OFW patrons honored in First International Employers Awards
Aside from the millions of
overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Philippine government
also owes gratitude to many foreign employers who provide
OFWs jobs and income that in the first place made possible
their multi-billion dollar remittances every year. These
remittances help sustain the
from the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),
the Philippine government also owes gratitude to
many foreign employers who provide OFWs jobs and
income that in the first place made possible their
multi-billion dollar remittances every year. These
remittances help sustain the national economy. In
recognition of their role as job providers, for
their trust in Filipino workers’ abilities
and for being partners in the country’s economic
stability, Malacañang and the Department
of Labor and Employment (DOLE) honored for the first
time the foreign employers by giving them the International
Employers Awards (IEA) and the Presidential Award
of Distinction (PAD).
The IEA Committee chose
102 employers who became the first awardees of the
annual event that President Arroyo institutionalized
starting this year.
The DOLE Secretary heads
the committee of judges, who include members of
the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
(POEA) and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration
(OWWA) and a representative from land-based and
sea-based industry associations. The chosen foreign
employers never had second thoughts of attending
the first IEA held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel
in Makati City on Nov. 21 amid the terrorism hysteria
to receive the awards.
Of the 102 awardees, 32
were also conferred the PAD by Arroyo in Malacañang
on Nov. 22.
Foreign employers of land-based
OFWs are majority of the awardees (55) while 38
foreign employers of Filipino seafarers received
the IEA. But more employers of Filipino seafarers
(22) received the PAD. Only 15 of the 55 employers
of land-based OFWs earned PADs.
By country, Saudi Arabia
had the most number of awardees in the land-based
employment category with 21. It also received the
most number of IEA trophies. This is so because
the kingdom is still the top destination for OFWs.
There are over one million OFWs in the Middle East
mostly concentrated in Saudi Arabia.
Macapagal-Arroyo congratulates Holland America Line
Westours, Inc. Vice President for Human Resources
Jerry Whitmore, (top) after presenting him the PAD
trophy for being an outstanding international employer
of overseas Filipino workers and seafarers. Arroyo
confers the PAD trophy to Qatar Petroleum, Assistant
Manager Sheik Abdul (middle) as Labor Secretary
Patricia A. Sto. Tomas looks on. Nancy Belmonte
(above) receives the FIEA trophy on behalf of individual
awardee Mrs. Betty Tsui Wong of Hong Kong from Sto.
Tomas as she shakes hands with Labor Undersecretary
Manuel G. Imson.
|The hires are
professionals, skilled workers, domestic helpers, medical
workers and laborers.
Although there are many Filipino
entertainers working in Japan, this country had the most
number of awardees in the sea-based employment category
with 12. However, Norway got the most number of IEAs with
eight. Together with Norway and the US, Japan employs
the highest number of Filipino seafarers.
Saudi Arabia also got the most
number of PADs with four in the land-based category while
Japan received eight such awards in the sea-based category.
Aside from hiring many Filipinos,
including high school graduates, the awardees were chosen
for consistently employing Filipino workers. Among the
first batch of IEA awardees, the world’s leader
in workboat business - Tidewater Marine - is the oldest
employer of Filipino seafarers dating back to 1971. The
Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Saudi Arabian Oil Co.
(Saudi Aramco), both from Saudi Arabia, have been hiring
land-based Filipino workers for the longest time: since
The MOH has employed 80,000 Filipino
medical workers so far making it the longest pioneering
land-based OFW employer, the most enduring client of the
POEA-Government Placement Branch and the biggest foreign
government client of the POEA.
The awardees also provide OFWs
competitive salaries, exemplary benefits, welfare services
and career advancement opportunities. The IEA organizers
failed to mention the salary rates of employer-awardees.
But the benefits are numerous: one month vacation in the
Philippines for every two months of work; retraining on
IT innovations; Christmas bonus; provision of sports and
health facilities; provision of satellite dish exclusively
airing Filipino channels; family assistance; continuous
education program; scholarship grants to family members;
free and discounted travel tickets to family members;
retirement pay; service awards; paid vacation; incentives;
profit sharing; safe and healthy work place; free transportation
to and from worksites; free food and accommodation; free
medical services; yearly vacation; full medical coverage;
annual leave of 45 days; salary increase for every year
of service; relocation allowance; end of contract benefit
and bonus; repatriation tickets even to family members.
Saudi Aramco, the world’s
number one oil company, provides 13th month pay, severance
pay, free uniforms, death benefits, travel allowance,
vacation packages, group insurance, medical plan, retirement
income plan, disability benefit, travel processing assistance,
rental allowance for living quarters, air transportation
for dependents, and educational assistance.
Among the awardees were four individuals,
four unions, two shipowner associations and two Japanese
maritime organizations. The sole individual awardee in
the land-based employment category was Dig Hong Betty
Tsui Wong, the managing director of the Union Bank of
Switzerland in Hong Kong.
Tsui has faithfully nurtured her
Filipino maid, Lolita Besmonte, for 12 years.
When Besmonte found out she had cervical
cancer while on vacation in the Philippines, Tsui immediately
summoned her back to Hong Kong, sent for the best doctors
to treat her and even hired part-time maids to fill in
her duties in the house even as she received her full
Besmonte is now back on her feet,
her cancer cured. Her daughter, who is now also in Tsui’s
employ, is being sponsored for masteral studies by Tsui.
The three individual awardees
in the sea-based category were Pieter Vroon of Vroon B.V.,
Capt. Masaaki Kobayashi of Unitra Maritime Co. Ltd., and
Kenichi Iwakawa of Vermillion Overseas Management and
New Century Overseas Management. Vroon was responsible
for making the Palompon Institute of Technology in Leyte
as the Dutch government’s pilot school for seafarers
to man Dutch vessels. Kobayashi and Iwakawa were honored
for hiring Filipino seafarers for Japanese vessels.
Awarded were the Japanese Shipowners
Association for hiring 25,000 Filipino seafarers, the
Seamen’s Employment Centre of Japan (SECOJ) for
training Filipino cadets and employing them afterwards,
the All Japan Seamen’s Union for employing 20,000
Filipinos yearly, the International Mariners Management
Association of Japan for training and hiring 13,000 Filipinos,
the Norwegian Shipowners Association for hiring Filipinos
aboard Norwegian vessels, and the Norwegian Maritime Unions
(the Norwegian Seamen’s Union, the Norwegian Marine
Officer’s Association and the Norwegian Union of
Marine Engineers) for employing 7,000 Filipinos yearly
and for putting up the Norwegian Training Center in the
There are still many employers
of OFWs aside from the 102 awardees. So the list of notable
OFW employers is expected to grow in the next staging
of the IEA.
SHIPPING goes the distance
The recently concluded First
International Employers Awards, spearheaded by the
Department of Labor and Employment, had been launched
to honor 92 combined land-based and sea-based foreign
employers, who have copiously provided employment
to Filipinos and managed their well-being throughout
these years. The International Employers Awards
was given to the so-called “institutional
employers” whilst the Presidential Award of
Distinction was given to those foreign employers
who rendered extraordinary acts of assistance to
Filipino workers, including seafarers.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo congratulates Teekay Chairman
Emeritus Axel Karlshoej after handing him the Presidential
Award of Distinction in Malacañang.
is with great honor that Teekay Shipping Limited had been
chosen as one of the 36 foreign sea-based employers who
grabbed the International Employers Awards from DOLE out
of the more than 200. Adding to that victory was winning
the even more prestigious Presidential Award of Distinction
from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo along
with only 12 other sea-based employers. Definitely a great
triumph for Teekay, which has been recruiting Filipinos
since 1989 through the then Mayon Marine Management.
Winning two awards from the Philippine
Government confirms Teekay’s real concern for their
people - particularly the Filipinos. Becoming a member
of the company that offers one of the best job benefit
packages is not easy. However, once an individual becomes
a member of the TK team, a career path is broadly seen
inside and made available for those achievers. TK is one
of the few companies that have been able to set up its
own retirement fund for employees most especially the
seafarers. The fund aside from its being transparent and
conservatively managed, earns record high returns in Switzerland
under the able stewardship of one of UK’s best insurance
companies. Having such in place ensures every Filipino
working within Teekay to retire not empty-handed.
Teekay not only extends concern
for the well being of its employees but also their families.
One example is the skills training being provided regularly
to the spouses of its seafarers under the organized Mermaid’s
Club. Also, Teekay in the Philippines has strong commitment
to its social responsibility in the community by promoting
activities such as caring for the environment and the
street children among others.
Teekay Chairman Emeritus, Axel
Karlshoej, came to the Philippines and shared the International
Employers Awards feat with the Philippine staff.
Axel is the elder brother of
the late founder of Teekay, Torben Karlshoej.
Axel took time out from his
hectic schedule so as not to miss the special occasion
and his presence indicated his close working relations
with his people. During the victory party, Axel emphasized
the importance of company’s work force, wherever
He also reiterated his brother’s belief in the
capability of the Filipinos; something he beams with
pride while mentioning.
Other Facets of the Company
Oil players hire TK vessels
because they have come to know of Teekay’s safety
and operational efficiency. Those were the reasons why
the company grew so hastily and became very dynamic.
With its almost 30 years in the business, the vigorous
support is still evident through its people. It is still
committed to attain an even bigger and more audacious
goal to become the undisputed world leader in marine
services for the oil and gas industry by year 2010.
Teekay nurtures its own work
force by first identifying their potentials and giving
them the right training to make them perform according
to the highest standards demanded by the industry. The
inner strength of the company lies in its customers
and colleagues, and this is construed by one of its
boundless programs called Caring for Colleagues and
Customers. The focus on customers is very vivid and
it emphasizes that everyone who works in TK is driven
to deliver services above and beyond the expectations
of the customers. Customers in TK are not only external
clienteles but also colleagues, who work within the
framework of the company.
Extension of Recognition
The initiative of the Department
of Labor and Employment, in coordination with POEA,
was very timely and these agencies should be thanked
for their efforts in bringing together the best employers
of Filipino workers and seafarers around the world.
To the honest-to-goodness DOLE
Secretary, Ms. Patricia Sto. Tomas, who aims to create
more jobs for Filipinos, make them more competitive
than ever, and mold the Filipino overseas workers to
be more well-liked by foreign employers. ...To the untiring
assistance of the Administrator of POEA, Ms. Rosalinda
Baldoz, who makes a difference from the stereotyped
government employees.... they all deserve the recognition
talsik sa Japan? Ano ba talaga?
ang mga ulat tungkol sa kalagayan ng mga overseas performing
artists (OPAs) sa Hapon. Hindi tuloy malaman kung ang
labor attache sa Tokyo na si Reynaldo Regalado o ang mga
lider ng mga OPAs na sina Willie Espiritu at Lorenzo Langomez
ang nagsasabi ng totoo.
Sinabi ni Regalado sa programang
Radyo OFW na walang mass repatriation ng mga artistang
Pilipina ang nangyayari sa gitna ng panghuhuli sa mga
promoter at among Hapones na lumalabag sa regulasyon tulad
ng pagpapaupo ng mga OPAs sa mga customer, di pagbabayad
ng tamang sahod at buwis, di pagbibigay ng insurance at
pamemeke ng papeles ng mga empleyadong Pilipino.
Pinabulaanan din ni Regalado na
marami na ang nasuspindeng promoter, na siyang taga-supply
ng OPA sa mga club sa Hapon.
Ayon kay Regalado, walang diretsahang suspensyon kundi
may advisory sa mga promoter na maaantala ang pag-aproba
ng papeles (ng mga OPA) dahil sinusuri ito nang maigi
ng mga opisyal na Hapones.
Hindi apektado nito ang mga OPA
dahil ang mga club sa Tokyo ay kumukuha na lang ng entertainers
sa ibang promoter. “Patuloy pa rin ang pagkuha sa
mga OPA pero may pagbagal lamang,” sabi niya.
Sinabi naman ni Willie Espiritu,
may-ari ng Philippine Overseas Employment Industry Foundation
(POEI) na nagpapadala ng mga OPA sa Hapon, na pinagtatakpan
lang ni Regalado ang totoong kondisyon ng mga OPA sa Hapon.
“Halos araw-araw ay may umuuwing OPA na napektuuhan
ng mga raid ng club sa Tokyo,” sabi ni Espiritu.
“Dapat nang i-fast track
ng Kongreso ang hiling naming imbestigasyon sa kalagayan
ng mga OPA sa Hapon. Dapat ding I-recall si Regalado.
Kung hindi nila kayang tulungan ang mga Japanese promoters
at OPA na napapauwi, wala silang karapatan na manungkulan
sa pamahalaan,” sabi pa niya.
Sinabi rin ni Lorenzo Langomez,
pinuno ng Philippine Association of Recruitment Agencies
Deploying Artists Inc. (PARADA), na 200 promoters na ang
nasususpinde sa Hapon. Sabi niya na hindi napapanahon
ang pag-i-inspeksyon sa mga club owners at promoters dahil
maraming OPA ang hindi makakatikim ng White Christmas.
Tinatayang 70,000 ang bilang ng
OPAs sa Hapon. Sila ay nagpapadala ng $1 bilyon sa Pilipinas
taun-taon. Pinangangambahan na 30,000 OPAs ang mawawalan
ng trabaho at kalahating bilyong dolyar na remittance
ang mawawala sa mahigpit na regulasyong pang-imigrasyon
na pinatutupad ng mga Hapones sa ngayon.
di pa kailangan sa Hapon
may nag-aalok sa inyo na magtrabaho bilang caregiver sa
Hapon, huwag kayong maniniwala at ipaalam agad sa POEA
ang nananamantala. Hindi kailangan at hindi rin kumukuha
ang mga Hapones ng caregivers.
“Wala kahit isang caregiver
ang nakakapasok sa Japan,” babala ni Reynaldo Regalado,
ang labor attache ng Pilipinas sa Tokyo.
Inamin ni Regalado na nakikipag-usap pa sila sa mga kinauukulang
opisyal na Hapon tungkol sa pagtanggap ng Pilipinong caregiver
subalit wala pang napagpapasyahan at napagkakasunduan.
Sinabi ni Regalado na inabisuhan
na niya ang DOLE at POEA na ipagbigay alam sa publiko
na walang kailangan na caregiver sa Hapon. Pero marami
pa ring kabayan natin ang naloloko, ang pinakuha ng training
at pinagbayad ng placement fee.
Ang mga manggagawang kailangan
sa Hapon ay mga entertainers, marino, espesyalista sa
IT at mga inhinyero, sabi ni Regalado. Marami pa ring
shipping companies sa Hapon ang nangangailangan ng marinong
Pilipino, sabi niya.
umaasa sa Gulf War claims
60,000 OFWs sa Kuwait at Iraq, pati na libu-libo manggagawang
Pilipino sa Eastern Province ng Saudi Arabia, ang maaari
pang makakuha ng kabayaran sa pagkakalikas nila sa trabaho
dahil sa Gulf War noong 1991.
Kinumpirma ni Rodney Villegas,
isang disbursing officer ng Philippine Compensation and
Claims Committee Secretariat (PCCCS) sa ilalim ng Department
of Foreign Affairs (DFA) na tatalakayin ng United Nations
Compensation Council (UNCC) sa Disyembre ang hiling ng
Pilipinas na muling buksan ang pagkuha ng Gulf War claims.
Sinabi ni Villegas na hiniling
nga ni Bayani Mangibin, Secretary-General ng PCCCS, sa
UNCC ang pagpapatuloy ng pagkuha ng claims dahil marami
pang OFWs ang hindi nakakuha nito. Sa tinatayang 100,000
OFWs sa Kuwait at Iraq noong 1991, 50,000 lang ang nakapaghain
ng claims at sa bilang na ito ay 39,000 lang ang nabayaran
mula noong 1995.
“The UN started paying claims
in 1997. Ang nabayaran namin as of September 30 ay $144
million,” ayon kay Villegas. Iba-iba ang halaga
ng claims sa mga inilikas na OFWs at naapektuhang kumpanya
nang salakayin ng Iraq ang Kuwait nuong 1991. Kinuha ng
UN ang pambayad ng claims sa Iraq.
Pinoy baka Tsino maging boss
2005, maaaring sunud-sunuran na lamang ang mga marinong
Pilipino sa mga Tsinong opisyal ng barko. Ibinunyag ng
mga Tsinong opisyal sa mga nagsipagdalo sa 5th LSM Manning
and Training Conference sa Shanghai, Tsina na nakapokus
sila sa pagsasanay at paglikha ng maraming opisyal na
marino sa halip na mga di-opisyales na marino.
“In 2005, China will start
producing over 2,000 officers annually to serve on the
Chi-nese merchant fleet,” sinabi ni Lito Dailisan,
ang executive director ng Philippine Seafarers Promotion
Council (PSPC) na dumalo sa naturang kumbensyon.
Ang PSPC ay binubuo ng mga kumpanyang
maritima na naglalayong gumawa ng stratehikong plano para
mapanatiling numero uno ang marinong Pinoy sa buong mundo.
Matagal nang malaki ang pangangailangan
ng marinong opisyal sa mga barkong internasyunal at ito’y
isang pagkakataon na hindi palalagpasin ng Tsina. Ang
kakulangan sa opisyales ay umaabot sa 40,000. Sa ngayon,
tinatayang 50,000 ang bilang ng marinong opisyales na
Pilipino samantalang may 30,000 naman opisyales na Tsino.
na nangangamba ang mga empleyado ng pamahalaan pati na
ang mga OFWs na mabuwag ang 14 ahensya kasama na ang Commission
on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) na nasa ilalim ng DFA. Ngunit
pinabulaanan ng CFO executive director na si Jose Z. Molano
Jr. na bubuwagin ang kanilang ahensya bilang bahagi ng
pagtitipid ng pamahalaan.
“It’s (CFO) not going
to be abolished. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Blas
Ople) has taken a position that it should not be abolished,”
deklara ni Molano. “This media report about the
CFO’s abolition, I don’t know where that came
from. I have not read any official notice that CFO is
a candidate for abolition,” dagdag pa niya.
Sa pahayag ni Molano, makakahinga na ng malalim ang may
70 empleyado ng CFO.
Ang CFO ang nagpapatupad ng programa
para palakasin ang ugnayan ng mga Pilipino sa loob at
labas ng bansa. Kabilang sa programang ito ang pagtuturo
ng wika at kasaysayang Pilipino sa mga Pilipinong nasa
labas ng bansa upang malaman nila ang kanilang tinubuang
Meron ding Lakbay-Aral ang CFO
kung saan ay ipinakikita sa mga Pilipinong laki sa ibang
bansa ang iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas para mamulat
sila sa kagandahan ng sariling bayan.
nars buwenas sa Nursing Act of 2002
ng may 27,000 pampublikong nars ang Philippine Nursing
Act of 2002 na pinirmahan ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo bilang
isang batas nuong Okt. 20.
Pangunahing pakinabang dito ang
mas mataas na sahod. Nakasaad sa batas na tatanggap sila
ng simulang sahod na P14,000 mula sa dating P9,000.
Sa mga nars na magtatrabaho ng
matagal sa pampublikong ospital o sentrong pangkalusugan,
higit pa sa P14,000 ang tatanggapin nilang sahod buwan-buwan
at may libre pang pagsasanay, sabi ni Dr. George Cordero,
presidente ng Philippine Nurses Association (PNA). Makatitipid
sila ng P8,000 kada buwan, na siyang halaga ng kurso sa
specialty areas tulad ng mga gawain sa operating room,
intensive care unit at critical care unit. Ang Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corp. at Philippine Charity Sweepstakes
Office ang gagastos sa pagkuha nila ng kursong ito kung
mananatili sila sa pampublikong ospital ng dalawang taon.
Magiging hadlang lang ang libreng
kurso sa mga nars na nais magtrabaho sa labas ng bansa,
sabi ni Cordero.
Magkakaroon din ng mas maraming
nars ngayon dahil tinanggal na ang limitasyon sa pagkuha
ng kursong nursing. Sa lumang batas, ang mga estudyanteng
high school na kabilang sa 40% ng klase nila na may mataas
na grado lamang ang maaaring kumuha ng kursong nursing
sa kolehiyo. Ngayon, kahit sino ay may pagkakataong maging
nars, sabi ni Rosie de Leon, ang executive vice president
SA STRANDED. Inaabot ng isang opisyal ng Lingap
Pinoy ang isang supot na may damit at pagkain sa
isang kasapi ng Kapatiran ng mga Migranteng Stranded
sa Riyadh (KAMI-SR). Isinagawa ng LP ang pagbigay
ng donasyon sa may 50 kasapi ng KAMI-SR sa basement
ng Manila Plaza sa Batha area, Saudi Arabia noong
Nob. 7. Mahigit sa 100 Pilipinong tumakas sa kanilang
amo ngunit di makauwi dahil walang pera ang tinutulungan
ng kanilang kababayan sa Saudi Arabia.