Archive Page 2

Good job!

Finally, I get to write something positive about the Philippine Government. I have been dreaming about this for a very, very, very long time. This blog is not only about complaining you know. Ranting really helps me blow off steam but I don’t want to do it chronically because it can also drain one’s energy. Besides, I don’t want to be called a misanthrope. How can a docile “cow” be one huh?

More than 800,000 new jobs were identified in a joint summit recently held in Malacañang and attended by representatives from the government, academe, church, nongovernmental organizations, business, and labor sectors. The jobs will be created by the government for economic pump-priming as stated in a communiqué issued by the summit participants. For this, I commend all the officials who attended the conference; most especially the Department of Labor and Employment. Bravo! Sana palaging ganyan! Tulong-tulong.

The Inquirer stated that, “the following emergency employment positions are to be created:

• 506,082 at the Department of Public Works and Highways and 27,222 in the department’s its roadside maintenance program employing out-of-school youths

• 100,000 at the Department of Education and the state universities and colleges’ repair of classrooms and school buildings

• 81,134 in the Department of Agriculture’s irrigation projects, 36,500 in farm-to-market road projects, 10,400 in organic fertilizer production, and 3,645 in goat dispersal [whatever that means]

• 35,000 in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Bantay-Gubat [Forest Watch] and a project for displaced upland workers

• 23,550 in Department of Labor and Employment projects under the Tulong Hanapbuhay [Livelihood Aid] for Disadvantaged Workers and the Integrated Services for Livelihood and Advancement of Fisherfolk

• 1,022 in Laguna Water Lily Development of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The seven-page communiqué, a copy of which the labor department provided reporters, also said 80,000 to 100,000 jobs would be created in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Now, add to that about 400,000 new overseas jobs waiting to be filled up as listed at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Good news indeed right?

I just hope the given figures are accurate and that the implementation phase would be smooth sailing and corruption-free. I also hope that there will be more encouraging announcements like this in the future. The numbers may still be small relative to the current total population of the country but the initiative is still praiseworthy.

Salamat Ginoong Roque at Ginang Arroyo!

References:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/topstories/topstories/view/20090210-188390/Govt-projects-aim-for-800000-jobs

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/148012/Business-labor-push-for-creation-of-13-M-jobs

http://www.dole.gov.ph/news/details.asp?id=N000002291

Credit grabber par excellence

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was in Saudi Arabia last week. There, she declared that OFWs in the kingdom need not worry about loosing their jobs.  She assured that Filipino expatriates working there are safe despite the global financial meltdown.  C’mon! What is she talking about?! She could not even keep the unemployment rate in her “Strong Republic” at a respectable level. How will she keep jobs safe in a territory she has no authority over for her compatriots? The oil-rich Saudi is also adjusting to minimize the deleterious effects of the financial crisis on their economy. Uncertainty looms. When push comes to shove, will the kingdom give priority to OFWs, say, versus their own citizens? Of course not! Filipinos scattered around the world will always be second class residents in their host countries; and being second class really sucks! But what sucks more is when your own government, torn by internal bickering and corruption, is too indulgent and does not seem to have any long term plans to counteract the diaspora.

On the contrary, since Philippine GDP benefits from OFW remittances, the government continues to make policies that enables emigration. This is a major dilemma. So, should we prevent something that is helping the economy stay afloat? I guess the answer is NO, sadly, because we have no choice right now. But I pray that the next president and future officials of our beloved country would not have this “cash cow” mindset because it just adds fuel to the fire.

As I have said in previous posts, the OFW phenomenon is a symptom of a problem. It is not the solution to the ills of our nation. Even without government officials acting as intermediaries between OFW wannabees and foreign employers, Filipinos will still be able to find overseas employment out of necessity. So when some big shot self-centered government official, always quick on the pogi points, announces that he or she was able to find a number of job opportunities in the Middle East or in Europe or even in Mars, my blood boils! That is like credit grabbing! In the first place, officials should not be looking for jobs outside the country. They should create jobs INSIDE the country! Looking for jobs overseas is a no-brainer. Anyone can do that! We have plenty of private employment agencies to help us. What a waste of taxpayer money some of our government officials are!  I suggest they end their career in government and set up an overseas employment agency instead.

According to the Inquirer, President GMA stated, “Dito sa Saudi ang pinakamalaking expatriate Filipino community sa buong mundo. Gusto kong tiyakin na matatag ang trabaho ninyo dito sa kabila ng pandaigdigang krisis sa ekonomiya, dahil may mga kababayang nawawalan ng trabaho sa ibat-ibang bansa. [The biggest expatriate Filipino community in the world is in Saudi. I want to assure you that your jobs are secure here, because in other parts of the world, our countrymen are losing their jobs].

These are very big but empty words. Can she tell Filipinos who are still in the Philippines the same thing? That jobs in our country are secure despite the crisis? That is what I would really want to hear. That is what we should expect to hear from a president.

STOP MILKING THE CASH COW!!!

Reference:
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view/20090203-187201/Arroyo-Saudi-OFWs-jobs-safe

Why did the Philippines not attend the World’s Happiest Party?

The annual Hong Kong Chinese New Year Parade was held on the 26th of January 2009 at Tsim Sha Tsui. Sponsored by Cathay Pacific, the spectacle was dubbed as the “World’s Happiest Party.”worldshappiestpartyThere were local floats and performers but there were foreign participants as well. I saw representatives from Macau, mainland China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Russia, Latin America and even Africa! However, I was disappointed not to see one from the Philippines. I thought, since the Philippines is in the proximity of Hong Kong, someone from the Department of Tourism (DOT) or the Philippine Consulate would have thought of joining this internationally renowned parade. I bet it’s a good way to promote our country since tourists from all over the world, like the sweet Italian couple to my left, the pretty South Korean ladies to my right, the hyperactive German kids on my front, and the elderly Swiss tour group behind me, witness this parade every year. It is also a chance to somehow change the sterotypical domestic helper image of the Filipino in Hong Kong—not that there is something wrong about being a DH, but not all Filipinos who go here are domestic helpers.

I don’t know the politics and bureaucracy involved in enlisting for this parade and I am not sure if the Philippines has sent representatives in the past but we sure are passing a good opportunity by not ‘partying at the World’s Happiest’.

———————–

Here are some of the pictures I took during the parade.

cny09parade21

cny09parade1

float

A new hide for this cow

I found my way to the blogosphere exactly a year ago on 24 January 2008. Being a new Overseas Filipino Worker then, I was so irked by Memorandum Circular No. 4 (MC No. 4) issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that I had to vent out lest suffer a heart attack. Having very few friends in Hong Kong that time, I decided to publish my frustrations on this issue via WordPress. After a few more posts on the same topic and a dozen or so comments from Filipinos who are scattered around the world, I discovered the therapeutic effects of blogging. Posting my thoughts on WordPress has kept me sane in this foreign land for the past one year. I hope other OFWs would discover this delight as well. Working far and away from your loved ones is really difficult if you don’t know how to deal with it.

Initially, I thought blogging would just be another one of those ningas cogon ventures I am notorious at taking. Ningas cogon is a Filipino figure of speech that roughly translates to “good at the start, but cannot follow through or finish.” But here I am with my 1st year anniversary post. This cash cow is still alive and mooing! Not so bad for an inexperienced writer huh?

…So to mark this humble achievement of mine, I have changed the theme and header of Milking the Cash Cow. I hope you like the alteration. Thus, I bid goodbye to the old format:

oldheader

Chinese delicadeza and justice

Here is an example of delicadeza, in the Filipino sense of the word: Yesterday, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian’s son, Chen Chih-chung, daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching, and brother-in-law, Wu Ching-mao, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.They were obviously full of remorse.

…and here is an example of proper justice: Today, culprits behind the China melamine scandal were sentenced at the Intermediate People’s Court in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern Hebei Province. Sanlu ex-chairwoman, Tian Wenhua, was sentenced to life imprisonment for producing or selling fake or substandard products. Two other defendants were given the death penalty! Other persons involved in the case were also slapped with jail terms.

A similar sense of delicadeza is absent in the Philippines. Swift justice is also a myth in our country. Erap and his plunder case for example took about 6 years to resolve. He was found guilty but until now he claims he is innocent and that he was just a victim of political manipulation. My blood boils whenever I hear him with his blah blahs. Why was he given executive pardon in the first place?.. another story of lack of delicadeza huh?

I really envy the Chinese!

References:

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=12086

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2009/01/22/2003434375

http://www.flex-news-food.com/pages/21556/Chemical/China/Dairy/sanlu-ex-chairwoman-life-sentence-china-melamine-scandal-two-defendants-given-death-penalty.html

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10553143&ref=rss

San Agustin visited

I included Intramuros in my itinerary when I went home for the holidays last December. I am an admirer of grand old Philippine churches. One of my favorites is the San Agustin Church located inside the former walled city. I remember last year when my wife’s friend got married in this baroque church—that in a small chapel near the main altar, I got my first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of Manila. It was slightly surreal for me. In the chapel were the remains of an important figure in Philippine history.

The UNESCO marker on the left side of the church front yard states:

One of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines inscribed in 1993 on the World Heritage List pursuant to the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The Church of San Agustin possesses exceptional universal value that deserves protection for the benefit of humanity.

sanagustin11

However, there was something new to me. The church facade was painted… is that peach? Is that normal? Is that the original color? Is that part of heritage conservation? Honestly, I prefer the walls without any cosmetic.

sanagustin21

I bet my friend Nold would have some inkling about this interesting front wall color; or if you know what’s happening would you please tell me?

sanagustinmarker1

Here are some references about San Agustin:

http://heritageconservation.wordpress.com/2006/07/29/san-agustin-church-intramuros-manila/

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~gaspar/agustin.html

POEA OEC Services

Is it Overseas Employment Certificate or Overseas Exit Clearance? Anyway, I am glad Philippine Overseas Employment Administration offices are open on December 22, 23, 24, 26 and 29 and January 2, 2009. All returning cash cows like me should not forget to apply for an OEC to avoid hassle in the airport when they leave beloved Pilipinas again. See this news advisory from POEA:

http://www.poea.gov.ph/news/2008/PR-Nov2008_BM_peak.pdf

If for some reason (like avoiding blood pressure elevation) you don’t want to see any POEA personnel, you can apply for OEC online through Citizen Services.  I haven’t tried this yet but I celebrate POEA for having this option made available to OFWs… But honestly, it would have been much better if they remove the Php 100.00 processing fee. Massive OFW remittances to the country should be enough to cover for this. Besides, “processing” is an integral function of a government agency. Why charge for it?

Bawat kibot mo talaga sa Pilipinas kailangan may bayad.  Tsk tsk…


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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