DOLE: No mandatory repatriation order for OFWs in Hong Kong

Freema Gloria   •   October 21, 2019   •   307

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) clarified that it has not issued mandatory repatriation for Overseas Filipino Workers in Hong Kong despite the ongoing civil unrest there.

This clarification was released after an alleged post on social media claimed that the government imposed mandatory repatriation of the OFWs due to the continuing protest rallies in the area.

“Right now, there is no communication from the DFA and even from the consulate of Hong Kong regarding the possibility of repatriation, either voluntary or mandatory. We are in close coordination with the DFA for any development,” said DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

In the same statement, Bello called on the public to refrain from spreading the said post to avoid aggravating the situation which might endanger the lives of Filipinos working in Hong Kong.

“I urge the public to ignore this fake news on the internet. For those spreading it, please stop and let us not aggravate the situation and endanger our OFWs. We should help our OFWs there by not giving them false news about repatriation,” he said.

The Secretary also stated that not a single OFW has gone yet to their office asking for repatriation assistance.

DOLE reiterated to the OFWs in Hong Kong that it is safer for them to just stay inside their working place and avoid wearing black t-shirts for them not to be tagged as taking part in the protest.

Moreover, the department has initially released a statement that it has not ordered a deployment ban in Hong Kong. — FSG (from the report of Aiko Miguel)

Bello tells OFWs: Be entrepreneurs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 15, 2019

Filipino household workers who were repatriated from Kuwait arrive at Manila’s international airport, Philippines, 21 February 2018. According to media reports, Cebu Pacific (CEB) airlines provided airlift support for at least 396 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were repatriated from Kuwait.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has advised seafarers and other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to go back to the Philippines and start their own business.

This was his message during the 2019 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition on November 8. The competition is an annual search for the best business proposals among seafarers.

In his message read by Undersecretary Renato Ebarle, Bello assured seafarers that the government, together with the private sector and non-government organizations, is always ready to help OFWs towards productive reintegration.

The competition aims to provide start-up capital, training, and mentoring for the winners and their proposed businesses.

Seafarer Gary Esguerra was hailed as this year’s winner for his “green” slippers business proposal.

Esguerra aims to replace disposable slippers, commonly provided by hotels and resorts, with ‘greener’ slippers made from abaca residue as soles and by incorporating seeds inside the slippers.

He also said the slippers will decompose easier compared to the regular disposable slippers. Esguerra received P500,000 as start-up capital.

Meanwhile, NRCO OIC-Director Roel Martin announced that a similar business plan competition for land-based OFWs is set to be launched in the first quarter of 2020.—AAC

Claim that Build, Build, Build program is a failure: Fake news – Cayetano

Maris Federez   •   November 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano called out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for his statement that the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program was a “dismal failure”.

Cayetano said Drilon’s claim was fake news, pointing out that the Duterte Administration has implemented more infrastructure projects than the past administrations.

“Sa budget pa lang makikita mo na yun. Sa sincerity andiyan din. It’s being done not just for politics but to give people. A safe and comfortable life. Ang tiningnan lang ng senado iyong flagship programs alone and then tiningnan lang nila ano iyong naumpisahan ano iyong hindi,” Cayetano said. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

9th OFW Summit in Pasay highlights concepts of financial literacy, entrepreneurship

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – At least 4,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their dependents attended the 9th OFW and Family Summit held on Tuesday at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The event, with the theme “Kabuhayan sa Sariling Bayan,” highlighted the concepts of financial literacy and entrepreneurship as well as business start-ups and trends.

The summit was spearheaded by the Villar Family through its foundation, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and other government and non-government agencies.

“Masaya po kami dahil napakaraming kababayan na OFW ang nagpunta at nagpakita ng interes sa mga livelihood or business opportunities dito sa Pilipinas na maaari nilang paglagyan ng kinita nila abroad para magkaroon ng sariling kabuhayan dito sa atin,” Sen. Cynthia Villar said in a separate statement.

“Gusto talaga namin na maraming mahikayat na ang katuparan ng mga pangarap ay hindi lamang makukuha kapag tayo ay nag-abroad. Pwede din tayong magtagumpay sa sariling bayan natin,” she added.

Resource persons invited to the summit from various agencies discussed topics on financial literacy and provided guidance on how to seize opportunities and become entrepreneurs.

“Iyon ang intention namin na in the future na babalik sila sa Pilipinas, dapat y’ong mga pamilya nila, mayroon ng hanapbuhay na naghihintay sa kanila para pwede na silang mag-retire at mag-operate na lang dito sa Pilipinas.” Villar told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

“Hindi nila kailangang magtayo ng restaurant kung ang galing mo care-giving; or ikaw ay graphic artist, pwede kang graphic designer at ‘yon ang iyong negosyo,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Concerns of OFWs on where to find accredited recruitment agencies, what agencies to ask help from for problems abroad, and their rights as overseas workers were also tackled during the event.

Participants also enjoyed a raffle draw with prizes such as a house and lot, motorcycles, pangkabuhayan showcases, appliances, and other gadgets. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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