Sunday, December 26, 2010

Filipino-in-Afghanistan: Our Rights To Have Much Better and More Decent Kind of Life

Some FIA members participating in the Absentee Voting in 2010 National Elections

Recently, as per advice by our Kababayan in Filipino-in-Afghanistan (FIA), that we should write and let the website of the president be flooded by letters coming from Overseas Filipino Workers here until such time the Office of the President (OP) will give us the much needed attentions we have been longing for.

So I wrote letter to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III with similar tone and content last December 26, 2010 hoping to catch PNoy’s attention.

The FIA had already sent previously numerous letters and messages to OP since the time of Gloria Arroyo, and so far nothing has come up closed to reality, not even a vague positive response. The sad part in present time, when Vice President Jejomar Binay assumed responsibilities over the OFWs as Presidential Adviser on OFWs concerns, he proposed the imposition of sanctions and possible cancellation of passports for those who will violate the travel.

"Buhay nila ang nakataya. We are concerned with that, kung hindi nabibigyan ng sufficient na penalty di napipigilan gawa ng gawa ng hindi tama," he said. (excerpt from ABS-CBN News)

The thing is who do you think is the one who is not doing the right thing? Is it us here or VP Binay being a lawyer who is expected to be well-versed in laws, that he should know that cancellation of passports is a clear violation of the constitutional guarantee of right to travel.

There are certain acts and conditions wherein cancellation of passport could be possible under Foreign Service Act of 1991 and Philippine Passport Law (RA 8239). Definitely the act of violating a travel ban to war zone is not one of them.

Under Section 8, (c) of RA 8239, passport may bear some government restrictions and that is why we have the travel ban stamp on the “Limitation” page of our passports. But as you can see in section (b), violation of such limitations does not constitute cancellation or otherwise confiscations or technical detention of our passport

Just like what happened to those five OFWs returning to their jobs last December 14, 2010 at Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, allow me not to mention their names since I do not have their permission to do so, but FIA has full knowledge about what happened to them. Their passports were confiscated and the time of this writing, their passports are still being withheld by those officers who confiscated their passports. The immigration officers who confiscated their passport reiterated their acts is based on the alleged guidance from the VP. Probably to teach these OFWs how to do the right thing, for "paulit-ulit na di paggawa ng tama"

The following is an excerpt from RA 8239:

Sec. 8. Grounds for Denial, Cancellation or Restrictions. — The application for passport may be denied, cancelled or restricted only on the following grounds:

(a) Denial of Passport

1. On orders of the court, after due notice and hearing, to hold the departure of an applicant because of a pending criminal case:

2. When so requested by the natural or legal guardian, if the applicant is a minor;

3. When the applicant has been found to have violated any of the provisions of this Act;

4. Such other disqualification under existing laws.


1. When the holder is a fugitive from justice;

2. When the holder has been convicted of a criminal offense: Provided, That the passport may be restored after service of sentence; or

3. When a passport was acquired fraudulently or tampered with.

(c) Restricted

1. When the country of destination is in a state of political instability which could pose a danger to the Filipino traveler.

2. When diplomatic ties have been fractured or severed with the Philippines;

3. When the country of destination is subject to travel restriction by government policy, enforcement of action by the United Nations or in a state of war.

Here’s my argument in addition to most FIA contentions why there is a need to lift the aging travel ban to Afghanistan, this also part of my letter to PNoy:

The United States Government, as we all know, issued memorandum to send OFWs in Afghanistan home. So we are no longer allowed to work in US Bases and to all companies with US Government contracts. This is precisely because of the existing travel ban that we have and tolerating our presence will constitute violation of Anti-Human Smuggling Laws according to USG.

Without this ban the USG will let the OFWs to stay and keep their job. Interestingly, Filipinos are the most preferred third country nationals in war zone because of our excellent and professional work performances, but of course US cannot do anything about this sovereign declaration of travel ban by the Philippine government.

So our fate lies solely with our own government. The idea of transferring the OFWs here to other countries is indeed a good idea, but definitely not the best one for our welfare. And that is the reason why we keep on knocking to the Palace’s doors to check on the loop of circling problems of OFWs in Afghanistan. The government cannot point to anybody or to anywhere to look for someone or something to blame with in order to justify the travel ban, because there is none aside from the government itself who issued it.

Take into consideration the reality of life and expenses of going and working abroad, on how life of an OFW changes. Say for instance the issue of having better salary. Since we have undeniably high salary in Afghanistan, our projects for the family, like buying a house, is also equal to the mode of acquiring it. It is not practical to get a 20-year installment term in buying a house when you can get it in shorter period.

Of course, we want it to get paid as soon as possible so we can go home and retire. Besides, who knows when the war and the opportunities in the war zone will end, so we need to hurry up!

This is also true to some other installment basis family projects that we have right now like installment cars, installment business investments, educational and life plan insurances, and many others of the same category, not to mention the idea of sending our children to better school so they will not form part of the massive unemployed graduates from not so popular schools.

With this current job that we have, we have already increased our monthly expenditures, like electric bill, this is understandably due to having more appliances, bigger food budget, education allotment, again installment properties, other commercial services like cable TV, internet, landline telephone, cost of maintenance, and of course allotment of some dear relatives.

Others may call it extravagant, but we have the right to becoming “maging maluho” if that would be the proper term on how we cared for and pamper our family. That is just a compliment for taking the risks.

This is how we dream our lives to be, so that we can afford paying decent and better hospital, and live in decent and safe neighborhood.

Now, if we will be stopped at airport, have our passport confiscated and eventually we are going to lost our jobs here, how can we be able to pay our existing loans? Are we going to let our children to stop their education or transfer them to some inferior schools and be unemployed afterwards?

We have the right to dream for a better life too. It is maybe true that it will be easy for us to find a job somewhere else. Working with US and NATO is a good training ground as they really strictly follow international standard to the letter.

But then again getting a salary closed to what we are getting is almost next to impossibility, not to mention the stiff competition in the wild, wild world. If we will get a smaller salary which is not sufficient with our current family budget, how can we be able to continue paying our current bills and loans that we already have?

Instead of trying to let us understand their hard-to-understand justifications for the continuous imposition of the travel ban, why they might not as well take a pause and hear us out. It is much easier to understand our reasons.

One of our requests is to let a team of Department of Foreign Affairs representatives visit us here and make an assessment if the travel ban is still necessary. We believe that the ban is long overdue and what we need is a strict regulation to counter those Filipinos who will come here to try their luck in getting a job, not knowing that the travel ban affects the hiring of Filipinos.

If the ban will be lifted, more opportunities will come in but as I said a strict policy on hiring and deployment should be implemented so that no OFW will be deployed in remote places where security is not that tight. This is because there are also places here, especially those bordering Pakistan, that are still having some security issues. We are not lying about that. It is like working in Makati and working in Basilan. Not because there is a security issue in Basilan, it is already proper to say that Philippines is a dangerous place of work. Of course not!

At the moment, majority of vacationing OFWs here opted to spend their vacation in some Southeast Asian countries, in Dubai, and in nearby countries fearing that once they entered the Philippines they cannot go back to their respective jobs. They will let their families travel outside the country to spend quality times with them somewhere else. Most of us here, numbering in thousands OFWs, are spending vacation every after 3 months of work for minimum two weeks.

Has anyone imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars we are spending in other countries, instead of spending them in the Philippines? It could already help boost our local market and local tourism.

In my point of view, the only thing illegal is our itinerary or the idea that we going to Afghanistan whatever door we may exit from the Philippines, back or front door it doesn’t matter. This is because our final destination is Afghanistan where there is an existing travel ban. This is so true based on our government,s point of view.

Ironically, just like the one-way celebration of Filipino-American Friendship day where we are the only ones claiming and celebrating the supposedly mutual relation, in the view of Afghanistan republic OFWs are perfectly legal in the country having legal visa, legal work permit, and legal contract.

And here is the thing, never that OFWs in Afghanistan put the image of the Filipinos in jeopardy compared to those OFWs who have committed crimes against their host nations and eventually adds to the burden of our government in saving them from their death sentences. Nobody from here has been charged for murder or being drug mules. The fact the most of OFWs here are holding key positions, they have gained the trust and confidence of their employers and have already built good relations with them.

Finally, bear in mind that there is nothing more dangerous than losing our jobs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maling Pag-ibig ng Pag-IBIG Para sa OFWs

Ayus din ang Pag-IBIG at Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) para igiit na mandatory ang Pag-IBIG contribution. Aanuhin ba yan? Kaniya-kaniya trip ang pagkuha ng bahay pati ang paglo-loan ng emergency cash, at ang trip niyong dalawa ay di trip ng majority ng Overseas Filipino Workers.

Ano ba makukuha ng OFWs sa "legalized kotong" na ito? Ikaw na reader, ano ba para sa 'yo ang ang Pag-IBIG? Di ba first thing that would come to your mind is housing loan? Correct! Dahil this contribution would be for the Home Mutual Development Fund (HMDF) of Pag-IBIG. Magiging eligible na nga naman ang OFW for housing loan, kung trip mong mag housing loan. Kung di mo trip, pugo nila ang P600 mo para sa capital nila!

E paano kung every 2 years ang renewal of contract mo at every 2 years ang bakasyon mo, so balewala na sayo ang P600 pesos dahil kada dalawang taon ka lang magbabayad ng Balik-Manggagawa kung sakaling kasama ito dun. Parang magaan di ba? Pero nasaan na yung P600 mo na binayad mo nung unang alis mo? Nasa Pag-IBIG pa rin syempre, tambay lang yun dun, pag trip mo nang pakinabangan, bayaran mo yung balanse kasi pang 6 months lang yun e. Kumbaga di ka nagbayad ng ilang buwan habang nasa abroad ka at nagpapaka-kuba sa trabaho.

So pwede pa rin! Paano kung na-leche employment mo? Natural kakalimutan mo yung P600. Maliit lang e. Paano kung 1,000 kayong na-leche sa buong mundo, magkano na yun? Paano kung buwan-buwan may 1,000 OFWs ang naleleche sa buong mundo, magkano na yun sa isang taon? Magkano yung contribution na hindi napapakinabangan ng nag-contribute? Paano kung hindi lang 1,000 OFWs ang nale-leche buwan-buwan sa buong mundo? Ilan silang nagbabale-wala sa halagang P600?

Negative thinker ang dating ko di ba? Pero positive na nangyayari 'yan dahil natutulungan ba madalas ang OFWs? Natutulungan pag na-leche na, kung kailangan ng iuwi ang bangkay. Kung kailangang ilabas sa kulungan, kung overloaded na ang mga embassy sa TNT. Pero yung ma-prevent na ma-leche, nagagawa ba ng POEA? Paano na lang kung hindi na-imbento ang Migrante International?

Mabuti na lang nandyan si VP Jejomar Binay di ba? Kahit di ka matalino alam mong kotong na malinaw yun eh. Sa dami-dami na ngang kumukotong sa Bagong Bayani kuno, sasali pa ang Pag-IBIG? Sa mga taga-Pag-IBIG, ayusin niyo ang buhay nyo para di nalulugi mga pa-bahay niyo, hindi yung mamimilit kayo na maging miyembro lahat na OFWs ng Pag-IBIG.

Mag-abroad din kayo! Maghanap-buhay kayo ng maayos para kumita kayo hindi yung nag-iisip kayo ng pagkakakitaan sa di patas na paraan, na akala niyo mga bobo ang OFWs eh.

Eh kung ayaw ng housing loan dahil may bahay na, pipilitin niyo pa rin? OK din takbo ng isip niyo parang nabilad sa init ang mga utak niyo ah. Baka sa susunod niyan maglalabas ng Circular na mandatory na pasalubong mula sa Duty Free at kailangan sa Duty Free sa NAIA, kundi di ka makakalabas ng airport. Tapos may minimum amount pa ang dapat bilihin, yari na!

Iba na lang pag-tripan niyo. Ibang style ng marketing and fund-generation strategies. Baka mamaya maki-connive naman ang Pag-IBIG sa Land Transportation Office at pilitin ang mga drivers na maging members ng Pag-IBIG, o kaya sa Department of Education, para estudyante pa lang puwede nang mag-housing loan. Madami bang "Dangerous Mind" sa opisina nila? Sabagay, sabi nga walang basagan ng trip, kaso binasag ni VP Binay ang trip nila.

Nagkakalimutan kasi eh, si VP Binay na po ang pangalawang pangulo at wala na po ang Wowowee, naleche na yun! Para 'yang grupong kakilala ko, sa dami ng magagaling di pa sikat lumubog na. Na-over ! Natira puro guts na lang at pag-iisip nila na puro pagtakas sa katotohanang laos na agad sila !

Thanks, Vice President Binay sa maayos na pag-aksyon..simple at akmang aksyon ang ginawa nyo!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


So what's next?

President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay were finally and officially proclaimed to be the next leaders of the nation last Wednesday June 8, 2010, after excruciating speeches from some members of the Congress and now we can say in the next few days will be the moment of truth for the Filipinos. And again just like the previous transitions of administrations, Filipinos have been used to the "wait and see" attitude. They will wait until the new administration fails and then will start criticizing and create an atmosphere that we have made the wrong choice or the Filipinos had been deceived. Which is why we also get used to have a critical start up for new administration every time the new one assumes the post.

We should change this attitude-Right NOW!

We spent enormous efforts during the recent campaign in order to put the two gentlemen in Malacañang, we should not waste these efforts just like the million-peso campaign materials that were rendered useless after the election. Noynoy's and Binay's failure will be the failure of the whole new government and the Filipino nation, so as I said that fact that we voted for Noynoy and Binay, it does not mean we will stop from there and leave to the new administration our personal aspirations in life.

The fight is not yet over, it has only just begun.

Our point here is the change of attitude form "wait and see" being static into a dynamic attitude. We should think and act as if we have the same aspirations as what Noynoy and Binay have in implementing our daily plans and activities and these should be geared towards the betterment of our plight, uplifting the poor living condition, and upgrading the Filipino image around the world. We should formulate solutions on some of the problems right in our immediate vicinity, and let us not wait for the long arm of the government to reach and help us if we can solve the issues ourselves. Noynoy said we need to identify clearly the problem to get specific and appropriate solution to it . Let's us all be pro-active this time. This the best time to start a new beginning in order to give new meaning to the spirit of volunteerism. If we can truly contribute an individual micro-solution and put them altogether, it is more than enough act of heroism.

After all it is us who actually bring about the "Noy-Bi administration" into existence through our volunteerism, on-line organization and revolutionized activism, which had never been tried before in the same manner and in the same magnitude and yes, it was proven effective. Thereby, we have now implied obligations to support and help them so they will not fail.

What we need is the continuity of this volunteerism attitude which rather focus in nation building and not towards the election anymore. We need to turn and shift it to social economic purposes in order to somehow help the new government that we put into power. Obviously we already have well-organized groups that are well-bonded and had worked well during the campaign in the recent election, we therefor should not put our organized groups back to the cupboard for the next national election, but rather let them join the new administration in their new patriotic causes and commitment to fight corruption, help the poor, generate more employment, improve public health, upgrade education system, reliable justice system, peace and order, and so on and so forth

Recently, I have received a short forwarded email thread from Filipino in Afghanistan (FIA) and the topic was referring to the big amount of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and its temporary effect to the Philippine economy. Rasyl Abela (I am not so sure if he belongs to FIA,) said that most of the big amounts sent to OFW families back home are spent on the daily basis for basic necessities and for personal extravagance like expensive cellphone, plasma television set, expensive cars, houses and others. I admired his thought and the point is actually based on reality. Clearly, with this style of expenditures what has been contributed by this big amount of remittances to Philippine economy is just an active local market and business movement due to strong buying power of most OFW families. Aside from that, there is nothing more.

Based on his line of thinking, I think it is high time to divert now the focus of this volunteerism and do the ambitious, unthinkable and probably most patriotic act. If those volunteer organizations abroad that helped in the election and are still set up by smart mechanism and management will contribution to generate funds and invest in the country to create more jobs , we can probably eradicate portion of a national cancer that tends to kill our progress. They can select which types of heroic acts they will engage into after thorough consultation and studies, whether they will opt to venture on strict business that will generate local employment or simply engage with different poverty eradication programs.

Take for instance the Filipino migrant workers. If the OFW-groups based all over the world could put up funds and invest into a business that requires more numbers of laborers it can help reduce local unemployment. Although this type of Bayanihan maybe already existing, we need to advocate extensively and invite other groups to do the same. As it helps the country, it will also generate extra income for every member who shared for the investment.

How noble it would it be if we can have a reversed method on labor and job-bunting system that
instead of the job-hunter will go and risk everything to get a job somewhere else, it will be the business or the opportunity itself will go to the remote provinces in order to reach those Filipinos who cannot afford to leave their places to look for a job and be displaced

Finally, maybe through this effort, we can be part and of help to what Noynoy's ultimate goal "to let the Filipinos work abroad by choice and not by force of necessities."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Overseas Absentee Voting in Afghanistan, the FIA and the Existing Travel Ban

Now it is clear Commission on Election ballots know no boundary.
What if the ballots need to go through Department of Foreign Affairs, would it also have the stinking travel ban stamp in going into war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan so that Filipinos working there could also vote?

Usually, negative opinions and impressions of most politicians back home about the presence of Overseas Filipinos Workers in Iraq and Afghanistan, during this election period, are being set aside for the sake of winning more votes. Why? Because as they said every vote counts and they need numbers from all over the world. Sometimes they get it even from the underworld where dead people can still manage to vote.

If we could still remember last year when a chopper crashed in Kandahar Air Field killing 10 Pinoy workers, everyone was at the opinion that OWFs in Afghanistan should go home. It was Abe Mulong Caracas of Naks Naman and of GMA7 who called me and had an interview about the OFWs’ plight here in Afghanistan.

The government even intensified the enforcement of travel ban going to Afghanistan after that, while other potential presidentiables that time expressed their opinion that we, Filipinos here, should be given alternative jobs after forcing us to go home. Sounds so concerned right?

It was a tooth and nail conflict of opinions whether it is right to force us home or lift the travel ban instead and regulate the flow of OFWs into the war zone. The choice between substantially high-paying job and the safety issue is running around the heads of everyone, whether one should go home or should stay. Among many issues, choices and alternatives, the decision to stay for work always wins, and as always the convincing idea goes back to square one - we can achieve better future for our family in this area.

By the way, I would like to thank Mulong for airing the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) of Filipinos here in Afghanistan, last April 17,2010. When I sent the details, photos and video to GMA7, again it was Mulong who made an overseas call to me and we talked about the recent OAV. Thanks also to GMA Network for the flash report.

Now, they must know that we are also voting despite pressures here in Afghanistan!

And speaking of OAV, I would like to commend Ms. Catherine Sobrevega and the rest of the members of Filipino-in-Afghanistan (FIA) for exerting efforts in order for the OFWs in Afghanistan could exercise their right to vote. Catherine personally got in touch with officials of the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan to work on the absentee voting here. She actually even made the process really formal and really fun. It was held inside the compound of Red Sea Engineering in Kabul last April 16, 2010. The national anthem was sang, made few speeches, started the process and ended it smoothly.

Filipinos-in-Afghanistan group posed after the OAV

I wonder what the Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan had told Ms. Sobrevega, who is the chairman of the FIA. Did the ambassador say “Don’t go to Afghanistan it's too dangerous and we have existing travel ban over there?” as a gesture of concern? Or "Don't forget to vote for my candidate huh?"

Singing of Lupang Hinirang

When I told the Astig Pinoy group in Iraq about the OAV in Afghanistan, everyone was wishing that hopefully next time there will be the same activity too in Iraq, where they can be involved in political processes back home while being abroad. I agree with them, every Filipino abroad should be given the chance to participate in election, wherever they are, well of course, unless otherwise they are in prison.

Ms Catherine Sobrevega, head of FIA, explaining the voting process.
Thanks to Red Sea Engineering-Kabul for accommodating the conduct of AOV inside their compound

It is undeniably true that aside from being the biggest dollars earners and the biggest support to Philippine economy, the strength of OFWs can even make a king if only they wish. And it is also undeniably true that for a very long time, after Ka Blas Ople passed away, what the OFWs is getting from the government are all broken promises, as whole.

But as we can see, the OFWs of today are far different in the old days as we have been empowered by our voice through internet and other media, much more we are organized and united. Each presidential candidate is having real hard to find the right magic words in order to convince the OFWs to get solid votes. Simply because OFWs of today have grown and has become more mature in facing issues. Organized in the sense that we can gather around and have a single stand on every issue, whether through internet or in the middle of war. We can even campaign and participate discussions online.

Filipino communities abroad now gather not only for bar-b-Q, beer, gossips, and photo sharing. We gather around for political issues and act upon it. We write blogs, we post shout outs, we write comments, we post photos, we write to the government, we reach for media, and many other pro-active works. In short, we revolutionized activism from street to broadcast media, to internet and to every corner of the world. (We can even commit coup de' etat in the!)

Recently they made into law that the OFWs be exempted from paying documentary stamp, travel tax, remittance tax, and airport fee, under Section 22 of the Republic Act 10022, and again Filipinos here in Afghanistan will never be benefited out from this new law since we are not considered the regular OFWs under the definition of POEA and OWWA (correct me if I am wrong, but I am confident I am correct), because of the existing travel ban. Instead of us enjoying such benefits, government people are enjoying benefits they are getting from us working in war zone, just to let us through. It is really heartbreaking, because we are here for decent works, helping the Afghans and the Iraqi people build their lives and as we build theirs, our government exploits ours.

Ms Zarenna Vasquez of FIA organizing the ballots

Nevertheless, thanks to God, by allowing the Filipinos here to exercise the right of suffrage. By this, the government, through DFA and COMELEC, is somehow impliedly recognizing the Filipinos here as OFWs. OAV is only given to those Filipinos working abroad and for those who have never lost their Filipino citizenship as long as they are registered voters. So since we have OAV here, I believe they will hear our voice once again OFWs in banned country, as they have our votes.

Let us hope that this scenario should not only be limited during the time when there is a national election but rather should go forward. Otherwise it will be a clear spit on our faces that we are just being at their pleasures. Filipinos in Afghanistan should enjoy what other OFWs in other parts of the world are enjoying since we are sharing to the government the same piece of bread, where most of the time, we give them the biggest.

We are hoping that the next administration will reconsider the lifting of the travel ban. That is the only thing we have right now is to keep hoping and hold on to it patiently until the better one with a heart for OFWs sits in Malacañang.

So in short, despite the fact that the almost 7,000 Filipinos in Afghanistan are considered one of the biggest dollar-senders to the Philippines and actively participating in the political processes in the country, we are not getting what we have been appealing for to the government. We are not being heard.

For the Nth time, since I was in Iraq, we are discussing the big advantage we could possibly get when this over-imposed travel ban is finally lifted, it will be a happy day for all of us. We all know that the success of OFWs abroad is also a success in dollar-earning ability of the government, and we will champion the Philippine economy eventually-that we can guarantee to them.

Some FIA members, with the author

Worthy of mentioning.. a friend and a drinking buddy, Flo Del Rosario,
Finance Manager of RANAH Technologies, Afghanistan's leading ISP

Thanks to Catherine for allowing me to use her two photos. I would to ask apology for not naming the other prominent members of FIA, I forgot their names.

Here's how we spend day off to keep us bonded, I can say it is very Filipino in every way:
Original Thursday Group (L-R) Afghan close friend Molodin,
Engr. Mar Boniel, the author (not promotor ha!), and Flo Del Rosario
Filipino food will never be absent in any Pinoy gathering
Filipinos are used to carry the plates and eat using one hand, lol!
Videoke is part of modern Filipino culture..we love to sing..a lot!
(L-R) Dante, Elia, Teth, Joanne, Au and Joel
..the best part..we always have something to drink
full of at the end of the day...
the sad truth is we still have travel ban

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Powerful and Unconventional Speech for Students

Ms Jeanette Fabellore-Rivera delivering inspirational message to Paezians
(date was not set up from the camera)

Last March 19, 2010 my sister was invited as Guest Speaker on the occasion of 2010 Recognition Day for our high school alma mater. She delivered her inspirational speech in an unconventional manner and it was really remarkable.

Madalas, speaker will make the speech too flowery to the extent na hindi na maabot ng mga nakikinig. Sometimes nakatingin lang ang audiences pero hindi naiko-convey at di na-aabsorb ang idea na sinasabi ng speaker, which the most important part of public speaking (in blogging as well).

Recognizing our students' effort really paid off parents' sacrifices
(date was not set up from the camera)

Nung marinig ko sa video ang laman ng speech niya, naisip kong i-blog since she was not actually only speaking before the new breed of Paezians, but also to all other high school students na until now are struggling on crisis whether to pursue or not. For those who could still feel uncertainty, or fear and even being so undecided about their possible lives once they exit the portals of the school. Those who have no idea what is it like in the real world and how to deal with new surrounding and new way of interactions. Madalas hindi simple ang transition ng buhay from high school to college up to your goal..marami ang sumisemplang dito lalo iyung mga hindi handa at walang guidance.

As I mentioned sa comment ko sa Facebook account ng aming alumni, kapuri-puri ang hakbanging ng faculty papagsalitain ang isang alumnus kaysa sa mga pulitikong walang relasyon sa paaralan. Dahil ang pulitiko ay puro exposure lang at wala rin namang naitutulong matapos ang halalan sa paaralang pinupuntahan. Minsan pa nga mismong alma mater nila ay nakakalimutan nila. Kasi sa isang almuni, with inspiring achievement, nakaka-relate ang listeners lalo kung kauri nila ang nagsasalita.

May sistemang sinusunod ang school kung sino ang kino-consider na pwedeng maging speaker, hindi sila ang teahcer's pet or kung ano pa man. Hindi rin ito base sa kasalukuyang katayuan, or naabot, or estado ng kayamanan. Kundi ang inspiring manner kung paano naabot ang kinalalagyan.

"It not the state of being at Point B, but the essence of how you get from Point A to Point B."-Biz Joker

So kung malapit sa puso or may kaugnayan sa buhay-estudyante ng nakikinig at nagsasalita, mas nakakatulong ito para makasunod or magkaroon ng gabay ang mga sumusunod na henerasyon.

Ate Jing's batch mates in Batch '81
includes TPIPS' Mrs. Elizabeth Bartolome, (2nd,L)

By the way, Ate Jing belongs to Batch '81 and I belong to Batch '89 of our great Alma Mater, T. Paez Integrated Pilot School in Balut , Tondo, Manila. My mom retire from high school teaching in the same school.

Some of the achievers of TPIPS 2009-2010
(date was not set up from the camera)

So here it, let me share the content of her speech:

"Thank you very much for the overwhelming introduction and let me thank you as well for inviting me today to witness the celebration of the 2009-2010 intellectuals.

Isang magandang umaga sa lahat na naririto, una sa lahat sa mga kapwa ko magulang, mga minamahal nating mag-aaral, mga panauhin at sa mga magigiting at masisipag na guro at pamunuan ng ating Alma Mater, T. Paez Integrated School.

Like most of you today, once upon a time, nakaupo rin ako dyan bilang isa sa mga students that will be recognized to their efforts and sleepless night of studying. Pero sasabihin ko sa inyo na pagkatapos nyong matanggap yung mga certificates and medals, you will start to dream again. Yung ilan sa inyo, will speak to his own self, “next year honor uli ako”, yung iba, “ sana mas maraming medal” at yung iba pa, “ sana kasali nako sa recognition day”. Bet?

Ang araw na ito ay mahalaga dahil ito ang output ng pinagpaguran nating lahat. Mula sa ating mga magulang na bumili ng uniforms, nagbigay ng baon . Sa mga guro na nagtiyagang turuan kayo sa bawat academic subject, sa mga namumuno ng school para bigyan kayo ng maayos at masistemang paaralang at siempre kayo mga students na nagsunog ng kilay to learn. Ang araw na ito ay pagbibigay pugay sa Edukasyon. Well, I truly believe that everyone knows what education is, but to simply the meaning, ang pagkakaroon ng edukasyon ay ang pinakapangyarihang instrumento para makaahon sa kahirapan, para maging pantay-pantay ang level ng buhay at higit sa lahat para magkaroon ng matibay na kaalaman sa pagsulong ng ekonomiya ng ating bansa.

Ang pagkakaroon ng edukasyon ang siyang matibay na paghahanda sa hinaharap. Ito ang huhubog sa ating pagkatao at isipan na kakailanganin ninyo sa pakikisalimuha sa kapwa, pag-resolve ng iba’t ibang problema, personal man or panlipunan, at pagpapatakbo ng sarili niyong buhay tungo sa katuparan ng inyong mga pangarap.

Ako po ay isa sa mga ordinaryong magaaral ng Bath 1981, palagay ko ang ilan sa kanila ay nandito ngayun. Just like in any batch, merong nagiging successful, meron kainaman lang at meron din medyo hindi naging matagumpay sa buhay. Sabi nga sa elementary math natin, to complete a graph, dapat me high, middle and low points. (relate this situation to the above sentence) So kung ipa-plot natin yun sa blank plane makakagawa ka ng graph. But thing is, saan ka doon? Ikaw ba yung nasa hign point, middle point or low point? Siempre, lahat naman tayo ayaw nating pumayag na tayo yung low point, ayaw nating maging taga kumpleto ng graph di ba?

Ang edukasyon ay hindi lamang pagpasok sa paaralan, at pag uwi sa hapon. Pagsagot sa examination at paggawa ng assignment. Whatever we learned inside the classroom, we should definitely apply it in our everyday living. Lahat naman ng mangyayari sa araw araw nating pamumuhay ay dini-discuss ng mga teachers sa loob ng classroom. Kaya walang dahilan para hindi maging maayos ang buhay natin, walang dahilan para maging ikaw ang nasa low point. Ang problema lang sa karamihan sa atin ay binabalewala ang lahat ng itinuro sa atin ng paaralan. We ignore it, we ignore the teachings. But good news is, hindi pa huli ang lahat! It is not too late for you to open your notebooks and review what you have written and apply it in your everyday lives.

When I was in my review school for the CPA board exams, one of our reviewer told us, “ilista nyo ang course outline ng board exams. Write a check kung master mo na ang subject from top to bottom. Take note the words “kung master mo na, hindi sinabing me alam ka na, dapat master daw?. Kapag merong isang outline na walang check, don’t take the board exams”. Proud say, lahat kami followed his advice, and in my case 100% naman may check bawat line item. But did it mean papasa na kami? In addition, sabi nya uli, “hindi porket me check lahat papasa ka na, aim high, dream to be a topnatcher kaya dapat sa pre-board magsikap kayong maging topnotch!” Whew! Pressure yun noh? So lahat kami aim high din, puro aral, sehodang putaktihin ng pimples ang face sa kakapuyat, at matulog sa school para lang mag-aral. Siguro sasabihin nyo OA! But we truly did it! Luckily I was in the top 10 during my CPA pre-board exams. I passed the CPA board (take one) pero hindi ako topnatcher. The morals of the story? Kailangan din pala ang determinasyon at perseverance to acquire the education upang maging part of our system.

Ang kasalukuyang generation at ang susunod pang generation ay maswerte. Kasi high tech na, communication is so easy. Ang pag-aaral ay hindi na mahirap. Google it! (Site more examples). Gumagastos nga kayo ng 25 pesos para magdota sa internet, makipagchat sa GF or BF online, at makipag tsimisan sa Facebook. Why don’t you spend your time in the internet café answering your assignments?

  1. Google it! Ang sabi ng assignment notebook, “define education”, e di punta ka sa google or yahoo. Type lang “ define education” enter. Naku! Makikita mo kung ilang milyon ang meaning ng education ang lalabas.
  2. O cge, subukan nyo, type nyo (-34)+(-65). Magugulat pa kayo kung ano makikita nyo. Meron drawing ng calculator.

Google it! Kapag natutunan ninyo yun, magaling pa kayo sa text book nyo. Panis ang assignment ni Ma’am!

Sa mga mag-aaral na narito ngayun, enjoy life. Maging masigla at masaya kayo habang nag-aaral. Enjoy reading books, enjoy listening to your teachers, enjoy solving your assignments. Enjoy going to school every day. This way, malamang sumakit ang ulo ng mga teachers nyo kung sino ang first honor at the end of the school year at kahit pa wala kang honor, ikaw pa rin ang panalo! Because, you earned the most powerful knowledge that no one can take away from you. Hindi pwedeng isanla, di pwedeng manakaw ninuman ang EDUKASYON.

Ang pinto ng paaralang ito ay laging naghihintay sa inyong pagpasok, ang inyong mga guro ay laging handang magturo para sa inyo. Ang inyong mga magulang ay nagbabanat ng buto para makapag-aral kayo. Books and school supplies are there for you to use, and most especially the knowledge are always there for you to gain. The only thing you need to do is, study it and embrace it! Having a good education is the key to a brighter future.

To all the recipients of today’s celebration…Congratulations! And keep up the good work!

Thank you very much for listening, your energy and enthusiasm are appreciated. Mabuhay tayong mga Paezians. "

New breed ng Paezians
(date was not set up from the camera)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

OFW Children Must Understand Why We Are Here

I received an early usual morning text message from my daughter last Thursday, February 18, 2010. Her message usually so sweet that could always complete my day here in abroad. My wife does the same thing all the time too.

That morning the message said she was in school attending a forum discussing the topic regarding children of Overseas Filipino Workers. The Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Calamba, Laguna conducted a forum with unusual topic (to me) “Anak ng Nangibang Bansa, Aruga at Ikaagapay”. It was attended by children of OFWs studying in Letran. She told me during the forum she got emotional that she sent me series of text messages in my Smart Roaming, thanking me for all things I am doing our the family. Although my family is well-aware of some of the tricky things I am doing, not everything in my police service of course, she was able to realize more about the hardship of an OFW is exerting just to give them a better life.

Well I just re-grabbed this line but actually the lines “giving them a better life” and “Bagong Bayani” are all over-rated things to me and started becoming really boring.

“Sasapakin ko na tatawag sa akin na Bagong Bayani, sige (lol!) .”

The forum gave another definitions to these words as, I believe, it knocked out the idea from those children who always see their parents abroad as mere provider of stylish gadgets. This time, my daughter said, everyone was enlightened and was given a chance to appreciate more the very meaning why most parents need to work abroad and be alone for years. There was one of the attendees who even admitted doing things just to catch his parents’ attention and force them to go home and be with his siblings. But this is not actually a simple over the table request, we parents understood the present and future things more than out children, and I guess an option of going home will not gonna happen soon. We have extraordinary dreams and goal for our children and that is the very reason why we are here.

After the forum maybe everyone will understand now why this kid was acting so stupid all the times that he almost gain ownership of the School Counselor’s Office. While on the other hand, he will somehow understand that his attitude is baseless and should stop immediately as it adds another heavy burden on his parents abroad.

Now I am thinking that aside from Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS, a mandatory requirement for OFWs leaving the country, forum like this one held in Letran should be introduced in all schools nationwide yearly. It is high time for the OFWs’ children to have second look on the plight of their parents abroad. Needless to say that most of these children see their parents working abroad as providers of extraordinary needs, and missing the point of appreciating the very reason why they need to leave. This eye-opening forum should start and be held as a regular part of yearly curricula, not to mention that Human Rights Seminar which should also be included as part and parcel of education system. After all there is a great chance that most of the school children we have today are from OFW families.

I see this as far more significant than forcing an ex-OFW to attend PDOS, which is now becoming more of just a "compliance" than being "objective". And everyone knows when something that supposed to be objective by purpose has turned to becoming more of a compliance in nature; it will be a big source of corruption through exploitation of the memorandum or rule covering it. If you are an OFW and have been in and out of the country for several times, is it not that you may have attended PDOS more than ten times, having the same topic over and over again? Does it make sense? You have already become far better than the speaker discussing the topic in PDOS.

That’s why we need to have second look in preparing the life like what we have right now. Being an overseas worker should be a preparation of our life's and family’s both worlds. The world they will have being the ones left behind, on one hand and the world we will have in our new-found land here abroad, on the other hand. This is not only about the culture we are about to face, but it is about the new culture our children will be facing. Well, that includes the culture of having more money of course… and you can’t imagine what a culture shock they will get huh! Kidding aside, but this is true.

More often than not, misunderstood kids in school are product of incomplete family, lack of parents’ attention, lack of appreciations and close parental guidance. This type of seminar or forum, whatever we call it, will help somehow these children to think about things and start getting the deeper positive sense out of being away from their OFW parents, not just being a financial provider, but provider of true and unselfish love. Not everyone is as lucky as these guys, other parents never lifted a finger in order to provide but rather exploit their children to get over on their parental responsibilities.

We need to have this kind of forum. I can call it “Pre and Post Departure OFW Family Orientation Seminar”. Maybe we can include barangays to launch the same thing, to inform everyone that when one works abroad it is not a gate way to luxurious life but a great deal emotional and mental sacrifices that everyone in the family must be involved in maintaining the equilibrium to achieve the main goal of going and working abroad. Every cent earned must be looked upon not just as a grain of rice alone but a painful piece of moment of one working across the sea and vast land. It is not all about celebration of a new life, since our life is still uncertain even when one goes abroad to work for the family. It is about taking advantage of uncertain prosperity that no one knows how long or how short it will be.

Life abroad is indeed uncertain. The fellows back home must take and learn the lesson of the ants’ colony, to work while there is still sunshine, to save while they still can. There are hundreds of bad things thinkable and possible to us to happen while working abroad. Death, lay-off, becoming victims of illegal recruitment, termination, accidents, and many more that could bring storms to the “colony”. Think about that and let our kids learn it. Earn what your OFW parents have painstakingly got and sent you overseas.

Maybe through this type of objective gathering, we can prevent infidelity, financial crisis due to over expenditures, way-ward style of studying by OFWs’ children, and the non-compliance to what the couple has planned before one of them decided to work abroad. These are the common failures we OFWs are experiencing, realizing that after a long years of stay and hardship w abroad our lives back home never moved an inch forward, and at the end of the day our favorite song will be ”Napakasakit Kuya Eddie”. Our children, our beneficiaries are always part of it. Let them realize and play their in building a better future for themselves.

To my children, thanks for the text messages I appreciate the fact you have really appreciated the real sense of my being here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is what I have in mind right now....based on this photo

We have been asked by a batch mate in our high school Yahoo! Group email thread regarding the three "presidentiables" kung sino iboboto namin. It seems it was from a forwarded email circulating in the internet. There was a photo also attached of the three selections (You can check the above insinuating photo). I know it was not from my batch mate Laudemer and its owner is too impossible to identify.

I realized it is a nice topic to discuss about (I mean the photo) and my few understanding about my candidate for president. Let me put it straight, I AM FOR NOYNOY AQUINO. In my opinion, let's forget about the senate and the house of representatives for the meantime (or the legislative branch) and let's face the fact that the president is the most powerful among the three branches of what we so-called government. You can include judiciary branch as being inferior to executive branch nowadays if you want, pero para sa akin cool lang naman ang Court kumbaga..walang naman kasing mga kibo eh...hmp!..

Wala namang nagawa 'yang House sa pag iinarte at tantrums nung maliit na ale eh. So wala silang bilang muna, mas matindi ang upuan nung ale. So whoever will succeed her will be the important issue.

What we have today is not actually a "government" but huge type of syndicate, as I can see it. There are collusions everywhere as approved by our "favorite Tita". I am not saying that I want Noynoy to be the next head of the syndicate but should be the next LEADER of the Filipino Nation. Right now we don't have that "Filipino Nation" being governed by a leader, but a nation being mobbed up and robbed up, where white color will be red as she wishes and no one will gonna contradict on that. She was made right when she was VERY wrong.

Anyways, I don't know so much about Noynoy Aquino, aside from few that I read from the internet and from the news. I think all of us do not have so much informations about our candidates, because like me, most of you guys are not so personally close to these candidates and probably what you guys know about them is limited to what you have read and what others have fed to you. Chinismis ika nga!

And that's a reality, we are actually voting, though we have been given so much time to scrutinize each one of them, for those who have strong campaign gimmicks and remarkable advertisement, kaya nga tayo "na-leche eh". We have been so "possessed" by "pagkain sa bawat hapag kainan" modus-operadi, and yet at the end it was their plates that had the most expensive dinner ever.

(Oooops! commercial muna: I am actually watching right now while Noynoy is being interviewed, 6 Jan 2010, Kenji Solis informed about it. Actually, I am watching it, writing this blog post and doing project estimates and costing, lol!)

OK let's continue. Here's my stance and why Noynoy is my man for Malacañang. Let me explain my hypothetic idea about " Mr. Galing and Talino". Just being GMA's boy, this man should have no place right away in all four corners of government. Putting him in the Office of the president is virtually putting back GMA.

The tag "Galing and Talino" is actually all about him but since he is an administration bet, we cannot help but to think that they are dining on the same table and feast on the same kind of food, therefor have a "common goal". They have led the country to all formidable scandals and horrifying involvement in human rights violation.

I would rather drop down the idea of voting for "so intelligent and so skillful" since these things are being used to exploit us Filipinos and especially us Overseas Filipino Workers. She's a Harvard alumna and being such is being a hell of being so intelligent, and where did she use that gift? So being "matalino and magaling" is no longer a plus-point because all them are smart and talented already. Pero nakita n'yo ba kung paano prinitong buhay ang anak niyang panganay ni Winnie Monsod? Why.. hehehehe! he's exactly the opposite of her mother. Kung super talino ang mudra, nuknukan ng "ewan", panoorin niyo na lang ang links. Pero ang yaman ng loko ano po!

here are the links again:

So no doubt lahat naman sila may "galing at talino" wala kang tulak-kabigin. Magkaka-level sila d'yan !

Here's another one "Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga". Everyone knows this is pure propaganda, right? The concept of this modus is to sow inspiration which is agreeable to be good. Has he been doing this "sipag at tiyaga" thing long before the election? Or lumalabas lang ito every election.

He is pointing out this "ST" thing today because he is running for presidency. When he won a senate seat the first time, did he continue his "sipag and tiyaga movement? No he did not. He kept his "sipag and tiyaga" secrets to himself. What is the effect of this slogan to us, wala di ba? Absolutely nothing but made us voted for him. So clearly it's a propaganda and nothing else. Parang gusto pa yata tayong palanguyin sa basura sa jingle niya e.

Also, as I observe this guy has been very active these days in helping the OFWs. Aside from showing the public how he helps them and with matching "heroic speeches in time of distress", he also has plans for us OFWs. That is, if elected, there is no need for us to go and work abroad. Hallleeeer! Wake up, man. That is next to impossibility, are we dreaming to become the next North Korea?

Do you know what is the result of bringing home the more than 12Million OFWS?
Scarcity, over population and food supplies will be limited and who will bring the billions of dollars every year? Di mo po kayang kunin 'yang bilyones na yan sa revenue ng investors lang 'no. Even extremely rich countries have their citizens work abroad. So isa itong pambobola..lumang pulitika at taktika!

What we need is realistic approach and plans for us OFWs..walang bolahan. Migration, temporary or permanent, is deemed necessary, dudong.

Wheew! Ka Blas Ople cared for and helped us OFW without the need to run for president, kaya n'yo ba yun?

Filipinos do not need "sipag and tiyaga" inspiration as we are so naturally HARDWORKING already since time immemorial. The sad thing was that the fruits of our hard work were abused, much more stolen from us by greedy government.

Of course, capturing the more than 12-Million OFWs is more than winning the lottery. They need to have the best political gimmick just to show that they care. One could imagine, if you multiply that 12-Million by at least three voting members of each OFW family, that a sure thing lottery.
Get OFW majority and their are undoubtedly a winner!

So there you are fellow OFWs, let me remind everyone that with us alone..we can make a president... a leader and not a "LORD"

The problem with the first two good-looking candidates, they were crafted, dressed-up and groomed by their parties long before they dreamed of running for president.

So just like in construction industry, all possibilities were anticipated including accidents to achieve a "common goal". Be it a bad or a good goal, they have prepared ways to achieve it no matter what. They have all the well-prepared crew to answer things, to cover things, to scientifically explain thing in more complex way so nobody could understand and accept it whatever it is.

That's all for the sake of the PARTY.

So all in all base rin sa sipag at tiyaga, magkaka-level sila riyan!

So here's my guy, NOY!

At dito walang ka-level si Noynoy pag-dating sa utos ng magulang.

Based on the photo, I would rather go for MAMA at PAPA! The one who follows the guidance of righteous parents, than those who follow the dictates of the party. Here, we have Daddy Ninoy at Mommy Cory guiding the political direction of the party, if that's what the picture above tried to emphasize.

He has one noble guidance, and that is just to LOVE and take CARE for all of us. With this guidance, everything else will fall in proper places. Just like a good father who loves and cares for his family, exactly just like us OFW -- just like you and me.

We are here abroad driven by our love and care for our families, working HONESTLY to keep our jobs for their sake, kahit mahirap and working HARD for them in order to provide their necessities.

Just like Noynoy and us OFWs, WE will never steal because we do not want to put our families in scandalous situation.. WE will never put our families' future at stake for sake of our own personal interest. And most of the time, friendship (or party) is immaterial if things are prejudicial to our families.

So equate that, equals:

"Filipinos is the big family of Noynoy.. our families is his family too, therefor NOYNOY IS EVERY OFW."

Maybe, there were few guys out there who got dismayed during Pres. Cory's time because of her convictions and her true-to-the-line governance..but that few did not represent ALL of us...NOT the majority of the Filipinos.

Look at us today, look's the other way around and exactly the opposite. Only few guys are so happy, the rest of us are begging for a real life we deserved.

Just like his mother, Noynoy's running for presidency is impromptu and consulted no one but his conscience.

Good governance need long planning and presidency is a short term stint. But to corrupt the government needs longer one, longer than planning a good government and it is also a long term operation where 6 years is not enough. So in order to plan for a bad government that will enrich the whole clan and everyone in the party, it should start from ambition down to planned re-election, from one position to another.

Noynoy never dreamed of becoming a president. It is the people who wished him to run, and he did not fail us on that request.

Sabi ko nga sa email thread dun sa Yahoo! Group:

Mas mabuting pumusta ako kay Noynoy at matalo, or mabigo ako sa expectation ko. At least expectation ko lang, afterwards, wala na siya. Kesa magbakasakali ako sa iba...bigo ka na..asar-talo ka pa..mas maraming unexpected na ayaw mong mangyari ang gagawin nila.

Etong move na ito, expected nyo ba:

Tatakbo pang Congresswoman.....tanga lang maniniwalang pagmamahal sa bayan ang nagtulak para muling mag-lingkod sa bayan at constituents ang nag-request. Tanga ba kayo diyan sa lugar na yan at di niyo halata ha?

Si FVR nga panay tulong naman until now ah.

Sa sobrang talino, pinaikot ang batas, binalewala ang moralidad, ininsulto pa ang lohikong pag iisip ng bawat Filipino. Awkward! parang di natural!

So di naman ako galit, nagpapaliwang lang, medyo asar nga lang ako dun sa ale..bad trip!


Ako, di ako makakaboto..wala ritong presinto sa Afghanistan...kaya eto lang kaya ko.
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