Archive for June, 2019


6 June 28

January 2020 (and onwards) may just be the best time to give birth after SSS announced that maternity benefits for eligible SSS female members could reach up to P70,000 by next year.  According to the SSS, the recently implemented new minimum and maximum monthly salary credit for members and as a result, the usual maternity benefit which was only at P32,000 could double up to P70,000.  This is another good news from the SSS after the approval and implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act that guarantees female members of 105 days of paid maternity leave, among other privileges.

How to avail of the SSS Maternity Benefit?

  • Female SSS members with complete monthly contributions.
  • Female SSS members who have paid contributions of not less than 3 months within the 12-month period before the date of delivery or miscarriage.
  • Member must submit a duly accomplished Maternity Notification Form or the SSS Form MAT-1 with proof of pregnancy (ultrasound, doctor’s report).
  • Employed members may submit the SSS Form MAT-2 for maternity reimbursement so the employer can provide the salary credit due from SSS. This should be given to the employee by the time she goes on maternity leave.
  • Voluntary, work-at-home, and separated members may only submit the SSS Form MAT-1 and the cash allowance shall be given directly to the member.

To know how to compute for your SSS Maternity Benefit, you can read this blog we released in May 2017.

Sources:

www.sss.gov.ph

http://www.abs-cbn.com

http://www.theasianparent.com

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6 June 27

The National ID has been the subject of a lot of reports ever since the President signed this into law last August 2018.  Recently, the government announced that the pilot run for the registration and issuance of the ID shall begin on September 2019, driving some to scamper for copies of the required documents and IDs – foremost of which is your PSA birth certificate.

I agree that this has become a controversial issue as some groups think that having this kind of system will only put an individual’s right to privacy at risk.  What with the proliferation of cases of identity theft and online scams, your personal details could be used without your consent and your privacy be compromised.  I wasn’t comfortable with the idea myself.

Anyhow, I trust that the government understands the pros and cons of the National ID system and I am now one of the many who are looking forward to its full implementation in September.  And so before we finally let the government collect our personal details, here are some important facts, gathered from a report of the Rappler, that we all need to know regarding the National ID:

  1. The PhilSys (Philippine Identification System) is the government’s central identification platform. It is a means to simplify public and private transactions with the use of just one ID.
  2. It is expected to greatly improve the delivery of government services especially for Pinoys who lack proper government-issued identification cards.
  3. It aims to eliminate the need to present other forms of identification when transacting with the government and private sector.
  4. It can open up opportunities especially for the poor and marginalized and will make public service delivery more efficient.
  5. It also aims to reduce corruption and curtail bureaucratic red tape, prevent fraudulent transactions, and ease doing business in the Philippines.

What will I get upon registration?

  • All Filipino citizens and aliens shall register in the system.  Babies born after the law takes effect shall be registered upon birth.
  • Each registered person shall be given a PhilSys number (PSN) that is randomly generated, unique, and permanent.
  • You will be issued a physical identification card that will also serve as an official government-issued identification document.  This can be used in various transactions that may require proof of identification.

 

Where can I use my PhilID or PSN?

  • Applying for social welfare and benefits.
  • Applying for services offered by the GSIS, SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, and other government agencies.
  • Applying for passport and driver’s licenses.
  • Tax-related transactions.
  • Registration and voting identification purposes.
  • Applying for schools, colleges, universities, and other learning institutions.
  • Applying for employment and other related transactions.
  • Opening bank accounts and other transactions with banks and financial institutions.
  • Verifying criminal records and clearances.
  • Other transactions defined in the IRR.

Are you also looking forward to getting your very own National ID? I know I am.  Keep following us for more information on the National ID’s pilot run and if you have questions, feel free to send us a message here or a private message in our Facebook page.

Source: www.rappler.com

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6 June 26_1

Did you know that employment figures improved in April (2019) and that more people had better job opportunities this year compared with April of 2018?

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently reported the employment rates and it is encouraging to know that some 74,000 Filipinos landed jobs in the second quarter of this year.  Good news, eh?

We summarized the rest of the employment statistics for better appreciation. Read on below:

More men are unemployed than women.

  • Of the total unemployed persons, 62.7% are men, 37.3% are women.
  • 43.8% are from the 15 to 24-year-old age group
  • 30.9% are from the 25 to 34-year-old age group.

Among the unemployed persons in April 2019, 23.8% are college graduates, 10.7% are college undergraduates, and 26.4% completed junior high school.

Regions with the most number of unemployed residents:

  • ARMM – 9%
  • NCR – 6.3%
  • Ilocos Region – 5.9%
  • Bicol – 5.8%

Regions with the highest employment rates:

  • Cordillera Administrative Region – 97.1%
  • Cagayan Valley – 97%
  • Davao Region – 96.9%
  • Caraga – 96%

Workers were grouped into three broad sectors:

  • The services sector – 58.5%
  • Agriculture – 22.3%
  • Industry – 19.7%

Employed persons fall into any of these categories:

  1. Wage and salary workers – those who work in for private households, private establishments, government or government-controlled corporations, and those who work with pay in own family-operated farm or business. They make up 63.3% of the total employed population.
  2. Self-employed workers without any paid employee – 27.6% of the total employed in April 2019.
  3. Employers in own family-operated farm or business
  4. Unpaid family workers – 6.4% of the total employed in April 2019.

Of the total employed persons in April 2019, 67.6% are full-time workers or those that work for 40 hours or during the reference week while 31.3%  are part-time workers or those that work less than 40 hours per week.

Underemployment Statistics

Underemployed individuals are those that are employed but are still actively looking for other opportunities to make ends meet.

  • Underemployed individuals comprise 13.5% of the total workforce.
  • Underemployed persons who work for less than 40 hours in a week accounted for 60% of the total underemployed in April 2019.  This number is higher than the 52.6% that registered in the same month last year.

Labor Force Participation Rate

This is the number of people that are available for work as a percentage of the total population.  According to the PSA’s report, this is at 61.4% this year; a lot more impressive than last year’s 60.9% or January 2019’s 60.2%.

For more information on Philippine statistics, visit the PSA website www.psa.gov.ph and click on Statistics.

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6 June 21

Good news for commuters, especially those that travel by provincial buses and Ro-Ro boats (in roll-on/roll-off terminals).  The government has recently signed into law, RA 1131, mandating all operators of transport terminals to provide free internet service and clean restroom to passengers.

What is included in this new law?

The newly implemented RA (Republic Act) covers land transportation terminals, stations, stops, rest areas, and roll-on/roll-off terminals.  These can be found along major roads provided with parking space, restaurants or snack bars, restrooms, and waiting sheds for commuters.

These areas must have the following amenities, at no cost to commuters:

  1. Separate restrooms for person with disabilities, male and female passengers.
  2. Set-up at least one lactation station separate from the restrooms.
  3. Restrooms must have:
    1. Safe and adequate water supply
    2. Flush system
    3. Toilet seat with cover
    4. A lavatory with toilet paper, mirror, soap, hand dryer, and door lock.
    5. Waste bin
    6. Exclusive space for diaper-changing.
  4. Free internet access.

These terminals are not allowed to collect fees from passengers, however, the passengers may be required to show their paid tickets to prove that they are indeed traveling through the terminal’s transportation.

Owners and operators of terminals who will be proven to be violating this law will be fined P5,000 for each day of the infraction.

Read more about it here: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/19/19/free-internet-clean-restrooms-now-a-must-for-transportation-terminals

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6 June 20_2

May forever!  With the mobile number that you are using, that is.

Thanks to a new law signed by the President last February, us Pinoys now get to keep our mobile numbers even when we decide to change service providers or switch from prepaid subscription to postpaid subscription, at no cost.  This is covered by the RA 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) has been released but will officially take effect on July 2, 2019.  By then, mobile subscribers may already apply for the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to secure their mobile numbers.

How do you qualify for the MNP?

  1. The subscriber must not have an outstanding financial obligation with the donor provider.
  2. The mobile number used in a device is not locked to any mobile service provider.
  3. 60 calendar days must have elapsed from the date of activation of the ported number.
  4. No pending request for transfer or assignment of the mobile number.
  5. No order form a court of law stopping the mobile number porting.
  6. Not blacklisted by a service provider due to previous fraudulent activities.

How to apply for MNP?

  1. A subscriber who intends to avail of the MNP service shall first request from donor provider a 9-digit unique subscriber code (USC) which is valid for 15 days.
  2. The subscriber shall submit his or her porting application to the recipient provider. This can be done by the subscriber himself or through an authorized representative, or online. This can also be done through SMS using a 5-digit access code.
  3. The telco must transmit the clearance to the other company preferred by the subscriber within 24 hours upon receipt of the application.
  4. The porting process should be completed within 48 hours after a telco receives the application as long as the subscriber has no outstanding financial obligation or has not been rejected.

Postpaid and prepaid subscribers of the same mobile network may also use the MNP service and the same qualifiers shall apply.  This, too, must be processed by the network within 24 hours.

The MNP service shall be implemented at no cost to mobile service subscribers.

References:

Click to access 20190208-RA-11202-RRD.pdf

http://www.gmanetwork.com

 

 

6 June 17

Now, you no longer need to take a leave from work just to have your driver’s license renewed.  The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has recently announced that their branches in malls shall now process applications for the renewal of driver’s licenses as well as issue student permits.  This shall be effective this month (June) and will be available in all of LTO’s Driver’s License Renewal Offices (DLRO) in malls nationwide.

LTO Online PASS (Personal Appointment and Scheduling System)

You only need to have an appointment in order to avail of the weekend services of the LTO.  This makes the entire process more efficient and assures you that you shall be attended to as soon as you get to the office.  It is actually easy to set an appointment with the LTO, just follow these steps:

  1. Log on to www.lto.net.ph and click the LTO Online PASS button. This is found on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click on the Driver’s License Renewal link (or Motor Vehicle Renewal, if that is your purpose. Bear in mind that LTO branches do not process Motor Vehicle Renewal during weekends.). Please remember that the LTO Online PASS is only available for driver’s license renewal and motor vehicle registration renewal.  If you are applying for a license for the first time or are registering your car for the first time, you need to go to an LTO branch for walk-in processing.
  3. Read the terms and conditions and then tick the small box at the bottom of the page.
  4. You will be shown a CAPTCHA code; key in the code and then click the Continue button.
  5. Fill out the appointment form and then click on the submit button. Make sure that all entries are accurate, especially your email address, before submitting your form.
  6. Choose your preferred LTO branch, date, and time for your renewal.
  7. After you have satisfied all the fields, you will receive a confirmation email from the LTO. Save this and show this email to the staff at the LTO branch during your appointment.

If you are applying for a Student Permit, you need to bring a copy of your PSA birth certificate.  You can order for a copy at www.psahelpline.ph and have it delivered to you.

For more information about this update from the LTO, please visit their website at ww.lto.gov.ph.

References:

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/06/14/renewal-of-drivers-license-now-available-on-saturdays-lto/?fbclid=IwAR0_Kz4_B611_s-VCcQU6F3ndcDd1Y9VcsqCYVGC5n6V66Q1vGFq4MldPEo

www.lto.gov.ph

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6 June 13

Are you planning to work abroad as an OFW?

Many Filipinos have found good employment and earning opportunities abroad, whether as a professional or a skilled worker.  Filipinos are known for being industrious, trustworthy, and hardworking that is why it is not surprising to know that wherever there is a job to be done in any part of the world, a Filipino is almost always in the payroll.

There are, however, certain countries where Pinoys are not allowed to seek employment.  The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) identified these countries and we are sharing the list below for your reference.  If you are applying for an overseas job through an agency, make sure you are not offered a job at any of these countries.  Bear in mind that some recruitment firms will try to make you believe that it is safe to work in these areas even if it is included in the banned list.  Please do not fall for such claims.  Always deal with legitimate agencies and recruitment firms.

Countries where the deployment ban is imposed due to unstable security:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Somalia
  3. Sudan (except Khartoum and the Kenana Sugar Plantation in the White Nile)
  4. Rwanda
  5. Burundi
  6. Iraq
  7. Syria
  8. Yemen
  9. Chechnya

Countries where only OFWs with existing employment contract are allowed to return:

  1. South Sudan
  2. Libya
  3. Ukraine

The country with the poor working condition and local economic situation

  1. Palau (specific ban for domestic workers)

 Countries not certified by the Department of Foreign Affairs

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Chad
  3. Cuba
  4. North Korea
  5. Haiti
  6. Mali
  7. Mauritania
  8. Niger
  9. Palestine
  10. Somalia
  11. Zimbabwe
  12. South Sudan

If you have questions regarding a job opportunity you are being offered or are not sure if the country where you will be deployed is safe for Filipino workers, call the POEA at (072) 722 1144.  You may also regularly visit their website for updates at www.poea.gov.ph.

Reference: www.poea.gov.ph

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6 June 11

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is now accepting applications for the 2020 undergraduate scholarship program.  Grade 12 students who wish to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as non-STEM students who belong to the top 5% of their graduating class, are also welcome to apply.

All applications must be submitted and acknowledged by the DOST on or before September 6, 2019; the nationwide examination will be held on October 20, 2019.

What are the requirements for the application?

The application form for the said scholarship may be downloaded from the www.sei.dost.gov.ph website.  This form is not for sale and can be reproduced.  Fill out all fields on the form and attach a 1×1 photo of the applicant on the upper right-hand corner of the front page.

  1. Personal Information (Form A of the application form)
  2. Household Information Questionnaire (for RA 7687 Applicants only)
  3. Certificate of Good Moral Character (Form C of the application form)
  4. Certification of Good Health (Form D of the application form)
  5. Principal’s Certification (Form E1 of the application form and for applicants from the STEM strand)
  6. Principal’s Certification (Form E2 of the application form and for applicants from the NON-STEM strand)
  7. Certificate of Residency (Form F of the application form and for RA 7687 applicants only)
  8. Parents’ Certification (Form G of the application form and must have no pending application for immigration).
  9. Applicant’s Certification (Form H of the application form).
  10. Signed Declaration by Applicant and the Parents/Legal Guardian (Form I of the application form).
  11. Photocopy of PSA birth certificate of the applicant.
  12. Parent/s 2018 Income Tax Return /W2/Employment Contract for OFW/BIR Certificate of Exemption for filing of ITR/Municipal or Barangay Certificate of Indigency (for RA 7687 Applicants only).
  13. Electric Bills for 3 consecutive months in 2019 (for RA 7687 Applicants only).
  14. Affidavit of Guardianship (if with legal guardian)
  15. Certificate of scholarship in high school (if applicable)
  16. High School statement of account (if applicable)

What are the benefits/privileges for DOST scholars?

Tuition and other school fees P40,000 per academic year
Book allowance P10.000 per year
MS/PE uniform (1st semester of the first year only) P1,000
Group insurance Premium
Transportation Allowance (for those studying outside the home province) 1 economy-class roundtrip fare
Monthly living allowance P7,000 per month
Summer allowance (if required per curriculum)

Tuition and other school fees

P1,500
Book allowance P500 (to submit OR)
Monthly allowance 2 months
Graduation clothing allowance P1,000

What are the criteria for eligibility?

  1. The applicant must be a natural-born Filipino citizen;
  2. If the student is under RA 7687, poor, talented, and deserving and belongs to a family whose socio-economic status does not exceed the set values of certain indicators;
  3. Member of the STEM strand senior high school graduating class, or a member of the top 5% of the Non-STEM strand senior high school graduating class;
  4. A resident of the municipality for the last 4 years as attested by the barangay chairman;
  5. Of good moral character and in good health; and a qualifier of the 2020 S&T Scholarship Examination.

 How to apply for scholarship?

You may secure a copy of the application form at the Science Education Institute, 2nd level, Science Heritage Bldg., DOST Cmpd., General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig.

The form is also available at DOST Regional offices, Provincial Science and Technology Centers (PSTC) or Offices of the Congressmen and Senators.  Or can be downloaded at www.sei.dost.gov.ph.

You may submit the accomplished form at the Science Education Institute or DOST Regional Office/PSTC nearest the applicant’s school or home address.

The deadline for filing of application is on September 6, 2019, while the date of examination is on October 20, 2019.

For more information about the DOST scholarship, you may visit their website at www.sei.dost.gov.ph or call their office numbers at (02) 839-0083, (02) 837-1333, (02) 837-2071 local 2382.

Reference: www.sei.dost.gov.ph

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6 June 10

Last year, the Korean Embassy announced that Pinoy visa applicants will no longer be entertained at the Korean Embassy in Taguig City and instead, will be processed through designated travel agencies.  This is in consideration of the safety and convenience of the applicants who are forced to wait in line under the heat of the sun due to limited space in the embassy.  This year, they announced that the processes involved in visa applications have become simpler and easier to allow more Pinoys the chance to visit South Korea.

Some of the new implementations are:

  1. Qualified professionals from the top 100 companies need only to present a proof of employment when applying for a visa.
  2. Students from the Top 10 universities need only to present proof of enrollment upon visa application.
  3. Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and those holding high positions in the government are entitled to 10-year multiple entry visa to South Korea.

To view the complete and most updated list of designated travel agencies where you can apply for a visa to Korea, click this link.

Other important reminders you need to know when applying for a Korean visa:

  1. For family applications, documents for proof of relationship is a must. This includes your PSA birth certificates and PSA marriage certificates.
  2. Family applications should be filed at the same time.
  3. Old passports with previous travels within the last 5 years should be submitted together with the latest passport when applying for a visa.
  4. The validity of a visa is only 3 months from the issue date. Do not apply more than 3 months prior to the date of travel.
  5. Visa processing takes 7 working days. Express visa processing takes 2 working days.
  6. Apply for a visa prior to purchasing your airline tickets since visa issuance is subject for approval of the consul in charge.

Source:  http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/ph-en/index.do

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6 June 4 (1).jpg

Have you heard the news?

The US Embassy now requires US visa applicants to disclose their social media presence and list down all the platforms that they are using or have used in the past five years.  And although they will not ask you for your password, you will be required to provide your username so they can easily find your online pages.

US Visa applications may now be done and submitted online.  If you have done this before, you know that there are a series of questions you need to satisfy to establish your identity and purpose for visiting the US.  We accessed the US embassy’s application portal and indeed, have discovered that they have added a section where you can indicate all the social media accounts you have under your name.

Below is the actual question that was added after you have provided your personal information:

Do you have social media presence?  Select from the list below each social media platform you have used within the last 5 years.  In the space next to the platform’s name, enter the username or handle you have used on that platform.  Please do not provide your passwords.  If you have used more than one platform or more than one username or handle on a single platform, click the ‘Add Another’ button to list each one separately.  If you have not used any of the listed social media platforms in the last 5 years, select ‘None.’

 Which social media platforms do they recognize?

At first glance, you would think that all possible sites and apps where you have created an account and interact with other people, may be considered as social media.  However, the US Embassy has streamlined the selection so that you only choose among the following:

  1. Ask.fm
  2. Douban
  3. Facebook
  4. Flickr
  5. Google+
  6. LinkedIn
  7. MySpace
  8. Pinterest
  9. Qzone (QQ)
  10. Reddit
  11. Sina Weibo,
  12. Tencent Weibo
  13. Tumblr
  14. Twitter
  15. Twoo
  16. Vine
  17. Vkontakte
  18. Youku
  19. Youtube

What will they do with the information they see in my social media account?  Are there exemptions to the new policy?

First off, the new policy will be implemented for both immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications.  Only applicants for diplomatic and official visas are exempted from the rule.

According to the US State Department, the social media identifiers is part of the extensive security screening that all prospective traveler and immigrant to the US need to undergo.  However, they have yet to confirm if this is implemented across the world.

Personal tips and thoughts on this new policy:

How badly do you need (or want) to get a US visa?

99% of readers will most likely say, badly.  So aside from making sure that you have all the necessary documents ready for your application, you now also need to prepare the list of social media accounts you maintain.  I created a personal checklist for this specific preparation and I hope you find this useful:

  1. Check all your social media accounts and make sure that you have the correct usernames and passwords.
  2. Login to all of these accounts just to be sure that your username is correct and your passwords are updated.
  3. Review your feed for any negative or derogatory posts, anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Should you delete those?  I would.
  4. As much as you can, use your real name as your username. Avoid inverting the spelling of your name (e.g. ellehcar for Rachelle… because why?).  If your username is a bit off (dark, intimidating, difficult to pronounce, etc.) you might want to consider changing it for the sake of your US visa application.
  5. Use a recent photo as your profile picture. Make sure it clearly shows your face and that you are dressed modestly in it.

Please share your thoughts on this new policy from the US Embassy.  We’d love to hear from you.

 

Reference: http://www.rappler.com

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