Tuesday, 28 March 2017 10:31

SSS eyes mandatory OFW coverage

The Social Security System is eyeing the mandatory coverage of Filipinos working abroad, which is one of the proposed amendments to its charter now pending in Congress.

In a statement, SSS president and chief executive Emmanuel F. Dooc said the agency is seeking to cover all overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in order to provide them security protection.

SSS said only about 500,000 OFWs are SSS members out of the estimated 2.4-3.8 million Filipinos working outside the country.

OFWs’ contributions totaled P4.64 billion in 2016, SSS said.

“The mandatory coverage of OFWs would increase the number of members of the pension fund on the back of SSS’ efforts for universal coverage,” Dooc said.

In 2016, SSS disbursed P779 million in benefits to OFWs, including initial and lump sum benefits for retirement, death, (funeral with grant), disability as well as for sickness and maternity for female workers, it said.

“We are pushing for our OFWs to be covered on a mandatory basis in order to secure their basic safety net in time of contingencies.” Dooc said.
Published in News
Thursday, 26 January 2017 10:36

Zamboanga native hanged in Kuwait

FILIPINA domestic helper Jakatia Pawa was executed at 10:19 a.m. in Kuwait (3:19 p.m. in Manila) despite government efforts to delay the hanging, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Angaris Pawa told The Manila Times Jakatia, his sister, called at around 5 a.m. to tell her family of her fate.

The Kuwaiti daily Alrai reported that Kuwaiti prince Shaikh Faisal Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, a Kuwait woman, an Ethiopian woman, two Egyptian men and a Bangladeshi man were hanged along with Jakatia.

Angaris, an Air Force official, recounted the phone conversation: “‘Kuya [Brother],’ she told me, ‘I’m saying goodbye.’ I said, ‘What kind of goodbye?’ She said, ‘Brother, tomorrow I will be hanged. Brother, this is my only wish. Don’t neglect my two children.’”

Jakatia, a 41-year-old single mother of two teenagers from the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay, worked in the Gulf Arab state as a domestic helper in 2006.

She was accused of stabbing her employer’s daughter 28 times in 2007.

In 2010, Kuwait’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, upheld the death verdict handed down by the Court of First Instance in 2008 despite appeals from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Amnesty International. Jakatia pleaded her innocence, claiming the killing might have been carried out by the victim’s relative because of the latter’s alleged illicit love affair with a male neighbor.

Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, told radio station dzRH an investigation had found that Jakatia’s DNA was not in the murder weapon. The motive was also not clearly established, she said.

Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, the DFA spokesman, said in a news conference the Philippine government had “exerted different efforts,” including tapping diplomatic and political channels, to stop the execution. The government also tried to go through “religious channels,” he said.

It was “the first time in a long time” that a Filipino was executed in Kuwait, he said. “We were unable to prove her innocence,” Jose said.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the execution “could no longer be forestalled under Kuwaiti laws.”

The family was convinced the government did its part to save Jakatia, Angaris said. The government paid for her lawyer, a relative of Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The government also assisted in Angaris’ travels to Kuwait in 2008, 2013 and October 2016.

Angaris said that in October, the lawyer assured him that his sister would be released this year.

“The opposite happened,” he said. “I just cried…it’s difficult for us, for our family.”

Following Islamic practice, Jakatia’s remains will be buried in Kuwait immediately.

At least 86,019 Filipinos are working in Kuwait, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Jose said 88 Filipinos are on death row abroad.
Published in News
Friday, 20 January 2017 10:51

Stop exporting people- growth guru

ONCE more, an international expert on economic growth and policy-making has suggested that our government must reduce our dependence on exporting Filipino labor and focus on creating more jobs.

This time it’s Dr. Dan Steinbock, founder of the Difference Group, a global consultancy and research outfit, who made the analysis.

He said the Philippines could take advantage of its good demographics—in other words its huge population, by harnessing its potential in manufacturing, electronics, information and communications technology and tourism, among other sectors.

We think President Duterte and his government’s economic managers have this goal engraved in their brains—as it is in the mind of every thinking Filipino. But it’s good that experts like Dan Steinbock remind our top government officials and policy makers when they come to visit our country.

That’s because each powerful office holder has his and her own personal likes and dislikes, favorite areas of expertise, comforting memories of success and jobs well done and can all choose to make their favorites their goal-to-achieve priorities.

We’ve lauded President Rody Duterte’s choice of ending the reign of criminals and lawbreakers, especially drug lords, in our neighborhoods and a vigorous war against government corruption for his top priorities. And he has been quite effective in performing what needs to be done on these fronts in the half-year or so that he has been our President.

We must also praise the President for his administration’s initial good work in the economic growth and business fields, as Mr. Dan Steinbock did.

The global economy pundit commended the President for his correct response to the new world order’s call for stronger national economies as forces of globalization and integration wane and mature economies are frozen in the fight for growth.

He said President Rodrigo was on the right path in making it a policy goal to bring home the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and generating jobs here at home for them by attracting foreign investment and upgrading the country’s infrastructure.

“Duterte is making the right move. It will be the first time in five years that I can sit down and say that you have chosen the policy stance that makes sense, most importantly investment. Whether it comes from foreign sources or domestic, you cannot build infrastructure without it,” he said.

He said something that other analysts seldom talk about: that having a huge population is an asset. But of course the country’s leaders in government, business and industry must prepare the ground for the millions of workers to have jobs. He criticized past leaders for being complacent about this, wasting these assets and opportunities. He warned that a huge population turns into a destabilizing force in the future—if not allowed to exercise their capabilities to be productive.

But he insisted that a huge pool of young workers, together with the economic environment that makes their capabilities productive through jobs, is what yields high economic growth.

This has unfortunately not been attended to by successive generations of Filipino government and private sector leaders. And this, Mr. Steinbock said, is why a great chunk of the working population has been forced to work overseas—and are supporting the country with their earnings abroad.

“Demographics is not enough unless you have jobs. We saw in Latin America what happened [in the 1950s to 1960s]. They had youthful demographics but no jobs,” he said. “So for me, demographics is actually really important. You cannot have a major change without it. However, if you don’t have jobs, you have a problem.”

He decried our country’s failure to make our asset an instrument of growth. He was not happy with the policy of encouraging OFWs to be our main source of income.

“When you export people, you don’t grow. You have to have the people…It just doesn’t work [to make them leave home]. Look– any sustainable, fast-growing, large emerging economy, none of them are exporting people.”
Published in Commentaries


The economy grew by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, the fastest since the second quarter of 2013 at 7.6 percent – driven largely by the strong performance of manufacturing, trade and real estate, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced yesterday.

Published in News

QUEZON CITY, Sept 5 - Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo relayed to the public the report of the inter-agency Humanitarian Mission team in Riyadh that 118 stranded OFWs from Saudi Oger Takashussi Camp were repatriated today at 1:10 AM ( ETD- past midnight) via SV 860- Saudia Airlines. ETA in Manila today is at 4:10 PM. In this camp, Usec. Vilma B. Cabrera and the DSWD Team sucessfully debriefed /counseled 37 OFWs who were at first adamant to go home and would like to stay or transfer but were finally convinced to go home for their own safety.

Published in News
MANILA, 14 April (PIA) – The Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) kicked-off last April 9 in different parts of the world, wherein Filipinos working and based in abroad have already started casting their votes for the Philippine National Election on May 9, 2016.
Published in News