2 rescued Pinoy seafarers in Nigeria injured – DFA

May 19, 2009

2 rescued Pinoy seafarers in Nigeria injured – DFA
05/19/2009 | 04:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Two of the Filipino seafarers rescued last weekend from a hijacked oil tanker in Nigeria were hurt, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. said the injured were among the nine Filipino seamen — not just six as earlier reported — who were rescued from Niger militants who hijacked the MV Spirit on May 13.

The MV Spirit had a seven other crew members of different nationalities, the DFa said.

“Two of the nine rescued Filipino seafarers had slight injuries,” Conejos said.

DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo had earlier dispatched Conejos to personally look into the condition and welfare of the Filipino seafarers on board the chartered oil tanker.

Quoting Nigerian army spokesperson Colonel Rabe Abubakar, the DFA reported that the latest operations brought the number of freed hostages to 13, including the nine Filipinos and four Nigerians.

“A consular team was sent to the city of Warri in Delta State where the hijacking took place, and the nine rescued Filipino sailors are expected to be turned over to the embassy’s custody shortly,” Conejos added.

Conejos and. Alex Lamadrid, Charge d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, had met and continue to communicate with the Nigerian foreign ministry and federal security officials for the safe and early release of the remaining Filipino seafarers in the custody of Nigerian militants, the DFA said.

After years of militant activity and lack of maintenance on crucial oil infrastructure, Nigeria produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude per day, or about one quarter less than its stated capacity

The Philippine government has stopped sending Filipino workers to Nigeria following hostilities and kidnappings of foreign nationals. Several groups have requested that Manila lift the deployment ban as the situation there continues to improve. – Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV




Lift deployment bans to give OFWs more jobs, gov’t urged

February 12, 2009

02/12/2009 | 02:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the specter of tens of thousands of Filipino workers losing their jobs at home and abroad in the face of a worsening global economic crisis, a recruitment consultant on Thursday urged the government to tap an “obvious” alternative: lift deployment bans in other countries.

Emmanuel Geslani said it is now apparent that the government would have to let Filipinos work again in countries which had earlier been deemed unsafe for migrants.

“It is high time that the government accept the stark reality that despite the ban thousands of Filipinos continue to slip into Iraq and Lebanon after the Philippine government imposed a ban,” Geslani said.

Geslani estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 Filipinos are in Iraq, most of them work inside heavily fortified US facilities.

“Many Filipinos who finished their contracts in Dubai and Kuwait were actively recruited by these companies and flown in or brought directly to US bases via armed land convoys,” he said.

Geslani stressed that the situation in Iraq has improved in recent months and the government should rethink its deployment ban there especially since the US government is set to fund an $80-billion infrastructure project in the war-ravaged country.

He also reported that several Filipino domestic helpers who stayed in Lebanon after the August 2006 evacuation have now upgraded their skills, working in restaurants and hotels in the country’s capital.

“Figures provided by the Lebanese Ministry of Immigration to Lebanon’s honorary consul general in Manila, Hon. Josef Assad, reveals that more than 43,000 Filipino maids entered Lebanon for the period between 2006 and 2008,” Geslani added.

Enrique Manalo, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) undersecretary for policy, earlier expressed the Philippines’ readiness to supply Iraq with skilled Filipino workers should their safety be assured.

Manalo didn’t want a repeat of the death of Dionasis Saguid, a Filipino cook, who was killed in a mortar attack inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone last June.

The 32-year-old was convinced by an illegal recruiter to defy the travel ban. He managed to enter Iraq via Dubai. Saguid earned $1,000 a month in Baghdad.

Aside from sending a Filipino team to asses the situation in Iraq, Manalo hopes that toward the end of the 6th RP-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting, the oil-rich country could also help provide a clearer picture of the actual situation in the area.

The Department of Labor and Employment had earlier identified the Middle East as the region seen to be less hit by the global economic crisis, offering an oasis for Filipino jobseekers.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said that 5,404 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have been displaced since October 2008, including 4,140 from Taiwan, 298 from the United Arab Emirates, 180 from Canada, 81 from Australia, and 74 from South Korea.

The countries where the remaining number of retrenched Filipino workers came from were not disclosed. – GMANews.TV

RP may lift ban on OFWs in Iraq

February 5, 2009


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.


Groups score gov’t for inaction on plight of OFWs

January 31, 2009

01/15/2009 | 06:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Members of Kilusang Mayo Uno and Migrante International on Thursday picketed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to protest the government’s alleged inaction on the plight of retrenched overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

QTV’s “Balitanghali” reported that the groups, together with some OFWs who lost their jobs in Taiwan, demanded that the government give back the alleged exorbitant fees that recruitment agencies charged them.

“We condemn the continued government inaction to our demands,” Crisitina de Borja, a retrenched worker, said. “At the minimum we demand that the exorbitant placement fees recruitment agencies have charged will be given back to us. This is the law and we cannot understand why the government cannot enforce it.”

In the same statement, Migrante chairman Garry Martinez criticized the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) for allegedly tolerating recruitment agencies that collect overprized placement fees, insisting that the money be given back to those who left their jobs.

“Let me make it clear that up to this very moment, not a single cent was given to the OFWs,” he said. “This proves that government has literally no contingency plan for OFWs whatsoever in response to the global financial crisis.”

The other demands of the laid-off workers include the payment of the unexpired portion of their contracts and the full payment of their repatriation from Taiwan.

“We want to hear directly from Secretary [Marianito] Roque why [the] government’s promises have all been empty so far,” De Borja said in a statement. “With the way the government has been neglecting us, we feel that we have truly been victimized not only by the recruiters, by our companies, but also by our government.”

GMA reporter James Velasquez also quoted the protesters as saying that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was a “liar” for reportedly taking back the check she gave the retrenched Filipino workers from Taiwan on Dec. 2.

“We are already fed up with promises made by DOLE and the Arroyo administration,” Martinez said.

Secretary Roque later met with Migrante representatives to discuss the issues raised. – Kimberly Jane Tan, GMANews.TV

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

Kapit sa patalim ng immigration

November 27, 2008

At least, mayroong Nigeria OFW na sumulat patungkol sa Immigration natin.



Kapit sa patalim ng immigration

11/25/2008 | 03:41 PM

Maagang pagbati po ng Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon.

Suportahan ko lang po yung ibinahaging liham ni Charry ng Singapore. Tama ang sinabi niya na lagayan sa immigration para makabalik kami rito sa Nigeria ay 12,000.00 php. Kababalik ko lang ulit nitong October at anim na beses akong umuuwi sa loob ng isang taon kaya anim na beses din akong naglalagay sa immigration.

Malaki na po ang kinita nila sa akin at malaki rin naman ang naitulong nila sa akin. Kailangan naming patulan o kunsintihin ang immigration dahil kailangan kong bumalik sa trabaho para may ipangtustos sa pamilya ko.

Wala ng kinikita ang POEA dahil hindi na kami nagbabayad ng OEC at PHILHEALTH, sa madaling sabi immigration fee lang ang problema namin para makabalik dito sa Nigeria.

Sana mabigyan pansin naman ng ating gobyerno na alisin na ang ban to Nigeria para naman maging legal ang pagbalik namin dito.Hindi namin lubos maisip bakit kailangan i-total ban ang Nigeria gayung wala namang kaguluhan o giyera.

Oo nga’t may nakidnap dito noon na mga Pinoy, sila ay mga sea worker na nadedestino sa ibat- ibang bahagi ng mundo. Nagkataon lang na nabiktima sila na napakalayo naman sa pinagtatrabahuhan namin. At meron ding nakidnap na isang Pinoy na nakalaya rin naman agad at isang babae na nakidnap daw na hindi naman totoo.

Hindi naman siguro dapat pagbasehan yun para ideklara ng pamahaaan na gawing total ban ang pagpapadala ng mga manggagawang Pinoy sa Nigeria. – GMANews.TV

Salamat po GMA Kapuso,


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’.

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??


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.