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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DOLE Chief Orders Full Support to OFWs

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has asked all regional directors of umbrella agency, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), to give full support to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), both active and inactive.

In her statement during the launching of the regional programs and projects last week, Secretary Baldoz said, “OWWA regional offices should have a profile of all active and inactive members for livelihood assistance and cash for work and it should be available if the members need it.”

Baldoz said there are funds that are intended for OFW support both from the national government and the employers’ contribution that go to the OWWA Trust fund.

Aside from the OWWA trust fund, the national government is also setting aside P50 million for our OFWs under the National Reintegration Fund. This is for the victims of maltreatment abroad who have come home and decided to work here permanently.

“They should be given alternative employment and livelihood here,” the secretary emphasized.

Baldoz added that the program also includes scholarships for the children of OFWs. She, however, said that active OFWs can also avail themselves of work-related insurance.

“Active and inactive OFWs can avail of all our programs except that only active members can avail of insurance since insurance is connected with their being active workers,” she explained.

Baldoz has also asked OWWA-9 Regional Director Hassan Gabra Jumdain to submit a separate report if there are OWWA members that are victims of the September 2013 MNLF-Misuari Group attack in the city.

“I want a separate report if there are members who are victims of the recent crisis in Zamboanga City and what are the assistance extended to them,” she stressed. (FPG/MVC/PIA9-ZBST)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Baldoz to DOLE regional directors: Fast-track release of livelihood budget to survivors of calamity

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz  ordered all DOLE regional directors and program managers to fast-track the release of DOLE Integrated Livelihood Assistance Program (DILP) funds in order to enable survivors to earn decent incomes and quickly recover from the effects of the calamities.

“My instruction during our DOLE-wide planning exercise was to already roll out in the first month of 2014 the DILP funds given us by Congress, either for our regular programs or for rebuilding after Typhoon Yolanda. February is almost over, and March is coming, so I expect that our livelihood assistance to calamity survivors will already be making headway,” said Baldoz , as she expressed concern over the seemingly snail-paced move of program managers to implement programs, DOLE said in  statement.

Baldoz said the DOLE targets 100,000 emergency and livelihood program beneficiaries this 2014 under a regular budget of P609.8 million and 102,011 beneficiaries under Yolanda projects with a budget of P883.98 million for the full year. “We have targets to meet, or even surpass, so we better be prepared and be fast,” she said.

Baldoz, who is in Bohol as keynote speaker in the 2nd Visayas Regional Occupational Safety and Health Summit, said all DOLE regional directors have the responsibility–and are accountable to her–for the implementation of the DILP in convergence with the Departments of Agrarian Reform; Agriculture, Interior and Local Governments; Science and Technology; Environment and Natural Resources; Trade and Industry; Social Welfare and Development; local government units, and other partners.

Baldoz observed that the DOLE Regional Office No. 7 had only released in Bohol Province in January and February P1.159 million in livelihood grants to eight workers’ livelihood enterprises with total beneficiaries of 487 individuals.

In January, the regional office released a total of P425,000 in DILP grants to the Lila Fish Vendors’ Association in Lila, Bohol, for the fish vending activities of its 77 members–55 of whom are female, in the amount of P80,500; Bungahan Farmers Association in Antequera, Bohol, for the duck raising and balut processing business of its 85 farmer-members, 27 of whom are female, in the amount of P114,000; Barangay Livestock Aide, also in Antequera, Bohol, for the duck raising and balut processing business of its 40 members, five of whom are female, in the amount of P114,000; Casabut Organic Farming System in Barangays Cabawan, Agahay, San Roque, Aliguay, Busao, and Toril in Maribojoc, Bohol, for training-cum-production on chorizo and tocino; dress-making; and cassava chips making, of its 21 female members in the amount of P177,000.

At the summit, Baldoz, joined by Bohol Governor Edgar M. Chatto and Regional Director Chona Mantilla, released the amount of P732,152.40 for the livelihood enterprises of 285 individuals, detailed as follows: (1) P269,402 to the Gotozon Balsa Performers’ Association, Loboc, Bohol, whose 92 members are engaged in tourist entertainment. The amount is for rehabilitation of their floating raft destroyed by the Bohol earthquake.

Secretary Baldoz and Gov. Chatto also handed out a check of P118,400 to the Anda Senior Citizens Association, Poblacion, Anda, Bohol, for its 76 members’ goat-raising business; P106,500 to the Lundag Farmers Association, in Anda, Bohol, for its dairy goat-raising business. The association has 37 members, 33 males and four females; P100,000 to the Anda OFW Returnees and Beneficiaries Association for its malunggay kropek business, with 41 beneficiaries, 15 of whom are male and 26 are female; and P137,850 to the Baucan Norte Farmers Association, in  Balilihan, Bohol, for its dairy goat-raising enterprise. The association has 39 members, 25 of whom are male and 14 are female.(

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Friday, December 13, 2013

OWWA Identifies 6 of 7 Filipinos Killed In The Yemen Attack

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) yesterday identified six of the seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were killed in the recent terrorists attack in Yemen.
OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon identified the six slain OFWs as Dr. Ruben Valenzuela, Hezel Pueblos, Edward Anthony de Guzman, Marivic Corilla Bandenas, Marian David and Aurora Gormate Yumul.

The victims’ families were already informed of the benefits accorded to them being documented workers in Yemen.

Dimzon also said that the families were also told that they are already working out on the repatriation of the victims’ remains but could not give further details on the exact date of the arrival because of the tight December booking.

Dimzon, however, did give any comment on the seventh female nurse victim who was also killed in the attack.

Dimzon said they are still coordinating with Yemen authorities to give them pertinent documents so that they could also inform the family of the victim.

The OWWA administrator added the agency has no record with them on the seventh victim neither with the Philippine Overseas Employment and Administration (POEA).

According to Dimzon, she admitted that out of 1,500 OFWs in Yemen, only 900 of them were documented and members of the agency. She said that together with the other agencies, they have already sent a team in Yemen to meet the OFWs who wanted a voluntary repatriation.

DOLE to OFWs: Observe, learn, and comply with KSA law

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) advises overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to strictly observe, and follow the KSA law.

“Observe, comply, and honor the laws in your country of destination,” Labor & Employment chief Rosalinda Baldoz, in a statement said.

The labor chief made the statement after receiving a letter from the Assistant Secretary Petronila P. Garcia of the Department of Foreign Affairs informing the DOLE of a recent issuance from Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) entitled “Rules Governing Law-Breaching Foreign Workers”.

According to the said issuance, the Ministry of Interior, represented by its law enforcement agencies, shall undertake the pursuit, apprehension, penalizing, and deportation of foreign workers who work for their own account, or illegal labor; those who abscond from work; overstayers, including holders of Hajj, Umrah, tourism, medical treatment, transit, or visit (of all types) visas; and infiltrators arrested outside the border area. It will also pursue anyone who employs offending foreign wokers; allows his workers to work for their own account; provides cover, harbors, or transports the same or aids them by any means, as well as recruiters who do not report overstaying recruits.

An offending foreign worker shall be deported at the expense of the employer, unless the worker absconds from work and is reported immediately. Foreign workers entering the Kingdom under Hajj or Umrah visa, visit visa of all types, or other types of visa, or absconded from work, shall be deported at the expense of the person employing him.

If he is working on his own account, he shall be deported at his own expense, or at the expense of the state, if he cannot afford a ticket.

Otherwise, he shall be deported at the expense of the company, establishment, or person sponsoring his visit, the carrier, or the person providing him with cover. Any deported foreigner shall be prohibited from entering the Kingdom, in accordance with the periods and procedures specified in regulations to be issued, pursuant to a decision by the Minister of the Interior.

Hajj and Umrah companies and establishment shall notify the competent authorities of any visitor who overstays his Hajj or Umrah visa.

The same should be done by a person sponsoring a visitor who prolongs his stay in the Kingdom.

Otherwise, said sponsor shall be deemed to be committing an instance of cover up. Companies, private establishments, and individuals should ensure that the foreign workers they hire obtain and renew their iqama, or the residence, and work permits in due time.

They should not employ workers of third parties, nor allow their workers to work for third parties, without following established statutory rules or work for their account. Within five days, they should notify the competent authorities of workers absconding from work.

Violators of this rule will be deprived of the right to obtain work or visit visa for a period not exceeding five years.

Government agencies should also ensure that all foreigners working for them or in fields falling within their jurisdictions have valid iqama and work permits or are employed under officially approved contracts.

“It pays to be obedient. You will never go wrong if you are following the rules and regulations of any country you are in,” Baldoz said.

“If you have nothing to worry about, you can do you work properly and you will be able to realize what you came there for,” Baldoz added.

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