News Archives

Feel free to browse our news archives on this page. You may also select one of the following options for news archives during a particular year:
 

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Protection of overseas Filipino workers in countries in conflict April 21, 2014-edited (1)

This policy brief analyzes the challenges of the Philippine government with respect to the repatriation of OFWs from Syria. It aims to enhance policy formulation and implementation regarding the repatriation of Filipinos in conflict torn countries. The brief starts with a short background of the conflict in Syria, followed by explaining the response of the Philippine government and the repatriation process.

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CMA letter to Sen. Franklin Drilon for the organization’s endorsement of the attached letter requesting him to include senator koko pimentel  in the senate panel to the joint congressional oversight committee for overseas voting.

letter to sp for koko to jcoc final

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Good Day!

We are pleased to provide you a copy of Republic Act 10590:
The Overseas Voting Act of 2013.
Same document can be found athttp://www.gov.ph/section/legis/republic-acts/
http://www.gov.ph/2013/05/27/republic-act-no-10590/
hello overseas voters!
we are approaching the third week of overseas voting — for those of you who have yet to decide on the senatorial and party list candidates to vote for –this one is for you — …..
kilalanin ang ating mga kandidato.

tayo na! iboto ang matapat na naglilingkod at maglilingkod pa sa bayan.
sa tamang kandidato, ang tao ang panalo!

List of Senatorial Candidates:

SENATOR

http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/data/candidates-2013-philippine-elections

here is the list of registered party-list groups for 2013 elections.
please note, you must vote for ONLY ONE (1) party-list group.
PARTY-LIST
http://www.comelec.gov.ph/index.php?r=Elections/2013natloc/PartyListOrganizations/OfficialListFirstThreeNominess
paalala pong muli:
1. for automated elections in hongkong, singapore, abu dhabi, dubai, kuwait, jeddah, riyadh — you shade the oval opposite the candidates’ names; and make no other markings on the ballot
2. for postal and personal manual — for the rest of the posts other than those above — you have to write the names of the candidates on the ballot. isusulat po ang pangalan ng kandidato; at ibabalik sa embahada o konsulado.

last day of voting is may 13, 2013, 7.00pm manila time.

tayo na! iboto ang matapat na naglilingkod at maglilingkod pa sa bayan.
sa tamang kandidato, ang tao ang panalo!

_________________AES

oav perosnal flyer oav postal flyer____________________________

CMA 10th Anniversary Newsletter

CMA celebrates its 10th year anniversary, December 2012 marks a decade of achievement at the Center for Migrant Advocacy.

CMA Celebrates 10 years: A short Film

Visit the link to see a short film that celebrates our tenth year anniversary.

Final Outcome Document Phnom Penh Conclusions Regional Conference-14-9-2012

The Regional Conference on Human Rights Instruments, International Labor Standards, and Women Migrant Workers’ Rights was held on 4-5 September, 2012, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The conference was held by UN Women, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Interior, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the International Labour Organization. Discussions were convened about women migrant workers’ rights in relation to international and regional human rights instruments, international labor standards, as well as protection gaps in national laws and measures.

Please visit the “Final Outcome Document” to review recommendations and conclusions from the conference.  These recommendations pertain to  (1) Human Rights Instruments and International Labour Standards and Women Migrant Workers Rights ; (2) Pre- Employment; (3) On-site and During Employment; (4) Return and Reintegration; and (5) Bilateral and Regional Cooperation.

To see photos from the event visit  our facebook album.

5th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labor Cambodia Oct.2012

The 5th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labor which carried the theme “Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers: Towards Effective Recruitment Practices and Regulations” was held on 9-10 October 2012 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The foum was convened to help implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Work Programme 2010-2015 and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.

Participants at the meeting formed recommendations for migrant workers rights in ASEAN member states.

Please view the recommendations. In addition, feel free to peruse CMA’s photos from the event.

Position_Paper_ILO_Convention_189_final

The Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) strongly supports the immediate ratification of ILO Convention 189 (C189) on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
Jun 14, 2012

SOS SMS / OAV REGISTRATION Brochure

ALL FILIPINO CITIZENS ABROAD, not otherwise disqualified by law, at least (18) years of age on the day of elections, may now participate in Philippine national elections under the Overseas Absentee Voting Act 2003 (Republic Act 9189).

• For purposes at the 2013 national elections, qualified Filipinos abroad may vote for Senators and Party-List representative. The voting period is from April 13, 2013 until 3:00pm, Philippine time of May 13, 2013.

• REGISTRATION: Period for filling of applications for REGISTRATION/Certification as overseas absentee voters is from October 31, 2011 until October 31, 2012.

(For those who have previously registered, you may file/ request for: Transfer of registration records; Reinstatement in the National registry of OAV; Correction of wrong entries/ misspelled names; Withdrawal of application for registration/ certification pending approval; Reactivation of registration record)

WHERE:
• If you are abroad, you may file your applications, IN PERSON, at the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate.
• If you are in the Philippines, you may file you applications at the Registration Centers at the OFW Pre-Departure Lounge at NAIA Terminal 1 / at the POEA Ground Floor OR at the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)

NOTE: Seafarers may file their applications AT ANY POST abroad or at any specifically designated areas Manila

Feb 23, 2012   Philippines

sos_final_150.jpg

Latest Substitute Bill on OWWA charter

Feb 17, 2012

Further Clarifications from CLA

Amendment for Article 52 of Employment Service Act, extending the total allowable work period of foreign workers from 9 years to 12 years, and cancelling the hiring extension application process and related requirments.
Feb 08, 2012

It’s Time for Decent Work For Domestic Workers!

Rights and dignity for domestic workers! Support the adoption of an ILO Convention for Domestic Workers in the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference this June 2011.
May 11, 2011 Singapore

Asian Migrants Demand Rights- statement for 4th Colombo Process

The 11 member States of the Colombo Process gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh in April 2011 amidst the conflicts unfolding in Libya and the Middle East that impact heavily on migrant workers in the region. Cognizant of the relevance of this gathering, Migrant Forum in Asia organized a parallel event and participated in the discussions of the Colombo Process to convey our concerns as articulated in the Statement.
May 11, 2011

OVERSEAS POST HOTLINES Middle East Crisis

DFA HOTLINE Nos. – 834-4488 / 834-4596 / 834-4580

……LIBYA
00-218-927-485-473
00-218-483-3966
00-218-925-195-079
00-218-728-527-012
00-218-918-244-208

Bahrain
00-973-367-464-79
00-973 172 509 90
Mar 11, 2011   Philippines

Report of Congress Mission to Saudi Arabia on the OFW Condition

The importance of Saudi to the Philippine economy can never be emphasized enough…70% of Filipinos in Saudi are professionals or skilled workers and 30% are low-skilled workers. However, the proportions are reversed when it comes to difficulties and problems…. The report concluded with 12 major recommendations including decertification of Saudi Arabia as a country fit to receive domestic workers…..
Mar 04, 2011   Saudi Arabia

OVERSEAS POST HOTLINES Middle East Crisis 
by

DFA HOTLINE Nos. – 834-4488 / 834-4596 / 834-4580

……LIBYA
00-218-927-485-473
00-218-483-3966
00-218-925-195-079
00-218-728-527-012
00-218-918-244-208

Bahrain
00-973-367-464-79
00-973 172 509 90

Mar 01, 2011     Philippines

POEA asks for contingency plans for OFWs in Libya

All employers and recruitment agencies deploying workers are directed to activate their contingency plans for their affected OFWs and submit updated reports to POEA. ADVISORY NO. 7 ADVISORY NO. 6
Mar 01, 2011

SOS SMS Celebrates 5th Year!

cma’s ofw sos sms hotline for distressed ofws is 5 years last feb 14! many thanks to our partners and networks especially to sos sms team in saudi arabia, without whom this project would not have worked!
Feb 01, 2011   Australia

From the Philippines with love From the Philippines with love

OFWs – the Overseas Filipino Workers. Seen in their home country as modern-day heroes.

Soldiers in a battle against poverty. Wanting to win the war for their families.

There is no other way to put it.

And like heroes all over the world, many ultimately have to pay for the “honour” with their lives.

Sometimes words are nowhere near enough – so here, in moving images, is the story of two families whose daughters sacrificed everything for a fractured dream http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3nIuShFFYE

Every day some 3,000 more leave the to join the workforce abroad. Already there are some 10 million Filipinos away from home. It’s a nation exporting its best resource to stay afloat. Some so desperate to earn dollars that they are willing to take short-cuts to get placed in foreign jobs faster. They fork out more money than legally required to “speed through” the red tape that the government has put there for the workers’ protection … and end up in debt for much of their lives, or they fall prey to unscrupulous employment agents who dabble in nothing short of human trafficking.

Almost every week there is a new OFW horror story that hits the local news … nurses who are trapped into becoming domestic workers; domestics who end up in prostitution; tales of abuse and violence – physical, sexual, emotional; etc etc etc. The constant curtailment of their basic rights … and most feel powerless to do do anything about it. Thinking they have none in the first place … rights or power.

Thousands are considered “distressed” by the Philippine government and already in the last few months alone, millions have been spent to repatriate such classified OFWs … and there isn’t enough money to help them all, officials cry.

But still they keep going, convinced they have nothing left to believe in at home. That their only salvation lies beyond Philippine borders. That is the true heartache of the whole situation as the video here shows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bIpcTsb8SE

There are those who are calling for their modern-day heroes to come home … wanting them to place their bets in their own country, and gamble on a shared, brighter future instead of taking a chance abroad.

But for many OFWs, that would take too much work – and the needs of the family are more immediate. And so everyday the exodus continues – with 3,000 more risking it all for love.

Source: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2010/10/18/philippines-love 
Dec 06, 2010   Australia

ILO urged to work for standard guidelines on domestic help

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino woman leading an Asian migrants group called on the International Labor Organization to pressure governments, as well as workers and employers group to work for a convention setting international standards for domestic helpers.

“A definitive, coherent, and comprehensive instrument is needed to clearly establish minimum standards and rights for all domestic workers as workers,” Migrants Forum Asia executive committee chair Ellene Sana said in a speech on June 3 to delegates to the ongoing 99th International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sana lamented that domestic work has not been fully and widely recognized as work; domestic workers have not been covered by labor laws that protect and promote their rights, welfare, and dignity.

“Despite the significant contributions of domestic workers to their households and employers’ families, to communities and countries (both of origin and destination), and to the industries and economies in which they selflessly invest their time, skills, sweat and tears, these domestic workers have yet to enjoy the recognition they have so long deserved,” she said

She added domestics have been in one of the “most insecure of environments where work is often casual, temporary, sub-contracted or informal, where benefits and conditions are not standardized – no minimum wage, no set working hours, no social security, and no provisions for occupational safety – and where there is little, if any, labor and human rights protection.”

Sana, who chairs the Quezon City-based Center for Migrants Advocacy, said domestics’ work should be valued and respected as one of the essential job sectors that contribute to society’s productivity and development.

“Their conditions of work must be on a par with other job categories including valid work contracts and visas, social mobility, job security and collective labor rights,” she said.

Sana said there should be a separate international pact on domestic workers because the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families only provided partial coverage of domestics’ rights.

MFA, along with the Asian Migrant Domestic Workers’ Alliance and the International Working Group for Domestic Workers, is pushing for an ILO Convention on Domestic Work that will significantly contribute to the reduction of slavery-like conditions, abuse, violence, exploitation, inequality, and discrimination against women and domestic workers.

“It will help reduce the worst forms of child labor, the stigmatization and criminalization of migrant domestic workers including undocumented workers, and racial and ethnic discrimination,” Sana explained.

The proposed convention would also help provide the minimum basis and standards for the recognition of the status and rights of domestic workers as workers.

“Domestic work is work and that domestic workers must be treated with respect and dignity,” she added, saying domestics themselves should participate in the crafting of the convention.

According to a United Nations estimate, a vast majority of the 60 million migrant workers in Asia are women and are predominantly engaged in domestic work. Most of them come from Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos and are employed in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, India, Taiwan, and the Middle East.

Sana said domestic workers were driven to engage in domestic work for various reasons – most commonly by the endemic poverty in their homes that made it impossible for them to have job opportunities in other industries or fields of work.

Most of these women left their own countries in the hope of earning better incomes abroad, she said.

Source: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20100606-274227/ILO-urged-to-work-for-standard-guidelines-on-domestic-help
Dec 03, 2010   Australia

BME Roland Blanco – CMA KAKAMPI NG MGA OFW AT KANILANG PAMILYA SA PILIPINAS 

Why caregivers in Israel refuse to return to RP

MANILA, Philippines—Since around Israeli aircraft dropped some 100 bombs on the Gaza Strip in December last year, less than a hundred Filipinos have come home, mostly wives and children of Palestinian residents.

No caregivers have come home from Israel.

Even during the bombing of Lebanon in July-August 2006, when 1,000 people perished and thousands more maimed, only a few Filipinos out of the estimated 30,000 Filipinos in Israel and another 30,000 Filipinos in Lebanon evacuated.

Malu, a former caregiver in Israel who hails from Taguig, said she had long wanted to go back. “They paid well. I could even work non-stop with neither rest nor vacation. I still found time to buy and sell anything of value.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 39,000 Filipinos, mostly women caregivers, as of last count in June 2008 in Israel. Some 1,000 are permanent residents, while 31,000 are temporary workers. Around 7,000 are undocumented workers.

There are cooks, bartenders, drivers, diplomatic household staff and nurses, too. Ninety-one percent are caregivers, 80 percent of which are women. There are around 4,000 domestic workers.

According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, an average of 7,000 Filipinos went to Israel a year from 2000 to 2006.

Severance pay

This is sufficient proof that many Filipinas go there or dream of going there. Why not, when by law, caregivers should receive a minimum wage of 3,710 NIS or around $914 a month. Less housing and utilities expenses, their take-home pay would translate to around $600 to $700. This is a lot more than what many domestic workers earn in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Lebanon, which would be $400 in the maximum.

When an employer likes a caregiver, he sometimes gives her a take-home pay of as much as $1,000.

On top of this, workers are entitled to a weekly day off. An overtime work is paid $50 per day.

Caregivers have paid annual vacation of at least 12 days, recuperation pay of at least five days for $78/day, and severance pay equivalent to a month’s wage, including pocket money and health insurance payments multiplied by the number of years of continuous service with an employer.

In addition, women with valid work permits who get pregnant are also entitled to insurance coverage for hospitalization and a three-month paid maternity leave from the National Insurance Institute.

Filipino caregivers in Israel, especially those who are undocumented, stay there for years. They do not mind working hard because they are well remunerated and they have enough free time, especially those who take care of one or a couple of senior citizens.

On weekends, they usually return to their flats, the rent of which they divide among themselves. There, they cook and eat Filipino food and relax by exchanging stories about their families back in the Philippines. Others eat and shop in Takana, their favorite mall.

There are some who opt to just stay with their employers.

Israel has a cap on how long foreign caregivers can work, usually no more than five years and three months, unless a caregiver is found indispensable especially by the very old, very sick, or disabled employers.

But because of the good pay, many caregivers, especially veteran ones, continue working long after their work visas have expired.

Catalina, a former caregiver, said she was caught by the police thrice, but her Israeli boyfriend was able to bail her out. She was deported the third time, but she didn’t regret it.

Many undocumented caregivers, she said, just work and work and save and save for their families until they are deported because they know it would be difficult, if not impossible, to go back to Israel.

Malu once asked the Center for Migrant Advocacy, a non-government organization helping distressed workers these questions: “Is there no hope I could go back? What if I change my name?” They are willing to go that far to secure a job in Israel.

Problems of caregivers

As of 2008, the Philippine embassy estimated that 7,000 undocumented are living dangerously in Israel. Their mobility, an official said, is limited; they also have to live with the ever-present threat of raids, arrest, detention, and deportation.

But many undocumented workers seem oblivious to such threats. Said Malu: “Their jails are a lot better than ours. Food is a lot better there too.” And even if the workers are not documented, their employer is bound by law to give them their severance pay and other benefits.

But there are good employers and there are bad employers. Said Estrellita, another former caregiver: “Because I once failed to arrive on time, my employer fired me. Well, he couldn’t find any other reason to do so. His family liked my service.”

Fortunately, there are other NGOs that help caregivers there like Kav La Oved in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beer Sheva.

There is also the Physicians for Human Rights, an NGO that provides medical assistance and gives advice regarding insurance issues to foreign workers like the Filipino caregivers, also in Tel Aviv.

It is possible that an undocumented caregiver has no medical insurance, so this NGO provides workers with at least some medical assistance, especially during emergencies, since it is very expensive to be treated there if one does not have insurance.

Another major problem is the huge placement fee that caregivers pay the agent of an Israeli broker.

Kav La Oved’s research found out that a caregiver who made it to Israel paid as much as $5,000, some on a fly-now-pay-later scheme. Others issued post-dated checks to ensure they would not run away from their loan repayments. This is illegal under both Philippine and Israeli laws, but the practice persists because they believe this is the only way to go to Israel and earn those dollars needed by their families left in the Philippines. Given this attitude, few workers file complaints against people behind the illegal practice.

Another problem is the sexual harassment that comes with the job. But this is one problem some caregivers do not talk about. Only in the course of other work-related or benefits-related complaints can NGO counselors get wind of this.

For many Filipino caregivers, what’s important is to earn dollars for their families and be able to secure a better future for them, all because, they believe, they have no similar opportunity back home.

Souce: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20091108-234947/Why-caregivers-in-Israel-refuse-to-return-to-RP
Dec 02, 2010   Australia

OFWs Warned of Family Breakup as a Social Cost of Migration

MANILA, 7 September 2007 — The costs of Filipino overseas migration outweigh the benefits in terms of social, economic, political and individual losses, a non-governmental organization in the Philippines warned.

Rhodora Abano, advocacy officer of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), told Arab News that an undetermined number of families are breaking up due to spouse’s taking on another partner while the husband or wife is away. Likewise, most children of OFWs have become “materialistic,” asking for more money to compensate for the emotional absence of one or both parents.

Some of the OFW children have also dropped out of school as they find the school “strict” or “boring,” or resorted to early marriages because of teenage promiscuity, or bore children out of wedlock. Worst problem for OFW children is when they fall into drug addiction, gambling or other vices.

OFW families must do something to prevent further escalation of these social problems, Abano said. She said her group detests overseas migration as a “permanent development strategy” and suggests instead “establishing a vibrant and self-reliant Philippine economy” as it encourages OFWs to invest in businesses whatever savings they can bring home.

She explained that the Philippines’ fast becoming a service economy is a national fate that could have been prevented in this time of global competition had the government been keen enough to strengthen the local economy and looked at overseas migration as only a temporary measure to solve unemployment problems of the country.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment, about a million workers leave the Philippines every year for jobs overseas and the current total is 7.9 million, a big portion of which include nurses and other health workers, seamen, domestic helpers, entertainers and IT professionals.

Abano further said that in order to keep our best and brightest at home, the government must work out a national development program that will effectively harness the country’s human resources and justly reward workers for their labor.

It should be a development program that can compete globally in terms of compensation and working conditions. In due time, overseas migration will have become a choice and not a forced option to Filipinos, she said.

Source:http://archive.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=100927&d=7&m=9&y=2007
Dec 02, 2010   Australia

Issues and Problems in Filipino-Australian Marriages

From 1989-2005, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas provided guidance to 284,841 Filipino partners of foreign nationals. In 2003 Filipino-Australian couples were the third largest grouping, following Filipino-American and Filipino-Japanese couples. Women account for 89% of Filipino-Australian intermarriage.

It is in this context that the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) in cooperation with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) held a Round Table Discussion on Filipino Women in Intercultural Relationships: The Case of Filipino-Australian Marriages at the Heritage Hotel last June 14, 2006. In his opening remarks, CFO Executive Director Mr Jose Z. Molano Jr stressed that to ensure equality, equity and enjoyment of Australia for Filipinos who choose to live there, a collective approach is required of all stakeholders. He hoped the discussion will result in specific initiatives responding to the concerns and interest of women in intercultural relationships. He noted that some Filipinas have been victims of violence and human trafficking.

The resource persons were Ms Jennifer Gonzales, CFO Deputy Executive Director, who spoke about the situation of Filipinas marrying Australians and CFO services; Ms Peta Dunn, Principal Immigration Officer, Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Australian Embassy in the Philippines, on the embassy’s processing of visa applications of Filipina partners of Australian men; Ms Nicki Saroca, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies of the Australian National University, on the key issues and commonalities that have emerged from her research into Filipino-Australian relationships and families; and Ms Estrella Masigan, who spoke of the violent death of her sister, Rosalina Canonizado, killed in Australia on 13 April 1991.

Ms Masigan related how her sister met her husband in Australia, his trial and acquittal of her murder. She asked why the case has not been reopened since he has subsequently been found guilty of murdering his first wife.

During the open forum, participants from government and civil society raised questions and suggestions for service improvements.

Situation Of Filipinas In Filipino-Australian Relationships

Of the 284,841 Filipino partners of foreign nationals, CFO records at least 23,532 Filipino-Australian couples. The Australian Census surveyed at least 103,990 Filipino migrants as of 2001, 65% women, of whom more than 70% were sponsored as fiancées or spouses of Australian resident men. The embassy receives some 1,500 visa applications year round, of which 400 are for fiancée visas. Ms Gonzales said that the majority of couples were introduced by common friends and relatives but there are also those introduced through the sex industry and via the Internet.

Problems And Issues

Ms Gonzales enumerated the most pressing concerns reported by the migrating Filipinas in their CFO pre-counseling questionnaire: 47% mentioned adjustment to the environment, followed by homesickness and marital adjustment; 33% planned to work and 8% perceived it as a problem; 12% planned to send financial support to their family while 9% plan to petition their family members. Difficulties fed back by settled Filipinas pertained to employment and adjustment to the environment and local culture.

Prior to counseling, only 39.7% claimed sufficient knowledge of Australia, 44.7% had only limited knowledge, while 15.6% said they had none at all. In general, research indicates that exposure to the English language and the dominant culture enables them to better access services and facilitates adaptation to Australian life with lesser stress. However, Ms Saroca emphasized that the support or lack of support of Australian partners may aid or impede the women’s socialization and settlement. Some even object to their partners mixing with other Filipinas.

In relation to this, differing views and cultural values may lead to friction, for example in regard to parenting. While there are Filipino-Australian children, or “Filos” as some describe themselves, who are proud of their Filipino heritage, others distance themselves from all things Filipino, usually where the Australian father denigrates their Filipino mother, her country and her culture. An aggravating factor is the negative stereotyping of Filipinas in the Australian media. The Australian media’s sensationalist racialized and sexualized portrayal of Filipinas as so-called ‘mail order brides’ and prostitutes, as illegitimate wives bought by their Australian husbands, has created a negative perception of Filipina women. Stereotyping promotes a general unwillingness of the Filipino community to acknowledge domestic violence and discourages them from opening up about their abuse.

CFO statistics show a prevalent huge age difference between the Filipina partners who are mostly 20-34 years old and the Australian partners who are aged 55 and up. Prior to the relationship, 87% of the Filipino women were single as compared with only 47% of the Australian men, half of whom were separated or divorced with family obligations from previous relationships. On the other hand, many of the Filipinas include children from previous relationships in their visa application. They want their Australian partners to accept their children.

Working back in the Philippines, many Filipina partners also plan to work in Australia. They often take on more than one job, to support not only the children they brought along but also those they left behind or their other family members. They do not ‘feed off’ or ‘sponge off’ their Australian partners as portrayed in media. For the women, the support they give not only improves the finances of family in the Philippines but also reaffirms the woman’s place in this family. But, the Filipinas’ employment opportunities are limited by the non-recognition of their qualifications in Australia.

The Filipinas’ need to support their children and/or their families back in the Philippines increases their vulnerability to domestic violence, especially when they depend on their Australian partners for their immigrant status.

In relation to this, Filipinas also stay within violent relationships because of their cultural values i.e. “hiya” or shame over being a victim, “takot” or fear of further violence, etc. Some remain to discourage further negative stereotyping of Filipinas, and this endangers these women, other women and children as well. These factors should be taken into account when considering the high representation of Filipino women in violent relationships. Ms Saroca recalled the research of Chris Cunneen and Julie Stubbs [3] that found Filipinas are almost six times more likely to be victims of homicide than other women in Australia, aside from Indigenous women. Ms Saroca noted though that domestic violence is pervasive in Australia across ethnic groups.

There is an emerging concern about the introduction of Filipinas to Australians through the Internet. The CFO has counselled 771 such women. Ms Gonzales stressed that a single Internet search for ‘Filipina bride’ yields more than 100,000 hits containing over a hundred personal and bride-matching websites. Ms Dunn said the increasing role of the Internet concerns younger Filipina visa applicants.

Areas Where Intervention Is Needed

Ms Saroca presented the following recommendations:

1. The documentary shown during SMEF-COW [4] pre-migration orientation seminars for Filipinos migrating on partner visa to Australia should have an Australian focus. There should also be versions in languages and dialects other than Tagalog.

2. While Filipinas should be informed that some Australians abuse their Filipina partners, domestic violence is not the whole picture. There should be a documentary on other aspects of Australian life to give a balanced view.

3. A mentor-like system can effectively provide additional support and information on women’s rights to help Filipinas settle in Australia. The Australian government should compile a comprehensive list of Australia-based Filipino/Filipino-Australian organizations in urban, regional and rural areas that can be distributed during the SMEF-COW guidance sessions. Counselors should emphasize the importance for new arrivals to seek out other Filipinas to develop their support network.

4. The Australian government should fund CFO and SMEF-COW counselors to visit Australia to gain a better understanding of what Australian life is like for Filipinas married to Australians. These groups should liaise with Filipino NGOs like the Center for Philippine Concerns Australia (in Brisbane and Melbourne) and the Filipino Women’s Working Party (in Sydney) as well as key women who can provide referrals to services.

5. There is a need to provide racism and sexism awareness training and cross-cultural communications training for immigration officers, police, judiciary, lawyers, advocates, social workers, educators, journalists and others who come in contact with Filipinas, particularly regarding domestic violence and its manifestations, racist abuse and how to treat those affected with respect and dignity.

Issues Raised In The Open Forum

Ms Gonzales likened Internet introduction agencies to the ‘mail order bride’ catalogs and marriage agencies of the past. CFO refers these to the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC). [5] Ms Saroca added however that not all Internet introductions take place in matchmaking web sites and some couples meet in chat rooms, email lists, forums, etc. Also, introduction agencies organised for the purpose of marriage, on the Internet or otherwise, are not illegal in Australia.

Fr. Edwin Corros of ECMI/CBCP [6] noted the negative attitude of some sections of the Filipino community in Australia toward these Filipinas. Priests are oriented to be aware of this form of emotional violence and heal this division in the community. Ms Saroca confirmed that she also found this form of social distancing while researching, but there are also Filipinos who help support and empower women.

To the questions about the success of Filipino-Australian marriages compared with those of other nationalities, Ms Dunn said, without denying there are problems, studies in the 80s and 90s reported these marriages are successful and last longer than Australian marriages. Ms Saroca added that some marriages last because Filipinas work hard to make them successful. There are Filipinas who even stay in violent relationships because of their commitment to the sanctity of marriage and the responsibility of women for the well-being of children and family.

Regarding follow up, the CFO provides feedback forms prior to departure which are supposed to be sent back after three months of settlement, but the retrieval rate is only 8% and around 70% of those say they are in good condition. Ms Gonzalez acknowledged the need to strengthen links with partners in Australia in addition to the existing post-arrival assessment arrangements.

On the issue of privacy protection of Australian nationals, Ms Dunn said Australia’s very strict privacy law protects everyone and limits the circumstances to share information such as criminal history. Under Australia’s privacy law, such information cannot be shared with a partner without the sponsor’s permission, but if either partner is entering the relationship not fully informed and this has a negative impact upon the assessment of the genuineness of the relationship, the embassy may refuse a visa. If there are psychological issues, the embassy looks closely at the sponsorship, especially where children are involved.

Ms Saroca stressed that privacy does not detract from the abusive situation and the abusive partner. She explained that abusive men conceal their violence so a domestic violence situation is an insidious problem. No matter how much legislation is passed, it won’t stop violent men from being abusive. Violent men are responsible for their violence.

Source: http://cpcabrisbane.org/Kasama/2006/V20n3/FilipinoAustralianMarriages.htm 
Dec 02, 2010   Australia

All about overseas absentee voting

MANILA, Philippines—Overseas absentee voters have between April 10 to 6 p.m. (Manila time) of May 10 to pick their choices for president, vice president, 12 senators, and party list.

As with the rest of the ballots cast by Filipino voters in the Philippines, OAV ballots will be counted nonstop and relayed to the Commission on Elections.

Of the 8.1 million Filipinos spread around the world (workers, residents), only 589,830 overseas Filipinos are registered for the May 2010 national elections.

There are a total of 215,546 voters in the Asia Pacific, 66,745 in the Americas, 61,294 in Europe, 225,148 in the Middle East and Africa, and 21,097 seafarers. Sea-based Filipino workers may personally vote at the embassy or consulate provided the Comelec and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA OAVS) have identified international sea ports under their jurisdiction.

PCOS only in HK, Singapore 

One hundred two diplomatic posts (embassies and consulates) will have postal voting and 70 posts will have personal voting (voter has to cast his ballot at the embassy or consulate).

For the first time, 127,206 overseas Filipino workers will vote using the new automated voting system in Hong Kong and Singapore, with 95,355 and 31,851 voters, respectively.

Civil society organizations like the Center for Migrant Advocacy have been advocating for the recognition of overseas Filipinos’ voting rights from the late ’80s until the passage of the Overseas Absentee Voting Law in 2003 and until the past two national elections in 2004 and 2007 when it was finally implemented.

Informing voters 

Unfortunately, while voter turnout in 2004 was 65 percent, it plunged to only 16 percent in 2007 for various reasons, including the backlash of the “Hello Garci” scandal of 2004, the lack of information campaigns, the discriminatory and disenfranchising affidavit requirement from Filipino immigrants and permanent residents in other countries to return to the Philippines to establish domicile within three years from registration, voter-unfriendly post staff on top of inaccessible embassies and consulates and fast turnover of staff.

What is urgent now is that all stakeholders help inform and enable the most number of registrants to vote with conscience. The Hong Kong consulate is a model in reaching out to its constituency.

Daphne Ceniza-Kuok, a volunteer of the Special Board of Election Inspectors in Hong Kong, said the consulate has talked with the banks in Worldwide House, located near Chater Garden in Central Hong Kong where Filipino migrants congregate every Sunday, to allow their monitors to show CDs on automated voting. It has also talked to Smart 1528 Barkadahan and Vodaphone to conduct text blasts to inform its around 60,000 subscribers on the location of the polling places. OAV will also be discussed in the three Filipino radio programs. Almost 80 percent (95,355) of Filipinos in Hong Kong are registered voters. It is no wonder that many candidates troop there to court their votes.

Voting by mail 

In Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office mailed out information on the elections to its constituency as did the embassy in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, the consulates in New York and San Francisco and other posts. The Comelec admitted that it did not have a budget for information campaigns. Thus, CMA printed 50,000 flyers (separate flyers for personal, for postal and for automated voting) in addition to 1,500 posters. The center disseminated these to its partner organizations abroad like the Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns in Switzerland, Damayan in Belgium, and Kasapi in Greece. The CMA also sent these to the different Philippine embassies and consulates abroad in partnership with the DFA OAVS.

In comparison, 11 percent of around a million Filipinos in Saudi Arabia are registered voters who have to go to either the embassy in Riyadh or the consulate in Jeddah or the field polling place in Al Khobar, under the supervision of the embassy in Riyadh. OFWs there are hampered by the lack of available mass public transport to go to the polling centers. Women OFWs are particularly affected because they are not allowed to travel alone.

How to get high turnout 

But first, the government has to address key problems revealed in the last two elections to invite more confidence in the electoral exercise and inspire other stakeholders to support its efforts at enjoining overseas Filipinos to vote between April and May. For one, its registration and voter turnout targeting have to be backed with the budget to realize it. The diplomatic posts should be more proactive in reaching out to the Filipino communities and organizations to inform them about the elections, especially in Singapore where the new automated voting system is a very challenging prospect. Who staffs the post has a lot to do with the success of overseas absentee voting there.

Feedback from Filipinos in Japan has it that the posts there are not voter-friendly in terms of both location and personnel as the law is not voter-friendly either. It requires personal registration. In contrast, as evidenced by the registration and voter turnout in Hong Kong, the high momentum of Filipino organizers there complements the consulate’s efforts at making the elections a success.

Using YouTube 

Other stakeholders have to contribute what they can to help government inform and enable the most number of registrants to vote wisely.

Many Filipino organizations abroad reproduce voter information materials out of their own pockets, understanding the urgency of informing kababayans abroad about the mechanics of voting as well as their right to vote and to participate in Philippine governance.

In the Middle East, Patnubay.com in partnership with the CMA came out with a video post for YouTube in time for the start of the overseas voting. In the US, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations and other Filipino organizations have been holding meetings to inform Filipinos in the US about the upcoming elections. In Switzerland, the UP Alumni Association and the Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns have been active in the information campaign since the voter registration period.

Here in the Philippines, the Scalabrinian Lay Association and the CMA have been reaching out to Balik Manggagawa at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. The CMA and Task Force 2010 try to maximize the use of the media to help inform overseas Filipinos directly and through their families left behind.

Come May 10

But more support is needed during the actual voting up to the counting stages.

In the past two elections, Filipino organizations in the Middle East negotiated with company owners to provide transport to enable their Filipino employees to vote. Both government and civil society can still maximize the use of the multimedia to reach out to kababayans worldwide.

On the part of overseas Filipinos themselves and civil society, proactive citizenship is the call of the times while we continue policy advocacy. In addition, Namfrel also calls on volunteers among Filipinos abroad to help out in its parallel counting and to help in other ways to ensure honest elections.

There is a lot to do still to make overseas Filipino voters a significant voters’ bloc. The law is still new. But for as long as all stakeholders incorporate into succeeding practice what is learned from each implementation of the law, for sure and soon, Filipinos abroad will be a force to reckon with, not only during elections but in the whole of Philippine political life.

OFWs by the numbers 

8.1 million: estimated number of overseas Filipinos around the world (as of December 2008)

589,830: total of registered overseas Filipino voters around the world

1 million: estimated number of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia

111,549: registered voters

155,317: estimated number of Filipinos in Hong Kong

95,355: registered voters

Source: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20100411-263623/All-about-overseas-absentee-voting
Dec 02, 2010   Philippines

post 2010 OAV Reflections

The 2010 national elections marked the third time that the Philippines has implemented OAV. It is also the second time that OAV was conducted in a presidential election. How does it compare to the 2004 and 2007 OAV exercises?
May 13, 2010

CCOFW, migrant rights groups ask President Arroyo to Veto Amendatory Law on RA8042

Migrant rights groups led by CCOFW ask President Arroyo to veto the amendatory law on RA8042, specifically the provision for mandatory insurance and the retention of the discriminatory provision on money claims.
Mar 05, 2010

Mag-abroad ay Di-Biro: A Free seminar on US Immigration Laws

Ang Mag-Abroad ay Hindi Biro: A FREE SEMINAR on US Immigration Laws

WHEN: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, January 31, 2010, Sunday
WHERE: YMCA Phil (Near SM Manila), 7th floor Hotel Indah
Manila, 350 A. Villegas St, Ermita, Manila

RESOURCE PERSON: California-based Filipino Immigration lawyer ATTY. ADOLFO NABOR from Baler, Aurora Province will be the resource person. His areas of expertise are immigration concerns, personal injury and family petitions. website: http://alnaborlaw.com

He will discuss the various facets of US immigration which will be helpful both to those with pending petitions with either the US Embassy, Citizenship and Immigration Services in the US or the Department of State as with those dealing with the CFO on J-visa waiver applications, as well as those planning to file applications like those professionals (e.g. nurses) looking for possible employment in the US.

Atty. Nabor is visiting the country and the free seminar is his modest way of giving back to his roots.

The purpose of the seminar is

* to give an explanation of the US Immigration process
* help applicants do a self assessment of their chances of migrating to the US
* describe some of the important requirements for migrating, studying, or for working in the US
* give new migrants a clear picture of the challenges they will be facing when they arrive in the US
* give new migrants a clear picture of the challenges they will be facing when they arrive in the US
* desribe some pre-departure decisions, would be migrants should think about
* describe the possible scenarios that could happen to migrants
* give new migrants tips on how they can minimize risks and avoid common mistakes

It is NOT the intention of the seminar to

* provide legal advice – nothing from the seminar should be taken as legal advice
* promote migration to the US – this is not a marketing or sales seminar. If your intention is simply to know more about the US as a country from books or from the internet.

PARTICIPANTS: Slots are limited so we request the participants to pre-register. Preference is given to those who have already lodged their application at the US Embassy or with pending petitions

Please confirm your attendance by sending us an email with your name and contact details at the following offices:

CENTER FOR MIGRANT ADVOCACY PHILIPPINES –
Email: <cmaphils@pldtdsl.net> or ellenesana@yahoo.com or call Tel 433-0684

COMMISSION ON OVERSEAS FILIPINOS
Email: mieo@cfo.gov.ph

Jan 21, 2010   Philippines

CCOFW_short_and_long_statements_2

Migrant rights groups led by CCOFW ask President Arroyo to veto the amendatory law on RA8042, specifically the provision for mandatory insurance and the retention of the discriminatory provision on money claims.
Mar 05, 2010

What was then Temporary now an Official Policy

President Macapaga Arroyo’s administrative Order No. 247 issued in December 2008 tells the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to “execute a paradigm shift by refocusing its function from regulation o full blast market development efforts, the exploration of frontier, fertile job markets for Filipino expartite workers, in the heat of the global economic meltdown when hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers were being laid off elsewhere.”
Jan 18, 2010

invite_to_seminar_on_US_immigration_version_2

Ang Mag-Abroad ay Hindi Biro: A FREE SEMINAR on US Immigration Laws

WHEN: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, January 31, 2010, Sunday
WHERE: YMCA Phil (Near SM Manila), 7th floor Hotel Indah
Manila, 350 A. Villegas St, Ermita, Manila

RESOURCE PERSON: California-based Filipino Immigration lawyer ATTY. ADOLFO NABOR from Baler, Aurora Province will be the resource person. His areas of expertise are immigration concerns, personal injury and family petitions. website: http://alnaborlaw.com

He will discuss the various facets of US immigration which will be helpful both to those with pending petitions with either the US Embassy, Citizenship and Immigration Services in the US or the Department of State as with those dealing with the CFO on J-visa waiver applications, as well as those planning to file applications like those professionals (e.g. nurses) looking for possible employment in the US.

Atty. Nabor is visiting the country and the free seminar is his modest way of giving back to his roots.

The purpose of the seminar is

* to give an explanation of the US Immigration process
* help applicants do a self assessment of their chances of migrating to the US
* describe some of the important requirements for migrating, studying, or for working in the US
* give new migrants a clear picture of the challenges they will be facing when they arrive in the US
* give new migrants a clear picture of the challenges they will be facing when they arrive in the US
* desribe some pre-departure decisions, would be migrants should think about
* describe the possible scenarios that could happen to migrants
* give new migrants tips on how they can minimize risks and avoid common mistakes

It is NOT the intention of the seminar to

* provide legal advice – nothing from the seminar should be taken as legal advice
* promote migration to the US – this is not a marketing or sales seminar. If your intention is simply to know more about the US as a country from books or from the internet.

PARTICIPANTS: Slots are limited so we request the participants to pre-register. Preference is given to those who have already lodged their application at the US Embassy or with pending petitions

Please confirm your attendance by sending us an email with your name and contact details at the following offices:

CENTER FOR MIGRANT ADVOCACY PHILIPPINES –
Email: <cmaphils@pldtdsl.net> or ellenesana@yahoo.com or call Tel 433-0684

COMMISSION ON OVERSEAS FILIPINOS
Email: mieo@cfo.gov.ph
Jan 21, 2010

What was then Temporary now an Official Policy

President Macapaga Arroyo’s administrative Order No. 247 issued in December 2008 tells the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to “execute a paradigm shift by refocusing its function from regulation o full blast market development efforts, the exploration of frontier, fertile job markets for Filipino expartite workers, in the heat of the global economic meltdown when hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers were being laid off elsewhere.”
Jan 18, 2010

Migrants Rights Groups and Unions say No to Compulsory insurance, 2009

Filipino migrants and trade union groups oppose the proposed mandatory insurance coverage for land-based migrant workers with recruiters. The group asserted that at best, the insurance should only be voluntary as there already exist various mandatory insurance programs for OFWs.
This statement is an updated version of an earlier issuance from the same groups. It was submitted to the members of the bicameral conference committee on RA 8042 before their meeting on November 18, 2009.
Nov 19, 2009

No to Compulsory Insurance Scam 2009

Migrants and workers organizations have expressed their strong opposition to a proposed amendment to the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, or RA 8042, seeking to make it mandatory for recruitment agencies to insure the workers they send abroad.

“The compulsory insurance coverage in the proposed amendment looks good on paper, but in the guise of a benefit for our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), it is actually an added burden to them,” said an alliance of migrant worker organizations and trade unions. “On closer inspection, the insurance actually protects, not our OFWs, but the recruitment agencies, absolving them of liability should anything happen to the worker abroad.”
Nov 16, 2009

OSG- Insurance for OFWs, OK as Voluntary not mandatory

In May 2004, the Office of the Solicitor General said that the proposal for compulsory insurance for OFWs need not be mandatory and may be done only on voluntary basis. It went on to say that a careful study of the proposal would show that it may not exactly be advantageous to the OFWs.
Oct 19, 2009

No to Proposed Compulsory Insurance for OFWs, Yes to OFW Protection!

Migrants rights groups and trade unions oppose the proposal for a compulsory insurance coverage for ofws. They proposed instead to improve the OWWA through a legislated charter as well as other programs and services of the government for ofw and their families.
Oct 12, 2009

List of Absentee Voters whos Record has been Removed

List of Overseas Absentee Voters
whose records have been removed
from the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters
as of Jan. 6, 2009

Source: Atty. Tamondong of the Comelec Committee on Overseas Absentee Voter

available at the Comelec website http://www.comelec.gov.ph/oavlist/deactivated.aspx

In the Overseas Absentee Voting Law (Republic Act No. 9189) as per Sec. 9: The entries in the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters and the annotations as overseas absentee voters in the Certified Voters’ List can be cancelled or amended in any of the following cases:

9.1. When the overseas absentee voter files a letter under oath addressed to the Commission that he/she wishes to be removed from the Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters, or that his/her name be transferred to the regular registry of voters; or,

9.2. When an overseas absentee voter’s name was ordered removed by the Commission from the Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters for his/her failure to exercise his/her right to vote under this Act for two (2) consecutive national elections

to request a copy please do email us at cmaphils@pldtdsl.net

thank you!

Jul 01, 2009   Philippines

Philhealth Service Office in Hong Kong

Finally Philhealth will open a servcie office in Hong Kong and will also cover Macau! We realize that this has been long time coming. We are launching this in Hong Kong at the Bayanihan Center on August 02 2009 at 2:00pm.

For this purpose, may we please solicit your assistance to have this announced in your various International partners and Filipino organizations in Hong Kong. If possible please announce also that we are inviting our OFWs to attend the launching at the Bayanihan Center on Auguts 2, 2009 and, more importantly, be aware that Philihealth is now in Hong Kong to be of service to them.

We are sending our Philhealth Officer, Ms. Paulina B. Taguinod once every quarter for a period of two weeks each time. She will be based at the Philippine Consulate. Her contact number is 0918-9635396 and email address at paulinabtaguinod@yahoo.com

By:
Evangeline Cruzado, MNSA, CESO III
Senior Manager, Special Programs Department

Jul 01, 2009   Philippines

philhealth_letter_150.jpg

OAV Registration Poster

The Philippines will conduct its national elections in May 2010, voting for office candidates as high-ranking as president and vice-president of the country. This becomes the third occasion wherein Filipinos overseas may exercise their right of suffrage under Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) Law. When the OAV was first implemented in 2004, a sixty five percent vote turn out from the total overseas absentee voters registration was achieved. It became clear to stakeholders the limitations in implementing the law. These identified limitations and weaknesses surfaced visibly in the 2007 mid-term elections where the overseas absentee voting participation was only 16.2%.

For the upcoming elections, the registration period started last February 1, 2009 and will run 8 hours a day, 5 days a week until August 31, 2009 in all 91 Philippine foreign service posts around the globe. In the Philippines, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), together with the Department of Foreign Affairs Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA OAVS) have established OAV registration desks at the Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and at the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) for Filipinos leaving for abroad, both returning and new hired OFWs.

The purpose of the OAV is to ensure participation of overseas Filipinos in political and electoral exercises in the Philippines. It is an important mechanism for overseas Filipinos to make their voices heard, wherever they maybe. How will they perform in 2010? Will it be with the same vigor and energy as in 2004 or the almost uneventful 2007?

As migrants rights advocates, we do not wait and imagine how it will be. It is imperative that this early, while there is still time, we exert efforts to inspire once more our Overseas Kababayans to register, participate and exercise their right to vote in the 2010 elections.

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Statement of the Philippine Migrant Rights Groups to the UN Migrant Workers Committee on its 10th Session

Apr 21, 2009

PMRW Statement on Administrative Orders 247 and 248

PMRW expresses grave concern on the issuance of AO 247 and 248 as these, AO 247 in particular runs counter to government’s stated policy that it does not promote labor export. [go to http://www.pinoy-abroad.net/lungga/index.shtml?w=p&c=-&s=-&x=-for the AO text]
Jan 22, 2009

CMA Statement to the NGO Meeting of the UN Committee on the Migrant Workers Convention

CMA’s statement to the NGO Meeting of the UN Committee on the Migrant Workers Convention. It was delivered by Atty. Cecilia Jimenez of the Geneva Forum for Philippine Concerns.
Jan 12, 2009

No To Pichay As OWWA Administrator!

Migrant NGOs and Trade union groups reject the appointment of Former Congressman Prospero Pichay as OWWA Administrator, Assert the Right to Participate in selecting the Next OWWA Chief
Jul 31, 2008

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Cebu Provincial Board Adopts Resolution to Assail Return Directive Policy of EU

Oct 01, 2008   Philippines

A Survey on OWWA and Elements of a Legislative OWWA Proposal

For the entire month of July 2008, CMA, with support from FES and its partners and networks of OFWs, conducted a survey among OFWs in regard to their perception and knowledge of OWWA. The critical issues and elements of a legislative proposal on OWWA were discussed at the end of the report.
Dec 12, 2008

Global Campaign to Restructure OWWA

Greetings to our OFWs! Mainit na pagbati mula sa CMA! The Center for Migrant Advocacy is holding an outreach campaign to restructure OWWA in order to ensure that OWWA is best serving the needs of our OFWs, both on-site and returnees. For over a decade, OFWs have been campaigning for OWWA to restructure its organization. In 2003 OWWA unilaterally promulgated new Omnibus Policies. Since 2004 PMRW, other groups and the OFWs have been battling the OWWA Board in court, challenging the legal premise of the Omnibus Policies and trying to make OWWA serve the needs of our OFWs. Now, as the law suit waits for resolution by the Supreme Court, we are initiating this new campaign to draft a legislative proposal to replace the Omnibus Policies and to restructure the OWWA organization. OWWA is your organization – it was created for your protection, and holds a fund for your benefit! Therefore, your opinion on OWWA is very important in deciding what OWWA should be! Please take 10 minutes to take this survey, and help us to tell Congress what OFWs really need from OWWA! Thank you! ***************************************************************************************************************** Please email your answers to the attached document to reviseowwa@gmail.com
Jun 30, 2008   Philippines

COMELEC Resolution No. 8458

General Instructions for the Resumption of Continuing Registration/Certification of Qualified Overseas Absentee Voters for Purposes of the May 10, 2010 National Elections and Subsequent National Elections Therafter
May 28, 2008   Philippines

Comments on Amendatory Bills on Overseas Absentee Voting

The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, jointly with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs had an initial deliberation on the proposed amendatory bills to the Overseas Absentee Voting Law, RA9189. Atty. Henry Rojas, CMA Legal Counsel shares his comments on the proposed bills. CMA supports HB 2046, specifically the proposal to repeal Section 5(d) on the requirement for Filipino immigrants and permanent residents to execute an affidavit of intent to return.
Feb 26, 2008   Philippines

Why MC No. 4 Will Not Work

CMA Legal Counsel Atty Henry S. Rojas explains why DOLE-POEA’s MC #4, Series of 2007 on guidelines on direct hiring of OFWs will not work.
Feb 12, 2008

CMA Letter to DOLE Secretary Brion on MC4

CMA writes to DOLE Secretary Brion who also serves as chair of the governing board of POEA expressing grave concerns on memorandum circular 4 on direct hires.
Feb 12, 2008

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CMA launches the On-line Resource Center for Filipino Healthcare Professionals

In response to the controversial Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), CMA launches today a website for those who are interested to work in Japan as nurses/caregivers. the link is http://www.japan.pinoy-abroad.net.
Feb 06, 2008   Philippines

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GCC Forum on Migrant Workers

On 21-22 January 2008, the Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment And Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin and Destination in Asia was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Ministerial meeting, the first meeting to be hosted by a receiving country, aimed to highlight the potential of contractual labour to benefit overseas workers as well as the development of countries of origin and destination in Asia.

Held back to back with the Ministerial meeting was the Forum on Contractual Labor in GCC Countries: Opportunities and Challenges which was organized by the UAE Ministry of Labor and the Council of Ministers of Labor and Social Affairs in GCC States, in collaboration with the IOM, ILO Sub-Regional Office for Arab States and the Arab Labor Organization on 23-24 January.

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) was invited to participate in the GCC Forum. MFA members who participated in the forum were: Dr. Chowdhury Abrar (RMMRU, Bangladesh), Rafeek Azeez (CIMS, India), Ellene Sana (CMA, Philippines) and William Gois (MFA Regional Coordinator).

The meetings came up with two documents, namely:
* Abu Dhabi Declaration of Asian Countries of Origin and Destination
* Gulf Forum on Temporary Contractual Labour Recommendations

Jan 29, 2008   United Arab Emirates

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Statement_vs_Compulsory_Insurance_for_OFWs

Letter of Protest to Korean Government on Crackdown on MTU

On December 18, international migrants day, Philippine labor and migrants’ rights activists staged a protest action infront of the South Korean embassy in Makati; they delivered a letter of protest to the South Korean Ministry of Justice to protest the crackdown on migrant leaders of the KCTU-affiliated Migrants Trade Union.
Dec 19, 2007

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CMA Statement on Proposed Bills to Create OFW Hospitals

CMA’s statement to the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment on the proposed bills to create an OFW Hospital. response of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is also attached.
Nov 25, 2007

Proceedings of October 22 Consultation on GFMD

On October 22, CMA and MFA initiated the convening of an initial consultation on next year’s Global Forum on MIgration and Development (GFMD). It was attended by Manila-based migrants rights advocates. Initial plans for the official GFMD and the CSO Day were shared by DFA and Ayala Foundation. Lola Grande also shared information on the planned September 2008 international conference on women migrants MFA also shared its initial plans for the holding of parallel events next year.
Nov 01, 2007

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Final Statement of Task Force on the ASEAN Migrant Workers

On September 24, 2007, a national consultation was convened in Manila by the Task Force in ASEAN Migrant Workers. This was the 4th country-based consultation, following Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The consultation produced a Manila Statement that contains two sets of recommendations –one for the ASEAN body as a collective and one for the Philippine government on the ways to move forward the commitment to promote and protect the human rights of overseas Filipino migrant workers and their families as well as the other migrant workers in ASEAN. The Manila Statement was submitted to the ASEAN Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment. It will also be submitted to the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA).

Sep 24, 2007   Philippines

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Dr. Alfredo J. Ganapin Forum II, Year 3 %22 Promoting and Fulfiliing the Human Rights of Migrants- Revisiting RA 8042 and Beyond%22

On September 24, 2007, a national consultation was convened in Manila by the Task Force in ASEAN Migrant Workers. This was the 4th country-based consultation, following Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The consultation produced a Manila Statement that contains two sets of recommendations –one for the ASEAN body as a collective and one for the Philippine government on the ways to move forward the commitment to promote and protect the human rights of overseas Filipino migrant workers and their families as well as the other migrant workers in ASEAN. The Manila Statement was submitted to the ASEAN Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment. It will also be submitted to the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA).
Jul 30, 2007

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Junk JPEPA!

The Philippines stands to lose in the JPEPA deal. It will not contribute to the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers nor promote the Filipino people’s right to development. The Philippine Senate should junk JPEPA!
Jun 08, 2007

Dr. Alfredo J. Ganapin Advocacy Forum 1 Series 2007- On Asean Declaration on Migrants Rights- What’s Next?

The forum aims to discuss the next steps to take in terms of advocacy campaigns, following the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. Resource persons are Assec. Luis Cruz of the ASEAN Affairs, Ambassador Rosario Manalo of the High Level Task Force on ASEAN and William Gois for Migrant Forum in Asia. The forum is organized by CMA, MFA and FES.
Feb 21, 2007

CMA statement on the new poea policies for domestic workers

CMA welcomes the intent of POEA to institute policy reforms to improve and uplift the working and living conditions of domestic workers and caregivers.We question however the lack of consultation with migrant workers and advocates on the matter that now result to problems and confusion.There are serious concerns also on the mechanisms for the effective implementation of such policies.
Jan 31, 2007