Posts by Maia Lopez

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aaaTHE Bureau of Customs has suspended its requirement for overseas Filipino workers to submit a proof of purchase for items inside their balikbayan boxes sent to the Philippines. The bureau suspended two Customs orders – one requiring balikbayan box senders to submit a photocopy of their Philippine passport to avail of the government's tax exemption and another requiring copies of the invoice, receipt, or proof of payments of the goods contained in the box – until March 31, 2018. "The BOC has temporarily suspended the guidelines in the ...

October 16, 2017
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aaaA principal health specialist of the Asian Development Bank has underscored the need for “roaming” health coverage amid rising migration demands. ADB's Eduardo Banzon said national health insurance systems in many Asian countries may not be able to provide sufficient health coverage to migrant workers. “As movement across countries becomes easier and more frequent, the one situation we all dread is getting sick and needing to access health services in a foreign country. Even as we worry about getting well, we end up worrying more ab...

August 29, 2017
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aaaPRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure extending the validity of Philippine passports from five to 10 years, except for those of minors which would only have a five-year validity. Republic Act No. 10928, however, allows the Department of Foreign Affairs to limit the validity of some passports to less than 10 years “whenever in the national economic interest or political stability of the country” makes it necessary. The law will take effect once the DFA has completed its implementing rules and regulations. Senator J...

August 28, 2017
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aaaCHINA and the Philippines are expected to conclude a labor agreement that will expand the market and ensure ample protection for overseas Filipino workers. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the agreement may be firmed up during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing on May 13. “We are still working out the details, but there may be a labor agreement that will benefit our OFWs,” Bello said. Duterte will be in Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum, his last leg in a two-country swing that will begin in...

May 12, 2017
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aaaPRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has announced his plan to establish a dedicated department that will address the concerns of overseas Filipino workers. Duterte first announced his plan in a recent visit to Bahrain. “You will have, in a few months, a Department for OFWs only,” the President said. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, raised concerns over the plan, which he said is a departure from the administration's bid to bring home OFWs for good by providing them decent jobs. Bello said there are already two agencies mandated ...

April 25, 2017
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aaaThe gastronomic scene in Metro Manila is booming at an overwhelmingly fast rate. It seems there is a new must-try restaurant opening every month in every city, giving residents in the capital a wide array of choices to explore. You can try dishes from neighboring Asian countries to far away Europe without having to leave the urban jungle you call home. Annam (P300 to P500 per person)  [caption id="attachment_2290" align="alignnone" width="262"] April 18, 2017

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aaaRECRUITMENT fees continue to burden overseas Filipino workers before and after their deployment, a report by the Asian Development Bank showed. In its report titled "Safeguarding the Rights of Asian Migrant Workers from Home to the Workplace," the ADB said loopholes in existing laws have allowed recruiters to exploit OFWs by inflating recruitment fees. The ADB added that OFWs suffer heavy salary cuts and direct payments, or take "large loans requiring repayment at high interest rates" due to these "excessive" recruitment fees. "Existin...

March 16, 2017
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aaaTHE Department of Labor and Employment is looking at Russia as the next work destination for skilled Filipino workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said. Bello said President Duterte will discuss labor relations when he visits the socialist state and meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin early next year. “I already sent a memo to the President requesting him to include the possible deployment of skilled and professional workers to Russia,” Bello said. He also said that there is a demand for construction and h...

December 22, 2016
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aaaTHE late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried with military honors at a heroes’ cemetery in Manila almost 30 years after his death in Hawaii, triggering mass protests across the country. President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, gave orders in August that the burial may proceed, fulfilling an election campaign promise. Progressive groups filed their opposition to the burial before the Supreme Court, which in turn ruled that Marcos can be interred at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani...

December 5, 2016
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aaaTHE Philippine Navy’s latest frigate, the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Andres Bonifacio, has left California. The ship left the US Coast Guard Base in Alameda, California and embarked on its voyage to the Philippines on November 1 with Captain Brendo J. Casaclang in command. Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. led the sendoff party which included Consulate officials, military attaché B/Gen Eric Calip and members of the Filipino-American community. In his speech, Bensurto congratulate...

November 11, 2016
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