Tag Archive: Philippines


SSS Flexi-Fund

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

Know something new for OFWs and the SSS Flexi-Fund.

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What is the SSS Flexi-fund?

The SSS Flexi-fund is a voluntary, provident fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). It is an additional service provided by the SSS on top of the regular OFW membership.

Why do I need to join the SSS Flexi-fund Program?

The SSS, through the Flexi-fund Program, provides OFWs the opportunity to set aside a part of their earnings abroad and maximize the returns on their Flexi-fund contributions. Your accumulated funds are investments for the future. It is offered as a supplement to SSS benefits, which you are entitled to as a regular OFW member, by promoting savings generation, thus serving as your additional layer of social security protection.

Who may enroll in the SSS Flexi-fund?

The Flexi-fund is open to all OFWs who are:

  • recruited in the Philippines by foreign-based employers for work abroad;
  • having a source of income in a foreign country; or
  • residing permanently in a foreign country.

What benefits am I entitled to under the Flexi-fund Program?

As a Flexi-fund member, you will receive additional income from your savings in your Flexi-fund account, on top of the benefits under your regular SSS coverage. Members who reach the retirement age of 60, or become disabled or get injured at work, are entitled to Flexi-fund benefits, either in the form of a monthly pension, lump-sum payment, or combination of both. Beneficiaries of a pensioner who has passed away shall be given a lump sum amount equivalent to the cash value of the remaining pension.

Why is the SSS Flexi-fund a good investment?

The contributions that you remit to the SSS Flexi-fund are invested in government securities. The interest earned by your Flexi-fund deposits is based on the average 91-day Treasury bill rate, thus ensuring a transparent, high-yielding and risk-free investment of your hard-earned income abroad.

What may Flexi-fund investments be used for?

The SSS Flexi-fund provides good security for your future and your family’s. Primarily, the program aims to supplement your pension benefits. Aside from this, you may apply for early withdrawal of Flexi-fund savings to support urgent financial needs when your overseas employment contract ends. It can also be used to finance schooling, construction of a house or a small business of your own.

When may I withdraw my SSS Flexi-fund contributions?

An OFW member may withdraw his Flexi-fund contributions with interest, either in full or partial lump sum, anytime, especially in times of need.

Find out more here: READ MORE

Source: https://www.sss.gov.ph/sss/index2.jsp?secid=812&cat=7

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

 

It’s our Independence Day today. Hope everyone is in good spirits as we push forward towards the future as a nation.

Now is the day to stir that patriotic blood flowing in your veins. Use that fire as we look towards the upcoming election.

 

 

 

 

Incidentally, it is also National ICT Month. Time to move towards the future, to a digitally empowered nation.

 

 

Mabuhay.

 

MC

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

Ang laki na ng population ng bayan natin. It is high time for a plan for the future.

May it is high time for every Filipino to take responsibility seriously.

 

 

The nearly 16 million increase in the Philippine population over  10 years, as shown by the 2010 Population and Housing Survey by the National Statistics Office, is yet another sign that the reproductive health bill should be passed, according to the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation.

The Philippine population as of May 1, 2010 stood at 92.337 million, according to the NSO survey. This was 15.83 million higher than the country’s population in 2000. The annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 1.9 percent.

“These figures say that all the more, the government needs population and development planning, which can be provided through an RH law,” PLCPD Executive Director Ramon San Pascual said in a statement.

San Pascual said the country’s population growth rate of 1.9 percent was still one of the highest in Asia. This could also be attributed to the lack of a comprehensive reproductive health policy and the poor’s lack of access to family planning education and services.

He also said that based on the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, 33 percent of total pregnancies among Filipinos were mistimed or unplanned.

“It is disheartening that as we grow rapidly, the number of babies born comes from the poor, who in the first place are not ready to carry the burden of having yet another child or children for that matter,” he said.

He said managing the country’s ballooning population could be done, if only legislators would pass the much-needed measure that would provide reproductive health education and services.

The RH bill has been pending for over 10 years in Congress and has always been the subject of contentious debates. The latest version of the bill is awaiting approval on second reading in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Advocates of the bill earlier said the measure was already ripe for a vote because no new issues or questions were being raised against it, and all the concerns brought out have been answered.

The bill seeks to define the government’s policy on reproductive health, and among its features is the provision of artificial methods of birth control, sex education for students and health services for women.http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/176735/ph-population-now-92-3m-up-by-15-8m-in-10-years

 

Pinakamalaki na growth rate in Asia?

We can’t take this sitting around and expect things to get better on their own.

 

 

MC

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

I found this bit of news in the net and was left wondering if the ideals of public service are indeed being met.
I want to hear you opinions on this fellow Kababayans. 🙂
Read on:

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Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Seguis exhorted the personnel of the Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) to continue to reach beyond their grasps in the delivery of consular services and work together in the fulfillment of the goals of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

He said this during the 2nd OCA General Assembly held last October 21 at the DFA-OCA building in Aseana Business Park in Paranaque City.

The assembly was entitled “Public Service Excellence in OCA.”

“As the public face of the Department, OCA has exemplified the DFA’s unwavering commitment to serving the Filipino people by remaining steadfast in its operations even in the face of technical difficulties, typhoons and other calamities,” Undersecretary Seguis said.

“Now that we have achieved the goals set out by Secretary Albert del Rosario, we must use this momentum and think of creative ways to further improve the services that we extend to the public, not just in the issuance of passports, but also in the other equally-important aspects of consular work,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Jaime Victor B. Ledda echoed Undersecretary Seguis’s statements and commended OCA personnel for their tireless efforts in providing efficient and quality services to the public. He also presented an update on the Department’s administrative regulations, including OCA’s compliance with norms of conduct, duties of public officers and employees, and office decorum.

A highlight of the General Assembly was the traditional open forum with Assistant Secretary Ledda, where OCA personnel raised questions on their welfare to the head of their office.

As some of the questions involved administrative and fiscal matters, Assistant Secretary Ledda, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Personnel and Administrative Services Melita Sta. Maria Thomeczek and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Fiscal Management Millicent Cruz-Paredes took turns in clarifying the issues raised by the various offices of OCA.

The 2nd General Assembly concluded with a presentation on financial literacy and benefits for DFA employees by Mr. Danny Paragas of PhilCare.

Almost 400 consular personnel attended the event, held as a team-building exercise for the benefit of employees seen as vital stakeholders in the current and future operations of OCA.

Also present during the general assembly were Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) Senior Special Assistant Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez, Chief of Staff Blesila C. Cabrera, OUA Special Assistant Elmer Cato, and Office of Personnel and Administrative Services Principal Assistant Anna Marie Santos.http://www.isria.com/pages/25_October_2011_135.php

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

A little OFW info bit i found on the net. Read on:

Deployment of Filipinos abroad as overseas contract workers (OCWs) or overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been increasing in recent years. Based on a recent count, an average of 100 OFWs leave the Philippines every hour to find well-paying jobs abroad.

Without a doubt, the deployment of OFWs has raised the income of millions of Filipinos. The remittances also helped sustain the economic growth of the Philippines. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, OFWs remittances reached the highest of $18.76 billion in 2010 marking an 8.2 percent growth from the $17.07 billion registered in 2009. The remittances represent 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

No wonder that the government has been actively supporting the OFWs, putting in place rules and regulations protecting and furthering their welfare. One is the recently issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 1-2011 of the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which aims to clarify and define the tax treatment of income earnings and money remittances of OFWs.

RR No. 1-2011 implements certain tax concessions to OFWs, as follows:

• Income tax exemption – Under the RR, the income of an OFW arising out of his overseas employment is exempt from income tax. However, if an OFW derives income from business activities or properties in the Philippines, such income earnings will be subject to tax under Sections 24 (A) and (B) of the Tax Code as this is on the premise that an OFW is taxable only on income from sources within the Philippines.

• 7.5 percent final tax exemption – The RR also provides exemption from 7.5 percent final tax on interest income from a depository bank under the expanded foreign currency deposit system upon presentation of proof of non-residency such as OEC or Seaman’s Book. However, if the account is jointly in the name of the OFW or Filipino seaman and an individual (spouse or dependent) living in the Philippines, only 50 percent of the interest income will be treated as exempt while the other 50 percent will be subject to final withholding tax of 7.5 percent.

• Business tax – The RR provides that an OFW may be subject to 12 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) if in the course of his trade or business, he sells, barters, exchanges, leases goods or properties, renders services in the Philippines or imports goods into the Philippines pursuant to Sections 106 to 108 of the Tax Code, as amended. However, if his gross annual sales and/or receipts do not exceed the amount of Php1.5 million and he opted not to register as a VAT taxpayer, he shall be liable to pay instead 3 percent tax of his gross quarterly sales or receipts.

• DST exemption – The remittances of all OFWs, upon showing of the OEC or valid Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Membership Certificate by the beneficiary or recipient, shall be exempt from the payment of documentary stamp tax (DST). The RR further provides that remittances sent through the banking system, credited to beneficiaries or recipient’s account in the Philippines and withdrawn through an automatic teller machine (ATM) shall also be exempt from DST provided that the OFW shows the valid proof of entitlement when making arrangement for his remittance transfers.

• Other exemptions – Exemptions from other taxes and fees such as the travel tax and airport fee are also provided to OFWs upon showing of the proof entitlement (i.e. OEC) issued by the POEA.

The RR defines an OFW as referring to Filipino citizens employed in foreign countries, physically present in a foreign country as a consequence of employment thereat. To be able to avail of the tax incentives mentioned above, the OFW must be duly registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) with a valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC); and with a valid Seafarers Identification Record Book (SIRB) or Seaman’s Book in the case of seafarers or seamen.

The tax exemptions under the RR are certainly a relief to the OFWs and their families, amidst the havoc brought about by the weakening of the US dollar against the Philippine peso on the OFW remittances. But the same old question lingers, are these enough to soothe the sufferings and hardships of the OFWs and their families?

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

Some complicated news for passport aspirants:
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The Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) regrets to inform the public that releases of passports of those who applied in Manila on May 6 and thereafter and whose passports are due for release on June 10, Friday, and thereafter will be delayed for a few days, or starting June 14 and thereafter.

The delay is caused by an unexpected malfunction of the mainframe program which has prevented the printing of passport booklets.

The foreign equipment provider, Oberthur Technologies, has put all available resources and is working around the clock to fix the problem. The remedial work will take a few days.

To alleviate the backlog, the DFA-OCA will continue offering the extension of the validity of passports for one year of those with urgent travels. This extension can be accomplished within the same day and at no cost to the applicant. There is also no appointment needed to avail of this service.

Those with emergency travels (e.g., death in the family, medical reasons, and OFWs reporting for work) within the next few days may be issued machine-readable passports.

For the above and other concerns, affected individuals may call or visit the Passport Director’s office at telephone numbers 836-7759 or 556-0000 locals 2030 up to 32.

The DFA-OCA enjoins the general public who has travel plans to apply for passports well ahead of time, at least 12 weeks in advance.

The DFA requests the public’s consideration and understanding. http://dfa.gov.ph/main/index.php/public-advisory/3158-dfa-office-of-consular-affairs-advisory-on-passport-release

MORE NEWS:

DFA Consular Affairs Office Advisory for Passport Appointment June 20, 2011

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

In order to provide up to date information, I would like to encourage you, yes you the reader to try and share knowledge or information that you think may be useful for other people. Your experiences might prove to be the very thing that another person will need to successfully facilitate his or her concern at the moment.

If you have seen the movie “Pay It Forward”, doing a good deed can do wonders for others and eventually to ourselves. As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around”.

So, sana ay subukan ninyo na magbigay ng mga bagay na inyong naranasan na pwede nating magamit na batayan upang matulungan natin ang ibang tao na magawa, maiwasan, maayos ang mga bagay na iniisip nila. Sharing won’t cost you a thing, but it is a good investment.

Post your comments and experiences sa comment box. We will create a blog every once in a while based on your actual experiences and inputs. Hopefully this will help create something useful for all Pinoys, saan mang parte sila ng mundo naroroon :).

To give you an idea, here’s a sample of what I’m ranting about:

lene cabrera
Submitted on 2011/05/02 at 3:00 pm

I have applied at DFA batangas for renewal of passport last March24, 2011.. they already got an appointment system, no more walk-ins..expected date of release is May 3 which is tomorrow.. rush yon, i paid 1200 for that pero ganon katagal ang waiting period, more than a month..hopefully makuha ko bukas, pero mukhang hinde. 😦

FYI

Useful di ba :). So push those keyboard keys and start firing away my friends.

POEA Revives Validation Of OFW Exit Clearance At NAIA

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

For our vacationing OFWs, here’s an update on the new policy for checking Overseas Exit Clearance at the airport.

Starting March 1, 2011, overseas Filipino workers leaving the country through Ninoy Aquino International Airport will have to pass through the labor assistance centers of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to validate their exit clearance.

POEA Administrator Carlos Cao Jr. said in a release he is restoring the validation of OFW documents at the NAIA terminals 1, 2 and 3, as this is necessary to ensure that only workers who are properly documented or have passed through the legal processes are allowed to leave the country.

“With the validation system in place, POEA is able to check on workers who are carrying tampered or fake travel documents secured through illegal means,” the release stated.

It added that validation of the exit clearance, also called the overseas employment certificate (OEC) or e-receipt, can be done in less than a minute through electronic connectivity.

More validation machines will also be put in place for a faster service to some 3,500 OFWs who leave the airports daily, he said.

Cao likewise stressed that the exit clearance validated at the NAIA terminal shall be valid only up to the date of the confirmed flight.

Re-validation shall be allowed only for a flight that has been cancelled or re-scheduled for valid reasons, he said.

Cao added that the POEA will put up special lanes for OFWs deployed by recruitment agencies that are recipients of performance awards.

In March 2008, the POEA, then headed by Rosalinda Baldoz who is now Labor Secretary, dropped the validation of OFW documents through the labor assistance centers (LAC) at international airports, following a directive from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to streamline processes in OFW deployment.

Recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani earlier urged the POEA to bring back the OEC validation through the LACs, as the system proved effective against illegal deployment and human trafficking.

Apart from LACs at NAIA, the POEA also has centers at Mactan International Airport in Cebu, Davao International Airport in Davao, and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Pampanga.

 

Make sure you have your OEC handy before your return flight to your jobsite. You can opt to do it personally at the POEA offices or process it online at www.oecdelivery.com.ph

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

Heard some tales of people being victimized by fixers who facilitate passport appointment scheduling. Some of the stories I heard mentions of people being charged as high as 2 thousand pesos just to get an appointment schedule. Now that is big time swindling.

I know that some people are not tech savvy, but for sure, one or two of your relatives might know how to use the internet. Logging in to passport.com.ph is not that hard, and getting a passport appointment is not that hard too. Madali lang naman kung pagtutuunan ng pansin at pang unawa. And reminder lang, FREE or LIBRE and pagkuha ng passport appointment.

Problem with Filipinos? We are too lazy to do the work ourselves sometimes that we  resort to paying other people to get the job done, then we complain when we realize that we got swindled out of our hard earned money.  More often than not, people who are after easy things sometimes does not get worthwhile returns.

Note that fixers are people who are after easy money. Your money. And you expect to get something worthwhile in return for the amount you shell out? Sabi nga nila, walang biktima kung walang nagpapabiktima. The 2 thousand pesos you pay to the fixer could very well cover the rush processing of 2 passports, plus you get to eat a good lunch. Now if you want to get “fixed” up, and when you appear to the DFA with your “fixed” appointment and problems arise, then that is a problem you paid for.

The easy way is not necessarily the best way. I say, the proper way is the sure way. Don’t be fooled, don’t be victimized. Be smart and know that you can do this is you put your mind into it. Learn how easy it is to get a passport appointment on the internet.

Iwasan ang fixer. Wag hayaang maging biktima.

A friendly reminder from your friendly neighborhood MasterCitizen 🙂

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

While it is still hot…like fuming hot…I really don’t know what else to say.

Only in the Philippines? Wow talaga.

Comelec exec: Nothing to pack
By Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:22:00 10/28/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Delivery of voting materials by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to a number of regions for the October 25 polls were delayed because at a certain point there was nothing to transport, the poll body’s packing and shipping committee (PSC) said Wednesday.
The delays and other glitches led to the postponement of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in 2,418 villages (about 6 percent of the total) across the country.

“There was a delay in the packing because we had nothing to pack … the ballots were incomplete,” PSC head Rey Doma said, defending his committee against accusations that it delayed the delivery of voting supplies for monetary gain.

A Comelec insider, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told the Inquirer on Tuesday that some employees and officials of the poll body intentionally caused delays because they wanted to get a share of the P230-million budget for delivering voting materials.

(So what else is new???)

Controlled chaos

The source said it was controlled chaos. “They delayed it until the last minute,” he said.

The Comelec has formed a fact-finding panel to determine the delays in the delivery of election paraphernalia and those who should be held accountable.

Doma said it was unfair for Comelec officials to put the blame on the PSC when it was merely enduring the “domino effect” of late preparations.

(Domino effect? Bakit hindi kaya natin sila lagay under giant dominoes and see how well they run…)

He said the fact-finding panel “must look at the whole gamut of the delay.”

“There are a lot of factors that contributed to the delay… I just hope that the investigation will be fair and impartial and that the fact-finding committee sees the whole gamut of the delay,” Doma told reporters.

Bids committee

Commissioner Armando Velasco, the head of the fact-finding panel, said his group would also review the timetable for the barangay and SK elections followed by the bids and awards committee (BAC), the National Printing Office (NPO) and the PSC.

Dilly-dallying

“We would check how many days the BAC consumed before it issued the notice of awards to the winning bidders,” Velasco said. “We would also look into the schedule of the printing.”

Doma said his office could not immediately perform its functions, mainly to pack and ship ballots and other voting supplies, because there was “dilly-dallying” in the preparations and setbacks in the printing of ballots.

If the schedule had been faithfully followed, the shipping of election supplies could have started on October 18, a week before the nationwide polling in 42,025 barangays, Doma said.

But the NPO did not even complete the printing of ballots on that day, he said. Two days before the elections, some of the ballots were still at the NPO reception committee and had yet to be turned over to the PSC, he added.

Packing began October 15

Doma said the PSC started receiving election forms and supplies for packaging on October 15 and completed its work a week after or on October 23.

We finished packing in one week,” he said. “We should have even been commended for this because we finished a job that is usually completed in one or two months in just one week.”

(We commend you….condemn seems to be a spelling mix up of commend don’t you agree?)

The shipment of ballots to far-flung areas like the Socsksargen and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao began only on October 19 and the following day in nearer regions.

This was after the Comelec allowed the PSC to carry out partial delivery of ballots after seeking its permission, Doma said.

“Of course we are the last phase of the preparation, so we look as if we are the ones who caused the delay,” he said.

He also denied that the delays were caused by his office so his men could get a share of the P230-million budget for delivering voting materials.

Forwarding companies

Doma said the packing and shipping committee had to designate deputized drivers from other government agencies to carry out the deliveries in the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos as it would take more time if it were carried out by forwarding companies.

“We limited the personal deliveries to these two regions to make sure that the ballots would reach the areas on time,” he said.

Personal deliveries or those carried out by Comelec personnel were allowed only when bundles of the printed ballots had been inadvertently left behind by the forwarding companies, he added.

A list obtained by reporters on Wednesday showed that 17 Comelec personnel personally delivered official ballots and election returns to various parts of the country, including Sorsogon, Misamis Oriental, Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Quezon, Bohol and Sultan Kudarat.

The personnel were from the Comelec’s planning department, administrative service department, electoral contest and adjudication department, personnel department and election records and statistics department.

Drivers

Eight drivers from other government agencies were deputized by the PSC to deliver the materials to Mt. Province, Abra, Quirino, Cagayan Valley, Nueva Vizcaya, Apayao, Benguet, Isabela and Laguna.

Doma acknowledged that during election time, the Comelec staff would bug him to make the deliveries out of town. “In fact last Sunday at the NPO, there were some people there waiting to be given trips like vultures,” he said.

The maximum budget provided to a Comelec employee making the delivery was P50,000. He also stood to receive a per diem of P800 and a stipend for gasoline expenses, he said.

Panalo talaga…. 🙂

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