Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Mr. Arnel Gonzales, Business Unit Head, Mall of Asia Arena in an interview at Balitaan sa Aloha Media Forum on October 24, 2012, revealed that the tickets for the concert of the Sting at SM MOA Arena on December 9 were about to be sold out.  However,   Sting decided to transfer the venue of its concert and this was confirmed by SM Management.

It appears that Sting heed to the call of Cheryl L. Daytec-Yangot, a counsel of Project Save 182 Movement, a pro environment group opposing the uprooting and transferring of trees at SM Baguio City.  Daytec-Yangot   posted on Facebook: “I wrote a letter to Sting’s agents appealing that they abandon SM-Mall of Asia Arena as the venue for the musician’s December concert.  Sting, a voice of the oppressed, cannot sing in the halls of the oppressor!

            When inquired about the pending case involving the group of Daytec-Yangot and SM Baguio, Atty. Chryse Bautista, SM Baguio City Spokesperson said:  “tapos na, we presented our evidence and they already presented their evidence” . . .  “pero from our perspective ano ginawa ng mga plaintiffs?   Since they were not able to present any credible evidence in court, now they go back to the media, now they go back to the cyber space and attack SM”, she further added.

            SM Holdings in its press release stated, “this is no longer a court battle between environment activists and corporate entity.  We are also talking about the possible detrimental effects it will have on the Philippines’ image in the global entertainment industry”.

            Let us hear it direct from the party . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2012


(From left: Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss, CAAP Director General with   
Capt. John Andrews, Deputy General for Operations, CAAP)

 Bird strike at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) does not only poses an imminent danger to the safety of airlines and its passengers , but also a threat to our country’s economy as well. We may never earn an upgrade of our aviation safety classification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to boost our tourism industry and increase commercial activities in the metropolis and parts of central Luzon, because of such issue, other than the modernization of our airports.
Lately, there was tremendous increase of bird strikes at NAIA.  There were  49  bird strike recorded by CAAP from January to September, compared to 30 bird strikes in 2011 and 25 in 2010, which makes the danger more imminent.  Thus, NAIA was prompted to issue a warning to the pilots of the danger to land and take off at NAIA. 

It was reported that a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Flight PR 124 to Manila was canceled last September after birds got sucked into the plane’s engine in order to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Cebu Pacific's Cotabato-Manila flight was delayed for more than four hours also in the same month.  Earlier in July, it was reported that  PAL flight PR 105 that just arrived in Manila from Guam  also suffered from the same incident and the aircraft’s entire set of fan blades had to be replaced due to irreparable damage. It was reported by TV 5 News that from January to July this year, 39 bird strikes have been reported at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), 50 percent more than the same period last year, data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) indicated.  These incidents involve aircraft of Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, Cathay Pacific, Jet Star Asia, Air Philippines Express, and Qatar Airways.
The population of migratory birds nesting at the Las-PiƱas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco Tourism area located about 15 kilometer away from NAIA pursuant to Executive Order No. 1412 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, allegedly surged more than double its size through the years.  Consequently, migratory birds flock to NAIA as its resting place early in the morning and from 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, everyday.  Likewise, it seems that there is no immediate and viable remedy at hand or an alternative solution presented by interests group to control its population.  Meanwhile, the damage to airplanes costs millions already, while NAIA allegedly needs a budget  more than P 45-Million yearly additional budget just to control migratory birds from colliding with the airplanes that lands and takes off at NAIA with no assurance that an incident shall not happen.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


(From left: Edwina Beech,  President Emeritus, Philippine Association of Service Exporters Incorporation (PASEI); 
Elisa Villa, Director  (PASEI); Lito B. Soriano, President & CEO of LBS Recruitment Solutions and President Emeritus, PASEI; Liberty Casco, Deputy Administrator, POEA)  

International Labour Conference Convention (ILO C) No. 189 offers specific protection to domestic workers, that need to be ratified by the receiving government as a commitment to implement its provision. The Department of Foreign Affairs on October 15 to 16, 2012 conducted International Migrant Domestic Care Workers at the Interface of Migration and Development : Action to Expand Global Practice in the Asian Region, advocating for the ratification of ILO C 189, which defines a domestic worker as, “any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship.” 

“For the past five years, deployment of domestic workers grew at the same time that our GDP improved. POEA data disclosed that in 2008, there were 70,000 domestic workers that were deployed abroad. The volume increased in 2010 at 96,000. In 2011, it ballooned to 142,000 and most of them are women. On other hand, only 41,900 land based skilled workers were deployed abroad in 2010. This data is disturbing, because most of the recruitment agencies are into deployment of skilled and professional workers. POEA’s data disclose that many of OFWs deployed abroad are factory workers and 45% were domestic workers and most of them are women”, said Lito B. Soriano, President & CEO of LBS Recruitment Solutions and President Emeritus of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Incorporation (PASEI). “While there are many available positions for skilled and professional workers abroad, they are, however, not qualified because their work experience is not relevant to their educational”, he further stated. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Common reports about domestic helpers in KSA are usually denied of their rights as workers. They have no weekly day offs, no work hour limits and no overtime pay. Based on the 2008 Human Rights Watch report, domestic helpers in Saudi Arabia work 18 hours per day, 7 days a week and have little power to collect back wages in labor disputes.

There are even issues of unpaid wages ranging from few months to several years. Aside from these, there were reports of sadistic treatments by their employers, domestic workers were restricted to their workplaces, sometimes locked in and forbidden to leave. Let’s hear  POEA Administrator Hans Cacdac, PASEI’s Vice President Edwina Beech, and LBS Recruitment Solutions President Lito Soriano discuss what domestic workers can do to enjoy the protections offered by the famous ILO- Convention No. 189?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Indefinite suspension of licenses to operate manning agencies pending litigation of a case is endangering  the maritime industry to the detriment of the Philippine economy!

This is what happened to the 300 seafarers of Gyron Crew Incorporation and Manning Agency (GCIMA). A complaint was filed by three former recruits of GCIMA leading to the suspension of its license to operate. Consequently, the contract of 300 seafarers due to be deployed to Netherlands were put on hold, many of whom were about to leave the country. Meanwhile, the case remains pending for more than sixty (60) days, while it was reported that a new law was passed in Holland allegedly banning Filipino seafarers. 

Despite previous withdrawal of the complaint by two of the complainants, while the other one already left the country, the case still remains pending litigation for more than two months, alleged Bosun Jeric Bilbao, representing the seafarers. Atty. Jesus Gabriel "Jeriel" Domingo, OIC, Adjudication Office, POEA, replied: “our hands are tied by the law . . . we must observe the requirement of due process”, when confronted by the seafarers, during the Balitaan sa Aloha media forum on October 10, 2012. However, the case has not yet been resolved to date. On the other hand, millions of pesos due to the seafarers and the government were already lost. This is a dangerous precedent! 

What happens if there are unscrupulous agencies instigating disgruntled crews of its competitor to initiate unfounded complaints and works in cahoots with the investigating and/or regulatory body in order to destroy the business operation of the latter?  This is tantamount to economic sabotage! 

Consequently, there is a need to amend whatever law or rules there is being cited by Atty. Domingo that ties the hands of the regulators to act swiftly on the case. Otherwise, this shall destroy the maritime industry which operations shall be left at the mercy of the regulators because of the existence of a law being alluded to by Atty. Domingo that hinders their action over the case.


(Seafarers of Gyron Crew Incorporation with Moderator Lolly Acosta and Atty. Jesus Gabriel Domingo, OIC, Adjudication Office, POEA)
Millions of pesos in dollar remittances were lost! Millions due to the government as taxes, hundreds starved, some of their dependents quit school while some of their properties were already due for foreclosure because of POEA’s Order suspending the processing of documents by Gyron Crew Incorporation and Manning Agency of seafarers who were about to be deployed to the Netehrlands. This was revealed by Bosun Jeric Bilbao, representing the 300 seafarers from Gyron Crew Incorporation Manning Agency.   

Despite withdrawal of complaint filed by three (3) complainants hired by another manning agency receiving salary lower than what they were receiving from Gyron Crew Incorporation Manning Agency, two of whom already withdrawn the complaint while the other already left the country, the Order has not yet been lifted by the POEA, said Bilbao.  In fact, many of them were already due for deployment even before the Order was issued, Bilbao added. 

On the other hand, seafarers who should have already been deployed to Netherlands now faces a dilemma because of a recent law passed limiting employment of Filipino Seafarers to Holland, said Rodolfo Ca Chila, another seafarer. Thus, denying them and their families of the income which they were supposedly already enjoying. 

 (The seafarers being assisted by  Atty. Malanio "Batas" Mauricio to intervene before the case concerning their manning agency)

Consequently, millions in remittances were lost as a result of POEA’s Order to the detriment of our economy, while the case still remains pending. 

Hear it from them personally:

Monday, October 8, 2012

“300 Seafarer in Danger of Losing Jobs”

“300 Seafarer in Danger of Losing Jobs” 

300 seaman earning at least Php 80,000 monthly salary as ordinary crewmen in European bound vessels were allegedly denied employment. Their recruitment agency, Gyron Crew Incorporation was allegedly prohibited to process their application for overseas employment since May 7, 2012 because of unfounded complaints by disgruntled Gyron recruits employed by the latter’s rival firms. 

While complainants who allegedly accepted employment with competing recruiters at half the rates they enjoy while under contract with Gyron, already withdrawn their complaints with the POEA, the latter has yet to lift the suspension on Gyron, despite its rules that the POEA should act on appeals for the lifting of suspension within 60 days or two months from its filing or by July 2012. 

Thus, endangering 250 seafarer of losing jobs. Join us at Balitaan sa Aloha where both parties shall be given opportunity to air their side.   Let’s find out from the parties themselves.