Thursday, August 26, 2010

Animation Video Of The Hostage Taking

A video animation of what could have happened inside the bus during the hostage crisis in Manila last Monday was uploaded on YouTube. by a user named leon137 which has a title "Recreated Video of hostage bus drama in Philippines, Manila."

The video which now has 14,340 views is a 1:57 minute animated video showing the dismissed police officer Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza brandished his M-16 rifle and shot some hostages after he watched a footage on TV.

The TV footage Mendoza saw was most likely the live news reports which showed how his brother, Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza, was arrested by officers of the Manila Police Department on suspicion of being an accomplice of his brother.

Jason Leung, 18, who suffered from head injuries in the skull and is now in the Intensive Care Unite is believed to be the man in the video who was sitting beside the window and was hit in the head by a sledgehammer..

One of the hostages, a man, has been shown in the video behind Mendoza, in an apparent attempt to stop him. Mendoza, instead he turned and shot him. This man has landed on top of a woman, probably his wife. Suppose Leung Kam Wing (Ken Leung) and his wife.

Ms. Leung has survived the hostage crisis and was seen crying as he was led out of the bus by police. Later, Ms. Leung said her husband was sacrificed for others on the bus.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miss Philippines 2010 Answer in Miss Universe

Although it has been a favorite in the Miss Universe beauty pageant, Miss Philippines 2010 has Venus Raj to impress the public because his answers were evasive and diplomatically ignored the question. Maybe she did not like this? Anyway Miss Philippines finished fourth in the Miss Universe 2010 contest held at the Mandalay Bay Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Venus Raj is a gorgeous woman, she sure looked like she could handle a simple question like William Baldwin’s: “What is one big mistake that you made in your life and what did you do to make it right?” It didn’t sound too bad, did it? Well, the 22-year-old beauty queen must have been too nervous to think about a good answer for this question and ended up saying pretty much nothing at all.

She thanked the audience, she thanked William for the question, she even thanked her parents for her success but her answer was evasive and obviously skipped the question. Miss Philippines 2010 Venus Raj told William Baldwin and the audience: “Thank you so much sir for that wonderful question. Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Good evening Las Vegas. You know what sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say there is nothing major major, I mean problem that I have done in my life because I am very confident with my family with the love that they are giving to me so thank you so much that I am here. Thank you thank you so much.”

Before that time, Miss Philippines seemed to take the initiative to score line as they had a score of 3.55, which is very good. Miss Universe 2010 was crowned Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete, a beauty 22 years of Guadalajara.

You can watch Miss Philippines 2010 answer on the video below.

HK Furious After Hijacks Deaths

Around the world, Philippines headline news was all about the hostage taking in Manila yesterday. Today, the Philippines recognized the deficiencies "in the treatment of the hostage crisis that killed eight tourists from Hong Kong, as anger over the failed negotiations broke on Tuesday in Hong Kong, with demonstrations and harsh words.

A harrowing picture emerged of the victims - a mother of three children who lost their husband and two daughters, a teenager unconscious of the death of his parents and a guide that aims to become a teacher of yoga.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, facing his first major crisis since taking office on June 30, declared Wednesday a national day of mourning in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong to "share their sorrow," his spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Officials promised a full investigation into how the hijacker — a former policeman demanding his job back — was able to gun down eight of the 15 Hong Kong hostages on board the bus before a sniper killed him and officers were finally able to get into the vehicle. Seven other hostages survived the final bloodbath, which came after a 12-hour standoff at a seaside Manila park.

Philippine Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo, who is in charge of the national police, acknowledged Tuesday there were problems with how the crisis was handled.

"Had we been better prepared, better equipped, better trained, maybe the response would have been quicker despite the difficulty," Robredo said.

He added, "All the inadequacies happened at the same time."

Philippine police had defended their actions — pointing out that officers lacking proper equipment had risked their lives in trying to bring the standoff to an end. But they promised to review all events leading to the deaths.

In Hong Kong, sorrow quickly evolved into outrage, with several of the semiautonomous Chinese territory's political parties leading protesters to the Philippine Consulate.

Demonstrators chanted, "You caused the deaths of Hong Kongers," and one protester scuffled with a security guard.

"We think the Philippine government used the wrong strategy. We think the operation failed," pro-Beijing legislator Lau Kong-wah told reporters.

Several Hong Kong newspapers printed mastheads in black, and flags in the territory flew at half-staff.

"Filipino police incompetent," Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News said in a front-page headline.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Committee added its voice to demands for an explanation, but also was "deeply concerned by people who are trying to blow this incident out of proportion" and who might vent anger through retaliatory attacks against thousands of Filipinos who work there, mostly as maids.

"This tragedy should not become a conflict of nationalities," it said in a statement.

Aquino on Tuesday met Chinese ambassador Liu Jianchao and phoned Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang to brief them on the investigation into the crisis that started when a dismissed police officer armed with a M16 rifle and a pistol seized a busload of 21 Hong Kong tourists and four Filipinos to demand his reinstatement on the force.

The ordeal ended in bloodshed on live TV with police storming the bus and killing the gunman, 55-year-old Rolando Mendoza, after he fired at the tourists.

Of the 25 people originally on the bus, 13 of the Hong Kong tourists and four Filipinos survived. Nine of the survivors had been freed by Mendoza hours before the gunfire began.

Britain's Foreign Office said Tuesday that two of the hostages who were released were British nationals.

At the scene of the standoff, family of two dead hostages attended a Buddhist memorial ceremony Tuesday.

Weeping parents with monks walked around the bus, sprinkling water around the car riddled with bullets. Survivor Amy Ng mourned the death of her husband, Ken Leung, who said she confronted the man, and Doris and daughters Jessie, 21 and 14 years his son, Jason, was still in hospital after a operation on a head injury.

"I thought I would fight for survival so I could take care of my children, but two of them have already died," a sobbing Ng said Tuesday.

A bedridden, catatonic Tracey Wong told Hong Kong reporters she hid under a seat in the bus while Mendoza fired at the hostages.

"I want to find daddy and mommy quickly and see if they're OK," the 15-year-old said. But Hong Kong's radio RTHK reported that both her parents were among those killed, identifying her father as 51-year-old Wong Tze-lam.

Tour operator Hong Thai Travel Services general manager Susanna Lau praised a slain tour guide, 31-year-old Masa Tse, for his vigilance and decade-long service. TV footage showed him peeking out of the bus during his captivity and later one hand handcuffed to a position near the bus door.

Tse had studied yoga in India and wanted to become an instructor, Hong Kong's Cable TV reported, citing his friends. His Facebook page was flooded with messages of condolences. "I know you did your best to protect members of your tour group. You were very brave. Rest in peace. I will always miss you," friend Tulip Lam wrote.

Hong Kong has canceled tours to the Philippines and asked Hong Kong tourists still in the country to leave.

Philippine Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said the crisis would likely damage the industry. About 140,000 Hong Kong tourists come annually.

"I'm hoping it will be forgotten soon enough," he said in a Manila hospital, where some of the former hostages were treated.

"We will try to improve ourselves and assure the Hong Kong government and the rest of the world that we will be able to handle matters much better in the future," he said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hostage Taking in Philippines Is Over

Dismissed policemen who held over 20 foreign tourists hostage for close to 12 hours was killed by sniper fire, according to a television report.

It was not clear whether there were survivors from those taken hostage Monday by Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who demanded his reinstatement after he was dismissed on drug-related offenses, which he denied.

Bursts of gunfire were heard from inside the tourist bus as lawmen have gone to the backdoor to force it open in the hope of seizing Mendoza and rescuing his hostages, footage on GMA Network showed.

A bystander, identified as a 10-year-old boy, was hurt following the gunshots and was brought to the hospital for treatment, according to the television report.

A police car moved closer while members of the raiding team continued to break into the back of the vehicle, video showed.

Ambulances have surrounded the bus.

The law enforcers initially broke the windows and tried to enter the front door of the stalled bus but were stopped by gunshots coming from inside.

Mendoza seized the tourist bus with over 20 Chinese nationals early Monday morning in Manila to demand his reinstatement into the force.

Mendoza was dismissed due to drug-related offenses but he denied the charges.

Hostage Taking In Manila

A dismissed police officer took hostage this morning a bus full of people, mostly tourists from Hongkong.

Sniper shots were fired Monday night near the bus where a hostage-taking incident was taking place, according to a live report on GMA News "24 Oras."

The driver of the bus, who was earlier reported handcuffed to the steering wheel, escaped moments after the shots were fired.

The shots forced media men covering the hostage crisis to scamper for safety, said GMA News anchor Mike Enriquez in his report.

In a separate report, Raffy Tima said the shots were fired after the bus showed signs of driving off where it was parked in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park.

The shots were also fired minutes after SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of hostage-taker former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was arrested by elements of the Manila Police District (MPD).

Nine of the more than 20 passengers of the bus, most of them Chinese tourists, had already been released and are now undergoing stress debriefing.

You can watch it now live on ANC.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Willie Revillame Resigns from ABS-CBN

Day before yesterday, I've heard that the former host of Wowowee made press conference about his decision of resigning from ABS-CBN kapamilya network.

Here is what Revillame said during the conference.

"Ako po ay nagpapaalam na sa ABS-CBN. Tinatapos ko na po ang kontrata ko sa ABS-CBN na naging kapamilya ko."

Ito ang buod ng mensahe ng controversial TV host na si Willie Revillame sa presscon na ipinatawag niya kaninang tanghali, August 9, sa Annabel's restaurant sa Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Punung-puno ang main hall ng venue ng press, TV crew, mga abugado, at supporters ni Willie. Bukod sa legal counsels ni Willie na sina Atty. Leonard de Vera at Atty. Ferdinand Domingo, nagpakita rin ng suporta kay Willie ang Team Pacquiao, sa pangunguna ng business manager ni Congressman Manny Pacquiao na si Mr. Eric Pineda; ang big boss ng Viva Entertainment na si Mr. Vic del Rosario; ang columnist at TV host na si Cristy Fermin; ang singer-composer na si Lito Camo; ang dating aktres na si Daisy Romualdez; at ang talent manager na si Annabelle Rama.

Bago magtanong ang press kay Willie ay ikinuwento muna niya ang mga kaganapan bago siya nauwi sa desisyong tapusin na ang kontrata niya sa ABS-CBN.

"Pinag-isipan ko ho 'tong mabuti, ipinagdasal ko at ako po'y nakipag-usap sa mga taong talaga namang nagmamahal sa akin, kapamilya ko, sa mga kaibigang malalapit sa akin, at sa akin pong mga pinagkakatiwalaang abogado, at sa akin pong pinagkakatiwalaan sa business po ng industriya," simula ng TV host.

Ayon kay Willie, babalik na siya dapat sa Wowowee noong July 31, 2010. Pero nagulat na lamang siya nang mabago ang usapan at palitan ng panibagong programa ang kanyang noontime show.

"Marami na pong pag-uusap na nangyari, naghanda na po kami," sabi niya. "Magsisimula po ako sa unang pangyayari dahil ako po'y humingi na naman ng tawad sa pangyayari, nung unang pangyayari na ako'y umalis sa Wowowee. Tinanggap naman po 'yon ng buong pamunuan ng ABS-CBN.

"Noon pong bago mag July 10, si Ms. Linggit Tan, ang production head po ng ABS-CBN, she's been texting me at siya po'y tumawag sa 'kin para mag-usap. Dahil po nung mga panahon na 'yon, parang ayaw ko na ho sanang lumabas sa telebisyon muna. Sabi ko, aayusin ko muna yung sarili ko kung bakit nangyayari sa akin 'tong ganito."

THE FIRST MEETING. Ang unang meeting nila ay nangyari nga noong July 10, 2010, Sabado ng hapon, sa bahay ni Willie sa Tagyatay. Nagkataon daw kasing may event doon sa Tagaytay ang mga business unit head ng ABS-CBN. Kasama rin daw sa meeting na iyon ang business unit head ng Wowowee na si Jay Montelibano, ang abugado ni Willie na si Atty. Domingo, at ang kaibigan niyang si Roy Reyes.

"Ang napag-usapan po namin nila Ms. Linggit Tan ay yung pagbabalik ko ng July 31 sa ABS at sa Wowowee," sabi ni Willie. "Napag-usapan na po naming lahat kung ano ang mga bagong segment, kung ano po ang gagawin sa bagong programa...bagong mga games po. At the same time, ibinigay ko yung mga ideas ko sa mga bagong games. Meron akong mga sinabi sa kanila 'ganito ang gawin natin, 'eto ang gawin natin.' Okay naman po yun. Meron akong mga segments na sinabi... 'Gusto ko yung '1-2-3 Go!' Meron akong sinabi na 'Spin A Wheel', mas marami.

"At the same time, nakipag-usap na rin po ako sa pamunuan ng ibang mga sponsors para magbigay ho ng bahay at lupa. Para sa araw-araw na pagbalik ko, gusto ko mas maraming matulungan at mas maraming mapasayang kababayan natin. Ibinigay ko sa kanila yung concept. Pati yung music, pinadinig ko lahat. That was July 10."

Dagdag niya, "Pagkatapos po ng pag-uusap namin, okay na ang lahat, naging kampante na ako. Nai-announce na 'ata sa staff na ako'y babalik na at naging masaya ang staff. Naging okay naman ho sa feedback."

THE SECOND MEETING. Pagkatapos ng meeting ni Willie kay Ms. Linggit ay nakipag-meeting din siya sa mismong Presidente ng ABS-CBN na si Ms. Charo Santos-Concio. Naganap ang meeting nina Willie at Ms. Charo sa opisina ng huli noong July 13 (Tuesday). Kasama rin sa meeting na iyon ang dating manager ni Willie na si Arlene de Castro, misis ni dating Vice President Noli de Castro; ang creative director ng Wowowee na si Edgar "Bobot" Mortiz; at si Ms. Linggit ulit.

"So, napag-usapan po dun yung pong sinasabi nilang babalik na ako, okay na lahat," sabi ni Willie. "Binanggit na ni Ma'am Charo lahat ng mga ideas, okay naman sa kanya. Sabi nga niya, 'Ngayon, dapat mas maganda na, mas marami tayong mapasaya, matutulungan sa pagbabalik mo.'

"Ibinigay ko na rin po yung concept nung bagong mga games. Kung ano yung napag-usapan namin ni Ms. Linggit, yun din ho ang napag-usapan namin at napagkasunduan namin ni Ma'am Charo at sa mga kasama namin do'n, ni Direk Bobot, ni Miss Linggit Tan.

"Sa pagkakaalam ko ho, tapos na ang lahat, magbabalik na ako [sa Wowowee] ng 31," patuloy ng TV host. "Pagkatapos po no'n, nag-akapan pa kami ni Ma'am Charo. Sinabi po ni Ma'am Charo na, 'Galingan mo, okay na.' 'So, Ma'am Charo, puwede na ba akong makipag-meeting sa aking mga staff?'

"After ng meeting ko po sa opisina ni Ma'am Charo, ipinatawag naman yung core group ng Wowowee—ang aming head writer, ang aming business unit head, the EP, the writers at yung mga set decorators. At the same time, nag-meeting na ako with the staff. At sabi namin, confidential, para hindi muna magulo yung mga staff.

"So, napagkasunsuan po na babalik na ako sa July 31," ulit ni Willie. "Sa July 31 pong yun, naghanda, excited na ang lahat. Ako po'y nag-isip na ng mga bagong... Lumapit na rin po ako sa Vista Land para magbigay ng labindalawang bahay, ibinigay naman po sa akin ng Vista Land. Lumapit naman po ako sa mga sponsors na madadagdagan ko pa yung saya at papremyo sa bagong gagawin naming Wowowee.

"Sa lahat po ng 'yon, after ng meeting ko kay Ma'am Charo, pinag-isipan ko na. Ako po'y nag-isip munang lahat kung ano yung gagawin ko para mas maganda yung programa. At ang balak ko sa opening, napakaganda po ng opening, dun sana ako magsasalita at hihingi sana ako ng paumanhin kung ako man ay may nasaktan at may na-offend sa ating mga kababayan sa huling pangyayari.

"Ganon naman ang buhay, e, nobody's perfect, lahat," dagdag ni Willie. "Lunes hanggang Sabado ho ang trabaho ko sa Wowowee, alas-nuwebe ng umaga hanggang gabi. Wala na akong panahon sa sarili ko, Linggo lang. Sa Linggo, tumatawag pa ako sa staff ko kung nakakita ako ng bagong music, ibibigay ba yung music. My life, ang buhay ko po, ay Wowowee na.

"February 5, 2005 nagsimula po ang Wowowee, wala naman akong sakit sa puso, wala naman akong sakit sa ulcer... Hindi ko sinisisi ang Wowowee. Ang sinasabi ko lang, sa sobrang pagmamahal ko po sa programa ng bawat Pilipino na Wowowee, e, medyo napabayaan ko na yung sarili ko.

"So, yun po ang isa sa rason din sa buhay ko kung bakit nandito rin ako sa inyo. Gusto kong malaman n'yo na talagang ibinuhos ko ang buhay ko, magpasaya ng tao every day."

THE THIRD MEETING. Nang akala ni Willie na ayos na ang lahat para sa pagbabalik niya sa Wowowee, nakatanggap siya ulit ng mensahe mula kay Ms. Linggit Tan noong July 20, Tuesday.

Kuwento ni Willie, "Tinext muna niya 'ko, tinawagan ko siya. 'Puwede ba tayong mag-usap?' sabi niya sa text. Tinawagan ko, sabi ko, 'Bakit, ano pag-uusapan?' May kaba na ako, may nararamdaman na akong kaba. Sabi ko, 'Hindi ako puwede bukas ng Wednesday, ngayong araw na 'to na lang.' So, nag-meeting kami sa Imperial Suites sa isang kuwarto roon."

Present din daw sa meeting na 'yon sina Jay Montelibano at Bobot Mortiz.

"Sabi ko, 'Ano'ng pagmi-meeting-an natin? Alam ko, ayos na lahat.' Ang sabi niya [Ms. Linggit] sa akin, 'Okay lang ba sa 'yo na once a week ka na lang sa show?' Parang nagulat ako. 'O kaya, magkaroon ka na lang ng show sa Studio 23?' Parang lahat po ng mga inisip kong idea, lahat ng pinaglaanan ko ng panahon na ipagbubuti ko 'tong Wowowee ay nawala, naglaho, nung sinabi sa akin 'yon. Ang tanong ko sa kanya, 'Bakit? Ano'ng nangyari?' 'Well,' ang sabi niya, 'marami pang may ayaw sa 'yong bumalik ka.'

"I have to be honest, sasabihin ko lang yung katotohanan," diin ni Willie. "Hindi ho ako naninira at never kong sasabihan ng masama ang ABS dahil nabago ng ABS-CBN ang buhay ko, at malaki ang utang na loob ko kay Mr. [Gabby] Lopez, at sa mga namumuno po ng ABS-CBN. Wala ni isang salita na masama na ginawa sa akin ng ABS. Ang sinasabi ko lang po, yung event na nangyari kung bakit hindi na ako nakabalik sa ABS, sa Wowowee.

"So, nung sinabi niya sa akin 'yon, sabi ko, 'Napakasakit ng ginagawa n'yo sa akin kasi nagsara na tayo, nag-usap na tayo, tapos sasabihin mo sa akin na hindi ako tanggap,' at marami pa raw e-mails na ayaw pa akong pabalikin.

"Ngayon, nando'n ho sa harap namin si Jay, ang tanong ko sa kanya: 'Jay, kamusta ba ratings ng Wowowee? Ano'ng ratings n'yo?' Umabot na sa single digit—9 percent—ang ratings. 'Kamusta ang pila n'yo?' 'Kuya, wala na pong pumipila, naghahakot na kami ng tao.' Sabi ko, 'Linggit, 'eto ba ang inaayawan ng tao?'

"Kasi ang punto ko, kung ayaw sa akin ng tao, dapat nag-rate na ng bente mahigit 'yan. Kasi nung umalis ho ako sa Wowowee, nasa 22 [percent] po ang ratings ng Wowowee... Hindi ko pinagmamayabang na noong nandon ako, e, mataas ang ratings, hindi ho. Ang ibig kong sabihin, ganyan ho kamahal ng publiko, ng buong mundo ang programang 'yan kasi binibigyan ko ng importansiya ang bawat Pilipino sa programang 'yan.

"Doon lang ako nagtataka na after that meeting, iba na ang programa, nagkaroon na ng bagong noontime show," pahayag ni Willie.

Ang tinutukoy ni Willie na "bagong noontime show" ay ang Pilipinas, Win Na Win! na nagsimulang umere noong July 31—ang petsa kung kailan sana babalik siya sa Wowowee. Ang Pilipinas Win Na Win! ay hinu-host nina Kris Aquino, Pokwang, Mariel Rodriguez, Valerie Concepcion, at Kris Aquino.

WILLIE'S DECISION. "So, from that time," patuloy ni Willie, "nagdesisyon na ho ako agad. 'Eto na ang panahon para magdesisyon ako sa buhay ko. Ang gusto ko lang gawin sa buhay ko, magpasaya araw-araw. Sa sarili ko, kung kaya kong makatulong sa mga kababayan nating kapus-palad, gagawin ko 'yon. Kung sabi n'yo nag-iba na, mayabang na, never ho akong naging mayabang. Nagiging tooo lang ako sa inyong lahat, 'yan ho ang katotohanan."

At dito na nga idineklara ni Willie ang kanyang desisyon na magpaalam at tapusin na ang kanyang kontrata sa ABS-CBN.

"Ngayon, sa araw hong ito, sa inyong lahat sa mata ng bawat Pilipino, sa buong mundo, lahat dito, para na lang po sa kapakanan ng lahat, sa mga taong nahihirapan din sa sitwasyon ng ABS CBN sa aking pagbabalik. Ako na ho ang gagawa ng paraan para lang hindi sila mahirapan. Ako po ay nagpapaalam na sa ABS-CBN. Ako po ay tinatapos ko na ang kontrata ko sa ABS-CBN na naging kapamilya ko.

"Wala po akong masasabing masama sa kanila. 'Eto lang po ay sarili kong desisyon para makapag-move on na po at makagawa po ako ng programa ko para sa sarili ko at gusto ko. Hindi na po ako puwedeng magkaroon ng isang show na once a week dahil sa kontrata ko po, sa pagkakaalam ko, every day po ang aking dapat gagawin hanggang September 2011.

"Basta ngayon po, sa araw na ito, sa sarili ko, nagpapaalam na po ako sa ABS-CBN, at tapos na po ang kontrata ko sa kanila. Thank you," saad ni Willie.

Kris Aquino Files Annulment Case

Philippines queen of talk show Kris Aquino files annulment case. Kris wants her marriage to a popular pro basketball player annulled according to her lawyers. James Yap's celebration for his Most Valuable Player (MVP) award on Wednesday was spoiled by an attempt to serve him papers for the nullification of his marriage to Kris Aquino.

An ABS-CBN News source said that several court officials, led by the sherriff of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC), were spotted outside the Araneta Coliseum waiting for Yap.

The officials were reportedly there to serve the basketball star the petition filed by Aquino to nullify their marriage.

However, Yap was not able to receive the petition, since he was able to leave the Araneta Coliseum quickly.

The court officials declined to give a statement.

In a phone interview, Yap said he was surprised by the presence of the court officials there. He said he was not aware that there were people from the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) waiting for him at the Araneta Coliseum.

According to the entertainment website,, Kris filed her petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage at the Makati RTC last Monday, August 9.

Aquino, meanwhile, was advised by her lawyer to not speak about the issue.

However, in her Twitter account, Kris said: "No matter how brave u try to be, a breakup is painful. Quoting again from my love iphone app- when u break up, your whole identity is shattered. It's like death. True, it's hard to get to know myself all over again as just me & no longer part of a couple."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pag-ibig contribution mandatory to all OFW

Filipinos are now required to contribute to the Pag-Ibig fund if they intend to work abroad.

Based on a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) directive, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be charged fees to be able to get their Overseas Employment Certificate. POEA’s Memorandum Circular 06, the mandatory coverage to the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG Fund, which took effect yesterday, Sunday, August 1, involves a membership fee of P600 to be paid by the workers upon deployment.

The amount will cover 6 months. Thereafter, the workers will pay a monthly due of P100.

Those already working abroad will automatically be covered by the directive.

A rights group for Filipino migrants however hit the mandatory membership, saying OFWs are already saddled by several charges.

“Before it is only optional, not mandatory, thus giving OFWs and their dependents leeway to choose which is better, appropriate, and practical considering the family's priority, to get a housing loan from Pag-Ibig or just gradually built their own house from their earnings,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Besides the Pag-Ibig mandatory contribution, the OFW is also required to pay P1,164 for membership in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, P900 contribution to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and an additional P100 processing fee, he said.

“This is on top of other fees and charges imposed by the government and the placement fee collected by recruitment agencies,” he added.

Pag-Ibig however defended the move, saying the contribution should not be considered an additional tax.

In 2 years time, the worker will already be able to tap a loan from Pag-Ibig, Senior Vice President for Operations Alex Aguilar said.

Lawsuit will be filed against resigned PAL pilots

The president of Philippine Airlines (PAL) today said that management is considering suing 25 Filipino pilots who resigned en masse, leading to cancellations of 11 flights over the weekend.

In an interview, PAL President Jaime Bautista said the 13 pilots and 12 first officers were ordered to return to work in 7 days or face criminal and administrative charges. He said PAL has 150 flights a day, adding the cancellation of 5 flights alone meant a serious dent on daily operations.

"They resigned without complying with the 180-day notice. Flights are scheduled for 6 months and we need enough pilots to man the flights. The reason for the 180-day notice is to have the chance to get replacements and ensure that the flights leave on time," he said in an ABS-CBN "Umagang Kay Ganda' interview.

He said that in the case of the recent resignations "some pilots would file their resignations today and not show up for work the next day."

"We have 150 flights a day. Just 5 canceled flights can affect up to 5,000 people," he said.

On Monday, PAL management canceled 4 domestic flights due to lack of pilots. The 4 cancelled flights as of 8 a.m. are: including Manila-Iloilo (PR 147), Iloilo-Manila (PR 148), Manila-Bacolod (PR135), and Bacolod-Manila (PR136).

Better pay

Bautista admitted the flag carrier is losing accredited pilots to startup airlines who offer better pay.

"Other airlines can afford to pay higher salaries as they don't have to train. It costs P10 million to train pilots from the start to the point they become captain. Startup airlines who hire pilots that they don't have to train get substantial savings on training expenses," he said.

Pilots who undergo PAL training are required to stay with the company for at least 5 years. Bautista said of the 25 resigned pilots, only 2 have complied with the contract. "We hope that they return. We will give them a few days to return especially those who haven't left the country," he said.

He said accredited PAL pilots currently have an estimated P100,000 monthly basic pay, with an average productivity pay of P250,000. He said pilots could earn as much as P500,000 a month including benefits.


A PAL pilot who resigned from the company in May said he chose to resign as the company began cutting-back on its pilots citing redundancy.

"I couldn't wait for the termination notice. I have a family to take care of. Some pilots were being made to resign and sign documents that said they were redundant. They had the choice to accept termination or be moved to the air team where salaries were lower," he said.

Bautista, however, denied ever forcing their pilots to resign.

"We don't have redundant regular pilots. Sometime in March, there was a slowdown in the airline industry and we decided to ground two planes. When you cut down on flights, you need less pilots but that does not mean they're taken out. We need more pilots specially when airline traffic normalizes, as was the case when the airline industry went on rebound in April. We need to keep hiring pilots," he said.

Impact on tourism

Speaking on ANC's "Headstart," Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim voiced reservations on the potential impact to the country's tourism industry if the labor dispute was not immediately resolved.

"This is a basically a labor dispute between management and employees. I only hope that its not going to prolong the dispute because if its a prolonged dispute then our image as a destination would be affected," Lim said.

"Hopefully, we will be able to come up with a resolution, so that the riding public is not inconvenience and the economy does not suffer because what is an inter-company dispute," President Benigno Aquino III said on Sunday.

A public duty

Capt. Amado Soliman, president of the Air Safety Foundation of the Philippines, said that while the pilots' reasons for leaving may be legitimate, they still have a responsibility to the public.

"Pilots are not like ordinary workers. They have a responsibility to the public. And the airline industry is a public utility. If you stop working, there must be a 30-day notice and pilots should honor their contracts. It would be unfair to the public if they just walked out," he said.

He said the matter should be threshed out by both PAL management and the resigned pilots.

PAL Spokesman Jonathan Gesmundo said PAL officials will meet with the pilots who left the airline on Wednesday.

PAL crew hit with resignations

But PAL appears headed for more problems. Even flight crews are reportedly warning to launch a labor strike, if PAL management refuses to heed their demands for a salary increase.

The PAL Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines is complaining of unfair labor policies. The group's president, Bob Anduiza, said some airline staff have already left the country.

"The 747 staff has been reduced. Instead of 18 there are only 16 staff members, many have resigned because there is no job security. they are applying for work in other countries," he said.

The case of the flight crews is still pending at the National Labor Relations Commission.

Probe into PAL retrenchment

Meantime, the Anak-Pawis partylist filed a resolution at the House of Representatives, seeking an inquiry into the airline company's move to retrench some 2,600 employees.

"This is meant to understand the circumstances surrounding the issue and why 2,600 employees stand to be affected. We have to make sure that the right of workers is not being violated," Anakpawis party-list Rep.Rafael Mariano said.

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