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Still no new labatt for Hong Kong

Posted on 22 August 2019 No comments

By The SUN

More than a month since Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre was booted out of his Hong Kong post and told to move to Riyadh, a replacement for him has yet to be named.

Reports coming out of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila suggest Secretary Silvestre Bello III is still choosing from four likely candidates.

These negate reports lawyer Fidel Macauyag, who currently heads the country’s labor office in Taichung, Taiwan, has already secured the post.

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Usudan says the DFA has to give consent to the appointment of a new labor attache
Both the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Consulate deny the report.

The Consulate’s acting head of post, Germinia Usudan, said the Department of Foreign Affairs has not been told a new labor attaché for Hong Kong has been named.

Usudan said that under the “one country team approach”, DOLE has to send an appointment memorandum naming the new appointee to the DFA for concurrence. Once the DFA approves, the Consulate is informed.

“Kapag in-appoint siya ni Secretary Bello, kino-convey siya sa DFA. Tapos, out of courtesy lang, pinapadala siya (the memo) sa post and then we say if we have objection or no objection,” Usudan said.

“Usually, pag wala namang information or any derogatory record, we say no objection. Pero we have not received (the memo), wala pa,” she said.
This was the same statement given earlier by Polo’s officer-in-charge Antonio Villafuerte.

“Wala pa pong request for acceptance,” he told The SUN in a text message.

Meanwhile, Dela Torre has returned to the Philippines and taken a month-long leave of absence. He is said to be still mulling whether to proceed to Riyadh or file for early retirement.
A last-minute bid to get him retained in Hong Kong was circulated and signed by big Filipino community organizations just before he left on July 31, which cited the current unrest in the city due to the massive anti-extradition bill protests as reason.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo reportedly agreed to take up the petition directly with President Rodrigo Duterte, but there has been no word so far on whether he has actually done this.

Apart from Macauyag, the others named as being in the running for the labor attaché post are: Ramon Pastrana, former labatt in Macau, and incumbents Nasser Munder in Jeddah and Cesar Chavez in the Manila Economic and Cultural Office Labor Center in Taipei.

Although Macauyag is widely reported to be favored by Bello, he may not have an easy time getting DFA’s approval because he has a pending case before the Ombudsman.

Macauyag was with the Office of the Prosecutor General before he was named as one of Dole’s eight new attaches in 2017. He was originally assigned to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, but after a few months was moved to Taichung, the second largest city of Taiwan.

A Dole insider said this was because officials assigned to Taiwan do not need a clearance from the Ombudsman as the Philippines does not have a diplomatic post there, only a trade and cultural office.

Previous to his OPG job, Macauyag was city prosecutor for nine years in Cagayan de Oro City where he was linked to a case fixing scandal.


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Filcom leader dies 2 years after going home for good

Posted on 21 August 2019 No comments

Aida R. Villanueva, 71
By The SUN

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As a Rizalista, Villanueva often joined wreath-laying ceremonies at Philippine historical sites in HK 

Filipino community leaders in Hong Kong are mourning the death of one of their own -  Aida Rebutiaco Villanueva - who succumbed to brain abscess caused by a lingering ear infection, on Aug 15. She was 71.

She was laid to rest today, Aug 21, at the Pamplona Catholic Cemetery in Camarines Sur, where she retired two years ago, after working as a domestic helper in Hong Kong for more than three decades.
Villanueva, or Ate Aida to many of her friends in Hong Kong, was widely known as an officer of several organizations, including Philippine Cultural Academy Dance Ensemble (PCADE), Diwa’t Kabayan Benlife, and Kababaihang Rizalista, where she served as vice president.

She was also well remembered for being the older sister of the late Linda Layosa, a former domestic worker who carved a name for herself as the editor of Tinig Filipino, the first magazine set up to serve Filipinos in Hong Kong.
According to Naty Manalo, one of her closest friends in Hong Kong, Ate Aida is survived by her six children, all of whom she raised on her own while working abroad.

Manalo also said her friend had long suffered from an ear infection and diabetes, and was taking regular medication for these ailments.

The ear infection apparently worsened last month, and in turn, also her diabetes.
One of her children said through messenger that Ate Aida had to go for a series of consultations and laboratory tests in July. After being given medicine for her ear infection, the lab tests reportedly showed her blood sugar had gone up to four times the normal range.

On Aug 9, she was referred to an endocrinologist and was given medication to control her diabetes. But on Aug 12 she developed a high fever and was rushed to the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City, where she died three days later.

“The doctor told us to expect the. worst, but (to) pray that it may not happen,” said her daughter. “We welcomed God's will when it happened…”


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Pyramids And Multi-Level Marketing Schemes

Posted on No comments

By Cynthia Tellez

Too often we complain of inadequate income, and for good reason. The inflation rate of Hong Kong is such that the annual salary increase of FDW does not reflect this reality. It is for this reason that the Asian Migrants’ Coordination Body (AMCB), which has long championed the interests and wellbeing of the FDWs in HK and their families, is currently campaigning for the FDWs’ salary to be raised to $5,894 , based on its study of the current economic condition of Hong Kong.

Because their income is often not enough to make ends meet, many FDWs aspire to earn additional income. Some resort to gambling: tong-its, bingo, mahjong, jueteng, etc, hoping to turn the luck on their side. Some brazenly take part-time jobs, which are illegal and could cost them their jobs, or even land them in jail. Others engage in small scale buy-and-sell, or go into multi-level marketing, which is risky, or get involved in downright pyramid schemes.

Everyone knows that  making money from other kinds of work or sources outside of an FDW’s monthly salary is illegal in Hong Kong. This is imposed by the Immigration Department among the many conditions of stay which govern domestic workers’ (a.k.a. foreign domestic helpers) life in Hong Kong. This means that FDWs are allowed to enter Hong Kong on condition that they will work for a specific employer, at a specific address, and do only housework. Anything outside of these will be considered illegal, and makes the offender liable for prosecution.

Let me focus today on pyramiding and other related schemes.

One of the most alluring or enticing forms of “investment” is pyramiding, which promises huge profits at the shortest possible time.

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Pyramiding does not involve direct sales of products. It is a scheme wherein a person profits from the recr

It works this way: A person will recruit, say, 10 second-tier people/ or downlines directly below her. Each new recruit pays a membership fee/recruitment fee, part of which goes to the recruiter. This allows the first person, as recruiter, to earn from each “downline” (or recruit), and even from these downline’s subsequent recruits.

Each of the 10 new members is also enticed to recruit her own 10 downlines so she will, in turn, have an expanded source of additional income. The resulting structure resembles that of a pyramid, with the new recruits at the bottom, carrying the burden of paying the fewer people above them, all the way to the top.


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According to Investopedia, “Pyramid schemes are viable as long as the lowest levels remain wider than the upper ones. But once the lowest levels shrink, the entire structure collapses. By nature of exponential math, it’s just plain impossible for pyramids to sustain forever, and somewhere in the chain, people will invariably lose their money.”

Another scheme is the multi-level marketing (MLM), which according to Investopedia, could be “a legal business practice” because, unlike the classic pyramid schemes mentioned above, this model involves the sale of actual products or services. There are, indeed, a lot of legal MLM or networking schemes, like the sale of Triumph, Tupperware. etc. But there are also many suspicious multilevel and networking schemes. Some of these do not require their participants to actually sell products as they can use these themselves. In order for the company and uplines to generate income, they have to keep recruiting sellers or investors below them who are lured into “investing”, meaning buying, those products and services, and at the same time, recruit more members/downlines.


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There are a lot of MLM schemes in Hong Kong, with many catering to FDWs. Many recruiters often assure their new recruits that the money to buy their products as initial “investment” is not a problem.  They encourage the recruits to apply for a loan and even provide references, assuring them that they will recover this initial outlay faster than they think possible.

When the downlines fail to lure in more people, the company and the upline still get to keep their money, leaving the new recruits with unpaid loans.  And when collection agencies are called in, life becomes more stressful for the already burdened OFW. Relationships suffer. Friends (who were recruited but failed to keep the chain going) become enemies. And when threats of legal action are made, the blame game begins.

So when seemingly-good-hearted people approach you and offer you similar business venture or activity for extra income, be reminded of the following to avoid becoming victims of such schemes. You could also end up endangering your job and future in search of that extra buck.

 Always be conscious of the reminders stated above. Be critical of these schemes that benefit only the primary investors. Since it is a scheme, it is bound to benefit only the schemer who preys on the more vulnerable section of the society. So be aware, beware.

Always have a second thought. Ask yourself first whether or not the offer is legally permitted in Hong Kong. Remember that we are in a foreign land. The laws differ from our laws in the Philippines. So even if the “business” is registered in the Philippines, assuming that they showed a registration certificate, it is not automatically allowed to operate in Hong Kong unless registered here. Be critical of  “sweet-talking” people.

We must know the laws that govern our actions here in Hong Kong.

Bear in mind that your Hong Kong work visa is conditional, meaning, you are only allowed to do domestic work at the address indicated in the employment contract.

So do not listen to those who say that you can do extra work (business, part-time work) for extra income. This is not allowed. Even selling via facebook or any social media, if detected by the authorities, could endanger your future.

Be aware of the reminders above to avoid unnecessarily putting yourself in a risky situation. Better to be cautious than sorry afterwards.

If you have other queries, do not hesitate to call our office at 2522-8264.
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This is the monthly column from the Mission for Migrant Workers, an institution that has been serving the needs of migrant workers in Hong Kong for over 31 years. The Mission, headed by its general manager, Cynthia Tellez, assists migrant workers who are in distress, and  focuses its efforts on crisis intervention and prevention through migrant empowerment. Mission has its offices at St John’s Cathedral on Garden Road, Central, and may be reached through tel. 2522 8264.
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Ang malayang paghahayag ng pagtutol ay isang kalayaang pantao

Posted on No comments

Ni Vir B. Lumicao

Naninimbang sa bangin ng kaguluhan ang Hong Kong sa mga araw na ito habang patuloy ang pakikipaglaban ng kanyang mga mamamayan para sa pagpapanatili sa kanilang nakasanayang mga kalayaan na sa tingin nila’y unti-unting sinisikil ng Beijing.

Ang kasalukuyang protesta laban sa Extradition Bill na nagsimula noon Hunyo ay isang lehitimong paggigiit ng mga taga-Hong Kong sa kanilang karapatang makialam sa paghubog ng mga patakarang may kinalaman sa kanilang hinaharap.

Nitong mga nakalipas na araw at linggo, nasaksihan natin ang pag-igting ng tunggalian ng magkabilang panig – ang gobyernong pinamumunuan ni Carrie Lam at mga mamamayang tutol sa pagpapasa ng Legislative Council sa Extradition Bill.

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Sa kasalulukuyan, tayong mga dayuhan dito sa Hong Kong ay tagamasid lamang sa mga  nagaganap sa buhay-pulitika ng lungsod na ito. Marami ang nagsasabing hindi tayo dapat makialam sa mga nangyayari sa ating paligid lalo na’t nalalapit na ang ganap na pagbabalik ng Hong Kong sa China sa 2027.

Nauunawaan namin kung bakit ganyan ang pananaw ng ibang kababayan natin. Marahil sa loob nila ay away ng mga Tsino ang kaguluhan sa mga protesta nitong mga nakaraang araw at hindi sila dapat makialam.


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Nagiging maingat lang sila sa kanilang paninindigan tulad din ng marami pang dayuhang lahi sa Hong Kong na hindi kumikilos o kumikibo kahit nagkakagulo na sa paligid nila. 

Normal lamang at mabuting paninindigan sa ganitong panahon ang pag-iwas at pananatili sa isang ligtas na lugar. Anuman ang mangyari sa mga naglalabanan, tanging ang mga nanonood lamang mula sa isang tabi ang ligtas at walang nilalabag na batas.

Ngunit habang lumalawak ang protesta at natatangay na agos ng mga pangyayari ang mga komunidad natin, tila mahirap ang manahimik lang at hindi makialam.


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Bilang mga lehitimong residente sa lungsod na ito, may kalayaan tayong makiisa sa mga mamamayan ng Hong Kong at magtaguyod sa ipinaglalaban nila.

Dahil sa haba ng panahong inilagi natin dito ay bahagi na rin tayo ng lipunang Hong Kong na ang ipinakikipaglaban ay hindi lamang para sa sariling kinabukasan.

Ang hangad nila ay para sa kinabukasan ng mga nakatira rito, anumang lahi, na masasaklawan din ng anuman batas na ipipilit ng Beijing ditto pagdating ng araw.

Kung natitiyak nating hindi tayo masisisante kung sasama tayo sa martsa at umiwas kapag nagkakagulo na, walang hadlang sa pagsali sa rally. Karapatan iyan ng bawat isa.

Mag-ingat lamang tayo para hindi tayo matatangay ng bugso ng damdamin at agos ng dahas kapag biglang nauwi sa gulo ang pakikipag-iringan sa mga maykapangyarihan.

Dapat din tayong maging mapanuri sa mga maling balita sa social media, tulad yaong ukol sa Pinoy na inaalok daw ng $3,000 ng mga nagra-rally upang batuhin ang mga pulis.

Alalahanin nating ang mga nagmamartsa at tumutuligsa sa mga nasa pamahalaan ay mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan na ang tanging hangad ay ang isang malaya at maayos na kinabukasan para sa sarili at sa mga magiging anak nila.

Marahil ang nagkakapera sa pagsali sa kaguluhan ay yaong mga pangkat ng triad at iba pang haragan mula sa China na dinala rito upang saktan ang mga nagmamartsa.

Malayo pa ang 2027 ay nakikita na natin, sa pandarahas ng mga dayuhang maton, kung ano ang mangyayari sa mga taga-Hong Kong na ayaw yumuko sa Beijing.
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