Archive for the ‘Filipinos’ Category

More OFWs leave the country for jobs abroad

March 24, 2009

It should tbe consolation to the Philippines that more Filipinos work outside the country in January this year than last year. Philippine Overseass Employment Administration (POEA) reports that 165,737 compared to 132,285 left the country for jobs abroad.

This resoundingly affirms the sustained global preference for our skilled and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and their productive role in staving off the adverse effects of the global slowdown in the greater portion of the world’s economies,” said Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.—GMA TV News (03/24/09, Tan, JT)

The exodus of workers to foreign land has brought about US$16.4 billion dollars to the Philippine economy. In spite of the economic benefits, working abroad has caused a lot alienation, family displacement, and separation.

Filipinos still need to develop local placements and not rely on foreign work opportunities which disrupt local labor. There are many jobs with difficult working conditions abroad and Filipinos are forced to take them for lack of employment in the country. It is not hard to imagine that many of these jobs are menial, dangerous, and demanding that many locals of host countries refuse to take. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi)=0=


Filipino doctors in USA, 2nd to India among IMGs

March 23, 2009

We are quick to assert that among the international medical graduates (IMGs) in the United States, Filipinos are 2nd to doctors from India as the most represented ethnic group in the profession. This is a very good record for our country who has distinguished itself as one of the most prolific doctor suppliers of America. About ¼ of doctors in USA are IMGs.

Top Ten Countries of Medical Education for IMG Physicians

India———————————— 19.99%———————-47,581
Dominican Republic——————3.3%————————–7,892
Russia———————————-2.5%————————- 6,039
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2007

Philippines—————————— 9%—————————21,081
Mexico———————————- 6%—————————13,980
Dominican Republic——————-3.7%—————————8,618
Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile 2008

The 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) IMG record shows the Filipino doctors rank second to India in number—-9% and 21% respectively of the total number of foreign medics who train in the United States. That’s a total of 21,081 Filipinos vs. 41,247 Indians. Because of the sharp difference (double) in numbers between the two groups, Filipino physicians in USA looks scarcer compared to the Indians.

The current distribution of Filipino doctors will probably stay for a while since the boom of the nursing profession in the Philippines has lured more doctors to come to USA as nurses. Former Sec of Health Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan confirmed this trend when he revealed in 2007, “My latest study, there are 9,000 doctors who have become nurses. Six thousand of them (6,000) have left the Philippines mainly for the U.S. to work as nurses.” Majority of these MD-nurses come from government hospitals, keeping the pool of United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) takers and residency seekers from new graduates relatively intact.

A coincident fall of medical student enrollment, as much as 40% in some schools, has caused the lack of physicians in the Philippines, but not so much in USA since it remains to be a favored job destination of Filipino health professionals for more than 50 years. What is astounding is even if Filipino IMGs are second to the Indians, their number is small—less than half of the latter.(Photo Credit: Jandentonchua) =0=


Declining English proficiency, a cause of fewer hires among Filipino college graduates

March 22, 2009

The Philippines is relying heavily on its workforce to shore up the economy, but a recent evaluation of the Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (UACT,) a research arm of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce reveals that:

For every 100 applicants, only six to 10 percent are effectively recruited and deployed for an entry level job.” —-Philstar (03/22/09, Ronda, RA)

The main reason given why the Business process outsourcing (BPO) is having a hard time recruiting graduates from Philippine colleges and universities is the inadequacy in English proficiency. This is radical reversal of the Filipinos’ long-standing reputation of being good in English. It appears the country is now suffering the negative effects of its schizophrenic bilingual policy that continues to be a contentious issue in education. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi) =0=


“Filipinos rated most committed to work”

January 27, 2009

The “employee engagement” is supposed to be a measure of “commitment” and “drive” of a worker to achieve a company’s goal. It runs high among Filipinos. That’s according to a recent survey conducted on workers of some top corporations in the country by Watson Wyatt, a global consulting agency. At 77%, the employee engagement for the Philippines has improved from by 4% since 2007. The score is good among countries of the Asia-Pacific region!

Beating of China (66%,) India (75%), Indonesia (71%,) Thailand (72%,) and Malaysia (67%,) RP’s laudable score appeared in the Philipine Daily Inquirer (01/27/09, Dumlao, D)— a business news item entitled “Filipinos rated most committed to work.”

I find the report flattering. Only the workers of top corporations have been included in the poll. The survey outfit admits there are no international standards to determine the socio-political and cultural factors that are unique for each country which may influence the score. Such limitations hardly dispel the doubts of readers.

Whatever this survey is worth, I like to know if there is any difference in the score of workers in the public sector compared to those who are in the government. It would have been better if all in the labor force (not only the corporate employees) were represented in the survey. It would have been more revealing if those in the farms and those employed abroad were included. The result might be more accurate in characterizing the “commitment” of the entire Filipino labor force. (Photo Credit: Bikoy; Neil Alderney 123)=0=


When “tuyo” is fried in a high-rise apartment, the smell of gas leak and cadaveric decomposition becomes a legal problem

January 15, 2009

Gloria Lim and her husband Michael are in trouble. They are being sued for $75,000 by the nuns of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart congregation for violating a building rule that prohibits the cooking of “smelly food.” —Philippine News / Philstar (01/15/08, Pastor, C)

The NY Fire Department was called by building residents because of stench which emanated from the Lim’s 16th floor Manhattan apartment. The awful smell alarmed neighbors who thought there was a decaying body in the building. The firemen broke the door and found that the odor came from “tuyo”—- fried dried fish (herring or anchovy) which is a common breakfast food in the Philippines.

Cooking “ethnic” flood is a common problem particularly during winter months in high-rise buildings when doors and windows are generally shut tight. Any smell from a housing unit can be magnified and bother a lot of neighbors. Though others can tolerate smells of certain food, it is better such malodorous food must be avoided.

Gloria Lim, the pissed Filipina who has been in the US for 30 years must know better. She must be considerate to her neighbors who can’t take the peculiar smell of “tuyo.” The strong fishy odor which sticks to clothes is cumbersome to remove—entailing more laundry or visits to professional apparel cleaners. It is understandable that residents who haven’t experienced such an olfactory oddity from a peculiar food may panic believing that it’s from a gas leak that’s ready to explode or from a dead human body or animal decaying in the building. That’s precisely why buildings have rules to protect the common interest of residents. Cultural sensitivity and respect must be observed in communal living where people of different races stay together. (Photo Credit: Mando Rukot) =0=


In war-battered Gaza, Filipinos mull on the price of working abroad

January 11, 2009

With no end in sight, the red-hot Israel-Palestinian conflict completes its second week on January 11, 2009 with nearly 900 reported dead and many more wounded, about half of them are innocent non-combatants of war. Regardless of which side we may be in the decades-long hostilities, the clear message is that racial intolerance, religious bigotry, and territorial disputes don’t bring any good.

The duplicity in the exercise of diplomacy, the use of terrorism, and the rejection of a two-state solution by hardliners remain as huge stumbling blocks in bringing peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The interference of countries that benefit from an unstable Middle East is partly to blame.

Civilians living in the Gaza Strip are in a crossfire that disrupts their lives and threatens their survival. In the bloody exchanges of a protracted cycle of violence, the innocents bear undeserved suffering. Among them are workers and migrants from the Philippines who come to this troubled part of the world mainly for economic reasons.

We can only sympathize with our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who put their lives on line to seek ways to survive and help their families back home. We can only ask for the cessation of the killings—an immediate ceasefire which is unheaded at this time.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA,) 16 Filipinos have left the war-torn area and arrived in Manila. Of the 121 still left in Gaza, 69 expressed their desire to evacuate, but the fierce fighting prevents them to do so. It is uncertain if this number includes the illegal Filipinos workers who take risky jobs in the shadows.

This brings us to the problem of our government which sorely lags behind in helping the people to be self-sufficient back home. If jobs and economic opportunities exist in the country, then there are few reasons for our kababayans to insist working in dangerous places like the Middle East. The cost to pay for family separations, isolation, and loneliness is incalculable. It’s sad that our cash-strapped government is in a losing policy of sending Filipinos abroad for the money they’ll earn for the nation’s economy. With no sign of stopping, our workers continue to suffer on their own, at times trapped in harm’s way.

Just to land a job, no matter how menial, has been a source of hope and pride among poor Filipinos who ignore the risks of travel outside the country. Yet, this is the reality of our society faces. Adding to the 10 million Filipinos already deployed abroad, a restless stream still wants to leave for the money.

The government must do better than what our officials think is good enough. There will be a season that host countries won’t justly pay for the services of Filipinos. To keep the country economically alive there’ll be a time when going abroad will be one of our most dreaded options. (Photo Credits: Aryty; Rusty Stewart x 7 photos) =0=


Shrinking pan de sal doesn’t mean it’s economical

December 9, 2008

Filipinos will generally welcome pan de sal that is cheap even if it’s small. According to Simplicio Umali, Jr., the president of the Philippine Bakers Industry Group, bakers will shrink the bread further and sell it cheap. Members of the baker’s association agreed to make little pan de sals, probably next month.

The poor man’s bread at P1 peso will weigh only 20 grams, smaller than the regular pan de sal which is 30-35 grams sold for P3 pesos. The cost of a 600-gram bread loaf is pegged at P55.50.—Philstar (12/09/08, Osorio, E.)

Isn’t 20 grams too small? How much of the bread is air and how much is flour? Why try scrimping on the last indulgence of Filipinos who rely on the bread for breakfast and snacks? Most likely, smaller pan de sals will make people crave for more and perhaps spend more.

Whether this tiny bread prepared is nutritionally adequate to satisfy the hungry is unclear. Though affordable, a smaller version of the bread doesn’t mean it is economical. Making small bread pieces is labor-intensive and needs as much flour and packaging if it will be sold to satisfy. That’s why there are those who think keeping the regular-sized bread may still be a good idea.

When the bread becomes inordinately small, it’s expected to have low nutritional value. Shrunken and cheap, the bread will make the birds happy. Yet people with larger stomachs and bigger caloric needs may feel famished eating them. To compensate they’ll need to eat more which costs as much as the regular bread, volume per volume. (Photo Credit: Oggi108; KDLig)=0=


The legal immigration limbo & why playing by the rules is important

November 3, 2008

Mexican illegal immigrants in the United States range between 12 to 21 million. The problem is huge, but illegal immigration has taken a back seat away from the more important issues like the economy, homeland security and abortion.

The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates don’t focus on the immigration problem partly because they need the votes of immigrant-citizens. Both candidates have legalization plans for the gate-crashers of America whose number has become “unmanageable.” Obama has more perks for illegal aliens than McCain.

Against the wish of 75% of Americans, the country concedes that it can’t rationally keep the illegal aliens out. Many believe mass deportation isn’t a realistic option. In varying degrees, many politicians have become cozy with the illegal aliens mainly for their numbers and their votes (capacity to change the outcome of an election,) not because it is right thing to do.

In this backdrop people worldwide are waiting for their immigration papers to be adjudicated. Among them are those who have expected patiently for decades. They are frustrated with the extremely long wait. There are those who lose eligibility forcing them to change plans. Aging-out, marriage or death are among the reasons why others are unable to come. Some find ways to arrive illegally.

Abiding with the US immigration laws, those who apply for legal immigration obviously play by the rules. They deserve to be rewarded for siding with the law. Yet, in the waiting line, they are pushed aside.

Lacking fairness, their applications are decided slower than those of illegal aliens already in USA. Overstaying aliens enjoy the benefits of being in America way ahead of the legal applicants; they get higher priority in adjusting visa status.

Such injustice and disregard of standard rules are clearly illustrated in the visa delay shown in the November 2008 US visa bulletin issued by the USCIS. The waiting times to get an immigrant visa number from the Philippines under the 3rd and 4th preference family-based category is 17 years (05/08/91) and 22 years (03/22/86) respectively. They don’t include the 6 months to 1 year time to iron out the requirements of immigration. That’s incredibly long time, but true!

Filipinos are distressed. With huge backlogs in various categories, the visas intended for them are allotted to legalize aliens who are already in USA. The sluggishness of the immigration process gives more incentive for people to slip unlawfully into the country’s backdoor.

Think how polarizing these fixes are. It scares many law-abiding citizens when rules are tailored to suit a group at a disadvantage of another. Not only does the immigration service (INS) reward lawbreakers, they clearly frustrate the purpose of the legal family reunification enshrined in the immigration law.

The expedient decision favoring illegal aliens has been justified on humanitarian grounds, but UCIS/INS rarely gives this to those who have waited 20 years to become an immigrant. This is another area where the US tradition of fairness and compassion is wearing away. Americans have reasons to be worried of foreigners coming to USA who don’t respect its laws. (Photo Credits: BHowdy;; wanderingangel)


——–Worldwide—China (PRC)—India——-Mexico—–Philippines
1st—–05-01-02— 05-01-02— 05-01-02— 09-15-92—05-01-93
2A—– 02-08-04— 02-08-04— 02-08-04— 07-15-01—02-08-04
2B—– 01-15-00— 01-15-00— 01-15-00— 04-22-92—06-15-97
3rd—–07-01-00— 07-01-00— 07-01-00— 09-15-92—05-08-91
4th—–11-15-97— 06-08-97— 07-22-97— 01-22-95—03-22-86

———Worldwide—China (PRC)—India—-Mexico—-Philippines
2nd——- Current—06-01-04—-06-01-03—Current—Current
4th——— Current——Current—–Current—-Current—-Current
Religious—-UA———UA———–UA———-UA———UA (unavailable)

On Filipino’s support for McCain: “This goes deeper than ignorance.”

October 23, 2008

Seventy (70) countries, two billion world citizens prefer Obama 4 to 1. Except Georgia and….the Philippines! It seems the majority Republican sentiments in this group are reflective of our origins. So what do we have in common with Georgia aside from being a small, poor and war torn country? Could it be the Catholic Conscience voter…?

This was announced on CNN last night. I have never in my entire life felt so ASHAMED to be a Filipino. For this goes deeper than ignorance which can be cured. A nation of bigoted fools is hopeless… ‘—A FilAm Liberal Democrat (FLD)

I got the above blistering statements in my email from an egroup on Oct 22, 2008. I missed seeing that CNN show, but if true, FLD sounded exactly like first-lady wannabee Michelle Obama when she expressed scorn for her country early on in the campaign, only to be blunted by restraint to talk more about it.

Overtly secular, FLD can be accused of condescension for denouncing the “ignorance” of Filipinos who come from a “bigoted nation of fools.” Antipathy and intolerance roil against those who don’t share the media-backed liberal view of the democrats. I know FLD as a learned doctor who prescribes cure for Filipinos. Although her view is part of freedom’s guaranteed perks, it made me ponder why, to my surprise, many kababayans would prefer McCain over Obama. Sharing with you my humble opinion on this issue before the US Presidential Election day in an article to follow…to be continued…Abangan! (Photo Credit: byatis547)=0=

UPDATE: The continuation can be found on my blog dated October 30, 2008 entitled “Win or lose, after the election we go shopping.” AFM

Filipinos in Style: 10 helicopters eclipses the bride in a fabulous wedding in Davao

October 21, 2008

Not often heard of in the economy-battered country like the Philippines, a fabulous wedding held on Saturday, October 18, 2008 brought a fleet of 10 helicopters to the Seagull Mountain resort in Davao City for the wedding of Jeliza Farah, the daughter of Pres. Sec. Jesus Dureza to Rodford Uy.

Two of the helicopters were said to be government-owned, the others private. There must be a lot of “ahs and ohs” from the poor folks in the village where the spectacular fly-by of the entourage occured. A banana magnate, a mining official, a prominent protestant pastor, and a host of Pinoy glitterati were in attendance in the wedding solemnized by the local archbishop. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, former Pres. Fidel Ramos and National Sec. Adviser Norberto Gonzales stood as sponsors. The local police, members of the military, and the Presidential Security Group had to be called to restrain the crowd.(Photo Credit: Salvan)=0=