78 Filipinos in Afghanistan awaiting repatriation

UNTV News   •   August 17, 2021   •   730

KABUL, Afghanistan — A total of 78 overseas Filipinos in Afghanistan who availed of mandatory repatriation are still waiting for a chartered flight home to the Philippines, the president of a Filipino community organization there confirmed with UNTV on Tuesday (August 17).

According to Joseph Glenn Gumpal, president of the Samahang Pilipino sa Afghanistan, the Philippine government assured they will be boarding anytime.

“Ginawa ng Philippine government kumuha ng chartered (flight) sa Philippine Airlines through US forces kaya dito kami sa military base magbo-board,” he said.

Based on record, there are about 173 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 32 of whom had recently been repatriated.

Some of them fled to safer grounds while there are still others who are hesitant to leave.

“Kasi andito ang negosyo nila, particular iyong tinatawag naming free lancers. May mga negosyo sila rito. Iyong last count ko sa free lancers they were eight pero three yata iyong ayaw umuwi dahil ang iniisip nila the situation is already normal because ongoing na transition,” Gumpal noted.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) meanwhile assured repatriating Filipinos of cash assistance through its program “Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong” (AKAP).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the cash aid is US$200, equivalent to P10,000.

Those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be assisted through the said program.

Upon arrival to the Philippines, those who are registered under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are qualified for the agency’s reintegration program which offers livelihood projects and scholarships.

“Mayroon tayong program iyong AKAP, iyong Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong’ sa mga OFW. Mayroon silang makukuhang cash assistance at pagdating dito, kung sila ay bonafide OWWA member ay mayroon silang mga program under doon sa National Reintegration Program ng OWWA for the OFWs,” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo.)

Filipinos, Americans top holiday arrivals

Maris Federez   •   December 27, 2021

PASAY, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday reported that Filipinos top airport arrivals for December 2021.

BI data showed that 141,216 Filipinos, mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived during the holiday season, according to a BI statement released December 27.

This was followed by Americans with 12,455 arrivals, Canadians with 2,805, and Japanese with 1,645.

“This is expected since many of our kababayans who are now living abroad wish to spend the holidays here with their families,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong, meanwhile, said that arrivals for December 24 and 25 doubled compared to last year’s figures.

“Last year, there were only 5,478 arrivals for the two days, while this year, it increased 100% to 11,074 for the Christmas eve and Christmas day,” said Capulong.

“While the numbers are still relatively low, we are confident that this increase will continue until next year, given the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign,” he stated.

Capulong also thanked immigration officers who were on duty during the holiday.

“Our officers sacrifice their time with their families to render their duty and provide service for incoming and outgoing passengers,” said Capulong.

Frontliners were barred from going on vacations during the peak season, the statement said.

Be wary of ‘too good to be true’ job offers online — DOLE

Maris Federez   •   November 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The labor department has warned Filipinos aspiring to work overseas to be wary of spurious job offers online.

In a statement released Sunday, DOLE said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Madrid, Spain received a request to verify an online job offer for a fruit farm cashier position in the country with a salary of 3,000 or 6,000 Euros.

POLO Madrid Labor Attaché Joan Lourdes Lavilla advised job seekers to be careful in entertaining ‘too good to be true’ job opportunities abroad amid numerous job offers proliferating on social media.

“What our kababayan did was right. She checked with us first before grabbing the job opportunity,” Lavilla said.

The Labor Attache said scammers use names of legitimate companies but usually offer jobs that are too good to be true.

Another indication of a spurious job offer is if the company gives mobile numbers only.

“One tip is to check their given address using Google maps because sometimes there is no actual structure or company,” Lavilla said.

She also said that another red flag of a scam is when an applicant is being required to send out money to an individual through a remittance center.

DOLE said legitimate job offers are listed on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s website at https://www.poea.gov.ph/.

Meanwhile, Lavilla reported that with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Spain, more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now back to work.

She said Spanish employers prefer Filipino workers because of their capacity to speak and understand the English language.

According to the POLO Madrid official, OFWs in Spain, Andorra, France, Portugal, and Monaco, are composed of household service workers; hotel and restaurant staff; and professionals like Information Technology personnel, researchers, managers, and nurses. —/mbmf

Bello: KSA to pay P4.6B unpaid salaries of OFWs in December

Maris Federez   •   November 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were forced to return to the Philippines after they stopped receiving remuneration will be able to receive their unpaid salaries in December.

The DOLE said the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is expected to pay P4.6 billion in unpaid salaries to 9,000 OFWs.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a statement, said he is optimistic the payment will be made when KSA Labor Minister Ahmed al-Rajhi visits the country in December this year.

“So, the unpaid salaries of our OFWs can be settled just in time for Christmas,” the Labor chief said.

Bello was in KSA last week to attend the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, a forum for talks and cooperation between Asian Countries of labor origin and destination.

It aims to enable safe, orderly, and regular labor migration in some of the world’s largest temporary labor migration corridors.

There, Bello was invited by Al-Rajhi for a private meeting where the KSA labor executive appealed for the lifting of the suspension on Arab mega recruitment agencies.

These agencies were reportedly the ones who were responsible for the deployment of OFWs whose salaries and benefits remained unpaid.

Bello assured Al Rahji that the Philippines would lift the deployment ban in exchange for the payment of salaries of the OFWs.

Repatriated by the government in 2016, the unpaid OFWs, through the help of state lawyers, won the case over their unsettled pay in KSA.

Despite the legal victory, however, the KSA government refused to pay the OFWs.

“But our government is really thankful that the meeting with the KSA labor minister was fruitful,” Bello said. —/mbmf

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