW who will go to NIGERIA is obliged to sign it. Waiver na magsasabing kung may mangyari sa amin dito ay wala kayong sagutin. DAHIL SA TOTOO WALA NAMAN TALAGA KAMING AASAHAN SA INYO. Ano po ba ang napapala namin sa pagkuha ng OEC (Overseas Employment Certificates) ? Maliban sa libreng Kape sa airport, nakakatipid lang kami ng mga 600 siguro. (700 po kasi ang tax pag walang OEC minus 100 kaya 600 hindi pa kasama dito ang pamasahe at pagkain sa pagpunta sa POEA Centers). Isipin nyo din po na sa bawat bakasyon namin na kukuha kami nyang OEC ay isang araw ang nawawala sa amin.

Since tinuturing nyo rin naman na kami eh BAGONG BAYANI, sana maramdaman namin yun. Ikaw nga ni Sen. Roxas sa banding huli mas mainam pa rin ang gawa kaysa saita. Siguro panahon na rin na bigyan nyo kami ng proteksyon. Ito ang panahon para kayo ay magpa POGI. Dahil kayo ay mga mambabatas, bakit di kayo bumalangkas ng mga programa para sa mga OFW.

Muli po, correct me if I’m wrong kung ang mga sasabihin ko ay mali or ang mga programang aking babanggitin ay existing na pala. Ito ay sa kadahilanang hindi ko alam na meron na pala,or hindi lang siguro nabigyan ng wastong kaalaman ukol dito.

  1. Ang bawat OFW na umaalis ay natitigil ang pagbabayad ng SSS, maliban na lamang kung ikaw ay boluntaryong maghuhulog nito. Siguro dapat nating paalalahanan ang mga agency na i-discuss ito sa mga taong pinapaalis nila, dahil saying naman yung mga ilang taong paghuhulog mo tapos mababalewala na dahil di ka naman na inform. Maaari din naman sigurong i-obliga ng ating batas na magbabayad din ang OFW kaalinsabay ng pagbabayad ng kumpanyang kanyang pagta trabahuhan. Di po ba sa atin ay ganyan ang kalakaran, ang kumpanya at ang empleyado ay parehas na may share sa contributions. Bakit hindi rin natin ito gawin para sa mga BAGONG BAYANI?

  1. Sa kawalan ng proteksyon, marami pong cases na ang mga properties ng isang OFW (kotse, bahay, lupa) ay nahahatak ng bangko. Kahit pa sabihin halimbawa na 3 buwan na lamang ang di mo pa nahuhulugan, walang awa nila itong hahatakin. Sana po magkaroon naman ng kaunting konsiderasyon para sa isang BAYANI na tulad namin. Kaunting flexibility kumbaga. Alam kong maraming factor kayo na i-co consider pero sana mabigyan nyo ng panahon na pag aralan ito.

  1. Ang ibang mga nasyon na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa ay may mga insurances na kasama sa benefits nila dahil obligado ang kumpanya na mag provide nito. Bakit ang Pilipinas ay walang ganito?

  1. Ang embahada po ng Pilipinas sa Nigeria ay nasa Abuja samantalang ang entry point po ng mga OFW ay nasa Lagos (ang pamasahe po papunta dito ay humigit kumulang sa 100 US Dollar or 4400 pesos). Siguro yung nabanggit ni Se. Roxas na budget ay maaari nyang ilaan dito. Maglagay ng kahit isang munting opisina sa Lagos.

  1. Bigyan ng proteksyon ang buying power ng OFW. Isarado sa 50 pesos = 1 dollar hanggat di tumataas ang dollar rate.

  1. Bigyan ng wastong kaalaman ang mga OFW tungkol doon sa MULTIPLE OEC? Sa mga di po nakakaalam, meron daw na multiple OEC, ibig sabihin kung sa loob ng isang taon ay 2 o mahigit pa na lumalabas ka ng bansa, pwede ka ng kumuha ng maramihan nito. Meron nga ba nitong multiple OEC? Bakit di ini-explain or ipost man lang sa mga POEA Centers? Kung ang isang OFW ay may 15 days na bakasyon, 1 araw nito ay gugugulin nya sa pagpunta sa POEA para makakuha ng OEC. Bakit hindi po kaya natin ilagay yung POEA for 24 hours operation sa NAIA. Yung tipong paglabas namin ng eroplano ay pwede ka ng kumuha ng OEC. Yung sinasabi ni Sen Roxas na dagdag na budget eh siguro pwedeng ilaan sa mga empleyado na magta trabaho sa ganitong purpose.

Pagkalampas po ng Customs sa NAIA sa banding kanan ay may booth doon ang POEA, nakasulat po na napakalaki 24-HOURS ON DUTY. Ng itanong ko sa Security Guard, eto ang kanyang sagot “Ay hanggang 5pm lang po sila”. Kalimitan po 10 or 11 PM dumadating ang mga OFW na galing sa Nigeria, kaya siguro marapat na totohanin ang ganitong programa na 24 HOURS na may POEA para dun na kami kukuha ng OEC. Sayang din naman kasi ang oras, pagod sa pagbyahe at gastos sa pagpunta sa POEA sa Ortigas or sa mga branches nila. Tama po ba?

Sana mabigyan nyo ng pansin itong aming hinaing. Salamat po. Yun lang.

Nagmamahal,

PBB (Pilipino Bagong Bayani)


Why the government should lift the ban on Nigeria

May 16, 2008

This is in reference to the continued ban for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Nigeria.

Late in 2006, the Philippine government declared a total ban of workers going to Nigeria on the account of the successive kidnapping incidents in Nigeria’s oil areas which involve OFWs. The action may have been justifiable at that point. The ban affected not only New Hires but vacationing OFWs as well, even those OFWs who are working in Lagos and non-oil areas for a long time already.

Early in 2007, upon the strength of the petition of some expatriate companies in Nigeria, the OFW association in Nigeria and endorsement of the Philippine Embassy, the Total Ban was scaled-down to Partial Ban, allowing only the vacationing OFWs with valid work visa to return to Nigeria.

After the resolution of the kidnapping issue, which involved not only Filipinos but other nationals as well, the Philippine government still maintained the ban on New Hire.

In Oct 2007, returning OFWs to Nigeria found themselves barred by Immigration and POEA officials at the NAIA because they were told a total ban is in effect.

We, the OFWs in Nigeria, believe that the imposition of a ban is not the solution to this issue of kidnapping, which for the record, also involved other nationalities. The continued ban is just hurting every Filipinos’ chances of getting a decent work and a chance to contribute to the Philippine economy.

By declaring a ban on Nigeria on issue of security of the country, the Philippine government is no less insulting the capabilities of the host country to maintain its internal peace and order. The present administration of His Excellency President Yaradua is doing huge effort to secure the oil areas and guaranty the safety of all expatriate workers.

One thing is certain in our minds, the kidnapping incidents in specific areas of Nigeria is not a mirror of the entire country’s state of security.

The OFWs themselves in the oil-areas have sent numerous letters to the Philippine embassy assuring the embassy that they feel safe with the present security efforts implemented in their workplace.

Filipino workers in Nigeria are found in Oil industry, civil and military aviation (pilots and avionics), Construction, Manufacturing, telecoms and service industries. Others are married to Nigerians, and the rest are relatives of Filipinos with residency.

We assure the government and our loved ones that Nigeria is a decent and relatively safe country to work and stay.

Advisory

Instead of declaring a ban, may we recommend that the government should do what other governments are doing – give out advisory to Filipino workers in Nigeria to take precaution and observe company security policies. Then it should advise the embassy to coordinate communication with oil companies to ensure Filipinos will have direct line to embassy if their safety is threatened.

Bilateral Agreement

The present administration could also establish bilateral agreement with Nigeria and take an active role as major partner of Nigeria’s growing economy and its increasing demand for foreign workers. Philippines could lend a hand to Nigeria when it comes to village health care and education.

State Visit

Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo should consider making a state visit to Lagos/Abuja and go up in history as the only Philippine president to ever visit an African State, and the maybe the second head of state from SoutheastAsia to do so, after China’s Hu Jintao.

Preceding her state visit, a Philippines-Nigeria Business Cooperation summit maybe be organized. This is to paved the way for the establishment an office to handle Philippine investors coming to Nigeria, and as liaison to various Nigerian authorities.

Embassy Support

The DFA should open a consular office in Lagos. Considering that Lagos is the arrival and departure point for expatriates, and there are more Filipinos based in Lagos than in Abuja. Even Port Harcourt-based OFWs regulalry come to Lagos for R&R.

Also, deploy a POLO in Abuja embassy and in Lagos Consulate to process and document all Filipino workers in West African countries. Undocumented Filipinos here wanted to be registered with OWWA and POEA and legitimize their existence.

Last April 2008, Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes visited Lagos, Nigeria to attend a world energy summit. He saw for himself the status of Filipinos and the community in Lagos. And he can surely vouch for the stable peace and order of Nigeria.

If the government truly cares, it should put a ban on the hiring of DH to Middle East, Marianas.

There is more to gain for the government in lifting the ban on Nigeria immediately.


Angola and other West African jobs

May 16, 2008

With the government’s antipathy towards Nigeria as an OFW destination, skilled workers and engineers who may have prospects for oil and gas and construction, mining sectors should seek alternative African countries to work.

The next big thing to Nigeria is Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo. Oil, Mining and Construction sectors are in a boom in these two countries, of which plenty of Filipinos can be accommodated..

Angola pays higher than Nigeria and offer better job benefits, including family status and vacation rotation.

DRC, the irony of it all, is still a very risky and unstable country, but no BAN here. DRC is also on a comeback trail and the Chinese are leading the pack on investors intent on bleeding that nation dry with its natural resources. Filipinos can also apply there.

In Google, type “career+angola” and “career+drc”. You can change the country name. Be careful with scam jobs. Do not apply if the website is not a company website. If it is just a jobsite, do not bother to check or apply. Those are mostly scams.

Here are some Angola jobs i found for BP and Chevron.

http://careers.chevron.com/global_operations/country_operations/angola/job_descriptions.aspx

https://www.bp.com/secure/hirecom.do?teaserLinkId=7043024&categoryId=9012055&contentId=7026862

DO NOT BELIEVE IF JOB OFFERS LOOKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, ESPECIALLY IF IT OFFERS UNUSUALLY HIGH SALARY FOR YOUR JOB SKILL.

IF THE ALLEGED OFFERING COMPANY ASKS YOU TO MAKE ADVANCE PAYMENT IN EXCHANGE FOR SUPPOSED VISA AND PROCESSING, IT IS DEFINITELY A SCAM. DO NOT TAKE IT.

OFWs, go out to the world and work…..


MIGRANTE: : Illegal deployment of Filipinos to Lebanon continues

May 16, 2008

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: May 15, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East called on the government Thursday to intensify their monitoring against recruitment agencies that have been sending OFWs to Lebanon despite the deployment ban imposed by the government.

Migrante-Middle East said an official of the Filipino-Lebanese Friendship Association based in Lebanon claimed that around 5,000 Filipino domestic helpers have entered the eastern Mediterranean country since the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006 ended.

“Like in Iraq, despite deployment ban imposed by the Arroyo administration, we are wondering why there are still a considerable numbers of OFWs that have been sent to work as domestic helpers in Lebanon where a civil war is now escalating,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East’s Saudi Arabia-based regional coordinator, said in a statement sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

He urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to intensify its monitoring drive against recruitment agencies that were continuously sending OFWs in Lebanon and Iraq, where there was heavy internal conflict.

“The Arroyo administration and POEA should seriously prosecute recruitment agencies violating the deployment ban in Lebanon and Iraq to ensure that our fellow OFWs and aspiring alike will not be sent to war-torn Iraq and Lebanon,” Monterona added.

Reports indicated that violence has been escalating in Lebanon due to infighting of two warring Muslim factions, the Shiite and Sunni groups. Monterona said that based on Migrante’s monitoring, the unrest may escalate in the coming days.

An estimated 50 people have already been killed due to heavy fighting between United States-backed Lebanon government army and militia Hezbollah group that ensued when the former opted a policy of disarming the latter.

Early this week, Lebanon’s pro-government and opposition factions reached a deal to revoke the two decisions that sparked the fighting. On the same day, the opposition ended its civil disobedience campaign.

Monterona said the outbreak of hostilities put the lives of OFWs in Lebanon at great risks, referring to the estimated 25,000 OFWs there who were mostly domestic helpers.

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, most Lebanese employers just left their domestic helpers and were even locked inside their employer’s houses, Monterona recalled.

“That time Lebanese are swiftly fleeing and securing only themselves and members of their families, leaving behind our fellow OFWs at their employer’s houses, thus putting OFW lives at great risks at time when heavy bombs are pouring like rain,” Monterona said.

The ongoing conflict has seen many Lebanese citizens evacuating to Cyprus amid the fighting.

Monterona said the issuance of advisory from the Philippine government to OFWs in Lebanon to keep off the streets and just follow their employer’s instruction would not be enough, he added, as he called for a “pro-active plan” to ensure the safety and security of all OFWs in Lebanon.

He said that Philippine officials in Lebanon should make themselves and their offices available and that they should try to get in touch with OFWs by having available telephone hotlines in time.

Two years ago, over 6,000 Filipino workers were evacuated and repatriated from Lebanon following the war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many were repatriated through the help of the International Organization for Migration.