Long-staying OFWs in Nigeria to be granted special travel permits – De Castro

April 2, 2009

Long-staying OFWs in Nigeria to be granted special travel permits
04/02/2009 | 01:48 PM

vpnolidecastroMANILA, Philippines – The deployment ban on Nigeria will not be lifted but overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have been working for many years in the African country will be granted special travel permits.

Vice President Noli De Castro, who is also presidential adviser on OFWs, on Thursday said that land-based Filipino workers who have been working for more than 10 years in Lagos, Nigeria specifically may be issued special travel permits.

He said the Filipino workers who may be issued with this permit are only those employed in safe areas.

“This is good news to those OFW professionals in Nigeria who have been wishing to take a vacation back home. Their problem before was that once they go home, they cannot go back to Nigeria because of the ban. Now this has been resolved,” said De Castro.

But he said the deployment ban on Nigeria remains because of “real dangers and threats” to the safety of OFWs.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday made the recommendation to maintain the ban because of the latest hijacking incident in Nigeria wherein three Filipino seamen where reportedly held captive.

The DFA said while the hijacking problem in Nigeria is concentrated in Niger Delta, it will be “extremely difficult to control the movement of OFWs” bound for other parts of Nigeria but would still need to pass by the dangerous area.

On the other hand, Malacañang has ordered that the ban on Lebanon and Jordan be lifted.

De Castro said that the lifting of deployment ban to Lebanon and Jordan is still subject to the execution of a labor cooperation agreement between the Philippines and these countries.

This, he said, is to ensure the protection of the rights of OFWs, such as receiving minimum wage, having decent working and living conditions, and reasonable rest periods.

– Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/155280/Long-staying-OFWs-in-Nigeria-to-be-granted-special-travel-permits


Nigeria Pinoys react to news that only Lebanon & Jordan will be lifted

April 1, 2009

Reaction to this news:

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/155129/Arroyo-orders-lifting-of-ban-on-Lebanon-Jordan

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Masamang biro po iyan, na di nakasama ang Nigeria…..


Paano baga ang tunay na pangyayari at  ang pinagbasehan, iyong report na dalang dala ni General Cimatu o naging paraffle na lang baga ang labanan o naging palabunutan na po yata.


Baka naman kaya by alphabet ang naging basehan


Baka kaya ganire din, Jordan Afghanistan Iraq Lebanon Nigeria, at di talaga kasama tayo sa palatuntunan na iyan, saling pusa lamang tayo at wala sa tambiyolo ang ating entry.


Baka din eto nga pala daw ang naging criteria sa pag pili ng mga u.n.g.a.s. (Usapan Na Ginanap Ayon Sa ) BAN sa Nigeria :


progress in the conclusion of a bilateral labor cooperation agreement that will ensure the protection of the welfare of Filipino workers, specifically :


1) mimimum wage

2) reasonable rest periods

3) decent working and living conditions.


Anak ng kagaw, abay nakaka insulto ang mga lintek na eto ahh…


Father Billy, baka kailangan ng sermon ng mga bopols na nag decide nitong mga pangyayari, baka hindi alam ng mga iyan na Washington din ang paswelduhan dito sa Nigeria at di Naira, baka ang pinag basehan nila ay exchange rate ng peso sa currency ng mga bansa. Abay mababa nga naman, pero mali din, kasi, umaabot ang palitan sa ngayon pa lang ng :


1US$ =Naira166.00

1 US$ =JOD70.85 (Jordanian Dinar)

1 US$=LBP1,507.5 (Lebanese Pound)


Sa Rotation naman, ang labanan kapag nasa sa Oil n Gas Company , Engineering, Construction, Offshore, Telecom company ka sa Nigeria ay months, minsan nga ay weeks pa, (6 weeks/2 weeks of; 8 weeks/2 weeks off; 3 months/1 month; 4 months/1 month) hindi taon ang binibilang para ka makabakasyon at makitang muli ang Land of the Servants daw.


Decent condition, oo nga po at madaming ding nag kalat na pulubi sa lansangan at madaming mga pulis na nangongotong tulad sa Pinas, pero andito ang mina ng langis at no.7 sila na supplier, parehas lang ang lasa este presyo ng langis dito sa Jokedan at Libangan na kanilang napusuan kapag ibenenta sa mercado, kahit paputol putol ang supply ng NEPA kuryente dito ay may pangontra namang mga generator, hindi pamaypay ang gamit natin kapag maalinsangan at uso din naman dito ang mga airconditioner,


Ahh, alam ko na po, baka naman ang sinasabi nilang decent condition ay kapag nabihag ka na ng mga kidnapper, tama sila diyan, sa sapa, sa creek sila naka billet , pero nakakapag request din naman ng Indomie, beer at babae pa nga kapag ikaw ay Bitoy at kasama na daw iyon sa overhead ng ransom. Ibang assessment ang napasubmit ni General Cimatu at baka napalitan, parang bidding iyan na nag karoon ng singitan, ang report natin ay doon binasa sa basurahan ng mga komite de peste-jos.


Ay sa siya, kung ganyan po talaga ang lumabas sa tawas, ang Embassy natin sa Abuja ay magpalabas na agad ng kalatas, dapat maging opisyan na iyan at di sa dyaryo po lamang na ang Ban sa Nigeria ay Inay Gyera pa din.


Suggestion ko lang po, kung pupwede ay pasundan na din ninyo ng mga listahan ng mga botante, paki update na lang po ulit kung ang mga tao dito sa buong Nigeria sa listahan na hawak ninyo ay andirito pa, baka kung saan saan na naman baka po mapapunta ang aming mga balota niyan, kami sa Lagos ay andoon sa Port Harcourt katulad noong nag daang election. Gagawin po natin na ma-update ang Master List hanggat maaga pa at hindi iyong isang linggo lamang ang gagawing pag hahanda.


Malalaman natin kung ilang boto ang kanilang ipinag walang bahala, asawa, anak, kamag anak, inaanak at manganganak pa iyan na hindi karapat dapat ang mga nakaupong tagapangalaga ng ating buhay sikmura.


May pag asa pa naman, malayo pa ang election, pero sa ngayon ay walang tibay din pa palang maaasahan.


Regards,



Fred Borbon


Kapit sa patalim ng immigration

November 27, 2008

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

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http://www.gmanews.tv/story/135557/Kapit-sa-patalim-ng-immigration

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,

Nigel


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.

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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


SAYS DE CASTRO : Domestic helpers abroad should at least be 25 years old

September 11, 2008

Wow, look at the wanna-be President trying to simplify the issues on abused DH in Middle East.  His solution? Must be at least 25 years old.

I don’t know if De Castro is listening to OFWs plaint or he is on the side of the recruiters.

My gulay, what de Castro is saying in effect is that, it is OK to have an abused, killed or DEAD OFW in these countries, for as long as she is more than 25 years old.

The fact of the matter is that the citizens of those middle east countries are not prepared to manage foreign domestic help. And coupled with the greed of recruiters, in connivance with some DFA, POEA employees, It does not matter if the OFW is 20 or 40 or 25 years old, they will all suffer the same fate.

What the government should do is to implement a FULL BAN against the deployment of DH/HSWs to Middle East countries (KSA, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan)  and even to NMCI. These countries are dangerous for DH/HSWs, whatever the age of the OFWs.

But we already know the verdict here. The government has no guts to slap a DH ban against ME countries. The influential recruiters will not agree.

And so, let us brace ourselves. If de Castro’s suggestion (coming from the recruiters) will push through, then let us check the news what is the age of the next ‘dead’ OFW DH coming from these countries.

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SAYS DE CASTRO : Domestic helpers abroad should at least be 25 years old

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: September 01, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Noli de Castro proposed on Monday to increase the minimum age VP Noli de Castrorequirement for Filipino overseas maids from 23 to 25 years old to ensure they would be mature enough for the rigors of their jobs.

De Castro, who is presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), made the counter- proposal after he was informed that the Department of Foreign Affairs wanted to raise it to 30 years old in a proposal submitted to the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Governing Board for approval.

The Vice President said that around 48,000 to 50,000 domestic helpers have been deployed abroad by the government under the present age requirement of 23 and raising that to 30 years old would displace many workers already abroad.

He also noted that most members of the household service staff abroad were below 29 years old.

“I think 25 is better than 30 years old since people at this age are already mature,” De Castro told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview.

He said the government should instead strictly screen applicants, particularly those coming from Mindanao who have no birth certificates.

According to De Castro, some of the victims of abuse abroad faked their ages on their birth certificates to meet the age requirement of 23 years and above.

DFA Spokesperson Claro Cristobal, asked to explain the DFA recommendation, said “Because we see the situation on the ground.”

Cristobal added : “The proposal is very important because at age 30, they are already mature and are able to exercise better judgment.”

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr. first made the proposal to increase the age requirement to 30 years old at an inter-agency meeting chaired by Labor Secretary Marianito Roque last week.
DFA USec Esteban Conejos
Conejos said raising the minimum age requirement would ensure that aspiring Filipino domestic helpers “are emotionally and mentally prepared to face the challenges posed by employment abroad.”

The Department of Labor and Employment was said to be considering Conejos’ proposal, said a DFA statement.

In a related development, De Castro is endorsing Stress Management Training for OFWs to enable them to better cope with the hardships of working abroad.

De Castro’s endorsement for the training came following a proposal of the DFA to require mandatory psychological test for workers seeking employment abroad.

“Workers applying for work abroad should first gain skills and learn techniques on stress management considering the peculiar socio-cultural setting in the country they will be working in,” De Castro said.

He said the program should be given for free and incorporated in the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and any expense should be shouldered by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). He stressed that no additional economic burden would be imposed on OFWs.

De Castro further proposed that the coverage be limited to those domestic helpers and caregivers whose workplaces would be in households.

“Because unlike those working in medical centers, domestic helpers and caregivers employed in residences are often alone in handling difficult situation,” he said.

De Castro noted that the present psychological test required of OFWs would not be a sufficient measure to guard against untoward incidents.

In cases like those of Marilou Ranario whose defense in a murder case was to plead insanity, severe work conditions and maltreatment inevitably placed OFWs in situations that provoked them to commit even criminal acts.

“When they leave the country, they are psychologically and mentally healthy. However, stress brought about by maltreatment in the work place subsequently affects their mental condition,” De Castro said.

“Stress is a common thing in life but there are ways of coping with adversity that will help our workers handle problems with employers and adjust to different situations that they may encounter abroad,” he added.

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from MIGRANTE:
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30-year-old cap will not address plight of OFWs

09/10/2008 | 07:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Three migrant advocacy groups on Wednesday were one in saying that raising the minimum age requirement for domestics won’t solve the worsening problem of exploitation being suffered by overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

The three groups — Migrante, the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment Through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), and the Kapisan ng mga Kamag-anak ng Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino (KAKAMMPI) — said the problem lies not with the age of OFWs but with the Arroyo administration’ s neglect of migrant workers.

Labor undersecretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Department of Foreign Affairs had asked the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s governing board to increase the age limit for overseas household service workers from 23 to 30 due to the increasing cases of suicides and runaways.

sarah balabagan

sarah balabagan

“Kahit 30, 40, or 50 pa ‘yan hindi naman nirerespeto ang edad do’n. Ang dapat gawin ng gobyerno, asikasuhin ang support mechanisms sa receiving countries.

(Abusers and exploiters do not respect the age of OFWs even if they are 30, 40, or 50. What the government has to do is to ensure support mechanisms for OFWs in the receiving countries),” said Migrante chairperson Concepcion Bragas-Regalado.

Regalado said that in Bahrain , the minimum age requirement for OFWs was raised but that did not prevent employers from abusing Filipinos.

“It doesn’t matter that they’re matured already. Sa cases nga naming may 30, 40 or nasa retirement age na pero naa-abuse pa rin. It’s time for the government to look at bilateral agreements with receiving countries. Nagde-deploy pa sila sa mga may gyera tapos nag-i-impose lang ng ban kapag may pumuna

(It doesn’t matter that they are matured already. We have cases wherein OFWs already in their 30s, 40s, or retirement age who are still being abused. It’s time for the government to look at bilateral agreements with receiving countries. The government even deploys OFWs to war-torn areas and only impose a ban if it is already being criticized)”, added Regalado.

Ultimate solution

Lawyer Bernard Gregorio of the IDEALS echoed Migrante’s position.

It’s good for the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines ) to make efforts to protect OFWs by setting a standard age. But age doesn’t matter in migration. Mas maganda kung ang tingnan ay ang policies in deploying OFWs, (It would be better if the government reviews policies in deploying OFWs),” he said.

Gregorio was referring to a statement issued by CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerants on Wednesday supporting the proposed re-imposition of higher age limits for OFWs.

For Gregorio, the ultimate solution is for the Arroyo administration to create decent jobs for Filipinos so they will no longer be enticed to work abroad. “The government should create jobs in the country para hindi na lumabas ng bansa ang mga tao.”

For her part, Fe Nicodemus, KAKAMMPI executive director, said that changing the age of OFWs won’t change their plight. “Ganun pa rin ‘yon, third class citizen ka pa rin sa abroad, maaabuso ka pa rin (It’s still the same, you will still be a third class citizen abroad, you will still be abused).”

Institutionalizatio n

The Arroyo administration is being criticized by several cause-oriented groups in the Philippines for allegedly institutionalizing labor migration as a solution to the economic crisis being faced by the country.

The groups claim that while Filipinos are enduring hardships and risking their lives working abroad, the Philippine government is enjoying a big chunk of the money being sent home by OFWs.

As of 2007, the stock estimate of Filipinos overseas was 8.2 million. The Philippines is the world’s number one sender of Filipino workers abroad.

The government charges a 0.15-percent documentary stamp tax for every OFW remittance transaction. Groups such as Migrante claim that for every US$1-billion remittance, the government reaps US$1.5 million or about P62 million.

Migrante also claims that banks and other private businesses rake in profits from remittances. For every US$200 remittance sent monthly, US$15 to US$22 is charged as service fee. For 10 million OFWs sending remittances, banks earn a staggering $1 billion monthly.

A recent study by the National Statistics Office showed that thousands of unskilled OFWs such as domestic helpers and construction workers were among the biggest contributors to the Philippine economy.

Money sent home last year by Filipinos working abroad was nearly one-fifth more than the official figures reported by the government, according to a study by a London-based organization.

Instead of receiving US$14.45 billion, the Philippines actually got some US$17 billion in remittances last year, the research unit of the London-based Economist Magazine said in its July 2008 report. – Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV


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

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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