Repost: There’s The Rub : Insanities

August 27, 2008

There’s The Rub : Insanities

By Conrado de Quiros
Columnist
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: August 27, 2008

The logic of Catch-22 was absurdly brilliant. From Joseph Heller’s novel explaining the concept:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”

I remembered this after I read about the group Migrante complaining angrily about the proposal of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to subject all departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to a psychiatric test. Migrante of course put its detraction in quite a different way. My own reaction was to see in it a reverse of Catch-22:

“There is only one catch and that is Catch-as-Catch-Can, which specifies that a concern for one and one’s family’s welfare in the face of hunger that is real and immediate is the sign of a rational mind. Juana is sane and may fly abroad. All she has to do is undergo the DFA test. But as soon as she does, she ceases to be sane, proposing as she does to throw herself willy-nilly into unknown dangers in unknown lands, and deserves to be grounded. Juana would be sane to avoid risking untold dangers and would be crazy to do so, but if she is sane then she is qualified to go abroad and risk untold dangers. If she prefers to stay here, she is sane and may therefore go abroad; if she wants to go abroad, she is crazy and may only stay here. We have to marvel at the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-as-Catch Can. ”

But as I said, Migrante put it differently. Specifically, Migrante said: “(It’s the) DFA officials who should have their heads examined if they really believe mandatory psychiatric tests could help prevent OFWs from snapping in the workplace. (Their proposal) essentially typecasts OFWs as lunatics. By refusing to acknowledge the realities of OFW work—deplorable working conditions, verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, torture and nonpayment of wages—and by conveniently glossing over the fact that most of the time OFWs commit crimes to defend themselves while others are simply framed, the DFA in essence is condemning our OFWs. If we followed their logic, then Sarah Balabagan, Mary Jane Ramos and Joselito Alejo were lunatics and not heroes, as they were hailed when they arrived home from their overseas ordeal.”

It’s a good point, and one we would do very well to ponder. The question is whether the person you are sending out is loony-tunes or the place he is going to is bound to make him so. Or put another way, the question is whether the person you are sending out is a risk to the community you are sending him out to or the conditions of work you are sending him out to are a risk to the person you are sending out. In many cases, the second is truer than the first. It’s the deplorable working conditions, the verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the torture, the nonpayment of wages that make OFWs snap and go berserk. That is probably more the rule than the exception. No exam is going to change that.

I do think a pre-departure orientation seminar is in order. Many OFWs do go out without an appreciation, or even bare knowledge, of the place they are going to, and many sources of conflicts have to do simply with clashes of cultures. I know that because my friends from FASAP (Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines ) have a lot of horror stories about it. They often had to take on the job of the DFA, admonishing OFWs on board flights to fundamentalist Muslim countries to leave their Bibles and religious icons or paraphernalia in the plane. Those items will be confiscated at Immigration anyway, if their possessors do not end up enduring nightmarish ordeals at the airport. A modicum of understanding of the ways of others should go a long way toward keeping sane in straitened circumstances.

But there is a larger point here, which is what my reference to Catch-22 is meant to suggest. That is the spectacle of following logic in an illogical situation, or enforcing sanity in the part while madness riots in the whole. It goes by many names: Catch-22, the tail wagging the dog, micro-sense micro madness.

There is something sublimely absurd about making sure that only sane people are sent out to do insane work. There is something violently contradictory about guaranteeing that people are able to keep their family together by exposing them to conditions that guarantee they will tear their family asunder. There is something maddeningly insane about assuring that people are sufficiently sane to carry out the insane task of keeping a country afloat by sending its people to work abroad.

I don’t know of any country today that is so dependent on overseas work. That has for its lifeblood overseas work. That cannot survive for one day without overseas work. Absurdity piles up on absurdity. I don’t know of any country today that is so desperate for overseas work it is willing to send its citizens to places God or Allah forgot. I don’t know of any country today that has turned whole universities into nursing schools, or turned entire departments into adjuncts of the nursing one. I don’t know of any country today that doesn’t even mind selling itself, quite apart from its people, to the highest bidder, piece by piece, parcel by parcel, lot by lot, just to survive—or to make its officials happy.

And we want our OFWs sane.

——

RELATED ARTICLES

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/116490/Psych-tests-will-protect-OFWs—DFA-official

http://www.ofw.pinoyoverseas.net/mandatory-psych-test-for-leaving-ofws-opposed/

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20080529-139616/Migrant-workers-groups-reject-psychological-tests

Advertisements

OFWs admit ‘crimes’ to be able to come home

August 23, 2008

By Dennis Jay Santos
Mindanao Bureau

Posted date: August 22, 2008

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Majority of the recently repatriated 37 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from Jordan said they were forced to admit crimes because Philippine Embassy officials told them it was the only way they could go home.

“Umamin na lang daw kami, para makauwi na (They told us to just admit it so we could come home),” May Ann Abat, 23, of Davao del Norte, said.

Abat, who left the country to work in Jordan on October 27 last year, arrived at the Davao International Airport here on Thursday and was met by her two sons and her parents.

Abat said after a few months working in Jordan as a domestic helper, her abusive employer, who runs a jewelry shop in Amman, accused her of stealing a diamond.

She said she did not do it but was jailed despite her denial.

After a while, Abat said she and the other OFWs were told by a staffer at the Philippine Embassy in Jordan to “admit the trumped-up charges.”

“The embassy will give us a ticket back home,” Abat recalled what they were told about without identifying who the embassy staffer was.

She said she and the other OFWs were left with no other choice but to admit the crimes falsely imputed to them.

Jenylyn Caro, 24, of North Cotabato, said she was also among those given no other choice.

“Mercy or justice. We were told that if we choose to fight the case in court and deny the charges, our abusive employers will file another false accusation,” Caro said.

She said they were warned that denying the charges would just prolong their stay in jail but admitting them would result in some kind of a pardon.

Bai Lanie Kayao, of Maguindanao province, said she was arrested and jailed after she ran away from an allegedly abusive employer.

Kayao said while in jail, her employer told her she would only be freed if she paid 1,000 Jordanian dinar or about P64,170.

Kayao said she told her employer she had no money and the only way she could pay them was to work for them again.

She said she told them if they let her work again, they would have to spend more money on her.

“So I begged them to let me go instead and send me home,” she said.

Senate President Manny Villar, who arranged the repatriation of the three OFWs, said there could be more than 100 OFWs still locked up in Jordan.

Villar said most of those still in that country also face trumped-up charges.

Villar lamented that while a ban on deployment of OFWs to Jordan remained, many Filipinos seeking work still managed to go there.

He said a bill that would mandate government to help both documented and undocumented OFWs was being crafted now.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20080822-156320/OFWs-admit-crimes-to-be-able-to-come-home


Migrant group slams mandatory psychiatric tests for OFWs

August 23, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—The proposal of the Department of Foreign Affairs
to subject all departing overseas Filipino workers to psychiatric
tests drew flak from a militant migrant group, which said the
government move “essentially typecasts OFWs as lunatics.”

Migrante International said it should be the DFA officials, not the
OFWs, “who should have their heads examined if they really believe
mandatory psychiatric tests could help prevent OFWs from snapping in
the workplace.”

“For the Arroyo government, those they have hailed as ‘bagong bayani
(new heroes)’ are lunatics,” complained Connie Bragas-Regalado,
Migrante chair said in a statement.

Regalado said the DFA should realize that deplorable working
conditions overseas; verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse;
torture and non-payment of wages are major factors that drive OFWs to
the brink of insanity.

“By refusing to acknowledge these realities and by conveniently
glossing over the fact that most of the time OFWs commit crimes to
defend themselves, others are just plain victims of frame-up; the
DFA, in essence, is condemning our OFWs,” Regalado said.

The Migrante leader slammed Vice President Noli de Castro and DFA
undersecretary for migrant workers affairs Esteban Conejos for even
considering such “a preposterous and anti-migrant proposal,”
adding, “It’s such a shame that those who are directly responsible
for pushing migrants’ rights are the ones who are blind and deaf to
the real issues OFWs face.”

“If we’re to follow the DFA’s rationale, then OFWs like Sarah
Balabagan, Mary Jane Ramos and Joselito Alejo are lunatics and not
heroes as they were hailed when they arrived home after their ordeal
overseas,” said Regalado, referring to OFWs who have been jailed for
committing crimes, but escaped execution because they were eventually
acquitted or pardoned.

The Migrante leader said a change of view was needed for both De
Castro, presidential adviser on OFWs, and Conejos, co-chair of the
Global Forum on Migrants and Development that the Philippines will be
hosting October 29-30 this year.

Regalado said Migrante will join other migrant workers groups from
other countries in a parallel International Assembly of Migrants and
Refugees, set for October 28-29, to challenge the GFMD “to face up to
the truth that migration can never lead to development. ”

– By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 17:25:00 08/22/2008

————–

TUCP slams proposed psychiatric tests for OFWs

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: August 23, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines on Saturday denounced as “downright ridiculous” a plan to require every Filipino seeking overseas employment, particularly domestic helpers, to undergo a mandatory psychiatric examination.

The labor group said administering psychiatric tests on such a large scale would be problematic and might just turn into a racket victimizing overseas Filipino workers.

TUCP general secretary Ernesto Herrera said the number of foreign-bound Filipino domestic helpers with potential psychiatric issues was insignificant compared to the overall volume of OFWs.

Herrera said many actually develop behavioral issues on the job overseas, indicating that psychiatric problems were “largely environmentally induced, not necessarily organic.”

“This is mainly due to vicious foreign employers who practically enslave their maids, and force them to work and live under inhuman conditions,” he said.

Herrera said some abusive employers resort to detaining their domestic staff and denying them normal access to the outside world.

“Naturally, the maids risk developing behavioral issues over time,” he said.

The office of the undersecretary for overseas workers affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs has “strongly recommended” the mandatory psychiatric test to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration which licenses recruitment agencies.

It made the recommendation based on information that seven out of 10 Filipino maids on death row in the Middle East have had a history of mental illness.

Herrera doubted if any psychiatric test could be properly administered on a large scale, considering the volume of outbound Filipino domestic staff.

He said the country does not have adequate behavioral health care services so that there are not enough psychiatrists and mental health professionals to conduct the tests and process the results correctly.

“We simply do not have the competence. What will happen is that untrained personnel of diagnostic centers will end up administering and interpreting the test results,” he said.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20080823-156447/TUCP-slams-proposed-psychiatric-tests-for-OFWs


Recruiters accuse NGOs of not doing role in pre-employment of OFWs

August 10, 2008

My hair stands after reading this statement of Mr. Gan, president of the employment agencies federation.

Kailan pa kaya naging trabaho ng mga NGO ang pre-employment concern??

Hindi naman mga NGO ang nagpapadala ng OFW. Kung mag hugas-kamay lang din si Mr Gan sa kanilang obligasyon, dapat ipasara ng POEA ang employment agency ni Mr. Gan.

If Mr. Gan’s statement is the the statement of all employment agencies, this, is a very serious concern to all would be OFWs and OFWs.

What is the purpose of these employment agencies if they cannot provide proper pre-employment support to their contract workers?? As if milking the hapless OFW (mula Pilipinas hanggang sa overseas station nya) is not enough, employment agencies have the ‘pachyderm face’ to pass the pre-employment responsibility to NGOs. Na Wow.

Hindi lang pala gobyerno ang nang huhugas-kamay sa kanilang responsibilidad, kundi pati na rin mga employment agencies, na sya dapat unang mangalaga sa kanilang mga ipinapadala sa abroad.

Really, POEA and DOLE should remove the license of Mr. Gan’s employment agencies for so being anti-labor, anti-OFW.

This statement should be investigated by the Senate. This is serious. Very serious.

————–
Recruiters accuse NGOs of not doing role in pre-employment of OFWs
08/09/2008 | 04:26 PM
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/112604/Recruiters-accuse-NGOs-of-not-doing-role-in-pre-employment-of-OFWs

——————————————————————————–
MANILA, Philippines – An association of recruitment agencies in the Philippines accused non-government organizations (NGO), specifically migrant groups, of not doing their part for Filipino workers being deployed abroad.

According to Jackson Gan, spokesman of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters, recruitment agencies have been taking care of OFWs’ pre-deployment issues, but migrant groups have been remiss in their duties on the workers’ pre-employment concerns.

“Hindi ninyo ginagawa trabaho ninyo (You’re not doing your job),” said Gan to the representatives of migrant rights advocacy groups Kanlungan Centre Foundation and the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) last Wednesday during a technical working group meeting called by the House Committee on Workers’ Affairs.

“Lagi na lang kayong naghahanap ng problema o butas (You’re always looking for problems or loopholes),” Gan further told the migrant groups during the meeting.

But the migrant groups dismissed Gan’s claims, saying it was not their responsibility to handle pre-employment concerns of OFWs.

CMA Advocacy Officer Rhodora Abaño said her group did not have a program to handle the pre-employment concerns of OFWs and that CMA didn’t have to do such duty.

“We’re in advocacy so we only do information work,” Abaño told GMANews.TV in an interview on Thursday.

For its part, Kanlungan, through its lawyer Donnaliza Nicolas, said in an interview with GMANews.TV on Friday that she found Gan’s statements “funny.”

Nicolas said Kanlungan was not mandated by the government or anyone to address the said pre-employment concerns. “Our responsibility is to the migrant workers.” – Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

———-

Reaction from Migrante/CMU:

I BEG TO DISAGREE THE ACCUSATIONS OF MR. JACKSON GAN. MIGRANTE IS ONE OF THE ORGANIZATIONS WHO VOLUNTARILY HELP OFWS WHO ARE IN NEED OF HELP, AND IT IS PROVEN IN MANY CASES, NO NEED TO MENTION

(PUBLICATIONS IN MAJOR NEWSPAPERS ATTESTED MIGRANTE’S ACTIONS IN HELPING OFW WORLDWIDE )

INSTEAD OF POINTING THE BLAMES TO NGOs, HE SHOULD LOOK FIRST THEIR UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR TO WOULD BE OFW ( THE POOR APPLICANTS HAVE TO PRODUCE ALL THE MONEY THAT RECRUITMENT AGENCIES WANTED ) i.e.

1.0 THE POEA APPROVED PAYMENTS TO ANY RECRUIMENT AGENCIES AS PROCESSING FEES IN EXCHANGE OF JOBS ABROAD IS ONE MONTH SALARY EQUIVALENT, HOWEVER, I PITY THOSE WOULD BE OFW WHO ARE HUNGRY OF JOBS OVERSEAS IN ORDER TO UPLIFT THEIR LIVES, WHEREAS, MAJORITY OF THE RECRUITMENT AGENCIES ARE CHARGING THREE TO FOUR FOLDS EQUIVALENT TO THEIR INTENDED MONTHLY SALARIES ( IMAGINE A POOR ORDINARY CARPENTER WHOSE CONTRACT IS USD 200 MONTHLY, THE SHARK AGENCY CHARGED STARTING P 30,000 PESOS, NOT TO MENTION OTHER CHARGES LIKE MEDICAL, TRADE TESTS, ETC. WHEREIN, THE AGENCY COLLECTS THEIR SHARE/COMMISSION FROM THESE ESTABLISHMENTS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE POOR WOULD BE OFW )

2.0 THE RECRUITMENT AGENCIES WHO CONDUCTS ‘PDOS’ ( PRE DEPARTURE ORIENTATION SEMINAR ) IS MISLEADING THE WOULD BE OFW BY NOT TELLING THE TRUTH, WHAT IS REALLY THE LIFE OF AN OFW IN ABROAD, THEY ONLY TALK ABOUT THE SALARIES THEY WILL GET ARE IN DOLLARS/BUCKS WHICH IS VERY ENCOURAGING TO WOULD BE OFW ( THESE RECRUITMENT AGENCIES ARE LIARS, THEIR ONLY ULTIMATE INTERESTS ARE THE FEES THEY HAVE TO COLLECT FROM THE POOR WOULD BE OFW )

3.0 TO MENTION A FEW OF THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED THAT RECRUITMENT AGENCIES HIDE DURING ‘PDOS’
– CHANGE OF CONTRACT UPON ARRIVAL TO EMPLOYER ( THE CONTRACT SIGNED BY BOTH PARTIES THAT SUBMITTED TO POEA WILL BE DISREGARDED – NO CHANCE TO WITHDRAW SINCE THE POOR OFW IS THINKING THE MONEY PAID TO THE SHARK AGENCY )
– THE ACCOMMODATION STATUS – THERE ARE EMPLOYERS WHO PROVIDE THEIR WORKERS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NORMAL LIVING CONDITIONS
– WEATHER CONDITIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST (EXTREME HOT WEATHER CONDITION – you will feel the real hot weather when you are experiencing losing your consciousness AT 50 TO 54 DEG C )
– WAKE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING AT FOUR O’CLOCK TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE DAY’S WORK
– HAVING LUNCH AT JOBSITE WITH SANDS DURING SANDSTORM
– OWWA PERSONNEL ARE INUTILE WHEN PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED ( INSTEAD OF ASKING HELP TO OWWA, BETTER CONTACT A MIGRANTE MEMBER )

– MONTHLY SALARIES NOT RECEIVED ON TIME ( SOME EMPLOYERS DELAYS SALARIES )

– WORKING 10 HOURS PER DAY BY FORCE WITH NO OVERTIME PAY , INSTEAD OF 8 HOURS CONTRACT AGREED BY BOTH PARTIES SUBMITTED TO POEA

4.0 FROM ITEM 3.0 WHAT ASSISTANCE DO MR. JACKSON GAN CAN PROVIDE IN EXCHANGE OF THE RECRUITMENT FEES COLLECTED FROM THE POOR OFW

BASIS OF THE ABOVE, IT IS A NORMAL BUSINESS PRACTICE THAT THE RECRUITMENT AGENCY TO ASSIST OFW IN TIME OF DISTRESS, SINCE THEY COLLECTED THE FEES THEY WANTED , HOWEVER, IT IS MIGRANTE WHO IS AN ACTIVE ORGANIZATION READY IN EXTENDING ASSISTANCE TO OFW.

SHOULD ATE GLO CARES THE OFW, CONGRESS SHOULD CREATE A LAW CRIMINALIZING SHARK RECRUITMENT AGENCIES THAT DO NOT FOLLOW POEA POLICIES ON THE APPROVED ONE MONTH SALARY EQUIVALENT.

——- ———-



Philhealth benefits to registered OFWs

August 9, 2008

Thanks to Bliss M for this info.

————

Please be advised that Hospitalization done abroad is covered by PHILHEALTH. All you have to do is to submit the following documents for your claim:


1. Properly accomplished Claim Form 1 (available at Philhealth Office Manila)
2. Original Official Receipts
3. Medical Report
4. Operative Record/Technique if with Operation
5. Anesthesia Record
6. Copy of Member’s Data Record (Philhealth)
7. Copy of Marriage Certificate
(if wife/husband is claiming on behalf of OFW)
8. Statement of Account with Breakdown of Charges

Notes:

· All documents in foreign language must be translated in English.

· Filing period is 180 days from the date of discharge from the hospital.

For further information you may visit Philhealth website at www.philhealth.gov.ph or call Philhealth hot line telephone number 6373754/6379999 local 1122/1124. or Cell No. 09189635396

Philhealth OFW Info: http://www.philhealth.gov.ph/members/overseas_workers/continuity.htm

Contact Person

Ms. Elizabeth S. Fernandez, M.D.
Manager, Overseas Workers Program
Email: phic-owp@philhealth.gov.ph
Cell No.
+63 9189635396


A Pinay ‘Nigerwife’ in Enugu

August 5, 2008

After a year in Lagos doing marketing coordination job for a lottery company, I was transferred to Enugu state in Southeast Nigeria for a lotto expansion project.

I was full of apprehension but a friend, Guiller, who worked in Enugu for 3 years, told me that Enugu is fine. So there i was in September 2007, on an Arik plane heading for the hills of Enugu.

After a week in Enugu, I was beginning to feel like I was the only Filipino in this part of Nigeria. Then in December, Jaime Lumbay came as Maintenance Engineer for the Pepsi Bottling plant in Enugu. We knew each other in Ikeja, Lagos where we met in one of those regular Sunday gatherings and Family Days.

Guiller called to tell me about a Filipina doctor who is married to a Nigerian (hence the term ‘Niger-wife’) and has been living in Enugu for quite a while. I decided to look for her bakeshop. To my pleasant surprise, it was just within walking distance from our lotto office.

I decided one day to give her a visit and went to Faye’s Bakeshoppe at Ogui Road. Only her Nigerian staff were there, but the moment they saw me, they asked if I was looking for my ‘sister‘. In Nigeria, a compatriot or fellow-countryman is described as ‘my brother’ or ‘my sister’.

I said yes, I’m looking for ‘my sistah’.

“Is madam dey?”

“A dey”, the Nigerian staff replied.

She then called somebody. “Auntie, your brother is looking for you…”
(In Nigeria, ‘auntie’ and ‘uncle’ is term of respect for somebody older than the speaker, even when not related by blood.)

I looked into the kitchen and saw an chinese-looking woman looking at me in astonishment. She was a typical Pinay, petite with Chinese eyes and as old as my mother.

Filipino?” she asked.

Opo“.

Eyyy, chinike (oh my god )!”, as she came to cheerfully hug me.

As we were making the usual ‘kumustahan’, I could sense from her accent that she was not Tagalog. So I asked where she was from in the Philippines. She said she was born in Cebu, but grew up in Samar.

“Yay, Waray.” I said, as we both laughed.

I have finally met Doc Fely (Fely Maglasang-Chioke), a retired doctor, and now a full-time businesswoman baking cakes and pastries and catering. She is well-known in Enugu as a pesky, fighting ‘oniyocha’ (white-skinned) doctor. In her prime, she was an active officer of Enugu Nigerwives Club (composed of women from different countries who are married to Nigerians), and also a one-time Rotary official in Enugu.

Doc Fely (I call her ‘Nang Fely‘) has been in and out of Nigeria for 25 years. Although she, her late husband and 3 children are also American citizens, she chose to stay in Nigeria.

After the death of her husband, she decided to retire from medical practice and put up a modest bakeshoppe. She is alone in her business since all her children are now working overseas.

I am so glad to meet Nang Fely. When I got sick of malaria (p. falciparum) and had thyphoid fever, it was Nang Fely who brought me to good clinics and also helped to treat me.

When I get hungry during lunchtime, I would go to her bakeshop for a free lunch. Lami gyud basta libre. – D
I was also her official taster. I was the first to taste her hamburger, hopia and peppered chin-chin ( a kind of salted doughbread and cut into small pieces. Good for pulutan).

It was through Nang Fely that I was able to go to Anambra to attend the traditional wedding of the daughter of a Filipina (from Butuan) who is also married to a Nigerian. There, I met other Filipina Nigerwives. There were at least 4 couples. I was also introduced to Nigerians who studied and finished Engineering and Medicine in the Philippines. They formed an association called PHILGRAN – Philippine Graduates from Nigeria.

Nang Fely is also the contact person of the Philippine Embassy in Southeast Nigeria. Once, Ambassador Umpa from Abuja called her and requested her to meet and accompany an arriving Filipina whose Nigerian husband died in neighboring Anambra state. It was the Pinay’s first visit to Nigeria.

There are now three of us Filipinos in Enugu. Myself, Jaime of  Pepsico and Nang Fely. Because of our varying schedules and Nang Fely being almost always fully-booked in the weekend; it is not very often the three of us can get together. But after nine months in Enugu, we were finally able to spend a Sunday lunch together at Jaime’s house.

Through Nang Fely, we were able to meet Ate Mayette, a Filipina from Iloilo who is married to a Belgian expat. She invited us to the Anamco Expat Clubhouse in posh GRA, Enugu to celebrate her birthday and the independence day of Belgium. I was with Roland Rosales, my Pinoy colleague in lotto who was in Enugu that time for a two-week assignment.

Ate Mayette and her husband have been in Nigeria even longer than Nang Fely. She lived with her husband for a long time in a palm plantation in Benin City, Edo state before moving to Enugu. She invited me to play golf at Enugu Golf and Country Club, but I never had time for that opportunity. Sayang.

Ate Mayette, Nang Fely, Roland, Jaime, myself (standing)

Ate Mayette, Nang Fely, Roland, Jaime, myself (standing)

Nang Fely rues about the Filipino’s lack of entrepreneurial interest in putting up business in Nigeria. She narrated that before the ‘pure water’ became a hit in Nigeria as a poor man’s packaged water, she had already thought about doing it in Enugu, using the regular ‘heat sealer’ that can be bought commercially. But because she was still active as a doctor at that time and barely had the time, she was not able to pursue it, until ‘pure water’ business arrived in Enugu from Lagos.

She also told us stories about the late 70’s to 80’s when Filipino doctors, teachers, nurses and engineers came to Nigeria at the height of its oil wealth. She said those OFWs just preferred to be employed, take their money and go home. Unlike Lebanese and Indians who made big bucks trading in Nigeria.

She said she will take a vacation to Cebu this December and try to check if she can attend a training at the TLRC on homemade ice-cream making. She’s planning to introduce a ‘real’ homemade Pinoy ice-cream in Enugu; assuming that the NEPA will remain good in Enugu.

At her age, this feisty waray is still thinking about expanding into other business ventures in Nigeria.

As my time in Enugu winds down, I am feeling sad about the thought of leaving Nang Fely and Enugu. As of this writing, I haven’t told her that I will be leaving for vacation next month and won’t be back in Enugu.

I have come to like Enugu. It is a peaceful place with good electricity. The police are polite to expats (unlike the Lagos police). I will miss the nkwobi, the ise-ewu, the ram suya, Raya’s Chinese Restaurant, quick beer at Polo Park with Johnny, shopping at Roban’s, Wednesdays at the New Haven market, swimming or boating at Protea Hotel/Nike Lake Resort, Abakpa , and of course, the cakes and pastries of Nang Fely.

So to the Pinoys and Pinays travelling to Enugu, please drop by at Doc Fely’s Faye’s Bakeshoppe at 84 Ogui Road, Enugu. She makes great and tasty cakes for all occasions, special hamburger and other pastries.

Kachifu. (Igbo for ‘goodbye‘)
—-
Maynard Flores
In Nigeria since Sept 2006.
—-

Posted by: Maynard Flores
In Nigeria since Sept 2006.



DoLE partially lifts ban on deployment of HSWs to Jordan

August 5, 2008

Bakit kaya na i ignore tayong mga OFW dito sa Nigeria?

Kita nyo naman, tanggal na ban sa Jordan. Sunod nyan sa Lebanon.

Kahit marami pa na DH/HSW ang namatay at inabuso sa mga bansang arabo, pero gustong-gusto pa rin ng gobyerno magpadala ng mga ka awa-awang mga DH doon.

Eh bakit sa Nigeria patuloy ang travel at employment ban??

Bakit?

Kasi po, ‘love’ tayo ni Ate Glo. Ayaw nyang mapapahamak tayo kahit na malayo tayo sa kapahamakan. (Oh di ba kapahamakan lang dadanasin mo kung nanatili ka sa pinas, kaya swerte tayo andito sa Nigeria, malayo
sa magulo at hirap-buhay na bansang pinas).

Yung mga DH at HSW, hindi ‘love’ ni Ate Glo. Kaya ayan, lift na ang ban sa Jordan at Middle East countries — graveyard ng mga kawawang kababayan natin.

Ilan nga bang DH/HSW ang na abuso at namatay sa mga ME countries na ito, kumpara sa Nigeria?
========

DoLE partially lifts ban on deployment of HSWs to Jordan

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net

Posted date: July 31, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment has
partially lifted its ban on the deployment of household service
workers (HSWs) to Jordan, exempting those returning to work with the
same employer from the ban.

In Department Order No. 93-08, Series of 2008, Labor Secretary
Marianito Roque granted the partial exemption, “provided that the
salary of the returning HSWs shall in no way be lower than the
prescribed monthly pay for Filipino household service workers of
$400.”

In an earlier DO No. 88-08, Series of 2008, DoLE suspended the
deployment of Filipino HSWs to Jordan effective Jan. 21, 2008
following reports of abuse, as the number of distressed workers being
housed in the Filipino Workers Resource Center in Jordan increased.

With the new department order, Roque directed both the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippine Overseas
Labor Office (POLO) in Jordan to resume processing the employment
documents of qualified returning HSWs.

He also instructed the two government agencies to disseminate the
information and to monitor the terms and conditions of employment of
the HSWs returning to the same employers in Jordan.

The DoLE set the monthly pay of HSWs to $400 to ensure that only
legitimate and capable employers can avail of the services of
Filipino HSWs and eventually eliminate abuse and exploitation against
them.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view_article.php?
article_id=151837