Friday, November 16, 2012

Press Release - 2nd OFW Family Summit 2012: Hanep Na Ang Buhay Dahil May Hanap Buhay

Yearly summit to provide OFWs and families with business ideas and livelihood opportunities

After the successful ‘1st OFW & Family Summit 2011: Kabuhayan Para sa Kinabukasan’ that attracted over 5,000 participants, the Villar Foundation and GoNegosyo will hold the ‘2nd OFW Family Summit 2012: Hanep Na Ang Buhay Dahil May Hanap Buhay’ for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, from 7am to 4pm.

“We have seen how the first OFW summit has helped many of our OFWs and their relatives, so we will keep on doing this. Many of them have applied what they have learned from the talks they listened to, by putting up small businesses such as food stalls or venturing into franchising and direct selling among others,” said Cynthia Villar, Managing Director of the Villar Foundation.

The summit is focused on OFWs and their families, thus every aspect of the event—from the program to the exhibitors, is customized to cater to their interests, requirements and concerns. 

Various speakers and Villar herself (as keynote speaker) will provide OFWs and other attendees with insights and tips on entrepreneurship, from the basics of starting a business and to financing. Topics include: spotting business opportunities, financial literacy and presentation on other opportunities such as in franchising, direct selling, real estate salesmanship, product consignments, distributorship etc.

Exhibit stalls and booths would feature different businesses, companies and organizations which will showcase their products, services, business offerings among others, that can give OFWs and their families ideas or examples on where to invest their hard-earned money. 

According to Villar, providing OFWs and families with needed business know-how can help them better handle their money. “We want OFWs and their families to have an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can invest their earnings or the remittances they get into profitable endeavors. We want them to have success stories, not sob stories that we often hear from distressed OFWs.”

OFWs-turned-entrepreneurs are also invited to inspire the audience with their testimonials. 

Like last year, one of the main highlights of the event is the raffle prizes. The Villar Foundation will again raffle off a Camella house and lot. GoNegosyo will give away food cart business packages. Livelihood or ‘kabuhayan’ packages such as Aling Puring sari-sari store items of Puregold, motorcycles from Motortrade, Kettle Korn franchises, among many more.

The Villar Foundation, through its Sagip OFW program, has been extending various forms of support and assistance to OFWs and their families including repatriation, livelihood packages, medical/burial assistance, scholarships and skills-up trainings. 

“We in the foundation through Sagip OFW wants to be there for OFWs, from rescuing them to abusive employers, repatriating them and reintegrating them as productive members of the society. We have a soft spot for OFWs because our first client in our housing business was an OFW family. This will be a life-long advocacy for us,” cited Villar.

Corporate sponsors of the 2nd OFW and Family Summit include Vista Land, Camella Homes, Smart, Isuzu Motors, Motortrade, Kettle Food Corp., Avon and PLDT SME Nation. Institutional partners are Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and Blas Ople Policy Center. 

Media partners of the event are GMA, TV 5, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Business Mirror, People’s Journal, Abante, 96.3 EasyRock, Crossover 105.1, Tiger 22 Media Corp. (103.5 Wow FM, Magic 89.9, 99.5RT, Killer Bee, Wave 89.1, Jam 88.3), Love Radio, and DZRH.### 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NGO appeals to PNoy to give green light for DFA probe into complaints vs ambassador

News Release
Blas F. Ople Policy Center
November 10, 2012

NGO appeals to PNoy to give green light for DFA probe into complaints vs ambassador

A migrant workers' advocacy group called on the Office of the President to authorize the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to hold an investigation into allegations made by a Filipino domestic worker regarding acts of sexual harassment involving Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Shulan Primavera.

Susan Ople of the  Blas F. Ople Policy Center said that presidential authority is needed for the case to be heard by the DFA since the respondent is a foreign service official. "We are appealing to the President for the grant of authority to the DFA to proceed with its investigation so that this case can be resolved with fairness, transparency, and impartiality."

Ople expressed high hopes that President Aquino will grant the authority because of his desire for reforms and clear instructions to the foreign service to treat OFWs with respect at all times. She also hoped that the DFA can invite the labor attache and welfare attache to testify once the case is underway.

"Mabel" wants to get on with her life and be reunited with her family but she is committed to finish the case, the Ople Center added. Atty. Reynaldo Robles of ChanRobles & Associates has agreed to take on the case as "Mabel's" pro bono lawyer after listening to her story. 

The OFW advocate noted that it is very rare for an OFW to lodge a formal complaint against any personnel of the embassy, much less one vested with an ambassadorial rank. "This is why this case is so unique and important. All that she is asking for is that the truth come out."

Contrary to an earlier statement of Ambassador Shulan Primavera that the case was part of a "demolition job" against him instigated by another ambassador whom he had a rift with, the Ople Center said that "Mabel" does not even know the name or face of the ambassador being referred to by Primavera.

Ople said the manner by which the DFA also conducts its inquiry shall be closely watched by OFW organizations around the world. 

"This is no longer "Mabel's" battle alone. I know that OFW groups around the world are also watching this case with keen interest," the OFW advocate added.