Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Repost From GMA News.TV

Jobless in Jeddah: 200 unpaid Pinoys seek help

Filipino medical workers in Jeddah trooped Wednesday to the Philippine Consulate General there to request action against their erring employer and on the impending closure of their workplace, six months after they sought assistance from the Philippine post. The workers, numbering over 200, are nurses and clinic staff of the Al Ansar Hospital, located at the Al Salama district of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

“They are complaining of non-payment of their salary for six months now which they would like to be released immediately amid the impending closure of the hospital, and are demanding that they all be given their release papers so that they could look for possible employment," said Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona, who has been assisting the workers. The facilities of Al Ansar include a hospital and two polyclinics where about 236 Filipino workers are deployed. Only one polyclinic remains in operation. According to Monterona, only 59 workers have so far received their release papers, while all are still awaiting payment of their salaries. Labor Attache Vicente Cabe told GMANews.TV in a separate interview that the workers’ case has already been forwarded to Saudi’s Ministry of Labor and to the Office of the Governor of Jeddah for appropriate action. “A committee, composed of representatives of the Jeddah governor’s office, immigration office and labor office, has also been formed to resolve the issue," he added. According to Cabe, the committee has agreed to allow the workers to apply for employment in other hospitals even without their release papers. Those who may wish to just go back to the Philippines will also be assisted, he said. “As regards the unpaid salaries, a case against the company is already pending before the Primary Commission of the Ministry of Labor," he explained. Cabe, however, could not estimate when the case will be resolved, saying the commission is still conducting regular hearings. In a separate interview meanwhile, the recruitment agency in Manila of 55 of the workers said they have done what they can to assist the workers in the five months that they did not receive their salary. “The workers under my agency, which include nurses, housekeepers and bus drivers, have already transferred employment, some of whom started working June 1. What’s good here is that their new jobs involve higher salaries and increased benefits," Anchor Manpower Intl. Services Inc. owner Oscar Garcia told GMANews.TV. He added they are still working on the case of at least five workers, who have opted to be repatriated. According to Garcia, a possible resolution for the workers’ unpaid salaries may involve selling the properties of Al Ansar, the proceeds of which will go to the workers. The workers first came to the Consulate General December last year, according to Cabe. He said the Consulate agreed on a deadline for the company management to release the workers’ salaries, which the company failed to meet.

The workers had earlier complained they did not receive assistance from the Consulate and their Manila agency, until recently.—JV, GMANews.TV

Reposted From GMA News.TV

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Repost From GMA News.TV

House fails to ratify Freedom of Information bill

A proposed freedom of information law that could have been reportedly ratified in two minutes was not acted upon because the House of Representatives did not have enough members to hold a session.

Only 128 of the needed 135 House lawmakers were present in the House on Friday after Camiguin Rep. Pedro Romualdo called the rolls of the chamber’s 268 members.

Because of the absence of a quorum, the House failed to ratify the Freedom of Information bill which would have increased government transparency by enabling even ordinary citizens to access pertinent documents.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who promised the bill would be ratified Friday, said he was "at a loss on what to say."

"We cannot take up any legislative business without [a] quorum," Nograles said.

Some lawmakers and audience, including many media members and advocates of the bill, were furious.

"How can we say we are the House of the people if we cannot even do our job?" said Cibac party-list Rep. Joel Villanueva. His statement was met with applause.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante, one of the primary proponents of the bill, walked out of the session hall after saying Romualdo's statements were an "insult" to the 180 sponsors of the bill.

The ratification was stalled after Romualdo made the motion questioning the quorum.

Nograles immediately suspended the session to talk to Romualdo, but Romualdo refused to withdraw his motion and reiterated that a roll call must be done.

"It pained me so much considering that you and I have been together for so long a time. Almost on your bended knees you requested me to withdraw...[but] this is a question of principle," said Romualdo. He and Nograles — who both belong to Lakas-Kampi-CMD — were both human rights lawyers in the 1970s.

Romualdo said he was ensuring that majority of lawmakers were there for the FOI’s enactment because it was an important bill that he claimed was not deliberated upon.

"The House is practically being pressured to pass this bill," said Romualdo.

The House has adjourned its session and will no longer be taking up legislative matters.

"Ang ating binuburol ngayon ang reputasyon, respeto, at isang salita ni Speaker Nograles at ng 14th Congress," said PCIJ executive director Maloou Mangahas. — RJAB Jr./RSJ, GMANews.TV

Reposted From GMA News.TV

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto at Yahoo News

Boy Abunda to get a Cabinet post?

By Thea Alberto – May 31st, 2010
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By Thea Alberto, Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Boy Abunda just might become part of president-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s cabinet.

This Aquino divulged in an interview with reporters, as he noted of Abunda’s expertise in marketing and his ability to communicate well.

“He’s an icon and more so for his ability to understand the audience,” Aquino said when asked about reports Abunda is open to accepting a government post.

He however clarified he has not asked Abunda yet although he already sent feelers to the host.

Aquino did not specify the post he eyes for Abunda, a popular television host and the best friend of his sister Kris, but indicated that Abunda is best fit for a “marketing” job.

He also hinted Abunda could be part of the Department of Tourism.

“Boy would be a good communicator…puwede rin siya pagkatiwalaan,” added Aquino.

He however said Abunda might not even consider the position because a cabinet post means a meager salary.

“We have to look at the compensation aspect. Gasino lang naman suweldo,” he said.

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Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia