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Editorial Board

Francis Alolod Goldy A. Omelio

Para sa inyong mga komentaryo, kontribusyon at suhestiyon, maari kayong sumulat sa aming tanggapan o tumawag sa telepono na naidetalye sa ibabang bahagi ng lathalang ito. KAAGAPAY Overseas Filipino Workers Resource and Service Center, Inc # 349 Ante Compound, Rosary Heights 4, Sinsuat Ave, Cotabato City 9600, Mindanao Philippines Email Address : kaagapaycotabato98@gmail.com Website : kaagapaycotabato.org Telephone # : (063) (064) 421 - 5024

Ma. Catherine M. Gasa Goldy A. Omelio Jasmine G. Bayao Fatima Lintang - Ali Racma A. Nguda Renier John V. Gahum


Picture Selection
Romilyn G. Cruz RJ Gahum

Layout Design/ Cartoonist

Ang Kaagapay Concerns ay inilathala ng Kaagapay Overseas Filipino Workers Resource and Service Center, Inc. sa tulong pinansyal mula sa Comit catholique contre la faim et pour le dveloppement

Editorial The Neglected Ones, Turned Out to be the Most Productive of them All
(March 2014)
offered by some Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials who presented themselves as labor attach but who took advantage of the helpless OFWs in several countries. They offered to help OFWs (mostly women) to fly them home in exchange of sex. The President will surely not give much attention on these shameful acts in the pretext that the proper agencies of the government have been taking charge of these issues.

Months from now, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA). He will surely talk on his many achievements after four years in office. Foremost of these achievements have been the spectacular growth of the economy in terms of the gross domestic product (GDP) which in 2013 grew to 7% inspite of the lower percentage expectation by many because of the worst climate change disaster Yolanda (Haiyan) which hit the central part of the country. He will surely report on the upgrading of our credit status with the international creditors which he claims to be the result of his good governance and matuwid na daan program. He will surely report on the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) as the best achievement of his administration. This is a comprehensive peace agreement of the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Fornt (MILF) which creates much hope for development among the officials and members of the MILF and their supporters in the Muslim Mindanao Region. Surely, the President will not mention who are benefitting from the growth of the economy. He will not mention that the rate of the unemployment has steadily increased. And surely he will not mention that the number of the people who are below poverty line has reached a serious percentage compared to the increasing population of the country.

And surely the President, will not give reasons why the glaring neglect Definitely, the President will of OFWs issues and concerns inspite of not mention that a significant number of their most important contribution to stakeholders in the Muslim Mindanao the countrys economy. region has not been heard of and has The President will definitely say been included in the so called CAB. He will refer to those stakeholders as that he is in the best position to feel what spoilers of peace that the (Government and how the OFWs feel having been in and the MILF) has worked so hard. the same situation during the dictatorial The President will not mention that the regime. But he will not say why these basically unchanged socio-economic feelings towards the OFWs have not realities and structures in the so called been translated into actions in helping Bangsamoro entity will not bring so the OFWs in distress. much change in its politics except The President can simply start the few new faces in the scene but otherwise it will be composed of proven right by recognizing the heroic role of recycled politicians from the past peace the OFWs in the country. The next steps will surely be favorable to these most processes. neglected ones. And finally but definitely not And the best gauge that indeed given due recognition is the realities and role of the overseas Filipino there will be peace and development workers (OFWs) that the President has in the Muslim Mindanao region and not mentioned on in the past four (4) the rest of the country will be when the thousands of OFWs stop their SONAs. exodus outside the country because He will not mention that the the reasons of their becoming OFWs ever increasing remittances of the will be answered by the substantial OFWs bring about the real growth in the changes brought about by the genuine countrys economy. He will not mention resolution of conflicts in the region. that substantial number of families hit And the important role that the OFWs by Yolanda have been helped to rise play in the economic upliftment of again through the remittances of their their host countries will be performed relatives who doubled or tripled their in their own country and with the efforts in working abroad to send more people. And then the most neglected money to their affected families in the ones will become strategic cornerstone and strong foundation of building and central part of the country. strengthening the Bangsamoro, the Definitely the President will Indigenous Peoples and the migrant not mention the vulture type of services Filipinos.

Kaagapay Concerns

On Saudis Nationalization Program

It is a fact that any crisis experienced by receiving or host countries bounces to the Philippines because of the relative number of Filipino workers all around the world. One example is the Taiwanese reprisal after the May 9 shooting incidence allegedly done by Philippine Coast Guard crew to a Taiwanese fishing vessel that killed a Taiwanese fisherman. This flared up the Taiwanese public against the Philippines and even toward Filipinos. Reports showed that OFWs experienced harassments in the work place while some were deprived from buying grocery items or from entering inside the restaurant. Economic sanctions to Philippines, which included freezing migrant labor that affected 88,000 OFWs lasted for three (3) months (June August) that weakened two-way trade worth about $ 11 billion. more than a million Filipino workers where in 2012, nearly 108,000 undocumented Filipino A similar case also happened in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is one of the many countries that needs workers other than its citizens making it as the top destination country of land-based OFWs (new-hire) based on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administrations data for consecutive years. Currently, it houses workers in the Kingdom were accounted by the POEA. These workers are currently under the verge of struggle as the Kingdom strictly materialized its Nitaqat System under its Nationalization Program. The system requires Saudi private companies to allot job to Saudi nationals aimed at improving the employment participation of Saudis in the private sector and ultimately deal with the kingdoms unemployment problem as well as prioritizing economic opportunities for Saudi nationals and mitigating the influx of illegal workers. In this case, Saudi law allows the arrest of illegally staying Filipinos. Before the November 3, 2013 grace period for undocumented OFWs to process necessary documents, Department of Foreign Affairs had repatriated around 5,000 OFWs from the Kingdom. The big concern that should challenge the Philippine government by now is how to accommodate the employment needs of those repatriated, those who are still on the list for crackdown and those who are still vying for overseas 3

employment amidst the global financial crisis. Unfortunately, creating permanent viable local jobs is not at the top priority list of the current administration as overseas employment becomes permanent trend for Filipino workers despite the fact that job demands in other countries are not permanent. With the changing paradigm of the global labor market, it is timely for the Philippine government to develop labor framework where local resources are well utilized and enjoyed by its labor force. barrel system, aligning the funds to every implementing agencies and securing mechanism for its use. Putting the huge amount of money to productive activities so as to attract employment, rather than going into the private pockets of the legislators would be proper step to the right direction. With the current controversy on the misuse of pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Fund PDAF), now is the time to put an end to discretionary power of legislators over the fund thus scrapping the pork

Insights on Pork Barrel

By:Ging M. Gasa

Everyone is indeed fussing about the very controversial issue about the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam involving some members of the Senate and the House of Congress. Criticisms from the public wrapped the alleged involved politicians who are said to be the ones who squander the wealth and hard earned money of the people. Different ways of expressing concerns through news and social media widen information to every individual which then motivated every citizen, poor and rich, popular and unpopular, to rage, take part and have firm stand and demands against the controversy. In this major commotion, one name stood out, the held Pork Barrel Queen. The one responsible for the detour into private pocket of the PDAF funds for local projects of politicians with the aid of her false non-government organizations. The aid of corruption and the only person who could reveal the truth behind the allegations and clear all confusions, is Janet LimNapoles.

Kaagapay Concerns

Yes, its ten, not just hundreds of thousands or millions but ten billion amount of money from the pocket of each Filipino worker were put to nothing. By this circumstance, no one can be blamed if we are going over the top on this matter. As a matter of fact, it is everyones right to practice their rights and do not let graft and corruption be a way of governance. Each citizen should have this creed, I am an employee who abides in laws, in a way I contribute to taxes that our government collects to become their resources, therefore, I must care to know where my fruit of hard work had gone. Now, I think to myself, how can these people take their conscience? Arent they have pity and care for those who need (more than them) the money they stole in which in the first place they do not own and is really intended for the needy? Why cant they be satisfied by their riches and still steal from the poor and the deprived? This is just so unfair and cruel! We must really not let them pass through this because if we do, they will continue to exploit us. We must fight for our rights and for the sake of the future of our very own children. It is disappointing to accept that the persons who made many positive promises to us and whom we entrusted to become the law makers are the very same persons who committed such crime and now we cannot trust them anymore. At this moment the journey still continues as Napoles still refuses to say anything but Hindi ko po alam and still invokes her right to self incrimination during her trial with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. We all know that the imprisonment of Napoles is not enough to conclude this, for there are still many culprits involved who are still not being put to jail and have their penalty as the consequence of their actions. Many of them promised us change, said that they will uplift Philippines, but then again it was just another broken promise. However, it will never be impossible for us, if we still believe in a just and fair governance we may be able to reach our goals one day. As our dear president said, Tayo na sa tuwid na daan (Let us go to the straight path), we must then follow the right path in being morally just in order for this to be realistic. We must practice what we preach and walk our talk as the saying goes. For unless we reach the day when our selfish desires will not anymore be our main priority, indeed, not a bit of improvement will happen. If that will be the turn out, then Im sure that Ang tuwid na daan ay magiging pangarap nalang (The straight path will remain a dream).

Civil Society Organizations Move against Pork Barrel Scam

Jasmine G. Bayao

At the height of controversial pork barrel scam that involves political leaders it affects every life of the Filipinos anywhere in the world. The most affected are the poor masses who have tax contributions even if they do not have enough food to eat; hoping in return that it will benefit them but it turned out that it had benefited only by most of the political leaders. Since this issue affects all sectors of the Philippine society, Kilusan ng mga Lumalabang Mamamayan para sa Pagbabago ng Bayan (KILOS BAYAN) which Kaagapay is part of, organized a series of community educations and fora. The first was held in Brgy. Bulalo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last 11 September 2013 which was attended by thirty-eight (38) individuals coming from the peoples organization (Bulalo OFW Organization) and some barangay officials. Ms. Josing D. Manandil, Kilos Bayan education committee, clearly discussed what pork barrel is and its purpose for the development of the country. The audience actively listened, expressed how they are dismayed and committed any future relevant activities against the scam.The day after (September 12, 2013) was a forum which was participated by about fifty (50) individuals from different sects like non-government organizations, church-based, women, youth, trade union, OFW returnees and media in Cotabato City and Maguindanao. It aimed to broaden the knowledge on pork barrel, to hear the tri-people voices on the issue and to have one position in addressing it. The resource speaker was Atty. Corazon V. Fabros, Lead Convenor of Stop the War Coalition Philippines and Coordinator for Asia Pacific No Bases Network. Participants to the forum attentively listened and showed interest through sharing their own point of views and reactions about their disappointments and also committed in joining any political gatherings against the scam. Part of the resolution that was unanimously decided by the participants at the end of the forum was the mobilization held in the morning of the day after the forum was conducted. Around thirty (30) individuals from different groups were gathered in the city plaza of Cotabato around seven (7) oclock on September 13, 2013. For almost two (2) hours, voices were expressed, opinions were heared and demands were projected. 4

Kaagapay Concerns

program. They undergone debriefing exercises and were later asked to draw the situation/their feelings when their parent(s) went abroad for work. Each child explained and shared individually their drawing where some cried and others observably have a traumatic experience. The second session was conducted last June 22, 2013 among children 9-14 years of age. In this session we have viewed a film entitled A Mothers Story. After the film viewing the children shared their reflection and their dreams and their goals for their family. Some children cried during their sharing and in expressing their feelings in relation to the movie they have seen. The third session was attended by children of OFWs belonged to 15-21 years old which was conducted on June 29, 2013 at the session hall of Barangay Bagua-2, Cotabato City. In this session, only fourteen (14) children were able to attend due to conflict of schedule and of heavy rain. There was also a film viewing of the movie Anak where some children also cried because of the relevance of the movie to their life experiences as children of OFWs. A brief sharing among the children was also done. As result of this yearly program, Kaagapay decided to once again focus the Paaralang Pangkaunlaran among children of OFWs by 2014.

By September 17, 2013 in Ummah Center, Rosary Heights 5, Cotabato City, Josing D. Manandil again shared relevant points about the PDAF scam to thirty-eight (38) individual members of the Kagkalimwa OFW Federation. As a positive result of these activities Kilos Bayan and its members jointly commemorated the 41st commemoration of Martial Law last September 21 through mass mobilization were various organizations loudly shared and spoke about their demands and agenda on the issue of human rights violations, militarizations, graft and corruption and among others.The solidarity program was solemnly ended through silent prayer and candle lighting.

Paaralang Pangkaunlaran 2013: A year for the children of OFWs

On June 2013 Kaagapay OFWRSCI initiated a whole month activity in celebration of the National Migrants Workers month the Paaralang Pangkaunlaran for the Children of OFWs every Saturday in which three (3) levels of sessions were conducted where each session was attended by children according to different age brackets. The study provided a venue for children of OFWs to share their sentiments as children of OFWs and express their various concerns and a venue for children to recognize and appreciate their own strengths and abilities; it has also provided opportunity to address some problems they face and to share coping strategies as they are confronted by these problems. In the first session on June 15, 2013, twentyfive (25) children ages 5-8 years old participated in the 5

Kaagapay Concerns

Securing the Votes: The IM for PEACE Initiatives in May 2013 Elections
by : RJ Gahum Local groups from non-government organizations (NGOs), peoples organizations (POs) composed of women, youth, returned OFWs and OFW families, church-based and tribal groups (Teduray-Lambangian) were convened to organize the Interfaith Movement for Peaceful and Clean Election (IM for PEACE) Cotabato and Maguindanao Chapters. More than a hundred election monitor volunteers committed in monitoring the May 13, 2013 national elections in some selected precincts of Cotabato City and some parts of Maguindanao. IM for PEACEs engagement in every election since 2010 aimed at securing the votes of citizens and promoting clean and honest election in Mindanao. Part of the preparation for the volunteers was the Basic Documentation Session given by Atty. Noel Ben. Volunteers were taught what kind and forms of violations usually are committed during elections and on how to document it. At the actual election, some documented election related problems last May 2013 election include fights among supporters, rampant vote buying within and outside the precincts, bomb scared, flying voters, vote tampering and among others. This election monitoring volunteers were again made possible in partnership with the local broadcasting media. Kaagapay thru its representatives have been very active in the IM for PEACE activities. It has a big stake in the election and that is to make sure that the votes of the returned migrant workers and their families would be properly counted.

Engaging Barangay Officials and the Communities: Key to Promote the Rights of OFWs on the Ground
Jasmine G. Bayao

The Barangay officials have a significant role in protecting and promoting overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) and their families. Also, engaging them in the campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking is another factor that will surely help their constituents. Today anyone even without a license can convince and recruit some individuals. In this context, we conducted awareness program among barangay officials last January 22 and 24, 2013 in the municipalities of Datu Piang and Parang in the province of Maguindanao. The main speaker was Atty. Noel A. Ben of Public Attoneys Office-Cotabato District. He discussed concisely the importance of two (2) Republic Acts 10022 or known as Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and for Purposes and Republic Act 9208 or also known as Anti-Trafficking in Persons. The discussion became interesting because the participants actively shared their own experiences. Some of their constituents were helped by them in locating their families abroad. The open forum gave them a chance to deepen their understanding on the two (2) republic acts.One of the observations of the barangay officials is that most of the recruiter/agents are not living in their area. After recruiting somebody, for instance their daughter or relative, they left and process the documents according to their wish. Because of too much trust to these people, parents of those being recruited put their daughters into danger because original documents are falsified and tampered. At the start, they do not really have any idea that such situation creates a problem and only to find out later that most of their daughters are victims of illegal recruitment. This awareness program has lightened up the barangay officials that there is a nearby institution that can help and cater the concerns of the OFWs and their families. Moreover, they said that it is more possible to help their constituents because of the partnership that is established. As positive response to this awareness program, most of the barangay officials encouraged

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us in organizing an orientation in their respective communities. They said that this opportunity should be given to their constituents so that it could be more helpful and effective in addressing the problem on illegal recruitment and human trafficking in their area.

By January 29, 2013 the second training was then held with twenty-three (23) members from different organizations producing banana cake, coco sapal biscuits and squash maja. The third training was held on February 18, 2013, and was participated by thirty-three (33) members producing spicy dilis, fish ball and fish burger. On April 30, 2013, the fourth training was held and participated by twenty-eight (28) members. The training was centered on making tocino, beef tapa and beef burger products. Another training was about the mango puree, pineapple candy, and mango juice processing. It was conducted on May 30, 2013 to twenty-five (25) members of the federation. Part of the result-evaluation of these trainings is the second series previously provided to selected member organizations of Kagkalimwa. On October 14, 2013, twelve (12) members of Greenhills OFW Organization in Brgy. Tenorio, Awang in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao actively engaged in the processing of sweet banana chips, squash maja and coco sapal. On November 27, 2013, there were twenty (20) members of Mangungan OFW Organization in Mangungan, Bagua 2, Cotabato City who benefited from the training on the same type of food. The same training was also organized on December 9, 2013 among thirteen (13) members of Kabuntalan OFW Organization in Brgy. Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The members of organizations themselves appropriately and convenientyly selected the types of foodbased processing training to conduct.

Skills Enhancement Training Pushes Through

By: Ging M. Gasa Series of food-based processing training were organized in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office XII which provided the venue, cooking utensils and equipments and knowledge. The trainings aimed of making members of Kagkalimwa OFW Federation skilled in processing foods and of providing them alternative opportunities for possible additional sources of income. On January 24, 2013, the first training was participated by 19 members from the different organizations. Each participant actively involved in food preparation for the processing of banana chips, sweetened banana and cheese and banana ketchup.

The second series was successfully realized through the knowledge and skills shared by some Kagkalimwa federation members participated in the first batch of the training.

Kaagapay Concerns

Intensified Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) in Schools and Communities launched

Jasmine G. Bayao

Poverty situation and a poor local employment in the community are big factors forcing the individuals to find job abroad. This trend affects the future of students and young people forcing them to either stop going to schools or look for overseas jobs after finishing secondary school. Based upon observations, noticeable number of young women from the suburb areas are the most vulnerable for overseas employment recruitment particularly as household service workers (HSW) or commonly known as domestic workers which does not require a tertiary degree with a higher salary compare to equivalent local job. Due to this noticeable and alarming situation concerning the students and out of school youth, we launched two (2) series of school-based preemployment orientation seminar (PEOS) last 11 February in Cotabato City National High School (CCNHS) Rojas Site and Matanog National High School in Matanog, Maguindanao on February 25, 2013. The orientation aimed at increasing the level of awareness of high school students on the labor issue and migration related concerns. The orientation in CCNHS-Rojas Site had a total number of two hundred twenty-one (221) students while in Matanog High School has sixty-three (63) students who attended the orientation. The students of CCNHS-Rojas Site attentively listened and actively shared their own idea of the difficulties of their parents while working abroad. The seminar helps them understand their own hardships under the guardianship of their relatives who take care of them. Some of them expressed the need of finding a job abroad after graduation because their parents could not send them to college due to high tuition fees. In Matanog National High School students have limited knowledge on the issues and concerns of working abroad because of poor access to information like internet and other media. But it did not hinder them to cooperate and participate in the orientation. In fact, it challenged them to be more watchful on the modus operandi of illegal recruitment and assured to share their learning to their parents, relatives and friends.

Our continuous dissemination of relevant information on employment, illegal recruitment and human trafficking extends to community-based pre-employment orientation in five (5) barangays of Datu Piang, Maguindanao (Kanguan, Dado, Masigay, Damabalas, and Reina Regente) and two (2) barangays of Parang, Maguindano (Polloc and Making). The total number of active participants together with some barangay officials was three hundred eighteen (318). This orientation had opened further their understanding on issues of migration and how to be more vigilant when it comes to seeking employment abroad. In addition, it was observed that most of the referred cases are undocumented or have experience illegal recruitment. As a response to this concern we provided a copy of list of recruitment agencies where for them to check if the recruitment agency they are applying is licensed. They can also immediately refer if their families or relatives face problem abroad with the help of their barangay officials. In the end, all the participants were thankful for giving them an opportunity on how to be more responsive for themselves and to the community in general on seeking employment abroad and to combat illegal recruitment and human trafficking.

Kaagapay Concerns

On the National Consultation on Migrants, Refugees and Non-Citizens 2013

From 19-22 September 2013, a National Consultation on Migrants, Refugees and Non-Citizens 2013 was jointly organized by Migration Working Group (MWG), Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian The Northern Network for Migration and Refugees (JUMP), Bar Council, Penang Office for Human Development (POHD) and Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia) in Penang, Malaysia. This consultation was attended by around 60 individuals who are mostly from local groups and individuals advocating rights for migrants and refugees in Malaysia. Invited also were international participants from Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia and Philippines. Kaagapay was one of those invited from the Philippines through Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). The consultation aims to (1) create a space where civil society groups and individuals working on migration issues can network with each other and strengthen collaboration on common areas of work, (2) build capacity through information sharing and skills building amongst civil society groups for the protection of non-citizens in Malaysia, (3) hold constructive engagement with key stakeholders of migration in Malaysia, such as the Malaysian government officials, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), embassies of migrant-sending countries, and Malaysian employer associations, (4) provide a platform for NGOs from sending countries to interact with local NGOs and strengthen cross border advocacy efforts and (5) evaluate changes in government policies on migration, review the activities of the MWG/JUMP in the past year, formulate strategies to make this Network more effective in the coming year and elect MWG Coordinators for the 2013/2014 term. The gathering was able to discuss some of the development of regional and international mechanisms such as the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW) among others, shared to 9

the participants the changes in government policies and upcoming trends in relation to migration issues particularly in Malaysia, created spaces for inquiries and received updates on involved processes in the handling of cases of trafficking in persons and created space for international participants to share their work on advocacy and built possible collaboration efforts in the future. Kaagapay was able to learn a lot in the consultation especially in understanding the broader context of its workers among the migrant workers and their families.

Social Service or Sexual Service? Rethinking What OFWs are Getting in Return
In mid-2013, Representative Walden Bello of Akbayan Partylist (Chair of the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs) publicly presented his report on the conditions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East. One of the most enthralling expos was the involvement of the Philippine labor officials in the sex-for-flight scheme where distressed OFWs are sexually molested in exchange for a plane ticket back to the Philippines. Specifically, Riyadhbased assistant labor attach Antonio Tony Villafuerte was pointed out by his victims, Angel, Annaliza and Michelle (not their real first name). Senate hearings and supplementary investigations are still on-going to date. With this unethical and rude doing of involved government officials, whether allegations are true or not, there is a need for them to rethink what OFWs especially migrant domestic workers have been through. As the country is plagued with the vices of corruption, as what the pork barrel scam entails, and very limited provision of basic social services as result of this massive and unstoppable corruption, many OFWs are forced to migrate overseas for job opportunities to economically support their families which they cannot do when they are in the country or chose to migrate overseas to get away from this chaotic atmosphere. This is despite of the fact of sacrificing

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for the distance and emptiness of being away from home for a couple of years or more, of the possibility of relationship break-ups between parents and lesser time in taking care of the children, and of estrange feeling towards the host country. The most vulnerable OFWs, as everybody might know, are domestic workers (commonly called DH for domestic helpers even if they are also workers) because of how the society constructed their class status. They often received multiple types of abuses from their own employer, manning agency and in some cases, from their own family. Despite of their vulnerability, they composed bulk of the number of new hired landbased OFWs according to the table shown below from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Number of Deployed Landbased OFWs by Top Five Occupational Categories, New Hires: 2010-2012
Occupational Categories All Occupational Categories TOTAL 1) Household Service Workers 2) Nurses Professional 3) Waiters, Bartenders and Related Workers 4) Caregivers and Caretakers 5) Wiremen and Electrical Workers 2010 2011 2012

With the exposed allegation committed by Mr. Villafuerte, it is another type of a highest level of abuse towards OFWs in general. It is a big shame for the government as primary perpetrator of rights violations especially if the government personnel involved is the primary right-protector and welfare-promoter of the alleged victims. It is a case of a protector becoming the abuser and who will protect the OFWs from the abuses of their supposed to be protectors? On April 2009, one of the recommendations of United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers (UNCMW) to the Philippine government is to ensure consular services hence such recommendation was never fulfilled in this matter. However, OFWs have been experiencing this multiplicity of abuse long before the expos happened.

OFWs Empty Hands in the PORKfully Corrupt System

Since July this year, national government through its senators, congress representatives, cabinet members and even the President are meddled with corrupt-ridden controversies. Ms. Janet LimNapoles allegedly orchestrated several non-existent NGOs (non-government organizations) as holders and implementers of projects identified by various lawmakers for allocations of their PDAF (Priority Development Assistant Fund), the official name of pork barrel. Huge amount of kickbacks were secured for the lawmakers who have the discretionary power over their fund, minimal but optimal amount went to cohort government agency personnel and part of this public fund was privately and luxuriously used by Napoles. When exclusively selected by the P-Noy administration as part of its anti-corruption campaign and Tuwid na Daan slogan, Senator Jinggoy Estrada exposed the huge incentive-based fund on top of the annual discretionary PDAF of the senators after the then Chief Justice Corona was impeached. Defensively, Malacaang confirmed but argued that it was part of the Development Acceleration Program (DAP), a special program of fund that said to re-allocate the remaining and unused funds for

341,966 96,583 12,082 8,789 9,293 8,606

437,720 142,689 17,236 12,238 10,101 9,826

458,575 155,831 15,655 14,892 10,575 10,493

Every year, Kaagapay through its Legal Assistance and Counseling (LAC) program facilitates cases of distressed OFWs who are mostly women domestic workers in the Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Observably, most of the cases are maltreatment and harassment by their own employer and illegally recruited by an agent of a legal manning agency (employment contract alteration among others). In worst cases, others experience marital problems or experience economic abuse by their own immediate family without them (OFWs) realizing it.

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other purposes/projects. This kind of program was anomalously formed without any legislative basis of creation which resulted for the public to clamor for explanation from the Presidents end. This corruption-tainted story is one of the major points that define the stability and efficacy of the current administration aside from the Zamboanga siege 1 and the natural calamities that devastated the major areas of the Visayas region.2 Making a stand on these corruption issues has some implications on the coming 2016 Presidential and National Election. The current administration is making sure to splat out corruption acts (the PDAF scam) to the faces of the opposing line. As remembered, the released Commission on Audit (COA) reports only covered the 2007-2009 spending and stressing out the audits of PDAF-related projects of the three (3) linked senators among others. The opposition on the other hand, are securing their defenses by exposing hidden issues and re-splatting what are thrown to them (the DAP issues) like demanding that 2010 to present COA reports should also be revealed. Whats in the House? If I were to ask about the reasons why a congresswoman/senator is aiming for an office, one of my presumed ideas is, aside from obtaining political power and popularity and providing public service, they can easily as well accumulate public funds for private use if they have the position. However, this presumption was never proven until the pork barrel scam was aired. If election spending vis--vis PDAF kickbacks are analyzed, political candidates for the both houses, for instance, can surely recover from electoral expenses. Take for example the Statement of Campaign Expenditures

(SOCE) for the 2013 Senatorial election (names are intentionally abbreviated below) posted in COMELEC,
Senatorial Candidate 2013 Expenses reflected in their SOCE


P138,207,825.00 P150,401,072.09 P120,136,752.86

If P150 million is the average electoral campaign expenditure in this case and if the PDAF percentage allocation would be based on the statements of pork barrel scam witnesses that as much as 40% of the projects are kickbacks for legislators, then by three years time (a single term for a senator) P240 million will be earned for the P600 million cumulative PDAF. This means that by the end of the senators term, P90 million will be gained aside from any incentives or cash-formed gratuity she/he accepted. This is a huge amount that greedy trapos(traditional politicians) are fighting for during elections. This Kind of Corruption and the OFW Situation All forms of corruption in the government whether PDAF-related or not crosscut to all sectors of the Philippine society, in this case, the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Overseas labor migration is just linked to the continuum process of underdeveloped agriculture and the rural poor and the unequal distribution of the wealth of nation that resulted to oppressive working condition of the workers in all sectors of industries. Based on the data of the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) on the employed persons by major industry, the Services have the most employed persons with more than 20 million in October 2011 from 18.2 million in 2010 of the same month. Agriculture, on the other hand, has employed 12.8 million in October 2011 from 12.07 million in 2010 of the same month.

Armed conflict initiated by Nur Misuari and his MNLF faction last September 2013.
2 7.2 intensity earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu Islands last October 2013 and a super typhoon hit Eastern Visayas in November 8, 2013.


Kaagapay Concerns

Employed Persons by Major Industry October 2008 October 2011 (in thou)
Industry Group Agriculture, Fisheries Industry (Mining, Quarrying, Manufacturing, etc.) Services

2008 12,320 5,078 17,135

2009 2010 2011 12,072 12,072 12,861 5,154 5,154 5,608

not only the corrupt-driven acts of lawmakers but also the clear manifestation of abusing the underserved of oppressed workers of the society. The public funds for the Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform were greedily consumed by lawmakers, which are supposedly intended for support services to small farmers and farm workers, development of sustainable agriculture and support to acquisition and distribution of land to the landless. When some migrant workers advocate group called for a no remittance day campaign as a strike against the misuse of pork barrel, the Malacaang was not threatened and even publicly declared that it was no threat to the economy. This terse statement is either a clear indication that contributions of the OFWs to the countrys economy are not valued nor recognized by the administration; a crystal clear index that OFWs are empty-handed or the government is hiding its real fear that the move of the OFWs, will be hitting a bulls eye, that is why it has, thru its spokespersons, to pretend that such move could not affect the economy. Reality would reveal that aside from the construction activities, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is very dependent on the remittance of the OFWs which has been increasing monthly and yearly.

18,250 18,250 20,082

This is supported by the data on employed persons by major occupational group of the same period. Laborers and unskilled workers topped the rank with 12.7 million in October 2011 from 11.8 million in 2010 of the same month. The number of Farmers, Forest workers and Fisher folks, on the other hand, fluctuates annually in number since October 2008. Employed Persons by Major Occupational Group October 2008 October 2011 (in thou)
Major Occupational Group



2010 11,809 5,900

2011 12,790 5,800

Laborers and Unskilled Farmers, Forestry Workers and Fisher folks Officials of government and special interest groups Service workers and shop and market sales workers

11,239 11,530 6,127 5,815





A Melancholy Journey in the Visayas Island: A Reflection on Mi-HANDS Response to Typhoon Yolanda Survivors
by: Jasmine G. Bayao





These data are expected to vary from time to time because of possible reasons such as (1) thousands of fresh college graduates competing the scarcity of job vacancies and opportunities every year, (2) effect of contractualization of labor and privatization of services and (3) improper and insufficient support to the development of major industries like agriculture and fishery that made the loss flows of workers in this sector. Improper and insufficient support to agricultural development is manifested on how public funds are being utilized. The pork barrel scam exposed

I saw on the television, I read in the papers and I heard on the radio how helpless the people were when super typhoon Yolanda striked the Visayas region. In fact, no words could describe how depressive the lives of the survivors both rich and poor. But the most affected ones are the poor whose houses were just made up of light materials. And if one tries to describe how powerful and devastating Yolanda is, one surely cannot help ones self that tears will fall without her/ him noticing it. I was given an opportunity in visiting and helping survivors of the super typhoon through MiHANDS (Mindanao Humanitarian Action Network against Disasters) with the slogan, Mindananao Duyog alang sa Katawhang Biktima ni Yolanda (Mindanao 12

Kaagapay Concerns

Solidarity to Yolanda Survivors). While passing by on the affected streets, I couldnt imagine how difficult they went through. Most of the houses are roofless, street lights fell down and the trees are nearly without leaves or worst, dead. The city seems like a dump site because of scattered debris and rubbish that can be seen everywhere. And a noticeable handmade signage and writings in the streets and on the walls asking and begging for help. The days went by so fast and our mission started. It was the time for us to deliver our services. The moment we stepped down from our vehicle means a big help for a village which still have hopes of surviving. They were actively falling in line to receive relief goods and hygiene kit. While others were relieved in having traditional and western medications and psychosocial activities for children. The kids enjoyed their educational materials and energetically participated to the different games and fun activities. As having all of these services, you could see through their eyes how happy they were at that moment. I thought I was the one who inspired them but I was wrong. Instead they are the one who inspired me. Every survivor that I have talked to told me how hard for them when Yolanda striked and even harder on what Yolanda left. A little boy shared his own story to me saying that he was really scared and cried a lot and confused where to go at the moment of devastation. It was like there was no more place to go anymore. When I asked him what he did, he just replied, I went to my mother and hugged her tightly. This is despite of her (the mother) being wounded because of protecting and securing them. While sharing his sad story I listened to him carefully. Our conversation went deeply because he also shared his own dream to become a professional teacher someday. On our sentimental conversation I really admired his courage because he kept on smiling at me despite of his experience. And his eyes were sparkling; saying that theres still hope for them. Of course, my bonding to the elders and senior citizens was amazing. They were grateful and thankful for the relief goods and other services that they have received. And they said they were touched because of the presence of concerned people who felt what they went through regardless of distance. The thirty-three (33) hours travel by land and by the sea and the hardship in going there was 13

nothing compared to the survivors difficulties. The super typhoon made a lifetime scar on the lives of every survivor in a blink of an eye. It will take time and effort to regain what they have lost. But despite of this dilemma, the Filipino people in general and the people in the Visayas in particular will rise up soon and as one. This unforgettable moment of journey to the central island of the country is worth to remember and worthy to be shared. Because it helps me to understand things more deeply that help should always be attached with sincerity and dedication. If there is one thing that Yolanda didnt take away from us is our biggest smile and spirit of hope. And this will serve as our weapon in fighting and overcoming this tremendous disaster in our lives and our dear country.

Kaagapay Concerns

by: gingskety

Eliseo: Batang Nakaligtas sa Yolanda

By: mhineshinn

Mahigit na sampung taong napalayo sa pamilya, Sabik akong makabalik sa bayan kong sinisinta. Samantalang lumalapag ang eroplanong nagdala Sa paliparan ng Ninoy, sumagi sa alaala Ang masaklap na sinapit nang ako ay mabiktima Ng iligal na recruiter na pangako ay kayganda. Pagsapit sa pupuntahan, madali raw makakita Ng trabahong hinahanap; di ko alam na ang visa, Show money at pasaporteng bigay sa kin, peke pala! Kaya ako ay nahuli, at nakulong, at nagdusa... Buti na lang, nakalaya, may tumulong na pamilya Papeles ko ay inayos, nabigyan ng amnestiya. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ay magtiis-tiis muna Kung ngayon ay naghihirap, bukas naman may ginhawa. Sa nasa kong makatipid, iniipon pati barya At pag merong nagtatapon kaagad kong kinukuha Lumang damit, lumang radyo, lumang Barbie, lumang bola Kahit luma, ginto ito pag-uwi ko sa probinsya! Sampung taon ang lumipas at ngumiti ang pag-asa Sakripisyong pinuhunan, namulaklak at nagbunga Sino nga bang mag-iisip na buhay koy naging aba? Ang alam ng iba, akoy galing abroad at mapera (Ang tutoo, sa banyagang bansa, kahit masagana, Peray hindi napupulot, kailangang magsikap ka!) Damdam ko ay nakalutang sa ulap ang mga paa Hanggang akoy papalapit sa bahaging Customs area Magiliw ang pagsalubong, nakangiti hanggang teynga Merry Christmas, Kababayan! Ano ba ang iyong dala? WALA ka bang NALIMUTAN? Tiyak mo bang KUMPLETO na? Papaano naman KAMI? Bahala ka na lamang, ha? Parang bulang sumambulat ang ligayang nadarama Taas-noong pagbubunyi, nahalinhan ng dismaya Sampung taon - Erap, Gloria at ngayon ay Pinoy na! Ilang taon pa ba bago mauuso ang konsyensya? Ten years ago, kapwa Pinoy ang sa akin, nambiktima Ten years later, eto uli... Pilipino, dakila ka!

Ngiting di mapawi dahil sa natanggap na krayola taklat Agad agad itong binasa ng mahinahon at binuklat-buklat Habang nagkukuwento sa karanasang masalimuot Sa kanyang murang edad kalianman itoy di malilimot Ika niya, Ate tagasaan po kayo? Sa Mindanao, ang tugon ko, Sambit niya agad, Malayo po ang Mindanao, ate? Agad kong tugon, Oo malayo, Eli. Di malimot ang kanyang ngiti at tawa Na sa aking pusot isipan kailanman ay di mabubura Dahil dala nito ay isang pag-asa at bukas Na ang buhay, sa isang delubyong dumating, ay di magwawakas Bagkus ito ay nagpapatibay at nagpapalakas ninuman At may bukas pang naghihintay sa bawat sangkatauhan At mayroong mga taong handang iaalay ang kanilang panahon at lakas Sa mga batang katulad mo Eli, ngayon at bukas!

Kaagapay Concerns



Whats Inside

On Saudis Nationalization Program Insights on Pork Barrel

Civil Society Organizations Move against Pork Barrel Scam

Paaralang Pangkaunlaran 2013: A year for the children of OFWs

Securing the Votes: The IM for PEACE Initiatives in May 2013

Engaging Barangay Officials and the Communities: Key to Promote the Rights of OFWs on the Ground Skills Enhancement Training Pushes Through Intensified Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) in Schools and Communities launched On the National Consultation on Migrants, Refugees and Non-Citizens 2013 Social Service or Sexual Service? Rethinking What OFWs are Getting in Return OFWs Empty Hands in the PORKfully Corrupt System A Melancholy Journey in the Visayas Island: A Reflection on Mi-HANDS Response to Typhoon Yolanda Survivors PILIPINO, DAKILA KA ELISEO

Legal Assistance and Counseling Updates

Legal Assistance and Counseling (LAC) program once again collected and consolidated basic information of catered and facilitated cases of overseas Filipino workers. In 2013, a total of fifty-four (54) beneficiaries have directly availed LACs programs and services. The cases/claims of these beneficiaries are obtained through drop-in, reach out, and referral (phone and email) systems. The illustration below shows and explains the demographic categories of the served and facilitated cases from January to December 2013. For the past two consecutive years the top destination country of the OFW beneficiaries that Kaagapay facilitated is Saudi Arabia. This year, sixty-four percent (64%) or thirty-five (35) beneficiaries work in the Kingdom, followed by Syria and United Arab Emirates with the same percentage of eleven (11%) or six (6) beneficiaries, Qatar and Kuwait both four percent (4%) or two (2) beneficiaries while least countries are Jordan and Malaysia both with two percent (2%) or one (1) beneficiary.

Chart 1. Gender

Chart 5. Nature of Work Abroad

6% Semi - Skilled or Domestic Workers 94% Skilled Workers

The first chart shows that ninety-three percent (93%) or fifty (50) beneficiaries are females while seven percent (7%) or four (4) beneficiaries are males.

This year the nature of work abroad of most OFW beneficiaries are semi-skilled or domestic workers with ninety-four percent (94%) or fifty-one (51) beneficiaries while small number are skilled workers with six percent (6%) or three (3) beneficiaries.

Chart 2. Categories of Beneficiaries 4% 24% 72%

Chart 6. Cases/Claims Category

OFWs Returnees


Lost Contact 26% Unpaid Salary 13% Maltreatment 11% Seeking for Legal Advice 11% Money Claims 9% Victims of Illegal Recruitment 9% Detained 8% Run Away 8%

The next chart shows that bulk of the beneficiaries are working overseas at the time of case facilitation with seven-two percent (72%) or 39 beneficiaries, while returned OFWs accounted for twenty-four percent (24%) or 13 beneficiaries and four percent (4%) or 2 of them are already deceased at the time of the facilitation.

Chart 3. Place of Origin

2% 2% 9% 19%

The most received and facilitated cases for this year is lost contact with twenty-six percent (26%) or fourteen (14) beneficiaries, followed by unpaid salary with thirteen percent (13%) or seven (7) beneficiaries. Maltreatment and seeking for legal advice have both eleven percent (11%) or six (6) beneficiaries while victim of illegal rectuitment and money claims have the same percentage of nine (9%) or five (5) beneficiaries. The least case is overstay with five percent (5%) or three (3) beneficiaries.

Chart 7. Religion
North Cotabato Cotabato City Maguidanao Lanao Del Norte Zamboanga Iligan City 59%

Catholic 41% Islam

11% 57%

This year the top number of beneficiaries come from the province of Maguindanao with fifty-seven percent (57%) or 31 beneficiaries followed by North Cotabato with nineteen percent (19%) or 10 beneficiaries, while Cotabato City is eleven percent (11%) or six (6) beneficiaries and Lanao del Norte with nine percent (9%) or five (5) beneficiaries. Zamboanga City and Iligan City, on the other hand, are the least place of origin with the same two percent (2%) or 1 beneficiary.

Chart 7 shows that most of the beneficiaries are Islams (Muslims) with fifty-nine percent (59%) or thirty-two (32) beneficiaries while forty-one percent (41%) or twenty-two (22) are Catholics (Christians).

Chart 8. Terminated Cases

31% 69%

Successful Failed

Chart 4. Country of Destination

Saudi Arabia 64% Syria 11% UAE 11% Kuwait 4% Qatar 4% Lebanon 4% Malaysia 2% Jordan 2%

Out of fifty-four (54) cases served and facilitated in 2013, nineteen (19) were terminated leaving thirty-five (35) cases for next years continuation of treatment . In the nineteen (19) terminated cases, sixty-five percent (65) or thirteen (13) were successful while thirty-five percent (35%) or six (6) failed.