Imbak para sa Pebrero, 2008

Sen. Pangilinan, ‘Sanctuary Fund’ and OFWs

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan calls on OFWs to donate to the AMRSP Sanctuary Fund which is aimed at assisting whistle blowers. In my opinion, this is a good move and that OFWs who give their support should be commended. All OFWs should consider contributing to the AMRSP’s noble initiative. I myself would be alloting a portion of my incoming salary to the fund (note: Philippine address, contact number and bank account number indicated in the Inquirer article below). However, I could not help but categorize this as another example of a “milking-the-cash-cow” mindset (see my post On “Milking the Cash Cow”), albeit, of a paler character.

What has Sen. Pangilinan done lately that is of benefit to OFWs, if I may ask? I checked his official site (http://www.kiko.ph/billsresolution. html) but found no bills of relevance to OFWs. Yes, he had a news release (http://www.kiko.ph/newsroom/022308newsa.html#) calling POEA MC-04 “a blunder,” but what concrete action did he take against officials responsible for this blunder? Does he have any legislative plans to prevent such blunders from happening again? I also noted that this release was dated February 23, 2008—long after the memo was suspended.

I admit that I am not familiar with Sen. Pangilinan’s political agenda and that I am not an expert when it comes to matters concerning the authority of members of the Senate of the Philippines. Also, please don’t get me wrong; I am not sour graping. I am merely citing the fact that most of our government officials, whatever their purpose may be, always look at OFWs as a source of money.

I agree with Sen. Pangilinan’s statement in his news release against MC-04 that “OFWs should not be the milking cow of our government.” But I hope we see more proof from the good senator who was a topnotcher with respect to overseas absentee votes in the last elections, that he is not one of ’em milk suckers. Kudos Mr. Senator!


_____________________

Pangilinan urges OFWs: Donate money for whistle blowers

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 21:55:00 02/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday urged overseas Filipino workers to donate money to the “sanctuary fund” set up by church people to finance the legal needs of whistle-blowers on government corruption activities.

Pangilinan said the appeal is especially “for those who believe in the CBCP (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) call for communal action and so that we are not mere spectators but are active participants in the search for the truth.”

He said that only on its sixth day, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines’ Sanctuary Fund to support witnesses like Rodolfo Noel Lozada has now reached P693,372.50.

Quoting former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri, Lozada himself said labor migration has become the “escape valve” that has kept the Philippine society from imploding due to the numerous government anomalies.

The fund was set up at the senator’s suggestion during a hearing on the cancelled $329-million contract wherein Lozada admitted to his own responsibility in possibly anomalous government deals.

He said the fund should help whistle-blowers defend themselves in case they are charged in court because of their exposes.

Pangilinan said check donations may be sent to AMRSP Special Funds at 28 Acacia Street, Quezon City, with telephone numbers 724-4434 or deposited directly to MBTC Account No. 3259-07445-3. He said the point person is Sister Estrella Castalone FMA.

“Make a stand for our nation’s future,” he said.

A Haven for Filipinos

Remember my email to historian Ambeth Ocampo (see post “Read Ambeth Ocampo”)? He included it in his Inquirer column, “Looking Back (Inquirer Vol 23/No.67 ) issued last 13 February 2008. Here is the full article:
_____________________

A haven for Filipinos

By Ambeth Ocampo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
To be in Hong Kong before the Chinese New Year is quite a treat. There is a festive air about town, and all the stores are on sale.

This year it was quite cold with temperatures dipping to 8 degrees Celsius. Weather forecasters said this was the coldest winter Hong Kong has experienced in the past half century. As always, I went to all my favorite places to eat: Yung Kee for roast goose, Liu Yue Mun market for fresh seafood, Peking Garden for lunchtime dimsum, Spring Deer for Peking duck, Macau Restaurant for roast pigeon and Macanese fried rice, and one place that serves chicken three different ways.

Some friends texted last week to tell me about the suckling pig they devoured during the Year of the Pig and the wonderful stuffed chicken they feasted on in the Year of the Rooster. But since this is the Year of the Rat, they decided to go vegetarian during the Chinese noche buena.

I went around tasting all the egg tarts I could find, comparing them with the famous Lord Stow’s because it is rumored that Lord and Lady Stow had a parting of ways and Lady Stow sold her recipe to the Hong Kong franchise holder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, so that now the best egg tart is to be found in KFC. In my opinion this is the sweetest among the egg tarts available, and much to my liking, next to those served at Macau Restaurant in Tsim Tsa Tsui where you can actually order a pork chop sandwich (imagine a real pork chop between toast).

Filipinos travel to Hong Kong for different reasons. For many it is a place to work, for others it is a place to shop or transact business, and for me it is a place to eat, a place to roam around tracing the footsteps of our heroes in Hong Kong side. I have written in the past about the two sites where Jose Rizal stayed that were marked by the Hong Kong Antiquities Board during the time of Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho, an admirer of Rizal, and an ophthalmologist who maintained a clinic on the street where Rizal also treated eye patients. A marker has also been installed in a playground that was the site where Marcela Agoncillo and some friends made the first Philippine flag. These markers show Filipinos today that Hong Kong was a place of refuge for Filipinos during the Philippine Revolution. More importantly, they educate Hong Kong residents on our shared history.

Joe Narvaez sent this email and made me realize that our consulate in Hong Kong has to lobby for more historical markers with the Antiquities Office:

“I am a history buff. Even as a kid, I have always been fascinated by museums, old books and antique pieces. In fact, I keep a 1944 bronze Philippine-USA 1-centavo coin in my wallet. I prefer movies and novels of the historical genre. My girlfriend routinely teases me by asking why I have a strong affinity to things that are ‘nabubulok-bulok’ [decaying] or ‘naaagnas’ [decomposing] Nonetheless, she agreed to marry me in February next year on one such site, Paco Park. [My unsolicited advice: It may be a very romantic place, but I do not think it is good ‘feng shui’ to get married and start a new life in a mortuary chapel.]

“I would also like to think of myself as a patriot. Well, if you can consider an OFW [overseas Filipino worker] who frequently buys the delicious Del Monte brand bananas that are ubiquitous in Hong Kong for the sake of contributing humbly to gross Philippine export, then maybe I am a patriot. Currently, I am working for a pharmaceutical company in the New Territories of Hong Kong.

poo-bin.jpg“I have observed that the presence of a horde of Filipinos here is a truth well tolerated by Chinese locals. Last week, as I was going out of my flat for work, I noticed a medium-sized plastic bin for dog excrement near the bicycle lane. Instruction on the container read, ‘Clean up after your dog’ and under that was ‘Lagayan ng dumi ng aso’ [‘Depository for dog poo’]. Initially, I felt proud to see Tagalog written by non-Filipinos on a poo can owned by non-Filipinos. Wow! Tagalog is going places nowadays.

“On second thought, I realized that maybe they included Tagalog because they suspect Filipino domestic helpers tasked to regularly walk their employers’ dogs are responsible for the unsightly sidewalk mounds.

“This and a recent brush with your articles on inquirer.net made me ponder about the role of Hong Kong in Philippine history. I bet that years back, our relationship with HK was more than just supplying them with our industrious Filipinas, both young and mature, to be their domestic helpers, right? HK must be one of the ports of choice for ancient Chinese merchants sailing to Las Islas Filipinas for trade, right?

“I know only a few significant historical facts. HK served as haven for some Filipino heroes during Spanish rule. Among them were Jose Ma. Basa, Felipe Agoncillo and Galicano Apacible. Rizal used to have a clinic on D’Aguilar Street. Aguinaldo’s junta. Marcela Agoncillo and the Philippine flag. Juan Luna’s death. Dewey’s fleet docked in Hong Kong harbor before taking Manila. What else should an interested Filipino living in HK know?

“I hope more of our countrymen will read your articles and get armed with the past for our continuing fight for a future more fair. I wish to see the day when Filipinos would only need to clean after their own dogs instead of any foreign master’s.”

MC-04 Suspended… But Not Enough!!!

The following Inquirer news and POEA website links cover the “evolution” of POEA Memorandum Circular No. 4 from issuance to OFW protest to amendment—and finally—to suspension:

DoLE Secretary’s Approval Now Required for Direct-hires

OFWs Protest Rule Requiring Employer Bonds

Arroyo Wants Requirements For White Collar OFWs Eased

Migrant Groups Reject New Rules

DoLE Amends Direct-hiring Policies for OFWs

POEA Suspends Memo on Employers $5000 Repatriation Bond

POEA News Release: MC4 Suspended

MC 01 Series 2008: BALDOZ’ Memo suspending MC 04

This is good news indeed to us OFWs. However, I believe that we should not stop here. Let us continue our protest and call for the resignation of ROSALINDA DIMAPILIS-BALDOZ and ARTURO BRION. These two officials should neither be allowed to stay nor transferred to any other government posts. OFWs are not safe while these two are in power! Let us support moves in the Senate and Congress to investigate MC-04 and the people behind it. No to corruption! No to misinformed officials! No to milking-the-cash-cow policies! ROSALINDA DIMAPILIS-BALDOZ and ARTURO BRION RESIGN NOW!!!

Read Ambeth Ocampo

I just want to share this email I sent to Mr. Ambeth Ocampo, Filipino historian and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, last December 2007. I did not expect him to reply but he did and his reply (also posted below) was prompt.

____________________

Dear Mr. Ocampo,

I am a history buff. Even as a kid, I have always been fascinated by museums, old books and antique pieces. In fact, I keep a 1944 bronze Philippine-USA 1-centavo coin in my wallet. I prefer movies and novels of the historical genre. My girlfriend routinely teases me by asking why I have a strong affinity to things that are “nabubulok-bulok” or “naaagnas”? Nonetheless, she agreed to marry me February next year in one such site, Paco Park.

I would also like to think of myself as a patriot. Well, if you can consider an OFW who frequently buys the delicious Del Monte brand bananas that are ubiquitous in Hong Kong for the sake of contributing humbly to gross Philippine export, then maybe I am a patriot.

Currently, I am working for a pharmaceutical company in the New Territories of Hong Kong. I observed that the presence of a horde of Filipinos here is a truth well tolerated by Chinese locals. Last week as I was going out of my flat for work, I noticed a medium-sized plastic bin for dog excrement near the bicycle lane. Instruction on the container read “Please clean up after your dog” and under that was the Tagalog “Lagayan ng dumi ng aso”. Initially, I felt proud to see Tagalog written by non-Filipinos on a poo can owned by non-Filipinos. Wow! Tagalog is going places nowadays. On second thought, I realized that maybe they included Tagalog because they suspect Filipina domestic helpers tasked to regularly walk their employer’s dog responsible for the unsightly sidewalk mounds.

This and a recent brush with you articles on inquirer.net made me ponder about the role of Hong Kong in Philippine history. I bet years back, our relationship with HK was more than just supplying them with our industrious Filipinas both young and mature to be their domestic helpers right? HK must be the one of the ports of choice for ancient Chinese merchants sailing to Las Islas Filipinas for trade right?

I know only a few significant historical facts. HK served as haven for some Filipino heroes during Spanish rule. Among them were Jose Ma. Basa, Felipe Agoncillo and Galicano Apacible. Rizal used to have a clinic in D’Aguilar Street (the inconspicuous marker overwhelmed by the Starbucks sign, I had a hard time locating). Aguinaldo’s junta. Marcela Agoncillo and the Philippine flag. Juan Luna’s death. Dewey’s fleet docked in Hong Kong harbor before taking Manila.

So what else should an interested Filipino living in HK know? I have seen the Rizal clinic marker in D’Aguilar and I believe there are 2 more markers to see here. Do you know of further plans to install more of these? I think Luna—where he died—equally deserves such a token. Not sure if that is possible though.

I admire your work Mr. Ocampo. I hope more of our countrymen would read your articles and get armed with the past for our continuing fight for a future more fair. I wish to see the day when Filipinos would only need to clean after their own dogs instead of any foreign master’s.

Regards,

Joe Narvaez

____________________

Here is Mr. Ocampo’s reply:

Thank you for reading the columns and taking the trouble to send an email. I do appreciate it. There are two markers: one on mid-levels escalator in the alley leading to Rednaxela Terrace where Rizal once lived, there is also another in Morrison Hill road its actually a childrens playground where our first flag was made. Have to locate the place where Luna died though, and also that of Josephine Bracken. I go to Hongkong at least once a year—sometimes thrice—and always enjoy it. Will be there the weekend before Chinese New year when prices are down.

Merry christmas

ambeth


THE BLOG AND THE AUTHOR:

...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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