New Filipino caregivers to get ‘substantial financial benefits’ in Israel

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2019   •   939

Filipino migrant workers welcome President Rodrigo Duterte during his state visit to Israel on Sept 03, 2018 | Courtesy: RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Israel finally completed all legal procedures for the implementation of a labor agreement for the protection of Filipino home-based caregivers who wish to work in the state.

In a press release, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that both countries have recently ratified the “Agreement on the Temporary Employment of Filipino Home-Based Caregivers between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the State of Israel.”

According to Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial, the implementation of the agreement is expected within this year.

“The agreement is a product of difficult and lengthy negotiations by several government agencies. After ratification, we now move to ensure the speedy implementation of the agreement within the year,” he said.

In the Instrument of Ratification he signed on June 13, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said the agreement will eliminate “the charging and payment of illegal fees throughout the process of recruitment and employment” for applying Filipino caregivers as they will be protected under the government to government labor arrangement without any intervention from private recruitment agencies in the Philippines.

Once implemented, new Filipino caregivers who wish to work in Israel will gain ‘substantial financial benefits’ by saving between $8,000 to $10,000 in illegal fees, according to Ambassador Imperial.

“Given current employment protections, our caregivers stand to gain, over a ten-year period, an unprecedented windfall of about $200 to $300 million that would have otherwise gone to unscrupulous private recruitment agencies,” the Ambassador noted.

Both countries agreed to form a Joint Committee to oversee the overall implementation of the agreement, set to hold its first meeting in August in Israel.  

The agreement was signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Machluf Deri during the President’s visit to Israel in September 2018.

Duterte seeks bilateral labor agreement with Russia for OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 3, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev pose for posterity prior to the start of their bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Moscow on October 2, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to sign a bilateral labor agreement with Russia for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the country.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said that if the agreement pushes through, Filipinos who wish to work in Russia will be granted “legal status.”

There are currently 10,000 Filipinos working in Russia but most of them don’t have legal documents.

“Kapag napirmahan iyan, maaring magkaroon na ng legal status iyong mga gustong mag-trabaho dito. Iba pang usapin iyong legalization o amnesty nung nandito na (Once it is signed, those who wish to work here will be granted legal status. However legalization or amnesty for [OFWs] already working here is a different matter),” Sorreta said.

Sorreta also added that agreements in the sectors of political consultation, health, research, science, and culture are also expected to be signed by the Philippine and Russian governments.

The Philippine government also aims to have energy cooperation with Russia.

Sorreta said there is a possibility that a natural gas plantation will be constructed in the Philippines as well as the possible adoption of nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, President Duterte is also set to speak at the Valdai forum to talk about the Philippine perspective in the world order.

“I think first of all the Philippines is in a very, very great position to speak about the eastern perspective in the world order because we have very deep ties with—for example, the west. Our traditions, our values are heavily dependent on western education,” said Sorreta.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Three injured in suspected attack near Israeli settlement – military

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Three people were injured in a Palestinian attack near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to early reports by the Israeli military on Friday (August 23).

A military spokesman said the attack was carried out near Dolev, a settlement northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“Three people appear to be injured at the scene,” the spokesman said, adding that troops were searching the area.

Israeli news reports said the wounded were Israelis, and that Palestinians had thrown an explosive charge near a water spring popular with hikers in the hilly central region of the West Bank. The first reports came shortly after 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating three people in “serious condition”, including a 46-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. (Reuters)

(Production: Ismail Khadder, Roleen Tafakji)

Israel eases rules on cyber weapons exports despite criticism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Monitor reading ‘Cybergym, you’ve been hacked’ | Courtesy: Reuters

Israel, one of the world’s leading suppliers of spyware, is easing export rules on offensive cyber weapons, despite accusations by human rights and privacy groups that its technologies are used by some governments to spy on political foes and crush dissent.

The United Nations and rights groups are calling for stricter oversight, while in Israel, things seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

The government is offering exemptions in the export licensing process, it is planning a reform in regulation, and in general is trying to remove red tape for selling technologies abroad, government and industry officials told Reuters.

From around the world, teams come to Cybergym, a cyber-warfare training facility backed by the Israel Electric Corporation. There experts learn to defend utilities and critical infrastructure from a growing number of cyber attacks. Cybergym’s CEO, Ofir Hason, said Israel is a leader in the field, not just in thwarting such attacks, but also in offensive capabilities. And when it comes to exporting sophisticated surveillance technologies, he said, there is always a risk they will be misused.

Israel is not the only game in town but its surveillance technologies have been linked to allegations of foreign governments spying on journalists, dissidents and critics.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear he has no intention to over-regulate, even though he acknowledged the risks.

Global demand for offensive cyber systems is on the rise. Few countries are able to develop sophisticated surveillance tools on their own, so Israel’s expertise has enticed foreign governments. Israel would never acknowledge whether this includes countries without formal ties, although Israeli technologies have been linked to scandals in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tel Aviv University Professor Isaac Ben Israel, the father of Israel’s cyber sector and chairman of its space agency, said there was nothing wrong with using these skills to form a bond with neighbours like Saudi Arabia that have shunned formal ties.

Asked if there have ever been problems with exporters, Ben Israel said there have been some instances when licensed companies “cheated a little bit” and withheld information such as which groups would be receiving the hacking tools.

The head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency said cyber warfare is becoming more prominent in the global arena. But he called on private tech companies to coordinate closely with the government to make sure innocent people are not targeted. (Reuters)

(Production; Elana Ringler, Rami Amichay)

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