PBSN Chairperson Esper Derpo meet with Pres. Arroyo over Nigeria Travel & Work Ban

March 31, 2009

esper_derpo_with_pres_arroyo

31 March 2009 — In lieu of a presentation to the cabinet meeting scheduled this morning today regarding the OFW Deployment Ban to Nigeria, Special Envoy to the President for Middle East and Africa, Gen. Roy Cimatu and Philippine Barangay Society in Nigeria (PBSN) Chaiperson Mrs. Esperanza Derpo were instead, called in by the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a closed door meeting at the “Bahay Pangarap”, PSG Compound, Malacaňang Park.

The hour-long meeting was also attended by Vice President, Noli de Castro; Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Alberto Romulo; and Mrs. Derpo’s other half, Engr. Nestor Derpo. Details of the said meeting remain undisclosed to this hour, but Mrs. Derpo confirms a positive outcome.

Mrs. Derpo is scheduled to fly back to Lagos on Friday, 3rd April 2009, but expressedher intention to stay in the Philippines until proceedings are finalized.

Mr. Nestor Derpo, VP Noli de Castro, Esper Derpo, HE Pres Gloria Arroyo, DFA Sec Alberto Romulo, Amb. Roy Cimatu

Mr. Nestor Derpo, VP Noli de Castro, Esper Derpo, HE Pres Gloria Arroyo, DFA Sec Alberto Romulo, Amb. Roy Cimatu

Thanks to Maricar Derpo for the reportorial and photos.


PBSN Chairperson Meets with VP Noli de Castro

March 27, 2009

27 March 2009 — Philippine Vice President Noli de Castro held a meeting with PBSN Chairperson, Mrs. Esperanza Derpo this morning, at his office at President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City. Also in the meeting were Special Envoy of the President to Middle East and African Countries, Gen. Roy Cimatu; and Mrs. Derpo’s other half, Engr. Nestor Derpo.

Meeting with VP Noli de Castro

2593_1119692714018_1278057514_30348743_2444875_n

Mrs. Derpo appealed to the Vice President to strongly endorse the lifting of the OFW deployment ban to Nigeria which has been in place for more than two years. She discussed at length the many reasons why the ban should be lifted, noting the issues on security; working and business opportunities for Filipinos in Nigeria; and the current working conditions of the OFW’s there, among others.

The Vice President was impressed to hear of the high regard companies in Nigeria have for Filipinos brought about by our OFW’s working ethics, skills and professionalism, which make them a preference for supervisory, managerial and other key positions in various industries all throughout Nigeria. He also commends PBSN’s charity efforts to the Philippines and its host country Nigeria as seen in the various projects the organization has pushed through with the leadership of Mrs. Derpo.

2593_1119692794020_1278057514_30348745_1128283_n

The Vice President says that he is fully convinced that the ban should be lifted and believes that taking this up in the cabinet meeting can enlighten other officials to make a sound decision. He invited Gen. Cimatu to present the issue in the cabinet meeting in Malacanang on Tuesday, including Mrs. Derpo as a resource person.

Mrs. Derpo is scheduled to attend the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

as reported by: Carlota Derpo


It’s OK to lift deployment ban to Lebanon – DFA

March 25, 2009

correcting previous post:

It’s OK to lift deployment ban to Lebanon – DFA
03/23/2009 | 06:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has agreed to lift the three-year deployment ban to Lebanon after the safety of Filipinos in that Western Asian country was assured.

According to the DFA, the armed conflict in the Middle East state “has already ended and is no longer posing security threat” to overseas Filipino workers (OFW)

Presidential envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu, who was sent to Lebanon last month to assess the security condition in the country, said that it was already safe to resume the deployment of OFWs there because peace and stability had returned to the Middle East state.

Vice President Noli de Castro supported the DFA’s decision and said that Lebanon could provide an alternative destination to laid off OFWs. “There is no more reason to maintain the deployment ban to Lebanon. Many of our countrymen badly need jobs today and Lebanon offers plenty of employment opportunities.”

But before the ban could be officially lifted, De Castro called on the Labor department and the DFA to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Lebanon to protect the welfare of OFWs.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier said that it was in no rush to allow the re-entry of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) to Lebanon unless authorities could safeguard the welfare of OFWs.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque told GMANews.TV that the DOLE had not yet decided to lift the ban pending proposed amendments from the department. He said the DOLE had sent out a draft of a memorandum of understanding to their counterparts in Lebanon as condition for the redeployment of Filipino HSWs.

Included in the MOU are the protection of workers’ rights and the minimum salary for HSWs pegged at $400 per month.

Job opportunities

The DFA expects that the lifting of the 2006 ban in Lebanon will lead to more job opportunities for thousands of Filipinos affected by the US-led global economic slump.

Lebanon’s honorary consul-general to the Philippines, Josef Assad, welcomed the proposed lifting of the ban. “This is a positive step in the in normalization and improvement of relations between Lebanon and the Philippines.”

“This will perk up relations between the two countries as this will remove the barrier which has prevented thousands of Filipinos from working in Lebanon which is now experiencing an economic boom and is need of thousands of construction workers to complete the infrastructure billion-dollar projects like highways and bridges,” Assad said.

The government stopped sending Filipino workers to the Mideastern state in 2006 when violence between Hezbollah and Israeli forces escalated.

At that time, some 6,000 OFWs, many of them undocumented, were repatriated to the Philippines. Some 26,000 opted to stay either due to fear of losing their jobs or because they were not allowed by their employers to leave.

The Philippines had also stopped sending workers to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Nigeria. – with Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/153882/Its-OK-to-lift-deployment-ban-to-Lebanon—DFA


Ghana job? Check first

March 22, 2009

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090322-195478/Ghana-job-Check-first

Ghana job? Check first

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: March 22, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The Consulate of Ghana in the Philippines has warned Filipino job-seekers against bogus companies offering non-existent work in the African country.

In a statement, Ghana’s honorary consul Ramon Z. Abad said that because of its strong economy, Ghana is fast becoming a center of migration in Africa.

As a result, offers of employment in the country abound, especially through the Internet, that are more often than not scams, he said.

“These companies, which mostly hire directly by e-mail, offer salaries that are extremely beyond the normal rates, along with benefits that are too good to be true,” Abad said.

He said that when applicants sign up, they were asked to shell out money for the processing of visas, travel, work and residence permits, and other documents.

Some even charge a “diplomatic services fee” for a Ghanian official to personally come to the Philippines to stamp their visa and deliver their travel documents, he said.

Abad said the only legitimate issuer of visas for Ghana was its consulate in the Philippines.

He said that those who have been offered jobs in Ghana should call the Ghana consulate at 3874932 or e-mail rzabad@ghanaphil.com to verify if the companies recruiting them are legitimate.


Special envoy Amb. Roy Cimatu visited Nigeria: Ban soon to be lifted..

March 8, 2009

dsc01532After the visit of Gen Cimatu last week, it seems like the ban in Nigeria will soon be lifted.

As it is, Mrs Derpo spoke at length with Gen Cimatu as he arived in Nigeria on March 4, 2009, before proceeding to Abuja.

On March 5th, Gen Cimatu is said to have met wth the Foreign Affairs minister of Nigeria to discuss security situation of OFWs. The Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister reportedly told Gen Cimatu that everything is okay with filipinos in Nigeria, except in Oil areas.

Later in the day, Gen Cimatu went to the compound of Julius Berger Construction company, where majority of expat employees are Filipinos. Gen Cimatu was guided by Engr Lito Nocum, the head of Filipino association in Abuja, in touring the accommodations for Filipinos.

Gen Cimatu quipped that he’d never seen so many cars outside the embassy belonging to OFWs. He compared Nigeria to Lebanon. To which an OFW said in jest, “walang pong DH sa Nigeria kasi”.

dsc01558Gen Cimatu wrapped-up his visit to Nigeria with a meeting with Filipinos in Ikeja, Lagos. He was met by the Philippine Barangay Society in Nigeria (PBSN) chairperson (and Banaag 2008 Awardee). Mrs Esperanza Derpo in the airport, and to the PBSN clubhouse in Ikeja.

The meeting with PBSN, emceed by Veronica Bernas-Snoxell, started with the singing of the Phil National Anthem. Father Doury, a long-time Filipino priest in Lagos gave the invocation. Mr. Tito Villaruel, VP of PBSN gave the welcome remarks.  Consul General Alex Lamadrid introduced Ambassador Cimatu, after that, Mrs Derpo presented the Naija Pinoys appeal via a power point presentation. – as reported by Marix Tajo.

Gen. Cimatu reiterated his observation that he was impressed at the job positions of Filipinos (managers and supervisors), and the salary/ accommodations they have in Nigeria.

When asked what would be his recommendation to the President, Gen Cimatu gamely said that it’s obvious from his “body language” that he will recommend for the lifting of the ban.

Gen. Cimatu was accompanied by Consul-Gen Alex LaMadrid on his trip to Abuja and Lagos.

Con-Gen Lamadrid stayed in Ikeja until Sunday so he could attend the March Family Day gathering in Ikeja.

Nigeria is home to almost 5,000 OFWs employed in oil & gas, telecoms, construction, manufacturing and services sectors. Filipinos have been in Nigeria since the early 70’s.

Click Here for more photos


Solon seeks probe into DFA passport machine

March 5, 2009

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090305-192431/Solon-seeks-probe-into-DFA-passport-machine

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Reporter
INQUIRER.net

Posted date: March 05, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – An investigation into the awarding by the Department of Foreign Affairs of its P859-million machine readable passport and visa project to a French company, is being sought by a lawmaker at the House of Representatives.

The Francois-Charles Oberthure Fiduciaire is the same firm that printed two years ago the P100 “Arrovo bills, referring to the error on the name of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In filing House Resolution 1038, Anakpawis partylist Representative Rafael Mariano asked the committee on foreign affairs to conduct the inquiry to find out the “validity and wisdom” of the award and to determine if the shift from a build-operate-transfer mode of procurement to a government-funded project was in accordance with existing laws.

The project was originally awarded in January 2000 to BCA International, a 100% Filipino-owned corporation, but it never got to implement the project because the DFA sat on it.

In 2005, the department rescinded the contract with BCA on questions of its financial capacity.

In June 2008, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved the post qualification bid of P859.7 million by Francois-Charles Oberthure Fiduciaire for the “supply, delivery, and commissioning of a system for the production of Electronic Passport Booklets” and consequently, the Notice of Award was given to the firm. This time, the undertaking would be funded by the DFA Passport Reserve Fund.

“There is a need to inquire what were the DFA’s compelling reasons for abandoning the original BOT scheme in undertaking the Machine Readable Passport and Visa project (MRPV) which would have entailed no cost to the government, particularly on whether the shift in the mode of undertaking the MRPV project to one funded by the government was more beneficial and advantageous to the Philippine government than the cost-free BOT scheme undertaken by the BCA International,” Mariano said in his resolution.

“There is a need to inquire whether it has become an unwritten but official policy of the government to favor foreign firms in the award of government projects to the detriment of firms which are 100 % Filipino ownership,” Mariano said.

He said the French firm was the same company that supplied some 80 million P100 bills with the misspelled surname of the President. The same firm was involved in the $34-million contract to supply passport-making equipment to Kenya, which its government scrapped due to the absence of a bidding process, Mariano added.


Canada urged to rethink immigration laws for Pinoy live-in caregivers

March 5, 2009

MARK JOSEPH UBALDE, GMANews.TV
03/05/2009 | 05:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Juana Tejada’s dying wish was to stay in Canada until her last breath. Now that the 39-year-old caregiver’s request for permanent residency was granted, Tejada’s lawyers are asking the Canadian government to amend laws for live-in caregivers hoping to settle permanently there.

Immigration lawyer Rafael Fabregas told GMANews.TV via e-mail on Thursday that they are urging the Canadian government to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so that live-in caregivers would no longer be required to pass a second medical exam before they are granted permanent residence.

In their joint letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, and David Tilson, M.P., chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship, Fabregas and fellow lawyer Guidy Mamann wrote:

“As you know, foreign live-in caregivers are required to pass a stringent medical examination before being issued a visa to work in Canada. When they seek permanent residence after years of working here, they should not be required to pass a second medical exam because such a requirement, as evident in Juana’s case, can have a grossly unfair and inhumane outcome.”

Tejada was lured to work in Canada in 2003 under the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), which grants foreign workers permanent residency— and an opportunity to petition their entire family — upon fulfillment of their three-year assignment as well as necessary medical and criminal clearances.

But when doctors discovered her illness during a routine medical check-up in 2006, she was told by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to leave because the treatment for her advanced cancer – discovered four years after arriving in Canada – would cause an excessive demand on Canada’s medical services.

Determined to give her family a better life, Juana appealed to waive the good-health requirement for humanitarian reasons. Her petition was denied twice.

“I have paid my dues to earn my permanent residency. I have worked hard to try to give my family a better life,” Juana told the Toronto Star in an earlier interview

Eventually, following a public campaign, CIC yielded and granted Tejada her permanent residence.

“Many Canadians have relied heavily, and continue to rely heavily on the services that live-in caregivers provide to their loved ones,” read the letter, “It is only fair that live-in caregivers should also be able to rely on Canadians to take care of them in their time of need.”

A press conference led by Fabregas will be held on March 6, at 11 am at the offices of Mamann, Sandaluk, located at 82 Richmond Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1P1 to discuss the proposed amendments.

Canada is one of the top destination countries of Filipino health care workers along with the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The country had always been known to be lenient to foreign workers, and has even encouraged them to permanently stay with their family after fulfilling their contracts for some time. – GMANews.TV