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The SUN contributor shines as Resolve 2019 Fellow

Posted on 12 November 2019 No comments
By Daisy CL Mandap
Image may contain: 2 people, including Marites Palma, people smiling, people standing
Palma with Resolve founder and CEO Victoria Otero
  
Filipina domestic worker Marites Palma, a longtime contributor of The SUN, has received special mention for her output as one of this year’s fellows of Resolve Foundation, which aims to nurture leaders among marginalized groups in Hong Kong.

Palma joined 19 other Resolve Fellows from diverse backgrounds at recognition rites held on Nov 9 at The Hive in Sheung Wan, to mark the end of the year-long program which focused this year on ending gender-based violence (GBV).

The 2019 Resolve Fellows. Hidalgo (in black) stands beside Palma
Palma, who is known as “Tekla” among people at the non-government organization, was cited for having started a Facebook group called Social Justice for Migrant Workers, which has been providing help to distressed Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong.

She started the group only five months ago, halfway through her Resolve Fellowship, but it has now more than 2,800 followers and is run with the help of some of her friends who act as co-administrators.
More importantly, it has extended help to migrant workers in a number of emergency cases, either through referrals to concerned agencies, or by direct intervention.

Devi Novianti of Equal Opportunities Commission who acted as Palma’s mentor in the Fellowship, said that if social responsibility was to be used as a measure of achievement in the program, the Filipina helper was “way up there.”
Novianti with Palma

“Tekla works very long hours, but with the remaining hours that she has, she helps her fellow migrant workers in Hong Kong, and (even) family members of her fellow migrant workers,” said Novianti.

“It’s really a humbling experience to be your mentor, it’s amazing what you do.”

Palma says she plans to educate her fellow migrant workers about GBV through social media and workshops as her five-year social justice goal.
One other Filipina domestic worker made it to this year’s roster of fellows in the highly selective program. Lee Ahn Hidalgo plans to use her photography skills in documenting GBV among various groups in Hong Kong, not just migrant workers.

Another fellow, a PhD student in law, is half-Filipina and half-Chinese. Shelley Leung, who was represented by her parents at the ceremony because she had already left for her studies in Britain, said in her composite profile that she plans to remain active in the human rights community wherever she may be.

The fellows also include Kristine, a local lawyer who extends legal help to anti-government protesters; Ali, an asylum seeker who has just won a scholarship grant at the University of Hong Kong; Ming, a transgender medical student who plans to extend help to her peers once she becomes a full-fledged doctor; and many other social activists keen to put their Resolve experience to good use in the future.
Resolve founder and CEO Victoria Wisniewski Otero said that each year, fellows are asked to focus on an issue relating to social justice as theme. Last year, it was racial equality and inclusion. This year, gender-based violence was chosen because of figures showing its high prevalence in Hong Kong.

The local NGO, Rainlilly, for example, found that one out of seven women in Hong Kong has experienced sexual violence. A United Nations study also showed Hong Kong, along with Japan, has the highest rate of female homicide victims, at 52.9%.

She said fellows are asked to draw up a five-year social justice goal, then “assess where they are in that journey.” With help from mentors, they are then helped to plan how they can go from one point in that journey to the next.

But beyond providing them lessons on rights and inclusion, leadership and public speaking, fellows are also given tips on how they can mobilize resources and use existing networks to pursue their projects and goals.

“In the long term, we seek to contribute towards increased well-being of marginalized communities, more inclusive public attitudes and improved policy and legislation,” said Otero in her printed welcome message at the event.

“We do this by investing in people – which is always the starting point and driver of transformative social change.”

Those who want to know more about Resolve, or are interested in applying as one of their fellows for next year, may check their website: https://www.resolvehk.org/


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My mother, my hero

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By Daisy Catherine L. Mandap

(This eulogy was written for my mother, Francisca Larin Mandap, who passed on peacefully on Oct 15 at age 93. Sharing it here as a tribute to all mothers, especially OFWs who choose to stay away from home so they could ensure a better future for their family. May their children recognize and value the immense love and sacrifice behind this selfless act). 

My Ma was a simple woman who lived a simple life but dreamt big. For us, her nine children, especially, so we may live a better life, bound by love and the same desire to make the world a better place for our own children.

Our mother was a simple woman, true. She enjoyed eating with her hands – the only one allowed to do so in the family – and preferred paksiw and pinangat over any fancy meat dish.

But she was also very intelligent, decisive, and fierce if necessary.

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Many of those who knew her will probably remember her as the one person who didn’t smile a lot. She wasn’t the easiest person to please because she was a perfectionist. She did everything meticulously, from cooking a myriad of dishes to sewing, embroidery, crocheting, and ironing.

To this day, I still regard her as the best iron woman — or man—who ever lived, meaning she could iron out the tiniest crease in a barong or an organza gown and make them look like they just came from the laundry she once owned.

She was also legendary with the way she washed clothes. Even with heaps of clothes to wash she never compromised on her 2 + 3 routine. This meant washing clothes twice with soap, and rinsing them thrice. If they had a stain, they should first be dabbed with calamansi juice and left out in the sun.

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One memory that has stuck is of her going down on her knees and scrubbing the white tiles in our bathroom with muriatic acid until they were spotless, and all the while singing in her high-pitched soprano voice. We used to get annoyed being awakened by this in the mornings, until we realized our neighbors actually looked forward to hearing her sing.

She had helpers on and off, but she did many of the chores herself, especially the marketing and the cooking. And the partitioning. With 9 kids to feed, it was very important that we all got to eat as much as the others.

She was legendary for dividing up any kind of food – including a watermelon – into 9 or 11 equal pieces so you’d be hard pressed to choose which portion is bigger.

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She was also very intelligent. It’s an acknowledged fact in her family that though she chose to give up her studies so she could help her younger siblings get a degree, she was the most promising among them, having been accelerated twice in school when she was young. That says a lot about a family that produced a topnotcher in a national teachers’ exam and a brother who passed the CPA board at 19, even before he could graduate from college.

She brooked no disobedience from us because she was most obedient to her own parents, especially her mother who was a tiger mom herself. She once told us that she had to forego an offer of a singing scholarship in Japan because her mother said no.

Their widowed mother, a Chinese mestiza who wasn’t given a chance to pursue higher learning, had better plans for her brood of four. Seeing not much future for them in their hometown of San Luis, Pampanga, my grandmother decided to bring her kids to Manila, where her eldest, my mother, took it upon herself to help provide for the family by doing odd jobs, including working in a cousin’s laundry shop, before eventually owning one herself.

Having lived through the war with hardly anything to live on, my mother and her only brother teamed up to provide food for the family. Both would tell us later of walking for miles on end while selling stuff like cigarettes, and surviving only on watermelons that my uncle swore off eating the fruit when his life became more comfortable.

The war also brought out their nationalistic bent. My mother and her siblings, along with a few cousins, joined the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon), a movement originally formed to resist Japanese occupation in the Philippines. This was how my mother became a recognized war veteran for which she was paid a pension in her later years

My mother used to tell us stories of how Japanese soldiers loved her singing that she was often asked to sing to them. But I was to learn later on that she did more than just this. An aunt recently told us that my mother and a niece who also sang well, managed to save several guerilla lives by making their release a precondition for entertaining the Japanese troops.

A lifelong learner, my mother acquired many other skills, like sewing. This came in handy for someone with seven daughters. We never wanted for new clothes because she would always sew clothes for us on special occasions, like the debut of our two eldest sisters, our junior-senior prom, our graduation.

Most of the time, our dresses were fashioned out of cotton sacks used for chicken feed which she got from an uncle who owned a poultry, but we didn’t mind. We felt spoiled enough to have new dresses made on special occasions.

I will always remember the time I asked her to make me hot pants which were in vogue at the time. She spent a long time figuring out how to make it, but she did, eventually. Those hot pants, red orange in colour, will always remind me of how much love she had for us, though she wasn’t much for hugs or kisses.

But her best legacy to us was her dogged determination that we all stayed in school to get a degree. Her frustration at not being able to get into college made her very determined in making sure we got to where she dreamt of going.

That determination, combined with real tough love, proved contagious for all of us. We mostly studied and worked at the same time, as eager to share her vision and earn her approval as much as we wanted to secure a better future for ourselves.

We are very lucky and thankful that our mother got to stay with us this long, because long after we got married and had children of our own, she remained a strong guiding force to all of us.

All of us, down to her great grandchildren, benefited from her vision, generous spirit and unselfish love.

In my case, in particular, my mother was the first to come to my rescue when my helper got very sick soon after I had my first child. She took leave from work, flew to HK, and stayed with me until I found a new helper.

She rushed to my side again when my youngest, who was born with a hole in her heart, got so frail I decided to have her baptized immediately. The problem was, the Catholic diocese in HK was firm about requiring my and my husband’s birth certificates.

To this day, I don’t know how my mother managed to secure both documents, mine from Pampanga and my husband’s from Pasay City, and fly to Hong Kong within days, and with a baptismal gown to boot. That’s our mother. The superwoman without whom we wouldn’t have managed to stand on our own feet, and raise our kids in the manner she taught us well.

Our mother was one of a kind. We are eternally blessed to have been gifted with someone like her.

Goodbye, Ma. Thank you for everything. Go now to our Lord’s loving embrace.
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Gusto mo bang maging broadcaster?

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Nagsimula nang tumanggap ng application ang RTHK psra sa kanilang proyektong CIBS (Community involvement Broadcasting Service), na naglalayon na bigyan-boses ang mga minorya sa Hong Kong sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay sa kanila ng sariling programa sa radyo.

Bukas ito sa lahat, maging residente man o hindi. Kailangan lamang na kasapi sa isang organisasyong rehistrado. Hindi rin kailangan na sanay na sa broadcasting, dahil mas pinapahalagahan ang mensaheng gustong ibigay ng makikilahok.

May nakalaang pondo upang sagutin ang allowance ng mga tutulong sa programa, at gastos sa produksyon.

Ang Application Deadline ay sa Dec, 19, 2019.

Para sa dagdag na kaalaman, magpunta sa kanilang website sa http://cibs.rthk.hk/applications o tumawag sa 2332 2334.

Mga OFW, hilig ang negosyong may kinalaman sa bigas

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Ni George Manalansan

Image may contain: 13 people, including Weng LA, Leo A. Deocadiz and Victoria Reyes Munar, people smiling, people sitting
Punong-puno ang Polo Community Hall sa dami ng sumali sa pagsasanay ng Card HK Foundation

Hindi man sinasadya, lima sa pitong grupo ng mga migranteng manggagawa na sumali sa pinakahuling seminar sa Entrepreneurship at Business Planning 2019 ng Card Hong Kong Foundation ay bigasan ang gustong inegosyo.

Patunay ito marahil na marami sa mga Pilipino na nangibang bayan ay may balak na pagyamanin ang mga lupaing naiwan sakaling makaipon na ng sapat, o kailangan nang bumalik sa kanilang pinanggalingan.

Umabot sa 89 katao ang walang sawang tumutok sa maghapong pagsasanay ng Card HK Foundation sa tulong ng Philippine Overseas Labor Office, at isinagawa sa  kanilang community hall sa 18th floor ng YF Life Tower sa Wanchai.
Ang ilan sa mga kasapi ay nakasubok nang magnegosyo – may nagtagumpay, ngunit mas marami ang nalugi at huminto pansamantala dahil sa kakulangan pa ng kaalaman.

Isa ito sa mga dahilan kaya inilunsad ng Card Foundation ang ganitong pagbibigay kaalaman upang makatulong sa mga nagnanais na matupad and kanilang pangarap na maging negosyante balang araw.

Inumpisahan ang pagsasanay sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay-kaalaman sa paggawa  ng basic business plan, at kung bakit ito kailangan at kung paano ito gumagana. Kasama sa pagsasanay ang pagbalangkas ng plano sa produkto at serbisyong gustong pasukan para matugunan ang pangangailan ng pamilya at komunidad. 
Itinuro din kung ano ang epektibong pamamaraan ng pagbebenta ng kanilang produkto, kung bakit bibilhin ito ng masa, at ang kahalagahan ng lokasyon, pag aanunsyo sa makabagong social media at pagpe-presyo ng paninda. 

Tinalakay din ang pinansyal na aspeto ng isang negosyo, kabilang ang kapital, pasweldo sa tauhan, gamit o equipment, gastos sa kuryente at iba pang kailangang gastusan sa araw araw na operasyon. Sinabihan din ang lahat na kailangan nilang suwelduhan pati ang sarili nila.

Image may contain: Leo A. Deocadiz
Ang publisher ng The SUN na si Leo Deocadiz ay isa sa mga nagsalita sa pagsasanay
Si Leo Deocadiz na isang matagumpay na negosyante at  board member ng Card Foundation ay nagbigay linaw sa pagkakaiba ng  "pagkalahatang kita" sa "netong tubo", o yung kita matapos ibawas ang gastusin sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo.

Tinalakay naman ng lead trainor na si Vicky Munar  ang kahalagahan at business planning at paano ito isinasagawa.
Inatasan ang bawat isa sa pitong trainor na gabayan ang bawat grupo na gumawa ng plano para sa negosyo samantalang si Cecil Eduarte na isa sa mga beterano sa grupo ang naatasan na maging isa sa mga hurado, kasama si Deocadiz.

Nagwagi bilang pinakamahusay na business plan ang “Ginintuang Butil” ng group no 4 na ginabayan ni Joan Cabodil.

 
Ang grupong nagwagi ng "Best Business Plan" para sa negosyong "Ginintuang Butil"


Samantala, iba-iba naman ang dahilan ng mga kalahok kung bakit naisipan nilang sumali sa pagsasanay.

Si Irene Mangandi ng La Union, ay gustong matuto kung paano magtuloy-tuloy ang swerte niya sa negosyo. Una niyang pinasok ang pag sari- sari store, gamit ang Php20,000 na puhunan. Naubos ito dahil sa pautang sa mga kapitbahay na hindi na nagbayad kaya napilitan siyang magsara at pumunta ng Singapore at Qatar.

Nang makabawi ay bumili ng sakahan at umuwi para magnegosyo ng bagsakan ng gulay pero hindi daw niya kinaya ang init kaya muli siyang nahinto. Sumunod ay binili naman niya ng tricycle ang kanyang asawa pero kulang pa rin ang kita nito kaya nag-aplay naman siya papunta ng Hong Kong.

Si Hamilyn Francia naman ng Tabuk City, Kalinga ay hindi rin pinalad sa negosyong pinasok. Pagkatapos ng 12 taon na pagtatrabaho sa Hong Kong ay sumabak siya sa pagluluto ng ulam, at umaabot daw sa 15 putahe ang inihahanda niya bawat araw. Ngunit matindi ang kompetisyon kaya kaunti lang ang kita, at pagod na pagod pa siya, kaya itinigil na niya.

Bumalik siya sa Hong Kong at ngayon ay nakaka 10 taon na ulit dito kaya plano na niyang bumalik ulit at magnegosyo, gamit ang mga natutunan sa pagsasanay ng Card Foundation.

Kakaiba naman ang karanasan ni Teresa Barredo na taga Sucat, Paranaque at 23 taon nang nagtatrabaho sa Hong Kong. Mula sa katas ng Hong Kong, siya ay nakapagpatayo ng apartment na may limang pinto at inuupahan ng Php5,000 ang bawat isa buwan-buwan.

Bukod dito, tumaas na daw ang halaga ng kanyang paupahan. Ang ipinundar niya noon sa halagang Php300,000 ay tinatayang Php1.5 million na ngayon. Malawak daw kasi ang lote nito at malapit sa isang pabrika kaya madaling magpaupa.

Katuwang daw niya sa negosyo ang kanyang ama, at malaki ang naitulong ng Card sa Pilipinas sa mga panahong kailangan niya ng tulong pampinansyal. Dati na daw siyang miyembro ng Card doon.

Ang pagsasanay ang siyang pinakahuli ng Card HK sa taong kasalukuyan. Para sa mga gustong sumali sa hinaharap, mangyaring abangan lang sa Facebook page ng Card Hong Kong Foundation ang paglulunsad ng bagong programa sa darating na taon


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2 Pinay staff of rogue agency arrested as Customs joins probe

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By The SUN

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
Complainants say they were charged between $7k-$12k for the fake jobs
 Two Filipina staff of an unlicensed employment agency allegedly recruiting OFWs for nonexistent jobs in Hong Kong have reportedly been arrested by Customs officers for suspected unfair trade practices.

The Customs and Excise Department announced the arrests of the two women, aged 42 and 54, in a press release on Nov 7 but did not identify them, or the company they were working with.

But some of those who complained against the alleged job scam told The SUN that those arrested were Mary Jane Biscocho and Nympha Lumatac, both domestic workers who used to work for Lennis Ebrahim, owner of the unregistered WHT Consultant Company.

The two were arrested for making false claims to customers that the company they were working for was a licensed employment agency and “the relevant application procedures had been carried out accordingly.”

The 42-year-old woman was said to be still in custody while the other was released on bail pending further investigations.

There has been no word on Ebrahim, who is alleged to be the ringleader.
All three are being investigated separately by the police and the Employment Agency Administration for fraud and illegal recruitment based on the complaints of about 100 jobseekers.

One of the complainants said she and her co-applicants had already been asked by the EAA to identify the WHT suspects in a photo lineup. Another source put the number of those who have already made a statement to EAA at 25.

The complainants accused the three of collecting between $7,000 and $12,000 for jobs as drivers, gardeners and other positions in Hong Kong and Macau since last year.
One of them, Nancy (not her real name), said that in her recent chat with Ebrahim, the latter promised to refund her $6,000 down payment this month.

“Last po na naka-chat ko si Lennis, sabi niya ire-refund niya yung perang nai-down ko sa kanya this mid-November. Hanggang ngayon wala pa rin at di ko na siya makontak. Buti naman po sana mahuli na si Lenis,” Nancy said.

Some of the complainants claimed to have paid more than the indicated fees as they applied for several relatives back in the Philippines.


Nancy said one of her friends was asked by Biscocho and Lumatac to pay a total of $16,000 as down payment for jobs as a waiter for her husband, as helper for her sister, and as factory worker for her brother.

All of the promised jobs never materialized.

Ebrahim used to own Vicks Maid Consultant Co., which was convicted and its license revoked by EAA for overcharging a jobseeker in July 2015.

The complainants reportedly decided to also seek help from Customs as EAA was not acting fast enough on their complaints. On top of this, Customs has arresting power while EAA can only file a case in court.

In its press release, Customs reminded traders to comply with requirements of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) and consumers to procure services only at reputable shops.

Any trader who applies a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer commits an offense punishable with a maximum fine of $500,000 and five years in jail.

Customs urged the public to report any suspected TDO violations to its 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).


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