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Friday, November 26, 2010



As its way of honoring and thanking our modern-day heroes, the SM Supermalls' OFW Committee – under its SM Cares Program, is pleased to announce another value-added treat to its Global Pinoy Card members.


The "Bayaning Global Pinoy" promo entitles SM Global Pinoy cardholders to free treats in Greenwich branches in select SM Supermalls beginning November 1. For every P400.00 single receipt dine-in purchase in SM Greenwich branches, a Global Pinoy cardholder simply has to present his/her GPC card and upon ordering, can choose to avail any one free serving of the following: one (1) serving of Meaty Spaghetti, one (1) pitcher of Coke, or one (1) serving of solo Pizza Fries.


The promo is available at Greenwich stores in select SM Supermalls nationwide. This promo will run until January 31, 2011. To inquire about participating Greenwich branches, customers may call the GPC hotline at (02) 585-8425 or email:  Per DTI NCR Permit No. 7392, Series of 2010.




If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) or a relative of an OFW, you too can be an SM Global Pinoy cardholder to avail of this treat - plus over P150,000.00 worth of perks and privileges to be claimed at over 150 select SM Supermalls' stores and other partner establishments. Simply fill up an application form at any SM Supermalls' Global Pinoy Centers found in select malls, present any proof of identification as an OFW or beneficiaries can present their proof of remittance to avail of a Global Pinoy Card and pay a one-time P150.00 membership fee, and you're on your way to enjoy these exclusive perks for Global Pinoys.


The GPC card entitles each cardholder exclusive access to the Global Pinoy Center, an exclusive lounge specifically-made for our Global Pinoy heroes,  found at select SM Supermalls. The GPC center functions as an exclusive hub for OFWs and their families. It comes complete with comfortable lounge chairs, refreshments, free use of Intel-provided computer terminals with free internet access, free video conferencing calls through its partnership with Abot Tanaw, and free mobile phone charging. Long bank lines can be avoided via a BDO remittance counter present, along with a Forex counter that offers competitive rates. You can also purchase various prepaid cards at ease. Global Pinoys can likewise avail of free consultation and trainings at a special counter through its partnership with OWWA and TESDA.


Currently, there are 25 Global Pinoy Centers at select SM Supermalls nationwide, and come 2011, SM targets to open a GPC center in all of its 40 malls.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Migrant group to P-Noy: Protest against US State department baseless report linking OFWs as funds source for ASG


An alliance of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East today urges Malacanang to protest on the report issued by the US Department of State linking OFWs as source of funds, among other sources, for the extremist Abu Sayaf Group (ASG).


Citing news reports, the US State department issued its country report on terrorism dated August 5 saying “The ASG is funded through acts of ransom and extortion and may receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and possibly Middle East-based extremists.”


Reacting to this, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said this is quite alarming because such report is unfounded, unfair, and irresponsible as there is no truth to it.


Such sweeping accusation linking OFWs as source of ASG's funds is unjust; OFWs, in the first place, are forced to accept jobs overseas due to anti-labor policies of the government such as contractualization, union busting, meager wages, lack or no benefits, among many others, and no available decent jobs for them in the Philippines,” Monterona said.


Monterona added such baseless report linking OFWs as funds sources for ASG pose a serious threat not only to the jobs of OFWs but as well as to their rights and well being's safety.


It may send a wrong signal to the host governments especially here in the Middle East, who are active on its campaign against “terrorism” of extremists groups that is believed to have link to ASG in Mindanao,” Monterona averred.


He cited for instance the Saudi government's intensified efforts and campaign against terrorist groups in its neighboring country Yemen near its borders where these terrorist groups are believed to have established strength.


Monterona said OFWs and their families should be spared from “war on terror” as they should not be a target of attack.


For OFWs protection, we demand from the Aquino government to question this baseless report of linking OFWs as source of funds for ASG, and ask the US government to clear and clarify it,” Monterona ended. # # #










 “There is no blood in our remittance"
UNIFIL-HK joins protest vs US’ implication of OFWs to terrorism

“To even insinuate that the Abu Sayyaf bandit group may be receiving funding from overseas Filipinos through the remittance we send is an idiocy and is insulting to OFWs. There is no blood in our remittance.
Militant OFW organization, the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK), today scored the US State Department’s implication of OFWs to terrorist organizations saying that such insinuation is also “preposterous and dangerous”
“We work hard to earn barely enough because we are one of the lowest paid among workers. Now the US dares to taint our hard-earned income with suggestions that it is being used to support terrorist activities. What right does the US State Department have to brand OFWs as terrorist coddlers?” 
she remarked.
Balladares also chided the timing of the US State Department’s accusation that happened just as news of the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA came up.
“We shall not be made pawns for the US’ continued interventionist acts in our country. The people have seen the grave impacts of the VFA and we will not agree to be used by the US to create a hysteria that can allow them to assert for the VFA,” she added.
According to Balladares, the accusation of helping terrorists put in danger the safety of OFWs and families of overseas workers in the Philippines.

“With the malicious suspicion cast on OFWs and our remittance, will we also be made targets for repression? Will not our jobs be made insecure by this unfounded charge and thus also put in peril our family’s future? US policies in the Philippines have made us poor and have forced us to work abroad. Now it wants to take away even our last resort for survival,” she remarked.
In this light, Balladarez also criticized Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s silence on the wrongful and unjust accusation to overseas Filipinos.
“President Noynoy Aquino was quick to speak out against the US travel advisory warning Americans from visiting the Philippines in his speech at the recent Asia Pacific Economic forum. Yet, until now not a word was heard from him to defend the economic heroes who are sacrificing abroad to save the country from complete bankruptcy,” she stated.
UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK challenged Aquino to make true his promise of change by “standing up for his own people” and demanding apology and explanation from the US State Department on this injustice done to OFWs.
“We raise protests when we hear of disparaging and racists remarks against Filipinos. The US State Department’s accusation should be met with even more protests as it insults OFWs and put in jeopardy the lives and livelihood of overseas Filipinos,” she concluded.




Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Letter to Pres. Simeon Noynoy Aquino III on the deployment of PH ambassador to Saudi Arabia



His Excellency Benigno  S. Aguino III

President of the Philippines

Malacanang Palace

Manila, Philippines:


cc: Hon. Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs


Your Excellency:


Greetings from OFW's in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


In view of our urgent need to have our new ambassador to attend the affairs of more than one million OFWs working in Saudi Arabia and handle their unresolved and pending cases, and in view of the already two months delay in deploying your envoy despite the end of three months deadline grace period, we the undersigned listed on the attached attendance sheet composed of OFW Community Organizations in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hereby bring to your kind attention the following:


  1. During OWF's Leaders Forum on Nov. 19, 2010, held at the AlMutlaq hotel in Riyadh, we discussed the situation and the status of our kababayan who faces several cases and problems and other issues being encountered by OFW's.
  2. All the community leaders committed their continues support to give any assistance to any Filipino facing problems whether at the Embassy or in other places in Saudi Arabia.
  3. That the situation of OWF's in Saudi Arabia needs an urgent action that has to be done under the leadership of the Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  4. That we already nominated to you, our choices to be the next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who is committed and able to solve the various cases of our Kababayans and well as to attend to the welfare of OFW's. He is competent to  deal and promote business investment, trading, tourism and other matters of common interest because of his strong connections among the Saudi businessmen, Princes, Saudi Officials and other VIP international personality in the Saudi Arabia.
  5. That we are  strongly endorsing once again and requesting your kind attention to immediately deploy Mr. Abdul Hannan M. Tago to be the new Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Your Excellency, we are looking forward for your immediate action and approval for our urgent request. Our nominee Mr. Tago, who is presently in the Philippines for nearly one month has been waiting for Malacanang call and unfortunately he has to come back to his work in Riyadh before the end of this month and will not be able to go home not only because of unavailability of any reservation during December but he also can not return unless he resigns from his job.


Very truly yours,


John Leonard C. Monterona, Regional Coordinator, Migrante Middle East

Archie Amano, Committee Member, Migrante

Mike Garlan, Secretary General, Migrante Riyadh

Jose Santos, Head, Membership Com. Migrante/BAGO

Mario F. Ben, Chairman for KSA, Migrante KSA

Fermo Balatucan Jr., First Secretary, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Arabic club

Dong Elefante, President, Triskelion Alumni Org. of Tau Gamma Phi

Allan Lumakad, Vice President, Triskelion Alumni Org. of Tau Gamma Phi

Dante Pangcoga, Chairman, Integrated Mindanao Economic Forum

Noor Saleh, Chairman, Association of Maguindanaon Professional Expatriates

Abdullah Umpa, Board Chairman, Philippines Muslim Global Renaissance Conference

Samarodin Ameril, Board Member, Philippines Muslim Global Renaissance Conference

Yusop Macabada, President, Philippines Muslim Global Renaissance Conference

Mansour Q. Meyer, Board Member, Philippines Muslim Global Renaissance Conference

Frank Naval, Chairman, Board of Trustee, United Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)

Frank Naval, President, Partidong Pandaigdagang Pilipino

Doming De Palma, Logistics Officers, United OFW

Deen Ibn Mohammad, Chairman, WEMOWA

Ferie G. Remo, Auditor, Legends Networkers

Harron Abdulkarim, Representative

Saleh Bucay, Chairman, Federation of Maranao Association

Saleh Bucay, Chairman, Ranao Tennis Club and AMSUDA

Kim Desinon, President, Marawinian Angoyao Int. Development Association

Jim Antonio, Chairman. Legend Group

Ali D. Aziz, Member, AMSUDA

Noorika Abdullah, Secretary General, Mepha International

Romeo P. Sinamban, President, UNICAP

Abdullah Andrade, Salvador Jr., General Coordinator, Balik Islam Society of Southern Philippines

Alexander B. Domocol, President, Gamma Kappa Phi International

Rudolf A. Rahman Dupee, Founder, United Global Guardian Brotherhood Incorporate

Marcelino Del Rosario, President, Saudi Oger Basketball Council

Abelardo Castro, Chairman, Saudi Oger Basketball Council

Marilyn M. Lavina, Report, TFC

Christopher Lavina, Report TFC

Mohammad Jaml Norvilla, OFW Lecturer, Kadmuda-Kalagan Davao Muslim Association

Caesar R. Robea, Chairman, United Global Guardian Brotherhood Incorporate












Pinay domestic helper in Kuwait seeks help via SMS


“Sir john please help me naka-kulong ako d2 sa rooftop ng bahay ng amo ko; ayaw nila ako i-return sa agency, wala ako kain dito please kunin nyo ako dito (Sir john please help me; I am locked up at the roof top of my employer’s house. They don’t want me to return to my agency; I haven’t eat until now please take me out here),” one of OFW Melanie Tanda’s text messages sent to John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.


OFW Melanie Tanda, 36 years old from Mansilingan, Bacolod City, managed to sent short messages to Migrante’s Monterona last night pleading for assistance as she claimed that she has been abused and maltreated by her employer in Kuwait.


“On her short messages to me she claimed that she is not given food and water, and she has been locked up at her employer’s house at the roof top; no doubt she is being abused and maltreated,” Monterona said.


Today, 25 October, Monterona sent an email to RP ambassador to Kuwait Shulan O. Primavera, and officially endorses her case to its attention and prompt action.


 “We are requesting your good office thru the RP embassy’s Assistance to the Nationals unit to arrange to rescue her from her employer as she has been abused and very worried of her situation,” Monterona on his letter sent to RP ambassador to Kuwait Shulan O. Primavera.


Monterona asked the RP ambassador to arrange and instruct his staff to call the abused OFW provided it is discretely done and not to inform her employer for OFW Tanda’s safety and security.


Monterona said Migrante officers in Kuwait will be informing her local recruitment agent, the Waleed Al Abdul Jader office, which office address is at Dasman Palace, Dasman studio. He is urging that the RP post in Kuwait may call its attention too so that she’ll be rescued from her employer’s house.


“We hope that by formally endorsing her case directly to your kind attention, it would merit your prompt action,” Monterona averred.


Kuwait, other mid-east countries as OFWs “safe destination”?


Meanwhile, Monterona scored the RP embassy in Kuwait for issuing a certification that Kuwait is an ‘OFWs safe destination’, saying “this certification is misleading and intended to circumvent the newly amended Migrant Workers law.”


The new Migrant workers law (Republic Act No.10022) requires a certification from RP embassies and consulates abroad that the OFWs host-receiving countries have met the following criteria before actual deployment of OFWs: 1) the receiving country has existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of workers, including migrant workers; 2) the country is a signatory to and has ratified multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions related to the protection of workers, including migrant workers; 3) the receiving country has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the Philippine government on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers.


“The criteria are actually pre-conditions set-forth by the law to ensure that OFWs well-being, rights and welfare are protected, respected and even promoted while working overseas amid the numerous OFWs cases of abuses, maltreatment and labor malpractices reported abroad especially in the Middle East,” Monterona added.


However, Monterona said upon its initial research it found out that most, if not all, of the Mid-east host and OFWs-receiving countries including Saudi Arabia, which is hosting about 1.2-M OFWs, does not meet the new Migrant workers law criteria for certification as stated above.


“Mid-east country has their own respective labor law, but notably it neither guarantee nor allowed unionism; even labor movements including migrant workers movement are prohibited and not recognized, thus mid-east governments are accused of being anti-labor,” Monterona added.


On the second criteria (the host & receiving country is a signatory to multilateral and international conventions, declarations of resolutions on the protection of migrant workers), Monterona have noted that most Arab states (with the exception of Syria) in the Mid-East have not ratified the United Nations Conventions on the Protection of Migrant workers and members of their Families which has been ratified by 20 states that took effect on 14 March 2003.


The countries that have ratified, as of March 2007, the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrant workers are Argentina, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda and Uruguay. 


Notably, states that have ratified the Convention are primarily migrants-sending countries like Mexico and the Philippines.


Failure to get certification, does it mean that the Philippine govt. would stop sending OFWs in Saudi Arabia and other mid-east countries in accordance to the new Migrant workers law? “I don't think so,” Monterona replied.


“Tough at present the Philippine government has not yet concluded bilateral agreement or any arrangement with any OFWs' host & receiving Mid-east governments on the protection of the rights and well-being of OFWs, the Aquino administration could still work for such agreement if it has the political will to do so,” Monterona added.



Deployment dilemma 


“If the Aquino administration would be 'lazy' forging a bilateral agreement protecting OFWs, for instance with Saudi government, then it would be facing a dilemma -between continued deployment of OFWs (countries without the required certification) and its constitutional duty to execute the law,” Monterona added.


Saudi Arabia is No.1 on Top 10 countries of destinations by the numbers of deployed land-basedd for new hires and re-hires with almost 300,000 OFWs deployed last year, citing the 2009 Overseas Employment Statistics by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).


There are about 1.2-M OFWs now working in Saudi Arabia, mostly domestic helpers and construction workers.


In 2009, OFWs from Saudi Arabia have sent a remittance totaling to almost $1.5-M, next to US and Canada. With an increase of OFW deployment, it is expected to reach $2-M remittance by the end of this year.


Other mid-east countries on the Top 10 OFWs destinations are UAE (rank #2), Qatar (rank #4), Kuwait (rank #6) and Bahrain (rank #10).



Still no PHL ambassador to Saudi, P-Noy urged to bare appointee

Nearly two months after the Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia ended his tour of duty following the taking over of the Aquino administration, up to this date there is no PHL ambassador yet to Saudi Arabia.


On September 30, PHL ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio Villamor has been recalled by the Aquino government after giving him 3-months term extension in transition while the Aquino administration is still looking for its own appointee as a replacement.


Ambassador Villamor is a political appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; he was re-assigned as RP ambassador to Saudi Arabia upon his supposed retirement on December 2006.


Jeddah-based PHL Consul General Ezzadin Tago has been designated as Charge de Affairs, ad interim, at the PHL embassy in Riyadh.


On October 9, an alliance of Filipino migrants group active on OFWs rights and welfare advocacy based in Saudi Arabia issued a statement, which said its chapters and various OFWs groups prefer to have a career diplomat to replace the outgoing PHL ambassador (Antonio Villamor).


OFWs in Saudi Arabia deserve a career diplomat with strong credentials and plentiful experience on various OFWs woes and concerns,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said.


The Saudi-based OFW leader further said that he could well remember the President's promise of changing the decadent government system and this must include an overhaul in the foreign service to be more responsive to the needs, woes and concerns of Filipino workers abroad.


Monterona opined that in improving the foreign service to be responsive to the needs, woes, and growing concerns of OFWs, P-Noy should start deploying career diplomats rather than appointing his political allies for various posts abroad.


However, Monterona asked what is delaying the President to appoint a career diplomat as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, recognizing though that the President has to exercise his power to appoint with prudence.


Monterona added he hope that P-Noy is taking his time reviewing the credentials of his possible appointee to fill the vacant PHL ambassadorship in Saudi Arabia, and not because of the pressures of 'political favor' from political allies aspiring for the position.


Monterona raises concern that without an appointed PHL ambassador to Saudi as head of the post, the numerous cases of abuses, maltreatment, and labor malpractices and other diplomatic concerns might be set aside and might not be properly attended.


Migrante-Middle East chapters have been receiving 7 to 10 cases daily ranging from abuses, maltreatment, and various labor malpractices.


Saudi Arabia is No.1 on Top 10 countries of destinations by the numbers of deployed land-basedfor new hires and re-hires with almost 300,000 OFWs deployed last year, citing the 2009 Overseas Employment Statistics by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).


There are about 1.2-M OFWs now working in Saudi Arabia, mostly domestic helpers and construction workers.


In 2009, OFWs from Saudi Arabia have sent a remittance totaling to almost $1.5-M, next to US and Canada. With an increase of OFW deployment, it is expected to reach $2-M remittance by the end of this year.


Other mid-east countries on the Top 10 OFWs destinations are UAE (rank #2), Qatar (rank #4), Kuwait (rank #6) and Bahrain (rank #10).





OFWs die in Dubai fire

By  Angel L. Tesorero


Dubai, UAE –  Three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) died and one remains in critical condition when a fire razed a makeshift room built on the rooftop of a 3-storey building in Al Satwa, Dubai early Saturday morning (UAE time), according to a report by Migrante-UAE.


The fatalities were identified as Krisleen Francisco, 32 years old, who worked as a saleslady; Ariel Soberano, 30, waiter and Renalyn Luna, 29, waitress. Still recovering at the Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre is Reynald Luna, 32, waiter, who has his own accommodation and just spent the night at his cousins’ house.


According to Josephine Jacob, the aunt of the victims who lived at the same house,  they were roused from their sleep by the blaze that immediately consumed their home which was made of light materials.


Dubai Police are still investigating the cause of the fire which did not spread to other rooms.


Meanwhile, Migrante-UAE called on the Phillipine Consulate in Dubai to immediately facilitate the repatriation of the dead bodies and extend assistance to the other victim. The militant group also asked the Philippine officials to look into the safety of the accommodations of migrant Filipinos.


“Many, if not majority of the OFWs in UAE, live in cramped rooms because of high rent. They  are forced to live in unsafe accommodations to save money so they can provide for their families back home,” Yuri Cipriano, Migrante-UAE chairperson said.


Al Satwa has earned a monicker as Little Manila in Dubai because of the large concentration of Filipinos in the area.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

P16-M ang gastos ng gobyerno sa pagpunta ni P-Noy sa APEC




GAGASTOS ang Palasyo ng tinatayang P16.34 milyon para sa limang araw na pagbisita ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa Japan para sa 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, ayon kay Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr.


Ang naturang halaga ay para sa gastusin sa akomodasyon, transportasyon, pagkain, at pasahe sa eroplano ng 51 katao na kasama ng Pangulo sa kanyang unang partisipasyon sa pulong ng mga pinuno ng Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) sa Yokohama mula Nobyembre 12 hanggang 15. 


Sinabi ni Ochoa na nasanay na ang mga empleyado ng Malakanyang sa mga paraan ng pagtitipid ng Punong Ehekutibo.


“Everyone is conscious about the President’s desire to cut back on unnecessary expenses, so support staff are aware that they have to trim back their numbers to the barest minimum to perform their tasks during the trip,” paliwanag ni Ochoa.


Ayon sa Executive Secretary, ipinatutupad din ang paghihigpit ng sinturon sa iba pang tauhan ng gobyerno na nagnanais na magbiyahe sa ibang bansa.


“Only agency heads, for example, are allowed to use business class for commercial flights abroad and only on long-haul flights to destinations like the United States,” aniya. “For shorter flights, everyone—without exception—has to fly economy.”


Kabilang sa mga opisyal ng Gabinete na kasama ng Pangulo sa Japan sina Foreign Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad, at Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning head Ramon A. Carandang.

Ang APEC ay mayroong 21 miyembro na naglalayong payabungin ang malayang kalakalan at pang-ekonomiyang kooperasyon sa Asia-Pacific region.


Ang mga bansang miyembro ng APEC ay bumubuo sa 40 porsiyento ng populasyon ng mundo, humigit-kumulang 54 porsiyento ng gross domestic product ng mundo, at 44 porsiyento ng pandaigdigang kalakalan.  

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Be alert, cautious during raids by Saudi authorities, migrant group advises OFWs

Receiving several requests for assistance from the families of OFWs who have been jailed for alleged drugs possession in Saudi Arabia, an alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East today advised fellow OFWs to be alert and cautious as Saudi authorities have stepped up its anti-drugs campaign and are conducting sporadic raids in selected expatriate workers' accommodations or quarters.


John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said if during the past months Saudi authorities have been noticed active in conducting raid to crack down illegal and undocumented foreign workers in its major cities like Jeddah, Riyadh and in the Eastern region.


We have noticed that the local authorities have shifted on hunting down suspected individuals or groups engage in illegal drugs activities, hence we should be alert and cautious not to be implicated,” Monterona added.


On September, Monterona cited the case of two Filipino workers sent to jail after Saudi authorities raided their accommodation in Hail City, part of Saudi's central region and 1000km far from Riyadh.


The authorities have allegedly found a sachet of heroin on their possession, though the 2 OFWs denied the allegations; on mid-October, the court have sentenced them for 3 years imprisonment and 600 lashes, and then they will be deported,” Monterona added.


The 2 OFWs' families have sought assistance to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the PHL embassy in Riyadh to file an appeal.


Last week, Monterona said another reported case of alleged drug possession reached to their attention as the family of the OFW had sought assistance to Migrante.


On the case referral sent to Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) via email, the family said they have been informed that OFW Danilo (not his real name) was “put to jail -because of an alleged association with a drug pusher in his pad”.


The pad was said to have been raided by police and those persons who were living there were taken to jail, including OFW Danilo,” a relative of the OFW said on his email to Migrante.


Monterona said OFW Danilo may have been wrongly implicated as he is about 3 months in Saudi Arabia and that he is only staying at his pad after work. His family said he is “shy and a submissive” person.


Monterona said Migrante welfare case officers in Dammam have already been informed to follow closely the case of OFW Danilo and coordinate with the POLO-OWWA officials in Eastern region in finding the whereabouts of OFW Danilo who is believed now detained in Dammam central jail.


These cases would have serve as a warning to our fellow OFWs to be alert and cautious to avoid being implicated on illegal drugs activities; unfortunately the local authorities are closely keeping their watch to foreign workers like OFWs and other Asian workers,” Monterona added.


Monterona, likewise, urges the PHL posts in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Region to issue a corresponding advisory to the Filipino community and various OFWs organizations to caution and remind them to take extra care.









Migrant group warns Customs agency



Stop imposing additional charges to OFW -Migrante-ME


AN alliance of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East today warns the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BoC) that it will be facing strong opposition from various OFWs organizations abroad including the 120 plus Migrante chapters around the world if it will push through its plan of charging anew all departing OFWs.


According to reports the BoC has proposed to charge all departing passengers, mostly OFWs, the amount of $1 to $2 to cover the payment of the overtime (OT) pay of its workers.


John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said they have known that the BoC has already proposed to ink a memorandum of agreement in charging all departing passengers with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Bureau of Immigration and other concerned government agencies.


“The idea of charging anew the OFWs for payment of BoC employees OT is ridiculous, illegal and anti-OFW; it goes against the mandate of Migrant workers law and state policy of the government,” Monterona said.


Monterona added the agency that is perceived to earn a lot from tariffs and taxes is now passing the burden of paying its own employees to OFWs and their families.


“The inability of the BoC to pay its own employees OT has nothing to do with OFWs, they should raise their concern to the President by asking for a suitable budget allocation,” Monterona averred.


The Saudi-based OFW leader said every time there is a budget shortage in any concerned government agency, government officials could easily pin point OFWs as 'never-ending-source' of funds.


“We would like to tell the Aquino government to stop thinking that OFWs are like 'goose that lays a golden egg'; every peso or dollar we earn abroad is a product of our own hard labor,” Monterona added.


Monterona said if the BoC has a budget shortage or could not meet its target collection it is because of the perceived rampant corruption inside the agency and partly due to the government's blind adherence to WTO-GATT.


“Countries which subscribed the policies of WTO-GATT are told to relax the imposition of tariffs and taxes on foreign products so that it could freely penetrate the local market, this only favors foreign exporters,” he added.


'We would like to make our message clear to Aquino administration, Migrante vows to oppose any additionall government charges or fees to OFWs,” Monterona ended.

Saudi implements airports 'no smoking' policy, migrant group urges PHL post to issue advisory


'No smoking', or 'Smoking is prohibited' signages in Saudi Arabia's domestic and international airports are expected to be seen in the coming days as Saudi's airports authorities started to implement a 'no smoking' policy.


Saudi's General Authority for Civil Aviation head Abdullah Rahimi yesterday is quoted in various local news reports saying that his office started to implement a smoking ban covering the 27 domestic and international airports in the oil-rich Kingdom.


It will cover travelers as well as airports and immigration employees.


The new measure would 'help protect the smoker's health and reduce harm to others', Rahimi quoted in Agence France Press reports.


On the first day of its implementation, reports said there are 16 smokers that have been apprehended at Jeddah International airport. They have been fined of 200 Saudi riyals.


Smoking in airports is not totally prohibited as there are designated smoking areas.


Meanwhile, a Filipino migrant group advocating rights and welfare of migrant workers in the Middle East urges the Philippine posts in Saudi Arabia to issue a corresponding advisory.


“We are urging the concerned Philippine posts officials to issue an advisory so that the Filipino community and the various Filipino organizations will be informed of this latest airport authority's policy of 'no smoking' on prohibited areas,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle regional coordinator.


He added that OFWs should be informed to avoid being caught and fined.


“PHL post advisory is needed to caution OFWs who are frequently seen in various airports upon arrival and those who will be home for vacation especially during November and December,” the Saudi-based OFW leader added.


He pointed out that there about 1.2-M OFWs working in Saudi Arabia.



OFW trailer driver killed on a vehicular accident in Saudi, migrant group calls for assistance



A chapter of Migrante-Middle East in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia today reported that an OFW trailer truck driver had figured out a vehicular accident on November 1.


“Because his family is yet to be informed about the sad news of the accident that curtailed his life, we are not yet disclosing the identity of the OFW trailer driver who had died on the spot when the trailer he is driving figured out a vehicular accident,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.


Monterona said he just received today a confirmed report from Migrante chapter in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia of the sad news when the co-workers of the said OFW relayed the information to Migrante officers in Al Khobar.


On November 1, the OFW victim is driving on Tabuk-Doba highway when he figured out an accident that resulted to his death.


The OFW has been working as a trailer truck driver for 2 years and 2 months. He was deployed by PERT-CPM, a Manila-based local recruitment agency.


Monterona said Migrante-ME has already sent an electronic email to Charges de Affaires Ezzadin Tago of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh to attend for the identification and retrieval of his remains.


Monterona has likewise requested the PHL embassy in Riyadh to inform the family of the OFW after it confirmed the identity of the victim.


“We will also be endorsing his case to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) head office and will request to provide assistance, like burial and financial assistance, to the family,” Monterona averred.

Monday, November 08, 2010


GENEVA (ILO News) - Amid a *fragile labour market* marked by persistent
high unemployment, *slack*  jobs growth and declining wages, the
International Labour Office (ILO) today urged the Group of 20 to intensify its
focus on *productive employment and job-intensive growth policies* at its
upcoming summit in Seoul. ILO Director-General Juan Somavia is expected to
attend the meeting.

In a new statistical update prepared for the 11-12 November G20 summit, the ILO
says unemployment increased in 10 countries of the G20 in 2010 compared to 2009,
but declined in eight*.  It also says that most emerging economies have seen a
rise in employment and a decrease in unemployment in 2010.

Although the report finds positive employment growth in all countries in
2010-stronger in emerging countries than in high income economies-it also says
this employment growth has not been strong enough to reverse the slack that
accumulated in the labour market during the economic crisis.

At the same time, the ILO analysis said unemployment hovers at an all-time high
of 210 million, some 30 million more than on the eve of the crisis in 2007,
while real wages have sunk an average of 4 percent below pre-crisis levels.

Today, rising income inequality and low or no wage growth for a large majority
of salaried workers, ultimately translates into deficient aggregate demand and
current account imbalances.

The ILO analysis says that G20 countries will need to create some 21 million
jobs each year over the next decade - approximately half of the 44 million
required globally - just to keep pace with the increase in the working age

*Unemployment is not the only issue*, says Rafael Diez de Medina, Director
of the ILO Department of Statistics, noting that the ILO had found declining
hours of work and labour force participation rates in high income economies and
a significant increase in the number of discouraged workers.

*This is quite worrying*, he added, *since they are not part of the
unemployment figures and have a clear impact on social cohesion. Time-related
underemployment has stabilized in 2010, but remains high in several countries of
the G20*.

The report*s other major findings, include:

-  For the 18 countries with data in the first half of 2010, 70 million persons
are registered as unemployed (15.5 in Europe, 22 in other high income economies
and 32.5 in emerging economies)
-  Unemployment rates across the G20 ranged between 25 and 5 per cent with a
median of 7.8 per cent. In Mid 2010, unemployment is 70 per cent above its
pre-crisis level in high income countries (excluding Europe) and 30 per cent
higher in Europe.
-  Across all countries, unemployment for men has risen more than for women.
-  Youth unemployment is on average twice the rate of total unemployment, at 19
per cent across G20 countries.
-  The crisis has accelerated structural change in all economies, with a
significant decline in manufacturing employment in all G20 economies (between
1.5 and 3 percentage points as a share of total employment). Construction
employment declined across most countries.
-  Reduction in male labour force participation is observed in all regions
whereas female labour participation has increased in Europe and emerging

Building on previous ILO contributions to other G20 meetings, the ILO paper
argues for an income-led approach based on productive employment and
job-intensive growth policies that would include higher investments and access
to credit, greater attention to small enterprises, gradual expansion of basic
social protection in all countries, real wages rising in line with productivity
increases and better protection of low-wage earners through minimum wages. The
report also says these policies would go a long way towards reducing global
imbalances across all countries.


* The report*s data are aggregated into three groups: Europe includes France,
Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and United Kingdom. High Income Economies
(except Europe) include Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United States.
Emerging Economies include Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South
Africa, and Turkey.