29 September 2010

Scrap Sponsorship System for Expat workers

A couple of days ago I watched the debate on Al Jazeera news concerning the nature of sponsorship system in the GCC countries for the expatriate workers. The human rights watch based in New York has released data that sponsorship in GCC countries was a system that enable a modern day human trafficking. Bahrain even likened the sponsorship system to a modern day bondage labor.

Sponsorship in GCC counties is a mode of system in hiring expat workers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia and The Philippines that has a stricter rule in which every hired expat workers kept under the mercy of the bosses. Often time expat workers were tied in the neck by keeping their passport from their bosses in order to avoid absconding, sometimes abused by not giving benefits and salary agreed upon the contract.

The Human Rights Watch submitted resolution to GCC countries and recommendations of changing the system however, only Bahrain and Kuwait responded to the resolution making Kuwait next to Bahrain to abolish such sponsorship practice. Approximately 45 million expat workers in the GCC countries will benefit if to abolish the sponsorship practice. This worker has given a broader freedom to look for a new job without prior approval of their sponsor after 3 years of service.

In Kuwait, according to the Times of Oman, parliament submitted a new labor law that grants better rights and conditions replacing the old law that was highly criticized as being favourable to the employers at the expense of workers. The new legislation provides better annual leave, end of service benefits and holidays. It also sets tougher penalties, including jail terms for businessmen who trade in visa or who recruit expat workers and then fail to provide those jobs or even fail to give a regular salary. A minimum wage for certain job categories has also been introduced in the new legislation.

Source of Information:

Al Jazeera News Channel
Times of Oman issue Sept. 27, 2010

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28 September 2010

10 Simple Steps to a Healthy Heart

World Heart Day was last September 26th. The theme for 2010 is "Work place wellness". Cardiovascular diseases are the world's largest killers, claiming a total of 17.1 million lives a year. Health Care centres' on the globe was aiming for a massive health education for early detection and proper diagnosis and management as well as prevention.

The risk factors of the heart diseases was basically of the lifestyle of each individual such of this are the massive cigarette smoking, harmful level of alcohol consumption , unhealthy diet and sedentary life style.

The World health Federation has given 10 simple steps to have a healthy and a healthy life.

1. Healthy food intake: Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and avoid saturated fats. Beware of processed foods that in most cases have high level of salt contents. Previously written in my Health and Wellness article I have mentioned that eat raw veggies 2 to 3x a day. You may also refer on my previous article on proper preparation of vegetables as to retain the necessary antioxidants needed on your body.

2. Get active and take heart: Strenuous exercises are not necessarily recommended. Those in the gym were neither discouraged but according to the study that only 30 minutes of regular brisk walking is already a milestone in prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

3. Say no to tobacco: Cigarette smoking will put you at risk halved within a year. You are also at risk in some form of cancer.

4. Maintain a healthy weight: Maintaining your Body Mass Index (BMI) is important. Your weight in relation to your height gives an estimate of how much of your body is made up of fat.

Overweight people are more likely to get heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Maintaining and losing excess weight can improve your quality of life and self confidence

Here's how to take your BMI: Take your weight in kilograms (Kg) and divide it by your height in meters (m) and then divide whatever you get by your height again. BMI is measured in kilograms per square meter.

5. Know your numbers: Visit a Healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels, together with waist- to- hip ratio and your body mass index (BMI).

Once you know your overall risk you can develop a specific health plan of action to improve your heart health.

6. Limit your alcohol intake: Restrict the amount of alcoholic drinks that you consume. According to some study, 1 or 2 shots in a day are ok. The health benefits of alcohol consumption still a controversial issue since the risk outweighs the good effects.

7. Insist on a smoke- free environment:  More countries now banned smoking in the public.  Ensure your workplace is 100% smoke free

8. Bring exercise to the workplace: Include physical exercise in your working schedule -take the stairs, go for a walk during breaks, stretching your legs and arms at interval, and exercising your neck while at work are some common examples.

9. Choose healthy food options: Watch on your food selection. What you eat is what your body receive.

10. Encourage a stress-free moments: though studies shown that stress has no direct risk fact on heart disease and stroke but it leads to some bad habits such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and unhealthy eating.
Have a good regular break during the day, try stretching or exercising for 5 minutes twice a day. Deep breathing exercise will increase your sense of wellbeing and will get you back to equilibrium.

Prevention is better than cure. Try to develop living a happy life and it slows your aging process.

Additional good tips for a total healthy life.

1. Eat raw veggies 2 to 3x a day (a good consumption of 80% veggies and fruits)
2. Drink green tea without sugar instead use pure honey as sweetener
3. Drink only purified water
4. Take anti-oxidant vitamins (especially for 30 to 60 age group)
5. Exercise daily include deep breathing regularly
6. Try to use sea salt instead of purified process salt for food seasoning
7. Use unsweetened soy milk
8. Eat fish and a little chicken
9. Consume whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and sprouts
10. Sleep regularly 7 to 8 hours the most

Source of information:
Times of Oman Newspaper

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16 September 2010

Newborn Baby Found in Gulf Air Trash at Manila Airport

I was so shocked upon reading the news that a newborn baby has been abandoned by his mother aboard the Gulf Air Flight GF-154 from Bahrain. The saddest past is that the mother was traced an Overseas Filipino Worker and authorities were trying to check the mothers whereabouts. She had the worst nightmare but I guess she had lost her prudence of what she did. Authorities were baffled as to how she managed to conceal her situation and returned back to her seat.

The newborn baby was found from the plane's garbage bin still with placenta intact. The airport medical professionals immediately gave care and has been pronounced on good health after. The DSWD took custody of the infant and have been given the mother 4 days to claim the baby (that is if she would still has the energy to come in public and admit of what she did).

Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites has been filled with sentiments about the outrageous incident. Some celebrity even express concern on adaption.

just this year, last july an Indian woman was found giving birth in the plane's toilet and was trying to flush the newborn in the bowl.

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14 September 2010

Outstanding Recognition among Filipino Nurses Worldwide.

Filipino Nurses Facebook account has shown various videos on the magnificent performance of the Filipino Nurses worldwide. Truly  Filipino Nurses excelled in their professionalism in TLC and Holistic approach in  the health care industry. The great recognition of the Filipino Nurses worldwide proves that it is not of race and of the origin  but of exceptional performance on their demanding field. Pinoy nurses and care worker brought great honor to the Philippines by bringing commendable performance.

Racial discrimination was even until now evident anywhere but with the professionalism of the Pinoy OFWs we are still the most sought manpower among the best countries in the world. Why US, Canada , UK, Middle East and the rest of the world prefer Pinoy Nurses and Care workers, It is definitely of their being conversant. Pinoy Nurses and  all OFWs has a good communication skills. I am so amazed watching the video that Pinoy nurses spoke with British accent flawlessly. Oh wow! theres no other place in my heart to say how happy I am. I feel like I am with them  well I could say that I am one of them. he  he he he.....Way far from them but I am  absolutely proud of them.

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13 September 2010

Aquino Administration on Proposed DFA Budget cuts for 2011

Noynoy  has proposed budget cuts for 2011 on DFA's legal assistance and social services funds for OFW worldwide. The present government was tagged as anti-OFW administration and have been on the verge of losing affection to the unsung heroes of today. Philippine embassies and other consular offices worldwide will be forced to appropriate  the budget to P10.9 billion  from P12.69billion. Basically the proposed budget cuts will paralyze the operations of the Philippine embassies around the world. 

According to Migrante International  there are 108 OFW on death row and 7,000 in jails abroad and there are atleast 10,000 OFWs seeking for repartiation. Now, if the legal assistance will be cut off who will then support our fellow OFW. Private organizations were there to ease up this problems but with limited financial support theres nothing much they can do.

 PEBA-OFW Alliance Action Group and other OFW Organization were asking the President to reconsider their stand not to cut OFW Assistance and Legal Funds. The group were asking support for the underprivileged sector. OFWs' dreams were to have a good family with financial capability to stand with dignity by sending their children to school, have enough food on the table and can live a happy life. The government should not take this basic right away to the OFWs' and the families.  Sacrificing to much of being away from home is no joke and if ever in distress then the government as a father should stand in behalf to help. OFW were losing voice from the government and cutting off legal assistance and social fund is definitely unjust to the Overseas Filipino Workers.

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11 September 2010

Pag- Ibig ng Pamahalaan ( HDMF)

The Philippine government has declared  Home Development Mutual Fund membership mandatory  to all OFWs based on Republic Act 9679.  The program offered provident savings that earns yearly, The benefits of the program include a housing loan amounting  to a maximum of 3 million pesos, an entrepreneurship loan, livelihood, educational, home improvement loan and other needs. In order to avail the said program you should pay HDMF or Pag- Ibig a monthly premium that varies according to your monthly salary. 

Pag-Ibig Fund is the most stable provident fund in the Philippines since it was established in 1980's. This government program has been a milestone for all OFWs who find it difficult to manage their savings or to those who find it difficult to acquire a housing loan. The interest in Pag-Ibig housing loan is so minimal compared to other financing agencies. A maximum of 11% interest yearly for a every housing loan approved.

OFWs might find this mandatory membership another burden to their financial management as an extra payable but on the brighter side it is a forceful savings that will earn  provident on specified period of time. As an OFW it is wise enough to think of the future and save for the future. Being an Overseas worker you intended to work hard and save, now it is your chance to put your savings in a more stable financial organization that is even protected by the government.

For more information on the Pag- Ibig fund you may contact Philippines Embassy or consular office nearest  you.

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08 September 2010

OFW : Showcasing Talents

The fondest moments for the diversity of our fellow Overseas Workers was showcasing their incredible talents. Truly Filipinos were exceptionally gifted. Anywhere in the world, band  of Filipinos were the  forefront in the hotel entertainment. Here in Muscat Oman  some big international chain of hotels employed Filipino entertainers to mention a few are the following Hyatt Hotel, Radisson Blu ,Tulip Hotel, and Holiday Inn.

Anabel with Le Mirage Band , Radisson Hotel Muscat, Oman

Velocity Band @ Radisson, Oman


The following videos posted in this article were found in the You tube and all are on free embeded code. If by chance the owner of the videos used in this article found it inappropriate to copy and published. If this article  has violated their property rights. Please email the author and in anyway the videos will be deleted immediately.

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06 September 2010

OFW on Repatriation and Deportation

This morning headline is 97 OFW from Kuwait to arrive home,according to Yahoo News and GMA News TV the Department of Foreign Affairs said that most workers left their employers for various reasons and sought refuge to the government run rescue center.

This is not new to the Philippines at anytime probably theres a worker who need help from the abuse of their employer. Hoping for the best Philippine consular offices should be there to rescue. Absconded OFW were common in the Middle East especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The reasons are abuse including rape,unpaid monthly wages,harassment,longer working hours with no overtime, none conducive accommodation, deviation of contract and agreement.

Let me clearly define what does repatriation and deportation means. Repatriation means an act of returning to the country of origin while deportation is a forced transport of person outside of the area where they live. However, both repatriation and deportation has to undergo police scrutiny and perhaps subject to temporary imprisonment of the host country. The police will then exercise legal proceedings by summon the workers employers in order to surrender the employee passport and pay pending obligations. This would take a long process perhaps months or even years.Deportation in most cases has been aggravated by the employee misdemeanor. The employees dignity were threatened on this case just like OFW will be handcuffed during boarding process and on its way up to the plane. This is so humiliating but this what really happened.

Here in Muscat The Sultanate of Oman the situations were quite different though the Philippine Embassy has numbers of absconded cases of OFW mostly domestic helper but the scenario were not as complicated in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Last June 2010, The Government of the Sultanate of Oman has given Amnesty to all overstaying expatriates. Philippines Embassy and other embassies in Oman has taken it course to properly document the amnesty program granted by the Sultan of Oman His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Our very own overstaying OFWs' very lucky to enjoy such freedom of going home without any financial burden. A very good friend of mine Ate Shiony was one of them. She went home happily after more than 10 years of TNT (tago ng tago)in the country. She finally went home with pride and intact dignity and of course!some gifts or "pasalubong" on hand.

What happened in Kuwait and here in Oman should also be done in all embassies anywhere in the globe. I guess this is a protocol for preserving the dignity of our Overseas Workers. The phrase that OFWs' are unsung heroes of today will always be nothing but a cliche if and if the Philippine government and the rest of the consular offices will not protect and preserve Overseas workers right and dignity.
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04 September 2010

Healing Relationships between Hong Kong and Philippines

A group of young Hong Kong nationals expressed their love and care for the Filipinos. This is what I have read as I opened my Facebook account a while ago. Theres no  such great happiness  felt as I have read the "Manny Villar  Katropa Facebook account". I was overwhelmed by the efforts of the young Hong Kong nationals to express sobriety and solidarity as to what had happened last August 23,2010 in the Philippines famous landmark the Querino Grandstand. The traumatic incident that took precious lives of the innocent Hong Kong Tourists.

As I have previously posted an article about the hostage taking accident, I called it an isolated case that could happen to some parts of a country anywhere in the world. Philippines were keen in their efforts to express transparency. A very humble assurance to a neighbor country Hong Kong that a thorough investigation should be done. Philippines has welcomed Hong Kong forensics as a member of the fact finding committee to inquest to the whole investigation provided that the Philippines  internal body will first create a probe team to investigate as to what had actually brought the crisis management a failure one.

This morning, I watched the ANC News live coverage of the Probe Team headed by the Department of Justice secretary De Lima. I was a bit satisfied with their efforts to exercise all legal matters with the promised transparency. It might be a complicated issue but I am sure things will go on its course as I have a high trust to the leader of the team. Hong Kong and the rest of the world was watching to the outcome of the investigation.

Philippines were on the tract to prove Hong Kong nationals the sincerity to rebuild once untarnished relationships. I do hope  that Hong Kong will be satisfied with the Probe Team proceedings.   Philippines and Hong Kong were not just neighbors but has been in a long glorious relationships in manpower, trading and financial aspects.

As an Overseas Worker, I am delighted with the efforts of the young Hong Kong nationals in their sobriety and expression of love to the Filipinos. There were over a 100 thousand Overseas Filipino Workers in the whole of Hong Kong mostly were housemaids. With this gratitude OFW's in Hong Kong will live and work without uncertainty.

Shall we have a hug!, definitely a big warm embrace for all Hong Kong nationals. I would say, Thank you Hong Kong nationals for the Big Love!

I would like to sincerely thank Jessie Lau and the young group for a great expression of love and open mindedness. Truly this group of young people are amazing.

Please click this link and watch the video.

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03 September 2010

Keeping The Love Alive Among OFWs

I have been fascinated by the story of this couple. Its indeed no joke to be away from your love ones in exchanged of a dollar. A relationship is always at stake and challenges trying to blew the foundation away. This story sets and example of not giving up and never letting go.

Keeping The Love Alive Among OFWs
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