Nigeria punishes 13 Filipinos for oil theft in delta

February 21, 2009

ABUJA, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Thirteen Filipinos were sentenced to five years in jail or a $6,770 fine on Friday after pleading guilty to handling oil products suspected to have been stolen in the Niger Delta.

The military arrested them in November after intercepting a vessel suspected of carrying 12,000 tonnes of stolen crude oil in the delta, the heart of Nigeria’s oil sector.

Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest exporter of crude oil but thieves take a sizeable proportion of its output by drilling into pipelines or hijacking barges loaded with oil, theft known locally as “bunkering”.

“The accused persons, who initially pleaded not guilty on arraignment, later changed their plea and they were found guilty based on their plea,” said a spokesman for Nigeria’s anti- corruption police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Some estimates say 100,000 barrels of crude are stolen from the Niger Delta each day, about five percent of the country’s production and equivalent to around $4 million daily or $1.5 billion a year at current prices.

It is shipped out of Nigeria and sold on the international market. Human Rights Watch has put the amount stolen at two or three times that level.

Last week, the military impounded 22 barges of stolen crude oil in the delta in what it said was its biggest seizure for months. (Reporting by Randy Fabi, edited by Richard Meares)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKLK13877320090220


Aspiring OFWs being forced to pay OAV registration

February 11, 2009

02/11/2009 | 07:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The biggest migrants’ advocacy group in the country accused the Philippine government of milking outbound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by forcing them to register for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) prior to their departure.

Migrante International chairperson Gary Martinez told GMANews.TV on Wednesday that they have been receiving complaints from OFWs of the “additional burden” imposed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Citing reports reaching him, Martinez said aspiring OFWs who are applying for passports are asked to pay P75 for the OAV fee.

“It could reach up to P250 on weekends,” Martinez added.

In an earlier statement, Migrante International reiterated that under the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, “the government has the duty to issue passport or any travel document to any citizen of the Philippines or individual who complies with the requirement of this act.”

“Clearly, this government is twisting the thousands of Filipinos who wish to escape grinding poverty here in the country by finding jobs abroad by the arm with this questionable requirement,” Martinez added.

DFA spokesperson Bayani Mangibin denied that the OAV registration was being made a “prerequisite” for those applying for passports.

“We are just inviting them to exercise their right to register and vote, that’s all. But we cannot force them. That’s not our policy,” Mangibin told GMANews.TV.

Mangibin did not mention anything about the alleged fees.

As stated in Section 5 of the law, applicants for a Philippine passport are required to secure the following documents: duly accomplished application form and photographs of applicant; birth certificate; marriage certificate; naturalization certificate (for naturalized citizens); for minors, affidavit of consent from a parent; a copy of the court order of adoption for adopted persons and; travel authority for government employees.
Mangibin countered the allegations, stressing that some groups exaggerate details and misconstrue facts to cast blame on the government.

“Minsan ina-angguluhan na lang para lumabas nga na ganoon [Sometimes they cast a different light on the matter],” he added.

The DFA has formally launched on Wednesday the OAV registration booth for outbound Filipino workers and immigrants at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Mangibin assured that the registration process would only take a few minutes and would not be an added burden to OFWs.

The OAV booth is located at the OFW lounge in NAIA and would be open until August 31. [Click here for additional information] – Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV


RP may lift ban on OFWs in Iraq

February 5, 2009

iraq_suicide_bombing

Agence France-Presse

Posted date: February 05, 2009

MANILA, Philippines —The Philippine government is to send a delegation to Iraq next week to evaluate whether to lift a ban on Filipinos working there, a labor department official said Thursday.

The mission will include members of the labor and foreign affairs departments, said Jennifer Manalili, administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo banned the deployment of Filipino workers to Iraq in 2004 after a Filipino truck driver was kidnapped and threatened with beheading.

The driver was later released unharmed after Arroyo withdrew the country’s small contingent of troops and police.

Despite the ban an estimated 10,000 Filipinos work in Iraq.

An official Iraqi delegation was in Manila recently and called on the government to lift its ban, saying the country needed foreign workers to help it rebuild.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20090205-187627/RP-may-lift-ban-on-OFWs-in-Iraq


Pananaw tungkol sa Nigeria travel ban

January 24, 2009

Ambag na pananaw ni Pastor Billy, a.k.a. ang Carlo Magno ng Lekki, halaw sa baul po daw ng Mga Kwentong Lasing Part 3.

Hindi mayaman ang OFW

We have this notion na ‘pag OFW o nasa abroad ay mayaman na. Hindi totoo yun. A regular OFW might earn from P50K-P300K per month depende sa lokasyon. Yung mga taga Australia, Canada, Kazakstan or US siguro ay mas malaki ang sweldo, lalo na daw mga taga Nigeria but to say that they’re rich is a fallacy (amen!).

Malaki ang pangangailangan kaya karamihan ay nag-a-abroad.  Maraming bunganga ang kailangang pakainin kaya umaalis ang mga pipol sa Pilipinas. Madalas, 3/4 o kalahati ng sweldo ay napupunta sa tuition ng anak at gastusin ng pamilya.

Mahirap maging OFW –

Kailangan magtipid hangga’t kaya. Oo, masarap ang pagkain sa abroad pero madalas na paksiw o adobo at itlog lang tinitira para makaipon. Pagdating ng kinsenas o katapusan, ang unang tinitingnan eh ang conversion ng Peso sa Dollar o Euro o Rial o Naira. Mas okay na magtiis sa konti kaysa gutumin ang pamilya. Kapag umuuwi, kailangan may baon kahit konti kasi maraming kamag-anak ang sumusundo sa airport o naghihintay sa probinsya. Alam mo naman ‘pag Pinoy, yung tsismis na OFW ka eh surely attracts a lot of kin.

Kapag hindi mo nabigyan ng pasalubong eh magtatampo na yun at sisiraan ka na. Well, hindi naman lahat pero I’m sure sa mga OFW dito eh may mga pangyayaring ganun. Magtatrabaho ka sa bansang iba ang tingin sa mga Pinoy. Malamang marami ang naka-experience ng gulang o discrimination to their various workplaces. Sige lang, tiis lang, iniiyak na lang kasi kawawa naman pamilya pag umuwi.

Besides, wala ka naman talagang maasahang trabaho sa Philippines ngayon.Mahal ang bigas, ang gatas, ang sardinas, ang upa sa apartment. Tiis lang kahit maraming kupal sa trabaho, kahit may sakit at walang nag-aalaga,kahit hindi masarap ang tsibog, kahit pangit ang working conditions, kahit delikado, kahit mahirap. Kapag nakapadala ka na, okay na, tawag lang, “hello! kumusta na kayo?”.

Hindi bato ang OFW –

Tao rin ang OFW, hindi money o cash machine. Napapagod rin, nalulungkot (madalas),nagkakasakit, nag-iisip at nagugutom. Nakukulong pa nga. Naaakusahan pang mga magnana kawkaw pa minsan. Kailangan din ang suporta ng taga Embassy, kundi man physically, emotionally o spiritually man lang.

Tumatanda rin ang OFW –

Sa mga nakausap at nakita ko, marami ang panot at kalbo na. Most of them have signs and symptoms of hypertension, coronary artery disease and arthritis. Yet, they continue to work thinking about the family they left behind. Marami ang nasa abroad, 20-30 years na, pero wala pa ring ipon. Kahit anong pakahirap, sablay pa rin. Masakit pa kung olats rin ang sinusuportahang pamilya ? ang anak adik o nabuntis; ang asawa may kabit. Naalala ko tuloy ang sikat na kanta dati, “NAPAKASAKIT  KUYA EDDIE!”

Bayani ang OFW ?

Totoo yun! Ngayon ko lang na na-realize na bayani ang OFW sa maraming bagay. Hindi bayani na tulad ni Nora Aunor o Flor Contemplacion. Bayani in the truest sense of the word. Hindi katulad ni Rizal o Bonifacio. Mas higit pa dun, mas maraming giyera at gulo ang pinapasok ng OFW para lang mabuhay. Mas maraming pulitika ang kailangang suungin para lang tumagal sa trabaho lalo na’t kupal ang mga kasama sa trabaho. Mas mahaba ang pasensya kaysa sa mga ordinaryong Tongresista o  Sinador sa Pilipinas dahil sa takot na mawalan ng trabaho at lalo na po, dahil sa pasado kami sa psychotest.

Matindi ang OFW ?

Matindi ang Pinoy. Lalo na daw ang mga Naija Pinoy. Matindi pa sa daga, o cockroaches  which survived the cataclysmic evolution. Alang sinabi iyang Malarya, ang Kidnapping, Armed Robber sa Inay Gyera, Armed Robbers sa Eh May Grasya NAIA. Sisiw lang mga iyan. Maraming sakripisyo pero walang makitang tangible solutions or consequences na ginagawa ang OWWA/POEA/DOLE at DFA.

Malas ng OFW, swerte ng pulitiko ?

Lalo na si Money Bilyar. Hindi umuupo ang OFW para magbigay ng autograph o interbyuhin ng media (unless nakidnap!). Madalas nasa sidelines lang ang OFW. Kapag umaalis, malungkot and on the verge of tears. Kapag dumadating, swerte ‘pag may sundo( madalas meron). Kapag naubos na ang ipon, wala ng kamag-anak.

Sana sikat ang OFW para may boses sa Kamara. Ang swerte ng mga politiko nakaupo sila at ginagastusan ng pera ng Filipino. Hindi nga sila naiinitan o napapaso ng langis, o napagagalitan ng amo, o kumakain ng paksiw para makatipid, o nakatira sa compound with conditions less than favorable, o nakikisama sa ibang lahi para mabuhay. Ang swerte, sobrang  swerte nila.

Matatag ang OFW ?

Matatag ang OFW, mas matatag pa sa sundalo ni Hingalo Reyes o kung ano pang grupo na alam nyo. Magaling sa reverse psychology, negotiations at counter-attacks. Tatagal ba ang OFW? Tatagal pa kasi hindi pa natin alam kailan magbabago ang Philippines , kailan nga kaya? o may tsansa pa ba? Paano na iyan Ate Galo, magsalita ka naman, “Hindi na akow kakandi datung, mandada yaak!!!, magna naku!!! Ahh ewan, basta “I Am Sorry” pero di Worry.

Masarap isipin na kasama mo ang pamilya mo araw-araw. Nakikita mo mga anak mong lumalaki at naaalagaan ng maayos. Masarap kumain ng sitaw, ng bagoong, lechon, inihaw na isda, taba ng talangka. Masarap manood ng pelikulang Pinoy, luma man o bago. Iba pa rin ang pakiramdam kung kilala mo ang kapitbahay mo. Iba pa rin sa Philippines, iba pa rin kapag Pinoy  ang kasama mo (except ‘pag kupal at utak-talangka), iba pa rin ‘pag nagkukwento ka at naiintindihan ng iba ang sinasabi mo. Iba pa rin ang tunog ng “mahal kita!”, “day, ginahigugma tika.” “Mingaw na ko nimo ba,  kalagot!”, ” Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba”. Iba pa rin talaga.

Kaya Ang Hinayupak Na Travel Ban Na Yan….Alisin Na!!!

Sige lang, tiis lang, saan ba’t darating din ang pag-asa.

—-

Mula sa panulat nina Kuya Fred Borbon at Kapatid na Carlo Magno

(siempre, may pahintulot)

Jan 24, 2009


Lebanon ban lifted but not Nigeria??

November 25, 2008
Mga kababayang naija pinoys at pinays, isa na namang di maintindihang decision ng ating government officials.

Biruin nyo, Lebanon‘s “ILLEGALLY DEPLOYED OFWs” – meaning, undocumented workers- are allowed to come home without any fear of being banned from returning to their place of work.

abused domestic helpers protest

And yet, Ms. Manalili, just like her predecessors, have the gumption to say that the ban to Nigeria will remain because  the government still believe that the entire Nigeria is very risky. Manalili is saying security of workers is the major consideration of the government.

This is madness.

If security is a big issue, why can’t the philippine government impose a travel ban to the following places in the Philippines which Australia deems to be ‘dangerous’.
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081124-174051/Australia-updates-travel-advisory-vs-RP

We, the Filipinos in Nigeria, are very disappointed by Ms. Manalili’s parroting of the previous statement made by DOLE Sec. Roque and DFA/OUMWA Usec. Conejos.

We cannot believe that Ms. Manalili would just say that Nigeria is a risky country when she has not even a first-hand knowledge about the situation in Nigeria, nor has she made any effort to get feedback from filipino association in Nigeria.

In other words, her pronouncement with regards to Nigeria ban is based on ‘blessed ignorance’ of what is the present situation in Nigeria. Knee-jerk decision making. That is their habit. Bad news for bad news, i think Middle east is consistently DEADLY to hapless HSWs.  So why is the government not putting a ban on their deployment?

We wonder who are the people behind the lobby to have the Lebanon ban lifted. We would like to hire them
as Nigeria lobbyist also.

The risk in Lebanon is not only rooted on occassional war, but more on the Arab culture. How many Sri Lankans, Filipinos and Bangladeshis die in the hands of their Arab employers every year??

EVERY YEAR !

And yet Ms Manalili, like her bosses at DOLE and DFA, continue to insist that Nigeria is as dangerous as Somalia. Some people are not reading their news.

Ms. Manalili, we Filipinos in Nigeria, invite you to visit us here in West Africa. Maybe when you meet with us in Lagos, you will have a better understanding of why we Naija Pinoys make a lot of noise and effort to have this ban lifted. And then maybe you can give a correct report to your superiors that the ban is no longer necessary.

We hope you will have a merry christmas. Dahil kami sa Nigeria, nangigil sa galit at naiiyak sa lungkot sa pahirap na dinaranas namin dahil sa ban na to.

================
LOCAL NEWS: POEA says OFWs in Lebanon can spend Christmas in RP
By Mayen Jaymalin Updated November 24, 2008 03:47 PM
Filipino domestic helpers employed in Lebanon can now look forward to spending a Christmas at home.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Jennifer Manalili said the government would be allowing illegally deployed Filipino workers to return home for the holidays.
“The POEA  will soon be coming out with a resolution that will allow our workers in Lebanon to spend Christmas here without fear of getting banned from returning to their jobs,” Manalili said in an interview.
Manalili noted that they have been getting numerous requests from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Lebanon, most of whom were deployed illegally, that they be allowed to spend the Christmas season in the Philippines.
“We are granting their request, but we must stress that only those who will come home for the holidays will be allowed to return to their jobs in Lebanon,” Manalili said.
“The possibility of allowing new hires in Lebanon is still under study, we still have to validate the job orders,” Manalili explained.
The government is also unlikely to lift the ban in Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan, saying security of workers is the major consideration of the government.
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=418256

‘Zero remittance day’ to cost govt millions – group

October 21, 2008

10/21/2008 | 05:45 AM

zero-remittance for OFWs

zero-remittance for OFWs

MANILA, Philippines – Militant groups are eying hundreds of millions of pesos in “lost” revenues for government when they hold a zero-remittance day protest action on Oct. 29.

Gary Martinez, spokesman of Migrante International, said Monday this will be a reminder to the government that its claim of migration being used as a tool of development will not wash.

“Sa loob ng isang araw, maliwanag aabot ito sa daang milyong piso. Sa isang buwan $1 billion pinapadala ng OFW. Kung kukuwentahin sa 30 araw daang-milyon piso ang di papasok sa ating bansa (In a single day we expect government to lose hundreds of millions of pesos in remittances. In a month, OFWs bring in $1 billion in remittances. Divide it by 30 and we can see hundreds of millions of pesos in lost remittances in a single day),” Martinez said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said they expect millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 192 countries to take part in the Zero Remittance Day next Wednesday.

Martinez also questioned the government’s offer of a retraining program for OFWs who may lose their jobs due to the global financial crisis.

According to him, the government issued a similar retraining program offer in 1997 but OFWs did not benefit from it.

“Wala kaming nakuhang retraining program. Di na bago ang sinasabi ng pamahalaan sa pangyayari sa aming kasamahan sa labas ng bansa (We got no retraining program. So the government’s offer is not new),” he said.

Earlier, migrant groups composed of 112 organizations worldwide will declare Oct. 29 as a “Zero Remittance Day” to signify its opposition to “forced migration and systematic exploitation of cheap labor.”

In a statement released on Sunday, the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) said its symbolic protest action would coincide with the opening of the Global Forum on Migrant Development (GFMD) that would be hosted by the Philippines in Manila.

IMA said that through the Zero Remittance Day, the organizations would be sending out united message of protest from millions of migrants worldwide “who are forced to leave their homelands and subject themselves to cheap labor and exploitation out of desperation.”

The alliance said the message would discredit migration as an effective tool for development, and unmask it as a “result of continuous unemployment, landlessness, and lack of basic services in sending countries.”

Migrant organizations worldwide will also hold the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) on October 29 to oppose the GFMD.- GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/128279/Zero-remittance-day-to-cost-govt-millions—group


DOLE still waiting for DFA assessment on Iraq ban

October 14, 2008
Philippine Barangay Society-Nigeria (PBSN)

Philippine Barangay Society-Nigeria (PBSN)

To all Filipinos in Nigeria. This news calls for another aggressive information campaign to our government officials to remove the travel and work ban in Nigeria. While we have nothing against the lifting of ban to Iraq, we find it unfair that the DFA remains deaf and dumb to our pleas to remove the ban.

Is Iraw far safer than Nigeria these days? What would the DFA do when another Filipino is killed or kidnapped in Iraq? Ban again? Like what they did to Nigeria?

When foreign countries issues travel warning against the Philippines on account of kidnapping or war in the South, the government gets a convulsions and insists the trouble is ‘only’ in the South.

What about Nigeria? Just because of a restive state in Nigeria, the Philippines is fit to consider entire Nigeria as unsafe? That is why it is not removing the ban?

This is really madness.

Let us write our Congressmen and OFW-friendly senators to help us get this ban lifted soonest.

Di na tayo makaka asa kay Ka Noli, masyadong busy para sa 2010.

——–
DOLE still waiting for DFA assessment on Iraq ban
KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMANews.TV
10/10/2008 | 05:26 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday said it was still waiting for the assessment of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on whether the deployment ban on Iraq can be lifted or not.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said reports from the Middle East Preparedness Team indicated that the incidence of violence in Iraq has already dwindled but it was relying on the DFA’s recommendation.

“The DOLE position is subject to the security assessment by the DFA on the peace and order condition in Iraq,” Roque told GMANews.TV through a text message.

“While there maybe emerging employment opportunities there, the welfare of our nationals remains primal,” he said.

Recruitment agencies earlier called for a relaxation of the deployment ban to legally open up the job market in the war-torn country once more.

The Philippine government stopped sending workers to Iraq after Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy was abducted in 2004.

The government said the abduction confirmed its apprehension of sending workers to the conflict-stricken country since the hostage-taking of truck driver Angelo dela Cruz that same year.

Word has it that the government spent millions of dollars for the freedom of the two hostages.

Roque admitted that despite the deployment ban, Filipino workers continued to enter Iraq illegally to take advantage of the high pay offered by mostly American companies with contracts in the Mideastern country.

He said reports reaching his office say the number of OFWs who are currently in Iraq has jumped to 15,000.

Labor officials have also maintained the deployment bans on Lebanon and Jordan despite similar calls for these to be lifted.

The Lebanon ban was kept due to ongoing peace and order problems while that on Jordan was kept because employers refused to comply with new conditions set for hiring OFWs.

Administrator Jennifer Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has said the DFA recommended that these bans be maintained due to the “still volatile situation” in the two countries. – GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/126314/DOLE-still-waiting-for-DFA-assessment-on-Iraq-ban