POEA boss sees writing on wall, starts packing

December 30, 2011

POEA boss sees writing on wall, starts packing
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:30 am | Friday, December 30th, 2011

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment on Carlos Cao’s departure from the POEA. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
While there has been no official word from Malacañang, the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Carlos Cao Jr., said his bosses at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had told him to prepare to vacate his post.

Cao said Thursday, “I was informed verbally a few days ago by higher-ups at DOLE that they want to replace me … but I have not received anything from the Office of the President.”

“Whether I’m finally replaced or not, I continue to believe in and support this administration. I have no rancor. I’m not angry. I continue to pray for this government to succeed,” he said in an interview.

Sources at DOLE last week hinted that Cao was on his way out, with Labor Undersecretary Hans Cacdac expected to replace him on Monday.

Cacdac and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz declined to comment Thursday on Cao’s departure from the POEA.

“I serve at the pleasure of the President,” Cao said. “I’ve already been here for nearly a year and I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me to serve our overseas Filipino workers.”

Cao said he was not aware of the reason for his impending removal.

“It’s beyond me. By the grace of God and the cooperation of our stakeholders, we have been able to improve the processing of our OFWs here at the POEA,” Cao said.

“When I arrived here, they would still be here up to 7 p.m. I’m now looking at our Balik Manggagawa (kiosks) and it’s only 3 p.m. but there are now only a few remaining people in the lines,” he said.

Cao said that there was also an improvement in the deployment of OFWs this year compared to 2010.

“There’s no issue against me but whatever is the decision of the higher-ups, I will comply. This has been a most cheerful time for me because I find joy in serving the people,” he said.

Cacdac, Cao’s expected replacement, is an old hand at the POEA, having served as deputy administrator in charge of licensing and adjudication from 2006 to 2010.

President Aquino appointed him undersecretary for labor relations in September 2010. Among the cases he handled was the labor row at Philippine Airlines, which remains turbulent to this day.

Cacdac has also occupied various positions at DOLE, among them, as director of the Bureau of Labor Relations and executive director of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

A lawyer and multiawarded writer, Cacdac once served as coordinator for the Urban Poor Unity of the Ateneo University-based Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal.


New Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria/West Africa

February 7, 2010

Article posted February 03, 2010 – 10:34 AM
Contrary to the fate suffered by his predecessor, it took only five minutes for newly appointed Civil Service Commission Chairman Francisco Duque III to get the nod of the bicameral Commission on Appointments on Wednesday morning.

Rep. Eduardo Zialcita noted that Duque had performed excellently as Health secretary. “It is heartwarming to note that he has been appointed [to] a very sensitive position and considering his track record, we are assured that civil service will be in the correct hands,” he added.

The fact that he is not a lawyer was not raised during the hearing, unlike what happened when the nomination of former CSC Chairman Ricardo Saludo was discussed last year. Duque is a doctor. [See: Saludo appointment as CSC chair nixed by CA]

The former health secretary promptly thanked the appointments committee on constitutional commissions and offices headed by Rep. Rodolfo Plaza.

“I would like to express my most profound gratitude and appreciation for your motion to submit for plenary my nomination. It will be a source of inspiration,” said Duque, who vowed to initiate “meaningful reforms” at the commission.

Duque will be presented to the plenary later in the day for the confirmation of his nomination.

The other appointees approved by the CA committees were:

– Evelyn San Buenaventura, commissioner of the Commission on Audit

– Bahnarim Guinomla, ambassador to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives as Chief of Mission, class 1

– Linglingay Lacanlale, ambassador to Thailand and permanent representative to the United Nations economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific, as chief of mission, class 1

– Bayani Mangibin, ambassador to Iraq as chief of mission, class II

– Eva Betita, ambassador to Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Suriname as chief of mission, class II

– Lourdes Yparraguirre, ambassador to Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic, as chief of mission, class II

– Nestor Padalhin, ambassador to Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Cote Equatorial Guinea, Gabonese Republic, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as chief of mission, class II

– Romeo Manalo, ambassador to Italy

– Cecilia Rebong, chief of mission, Class I, at post in New York

– Patricia Ann Paez, chief of mission, Class II — RSJ/NPA/LBG, GMANews.TV

A Christmas gift from POEA

December 21, 2009

For Naija Pinoys, it’s always a stressful experience coming from a vacation in the Philippines. With all the hassles and expense we have to endure with the Philippine immigration just to be allowed to get back to Nigeria.

Although we are secretly thankful to the immig boys for being more “understanding” to our situation, more than the other “supposedly” concerned government agencies who couldn’t make up their minds about the total travel ban indefinitely imposed against Nigeria OFWs.

In October 2009, there were news from vacationing Naija Pinoys that POEA started issuing the much-coveted Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). The OEC provides an OFW clearance to travel overseas without challenge from immig. This piece of paper also provides exemption from the payment of travel tax..

Those Naija OFWs who got the OEC were kind enough to post and share their experience in the naijapinoy yahoogroup.

As my own vacation neared (mid-November), I was already getting stressed at the thought of spending 2-3 days in Manila just to renew my OEC.

So instead of taking Qatar Airways via Cebu, I have to take Emirates via Manila and thus spend a lonely night in Manila, before flying to the province the next day. I was planning to get an OEC from the POEA main office in Ortigas. That would mean 2-3 days in Manila, on my way back to Nigeria.

A week before my travel to Manila, i decided to visit the regional office of POEA in Cagayan de Oro. I wasn’t really optimistic about getting something from a regional office. Just the same, I made sure I had photocopies of my passport, visa pages, and my CERPAC receipt.

After I identified myself as a Naija OFW, i was shown by the POEA staff a memo from Chief Manalili about Nigera OFWs. It was the same memo circulated by the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria. I was thinking that, this is it, the expected red tape…

But to my surprise, the regional manager gave her go-signal for the OEC processing. I was told to go to Philhealth office where i paid my contribution. They took one set of the photocopies. Then I went to OWWA office to make payments for the OWWA insurance.

Going back to POEA, i was still unconvinced that I will be given the OEC. But after i paid a hundred pesos, I was finally issued an OEC. The entire process just took 2 hours to finish.

Yes! I really got an OEC from the regional office.

I texted another Naija OFW, who’s going back to Nigeria the next day, that I was issued an OEC in the POEA Regional Office.

Since he’s taking an afternoon flight, he decided to go to POEA in the morning. And as i have experienced, he also got an OEC that same morning…. After he boarded the plane, he texted me that the OEC worked like magic– it gave him a hassle-free exit from the country – for the first time in three years he’s been in Nigeria.

I came back to Nigeria this second week of December. And i’d say the issuance of OEC was a timely gift by the POEA to Naija OFWs.

I was told that the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), led by Ellen Sana had a hand in the change of travel advisory to Nigeria.

In behalf of Nigeria OFWs, i would like to thank POEA Chief Jennifer Manalili, the CDO regional office and the CMA for finally lifting the heavy burden imposed on Naija OFWs.

I surely would like to get the Multiple Travel Exit Clearance (MTEC) on my next vacation this March 2010.

A Merry Christmas and a – hopefully – Prosperous New Year to all….

Good news to NaijaPinoys – Pagkuha ng OEC

August 28, 2009

Kamakailan lang, marami nang bali-balita na meron ng mga Naija Pinoys na nabigyan ng OEC. Sa umpisa, ayaw natin maniwala, pero sa dami ng feedback at pagbibigay ng proseso ng mga nakakuha na, atin nakumpirma na namimigay na nga ng OEC ang POEA para sa Nigeria-based OFWs.

Ang Overseas Employment Certidicate (OEC) ay isang patunay na ang isang mangagawa ay lehitimong OFW sa isang bansa. Kapag meron ka nito, wala kang babayaran na Travel Tax at di ka mahaharang ng immigration.

Mula ng ipataw ang ban sa Nigeria, hindi binigyan ng POEA and mga naija pinoys ng OEC.

Subalit sa panibagong patakaran, tinatanggap na ng POEA ang letter of exemption para sa mga Naija OFWs na nagbabakasyon at binibigyan na ulit ng OEC.

Ating malaking pasalamat kay Ginoong Claro Santos sa pagbigay impormasyon para sa kaalaman ng ibang Naijapinoys na magbabakasyon at balak kumuha or magpa-renew ng OEC.

Ayon kay G. Claro, ito ang mga kakailanganin ng Naijapinoys para sa OEC.

  1. Magpunta sa “Balik-Manggagawa” area hanapin si Madame Barbara D. Lamzon, Chief of Balik-Manggagawa Procesing Center at iprisinta ang mga ito:
      • Letter of request for Special Travel Permit/OEC addressed to POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili. Indicate that you want to return to Nigeria from your vacation. Ilagay rin kung ilan taon ka nang nagwo-work sa Nigeria at anong Lugar (Lagos kung maaari.)
      • Attach photocopies of cerpac ID, return visa, employment certificates or other proofs of your employment with the same company like ID, etc.
      • Mas mainam kung naka binder/folder ang lahat para di makawatakwatak.
  2. Kapag okey na kay Madame Barbara, i-endorse ka na kay Mam Jeannete na siyang…
      • magiinterbiyu sa yo
      • magchecheck ng records mo sa computer
      • at gagawa ng approval letter ni Administrator Manal
  3. Tatlong Signatures and kelangan ng papel mo: Si Director Elmira C. Sto, Domingo, si Deputy Admin Viveca C. Catalig at finally si Admin Manalili. Depende sa availability ng tatlo aabutin ang pirmahan ng 1-3 days.
  4. Bago mo lisanin ang mesa ni Madame Barbara, siguruhin mo lang na na-i-transfer na sa office ni Director ang mga papeles mo. Kunin din ang number ng secretary sa bawat station (director, DAdmin at Admin) para alam mo kung kanino magfollow-up.
  5. Ang huling destinasyon ng papeles mo ay balik sa lamesa ni Ma’am Jeannete. Siya na rin ang mageendorse kung saan counter ka magbabayad ng OEC.

Ano-ano ang mga babayaran mo?

OWWA MEMBERSHIP – Php   1,203.68
PHILHEALTH – Php  900.00
TOTAL 2,203.68
Para sa taga probinsya, ganito ang naging kwento nga nakukha ng OEC habang nasa probinsya:
Actually, sa poea bacolod ako nagsubmit ng papers ko (request letter addressed to admin manalili, employment certificate, certificate from the philippine embassy abuja, at lahat ng pages ng current passport ko) thru the regional poea coordinator sa bacolod. then, inifax ng poea bacolod sa poea manila lahat ng papers ko. pinafollow- up ko na lang by phone sa poea bacolod araw-araw kung ano status ng request ko. nung august 17, tumawag iyung poea manila sa poea bacolod na gusto daw ako makausap/maintervie w by phone ng poea manila. tinanong lang naman ako kung bakit ko pa gustong bumalik ng nigeria. then iyung ibang records, chinicheck yata nila sa computer/data base nila.

then, inadvise ako ng poea manila na pumunta ng manila to get the original copy ng travel permit at OEC (kasi baka hanapin daw ng immigration iyung original copy), or pwede rin daw na ipadala nila thru mail, kaya lang pabalik na nga ako ng nigeria, so pumunta na lang ako ng manila for a day para kunin iyung mga papers ko. pagpunta ko ng poea sa ortigas, for signature na lang ni admin manalili iyung papers ko. finallow- up ko lang dun sa office nia, buti naman, napirmahan agad. nagbayad lang ako ng usual processing fee sa poea (philhealth, owwa membership fee, etc…, Php 2,203.00) for the OEC. mabilis lang kasi ready na iyung mga papers ko pagpunta ko ng poea, kaya nung hapon na yun, bumalik na rin ako ng bacolod.

maayos naman pagbalik ko dito. wala naman problema sa immigration.

Sa mga bagong development na ito, parang tutuloy na ito sa tuluyang pag ka alis ng ban sa Nigeria.
Kaya sa lahat ng mga gustong mag pa rehistro or mag pa renew sa POEA, basahin at sundin ang mga proseso na sinabi ni G. Claro Santos.
Mabuhay ang Naija Pinoys!

Low-skilled OFWs top dollar remitters

June 17, 2009


By Veronica Uy

Posted date: June 17, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Contrary to popular belief, low- and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers are the top source of dollar remittances of the country, according to an analysis of remittance data made by the Institute for Migration and Development Issues.

In her analysis of the data from the National Statistics Office from 2001 to 2007, Beverly Jane Bulanday, an intern at the institute, found that the collective remittances of male and female low- and semi-skilled OFWs comprise the biggest among the other skills level categories.

She concluded that OFWs who fall under the categories “trades and related workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers, and laborers and unskilled workers” are the “major drivers of the country’s ‘remittance economy.’”

“Every time government authorities release monthly data on billion-dollar remittances from overseas Filipinos, the rise of these flows of monies is attributed to increasing salaries from professionals and technical workers,” Bulanday said.

“But findings from the annual Survey on Overseas Filipinos have always shown that female domestic workers and male production workers are the top overseas Filipino remitters,” she said.

The survey shows that from 2001 to 2007, except for 2006, male plant and machine operators and assemblers were the top remitters (P7.92 in 2001, P8.73 billion in 2002, P9.55 billion in 2003, P11.7 billion in 2004, P10.4 billion in 2005, and P14.5 billion in 2007). In 2006, male trade and related workers topped the list, remitting P13.1 billion.

The same survey shows that female laborers and unskilled workers, which is the category of household services, dominated the top remitters list from 2001 to 2007: P6.45 billion in 2001, P7.322 billion in 2002, P7.434 billion in 2003, P9.32 billion in 2004, P9.73 billion in 2005, P12.674 billion in 2006, and P13.08 billion in 2007.

In contrast, male and female “officials of government and special interest organizations, corporate executives, managers, managing proprietors, and supervisors” were remitting only between P46 million and P4 billion through the same period.

Bulanday explained that low- and semi-skilled OFWs contribute the biggest amount of remittances because they comprise the biggest number of migrant Filipino workers.

“This is simply because job markets abroad call for such occupations for foreign workers. This trend will all the more continue even as there are efforts to attract more skilled workers in developing countries, and there are continued restrictions to the movement of low-skilled or semi-skilled labor,” she predicted.

As such, Bulanday called on the government and other stakeholders to focus their attention on these workers, especially in terms of protecting their rights and welfare.

“An approach as regards their and their families’ management of remittances that understands their being semi-skilled and low-skilled workers abroad is called for. They remit frequently (though in lesser amounts), they also try out micro to small enterprises, and have to repay debts incurred prior to their migration overseas,” she said.

Bulanday said most low- and sem-skilled OFWs send money back home to support their families’ basic needs, to repay debts, and to invest in their children’s education.

OFW remittances boost hometown development

May 30, 2009


By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: May 29, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Who said remittances from overseas Filipino workers would plunge drastically due to the global financial crisis?

Today, more and more OFWs, aside from regularly sending money back home to their families, tend to band together to raise funds to help develop their hometowns.

The agricultural town of Pozorrubio in Pangasinan province, for instance, was cited in a recent study commissioned by leading global money transfer company Western Union as an example of a new phenomenon called “collective remittance.”

Because of the huge development potential of such inflows, especially in the Philippines which is one of the world’s largest recipients of remittances, Western Union said it planned to pilot-test in the country a project aimed at ramping up collective remittances.

“Migrant worker remittances are mainly family to family paying for basic necessities. But if remittances are pooled and invested in creating economic opportunities for the whole community, the impact would be greater,” said Western Union vice president Angela Heng, who was in Manila Thursday to host a one-day conference on collective remittance.

Ahead of the meet, Western Union commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a study on communal or collective remittances in different parts of the world, their impact, and what could be done to make them more effective.

Pozorrubio, which has about 10 percent of its population working overseas, was cited in the study for having a local government that was able to encourage its overseas residents to make collective remittances to support local public works projects.

Bright lights

Since 1986, town officials have been visiting Pozorrubians in California, Chicago, Hawaii, New York, Washington and Hong Kong to encourage them to form themselves into solidarity groups, elect officers, and identify projects and programs in their hometown that they could support monetarily.

“For example, Pozorrubio had no street lights, but after the mayor encouraged the migrant workers’ families to put up lampposts in front of their homes, the whole town lit up,” the EIU study said.

As the Pozzorubian migrants became better organized, the study said the local government began encouraging them to hand their donations directly to the beneficiaries, and invited them to return home to see for themselves the impact their remittances were having.

“Return migration was the theme of the 2002 town fiesta,” the study said.

It said Pozorrubian migrant communities were able to finance the construction of a park and library, and refurbish a high school’s English learning center.

The community hospital received an electrocardiograph, computer, stethoscopes, toilet, septic tank, window screens, electric fans, beddings and medicines.

On top of these, the hospital is visited annually by locally born doctors who perform medical missions.

Multiplier effect

“The multiplier effect of these remittances has been enormous. By 2001, this rural town of 56,000 had Internet cafés, car rental services for visiting migrants, video rental shops, and a rural bank with over $2 million in deposits and only a few borrowers,” the study said.

It also built 12 public and private irrigation facilities, 50 manufacturing establishments, six big private housing subdivisions and 32 day-care centers.

Different strokes

“This level of development is almost never seen in rural Philippines, even in the larger municipalities. Moreover, the town’s tax collection is one of the highest in the region, with most of the revenue coming from the busy public market,” the study said.

The EIU said other LGUs had taken different approaches to encourage their migrant populations to invest in local enterprises.

“The most visible example is the province of Bohol which set up an investment center and enacted a local investment code to assist investors in identifying, organizing and matching their resources with local partners,” it said.

The Island Garden City of Samal, near Davao City, passed a similar code geared toward developing local tourism, it noted.

Another area where migrants make collective remittances is charity.

Cited as an example was the Filipino community in South Puget Sound in Washington state which raised more than $200,000 that it remitted to a foundation in Bislig City in Surigao del Sur to finance rehabilitation and livelihood projects.

Pinoys warned against new variant of Nigerian scam

May 19, 2009

Pinoys warned against new variant of Nigerian scam
05/12/2009 | 02:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Jobseekers, beware of another scam promising non-existent jobs in Nigeria.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the new variant of the “419 scam” uses the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria’s address to look more authentic.

“The syndicate requires the recipient to remit money to a particular bank account in Nigeria, supposedly as payment for application fees, taxes, and other processing fees,” a DFA advisory on Tuesday said.

The modus operandi involves sending e-mails to unsuspecting victims promising employment in Nigeria, bank loans, lottery winnings or double-your-money schemes using Filipino names to victimize aspiring migrants.

“In the latest incident involving Filipino nationals, an e-mail from a certain ‘Dr Ruben S. Cruz’, supposedly working at the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria, circulated asking recipients to remit US$200 to the Federal Inland Revenue Services of Nigeria in order to receive a tax certificate,” the DFA added.

The Philippines has not yet lifted the deployment ban to Nigeria.

“The public is advised not to send any money or divulge personal information, particularly bank accounts or credit card numbers, if they received similar e-mails.

The public may refer such e-mail messages to the Cybercrimes Division of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Anti-Money Laundering Council of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” the DFA said. – Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV