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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Journalistic prize awarded to Nina Corpuz for her article on the rise of human trafficking in the Ph

NOTE:  The attached winning article of Nina Corpuz is being offered to
recognized media for use free of charge.  Further information and details of the
next Turin course are available on request.

Filipino domestic workers between justice and survival, the article that won
the 2010 Media for Labour Rights Prize

MANILA - Kasambahay means *part of the household* in Filipino and this is
how domestic workers are called. They have poor rights both in their home
country and abroad and many fall victim to various kinds of abuses from their
employers and the agencies that illegally recruit them. Nina Corpuz investigated
about the conditions of domestic workers, the phenomenon of human trafficking in
the Philippines and the measures taken by the government to prevent it.

In the last year there has been a 20% increase in the incidence of persons
trafficked in the country for domestic work. The ILO Committee of Experts made a
direct request to the government to provide information on the application of
the law against this particular form of forced labour. Unfortunately,
anti-trafficking cases are often dismissed after victims decide to settle,
because they are offered money or they have to go back to work abroad. *It*s
really sad but it*s a matter of economic necessity, between justice and
survival, they choose survival* comments a Filipino State Prosecutor.
The ongoing Campaign on Decent Work for Domestic Helpers is now lobbying for
the adoption of the Batas Kasambahay bill in the Philippines, aiming at
uplifting and giving decency to labour standards of those workers. The ILO
considers domestic work to be among the most precarious of occupations and the
present job crisis is likely to aggravate those vulnerabilities. An item on
decent work for domestic workers has been discussed at the 2010 session of the
International Labour Conference with a view to the setting of labour standards.

Nina Corpuz, the author of the article *Filipino Domestic Workers: between
justice and survival*, won the 2010 edition of the journalistic prize for the
best story on labour rights, awarded by the International Training Centre of the
ILO (ITC-ILO), the training arm of the ILO.

The article was selected among stories written by professional journalists who
attended the training courses on *Communicating Labour Rights*, yearly
organized by the ITC-ILO. The courses introduce journalists and media
professionals from all over the world, to international labour standards, with
the aim of raising public awareness of their relevance to local labour and
social issues. The award ceremony was held in Turin, Italy, on Monday 21st June
2010 at the ITC-ILO.

The author

Nina Corpuz is a broadcast journalist for the Philippine's biggest TV
network, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

She has been a reporter for 9 years, covering labour, education, health and
politics. She also anchors a television news program entitled *Balitang
Europe* (News from Europe), which tackles the concerns of overseas Filipino
workers in Europe. Nina also hosts a public service radio program and  she is a
contributor for ABS-CBN*s news website.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

OFWs Join Independence Day Protests


2 out of 10 deployed by Arroyo are domestic workers

Arroyo pushed jobless Pinoys to be slave workers

of the world - Migrante


As the Arroyo administration "splurges" on a P10 million parade for the country's Independence Day celebrations, OFWs and their families join protests to belie the outgoing president's claim of achievements in addressing poverty and joblessness.


Migrante International, the largest alliance of OFW groups, link-up with other peoples organizations in a counter-parade of modest floats depicting the misdeeds and failures of the Arroyo regime. Meanwhile its chapters abroad held assemblies and other activities to expose the worsened situation of Filipino migrant workers and challenged the Aquino government to scrap the labor export policy. 


"Once again Arroyo will cite the OFWs as one of her crowning achievements. She will boast of curbing unemployment by referring to the millions of Filipino workers deployed all over the world during her term. This has been her clever lie. But the truth is, it is precisely because of her failure to solve the economic crises why millions of Filipinos opt to work abroad and endure family separation," said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante.


According to Migrante, citing from data gathered from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Arroyo administration processed 9.2 million OFW deployments from 2001 to 2009. Seven million were deployed as land-based workers, 40% which or 2.8 million were new hires. These figures do not include undocumented workers which the group estimates as 1,000 leaving everyday. 


"Closer scrutiny of the deployments will reveal that what Arroyo essentially does is pushing jobless Pinoys to become cheap and docile slave workers abroad which can be highly abused and exploited by foreign employers. To concretize, in her reign, 2 out of 10 OFWs are deployed as domestic helpers. Half of which going to the Middle-East where there is high incidence of OFW maltreatment," Martinez explained.


Based on POEA data, 515,417 OFW new hires from 2001-2008 worked as Household Service Workers, 331, 058 Entertainers and 183,159 Nurses and Caregivers.


According to Martinez, the new hires were largely deployed to Middle-East countries where OFW wage rates are very low. Domestic Helpers and Caregivers in the Middle-East, which accounts for 50%, receive $200-300/month which is just about the same amount of the minimum wage in Metro Manila. Nurses in Saudi Arabia, which is 60%, on the other hand receive $400-500/month which is just equal to the daily cost of living in the Philippines.


"Given this situation, we must celebrate independence day by reliving and continuing the fight for freedom of our forefathers. The Filipino people must unite in making Arroyo pay for her crimes and challenge the Aquino government to solve the basic problems of landlessness and joblessness. We must unwaveringly pursue the struggle for national democracy," Martinez ended. ###

Migrants challenge Noynoy to fire and prosecute officials colluding with trafficking syndicates



After the much-publicized release of the US State Department's report on human trafficking, the largest OFW group Migrante International challenged president-elect Noynoy Aquino to immediately fire and prosecute RP officials colluding with human trafficking syndicates. The group likewise urged Noynoy to make the DOJ Task Force on Trafficking in Persons to also be accountable for the worsening problem of human trafficking in the Philippines.


"Human trafficking is a serious crime against humanity. Noynoy must act with force against those involved in this offense, especially those inside the government. They must be fired and prosecuted immediately. Hindi na kailangan pang mag-imbestiga para lamang matukoy kung sino-sino ang mga yan. It's an open secret. People inside the government very well know who among them benefits from this heinous crime," challenged Garry Martinez, Chairperson of Migrante.


Martinez said that they have a watchlist of officials involved in human trafficking based on OFW complaints that they received for the past few years. Migrante refused to reveal the list as they are still gathering sufficient data for their plan to file formal cases at the Office of the Ombudsman. "But if Noynoy is willing to work with us, we can sit down with him, reveal our watchlist and create plan how to make these officials pay for their crime."


Migrante also criticized the reaction of the DOJ Task Force on Trafficking on the US report. The group said that the government body should also be held accountable for the spread of human trafficking. Severino Gana Jr., chairman of the task force, admitted their faults but just ended at requesting more funds for them to execute their duties.


"Gana's attitude clearly tells of the lack of political will of government agencies to curb or eradicate human trafficking. They are actually guilty of delaying justice and also guilty of protecting the perpetrators. In effect they are giving them more opportunities to exploit more Filipinos," said Martinez.


Martinez continued by disagreeing with Gana's request of more funds. "While funds are really needed to operate, the appeal is highly questionable since they were unsuccessful in performing their assignment. They must explain their failures first before additional funds are granted"


"Apart from making officials pay for their offenses, Noynoy should also pay attention to addressing the root of the trafficking problem which is joblessness and poverty in the country. Getting rid of corrupt officials is just a tactical solution, building an economy free from domination of foreign and local big business is the answer to our long-standing woes," ended Martinez. ###


Erring Welfare Officer advises Pinay to jump from building, OFWs to press charges in OWWA


Newly repatriated women OFWs trooped back to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to file formal charges against a RP Welfare Officer in Saudi who advised their colleague to jump from the 3rd floor of their accommodation to get away from her abusive employer.

The OFWs, who were formerly caregivers of Annasban Company, joined their colleague Merlinda Aquino who just arrived back a few days ago, in filing formal charges against Welfare Officer Nestor Burayag for grave misconduct and neglect of duties.

 "Tinawagan ko si Mr. Burayag para magpasaklolo dahil hindi ko na matagalan ang pang-aabuso ng employer ko sa akin. Pero sinabihan niya lang ako na tumalon mula sa 3rd floor n gaming building para daw may dahilan para matulungan niya ako," said Aquino. Merlinda decided not to follow the advice because it may cost her life.

Aquino lamented that she was being continuously physically abused by her site manager since January. Her mobile phone and ATM were also confiscated. She reported the offenses to the company management but no action was taken. She was hoping to be rescued upon informing RP officials of her plight, particularly Burayag, but all they did was encourage her "to commit suicide" by jumping from the building.

Aquino originally planned to join the work-stoppage as she was also a victim of the company's gross contract violations. Her wages were also cut and made to work for long hours without pay. But because of fear and hopelessness due to the "government's inaction" she decided to keep a distance.

Earlier this month, the OFWs have already called on OWWA officials to recall Burayag for neglecting his duty to secure with the Annasban management exit visas for their release and forcing them to pay a huge amount for repatriation. Until now no action has been done by Administrator Carmelita Dimzon. Burayag remains in his post while more than 30 women workers are still locked in the company's barracks.  

"Burayag's attitude reflects the Arroyo administration's general mis-conduct toward OFWs. They really do not pay attention to the well-being of our kababayans. In truth many of them connive with foreign employers such as Annasban in subjecting Filipino workers in dire conditions. Kalakal ang turing sa OFWs, hindi tao. Habol lang nila ang kita na makukuha mula sa pagsasamantala sa aming lakas-paggawa," said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.

Migrante challenged the new regime under President-elect Noynoy Aquino to probe and sack erring officials and reorient OWWA to be a genuine service institution. The group also urged Noynoy to scrap the OWWA Omnibus Policies, an "anti-migrant" policy unilaterally imposed by the Arroyo administration. ###   

#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910

Monday, June 07, 2010

Greenresearch World Environment Day 2010 Greetings


                               An Environmental Research Group



June 5, 2010



Dear partners in our green movement,



Greetings on World Environment Day!


                It is our joy to share with you that we have renamed our interdisciplinary research team from Alternative Research for Empowerment (ALTEResearch) to Greenresearch Environmental Research Group (Greenresearch ERG).  Greenresearch's  new  office address is  located at the    3rd Floor,   311  Katipunan Avenue , Loyola Heights , 1100 Quezon City (same building as Sweet Inspirations). Our present contact numbers are as follows: fax number  433 2120;  landline number 369 8141;  and  mobile 0919 7510070.


                Our new organizational name, Greenresearch symbolizes, our decision as an development  "think tank,"  to prioritize sociological research,  legal and policy analyses on the Philippine environment.  As an intellectual resource pool, Greenresearch offers a rich interdisciplinary blend of social scientists, social development professionals, academicians, lawyers, environmental activists, and artists.  As  an Environmental Research  Group, Greenresearch remains strongly committed to the development  of creative, reflexive, action-oriented, and process-oriented knowledge products through the use of interdisciplinary perspectives and participatory approaches.


                As Greenresearch, we  will continue its engagements/affiliations with the following environmental movement and networks/coalitions:


·             GREEN CONVERGENCE for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy (Green Convergence),

·             Save Sierra Madre Network (SSMN),

·             Network Opposed to GMOs (No2GMO Coalition),

·             CSO Working Group on Climate Change and Development, and

·             Magkaisa Junk JPEPA Coalition (MJJC).



                As our country moves into a significant historical and political transition, we look forward to  more strategic and meaningful  engagements within our Green Convergence movement and its different environmental coalitions in ensuring our Green Agenda. We continue to hope and pray for a genuine participatory environmental governance of the incoming administration of President Elect Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.  Kindly also consider signing the attached collective letter addressed  to President Noynoy Aquino  about our strong objection to the re-appointment of the incumbent DENR Sec. Horacio Ramos. 


Nagtaya na kami para sa kalikasan. Nasimulan na rin namin ang  paglalakbay patungo sa pagbabago kasabay ng ating hinirang na People's President Noynoy.   Patuloy rin ang aming panalangin, pag-asa at pagpupunyagi para  mas maging buhay at mas matatag ang ating kilusang pangkalikasan.  Ituloy ang Laban!



In solidarity,



Patria Gwen M.L. Borcena, M.A.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

RP Labor Diplomacy: Keeping jobs the diplomatic way



Mang Pido has been a tuna fisherman in General Santos City, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines and the world's leading source of "sashimi."  In February of this year, Mang Pido along with 500 tuna fishermen and their families thought they had to look elsewhere for jobs and livelihood opportunities, because of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banning tuna fishing.


Mang Pido, is only one of the millions of Filipinos whose jobs and livelihoods are affected by occurrences in international trade agreements and conventions.  These days one need not migrate to another country in order to be affected in the intricacies or changes in international trade. 


As globalization pushes people and trade closer to each other, international and local markets have become more and more interlinked, prompting the need for stronger and deeper diplomatic ties that go beyond the rules of protocol.  Diplomatic ties, that nonetheless responds to the needs of migration but are likewise concerned and in the loop of inter-linking interests of trade that have heavy implications to labor and employment. 


"We envision a labor diplomacy program that is focused on advancing the labor and employment interests of the Philippines in its international affairs and would serve as an overarching framework for a people-centered management of Philippine international affairs," said Cynthia R. Cruz, Executive Director of the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS), research arm and think tank of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Speaking at the Working World Trialogues (WWT) on Labor Diplomacy held  at the Microsoft Headquarters in Makati from May 13-14,2010 Director Cruz presented her paper on a RP Labor Diplomacy Program.


During the WWT the Institute generated ideas and insights from concerned stakeholders on the development and crafting of a labor diplomacy agenda of the Philippines towards protecting millions of OFWs around the globe. The two-day public forum, was also the first online gathering of government, civil society leaders and Filipino labor attaches, welfare officers and diplomatic representatives around the world.


"Labor diplomacy largely means international affairs or foreign policy that promotes the labor and employment goals of the country," Cruz stressed. "With the constant increase in the number of Filipino migrant workers each year we need to pay closer attention on the Philippines' migrant worker issues in its bilateral, regional and multilateral relations throughout the world. Protection of their rights and welfare has become an explicit state policy," stressed Cruz.


Labor attaches participated in the discussions of the Trialogues through video conferencing facilities of Microsoft Philippines.  The first day featured presentations on general diplomacy concerns and migration issues by experts from the diplomatic corps.  The second day highlighted diverse experiences and cases of officials from various government agencies on their diplomatic engagements and undertakings.





"Through labor diplomacy, we can advocate for support to the country's labor and employment-related goals in international forums. Likewise, we can provide information on economic, social and political issues in the host countries, as well as labor market information, from which basis for policy-making and program development can be drawn," said Cruz.



Beyond Migration Borders


Labor diplomacy plays an important role both in the protection of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but also in providing information on global markets that have a ripple effect on the local economy. Insights and analyses on the economic impacts of cooperation agreements and other international trade treaties are crucial in addressing concerns in the global community that have serious effects in business and employment.


The Institute for Labor Studies is the Department's forerunner in pushing for a RP Labor Diplomacy agenda. In addition to its research mandate, the Institute for Labor Studies is actively involved in secretariat work on negotiations for international agreements, specifically Mode 4, on the movement of natural persons. It was out of this work, that the concept of a labor diplomacy agenda was born.


The WWT is a public forum organized by the ILS. A Trialogue is designed especially for issues on labor and employment that involve multiple stakeholders that need fast-tracked solutions. It is where emerging and urgent labor and employment issues and solutions are discussed among stakeholders and experts.

Macau prioritizes hiring of locals; OFWs warned


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned Filipino workers from going to Macau to look for employment with only tourist visas as the Macau government has passed a law that prioritizes the hiring of local workers over foreign workers.


Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Macau, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said it is no longer easy for foreign workers to come and find employment in Macau, unlike in the past when they could apply and easily fill vacancies as walk-in applicants in this part of China.


Roque said Filipino workers should be wary against unscrupulous individuals or agencies who may entice or bring them to Macau as tourists with promises of stumbling upon jobs in this Chinese territory as they may instead find themselves in dire straits in view of the new Macau restrictions against foreign workers.


He said the workers should always verify first with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) the legality of jobs in Macau that may be offered them.  In 2009, POEA deployed 6,729 OFWs to Macau, most of whom were employed in the tourism sector.


The Macau government passed the Law for the Employment of Non-residential Workers, also known as the Law on Imported Labor, to safeguard the employment of local workers and restrict the hiring of migrant workers in Macau.  The new law took effect on April 26, 2010.


The POLO – Macau report said the draft administrative regulations complementing the new law have already been submitted to the Macau government's Executive Council .


In view of the new law, the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) presented 10 demands to the Macau Department of Transportation and Public Works to protect local workers and prevent the illegal employment of foreign workers.  The union asked the Macau government to, among others, prevent the hiring of foreign workers in occupations such as drivers and floor supervisors in casinos, and in the industrial and construction sectors as well.


Meanwhile, the POLO-Macau has consulted the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau (DSAL) for the conduct of a symposium aimed at orienting the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Macau on the new Law on Imported Labor.  


Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the two special administrative regions in China.  The other one is Hong Kong.  Macau's economy is based largely on tourism, gaming, and hospitality industry which contributes more than 50% of its GDP.  Other chief economic activities in this administrative region are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other financial services.



Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Film Screening of Mabuhay with Aloha

FHL to show film on Filipinos in Hawaii

The Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), in cooperation with EMME Inc., a Hawaii-based production company, will show Mabuhay with Aloha: The Hawaii-Filipino Experience, a documentary on the 100-year history of Filipinos in Hawaii. The film screening, which will be held on June 4, 2 p.m., at the FHL Reading Room, is open to the public.

Produced by Emme Tomimbang, an award-winning television personality in Hawaii, Mabuhay with Aloha: The Hawaii-Filipino Experience is a 90-minute documentary featuring never-before- seen archival photographs and over 50 interviews, recounting the struggle, perseverance, and eventual success of Filipinos in Hawaii.

"Mabuhay with Aloha is dedicated to the sakada, Hawaii's Filipino plantation workers, one of whom was my father," said Tomimbang, who traces her roots to Siquijor. "I am excited to bring the documentary to the Philippines…. It gives me great honor to bridge ties between Hawaii and Philippines." 

In 1906, the first wave of "overseas Filipino workers" to arrive in Hawaii was composed of sugarcane field workers called sakada. A hundred years later, as many as 275,000 residents in Hawaii are of Filipino ancestry-approximat ely 23 percent of the state's population.

Commissioned by the Hawaii Filipino Centennial Commission, Mabuhay with Aloha was written and co-produced by Pepi Nieva, a Hawaii resident who was born and raised in Manila.

The documentary had its Philippine premiere in November last year at the University of San Carlos in Cebu.

A special commemorative edition of Mabuhay with Aloha: The Hawaii-Filipino Experience is also available in a two-disc DVD package, which includes additional features, behind-the-scenes footage, and a bonus cut of the Honolulu television special, Emme's Mabuhay Moments.

The Filipinas Heritage Library is located near the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue, Makati City.

Only a limited number of seats are available. To reserve your seats, contact fhl_inquiry@ ayalafoundation. org <mailto:fhl_inquiry@ ayalafoundation. org>, or 632 892 1801.

For more information, visit www.filipinaslibrar <http://www.filipina slibrary.> or www.emmeinc. com <http://www.emmeinc. com/>.