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PH gov’t affirms total OFW deployment ban to Kuwait

The Philippine government recently affirmed the total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait. The ban will stay until certain conditions set by the Philippines are met by the Kuwaiti government.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the deployment ban is lifted once the country gets justice for the death of Jeanelyn Pardenal Villavende, as well as an approved consensus on the standard employment contract of household service workers (HSWs).

“If we don’t get these, there will be no deployment. It should be both,” Bello said in a press briefing in Manila.

He said the ban was based on several reasons, among them Villavende’s brutal death and the host country’s attempt to cover up the case.

“Three reasons: One, because of the very brutal killing of our OFW, Ms. Jeanelyn Villavende. Two, because of an attempt to cover-up. Three, because of the failure of the Kuwaiti government to come to an agreement regarding the finalization of the standard employment contract that should be agreed upon by Kuwait and the Philippines in accordance with the memorandum that was signed between the two counties in 2018,” Bello said.

The OFW, he said, was brutally killed based on the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which conducted a separate autopsy on Villavende.

“If you see the autopsy report of the Kuwaiti government, it says that the death was caused by heart failure arising from physical injury. This is contradicted by the findings of our NBI autopsy report, which says that she was sexually abused. A closer scrutiny of the report would show that our OFW Jeanelyn was brutally killed,” Bello said.

Asked about Kuwait’s reaction to the deployment ban, he said they have not yet received any response but they have already requested that the ban be lifted because according to them, they have already charged Villavende’s alleged killers.

Bello explained that the total deployment ban was imposed to prevent a repeat of what happened to Villavende.

“We understand the sentiment of those who will be barred because of the total deployment ban. But we hope they understand our position,” he said. “We don’t want that if we send our workers there, they will again be exposed to (the) dangers of brutal treatment, abuses, including sexual abuse.”

Bello clarified that OFWs who will come home for a vacation would be exempted from the ban.

“This refers to skilled workers or OFWs who will come home for a vacation and they will go back. Kung new contract, hindi na (Those who have new contracts would no longer be allowed),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) lauded the government’s total deployment ban.

“The action is appropriate. We cannot continue to sacrifice the lives of our workers to the altar of Kuwait in exchange (for) foreign employment,” FFW president Sonny Matula said in a statement. “The constitutional mandate on full protection to labor, local or overseas, includes banning of deployment overseas as not to be exploited, abused and being killed.”

Last Wednesday, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration approved a resolution imposing a total deployment ban on all newly-hired workers bound for Kuwait. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

4 Chinese universities hiring English teachers — POEA

English teachers in the Philippines may find employment opportunities in China.

In an advisory on Saturday, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said four tertiary educational institutions (TEIs) in China need English teachers — the Northwest A&F University, Yancheng Teachers University, Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College, and Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It added that it is now accepting applications through its Government Placement Branch.

The POEA said interested applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in education or English language and must be a graduate of Philippine educational institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. (http://www.poea.gov.ph/news/2020/PH- TEI%20LIST%20accredited%20by%20PRoC12263.pdf )

They also asked qualified applicants to register online at www.poea.gov.ph or at http://onlineservices.poea.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx.

Applicants are required to personally submit documents at the counters of the Manpower Registry Division, Ground Floor, Blas F. Ople Building (formerly POEA Building), Ortigas Avenue corner Edsa, Mandaluyong City.

The following are the requirements for registration:

Passport with at least six-month validity upon submission of application, PSA Birth Certificate, 2 pieces of 2×2 recent ID pictures, school credentials, relevant to the position applied for, PRC board certificate, employment certificates, relevant to the position applied for (if required), certificate/diploma of highest educational attainment, transcript of records and printed copy of worker’s information sheet/E-Registration (log-in at http://onlineservices.poea.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx).

The agency said all documents must be fastened in a folder labeled with RSF no., applicant’s name, position applied for, country of destination, PEOS online number and E-Registration number.

It added that applicants are required to present their original documents for authentication of written information before forwarding the resume to the employer.

The deadline for submission of applications from POEA regional offices is on January 15.

For applicants from the Central Office, POEA – Ortigas, Mandaluyong City, the deadline will be on January 20. (PNA)

‘Mandatory repatriation in Iraq is for Filipinos’ safety’ — PH gov’t

Faced with imminent dangers amid tensions between the United States (US) and Iran, Filipinos must heed the Philippine government’s desire to repatriate them, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles recently said.

“I suppose may mga mixed reactions diyan (there have been mixed reactions from Filipinos in Iraq). But at the end of the day, ‘pag sinabi nating (when we say) mandatory repatriation, no ifs and buts diyan (there). That’s for the safety of everybody,” Nograles said in a media interview.

“Tuloy pa rin ang mandatory repatriation natin kasi (Our mandatory repatriation continues because it is) better safe for everybody,” he added.

The mandatory repatriation in Iraq remains in place and the deployment of Filipino workers to the Gulf state is still prohibited, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday.

Alert Level 4, which orders the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in crisis-stricken areas, was raised in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon, following the US’ airstrike in Baghdad that resulted in the death of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

However, Filipinos working and residing in Iran and Lebanon will no longer be covered by the mandatory repatriation imposed by the Philippine government after alert levels in the two countries have been downgraded.

The rise in tensions between the Washington and Tehran appeared to de-escalate following Iran’s retaliatory strike against US military facilities in Iraq.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Philippine government would respect any Filipinos who wish to stay in Iraq despite the stand-off between the US and Iraq.

Despite the news of the seemingly tamed crisis in the Middle East, Nograles said the government is still preparing for the mobilization of resources to ensure the safe return of Filipinos from Iraq to the Philippines.

There are an estimated 4,000 Filipinos in Iraq, according to the data from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Nograles said Filipinos who will be repatriated would be first assembled to a “safe place” in the Middle East before they can go home.

“‘Pag sinasabi nating (When we say) mandatory repatriation, of course, you will apply it to the fullest extent and this is for the safety of OFWs, our fellow Filipinos,” he said.

“So the primary objective right now is just to get them out of Iraq. Dadalhin sa (We will bring them to) safe haven. ‘Pag dating sa (When they arrive in) safe haven, obviously, we want to bring them back to the Philippines,” the Cabinet Secretary added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has created a special working panel that will oversee the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos from the Middle East.

The committee is chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and vice-chaired by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

Members of the panel include Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The Budget department announced Wednesday that around PHP1.8 billion in government funds have been readied for the repatriation of Filipinos in the Middle East.

Nograles assured returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that they will receive immediate assistance from the government.

He said the current administration can either grant them livelihood packages, or re-deploy them to other countries like Japan, Canada, Germany, China, and Russia.

“‘Pag dating sa Pilipinas, io-offer naman natin sila ng livelihood packages, io-offer naman natin ang mga training sa TESDA (Upon their return to the Philippines, we can offer livelihood packages or training from the Tesda or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority),” he said.

“Io-offer din naman natin ang kanilang re-deployment (We can also offer their re-deployment) if they want to work again overseas but no longer in the Middle East. Kaya nga pinagbubuksan natin ang ating (That’s why we are opening our) communications with Japan, Canada, Germany, China, [and] Russia, hopefully to accommodate our OFWs,” he added.

Nograles said OFWs, who will be repatriated from Iraq and have excellent construction skills, can also join the government in its implementation of the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

“In fact, all of our infrastructure projects are all over the country so it does not matter kung saan man sila nakatira (where they live). Kasi syempre kapag sinabi mong OFWs (When you say OFWs), they come from different regions,” he said.

“But all of our regions will be beneficiaries ng mga infrastructure projects ng gobyerno (of the government’s infrastructure projects). So kahit doon sa kanilang sariling region or sa kanilang sarili probinsya, siguradong may project doon na pwede nilang pag-trabahuhan (So they can work in their region or province because there are infrastructure projects there).”

The government has allotted around PHP9 trillion for the implementation of around 100 key infrastructure projects and over 10,000 small infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Around 38 of the 100 big-ticket infrastructure projects are expected to be completed by 2022, while 22 are “partially operational or substantially completed” and the remaining 40 would be finished “beyond 2022.”

The 35 big-ticket infrastructure projects are ongoing, 32 will commence construction in the next six to eight months, 21 are in the advanced stages of government approval, and 12 in the advanced stages of a feasibility study. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)

Duterte wishes OFWs ‘fruitful, meaningful lives’

resident Rodrigo Duterte’s Christmas wish for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is to have a “fruitful and meaningful lives.”

In a special video played before distressed OFWs in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, the President extended his Yuletide greetings to them and took the opportunity to thank them for their hard work for their respective families, loyalty to the country, and support for the government.

“More than anything, we want you home. We want you (to) live fruitful and meaningful lives close to your loved ones,” he said in the video message, which was warmly received by the OFWs.

“Maraming salamat po. Hinding-hindi ko kayo malilimutan. Maligayang Pasko at Bagong Taon (Thank you to all of you. I will never forget you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year),” he added.

OFWs all over the world are estimated at 2.3 million, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, is among the top destination countries, accounting for 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million migrant Filipinos worldwide, the PSA poll showed.

Duterte, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs, gave Christmas presents to the distressed OFWs in Al Khobar on Tuesday through their representatives, Malacañang said in a press statement on Wednesday.

“The female and male wards at the Al Khobar shelters were given care packages and special financial assistance,” the Palace said.

“Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs (Undersecretary Robert Borje), Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, and Ambassador Adnan Alonto handed over the care products to the female and male wards awaiting repatriation,” it added.

Borje assured OFWs that the President has “continuing concern” for the plight of Filipinos working abroad, Malacañang said.

He guaranteed that the Duterte administration is “working relentlessly to address the concerns of OFWs and strives to improve the economic condition in the Philippines to create more jobs.”

“The President’s representative (Borje) relayed the message of the Chief Executive for his continuing commitment to ensure the welfare of OFWs,” Malacañang said.

After meeting with female and male wards at the Al Khobar shelters, Borje and Arriola had a dialogue with members of the Filipino community at the International Philippine School.

Borje also serves as Duterte’s special envoy to Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

He was sent to North Africa and the Middle East to assess the situation of Filipinos in the regions. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)

26 distressed Pinoys from Lebanon return home on Christmas Day

Twenty-six distressed Filipinos arrived in Manila from Lebanon on Wednesday, Christmas Day, as their host country continues to face financial woes.

The 26 Filipinos, including a three-year-old child, are the second batch since the first 30 Filipinos from Lebanon were sent home on December 22.

While some of the repatriates were victims of abuse, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said a majority of them requested repatriation due to salary issues caused by Lebanon’s economic crisis, particularly shortage of dollars.

“Lebanon is not in a state of civil war, it’s just that they ran out of dollars so they cannot pay Filipino workers in dollars,” he said. “That’s the reason they are leaving because they cannot be paid.”

The batch that arrived on Wednesday has connecting flights to Cagayan Valley, Davao, Roxas City, General Santos City, and Pagadian.

For Gemma Degala, a household service worker in Lebanon, her flight home to Manila can already be considered a gift, given all the difficulties she experienced working and sustaining herself in the state.

“Wala nang dollars, wala na ring gamot, walang trabaho. Ang trabaho ko three times a week nalang kaya mahirap na talaga (They are running out of dollars, even medicine and jobs. My work there has been cut to thrice a week so it has become really difficult),” she said in an interview.

Genevieve, who refused to disclose her full name, echoed similar sentiments with Gemma although she noted abuse and maltreatment in her work abroad.

“Ako naman ‘di ko na kaya kasi natutulog po ako umaga na, tapos gigising agad tapos maraming gagawin tapos sisigaw-sigawan pa (I wasn’t able to sleep well and after, I’d still get nagging from my employer),” she said. “Magulo na po doon, may mga nagsusunog na sa gitna ng kalsada tapos wala na raw pong dollar doon (It’s chaotic there, some set up fire in the middle of the streets and I heard there were no money already).”

Upon their arrival, Locsin gifted the Filipino repatriates with cash assistance to help them tide over as they return home with almost nothing.

Together with Locsin in welcoming the group was Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar who vowed to assist some of the repatriates in filing cases against their illegal recruiters.

The DFA had earlier sent a Rapid Response Team to assist the Philippine Embassy in Beirut to manage the repatriation amidst the deepening financial difficulties in the state.

Of the total 32,000 Filipinos residing in the state, Locsin said the agency targets to repatriate a total of 1,500. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

PH government to cut in OFW deployment to Saudi in 2020

The Philippine government announced on December 17, 2019, it is looking to scale down next year the sending of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

“We plan to scale down our deployment to Saudi Arabia starting next year. This will be the first time, at least during my term,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press conference.

Bello said the move is due to the slow action concerning the plight of Filipino workers, noting that they have yet to receive any actions on their appeal regarding the case of OFWs including those who failed to get their salaries since April.

“The purpose of the scaling down is to call the attention of the Saudi government to what we consider as the slow action on the plight of workers. We have yet to see the result of Saudi intervention,” he added.

Bello said it will cover all OFW sectors, from household service workers to skilled workers.

“We will not issue OECs (Overseas Employment Certificate) to new deployments. The matter of balik-manggagawas (returning OFWs) will be on a case-to-case basis. This is not a ban, just a scaling down (of deployment),” he noted.

At the same time, he added that the guidelines of the scaling down of deployment will be crafted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

There are some 2.3 million OFWs deployed in Saudi Arabia. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

PH bags 2019 SEA Games overall title

Team Philippines on Tuesday raked in 11 more gold medals to formally clinch the 30th Southeast Asian Games’ overall championship described by a top local sports official as “sweet surprise”.

The host country was actually unthreatened on top of the medal tally from start to finish of the 10-day biennial meet, duplicating its first overall title in 2005.

The Philippines garnered a total of 383 medals – 149 golds, 116 silvers and 118 bronzes, surpassing the 112 gold, 85 silver and 92 bronze medals it won in the 2005 Manila meet.

“We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise now that it is actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes. All of them deserve our respect and love,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez in a statement.

Ramirez, also chef de mission of the Team Philippines, said members of the triumphant Team Philippines will go to Malacañang on December 18 to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte and to receive their incentives.

Under Republic Act 10699, the winners of SEA Games stand to receive PHP300,000 for gold, PHP1500,000 for silver and PHP60,000 for bronze.

The Philippine Olympic Committee earlier said it will give similar amount to the gold, silver and bronze medalists of the SEA Games.

“This is a result of all the sacrifice and hard work of everyone who pushed for chances at victory,” Ramirez said. “This victory is very sweet given the many difficulties we had to face. This win proves that we can achieve a lot when we come together united as one team.”

The Gilas Pilipinas, as expected, secured the country’s 18th basketball title in 20 finals appearances via sweep while the women’s team captured its first ever title with both squads beating rivals from Thailand. The Filipino cagers also swept both the men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball golds.

In men’s volleyball, the Filipino spikers succumbed to Indonesia in three straight sets but still emerged proud as they played in their first finals appearance in 42 years.

Other gold winners for the Philippines in the final day of competitions are the billiards tandem of Rubelin Amit and Centeno (9-ball pool doubles), men’s soft tennis team, shooting trap team, Caviar Napoleon Acampado (esports), jiujitsu artists Annie Ramirez (62kg) and Adrian Guggenheim (77kg), and Gina Iniong and Jean Claude Saclag who ruled the kickboxing’s 55kg kick light and 63.5kg low events, respectively.

Eric Shauwn Cray (400m hurdles) and Aries Toledo (decathlon) also snatched two more golds to bring the country’s total athletics golds to 11 with eight silvers and eight bronzes at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.

After athletics, Arnis is the next top medal contributor for the Team Philippines, winning 14 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes followed by dancesports with 10 golds and two silvers; and, taekwondo with 8 golds, 9 silvers and 4 bronzes.

The Philippines regained the dominance in boxing with a total of 7 golds with 3 silvers and 2 bronzes while skateboarding, led by Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal, pocketed 6 golds, 4 silvers and a bronze, while obstacle course has 6 golds, 3 silvers and one bronze.

James Deiparine awarded the Philippines its first gold medal in swimming in 10 years after ruling the 100-meter breaststroke in record fashion.

Aside from Didal, other top athletes who lived up to expectation are world gymnast champion Carlos Edriel Yulo who finally won not one but two golds and five silvers in the SEA Games.

Olympic-bound EJ Obiena also came out with a record-breaking victory in pole vault while Olympian Hidilyn Diaz pulled out a golden performance.

Vietnam, the next host of the SEA Games, rallied in the final two days of competitions to finished second with 95 golds, 85 silvers and 103 bronzes followed by Thailand with 91-101-122 and Indonesia with 72-82-111 tally.

Malaysia, the 2017 overall champion, settled for fifth place with 55-58-71 performance Singapore collected 53 golds, 46 silvers and 69 silvers in sixth spot.

Myanmar and Cambodia had four golds each but the former finished seventh with superior silvers (18) and bronzes (50) while the Cambodian athletes brought home six silvers and 36 bronzes followed by Brunei (2-5-27).

Soukan Taipanyavong snatched Laos’ lone gold medal in the final day of action after winning the kickboxing’s 60kg low kick. Laos has also five silvers and 27 bronzes.

Despite wishes from local netizens, Timor-Leste went home without gold but an emotional Rosa Luisa Dos Santos won the hearts of the Filipinos after bagging a silver medal in taekwondo to add to her country’s five bronzes.

The Games’ closing ceremony will be held at the newly-built New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Tarlac on Wednesday. (Jelly Musico, PNA)

PH on alert against illegal Iraq-bound OFWs

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) recently ordered its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila and other ports to thoroughly screen Filipinos traveling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the directive after receiving reports that human trafficking syndicates are using the Arab country as a transit point for illegally deploying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Iraq.

He added that they were recently alerted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regarding the alleged recruitment by syndicates through social media of Filipino workers to Iraq despite the ongoing ban on the deployment of OFWs there.

“Immigration officers are directed to exercise extra vigilance in clearing the departure of Filipino travelers bound for Dubai, particularly those who are departing as tourists, and make sure that they are not going to other foreign destinations in order to work,” the BI chief said in his directive to BI Port Operations Division (POD) chief Grifton Medina.

There are reports that online ads advertising newly-opened job vacancies in Iraq allegedly circulated online and falsely claimed that the deployment ban has been lifted.

Morente instructed airport officers to monitor the names of several OFWs allegedly illegally recruited to work as restaurant waiters in Baghdad, which the bureau obtained from the DFA.

“Be sure that none of these illegal OFWs disguised as tourists are able to leave the country. They should be stopped and turned over to the IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) if encountered, for their protection,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Medina added that according to the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, the said recruits have been issued visas authorizing them to work in Iraq.

“There are also reports that Iraq-bound OFWs are deployed there by first sending them off as tourists to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur before they proceed to Baghdad,” he said.

“Our immigration officers were already properly alerted of this scheme so they better think twice,” he added.

The victims have allegedly agreed to reimburse the deployment cost incurred by their recruiters through salary deduction.

“This is a form of human trafficking through debt-bondage,” Morente said.

“These illegal recruiters will sweet-talk their victims, encouraging them to take the job offers while the costs will be deducted from their salaries. When they get to their worksites, many are enslaved, given meager salaries, and made to work more than they supposed to in order to pay off their alleged debt,” he added. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

PH government assures quality billeting for SEA Games delegates

The Department of Tourism (DOT) on November 26, 2019, convened representatives of various hotels in Metro Manila, directing them to assure quality accommodation for Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) delegates.

“Ensure that the Filipino brand of hospitality is exercised to the maximum capacity of hotels’ resources and capabilities,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat instructed representatives of hotels where foreign delegates of the 2019 SEA Games are billeted in.

The DOT said this year’s SEA Games is estimated to bring in a total of 137,563 room nights to hotels across the four clusters of Manila, Southern Luzon and La Union, Clark, and Subic, with delegates staying from Nov. 19 to Dec. 12, 2019.

The emergency meeting, held on November 27 at the DOT main office in Makati City, served as a platform for some 32 hotels, industry associations including the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. (PHOAI); Hotel Sales and Marketing Associations (HSMA); and Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (PACEOS) to raise questions and suggestions in accommodating the SEA Games delegates.

Also present in the meeting were Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) officials Arsenic Lacson, director of Games Services; and Chris Tiu, deputy director for Volunteer Program.

The DOT will be assigning a focal person in each of the four clusters and will be upgrading its existing information desks at the lobbies of the participating hotels.

Initially intended to promote Philippine tourist destinations and tour packages to visitors, the desks are now open to disseminating additional SEA Games-related information from Phisgoc, and receiving concerns, which will be forwarded to Phisgoc for proper handling.

“Allow me to convey my gratitude to everyone for your support and active participation as a unified tourism sector, ready to render our best practices as we always have,” Romulo-Puyat said.

‘Bayanihan’

Romulo-Puyat was apparently moved by the “bayanihan” spirit and a “stepping up” mentality among the representatives of the hospitality industry.

TCP president Jose Clemente III has assured the DOT that the entire tourism industry will be behind SEA Games supporting its success.

“The tourism stakeholders felt the need to work together with the DOT as it is incumbent on us to show the best of the Philippines and the Filipinos. We have to keep our focus and ensure that the overall experience of our Asean neighbors’ athletes and officials will be good. It’s not as important how we start, but how we finish,” he said.

Romulo-Puyat said numerous brands and companies have reached out to the DOT to offer their products and volunteering services as a support to this collective goal.

“It is in situations like this that we are faced with the challenge of making our visitors’ stay in the country one of fun and fulfilling experience,” she said.

“Anyway, that is what this friendly competition is about. Let us win as one. To do this, let us rise to the occasion and put our best foot forward,” she added.

As of posting, the DOT is reaching out to hotels in Clark and in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon), and La Union to assure quality and consistent services all throughout. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

Government to provide ‘sustainable’ work, livelihood for OFWs in PH

President Rodrigo Duterte on November 28, 2019, vowed to meet the needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by creating more work and livelihood opportunities for them in the country.

The President made the vow, as he acknowledged the OFW’s significant contributions to the country, as well as their ultimate sacrifices for their families.

“Let me assure you that in return, we, in government, will continue to ensure that your efforts to uplift the lives of your families shall not be put in vain,” he said during the ceremonial conferment of the 2019 Model OFW Family of the Year (MOFYA).

“The government’s ultimate goal [for] OFWs is to [provide] them sustainable work and livelihood opportunities in our country. So someday, somehow, this will remain as one of the top priorities of my government,” Duterte added.


OFW MODEL FAMILY. President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with one of the awardees of the 2019 Model Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) during the awarding ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on November 28, 2019. Duterte pledged to meet the needs of overseas Filipino workers by creating more work and livelihood opportunities for them in the country. (Presidential Photo)

Duterte led the awarding of the 2019 MOFYA at Malacañan’s Heroes Hall on Thursday night.

Spearheaded by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the MOFYA acknowledges the sacrifices of Filipino migrants overseas and their invaluable contributions to give their families a better life.

The outstanding achievements were given to engineer Alvin Tan and family (Entrepreneurship), and engineer Wilfredo Quindoy and family (Community Project).

Declared national winners were Josephine Jasa and family (land-based category), and Captain Angel Abesamis and family (sea-based category).

Duterte praised the OWWA and the Labor department for recognizing the OFWs through an annual search that showcases the workers’ best practices, despite the challenges they need to face while they are away from the country and their loved ones.

He acknowledged that being apart from a family “demands great emotional endurance.”

“The annual search is a showcase of the best practices on how to nurture OFW family despite the distance and challenges, on how their success resonates with the rest of society,” Duterte said.

“It is truly admirable that despite the absence of the important family member because he or she has to work in another country, the family remains solid and intact,” he added.

The number of OFWs was estimated at 2.3 million, as of September 2018, according to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

OFW cash remittances jumped 7.5 percent to USD2.581 billion in July from USD2.401 billion in 2017, and by 12.71 percent from June 2019’s USD2.29 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported in September.

Duterte thanked the Filipino migrant workers for their accomplishments and for being “an inspiration to all Filipinos.”

“Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge your impact on our country’s progress, not only in terms of your invaluable contribution to the economy, but also [in showcasing] the skills and talents of the Filipino to the international [community],” the President said.

“Now, more than ever, we need you, the OFWs and your families, to take part in our nation-building efforts. I thus call on you to carry [on] with [your] pursuits and aspirations as you continue to make our country proud,” he added. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)