Saturday, January 31, 2009

Petition: “OPLAN SAVING KABAYAN RYAN” (Ryan T. Anievas)

31 January 2009

Please sign this petition in support of our beleaguered compatriot Ryan T. Anievas.

Anievas, 28 years old, married with one child, a resident of Binangonan, Rizal Province, and an OFW working for a sub-contractor of a petrochemical company in the Western Region, was accused of distributing fake bills - a charge he vehemently denied. In actuality, Anievas is actually the victim when he unknowingly received the money - five bills worth SAR 10 each - among change given by a baqala vendor.

Anievas has since been demanding for a lawyer to represent him in Saudi Courts, a request which has not been acted upon by the concerned government agencies, particularly the Office of the Undersecretary for Overseas Workers Affairs (OUMWA) and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.

Migrante Saudi Arabia therefore hereby endorses this petition, in behalf of all other OFWs who are currently facing legal cases in the Kingdom who do not get sufficient legal support from the government.


Dear Fellow OFW,

We are seeking your kind help through this signature campaign to help our kabayan Mr. Ryan Anievas who is now in a dire situation and needs our moral and spiritual support. Mr. Ryan has been accused of spreading counterfeit Saudi Riyal bills which the former vehemently denied. According to him, he is just a victim of a syndicate operating in Jeddah circulating Bogus Saudi Riyal Bills. His case started when he buy some goods from a Bargain Store commonly known locally as Itnen-itnen Store or Everything 2 riyals.

He received an alleged fake bills as a change from his purchases and from there his whole life changed. His family (wife and children) suffered humiliation and is now under a threat of starvation as Mr. Ryan is already terminated from his job as a consequence of this alleged bogus bills circulation.

As a fellow OFW, Mr. Ryan deserves our and understanding and support for his real life battle. This is a fight that put his whole life, dignity and reputation at stake. He already approached our Ambassador but according to him Western Region is not under his jurisdiction. The Philippine Consul General in Jeddah has already denied his request for a lawyer. He went to the consulate but he only gave a translator. What he needs is LAWYER that can represent him in court.

So we are asking your kind support through this campaign to express our desire to save him. This campaign will then be circulated and shall reach the office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines seeking an immediate action to rescue our kabayan from the hell of the Saudi Jail.


1. Arnaldo P. Mueda, Al Khobar (KSA).
2. John Leonard Monterona – Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
3. A. M. Ociones, Chairperson - Migrante Saudi Arabia
Once you affix your signature, kindly send the letter back to the petition author at this address: "Arnaldo P. Mueda" ( with a CC to us at

Save Ryan Anievas from jail!
Create the Office of Legal Attache now!

Sa migrante at sa bayan,
A. M. Ociones
Chairperson, Migrante KSA
(Migrante International - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Chapter)
Tel. No.: +966-56-679-3202 / +966-50-894-4426
Press Release
31 January 2009

Migrante-ME sees more OFWs would use 'visit visa' as entry;
Arroyo administration faces dilemma between deployment regulation and massive sell out of OFWs

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers' organizations based in the Middle East today warns that more aspiring OFWs would be forced to use 'visit visa' as an entry point in their quest to find job abroad.

"We are seeing in the coming days the rampant use of 'visit visa' as an entry point in the desire of aspiring OFWs to find job abroad. This is a natural way-out of laid off workers as it is their survival instinct that dictated them to do so," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said that it is very understandable that in time of economic crisis, the thousands of laid workers will be forced to do an extra ordinary decision even if they knew it's like 'walking at the edge of the knife' just to survive their struggling family.

"Even if there are thousands of jobs orders, as earlier declared by the POEA, many OFWs and aspiring alike would be hard press and would think twice as they knew very well that deployment formalities require huge amount of money such as placement fees, processing fees, and other charges imposed by the government," Monterona added.

Monterona said now a days, an aspiring OFWs would need at least Php.50,000 or more depending on the position and category of work applied so that he or she could be deployed.

"Fees and charges alone collected by government agencies would amount to nearly Php.20,000 which include but not limited to certification of birth certificates, NBI or Police clearances, authentication of diplomas and Transcript of Records, processing fees collected by the recruitment agency, etc.. etc… that are burdensome for OFWs and aspiring alike," Monterona averred.

Monterona further said this is aside from the placement fee charged by the recruitment agency which amount is equivalent to one-month salary, "That means the higher the salary, the higher the placement fee charged by the agency. Worst, in most cases, the stipulated contractual salary usually reduce upon arrival to and reporting to work to foreign employers" he continued.

"The huge amount of money needed to be legally deployed amid poverty and economic crisis, are forcing OFWs and aspiring alike to consider 'visit visa' as an entry abroad, to gamble their lives and security in the hope of finding job," Monterona added.

Monterona opined this situation is not only a dilemma to OFWs and aspiring alike but to the Arroyo administration as well which is caught between its "massive OFWs sell out" policy and its regulation functions on OFWs deployment.

Monterona commented the case of offloaded 50 OFWs bound for UAE using visit visa as a case in point. He said following the line of the government, the 50 OFWs have all the rights to find ways and means in order for them to find jobs abroad and yet they were bared to go just because it is using visit visa.

"Does it mean now only the government could peddle OFWs by sending them through POEA and recruitment agencies so that fees and charges could surely be siphoned to the government and agencies? The Arroyo administration is giving wrong signal to OFWs and their families," Monterona added.

Migrante-ME urges the Arroyo administration to re-study its "no work visa, no deployment" policy especially now that it's also imposing a ban on direct hiring in which OFWs and their families strongly opposed.

"The bottom line is that OFWs safety, rights and welfare must not be compromised, regardless of what means or way he was deployed – via recruitment agency, by direct hiring or via visit visa offered by relatives already working abroad, after all this is the primary duty of the government that failed to generate local jobs with decent pay and benefits-- the very reason why its workers are now forced to look for jobs abroad," Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Friday, January 30, 2009



Itay! kay tagal mona dyan sa ibang bayan
Maliit pa ako noo'y naririyan kana
Hanggang ngayo'y kayod kalabaw kapa
Kaylan ka ba titigil talaga.

Kay daming Pasko't Bagong Taon wala ka sa piling namin
Kay daming" birthdays at graduations" duon ay wala ka rin
Ikinasal kami'y anino mo'y duon ay wala rin
Kay daming pagtitipon di ka nasilayan man din.

Ngayon nga'y tapos na kami't may hanap-buhay na
Dumito kana't mamahinga ka na
Pagod mong katawan ay ipahinga na
Nang buhay mo'y lumawig pa.

Samahan mo na lang si Ina sa pagtanda niya
Lasapin naman ninyo ang buhay na maligaya
Nawalang araw ng buhay mo sa kanya
Samantalahin habang nabubuhay ka pa.

Mahal ka namin Itay ko
Kahit panga kay layo mo
Puso't diwa'y nasasa iyo
Dahil Ikaw lang ang ama ko.

Sa pagtanda ninyo'y aalagaan kayo namin
Gaya ng ginawa ninyo sa amin
Pagsisilbihan namin kayo
Hangang sa huling hininga ninyo.

Kay sarap na pananalita, marinig ko sana sa kanila
Habang ako'y humihinga pa
Puso ko nama'y kahit konti'y lumigaya
Pangarap ko'y di lubusang naaksaya.

------------ --- Tapos na po ------------ --------- ----

Handog ko ito ulit sa mga antigo nang OFW. Alam kong ang mga salitang ito ay nais din nilang marinig sa kani-kanilang mga supling.

May akda- Jose Enriquez Santos
Riyadh, KSA

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Where are the jobs?"

Press Release
29 January 2009

"Where are the jobs?" - OFWs group asked DoLE Chief

"Where are the jobs?", thus today asked by an alliance of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East to the Department of Labor and Employment that was quoted saying yesterday that there are plenty of jobs available for Filipino workers in the Philippines.

"The Labor department really does not know what it is talking about available jobs in the Philippines. Worst, Labor Sec. Roque reasoned out that most Filipino workers do not have the required skills, thus chances are they could not be hired," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona opined given the skills of our Filipino workers are not matching with what are required by hiring companies, it is but secondary reason why our workers could not land a job locally. "Scarcity of local jobs being the primary", he added.

"It is precisely the very reason why the government has institutionalized technical education and skills development through the creation of TESDA and other similar agencies run by the government – to provide the necessary trainings and skills for our workers for them to land a job," Monterona added.

Monterona said the Labor department could not simply put aside the increasing numbers of unemployed reaching now to an estimated numbers of 2.6-M Filipinos.

"Why there is 2.6-M unemployed if there are plenty of available jobs in the Philippines as what the Labor department is saying?" Monterona queried.

The OFW leader said the increasing numbers of workers who were forced to accept jobs abroad is an indication the Arroyo administration failed to create jobs locally.

"The 1.38-M OFWs deployed last year is a living proof of the Arroyo administration's inability to create jobs locally with decent pay and benefits accorded to our workers," Monterona averred.

Monterona further said Mrs. Arroyo's failure led her and her economic team to refocuses the main trust of her government to massively sell out the unemployed to work abroad.

"Deployment of overseas workers is not objectionable per see, but doing it in a massive scale having now 10% of our nation's population abroad because of the government's failure to create jobs locally and because of its fiscal aim to earn huge amount of money out of OFWs remittances and state exactions leaving behind the welfare and protection of OFWs well-being, is not good at all, objectionable, and condemnable!," Monterona added.

Monterona said the billions of OFWs remittances are like "manna in heaven", but the absence of a clear vision and independent progressive economic program of the Arroyo administration how to utilize this huge amount for the benefits of our country is not at all revealing and outstanding.

The Filipino people are now wary and discontented because of the left and right, rampant graft and corruption charges against the Arroyo administration at all level of governments, and almost all government agencies are besieged with several corruption and bribery charges.

"That's why the people are ever suspicious on the billions stimulus economic package proposed by the Arroyo administration because the people are well-aware of its graft and corruption records most especially that 2010 elections is near to come," Monterona added.

On their part, the OFW leader said Migrante chapters around the world along with their families will be vigilant to protect the OWWA funds, a compulsory collection of US$25 to every departing OFW, held in trust to the government.

Migrante-ME urges fellow OFWs around the world along with their families back home to hold our tight watch on the Arroyo administration as it is like "Ali Baba". # # #

Note: "Ali Baba", a fictional poor woodcutter who entered the cave of the forty thieves by means of the magic words "Open Sesame" that connotes trickery, ploy or maneuver.

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

"Sack Expat first" policy now in effect in Middle East country

Press Release
27 January 2009

"Sack Expat first" policy now in effect in Middle East country

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East, today said the Government of Saudi Arabia and other host governments are keen to implement a policy of terminating expatriates workers first if retrenchment could not be avoided due to global financial crisis.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said it was reported in several local newspaper that the Head of Saudi's Labor Office in Eastern Province Mr. Muhammad Al-Hamdan is quoted saying that its Labor Offices are instructing companies to start with foreigners first if they have to sack staff and workers.

"Even the Saudi government is now wary of the effect of the global financial crisis and thus come up with such a protective measure- their nationals will be the last to be sacked in their jobs, foreign workers first to include OFWs," Monterona averred.

Many economists believed that the Middle East will be the least to be affected by the global financial meltdown.

"However, there are companies here in Saudi Arabia which profits plunged in as much as 90 percent last year as a result of the global financial meltdown," Monterona observed.

Major companies like the Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a company based in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, reportedly dive its profits of about 95 per cent last year as a result of the global financial crisis.

Monterona said there a considerable numbers of OFWs employed in SABIC. "Once this company decided to terminate its workers and staff due to the global financial crisis, we do hope and pray that our fellow OFWs there would not be the first to be terminated," he added.

Monterona cited the case of OFW Narciso Fetalvero and other two companions, a case recently referred to them by concerned fellow OFWs.

Monterona said OFW Narciso Fetalvero, 65 years old, and other 2 OFW companions have been working in Narajan, Eastern Province for almost 10 years and were not able to go for a vacation, thus not seeing their respective families for almost a decade now allegedly because their employer did not allow them to go for a vacation.

"Worst, their company did not issue them IQAMA (work permit) for seven years, not paying their salary regularly and no benefits at all. They were threatened to be terminated due to company's retrenchment policy; on December 4 they stopped working and then decided to file a case against their employer," Monterona said.

Migrante-ME said the case of OFW Fetalvero and those OFWs working in Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) who might end up terminated on their jobs are scenarios that the Arroyo administration must be ready to face.

"Despite the looming massive retrenchment of workers around the world due to global financial crisis and this "sack foreign workers first" policy of protective host governments, the Arroyo administration, that is heavily dependent on OFWs remittances, keeps on marketing OFWs in full-blast scale," Monterona commented.

The OFW leader said after all this is what Mrs. Arroyo could prove to the Filipino people – she is good Sales representative untiringly selling out cheap labor of her own people around the world, not to make the economy better, but worst due to her blind adherence to neo-liberal policies of globalization, liberalization, and privatization.

Migrante-ME ended saying "It is now clear that Mrs. Arroyo becomes a crime accomplice in the disintegration of families as the basic social unit of our society as it now wantonly promotes labor export, cited by our Church leaders, as the primary cause of family break-ups.

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stranded OFWs camped out again in Khandara

Stranded OFWs have started to camp out again under Khandara Bridge in the hope of being picked up by Immigration Authorities. Migrante KSA calls on all concerned community organizations to help provide them with food and tents to tide them over.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Noon nga'y sanggol kapa, ng ako'y mangibang bayan
Sa barkong Hapon ako'y nakipagsapalaran
Bagyo't unos sinuong sa dagat Pasipiko
Buhay sinugal, mapalaki lamang kayo.

Di ko alintana ang pagod at panganib
Mapalaki ka lamang at mapag-aral anak ko
Nang noo'y kako'y kapag lumaki ka'y
Maging maganda ang iyong buhay.

Kahit pa nga init sa disyerto ng Arabia'y sinuong ko
Dumudugong ilong,balat ko'y umitim na rin
Di ko alintana mapalaki't mapag-aral ka lang.

Ngayon nga'y noo ko'y may peleges na
Buhok ko'y maputi na
Mga kasu-kasua'y lumalagutok na
Kung lumakad ay iika-ika pa.

Nakatapos ka nga ng kursong ginusto mo
Bakit hanggang ngayo'y di ka pa nagtratrabaho?
Perang padala ko'y laging inaasahan ninyo
Di kayo magbanat ng sariling buto.

Konting panahon pa'y, ober eyj na kayo
Di naman kayo pwedeng maging pensionado
Ano't hanggang ngayo'y natutulog pa kayo
Baka naman sa higaa'y manasin na kayo.

Mga anak,GISING! at humayo--
Pakpak ibuka,lumipad kayo
Kay laki ng dagat at disyerto
Kay daming trabahong nag-iintay sa inyo.

Pag asa ko'y naririto pa rin sa puso ko
Darating ang araw na magigising kayo
Sana'y abutan ko pa ito

Monday, January 26, 2009

Migrant groups support bill deploying more Legal Attache' in the Middle East

Press Release
24 January 2009

Migrant groups support bill deploying more Legal Attache' in the Middle East

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations with chapters in Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and with members in other Middle Eastern countries throw its strong support on the proposed bill that would provide the provision of deploying Legal Attache in the Middle East.

On Thursday, Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo filed House Bill 5657 creating Legal Attache Office whose legal diplomats will be deployed in the Middle East to provide legal assistance to OFWs facing criminal charges.

Migrante-Middle East said the deployment of Legal Attache has long been a campaign launched by the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), a pioneering member-organization of Migrante based in Riyadh, along with other OFW organizations since 1998.

"Deployment of government's Labor Attache was the very promised by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she visited Saudi Arabia on May 2006 during a meeting with the Filipino Community at the Philippine Embassy," said Mario Ben, KGS-Migrante Chairperson.

However, Ben added it's just "a promise that was made to be broken".

He said the necessity of having Legal diplomats deployed in the Middle East is as much as important as having Labor Attache.

"The fact that the statistics of OFWs in distress are increasing and many of which encountered legal problems with no legal representation during trial who would end up in jail would give justification for the Philippine Government through the DFA to seriously decide to deploy a considerable numbers of Legal Attache that will provide assistance to OFWs with legal problems," Ben averred.

Migrante-Middle East and Migrante-Saudi Arabia chapter last week urged the Arroyo administration through the DFA and Philippine Consular Office in Jeddah to provide legal assistance to OFWs Ryan Anievas who was accused of distributing fake riyals and Eddie Javier who was driving a truck that (was) smashed (by) a Saudi national.

On a case dialog with Migrante-Saudi Arabia on 14 January, Consul General Ezzadin Tago said PCG "did not reject" OFW Anievas request for a lawyer because they "simply cannot hire one". It manifested that the order to hire a lawyer must come from the DFA's Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) in Manila.

"OFWs Anievas and Javier are only among the many OFWs who are facing legal problems; in fact majority of those languishing in jails were deprived of legal representation during their trials," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Migrante-ME said despite the huge amount appropriated from the national budget to the DFA's Assistance to the Nationals (ATN) as mandated by R.A. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, the Arroyo administration and the Foreign Affairs department miserably failed to hire lawyers to readily defend OFWs on trial.

"The government should hire the services of Filipino Muslim lawyers who have better knowledge in Sharia law or conduct legal trainings and seminars among diplomatic staff abroad for this purpose," Monterona added.

Migrante-ME manifested that if the Arroyo regime has genuine will and care for the protection of OFWs rights and welfare, a bill is no more needed which usually take time to becoming a law.

"What the Arroyo administration should do is to issue an Administrative Order to concerned government agencies such as DFA and Department of Justice and thus, effect the creation and deployment of Legal Attache in the Middle East, since budgetary requirement for the provision of legal assistance is already appropriated to DFA's ATN and is not an issue at all" Monterona averred.

Migrante-ME ended saying since the present administration does not have serious concern and care for OFWs and their families, Bayan Muna Rep. Ocampo's initiative of filing HB 5657 is better than never. Thus, OFWs and their families will campaign and lobby to members of the Congress for its immediate passage by sending lobby letters and email barrage.

For reference:

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A.O.247: Arroyo administration's intensification of labor export program

Press Statement
25 January 2009

A.O.247 proof of the Arroyo administration's intensification of labor export program
amid increasing numbers of rights violations and scarce welfare and social programs for OFWs and their families

With the issuance by the President last December 4, 2008 of Administrative Order No. 247 outlining what it called a "paradigm shift" by refocusing POEA's functions from merely "regulation to full-blast market development efforts, the exploration of frontier, fertile jobs markets for Filipinos expatriate workers", it cannot now deny the fact that it is actually intensifying its labor export program.

For the past years, the Arroyo administration keeps on denying that it does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development. With its aim to send two million (2-M) OFWs yearly in line with its policy statements, no wonder that indeed it is determined to sell-out cheap human labor by now shifting all government concerned agencies tasks with much focus on finding possible new job markets and even revival of old markets to absorb the increasing numbers of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos not thinking that these labor agreements are to the detriment of OFWs rights and welfare.

AO No. 247 could not be considered a "paradigm shift" in real sense as the Arroyo administration calls it. AO No. 247 only spells out and put in writing, to appear it "legal" what this administration is unlawfully doing in the past years so that it could have a firm mandate to its line-agencies to intensify exportation of human labor.

It is notably and equally important to mention that the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act or R.A. 8042 on Sec.2, Declaration of State Policies, specifically states (c) "While recognizing the significant contribution of Filipino migrant workers to the national economy through their foreign exchange remittances, the State does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development" x x x…

Failure of the Arroyo administration to continuously create local employment opportunities with decent pay and just benefits, to mention that a reported 15,000 Filipinos have already loss their jobs early this year, forced Mrs. Arroyo and her economic team to further institutionalizes the exportation of cheap human labor, like previous administrations. For one, labor export is a lucrative business on the part of the government that is earning billions out of OFWs remittances and through numerous state exactions by overcharging of fees and other charges. Secondly, the exportation of labor provides a temporary stop-gap solution to the problem of unemployment that keeps on increasing yearly.

Both, first and second reasons stated above, provide an entry-ticket for the Arroyo administration to continuously avail "developmental loans" from foreign financial institution like World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank to support our long in crisis economy and is worsening under the Arroyo regime.

In other words, labor exportation, massive marketing of OFWs, commoditization of human labor, whatever you call it, is made a required collateral by foreign financial institutions to ensure that borrowing Third World countries like the Philippines could pay its foreign debts because massive sell-out of cheap labor by Third World countries is a guarantee that it could pay its burgeoning debts to WB-IMF and ADB through the huge remittances from ever exploited and alienated migrant workers.

Enlightened OFWs and their organizations are correct in saying that the intensification or massive sell-out of OFWs abroad is inline with the imposition of the imperial domination of First World countries primarily of the United States, in control of foreign lending financial institutions, to Third World countries.

We strongly believed that the issuance of AO No. 247 by the Arroyo regime is but in compliance to the dictate of its Imperialist master during it's hosting of the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development last October 2008 in Manila. That the real intent and objective of the 2nd GFMD and any other GFMD events to come is not to look after the welfare and protection of migrant workers including OFWs but to smoothen the in-flows of migrant worker's billions remittances by formally institutionalizing labor exportation through issuances, decrees and laws by receiving and sending governments. By so doing, the remittances in-flows will be smoothened from receiving governments to the sending governments and eventually to the shark-like mouth of foreign financial institutions run by Imperialist countries.

On the other hand, early this year we have unprecedentedly receiving cases of rights violations from our fellow OFWs abroad. Cases of maltreatments, sexual abuses, non-payment of salaries, working more than the required 8-hours, no day-offs, are seems to be a normal complaints Migrante chapters received in an average of 5 cases daily. Migrante has already recorded 6 cases of mysterious deaths this month. And yet with these increasing numbers of cases, the Arroyo administration has been remiss and reluctant to provide protection to OFWs rights and welfare. These violations on OFWs rights and welfare are happening amid the worsening global financial crisis hitting hard our OFWs and their families.

We are reminding the Arroyo administration by quoting the provision of R.A.8042 that states "The existence of the overseas employment program rests solely on the assurance that the dignity and fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Filipino citizens shall not, at any time, be compromised or violated. The State, therefore, shall continuously create local employment opportunities and promote the equitable distribution of wealth and the benefits of development,".

It is high time for the millions of OFWs and their families around the world to move forward and forge our unities stronger than ever in our quest to be recognize as humans and not as commodity that could be sold out cheap without guarantee that our rights will be protected and our welfare be promoted. To this, we shout:

Stop the intensification of labor export!
OFWs are humans, not as commodity for export!
Expose and Oppose the intensification of Labor export by the Arroyo regime!
No to Labor Export!

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012



Anong propesyon pa kaya,ang hihigit sa pagkadakila?
Sa trabaho ninyong ginagampanang masahol pa sa alila
Familya sa 'Pinas inyong iniwan,iba-ibang lahi inyong inalagaan.

Anak mula sa pagka-sangol halos dina nakita
Hanggang sila'y lumaki at nagka-asawa na
Ngayon nga'y may apo kana sa kanila
Ano't hangang ngayo'y naririto ka pa?

Ama, Ina'y nagkasakit, dimo halos naalagaan at nakita
Dito nama'y abalakang alagaan sila
Sa konting ingit nila'y natutuliro ka na
Di malaman kung ano ang iyong gagawin.

Dose oras nga ang 'yong "duty"
Sa gabi'y walang iglip ang 'yong "beauty"
Sa umaga'y ikaw ay "very sleepy"
Di naman maidlip; paligid ay "very noisy."

Ngayon nga'y may idad ka na
Balat sa mukha ay kulubot na
Buhok ay may uban na
Kung lumakad ay iika-ika pa.

Paano kana kaya ngayon?
Ikaw kaya ay may ipon?
Kung wala sino sa 'yo ang aampon
Baka sa bahay ampunan ka matapon.

Huwag naman sana Diyos ko!
Lumigaya naman sana sila ng husto
Tagal nila ditong nag sakripisyo
Pagpalain naman sana kayo
Sa inyong pagreretiro.

Mabuhay lahat ang "nurses na Pilipino!!!

------------ -----Tapos na po ------------ --------- -

Akda ni Jose Enriquez Santos
Alay ko po ito sa lahat ng nurses sa buong mundo
Mabuhay kayong lahat!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

P250-M Expat Livelihood Support Fund must be properly accounted

Press Release
24 January 2009

P250-M Expat Livelihood Support Fund must be properly accounted,
Migrant group demands full disclosure of claims and beneficiaries

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Overseas Filipino workers' organizations based in the Middle East today said it is demanding from the Arroyo administration full disclosure of claims and beneficiaries of the P250-M Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund, and thus must openly and properly account the money sourced from OWWA fund.

"We are demanding from the Arroyo administration full disclosure of claims and beneficiaries of this P250-M Expat Livelihood Fund taken from the P10-B OWWA funds held in trust to the government, just to be sure that the money will go through the intended beneficiaries and not to the pockets of corrupt officials," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Migrante-ME said that an independent body to look into the disbursement of said funds must be created including church-based organizations with migrant-related programs and leading OFW organization's representatives.

On December 4, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Administrative Order No. 248 that created a special livelihood program fund for returning expatriates presumably "to help those who might return home from their host countries that are now being buffeted by an economic crisis whose depth and scope is still unraveling".

"The 10-Millions OFWs scattered around the world are the real owners of the OWWA funds who have been charged of US$25 compulsory membership fees. Thus, OFWs as stakeholders of the OWWA funds have the all rights to demand full disclosure how the P250-M will be spent by a government that is perceived corrupt," Monterona added.

AO 248 mentioned that the Expat Livelihood Support fund is a 'pay back time' by the government for OFWs, but Monterona averred that the laid off OFWs in Taiwan claimed that the Arroyo regime until now did not give them any support.

According to Migrante International, a numbers of OFWs laid off from Taiwan were invited to Malacanang last December 2008, and were handed cheques over a photo opportunity session with Mrs. Arroyo, but right after the said activity, the cheques were taken from them.

"That's a very ridiculous thing the Arroyo administration did to the struggling OFWs who were laid off from jobs who were duped by Mrs. Arroyo's spin-doctors for the sake of its own publicity; it was an insult adding to laid off OFWs' injury," Monterona averred.

Monterona said that incident led them to believed that Mrs. Arroyo's "pay back time" implementing the Expat Livelihood Support program with P250-M funds taken from OFWs funds held in thrust to OWWA is just a waste of OFWs money.

Nevertheless, he said Migrante chapters around the world and other OFWs organizations will be vigilant how the P250-M fund taken from OWWA funds will be spent by the Arroyo administration.

"This time, we would like to be sure that these huge amount will not be siphoned to the big pockets of perceived corrupt officials under the Arroyo administration. P250-M is a juicy amount to run a campaign come 2010 National elections," Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Group hit government’s failure to provide legal assistance

Press Release
20 January 2009

Group hit government’s failure to provide legal assistance
Migrante KSA support fund drive for beleaguered OFWs

Migrante Saudi Arabia today lambasted the Arroyo government anew for failing to provide legal assistance to two OFWs charged with criminal offenses while declaring support to the drive to raise funds for legal requirements.

“The independent initiatives to raise funds in support of OFWs charged with criminal offense, once again shows the discontent of OFWs for the inability of the government to provide assistance to compatriots in distress,” thus declared A. M. Ociones, Chairperson of Migrante KSA.

A fund drive was recently initiated to raise SAR 20,000 to pay for the services of a Saudi lawyer to represent Ryan Torres, an OFW currently facing charges for distributing alleged fake Saudi Riyal bills, a criminal offense here with a penalty of 10-15 years imprisonment.

The fund drive for Ryan was independently initiated by friends after a request to provide a lawyer was reportedly turned down by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah (PCGJ), a claim denied by Consul General Ezzedin Tago during a recent dialogue with Migrante KSA.

According to Ociones, ConGen Tago claimed during the dialogue that the PCGJ does not have the mandate to hire a lawyer, because only the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila can do so.

Ociones thus called on the government to “do away with the bureaucratic red tape and finger-pointing and exert all efforts to provide assistance to OFWs in distress.”

At the same time, Migrante KSA is helping to raise SAR 97,000 for the damages lodged by the family of an elderly Saudi who died after the vehicle driven by the Saudi smashed on the truck operated by an OFW named Javier.

Javier, whose contract was consummated last year, has been in jail for more than six months now.

The only remaining option to free Javier, according to co-workers interviewed by Migrante KSA is the payment of the damages.

Meanwhile, Migrante KSA calls on fellow Filipinos to be “extra vigilant in dealing with everyday life in a foreign country.”

The case of Ryan and Javier, according to Ociones “teaches us to vigilantly guard against any activities that would put us in distress situations.”

“It is most tragic to let our families suffer by simply becoming a victim of circumstances,” Ociones averred.

“With the government not being able to provide assistance, the best solution is definitely ‘prevention,’ by being vigilant, keenly observant of our sorroundings, and patient,” Ociones closed. “Kung sa commercial ng vitamins, ‘bawal magkasakit!’ Sa OFWs, bawal magkaroon ng kaso, dahil hindi ka tutulungan ng gobyerno!”

For reference:

A. M. Ociones,
Chairperson, Migrante Saudi Arabia
Tel. No.: +966-56-679-3202

Craft sound social and welfare policies and programs

Press Release - Final version
20 January 2009

OFW group to Labor Chief Roque:
Craft sound social and welfare policies and programs,
not just simply re-cycled old anti-migrant policies of the past

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East today said Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Marianito Roque must initiate sound social and welfare policies and programs aimed to alleviate the worsening plight of OFWs amid the global financial crisis hitting hard overseas workers abroad.

"The Labor department under Sec. Roque proved to be the same as his predecessors and boss in Malacanang; they are all anti-workers, anti-OFWs. Sec. Roque is proving that he is no different as it blindly adheres, like her predecessors, to the wishes of the occupant in Malacanang," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona is reacting on the order issued by Sec. Roque to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to review the ban on the direct hiring of overseas Filipino workers for Hong Kong.

Monterona said the proposed ban on the direct hiring need not be reviewed.
"It's just a waste of time and taxpayers' money. It has been rejected with vigor opposition by the millions of OFWs and their families, not just those working in Hong Kong, but also domestic helpers from the Middle East, Europe and other Asian countries. Precisely because it is detrimental to OFWs interests," he continued.

He said it is the very reason why the ban on direct hiring was not imposed by past administration though the Labor Code prohibits it. The reason: because it is to the detriment and against the very interests of OFWs. "The Congress must look into it and amend such provision in the Labor Code so that Sec. Roque and Malacanang could not used it as a tool to exploit OFWs and their families," Monterona continued.

"It is but common sense on his part not to impose and/or implement what has been rejected by the OFW stakeholders. Sec. Roque losses his common sense precisely because he is pressured by Malacanang to impose policies that would generate huge amount of money from OFWs pocket. Thus, for the second time, it imposed the ban on direct hiring, first in Hong Kong, then later in the Middle East and other countries would follow soon," Monterona averred.

The OFW leader said Sec. Roque must instead craft sound social and welfare programs and policies to ease the impact of the global financial crisis especially those retrenched OFWs, not just simply re-cycling old anti-workers and anti-migrant policies and programs.

"As migrant workers whose remittances keep the economy afloat, we have the right to demand from the Arroyo regime more and sound social and welfare programs that would alleviate our worsening condition and eases the impact of the global financial crisis," Monteron said.

Monterona suggested if Sec. Roque is running out of ideas what social and welfare programs should he needs to suggest to Mrs. Arroyo, he should better consult OFWs and their organizations. "We may be of good help to him," he continued.

Monterona said Sec. Roque must learn how to listen to the ideas and sentiments of OFWs by conducting regular consultations first before implementing policies that affects workers and OFWs.

"The conduct of regular consultations on proposed policies affecting OFWs and to obey the voice of the majority is democracy. By doing so, he will not be criticized widely and internationally, unlike his Boss in Malacanang who is widely condemned by OFWs and their families," Monterona added.

Migrante-ME said Mrs. Arroyo and Roque could not accept the fact that many have become victims of unscrupolous recruitment agencies that are over charging OFWs and asking for unreasonable fees, which the Arroyo regime failed to solved.

Migrante-Middle East chapters vow to continue their opposition by continuously gathering signatures and petition campaigns, formations and alliances against the ban on direct hiring, and silent protest actions inside Philippine embassies and Consular offices in the Middle East.

For reference:

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



Kay tagal mo na ngang nawala sa bayang sinilangan
Kung anong petsa’y di ko na alam
Sa bayan mo’y bihira kang masilayan
Pati mga anak mo’y di nakilik man lang.

Buhay mo ngay’ tila dito’y mauubos na
Sa buhay-- ay yumaman ka ba?
Bakit hanggang ngayo’y tila hirap ka
Ano nga ba ang nang yari na?

Dito kana nga tumanda at naging hukluban
Nakunot ang noo,buhok ay nagka uban
Kung lumakad ka’y iika-ikang
Masakit pati ‘yong balakang.

Anong gantimpala ba ang ‘yong napala
Sa pamilya’t sa bansa
Buong buhay mo’y sa kanila ginugol
Tila ngayo’y mukha kang kawawa.

Pamahalaan Ikaw binansagan
“Bagong Bayani” ka raw ng bayan
Ano nga ba ang mapapala mo rito
Kundi “pakunsuelo de bobo”.

Paki wari ko’y habang buhay kanang ganito
Na gustong –gusto naman ng ating gobyerno
Gatasang kalabaw turing sa iyo
Kada aalis ka’y magbayad ka iho
Duon sa POEA kana dumiretso.

Ganito kana lamang ba Juan habang buhay mo?
Sa labas kayod marino
Bulsa ng tao sa gobyerno’y pinupuno mo
Hanggang kaylan mo kaya pupunuin ito?

Gising na Bayan ko
Karapatan ipaglaban mo
Kapag di mo ginawa ito
Anak, apo kawawang lalo ang mga ito
Bayan dina makakaahon sa hirap
Malulugmok nangang ganap.

---------tapos na po ---------

Akda ni Jaime Santillan

Accused OFW's plea to have a lawyer rejected by PCG

Press Release
14 January 2009

Accused OFW's plea to have a lawyer rejected by PCG;
Migrante-ME said it is gross disservice

"Rejection by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah to a plea by an accused OFW providing him a lawyer to defend himself in court is gross disservice, not just simply a disregard of one's duty," thus said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona is reacting to the response by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to the plea of OFW Ryan Torres, 29 years old, an administrative staff of Resource Science Arabia Limited (RSAL) working for Petro Rabigh Project.

OFW Torres had sought Migrante's assistance as he was falsely accused of distributing fake riyals, Saudi's currency. The said riyals were also given to him as a change when he bought from other stores.

Monterona advised OFW Torres to seek legal assistance to the PCG-Assistance to the National Services (ANS) to provide him a lawyer for his defense.

"The accused OFW informed us the other day that what the PCG-ANS could provide him is a translator, and not a lawyer. For whatever reason, the PCG-ANS only knew," Monterona said.

Monterona said that such intense legal battle to prove that OFW Torres is innocent of the crime charged against him would certainly needs a local lawyer who could defend him during his trial especially that he is perceived belonging to third class category of foreigners.

"What a translator could do is to convey to the accused what the prosecutor and judge are saying during the hearing and interpret the documents written in Arabic. No more, no less," Monterona averred.

Monterona deplores the determination on the circumstances of this case by the PCG-ANS and arrived at a decision of not providing lawyer to the accused OFW despite that it is duty-bound to provide legal assistance to include the provision of hiring a lawyer as mandated in R.A. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

"The PCG in Jeddah must take a read on Article V, section 24 to 26 of R.A. 8042. There is no reason why OFW Torres would not be eligible for the legal assistance as mentioned in these provisions of the law," Monterona opined.

Monterona further said that this is not the first time Philippine Embassies and Consular Offices have rejected the plea of distress OFWs to provide them a lawyer for their defense.

He even noted that some of the OFWs in death row, at the beginning, have been denied services of a local hired lawyer. Migrante along with their families would always push the Department of Foreign Affairs to hire a lawyer for their defense during case dialogs.

"So what's the use of the millions of legal assistance fund appropriated yearly in the national budget coming from the tax payer's money, coming from billions of OFW remittances?" Monterona queried.

He said the Congress must look into it how the DFA spent the millions of money appropriated for the legal assistance of OFWs.

'"In the Philippines, poor people could seek the legal services of the Public Attorneys Office for free. Now working in a foreign land, to whom we could ask for legal assistance if our officials abroad would not heed on our plea to provide us a lawyer?" Monterona averred.

"It is now perceived that corruption encompasses in any branch of the government under the Arroyo administration. We don't want to think that the DFA and its foreign offices abroad have been afflicted by this very contagious disease," the OFW leader ended. # # #

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Sunday, January 11, 2009



Buhay Pilipino bakit kaya ganito?
Sa Pililpinas ako nakatira, pero wala naman akong lupa dito
Sa trabaho, banyaga ang amo ko
Na kay liit namang magpa sueldo.

Kay daming lupa, di naman sa akin
Ari pa rin ng lahing Kastilang dumayo sa pampang namin
Kalakalan ay ari ng singkit at sakang na dayuhan
Kami nga'y alipin sa sariling bayan namin.

Bakit kaya buhay ni Juan ay ganito?
Nagkahirap-hirap, nagkaloko-loko
Kung titingnan mo nama'y matino syang tao
Bakit kaya buhay niya'y naging ganito?

Bayan niya'y dating kay ganda at kay yaman pa
Ulap ay kay puti,dagat kay kinang, gubat ay luntian
Sinalabusab ng kabayan ni Juan
Yaring langit,dagat pati na yungib sa kagubatan.

Ngayon nga'y kalikasa'y naghihingalo na
Duktor, arbularyo'y di pupwede na
Himlayang patag ihanda na
Bukas-makalaway silay yayao na.
Kawawang Juan ni makai'y wala na.

Tao sa pwesto'y walang pakialam na rin
Basta't bulsa'y puno; tiyan ay bundat
Kay dami pang ginto
Daing ni Juan di nila alam
Pagkat sila'y nagtataengang - tapayan.

Si Juan nga'y mapagpasensyang tao
Ngunit may hangganan din ito
Dalawang beses na ngang ipinakita niya ito
Pati mundo'y nagulat dito.

Ngayon nga'y si Jua'y nag aalburuto na rin
Pasensya'y nauubos at kakaunti na rin
Konting panahon pa'y-- galit niya'y sasabog din
Sa mukha ng kababayang mga salarim.

------------ --- tapos na po ------------ ---------

Akda ni J.E.Santos

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Labor Chief lacks understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis

Press Release
8 January 2009

Labor Chief lacks understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis to migrant workers

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East today said the plan by the Arroyo administration through its Labor department to send an "advance reintegration team" to Taiwan shows only its lack of understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis that are now adversely affecting thousand of migrant workers and their families.

"This "advance reintegration team" being organized by the Labor Department due to be sent in Taiwan in the coming weeks presumably to assist OFWs who are expected to lose their jobs is nothing but only to cover the vicious effect of the Arroyo administration labor export policy- the sell-out of cheap OFWs labor amidst continuous violations and attack on OFWs rights and welfare," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said Labor Sec. Marianito Roque keeps on denying that OFWs would not be adversely affected by the global financial crisis and yet he is desperate enough to finding new markets for possible OFW deployment and renewing labor agreements with other countries despite prior knowledge that OFWs rights such as the right for decent wage and social and welfare benefits, among many others, will be at disadvantage.

"The answer to the problem of OFWs being laid off due to global financial crisis is not finding new labor markets or resurrecting old labor agreements, but by making the local economy strong and vibrant", Monterona added.

The OFW leader opined that Philippine economy would only be revived if genuine agrarian reform program will be implemented alongside with the nationalization of basic industries to give a breathing space to our struggling economy heavily subjected and dominated by foreign monopoly-capitalists corporations to the exploit of our human and natural resources.

"What the Labor department ''reintegration team'' could do in a foreign land if in his own country it cannot provide jobs with decent wage to the millions of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos back home?" Monterona queried.

Monterona said Labor Sec. Roque should be reminded that the reason why many Filipinos forced to accept jobs abroad is because of un-availability of jobs locally with decent wage and benefits.

On his part, Andrew M. Ociones, Migrante-KSA Chairperson said the Arroyo administration's reintegration program is two-pronged: first, it provides a support mechanism to government's labor export program and secondly, it is more of fund-raising schemes purportedly for government programs and for its business partners franchising.

"That's why instead of providing genuine service, government's reintegration program only yields disservice to OFWs and their families," he added.

Migrante-ME further said creating jobs locally is a dismal failure of the Arroyo administration, thus its is selling its own people cheap, without concrete measures to protect its rights and welfare and to truly recognize them a potent economic force contributing much in keeping the Philippine economy afloat through billions of OFW remittances.

Monterona said the livelihood assistance provided by the Arroyo administration to lay off OFWs is a band-aid solution. '"We even doubt if these amount would surely benefits and go to laid off OFWs, and not to the pocket of corrupt government officials," he added.

"The Arroyo administration must squarely face the bitter reality and accept whole heartedly the fact of OFWs mass lay off, only then it could better understand the effect of the global economic crisis and realize that its large-scale labor exportation is sham and vicious, and must be stop," Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012