Click to Access the US Embassy Information URL in the Philippines.
This is a MUST DO for all travelers to the Philippines. You'd
be surprised at the abundance of information you must know while traveling in the
Note: This article came from the Gabriela
Net, a movement headed by a QCHS graduate (class of 1962 - Nina Rosca, aka Ninotska
Rosca): This is not an endorsement of their movement.
Not For Sale! End the Export of Filipinas!
More than half a million men and women leave the Philippines
every year to work overseas. For women, this work consists primarily of
unskilled and poorly paid jobs like domestic work and prostitution. The mail-order bride industry is also a
significant factor in this export of women. In many cases, living in a foreign country
entails cultural alienation, discrimination and often, physical abuse.
The choice to leave ones home is not one that is made freely. Filipinos are
compelled to work in foreign countries for economic reasons, most of the time, for reasons
of sheer survival. Overseas Filipinos invariably send their earnings to support families
back home, who are crucially dependent on this income.
Financial remittances come at sometimes deadly costs. Flor Contemplacion, Sarah
Maricris Sioson 3 names that exemplify what can happen and what does happen to our
women. Their fates also illustrate vividly how unwilling the Philippine Government is when
it comes to defending its own citizens. The Government did nothing when Maricris Sioson
was killed in Japan with a sword
thrust through the vagina. It failed to stop the execution of Flor Contemplacion in
Singapore, and now allows Sarah Balabagan to be fined $41,000 by the United Arab
Emirates for killing her rapist-employer. Government inaction is hardly a surprise.
This export of human beings is a key economic strategy of the Government. Begun in the
1970s by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Filipino male workers were sent to the Middle
East. The foreign currency
they earned was needed to pay the interest on loans which the Marcoses were starting to
Since then, live human bodies have become the top export of the Philippines, outstripping
electronics, garments, agricultural products and other traditional exports. Each year,
some 2 million overseas contract workers remit $7 billion to the Philippines.
These workers pay fees to recruiters, insurance fees, processing fees, passport fees and
taxes to the Philippine government. They have become the prime milking cow of
a corrupt government, some of whose diplomatic officials are involved in the labor market
and the sex trade.
Ramoss Philippines 2000 Development Plan will continue and enshrine the evils
started by the Marcos Regime. Philippines 2000 relies on: enclaves for multinational
corporations where companies are exempt from labor,
pollution and tax laws increased export of labor, so that interest on loans can be
paid to the IMF/World
Bank opening the entire archipelago to tourism development, in conjunction with
allowing the US military access to 22 Philippine ports. Thus labor export is
accompanied by the intensified exploitation of workers in the Philippines. Not content
with our women becoming prostitutes and sex toys overseas, the Ramos Government has
escalated prostitution within the country. Ramos has
signed an agreement allowing US ships to dock anywhere in the archipelago for rest
to Table of Contents
Executive Order No. 195 and Department of Labor and
Employment Order No. 37 (series of 1994)
mandates a compulsory medical care coverage to Filipino OCWs. The Philippine Overseas and
Employment Administration (POEA) also issued Memorandum No. 70, providing for the
guidelines for the
medical care program.
1.OCWs who have been recruited and placed by licensed manning agencies;
2.Those recruited and placed by the POEA;
The provisions of the POEA circular does not apply to seafarers and land-based workers who
members of the Philippine's Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance
1.OCW medicare members
2.Legal dependents of members, including:
1.Legitimate spouse who is not a medicare member;
2.Unmarried and unemployed, legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged children as appearing in
the birth certificate, legally adopted or stepchildren below 21 years old;
3.Children who are suffering from congenital disability either physical or mental, or any
disability acquired below 21 years old that renders them totally dependent upon the
4.Parents who are over 60 years old whose income is less than P1,000 per month.
Beneficiaries shall be entitled to benefits under the medicare program if he has paid at
least one year
contribution within the immediate three (3) month-period prior to the first day of
1.Maximum of 45 confinement days in a year, if confined in a hospital on account of
sickness or injury
2.Allowances for the expenses, including: hospital room and board; medical expenses,
fees; operating room fees; and surgical family planning procedures.
1.OCWs will fill up the OCW Medicare Information Sheet (MIS). Accomplished form will be
evaluated by the Medicare Registration Center.
2.Pay a premium of not more than P900 per member for a year's coverage. A corresponding
payment shall be issued.
3.Workers seeking exemptions for the compulsory medical coverage are required to attach
of active SSS/GSIS Voluntary membership status.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) attributes the realization of the 3rd Edition
of the Handbook
on Filipinos Overseas to the following:
Mr. Rey Ciocon: formulation of value and belief system for the Global Filipinos
Mr. Bernardino Ronquillo, The Year in the Philippine Business, Fookien Times Philippines
Philippine Business Report, Economy Grows in the 1st Quarter, Trade and Industry
Board of Investments (BOI)
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Bureau of Immigration (BI)
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)
Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA); and Pag-IBIG Fund
to Table of Contents
Japan as a
Destination for Filipino Diaspora (I was a frequent traveler to Japan
when I was still in the military and those trips included going to the night strips
outside the military base in Yokota, Japan. In 1967 when I first went to Japan, I
remember the clubs with young Japanese women in them. Nowadays, they were
replaced by young Filipinas. I chose to publish this article from the Philippine
Women's League because of my personal knowledge of the facts, and also because many of our
classmates and their daughters may have gone "Japayuki")
Japan, because of its very protective immigration policy, was not a popular
destination for Filipino migration. The exodus to Japan started only after Japanese
nationals began marrying Filipino women they met in bars and clubs in the Philippines
during the tourism boom in the mid-'70's. The Philippines became a destination for
Japanese sex tours when Taiwan closed Peitou, a spa known for its brothels, to Japanese
tourists after it broke diplomatic ties with Japan. These Filipino women pioneered what
would be known as "Philippine pubs," which took over the popularity of the
"pink bars and no-pan (for no panties) kisas." Soon after, Filipino bargirls
became in demand. To make their entry to Japan legal, Philippine government officials
connived with recruiters in petitioning the Japanese immigration to grant them the same
work permits given to legitimate Filipino entertainers, who used to have a monopoly of
Japanese clubs and discotheques Filipino women began to be a subject of yellow journalism,
or the Japanese version of a media blitz, when police started raiding brothels and clubs
and finding among the arrested prostitutes Filipino girls as young as 12 years old. They
became famous especially after a Japanese journalist called them "Japayuki," a
word rhyming with "karayuki," a term for Japanese women sold to brothels abroad
before World War II, even though they were not the only foreigners engaging in
prostitution in Japan. For all the slur on Filipino women, the mercenary Philippine
government kept silent and continued to supply Japanese houses of
ill repute with young girls from all parts of the Philippines. Much to the disappointment
of both Japanese and Filipino anti-prostitution groups, the trafficking of Filipino
prostitutes to Japan was continued even during the Aquino administration, which willingly
accepted a special quota of 40,000 entertainers a year as Japanese aid to Philippine
economic recovery. Exploitation of Filipino Migrant Workers. Meanwhile, groups
calling themselves non-governmental organizations (NGO'S) found a gold mine in the
Japayuki issue, even getting free publicity for their less popular causes like the
abolition of the Emperor system. The so-called "Japayuki problem" or
exploitation of Filipino women and other foreign nationals who flocked to Japan to cater
to the baser instincts of Japanese men, whether willingly or otherwise, became a favortie
topic of workshops, symposiums and seminars conducted by Japanese groups of all colors.
Not to be outshone were Filipino dissidents particularly those based in Hong Kong.
They transferred most of their operations to Japan when they discovered that they could
subsidize their guerrilla activities in the Philippines with donations from gullible
Japanese, who did not know what to do with their rising yen. Filipino dissidents
operated as lay missionaries under the protection of a council of Christian churches,
which had adopted a new
order of social justice. Because of the religious freedom guaranteed by the Japanese
constitution, Japanese authorities were unable to take action against them and deport them
from Japan even when they were engaging in subversive activities. The only
exception was a Filipino introducing himself as a priest, who was barred from reentering
Japan when police confirmed his connections with the New People's Army (NPA) and
ultraleftist Japanese groups.
to Table of Contents
"A Case of
To legitimize their continued existence in Japan even after the excitement
on the Japayuki problem subsided, the Filipino dissidents began rallying behind them the
fast-increasing domestic helpers and construction workers. An example was a Filipino
household help hired by the wife of a U. S. diplomat.
The group or groups supporting the Filipino maid claimed that she had been defrauded of 3
million yen in back salaries. According to a witness, however, the maid started
complaining about her monthly salary of $300, which when converted to Philippine peso
would be higher than the monthly wage of a Manila police sergeant, only after allegedly
comparing notes with veteran Filipino domestic helpers of expatriates and listening to a
Filipino lay missionary harping about social injustice, etc. barely
three months after she arrived in Japan. The root of the problem was actually a
policy adopted by the POEA representative in Tokyo. Expatriates, mostly executives of
foreign companies, were being forced to accept a standard minimum monthly wage of Y150,000
for the Filipino domestic helpers. The Japanese Immigration Bureau, on the other hand, had
exempted foreign diplomats, who could not pay the Y150,000 montly fee being imposed by the
POEA, from following even the labor standard set by the Ministry of Labor of Japan, thus,
what would become a standard pattern of the so-called "double contracts."
The maid herself admitted to a Japanese reporter her having two contracts, one that she
agreed with her employers, and the other for facilitation purposes as suggested by the
Philippine labor attache in Tokyo, who was either ignoring standard Japanese procedure or
simply ignorant of the exemption granted to diplomats. According to a source close to the
Philippine embassy in Tokyo, the U. S. diplomat and his Filipino wife were chosen to be a
test case in a conspiracy between the Filipino lay misionary and the Philippine labor
attache, who was desperately looking for something to divert public attention on her. At
that time, the labor attache was under investigation because of an expose by Japanese
reporter on her alleged anomalous activities. So, instead of reporting the U. S.
diplomat and his wife to the Philippine labor office in Tokyo, which had in principle more
legitimate claim and jurisdiction on her case, the maid tried in vain to sue them in a
Japanese court with the help of a volunteer Japanese lawyer, who would customarily be paid
in a contingency. Overnight, the Filipino maid became a celebrity especially when her
supporters demonstrated in front of the U.S. embassy. Among the demonstrators were priests
and nuns led by the Filipino lay missionary, who was photographed with a megaphone in her
hand. Meanwhile, even without obtaining a proper release from her formeremployers,
the maid found employment somewhere else. When questioned about the kind of temporary
permit granted her with documents obviously obtained through fraudulent means, the
Immigration Bureau in Yokohama, replied that it was simply an accommodation. Since then,
the maid has been reported to have married a Japanese in order to legalize her stay in
to Table of Contents
the Most Undesirable Aliens in Japan
The sudden emergence of Japan as a world economic power and the so-called
"bubble economy" brought illegal migrants to Japanese shores, among them were
Filipino workers. Most of them were returnees from the Middle East who were diverted to
Japan after the Aquino government failed to give them jobs. By 1988, the Filipinos would
be number one in the list of undesirable aliens in Japan. At one time, the number of
illegal entrants from the Philippines even reached 80,000 according to the statistics of
the Japanese Immigration Bureau although later survey revealed that the figure could be
lesser considering the number of returnees with tampered passports and multiple
identities. To stop the influx of illegal Filipino migrant workers to Japan, who
were being exploited by underworld gangs and getting involved in various crimes, the
Japanese government invited Filipino officials to Japan. However, the Japanese hosts
reportedly walked out en masse when the Filipino visitors started counterproposing another
special quota for Filipino unskilled laborers.
to Table of Contents
Migrants Innocent Victims of Exploitation?
Contrary to claims by supporters of illegal foreign migrant workers in Japan,
majority of the illegal Filipino migrants are not innocent but willing victims of
exploitation by both Filipino and Japanese recruiters. Despite stories like that of
Maricris Sioson, Filipino women continue to audition for jobs in bars and clubs in Japan.
Sioson was a Filipino bar hostess whose death was sensationalized by the Philippine media
when a pathologist of the National Bureau of Investigation mistook incisions made by
embalmers for stabs. Sioson actually died of a fatal kind of hepatitis aggravated by an
overdose of drugs and alcohol.
In most cases, Filipino women deployed to Japan as entertainers end up being prostitutes.
Even when their work permits are valid, they are forced to take clients in a system called
"dohan" (meaning, "pairing.") or they are fined. Also, to insure that
stay in their jobs, their salaries are not given to them until their permits to stay in
Japan expire. So, to earn extra money, they agree to go out with customers, who eventually
end up being their lovers resulting also in the fast-increasing number of illegitimate
children. Repercussions of a Fallacious Policy
to Table of Contents
Philippine government claims that more than half of the country's foreign reserves
come from remittances of overseas workers. Thus, regardless of whether they are
legal or illegal, criminal or not, the workers have been called "unsung heroes"
and bestowed various accolades. However, remittances of contract workers especially in
Japan are coursed through door-to-door services. Considering the fact that they are not
authorized foreign exchange dealers and are in fact engaging in black market, it is
unlikely that the remittances of the workers really go to the coffers of the Philippine
Central Bank. The policy of the Philippine government to deploy Filipino workers
overseas has also caused lots of broken homes and juvenile deliquency. Cohabitation among
lonely workers long separated from their families has resulted in the growing number of
illegitimate and stateless children. Some are even being abandoned in hospitals because
the parents cannot afford to pay the exhorbitant cost of childbirth in Japan.
Lamentably, the children are also being used by so-called "support groups" for
their moneymaking campaigns. Illegal Filipino migrant workers are being given false hopes
that their children would be their guaranty for permanent residency in Japan. It is for
such reason that they do not go to the Philippine Embassy to have their children
registered as Filipinos. The Civil Code of the Philippines guarantees a child's
right to be a Filipino if the parents or even just one parent is a Philippine national,
but overstaying Filipinos in Japan would rather have their children become stateless and
illegal than go to the Philippine
Embassy in Tokyo or the Philippine Consulate in Osaka to register them. In 1996, an
overstaying Filipino woman living in Osaka with her illegitimate children was granted a
special permit to stay in
Japan after using suing the Japanese government with the support of a Kansai-based NGO.
Appalingly, the court failed to recognize the fact that the Filipino woman was using her
illicit affair and her children to legitimize her stay in Japan, and that the
court decision has caused havoc on Filipino morality.
Consequently, the Ministry of Justice of Japan can expect more of such cases in its courts
from now on with more Filipino women, now lacking morality, likely to follow suit. In
addition, with the help of volunteer lawyers, there will likely be an increase in
the number of litigations for and in behalf of the illegal migrant workers.
Likewise, a misinterpretation of a government directive on assistance to nationals has
caused a rift between the legal and illegal
Filipino residents in Japan. Those who are assigned to implement them reason out that the
Philippine government through its foreign missions abroad are duty bound to protect the
welfare and interests of even those who obtain their passports and visas
through fraudulent means and in defiance of both Philippine and Japanese laws.
The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is
implementing a retirement program for foreigners and overseas Filipinos. This involves the
issuance of a Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV).
Qualified to avail of the SRRV are the following:
1.Any foreign national, except those national of countries with which the Philippines does
not have diplomatic relations and those considered restricted by the Department of Foreign
2.Overseas Filipinos who are immigrants or under a visa category, allowing them legal stay
abroad and have resided therein continuously for at least seven (7) years prior to their
application for enrollment in the program and should not have stayed a maximum of sixty
(60) days in a year in the Philippines.
Age Required Deposit
50 years old and above US$50,000
35 - 49 years old US$70,000
Former/Overseas Filipinos None
Benefits under the Retirement Program
1.Issuance of a permanent, non-immigrant status with a multiple entry privileges through a
called Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV);
2.Exemption from customs duties and taxes for the importation of $7,000 worth of
appliances and household furniture;
3.Exemption from Exit and Re-entry permits;
4.Exemption from payment of travel tax, provided that the retiree has not stayed in the
Philippines for more than one year from the date of his last entry into the country;
5.Conversion of the requisite deposit into active investments, including purchase of
6.Tax-free interest on the foreign currency deposit, and payable to the retiree in
7.Foreign currency deposit can be converted into peso deposit, but interest is subject to
8.Guaranteed repatriation of request deposit including invested profits, capital gains and
dividends accrued from investments, upon compliance with Central Bank rules and
For more information write or call:
Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)
2/f, First Bank Bldg.
371 Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Tel. nos: 895-09-29/98/40/82
Fax No. (632) 817-40-41
to Table of Contents
Pag-IBIG Fund for Filipino Overseas Workers (FiLOW) Program
The Pag-IBIG Fund
Pag-IBIG Fund is a nationwide savings fund established
on December 14, 1980 through Presidential Decree No. 1752. Today, Pag-IBIG is one of the
strongest financial institutions in the country with assets of over P21 billion. Active
membership stands at 1.3 million nationwide. Total membership base is 2.1 million.
The Pag-IBIG FiLOW Program
The Pag-IBIG Filipino Overseas Worker (Filow) Program aims to provide Filipino overseas
workers/immigrants the opportunity to save for their future, while giving them the chance
to avail of a housing loan. Maximum loanable amount is P500,000, with interest rates at
9%-17% per annum, depending on the loan package.
The FiLOW Program is open to all Filipino overseas workers with valid working visas or
employment contracts. Filipino immigrants who are Pag-IBIG members, however, may opt to
register under the FiLOW Program or simply maintain their membership.
Schedule of Contributions Per Income Bracket
Monthly Income Monthly Contributions
Below US$1,000 US$20
Over US$1,000 US$40
Benefits on Savings
1.Fixed dividend earnings of 3% per annum for dollar savings and 7.5% per annum for peso
2.Tax-free dividend earnings
3.Savings guaranteed by the Philippine Government
4.Portability, since savings will remain under the same name even after change of
The total savings under the program may be withdrawn at the end of 5 to 10 years depending
on the option
stated during the registration. Withdrawal of savings before maturity shall be allowed in
cases of death,
total disability, insanity, separation from service by reason of health, and permanent
departure from country.
Housing Loan Requirements
Loans can be availed for properties in the Philippines only for any of the following
1.House construction on a lot owned by the borrower
2.Purchase of a lot and construction of a house thereon
3.Purchase of house and lot
5.Refinancing of an existing residential loan
6.Redemption of a foreclosed property
The requirements for the availment of the housing loan under the program are:
1.Membership under the FiLOW Program for at least six (6) months
2.At least 12 monthly contributions
3.Not over 70 years old at the date of maturity
4.With legal capacity to enter into a contract and purchase real property under Philippine
5.Have not availed of a housing loan except lot purchase with Pag-IBIG fund, either as
Those who earn less than US$1,000 a month may borrow up to P250,000, while those who earn
US$1,000 a month may borrow as much as P500,000.
Filipino overseas workers/immigrants may mail the accomplished application form with a
photocopy of their
present work contract to any of the Pag-IBIG Fund offices nationwide or at the following
Filipino Overseas Workers (FiLOW) Department
7/F, Atrium of Makati Building
Makati Ave., Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel. Nos. 810-27-16 to 44 loc 333.
Filipino overseas workers on the jobsite can send their application forms, with a
photocopy of their present
work contract, to the nearest Philippine Embassy/Consulate or the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA) office.
Events: Philippine Retirement
As everyone knew, Pres. Macapagal Arroyo was here in the US a week ago to sign the 50 year old Mutual
Defense Treaty with Pres. Bush. In her working visit, she told the Fil-Am audience in LA that the Drilon
Bill in the Senate is sure to pass and she reassured everyone to sign it. That bill will give us parity
rights and all doubts about our owning property in the land of our birth will be returned to us.
You can take the Filipino out
of the Philippines but you cannot take the Philippines out of the Filipino
Meanwhile Tourism Secretary Gordon encourages every overseas Filipino Worker and Balikbayans to act as
Volunteer promoters of Philippine tourism. An average $1076 per tourist is spent in the country adding to
the coffers billions of dollars.
I guess the old adage. "You can take the Filipino out of the Philippines but you cannot take the Philippines
out of the Filipino" is working again among us Fil-Ams, Fil Cans, or Aussie-Fils.
May I add that if not for the remittances of overseas workers and other overseas Filipinos our dollar
reserve may have been depleted. The overseas dollar remittances to the country help in the fight against
the economic crises in the Pacific rim.
To Sally Peralta: Thanks for the Info about Dionisio
Peralta. I believe the family came from Bicol. I only
surmised then that being a majorette, there should be a semblance to the married sister of Dionisio whom I
recall to be a beauty by herself.
I know General Macario Peralta, the Panay Guerrillero and senator came from the Ilocos. .
Forting, Class 50.