Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fake Hotel

(abs-cbn news) - Filipinos in the United Kingdom and Philippine-based workers eyeing a job overseas were warned Sunday of a spurious hotel ostensibly operating in the UK allegedly offering jobs as receptionists, cashiers, waiters and waitresses in London.

"We strongly forewarn unwary [overseas Filipino workers] and would-be OFWs, as well as the legitimate OFW recruitment industry in the Philippines against being enticed and victimized by this and similar scams currently proliferating in the World Wide Web," the Department of Labor and Employment said Sunday.

DOLE Secretary Arturo Brion cited a report of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London identifying the spurious hotel as one "Crystal Spring Hotel UK," which had earlier sent an e-mail to a licensed recruitment agency in the Philippines on its offer to become a "prospective employer" of OFWs.

Labor attaché Jainal Rasul, Jr., however, said that upon examination by the POLO, the scanned documents of the "hotel," including its certificate of registration, special power of attorney and demand letter, indicated a "patent scam" to dupe OFWs and the legitimate recruitment industry.

Rasul based the conclusion on the following evidence:

- The stamps appearing on the documents purportedly bearing the seals of the POLO and the Philippine embassy in London are all fake, including the scanned signature of the Ambassador, who does not authenticate verification documents at all;

- The "hotel," in its demand letter, requires positions such as receptionists, cashiers, waiters and waitresses, which are not open to non-European Union workers;

- The purported certificate of registration of Crystal Springs Hotel appears like a World War II Veterans' Certificate bearing the superimposed logos of Scotland, Kirkwall, and the UK.

10 Soldiers Dead

(bbc news) - A gunman has attacked a Philippine army base on the island of Jolo, killing nine soldiers and a civilian.

Officials said they were unsure whether the gunman was a soldier or was the civilian found among the dead. The unidentified attacker opened fire inside the base during a power cut, one report said.

Thousands of Philippine soldiers are based on Jolo, where they are fighting a Muslim rebel group, Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to al-Qaeda. Officials investigating the army base attack could not say whether there was any link to the group.

Abu Sayyaf is the smallest of four Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines, with about 400 members. The island of Jolo is some 950km (600 miles) south of the Philippine capital, Manila.

A Call To Protect OFWs

( - A lawmaker is calling on the government to review the measures it has instituted to protect Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), while pointing out that current laws may not be enough to ensure the safety of the migrant labour.

Judy Syjuco, who represents the 2nd district of central Philippines, Iloilo province, in Congress, pointed out that despite the seemingly strict rules prescribed in the government migrant worker safety net, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) abuses against OFWs still persists.

She said one of the reasons why abuses still persists, despite efforts by the government to provide protection to OFWs, is because those who perpetrated the abuses have not been made to account for their actions. According to Syjuco, it is the OWWA that prescribes rules and regulations that govern the recruitment process of Filipino migrant labour. But "in many cases, those responsible for the mistreatment, maltreatment, abuse and death of these workers, including those who participate in their recruitment, are not taken to legal account because responsibility for such cases is difficult to place under prevailing procedures"... full story here

Philippine Education In Crisis

(khaleej times online, Reuters) - School is out for Filipino children this summer and a large proportion of them won’t be coming back.

Dropout rates are climbing in the Philippines as years of underfunding and rapid population growth have left the country’s public schools — once the pride of the region — with insufficient teachers, classrooms and textbooks to go round.

The poor are most at risk, creating a vicious cycle of impoverishment that two men armed with a submachine gun, a revolver and two grenades decided to highlight last week by holding dozens of children in Manila hostage.

Although Filipinos abhorred the actions of Jun Ducat and his accomplice, the businessman’s impassioned condemnation of corruption and inequality in education, aired live on TV, struck a chord... full story here

That's Filipino Way!

( - Dubai: Maria (not her real name) has to shower with three other women every morning to get to work on time since only two bathrooms are available for herself and her 14 colleagues in a two-bedroom company apartment.

Fifteen female employees of Ramez Trading, which runs supermarkets, share the Sharjah apartment, assigning eight and seven people per room respectively. Sleeping on bunk beds, the women have little personal space.

"We're lucky for having different shifts, some starting at 9am and others at 10am. Otherwise seven or eight of us would be showering at the same time," laughed Maria, a Filipina who makes Dh1,300 a month... full details here