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Senate recommends crackdown on foreign illegal workers

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 26 November 2018 06:49 PM

PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Senate has launched an investigation into the alleged growing number of illegal foreign workers in the country.

The Senate, in particular, is concerned about the growing number Chinese workers employed locally without proper documents especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) wherein their number has already reached up to around 200,000.

“Kapag umikot ka po dito sa NCR dun po sa BGC, sa eastwood, kung saan, tingin ko hindi lang 200,000,” observed Senator Joel Villanueva.

The senators are questioning the actions being taken by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in monitoring the activities of foreign workers especially those working illegally across the country.

The DOLE is the only agency that issues alien employment permit to foreigners applying for working visa at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

According to the Senate, the DOLE should carefully screen all applications for special working permits especially those whose permits have already expired and are already overstaying.

“The policy issue I think, if they are still here beyond 6 months,” said DOLE Usec. Ciriaco Lagunzad.

The BI reports that there are around 119,000 foreigners already issued with special work permits. The agency admits that most of these numbers are Chinese nationals.

“Most of them are Chinese and they are work for POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators),” confirmed Atty. Homer Arellano, Chief for Prosecution and Legal Assistance, BI.

The lawmakers also are looking into the scheme of illegal workers where they use a tourist visa to enter the country then find a job afterwards.

Based on BI’s records, there are around 1.6M people were granted Chinese Tourist visa for this year.

Senator Grace Poe said her colleagues in the Senate all agree on a crackdown against illegal Chinese and other foreign workers.

“Kailagan talaga magkaroon ng crackdown. Sinabi nga ng commitee na ito na proactively… puntahan itong mga sites na ito, hingan sila talaga ng work permit kasi national security issue rin yan,” Poe said.

The BI admits they are lacking in personnel who will do the inspection. Overall, BI only has 80 inspectors deployed across the country.

The DOLE said such matter should be among the priority of the government next year. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

 

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Congress eyes investigation on water crisis

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 10:46 AM

The Senate and House of Representatives called on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad, Manila Water, and the National Water Regulatory Board to explain the water service interruptions experienced in Metro Manila.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has already filed a resolution to immediately resolve the issue. He said that thousands of families are already affected by the lack of water supply. This also includes schools, hospitals and business establishments.

Sotto, in a statement, warned that the country might face worse consequences if the problem is not resolved.

“If left unresolved, the water crisis may bring more serious problems to the people and businesses in the affected areas, and may impact the country as a whole,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lower House also filed a separate resolution calling for an investigation on the water shortage.

1-Pacman partylist representative Mikee Romero calls on Malacañang to certify the Department of Disaster Resilience Bill as urgent to expedite the government’s response to different kinds of calamities and crises.

Under the said proposed law, the Department of Disaster Resilience Bill will focus on issues about disaster and climate change preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, recovery, and rehabilitation.

Romero said it can also cover the effects of El Niño in the country.

“I hope HB 8165 can be certified as urgent so the new Department of Disaster Resilience can take the lead on addressing the water crisis aggravated by the ongoing El Nino drought,” he said. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Tulong Trabaho Act signed into law

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 06:53 PM

Welders at a construction site

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Tulong-Trabaho Act which provides its recipients free access to Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The law provides funds that will finance scholarships, as well as allowance and transportation of recipients who will be trained in programs needed by the industry.

The allotted fund will be administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

According to Sen. Joel Villanueva, the principal author of the Tulong Trabaho Act, the law will guarantee jobs for TVET scholars and it will further develop their skills.

“Dahil sa mekanismo na nakalatag sa batas, garantisado po ang trabaho dahil paglalaanan ng pondo ang mga Tech-Voc programs na akma sa pangangailangan ng ating mga industriya. Itataguyod nito ang isang market-driven na sistema sa paglaan ng scholarship funds [Because of the law’s mechanism, jobs are guaranteed because funds will be given to Tech-Voc programs that matches the need of the industry. It will establish a market-driven system in allotting scholarship funds],” Villanueva said in a statement.

Individuals who are qualified to become scholars under Tulong Trabaho Act should be: a) at least 15 years old who are not employed, not in education and not in training (NEET); or b) employed workers, who intend to develop and expand their current skills and training.

The TESDA Regional Directors will assess the recipients and submit a list of qualified recipients to the TESDA Director General for approval. —Aileen Cerrudo

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Senate leadership supports call for Duterte to veto ‘pork insertions’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 05:52 PM


FILE PHOTO: Senate President Vicente Sotto III

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Lawmakers are racing against time to finally pass the P3.7 trillion proposed 2019 national budget as they have until Friday (February 8) to extend session and to finalize the provisions of the bill.

House Committee on Appropriations Chair Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said the proposed budget may possibly reach the table of President Rodrigo Duterte for signature by next week.

The senators will hold a caucus on Wednesday night to discuss the outcome of discussions at the ongoing bicameral conference committee especially on matters involving the alleged ‘pork insertions’ in the proposed budget.

Once everything is clear, the bill will likely proceed to ratification.

For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he is likely to support the position of Senator Panfilo Lacson who is calling on President Duterte to veto the alleged ‘pork insertions’ in the bill, if necessary.

“Kung nararapat at kung talagang maliwanag na pork, bakit hindi? Dapat i-veto,” Sotto said.

Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, said the passage of the proposed national budget remains their top priority at this point.

Angara argued that unless the proposed budget is passed, the government will have no choice but to operate with a reenacted budget until July.

“Walang defined item for 2019. Maybe if there are savings in agencies, then they will use that, or there are funds na, unprogrammed funds, hindi natuloy ang project, doon nila kukunin ang pondo,” Angara explained.

Under a reenacted budget, all pending projects of the government for this year will definitely be affected.

Among them is the preparation for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections, specifically the lack of funds for honoraria for teachers who will serve as election officers in the polls. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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