Balita - Ako Ay Filipino

Sa isang liham mula New Zealand ay hinihingi ang kolaborasyon ng Pilipinas sa mga rescue operations para sa 11 Filipinong nakasama sa gumuhong gusali noong Martes matapos ang isang malakas na lindol.

New Zealand - Putuloy pa rin ang recovery efforts sa mahigit na 200 katao pang nawawala matapos ang 6.3 magnitude na lindol na tumama sa New Zealand noong nakaraang Martes. Kaugnay dito, humihingi diumano ng tulong sa Pilipinas ang government ng New Zealand para sa search and rescue operartions.

Sa isang panayam sa National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos, kinumpirma nito na nagpadala ng sulat ang New Zealand sa Department of Foreign Affairs para alamin ang kakayahan ng mga Filipino rescuers sa posibilidad na hilingin ang tulong ng mga ito.

Mabilis naming pinulong ni Ramos ang composite team ng Armed Forces, Philippine National Police at grupo ng mga Filipino miners para pag-usapan ang magiging tugon ng Philippine government. Ayon pa kay Ramos ay may binuo ang composite team at handa na sila anytime para tumugon sa hinihinging capabilities mula sa Pilipinas.

Ayon pa dito, na kahit lumipas na ang 10 days ay posible na mayroon pa ring survivors. Tulad ng nangyari sa Baguio City noon. ‘Hindi tayo dapat nawawalan ng pag-asa para sa ating 11 kababayang nabalitang naipit sa mga gumuhong gusali sa Christchurch City’, na siyang sentro ng lindol sa New Zealand.

Sa ulat ni Philippine Charge d’Affaires Giovanni Palec, sinabi nito na patuloy din ang kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga otoridad at Filipino community sa lugar para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga kababayan. Ngunit sa kasamaang palad, hanggang ngayon ay wala pa rin diumanong balita sa 11 mga Filipino na una ng napaulat na nawawala.

Kaugnay dito ay naki¬pag-ugnayan na rin ang Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) sa kaanak ng mga nawawalang Pinoy at pinagsumite na ng dental records ng mga nawawalang medical workers upang makilala ang mga ito.

Sa pinakahuling ulat, sinabi ng New Zealand police na ang foreign students na nahugot mula sa guho ay hindi na makilala dahil sunog na rin ang mga bangkay ng mga ito.

Hindi makita ang linaw ng financial assistance na ipinangako sa mga OFWs. Pati ang pagpapauwi sa probinsya ay tila nalimutan na rin.

Wala na namang nangyari sa mga pangako ng administrasyong Aquino na bigyan ng ‘financial assistance’ ang mga overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sa Egypt na napilitang umuwi sa bansa dahil sa kaguluhan doon.

Ayon sa interview sa mga OFW ay tila pinabayaan ng OWWA o Overseas Workers Welfare Administration ang mga pinauwi ng bansa mula sa Egypt nitong Pebrero 6. Hindi rin daw inasikaso ang pagpapauwi sa kanila sa probinsya, dagdag pa ng mga OFW. Kaya’t hindi makita ang linaw ng financial assistance na ipinangako.

Matatandaan na ipinangako ng gobyerno na bibigyan ng kaunting pangkabuhayan ang mga OFWs na boluntaryong uuwi mula sa Egypt. Subalit mahigit isang linggo na ang lumipas, wala pa ring naipapaabot ang OWWA sa dalawang OFWs.

Samantala, dumating na sa bansa ang ikatlong grupo ng manggagawang Pinoy na kinabibilangan ng 30 kababaihan, tatlong lalaki at tatlong minor de edad na boluntaryong umuwi sa pangambang maipit sa kaguluhan sa Egypt, kahit bumaba na sa puwesto si Pangulong Hosni Mubarak.

Natapat na Araw ng mga Puso ang pagdating ng grupo at lumulan ito sa Emirates Air na dumating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) bandang alas-3:30 ng hapon.

Ayon sa OWWA, pawang nagmula sa Cairo ang mga dumating na mga Filipino.

POEA Memorandum Circular No. 09 on Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Agency-Hired Workers, the Office of the POLO Rome has yet to receive official response from either the Department of Labor and Employment Central Office or the POEA Manila Central Office regarding the exemption from this rule.

The POLO Rome sent a letter-request last November 18, 2010 to the Governing Board of the POEA which is chaired by the Sec. of Labor and Employment, to consider the peculiar characteristics of employment here in Italy where ample protection and benefits, including insurance, is granted by the government to migrant workers, including OFWs.

However, Italian laws require employers to pay pension, disability and medical contributions and foreign workers are covered by free medical assistance during their stay in Italy.  Direct hiring system which is observed here may have its flaws but by practice, Filipinos are the ones facilitating the hiring of their relatives through referral with Italians seeking Filipino workers.  Hence, it is actually the Filipinos who go through the process of direct hiring to ensure their relatives are taken in the decreto flussi as nominal hires, a process peculiar to Italy.

The only recent reply got from Manila was the Memo addressed to all POLOs or Phil. Overseas Labor Offices dated Nov,. 22, 2010 stating that the issue of exemption for workers with insurance coverage secured by their employers on-site will be taken up during the Nov. 24 2010 Congressional hearing on Migrant Workers Affairs, chaired by Congressman Walden Bello.  Pending clarification, the POEA will continue implementing the compulsory insurance requirements.

The good news is so far, no refusal of deployment of workers to Italy from POEA because of the mandatory insurance coverage rule.  They are aware of our status here and peculiar characteristics of the labor market in Italy.

POLO Rome is more concerned of the 23-year old rule where the POEA revived the guideline, with the advent of Republic Act 10022 or the New Migrant and Overseas Workers Act requiring ample protection in the deployment  of workers, disallowing deployment of workers who are  below 23 years old.  They also submitted request-exemption from this rule last Nov. 22 and have been following up with them ever since.  So far, a number of those we requested to POEA to grant special consideration (usually 21, 22 year olds) have been granted.

There is a planned POLO conference this January in Manila, and POLO Rome is sure these matters will be taken up for further discussion and policy recommendation, the RA being a Law which can not just be repealed nor modified without following proper legal procedures.  

POLO Rome promised to keep Stranieri in Italia posted on the developments of these concerns/recommendations as soon as Manila gives the official notice.



Dumating ng Maynila noong Miyerkules ang Gulf Air plane lulan ang pasaherong natagpuang walang buhay sa loob ng banyo ng nasabing aeroplano. Ang pasahero ay kinilalang si Marlon Cueva, 36, isang Pilipino at isang OFW, ayon kay Senior Superintendent Napoleon Cuaton, Pasay City Chief of Police.

Si Cueva, ay isang taon ng OFW bilang electrician worker.  Sya ay nakasakay sa Gulf Air’s Flight 154 mula Bahrain, ito ay isang connnecting flight pa Maynila mula Abu Dhabi.

“Hindi daw mapakali, umiikot ikot sa eroplano at nagsasabing ‘patawarin ako at marami akong kasalanan’,” ang paulit ulit na pahayag ni Cueva na hindi naman binanggit ang kanyang mga naging kasalanan.

Ilang minuto bago tuluyang bumababà ang eroplano ng mapansin na wala si Cueva sa kanyang kinauupuan at natagpuan siyang may tali sa leeg na nakaupo sa lavatory mismo.

Isang nurse ang nag volunteer upang mag cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), ngunit huli na ang lahat.

Patuloy ang pag iimbistiga ng mga awtoridada sa mga pangyayari.

Good news for our kababayans abroad and their families in the Philippines. Last December 18, in celebration of the International Migrant’s Day, we inaugurated the SIDC Coop Mart in Sta. Rosa, Alaminos in Laguna.  Sta Rosa Alaminos, is known and often called by many as the Little Italy in Laguna.  More than 2,000 of its residents are  residing in Padova and Milan Italy and their houses were built in Italian inspired structural design.   The migrants from Italy and their family members spearheaded the membership drive with the full support of their Barangay Captain , Hon. Ernesto Sahagun and migrants  leaders Serene Mahilum and Verma Villanueva from Padova, Italy.   This   initiative was made possible through the partnership of migrants from Italy, Atikha and  Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative ( SIDC), the largest agri-based cooperative in the Philippines.

The opening of the Coop Mart was very successful.   Migrants and their family members trooped to the Coop Mart to register as members on the opening day. 

The Coop Mart offers a variety of products, from fresh meat to processed meat products and canned goods.  I heard a member say, “Mabuti na lang nandito  ang Coop Mart sa ating barangay ngayon.  Mura na ang bilihin, tipid sa pamasahe at pag-aari pa natin!” (It is good that Coop Mart operates here in our place.  The goods are cheap, we save on transportation and it is even owned by us!)

The SIDC Coop Mart does not only provide cheaper products, it is owned by the members who organized the coop in Sta Rosa.  The members share in the profits which will redound to more savings for the migrants and their families.  Additionally, the Coop offers other services such as savings and credit facilities;   business opportunities such as hog raising, 6 to 9 convenience stores, merienda stand, feeds dealership and others.   

Atikha’s own study also shows the growing dependency of the migrant families on remittance and this is one of the reasons why the migrants despite long years of work abroad and higher wage, are not able to save for their long-term goals.  Some are able to save but they do not know where to invest their hard earned money. 

It was then that we realized that it is important that we support agriculture for rural development in order to create jobs and provide economic opportunities as alternatives to migration.  However, it would be difficult to encourage migrants and their families to invest in agriculture with no support mechanism.    Hence, we realized  that it would be ideal to tap a successful  agri-based cooperative that can assist the migrants in managing their agri-business and at the same time, absorb their investments and direct to agricultural initiatives in the areas where they are coming from.    Fortunately, after years of discussion and negotiation, SIDC agreed to support and package investments and business opportunities for the migrants and the families left behind. (Mai Dizon-Anonuevo)