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Heavy rain causes mass flooding, work and school closures in NCR

Posted on 24 July 2024 No comments
Passengers of this bus that got submerged in floowaters in Tatalon, QC wait for help (DZRH photo)

Heavy rainfall since Tuesday night and throughout today, Wednesday, caused massive flooding across various parts of Metro Manila and northern provinces.

A state of calamity has been declared in the National Capital Region as a result of the extensive flooding in the region, caused by the southwest monsoon or “habagat” and Tropical Cyclone Carina (named Gaemi outside the Philippines).

The heavy rain prompted the government to close all schools and offices in Metro Manila at 5am today. As of the latest bulletin, three cities have decided to extend the closure order for the entire day tomorrow.

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About 80 flights were cancelled due to the inclement weather, including all those bound for Taiwan, where Carina is headed.

As of 10:30am, the third alarm was raised for Marikina River, after the water level there reached 18.3 meters, and as of the latest information, has now breached the 20-meter level. This meant the "forced evacuation" of residents living near low-lying areas.

The various dams across Luzon, including La Mesa Dam in Quezon City and Ipo and Angat dams in Bulacan, are under continuing surveillance as their water levels continue to rise.

Pump boats are used to transport residents in barangay Tullahan in Marikina

With the declaration of the state of calamity in Metro Manila, all affected local governments will be able to access additional funds for calamity response and impose a price freeze on basic goods. 

According to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. the government has prepositioned P2.88b in calamity fund that can be used for relief operations. About 4,500 government personnel are also on standby to help in search, rescue and retrieval operations.

Basahin ang detalye!

In an emergency meeting called this morning in Malacanang, all concerned government agencies were ordered to provide “swift assistance” to all those affected by the widespread flooding.

President Marcos during a morning meeting with key officials on disaster response 

Quezon City, the country’s largest city, is among those heavily hit by the floods,  with 22,000 evacuees being moved to 154 evacuation centers and temporary shelters in churches and covered courts.

So far, 30 roads in Quezon City are impassable, while 80 out of its 143 barangays are affected by flooding, QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Navotas is also badly hit, with about 80 percent of its territory already submerged in floods.

Only Pasig, Makati and Taguig have been left largely unscathed, but their respective mayors extended support for the calamity declaration, saying they realized it would help provide speedy help to those affected in other cities.

Meanwhile, 4 other towns in Oriental Mindoro, Cotabato and Davao Occidental have also placed their respective jurisdictions under a state of calamity due to Typhoon Carina.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has been tapped to help evacuate affected residents who have reportedly refused to leave their homes despite being in low-lying areas and danger zones.

As early as 5am Wednesday, the red rainfall alert was raised over Metro Manila, and remained enforced throughout the day. The alert which indicated associated hazard due to serious flooding, also covered Rizal, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales provinces.

The orange warning was issued for Tarlac, the heavy rainfall is threatening to cause serious flooding, while the Yellow warning was raised for Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Quezon(General Nakar, Infanta, Real, Mauban, Sampaloc) where flooding can be expected in some areas.

Raging floodwaters caused this bridge in Naga to collapse

Light to moderate with occasional heavy rains were forecast for Quezon(Candelaria, Dolores, San Antonio, Sariaya, Tiaong, Tayabas, Lucban, Lucena, Pagbilao, Agdangan, Alabat, Atimonan, Buenavista, Burdeos, Calauag, Catanauan, General Luna, Guinayangan, Gumaca, Jomalig, Lopez, Macalelon, Mulanay, Padre Burgos, Panukulan, Patnanungan, Perez, Pitogo, Plaridel, Polillo, Quezon, San Andres, San Francisco, San Narciso, Tagkawayan, Unisan) which may persist within 3 hours.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Carina is expected to continue to bring stormy weather and gale-force winds in the northernmost island of Batanes where the Tropical Cyclone Signal No 2 has been hoisted.

T1 is in force over the Babuyan Islands, the northern portion of mainland Cagayan (Claveria, Santa Praxedes, Sanchez-Mira, Pamplona, Abulug, Ballesteros, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Buguey, Santa Teresita, Santa Ana, and Gonzaga), and the northern portion of Ilocos Norte (Burgos, Bangui, Pagudpud, Dumalneg, and Adams).

Strong winds will prevail in all these areas, with heavy rain also forecast for  Babuyan islands.

Separately, the "habagat" is forecast to bring monsoon rains over the Ilocos Region, Zambales, Bataan, Abra, Benguet, and Occidental Mindoro, and occasional rains over Metro Manila, the rest of the Cordillera region, Cavite, Batangas, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna.

It will also cause heavy to intense rainfall over various localities in the western portion of Luzon until Friday.

Monsoon rain is also expected over Western Visayas, Negros Island Region, and the rest of Luzon, and isolated rain showers over the rest of the country.

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An invitation for OFWs to invest in Philippine stocks

Posted on 23 July 2024 No comments

 

The webinar is the first under the Financial Literacy Project of the DMW and PSE 

This Saturday, July 27, the Department of Migrant Workers in partnership with the Philippine Stock Exchange will hold their first-ever webinar on their Financial Education Program titled “Kapital Kabayan: Stock Investing for OFWs.”

The hour-long seminar will be held online starting at 7pm, Philippine (and Hong Kong) time. Those interested may register through this link: https://tinyurl.com/KapitalKabayan

The event is part of the DMW Financial Literacy Seminars launched in February this year, which aims to teach overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) how to handle their finances, acquire investment know-how, and protect themselves from investment fraud and scams.

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Among the goals of the program is to teach OFWs, including those who will be returning to the country for good, the fundamentals of investing in the stock market, according to DMW Secretary Hans Cacdac.

"We don't want them to keep their money in their maletas (suitcases) and their drawers, we want them to take part in the nation-building effort that the President so exhorts," Cacdac said at the launch.

PSE president and chief executive officer Ramon Monzon said OFWs should be encouraged to put part of their savings in the stock market.

Basahin ang detalye!

Data from 2022 showed only 5.6% of the 1.7 million retail investor accounts in the stock market were from OFWs, said Monzon.

He said this consists of only 94,000 of the estimated 2.33 million OFWs registered with the DMW and cleared by the Bureau of Immigration for overseas employment as of 2023.

"Clearly this project is important and needed if we are to grow the OFW investor base," Monzon said in his opening remarks.

Government records show the number of OFWs reached an all-time high in 2023 with 2.33 million, up from 1.2 million in 2022.

Cash remittances from OFWs last year also hit a record high of $33.49 billion, up 2.9% from $32.54 billion in 2022.

For more information on future events and activities of the PSE Market Education Team,visit and sign up at the PSE Academy website: https://www.pseacademy.com.ph/

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Filipina in District Court for alleged $3M money laundering

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The defendant's plea-taking was put off today at the District Court in Wanchai

The scheduled plea-taking of a Filipina domestic helper charged with laundering a total of $3M was put off at the District Court today, July 23.

Instead, Leahlyn S. Pamonag, 36 years old, and an Ilongga, was returned to jail and her case adjourned to September 26 for mention.

Pamonag is accused of conspiring with an unknown person in dealing with a total sum of $3,075,807.90 in her Standard Chartered bank account, while knowing, or having reasonable ground to believe, that the money came from crime.

The said offence, more commonly known as money laundering, allegedly took place between March 26 and April 30, 2023.

The offence is punishable under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance with a maximum jail term of 14 years and fine of $5 million.

Earlier on Wednesday, July 17, a Filipino baker who pleaded guilty to laundering a total of $1,413,808.21 in his Airstar Bank was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

According to the charge, Benedict Nario Hung, 39 years old, committed the offence between Oct.5 and Dec 23, 2022.

Hung was arrested and his statement taken by the police on Jan 30 this year.

Filipina who stole employer’s suitcase fails to get sentence cut

Posted on 22 July 2024 No comments

 

Dreo claimed she bought the suitcase from a second-hand shop (Photo from Facebook)

A Filipina domestic helper who was ordered jailed for four months last April 10 after being found guilty of stealing her employer’s suitcase, failed to convince the High Court to reduce her sentence.

Erlinda M. Dreo, 42, who appeared in person for the appeal on June 21, had argued that her sentence was excessive as the value of the suitcase was not high, and that it could still be reused because even though the logo had been taken out, its lock and zippers were still working properly.

Even if it involved a breach of trust, she said it was not the worst case of its kind. She also said that the chance of her reoffending was low as she would be sent back to the Philippines after serving her sentence.

She asked for a suspended sentence.

But in his written judgment issued today, Deputy High Court Judge Frankie Yiu said he considered the sentence appropriate, given that it involved a breach of trust, and contrary to the appellant’s claim, the suitcase, said to be worth $1,099, was “not of low value.”

Magistrate David Chum was also upheld in his decision to raise the jail term to four months from the starting point of three months due to several aggravating factors which indicated a lack of remorse on the part of the appellant.

These included her attempt to exonerate herself by making up the story during trial that she had bought the suitcase belonging to her employer, Monica Hong, from a second-hand dealer in Central.

She was also found to have damaged the logo of the suitcase in an attempt to hide her misdeed. This damage was not reversible, and the magistrate considered this another aggravating factor.

Further, Dreo was not in a position to pay for damages.

As she was found guilty after trial no discount on the sentence could be extended despite her clear record.

The theft was discovered after Hong asked Dreo in September 2023 for the suitcase, which she had used in her family’s trip to Japan in February that year.

Dreo was arrested after the suitcase was found among her things, despite her saying she had bought it online, and was charged with theft.

She was found guilty after trial in April this year.

In mitigation it was submitted that she was married but separated from her husband, and had to provide for her three children and her mother.

She came to Hong Kong to work for Hong in 2018 and her performance was all along good, given that her employment contract was renewed once.

 

 

 

 

 

FDH charged with submitting expired contract to borrow $36k

Posted on No comments

 

The defendant appeared at Kowloon City Court but did not enter a plea


Another Filipina domestic helper is in jail for allegedly submitting an expired employment contract to Prime Credit so she could be granted a loan of $36,000.

Aleya A. Facundo, 41 years old, faces a charge of fraud for allegedly taking out the loan on Nov 27, 2023 at Prime Credit’s office in Tsim Sha Tsui, falsely representing that she was still employed as a domestic helper. .

Such act is said to have induced staff at the money lending company to immediately approve the loan, “resulting in prejudice and or a substantial risk of prejudice to Prime Credit Limited.

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Facundo was arrested on June 22 this year but it’s not clear where or how. She was supposed to enter her plea at Kowloon City Court last Friday, June 19, but the case was adjourned to August 16 for mention.

Magistrate Ko Wai-hung remanded her in jail until then.

Just three days earlier, another Filipina pleaded guilty to fraud for using her expired contract to take out a $20,000 loan, also from Prime Credit.

Basahin ang detalye!

The judge ordered the sentencing to be put off to July 30 after the defendant asserted she had been paying the loan amortization, and had just one month to go before it is fully settled.

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Filipina DH, local driver jointly charged with $7.2 million theft

Posted on No comments
The two were returned to custody after appearing at West Kowloon Court

Three cheques with a total face value of $7.2 million, have led to the arrest and detention of a Filipina domestic helper and a Chinese driver after prosecutors jointly accused them of theft before the West Kowloon Court.

Marie Judith Frianela, 62 years old, and her co-worker Wong Kong Hafee, 60, were arrested by the police on July 12 for the alleged theft.


PINDUTIN DITO

They were initially charged with stealing the three Standard Chartered cheques belonging to Lee Lai Chun in his home at 64 Tat Chee Avenue, Sham Shui Po, between Dec. 15, 2023 and May 2 this year. 

But the charge was later amended to stealing a "chose in action" or  a debt in the amount of $7,185,000 owed by the bank to Lee, indicating the cheques had been cashed.  


Pindutin para sa detalye
Magistrate Tsang Hing-tung who heard the case on Friday, adjourned the hearing to Sept. 6 and ordered the defendants remanded in custody.


Basahin ang detalye!

Under section 9 of the Theft Ordinance, theft is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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Airport chaos leads to ‘baptism of fire’ for new OFW lounge

Posted on 21 July 2024 No comments
Cacdac (rightmost) and Ignacio (in black shirt) visit the stranded OFWs at the new lounge

 Only a few hours after the spanking new OFW lounge was formally opened in terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, it became a haven of comfort for overseas Filipino workers who were stranded by a technical glitch that disrupted flights not just in Manila, but all over the world.

PINDUTIN DITO
Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Cacdac and OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio who had earlier joined other guests in launching the T3 lounge, lost no time in ordering all affected OFWs to be accommodated there, where they were given free food and help in rebooking their flights.

The two government agencies also assured those who missed their flights that they would be provided with temporary hotel accommodations should it became necessary.

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In addition, the DMW’s assistance center at the airport provided manual overseas employment certificates or exit clearances to the affected OFWs.

DMW official lead the opening of the OFW lounge at NAIA's Terminal 3 

The lounge which opened early on Friday near Gate 7,  is the second to be opened for free to all OFWs at all hours of the day. The first one was opened at terminal 1 of NAIA in January this year.

Both lounges offer comfortable  seating, wi-fi and charging outlets and food and refreshments and are reserved exclusively for OFWs who are waiting for their flights.

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The T3 lounge which is bigger, can accommodate up to 200 OFWs at any time. 

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DMW arrests illegal recruiter to Canada who posed as its staff

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The alleged illegal recruiter was arrested in an entrapment operation 

A woman who pretended to be a staff member of the Department of Migrant Workers and offered fake jobs to Canada in exchange for fees of up to P220k per applicant, was arrested on Thursday in an entrapment operation in a Quezon City mall.

The woman identified as Susan Velasquez is now detained at Camp Crame and faces charges of large-scale illegal recruitment,  estafa and usurpation of authority. Large-scale illegal recruitment is non-bailable and carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

According to the complainants, Velasquez approached them in March this year, and showed them a DMW staff identification card to entice them to apply for the job of “fruit picker” in Canada, for which they were supposed to be paid CAD3,800 or P150,000 to P160,000 per month.

PINDUTIN DITO

If they paid the full processing fee of between P200,000 to P230,000 they were assured they could leave in two months.

A number of applicants who were hooked by Velasquez’s promises immediately paid the processing fee at the recruiter’s office in Montalban, Rizal.

But after months of waiting with no clear sign that they would be able to leave as promised the applicants went to the office of the Migrant Workers Protection Bureau of the DMW where they learned that Velasquez was not licensed to recruit workers for overseas placement and was  also not connected with DMW.

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The MWPB immediately contacted the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Anti-Transnational Crime Unit (CIDG-ATCU) and the two agencies set up the entrapment operation in a mall in Cubao.

During a meeting with the victims, DMW Secretary Hans Cacdac promised to pursue the case against Velasquez and give them free legal help.

Basahin ang detalye!

Cacdac also appealed to those who have fallen prey to Velasquez’  ploy to immediately visit the office of the DMW-MWPB on the 4th Floor, Blas F. Ople Building, Ortigas Ave­nue corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City or send a private message to the DMW AIRTIP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dmwairtip so they could be helped in filing appropriate charges.

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T1 may be hoisted tonight

Posted on 20 July 2024 No comments
The tropical depression is expected to move closer to Hong Kong tonight

People who are planning to go out for a stroll or a day out tomorrow are well advised to keep an eye on weather updates as the Observatory said it might issue the Standby Signal No 1 anytime tonight.

This is due to a tropical depression over the central part of the South China Sea which unexpectedly started to move west towards Hainan Island throughout the day, while maintaining a distance of more than 600 kilometres from the city.

PINDUTIN DITO

As a result, some squally showers and thunderstorms are expected in the coming days, especially tomorrow and Monday, with strong winds offshore and on high ground.

Those who venture out tomorrow are advised to stay away from the shores and refrain from engaging in water sports.

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Over in Macau, the T1 signal was raised this morning, and the weather forecaster there said it should remain in force for the whole day. It could be raised to T3 by tomorrow morning.

TAWAG NA!

Forecasters say another tropical cyclone over the western North Pacific and is situated 920 kilometres east of Manila is expected to move towards the seas near Taiwan in the next few days. 

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12 persons arrested in latest anti-illegal work operation

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Three of those arrested are led away to a prison van by Immigration officers

A total of 12 persons, comprising nine suspected illegal workers and three employers, were arrested by Immigration officers in its latest crackdown on illegal work.

The arrests were made over four consecutive days, from July 15 to 19, and targeted restaurants, massage parlors and premises under renovation, particularly in Central.

In a raid on nine locations, five suspected illegal workers and one employer were arrested.

PINDUTIN DITO

The workers comprised two men and three women, aged 24 to 46. Two of them were holders of recognizance papers which prohibit them from taking any employment, while two others possessed forged Hong Kong identity cards.

One man, aged 28, was arrested on suspicion of employing the illegal workers.

In separate raids on 44 premises in Central, four suspected illegal workers and two employers were arrested.

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The illegal workers comprised two men and two women aged 37 to 49. One woman was found to be a recognizance paper holder while another possessed a fake HK ID card.

Two men, aged 47 and 63, were arrested for hiring them.

Immigration again warned that anyone who violates a condition of stay in Hong Kong commits a serious offence, for which the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment and $50,000 in fine.

TAWAG NA!

The maximum jail term rises to three years if the offender is subject of a removal or deportation order, an overstayer or a person who was refused permission to land.

Apart from this, an illegal worker found to have used a forged HK identity card can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined a maximum of $100,000.

Employers of illegal workers face up to $500,000 in fine and 10 years in jail.

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Bind-over erases theft charge against DH

Posted on No comments

 

Srore where offense allegedly happened

A Filipina domestic helper accused of shoplifting $343 worth of goods got off unscathed at Kowloon City Court Friday (July 19) after prosecutors offered to withdraw the charges in exchange for her promising not to reoffend.

Maribel, 49 years iold, accepted the bind-over offer after Deputy Magistrate Chung Wing-sze explained that it means she will continue to have no criminal record.

PINDUTIN DITO

The bind-over order provides for a fine of $1,000 if she reoffends within one year.

“Don’t reoffend,” Magistrate Chung warned her. “If you reoffend, you will be brought to court for breach of order. You will also receive punishment for the new offense.”

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Maribel was also told to pay $300 as court costs, to be taken from her cash bail of the same amount.

She was arrested last July 5 after she was seen taking several items by a staff of Aeon Store in Hung Hom, Kowloon, and exited the store without paying.  

TAWAG NA!

Seized from her were three packs of pork, one pack of grapes, two packs of cucumber, two packs of onions, one watermelon, one pack of cabbages, one pack of tomatoes and one pack of eggs.

The items amounted to $343.

She was charged with theft, a violation of section 9 of the Theft Ordinance.

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