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Gov’t to issue guidelines on foreigners seeking jobs in PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Foreign employees working at the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT)

MANILA, Philippines – The government of President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to issue a new set of guidelines for foreign nationals intending to work in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Tuesday (June 11).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the issuance of new rules for foreign workers was discussed during their Cabinet meeting on Monday after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on the status of foreign employees in the country.

Panelo said the joint memorandum circular (JMC) will be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, Department of Justice, Bureau of Internal revenue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Professional Regulation Commission, Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

He said the issuance of the JMC is requested to harmonize policy guidelines for foreign nationals seeking jobs in the Philippines.

“Through this JMC, foreign nationals shall first secure an alien employment permit, a working visa, and a tax identification number before they can be permitted to work in the country,” the presidential spokesman said.

The top foreign nationals working in the country, according to Panelo, are Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. They are mostly working in administrative support, offshore gaming operations, and business process outsourcing.

The Palace official’s statement follows concerns raised by several lawmakers over the surge of Chinese workers in the Philippines who allegedly do not have legal work permits and have entered the country using tourist visas.

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PH to deploy social welfare attachés for OFWs under new law

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law establishing the Office for Social Welfare Attaché to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFW), especially those who have fallen prey to illegal recruiters.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11299 on April 17, a copy of which was made public on Monday (July 15).

The newly-signed law amended the Republic Act 8402 or the Migrant Workers Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 to include the said office.

It mandates the Office for Social Welfare Attaché (SWA) to deploy personnel to countries with large concentration of Filipino workers, as determined in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Under the measure, a social welfare attaché’s duty includes management of cases of Filipino workers in distress, such as victims of trafficking or illegal recruitment, rape or sexual abuse, maltreatment and other forms of physical or mental abuse, and case of abandoned or neglected children;

SWAs are also mandated to undertake survey and prepare social welfare situationer on the OFWs in their areas of assignment; establish a network with overseas-based social welfare agencies or individuals which may be mobilized to assist in the provision of appropriate services.

They should also respond to and monitor the resolution of problems and complaints or queries of Filipino workers and their families; establish and maintain a data bank and documentation of OFWs and their families to provide effective social welfare services; submit regular reports on plans and activities undertaken, recommendations and updates on the situation of OFWs.

The law states that the budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development while the DFA, DOLE, the Department of Health and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are tasked to craft the measure’s implementing rules and regulations within 60 days after the effectivity of this act.

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Palace not keen on Robredo impeachment talk

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo | Courtesy : OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday distanced itself from the impeachment threat against Vice President Leni Robredo over her remarks supporting a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution seeking to review the human rights situation in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it will leave it to the courts to decide whether Robredo should be impeached.

“You know, we have better things to do. There are so many problems in this country. I will leave it to those who would want to initiate whatever they want to initiate against whomsoever,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace press briefing.

The Palace official made the statement after Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Manuelito Luna threatened to file an impeachment rap against Robredo for backing the resolution seeking to probe the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Vice President Robredo’s expression of support to the UNHRC against the Philippine government may cause her to be impeached,” Luna said in a statement.

“For the nth time, she has made it appear that the government is guilty of human rights abuses, and that’s betrayal of public trust,” he added.

Luna, however, clarified his statement was just a warning.

When asked if Robredo’s expression of support for the UN resolution can be used to impeach her, Panelo replied: “If gross ignorance is the ground for impeachment, is that a ground under the Constitution? But I will let the advocate pursue that line.”

“There are many legal opinions as there are lawyers, impeachment court will be the ultimate decider of that legal issue,” he added. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte signs law on student fare discount on all modes of transportation

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the bill imposing a 20 percent fare discount for students on all modes of public transportation.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11314 or the Student Fare Discount Act on April 17 but was only made public on Monday (July 15).

Under the law, a 20 percent discount for domestic regular fares of all kinds of public transportation shall be provided to students during the entire time they are enrolled in elementary, secondary, technical-vocational or higher education institution.

The law covers public utility buses, jeepneys, taxis and similar vehicles-for-hire, tricycles, passenger trains, aircrafts and marine vessels.

Student fare discount was only previously available for land transportation.

To avail the discount, the student should present his duly-issued school identification card or current validated enrollment form supported by the prescribed government-issued identification document.

The measure, however, does not apply to school service, shuttle service, tourist and any similar service covered by contract agreement and with valid franchise or permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The law also does not cover individuals enrolled in dancing, swimming or driving schools and other informal short courses of seminar type and post-graduate studies.

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