Rev. Fr. Rex RB Reyes, Jr.

PH urged to solve OFW issues

A visiting Filipino priest is pressing the Philippine government to immediately act upon migrant worker issues, saying not enough is being done to ensure their safety and welfare.

Rev. Fr. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, said migration is causing irreparable damage to many families back home.

“We’re paying a high price for migration. What we need is a more pro-active Philippine Consulate to address many issues faced by migrants,” he said in an interview with Hong Kong News.

He said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who face problems like inconsiderate employers, for instance, are being told to just go home when seeking help from the Consulate. “Dapat naman ilaban ng Consulate and karapatan ng migrant workers to the very end. Increase negotiations with the Hong Kong government.

Why can’t our government/consulate continue to engage the host government to fight for migrant rights?” Fr. Reyes said.

He said there is a need to continuously educate migrant workers about their rights as more Filipinos opt to work abroad.

Hong Kong is home to 146,365 Filipino domestic workers as of March 2012.

For his part, Consul General Noel Servigon said the Consulate is open to suggestions as to how the Consulate can better serve Filipinos in Hong Kong.

“We have strengthened our ATN (Assistance to Nationals) section… Mayroon silang training; we added personnel, there are now four ATN case officers,” he said in a separate interview.

The Consulate also holds regular meetings with the Immigration and Labor departments and the Hong Kong Police.

“Right now we are studying any new policies of the new administration. We welcome any suggestion; we’re always in contact with different migrant advocacy groups,” Servigon said.

If given a choice, migrants will rather work in the Philippines and stay with their families, Fr. Reyes said. “The Philippines has a serious problem if people are forced to migrate to other countries to work. It’s difficult to understand how our country, which is very rich in resources, is among the most impoverished in Asia. This forces people to migrate,” he said in a forum.

He stressed this is where migrant groups, church organizations, and Consulates play a vital role.

A new experience at Kathy Travels

A new experience at Kathy Travels

A new travel company is promising to give travelers a new and more exciting experience! Kathy Travels (HK) Ltd. opened its business last June 23 in Central. Kathy Travels offers flights to Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao; and direct flights from Hong Kong to Laoag. It also offers affordable tickets to US, UK, Canada, Australia and other countries. It offers bookings for Disneyland and Ocean Park visits and hotel accommodations and arrangements for China visa, as well as day tours to Macau and Shenzhen. Bring promo coupons found in Hong Kong News ads to avail a $20 discount upon purchase of tickets. Kathy Travels is located at Room 1801, Yue Shing Commercial Building, 15 Queen Victoria Street, Central with telephone numbers 3486 8538 and 3486 9065. Email kelly_lewis06@yahoo.com or kathy3620@hotmail.com.

Maguindanao massacre victims

Continuing struggle, a year in hiding

“For over a year, I was in hiding. In this period, my life is empty. I felt that my person is useless and that I only think and secure myself. I felt that those who had threatened me had achieved what they wanted to do: to silence me, to push me back. I know that I could do something.”

These were the words of Myrna Reblando, widow of Alejandro “Bong” Reblando, one of the 32 journalists murdered in the Maguindanao massacre in November 2009. The slain journalist wrote for the Manila Bulletin, Reuters and Associated Press.

Myrna spoke in a forum with Hong Kong-based journalists on how the prevention of torture promotes freedom of expression and journalism in Asia. The forum last June 25 at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club was an initiative of the Asian Human Rights Commission and Centre for Comparative and Public Law of the University of Hong Kong.

As the wheels of justice moved at an almost snail pace, Myrna mustered the courage to speak out her mind and heart.

Channeling her husband’s tool to express opinions in pursuit of justice, Myrna stood as the vice chairperson and spokesperson of the Justice Now! Movement composed of families of the massacre victims. Having only finished high school, she admitted that it was a tough job. But her natural upbringing to be a fighter prevailed.

“I am ready to die. However, I cannot put the life of my children at risk. I am their mother. I should be the one protecting them. They have only me now; but I am not even with them now,” Myrna narrated as she fought back tears.

Myrna said she left the Philippines out of frustration and fear for their safety.

Almost three years after the unresolved massacre of 57 people, justice remains elusive for the victims’ families.

Nonetheless, Myrna’s resolve to fight for justice remains strong. “I was not bitter despite all the trials that come into my life. I strive hard to make the most of it. I reflect and study my surroundings to hear the wisdom of other people. I gain strength from them, too,” she said.

Myrna also called on the government officials to show their resolve in protecting the poor and victims of heinous crimes.

She added that for the grieving families of the 57 massacre victims, justice is long overdue.

Editorial: More than the perks

CALL it an absurd cultural mindset, but in the Philippines, anybody who works abroad is considered mayaman. This is particularly true in the provinces, where people would cut an arm off to work abroad because for them, the end always justifies the means.

Simply put, whatever they spend for a working visa will be compensated by the promise of higher salaries, and yes, better lives.

But what is the true cost of migration?

Numerous studies have pointed to families breaking apart, children suddenly left without a mother or father, and some tragic events that include death of a worker as the price to pay for migration.

Here in Hong Kong, another Filipina domestic worker was found dead inside her bedroom at her employer’s house. The cause of death remains unknown, but reports said she was found foaming in the mouth and lifeless.

Over the years, Filipina domestic workers have fallen ill or died while working in a foreign land. It is not a strange occurrence; it happens. Some are considered isolated cases, and could have happened to any migrant worker working in a foreign land.

But the fact remains that migration is not all about the huge remittances being sent back home, the bigger house, fat allowances, or the new clothes and toys; it entails a noble sacrifice on the part of the migrant worker and the family he or she leaves behind. Migrants don’t just sacrifice their time and effort; sometimes their very lives are at stake as well.

Let this be a wake-up call to everyone, migrants or not, to value every minute of every day that is given to us; to love as if there’s no tomorrow, and forgive as if it’s the most natural thing to do.

Shown in photo are board of directors and managers (from left to right) Ms. Natalie Hau, Ms. Lucy Liu, Mr. Samson Chan, Mr. Kimura, Mrs. Paulina
Kwan, Mr. Miki and Mr. Tsuda.

Heisei opens new doors

HEISEI Finance opens a new office to better serve its customers as it aims to provide simple, easy, and fast loan for customers to fulfill their dreams.

A new Mongkok Branch of Heisei Finance was recently opened, expanding the company’s reach to more customers.

The company vows to continue providing good quality service to its customers.

The new branch opened last June 11, 2012.

Heisei’s new office is located at Flat A and B, 5th Floor, Rammon House, No. 101 Sai Yeung Choi Street, South Kowloon (MTR B3 exit).

OFW remittances are sources of savings

OFW families saving more than investing

FAMILIES of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are putting more of their remittances into savings than in investments, a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

The BSP’s 2012 Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) revealed that 44.5 percent of OFW families set aside a portion of their remittances for savings as compared to only 5 percent of OFW households that put money into investments during the second quarter of the year.

The 2012 second quarter figure for OFWs who are into savings was 1.5 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Those who allotted money for investments this year went down by 1.8 percent compared to 2011 figures.

The report surveyed 544 households that received OFW remittances from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Areas Outside the National Capital Region (AONCR). The BSP did not identify the provinces in the AONCR category.

The latest CES also showed that 95 percent of OFW households spent their remittances on food, a 2.2 percent decrease from the same period last year. There were 67.7 percent who spent on education, which is 2.3 percent less compared to 2011.

Medical expenses were prioritized by 57.8 percent of OFW families, 1.8 percent lower than last year.

About 44.1 percent focused on debt payments, down by 2.3 percent based on the 2011 data.

Those buying appliances this second quarter went down to 24.4 percent from 33.9 percent in 2011. Similarly, OFW families that purchased houses went down from 15.2 percent in 2011 to 11.3 percent in 2012.

The ones buying cars dropped from 10.5 percent to 6.3 percent this year.

HEART and SOUL 3:16

Every Friday at 8 pm, the Epiphany Church in Muiwo, Lantau becomes a sanctuary of peace, meditation and prayerfulness. A roomful of faithful Catholics greet each other with the love of Jesus as you feel the warm spirit of everyone in the place. It is edifying to listen to the congregation when they sing the wonderful hymn “Father, I adore You, Lay my life before You, How I love You, Jesus I adore You, Lay my life before You, How I love You”.

Some people who adore Jesus serve Him well through church duties. They are truly blessed.

Mrs. Lorenza Rivera (Tita Nene to many) is the eucharistic minister who assists the priest during the mass and adoration rites in that church. She has been dutifully performing these tasks over the years and she finds joy being a servant of God on a full time basis.

She quotes these words to share, “Life is about moments. In happy moments, praise God. In difficult moments, seek God. In quiet moments, worship God.

In painful moments, trust God. In all moments, thank God”. Mrs. Peleno (Tita Purita) is another servant of the Lord at the Epiphany Center, organizing activities for the church and assigning gospel readers on Sundays. Working in the Lord’s vineyard for so many years gives strength in her daily living. “Pag nagse-serve ako kay Lord, ang saya-saya ng pakiramdam ko. Serving Jesus makes me blessed knowing that He is always there for me, helping me in times of trials and challenges. He comforts me with His care and guidance. I thank Him for the calling I have been given”.

At the Fishers of Men International Christian Ministries in Yaumatei, Mrs. Louie Manguiat (who is the Nanay or Mommy of the church members, being the wife of Pastor Johnny) is inspiringly busy telling OFWs about the blessing of having Jesus in their lives. She is joyful in saying, “ I find fulfillment in the things that I do when I see members coming to church Sunday after Sunday, week after week to listen to the words of God. Sobrang ligaya ko dahil nakikita ko ang pag ibig nila kay Jesus”.

When a person serves the Lord in or outside the church, she or he is already investing to reap eternal rewards. For when one is in the service of her or his fellowmen, she or he is in the service of God.

There is joy in having Jesus in us but there is greater joy in sharing this love of Jesus for the benefit of others. The Master says: “Well done my good and faithful servant.. You have been faithful over a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.”

Share your stories about Jesus to rollycruz.2012@yahoo.com.

Currents: Kumplikadong Kalayaan

TAPOS nang ipagdiwang ang ating Independence Day pero patuloy pa rin ang pagpapalabas ng announcements sa Filipino cable channels. Isang ad ang nakatawag ng aking atensyon; kinatampukan ito ng isang Fil-Am na nagsabing proud siya bilang Pilipino, samantalang ang isa naman ay nagsabi na complex ang kasaysayan ng ating independence. Yun nga lang, hindi nya naipaliwanag kung ano ang ibig niyang sabihin.

Sa totoo, nagkaroon din ng panahon na ang pagdiriwang ng ating kalayaan ay sa Hulyo 4 na kalaunan ay ginawa nang Filipino-American friendship day.

Totoong masalimuot ang ating kalayaan.

Hindi biro ang buhay na ibinuwis ng ating mga bayani para sa kalayaan ng ating Inang bayan. Totoong masalimuot at mahirap unawain kung bakit Si General Emilio Aguinaldo ay nakipagkasundo kay US Consul General Wyndham sa Hong Kong tungkol sa kalayaan ng ating bayan kung kaya sa Declaration of Independence ay nakasulat doon “…under the protection of the great and humane North American nation”.

Hindi ba’t masalimuot nga ito na nagdedeklara ng kalayaan ang isang bansa pero sa ilalim ng proteksyon ng dayuhang mananakop ding bansa? Gayunpaman, lumabas ang tunay na kulay ng humane North American Nation. Bantay-salakay pala ang protektor dahil dalawang buwan matapos ang sinasabing “kalayaan,” marahas tayong sinakop ng gobyernong US.

Mahigit 500,000 Pilipino ang minasaker sa Fil-Am War. Ito ang hindi natin dapat kalimutan kailanman dahil malaking bahagi ito ng ating kasaysayan para sa tunay na kalayaan.

Ngayon, sa panahon ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino, matapos ang bisita niya sa US at pagkausap kay Pangulong Barack Obama kamakailan, nangangamba na namang bumalik sa ating bansa ang pinaalis na mga tropang militar ng Kano.

Gagawin na namang “complex” ang ating kalayaan, sukdulang lumabag pa ito sa Konstitusyon ng Pilipinas na nagsasabing walang dayuhang tropa ang maaaring pumirmi sa Pilipinas.

Tunay nga bang magiging malaya ang ating bansa kung may mga dayuhang tropang araw -araw na naka-istasyon sa ating bayan at ni hindi mo maidemanda sa ating korte kahit na may krimen na ginawa laban sa ating mamamayan? Tingnan mo ang rapist na tropang Kano na si Smith na malayang nakaalis ng Pilipinas kahit convicted siya ng rape. Nililito tayo sa tunay na pangyayari sa ating kasaysayan.

Tunay ngang complex ang usapin ng ating kalayaan dahil hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa natin ito nakakamtan. Tunay rin na maging proud to be Filipino tayo dahil hanggang ngayon, patuloy pa rin natin itong ipinaglalaban.

Fresh jail-time for Filipina repeat drug offender

A Filipina earlier convicted of drug possession is going to jail for a separate drug-related offe

buy cheap kamagra

nse she committed this year.

Marissa Tayag Dealca pleaded guilty to trafficking in a dangerous drug.

A punishment of nine-month imprisonment was imposed on her by the Eastern Magistrates Court for trafficking in less than three grams of methamphetamine or ice.

According to the Philippine Consulate, Dealca, a former overseas Filipino worker, was convicted of drug possession last year.

She applied for torture claim at the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre.

She is currently under recognizance, which allowed her to remain in Hong Kong.

Several Filipino drug traffickers have been meted hefty prison terms.

In May, the Court of Appeal reduced by one and a half year the 20-year jail term imposed on a Filipina tourist earlier convicted of drug trafficking.

Rodela Jardin was arrested in June 2010 for bringing in a kilo of dangerous drugs containing 571.76 grams of heroine hydrochloride with a street value of $849,267.

The illegal drugs were found in three pairs of shoes she hand-carried as return favor for a free tour to Hong Kong.

Also in May, Filipino taxi driver Lolito Balila, 32, was slapped with a 21-year jail term for carrying more than 25 kilos of illegal drugs containing more than 10 kilos of heroine and almost 2 kilos of morphine in August last year.

Apart from Balila, other Filipinos have received hefty prison terms for illegal drug-related cases.

Janric Domingo, 33, was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for bringing in more than 5 kilos of drug mixture containing 2 kilos of heroin in July last year.

Analyn Ingalla, 31, was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months imprisonment for trafficking 2.91 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or ice into Hong Kong, while in transit to Vietnam.