Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Open-source statistics: R and ESS

Open-source statistics: R and ESS: "My search was fruitful, leading me immediately to the delightfully GPL-licensed R Project for Statistical Computing: “R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics.” (The R system and language are similar to S, developed at Bell Labs.) The R language has functional-programming semantics (which I love) and supports (among others) the object-oriented style of programming, which is used extensively for R’s statistical interface. Most results in R are delivered in terms of objects, such as tables and and vectors and linear models, whose properties you can inspect and manipulate as you would expect. The underlying classes provide specialized methods for common operations so that the objects do the right things in response to generic commands. Immediately, I was hooked on R. Despite having a sharp initial learning curve, R is straightforward to use. Once you get the lay of the land, you can reliably guess what functions and their arguments mean. The help facility is good, too, and can integrate with your web browser if you desire. And the graphics! Graphs and charts are often the first, best way to size up data sets. R makes it easy to create publication-quality graphs and charts, drawing on any number of supported “graphical devices.” Among the stock devices are postscript, pdf, LaTeX,"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PIA Homepage

PIA Homepage: "Gov't moves to break offshore employment cycle By Renee F. De Guzman San Fernando City, La Union (11 December) -- Notwithstanding the cash remittances from the overseas Filipino workers as major growth driver of our economy and their outstanding contributions to their host countries, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is determined to break the offshore employment 'to keep the best and brightest Filipinos at home.' Working with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the President is focused on economic reforms designed to check the overseas employment cycle so that 'we can keep our best and brightest at home - closer to families and friends, helping to build our communities, and providing the next generation of leadership'. In this regard, the BSP conceptualized a financial literacy program for OFWs and their families. The campaign emphasizes the importance of savings and introduces the participants to alternative opportunities for their remittances, such as placements in financial instruments and investments in business ventures."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Video - Breaking News Videos from

Video - Breaking News Videos from "Organ sales in the Philippines 3:22 The Philippines prepares to sell its citizens' kidneys 'like any export.' CNN's Hugh Riminton reports"

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > POEA’s marketing missions

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > POEA’s marketing missions: "POEA’s marketing missions The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) drew flak the other day from a powerful group of fee charging private recruitment agencies for its continuing job marketing missions. The Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (Pasei), which is composed of 700 placement firms, excoriated the POEA for invading its “domain.” “It’s predatory and totally unfair,” cried Pasei president Victor Fernandez, accusing the POEA of being the administrator of the government’s overseas employment program and at the same time a competitor of an estimated 1,500 recruitment agencies in the country. The latest POEA initiative, which was protested by Pasei, is its ongoing talks with the government of the United Arab Emirates to fill its labor requirements, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with Filipino workers under a government-to-government arrangement. Unless stopped, Fernandez said, the POEA’s “incursions” will continue into other countries experiencing a construction and business boom, such as Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen."

{Comments - I am surprised that these agencies have the nerve to complain when there is so much documentation of their exploitation of OFWs!}

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > RP best economy in Asean

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > RP best economy in Asean: "ersonal consumption expanded by 6 percent due to large and growing OFW remittances. Unemployment fell to 7.8 percent in first half to 2007 from 8.1 percent in 2006. Among salaried workers, the largest increase was in the public or government sector due to the elections. The Arroyo administration eliminated the consolidated public sector deficit in 2006, the World Bank notes. A P32 billion consolidated public sector surplus was recorded in first half 2007, about one percent of GDP, driven in large part by higher surpluses of the social security funds and government units."

Sunday, November 11, 2007


SLUMP IN OFW HIRING FEARED TO LAST FOR YEARS: "SLUMP IN OFW HIRING FEARED TO LAST FOR YEARS MANILA, NOVEMBER 5, 2007 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - Despite the global demand for highly skilled workers, local recruitment industry leaders yesterday warned that fewer overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are likely to get hired abroad in the coming year. Recruitment industry leaders said the slump in hiring of Filipino workers this year may continue in the coming years due to government�s effort to take over the recruitment of workers from private sector. This, even as there are expectations that remittances from OFWs will double to about $21.4 billion in the next three years. Jackson Gan, Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) president, said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) does not have sufficient manpower and expertise to handle the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers. �The government, particularly the POEA, does not have the capacity to handle the recruitment of the large market in the Middle East which could lead to lower deployment in the coming year,� Gan said."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Philippines To Seek Bilateral Labor Ties With Overseas Filipino Worker's Host Countries | October 31, 2007 | AHN

Philippines To Seek Bilateral Labor Ties With Overseas Filipino Worker's Host Countries | October 31, 2007 | AHN: "Philippines To Seek Bilateral Labor Ties With Overseas Filipino Worker's Host Countries October 24, 2007 11:23 a.m. EST Preciosa Dumlao - AHN News Writer Manila, Philippines (AHN) - The Philippine government should pro-actively negotiate for bilateral labor agreements with countries hosting Filipino workers, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada who is concurrent chairman of the Senate Labor Committee and of the Joint Congressional Committee on Labor and Employment. Estrada noted the report by Kanlungan Center, a private group assisting distressed overseas Filipino workers, that the Philippines has bilateral labor agreements with only 13 out of the 197 countries hosting OFWs, namely: Norway, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Taiwan, Switzerland, Libya, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Indonesia. 'Practically everyday, we hear of Filipino workers being abused and maltreated by their employers abroad, especially, in countries that our government does not have bilateral labor agreements with. Such agreements could prevent these misfortunes by laying down the necessary guidelines and provisions for the protection of our workers,' he said."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Manila Times Internet Edition | BUSINESS > Telcos cashing in on OFWs

The Manila Times Internet Edition | BUSINESS > Telcos cashing in on OFWs: "Telcos cashing in on OFWs By Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter TWENTY-FOUR-year-old Rosemarie, a daughter of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) deployed in Hong Kong, said constant communications with her mother abroad helps ease the pain of distance. “We always call or text my mother to chat and say thank you,” she said. Rosemarie is only one of millions of other Filipinos whose parents or siblings have to work abroad, and whose remittance-fueled spending on calls and text messages has propped up the multibillion-peso telecommunications industry. According to a fresh survey by Nielsen Media Research, communications between OFWs and their loved ones back home is often done once a week by more than a third of respondents. Close to a fifth do that once a month, and another fifth use the phone twice a week. Nielsen sampled 300 remittance recipients, aged 18 years and above, from all socioeconomic classes."

Migration News

Migration News: "China, Taiwan Migration News Vol. 14 No. 4, October 2007 Print-Friendly Version China's economy and society are being transformed by rural-urban migration. In 1978, before market reforms began, about 70 percent of Chinese were employed in agriculture, which generated 28 percent of GDP. By 2006, only 43 percent of the 760 million Chinese workers were employed in agriculture, which generated 12 percent of GDP. At least 150 million of the 327 million agricultural workers in China are considered redundant. Farmers and especially their children are pushed out of agriculture by low incomes and pulled into urban areas by the availability of jobs. In 2006, urban residents in China had an average income of 10,500 yuan ($1,400), compared with 3,300 yuan ($440) in rural areas Government policies aim to increase rural incomes and slow rural-urban migration. Some 210 million Chinese have left the place in which they are registered. However, Chinese living in places in which they are not registered are not entitled to public housing, schooling or health care. The city of Beijing is approaching its ceiling of 18 million people, including 12 million permanent residents who have the Beijing hukou, or household registration certificates, and over five million migrants. Taiwan. The Council of Labor Affairs in July 2007 announced that it would issu"

Monday, October 8, 2007

That Midas touch in HK parish -, Philippine News for Filipinos

That Midas touch in HK parish -, Philippine News for Filipinos: "That Midas touch in HK parish By Blanche Rivera Inquirer Last updated 07:35pm (Mla time) 10/08/2007 MANILA, Philippines – As Hong kong Bishop Joseph Cardinal Zen said, it could have been another Italian or American. Instead, the new shepherd of Hong Kong's biggest parish is a Filipino. A former altar boy from Pangasinan has been appointed parish priest of St. Joseph's Church in Central Hong Kong, touted as the area's biggest parish with about 8,000 Mass attendees every weekend, most of them Filipino migrants. On Sept. 1, Fr. Midas Tambot, SVD, officially became the first Filipino priest to take over St. Joseph, now known as a church of migrants due to the bulk of overseas Filipino workers who turn the place into the biggest Filipino Catholic melting pot in Hong Kong on Sundays."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stand with the Burmese Protesters

Stand with the Burmese Protesters: "Stand with the Burmese Protesters After decades of military dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising – and they need our help. Marches begun by monks and nuns snowballed, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets. Now the crackdown has begun, but the protests are spreading... When the Burmese last marched in 1988, the military massacred thousands. If the world stands up and supports their struggle, this time they could win. We're in a race against time-- targeting the dictatorship's main backer China in a global advertising campaign, delivering the petition to the UN secretary-general and sending the Burmese our support via radio-- To Chinese President Hu Jintao and the UN Security Council: We stand alongside the citizens of Burma in their peaceful protests. We urge you to oppose a violent crackdown on the demonstrators, and to support genuine reconciliation and democracy in Burma. We pledge to hold you accountable for any further bloodshed."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

ABS-CBN News Online

ABS-CBN News Online: "Gov’t likely to miss 1-M OFW deployment target for ’07 The Philippine Star Local job recruiters expressed optimism that despite the opening of new labor markets abroad for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the government is unlikely to reach the annual yearly target deployment of at least one million workers because of the drop in the hiring of housemaids. Jackson Gan, of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters (FAME), said at least 100,000 Filipino domestic helpers lost their jobs because of the new government policy that fixed to $400 per month the minimum salary for maids. 'The new markets that the Department of Labor and Employment is bragging about like Canada, Spain, and New Zealand will not make up for the loss of 100,000 jobs of domestic helpers,' Gan pointed out. Housemaids from Thailand and Indonesia accept salaries as low as $150, while maids from China are paid $50 to $100. Gan said the hiring of OFWs in Taiwan also declined as a result of the Taiwanese government’s protest over the controversial Philippine government policies. He added that quite a number of Middle East-bound Filipino workers were also unable to leave the country due to lack of airline flights including the ban on processing fees for OFWs and the alleged unfair treatment for Taiwanese investors i"

Monday, October 1, 2007

Philippines: Government Bans Its Critics From Entering (Human Rights Watch, 28-9-2007)

Philippines: Government Bans Its Critics From Entering (Human Rights Watch, 28-9-2007): "Philippines: Government Bans Its Critics From Entering Human Rights Watch Has Obtained Official Blacklist Barring More Than 500 People (New York, September 28, 2007) – The Philippines government should stop blacklisting peaceful critics and banning them from entering the country, Human Rights Watch said today. ' The Philippine government has the right and duty to protect its citizens from genuine security threats. ' Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch Contribute Related Material Philippines Government Blacklist Written Statement, July 24, 2007 Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines Report, September 28, 2007 Photo Essay: Attacks on Civilians in the Philippines Graphic, July 30, 2007 More information on The Philippines Country Page More of Human Rights Watch's work on Counterterrorism Thematic Page Free Email Newsletter Human Rights Watch has obtained a copy of a Philippines government blacklist banning 504 people from entering the country in July and August with, according to the document, “Al-Qaeda/Taliban Link.” The Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines Justice Department blacklist includes individuals from more than 50 countries, including expatriate Filipinos. The blacklist..."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Migrant culture -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Migrant culture -, Philippine News for Filipinos: "Starting in the 1960s, departures included nurses, midwives to specialists: from pediatrics, internal medicine to obstetrics and oncology, said Jaime Galvez Tan, Fernando Sanchez and Virginia Balanon at a University of the Philippines lecture. “A health disaster is impending if nothing drastic is done.” That will take some doing. Eight million Filipinos now live and work in over 190 countries. And about 3,000 leave every day. They’ve “midwifed” today’s “culture of migration… which permeates Filipino society,” Maruja Asis of Scalabrini Migration Center observed. “Migration has become a way of life,” Asis told the East Asian Labor Migration Conference. Eyebrows arch if someone preferred to work here. “The expectation is: you’d like to work overseas, like many Filipinos.”"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's A Small (And Changing) World After All | Wise Bread

It's A Small (And Changing) World After All | Wise Bread: "It's easy to stick our heads in the sand and say that the answer to 'Life, The Universe, and Everything' is 42. But we all very well know that the world we live in is a constantly changing one, thanks to evolution, industrialization, and the more recent trend and buzzword: Globalization. After reading The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman, my interest in this topic was piqued. At one point or another, and in many cases unbeknownst to us, we have placed a call to customer service and actually spoken to somebody in India. In fact, as I learned from the book (or audiobook as it so happens), working in a customer call centre in India is a coveted position, and training includes adopting the english accents specific to each region of the US and North America. So although the person on the other side of the line may say their name is Andy and sound like he is from Georgia, he could very well be Ajeet and only have a vague knowledge of where Georgia is."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Filipino Migrants Mount Global Protests for ‘Beloved Hero’ | Bulatlat

Filipino Migrants Mount Global Protests for ‘Beloved Hero’ | Bulatlat: "In Taiwan, members of Migrante International-Taiwan chapter, Labor Rights Association and Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns (TCPC) held a rally on September 2 at the Dutch Trade Office in Taipei. The groups said that the arrest diverts the attention of the public in the Philippines and abroad regarding the gross human rights violations of the Philippine government. Some members of the TCPC have joined fact finding missions in the Philippines against human rights violations."

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > The Achilles’ heel of RP’s migration program

The Manila Times Internet Edition | OPINION > The Achilles’ heel of RP’s migration program: "The Achilles’ heel of RP’s migration program Of the estimated 8 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide, women, who outnumber the men, are the most vulnerable to employers’ abuse and exploitation. They are the Achilles’ heel of the country’s migration program. Female OFWs have spread all over the globe to find work. Nurses and caregivers abound in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and other rich nations suffering from the acute shortage of medical workers. South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore teem with women factory workers. Domestic helpers are found in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Italy and the Middle East. Many DHs are exposed to employers’ maltreatment, nonpayment or underpayment of salary, contract substitution, long working hours and sexual abuse. The videoed rape of “Melissa,” a maid in Saudi Arabia, by her employer, underscores the impunity with which depraved employers treat their Filipino maids."

Migration Letters - Current Issue - Contents

Migration Letters - Current Issue - Contents:

Year: 2007 - Volume: 4 - Issue: 1

Philippine labour migration to Taiwan: Social, political, demographic, and economic dimensions
Author: Stephen J. Sills Migration Letters, Vol.4, No.1, pp.: 1-14
abstract full text

A maid in servitude: Filipino domestic workers in the Middle East
Author: Kathy Nadeau Migration Letters, Vol.4, No.1, pp.: 15-27
abstract full text

Organizing women migrants: The Filipino and Cape Verdean women’s associations in Rome
Author: Wendy Pojmann Migration Letters, Vol.4, No.1, pp.: 29-39
abstract full text

Thursday, August 30, 2007

TaiwanHeadlines - Society - Officials plan to import labor from South Pacific

TaiwanHeadlines - Society - Officials plan to import labor from South Pacific: "Officials plan to import labor from South Pacific By Evelyn Chiang In a bid to strengthen Taiwan's diplomatic ties with its allies in the South Pacific region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Council of Labor Affairs (勞委會) are looking into the feasibility of importing foreign laborers from these countries, a MOFA official said on Thursday. Director of MOFA's Department of East Asia and Pacific Affairs Donald Lee said the area is a relatively new region for Taiwan's labor market to explore, as currently most foreign workers are drafted from Southeast Asia. Although the allied countries are interested in the proposal, issues related to the nations' distance from Taiwan, such as the higher costs involved in importing workers, need to be resolved before the plan can be finalized, he added. Taiwan now has six diplomatic allies in the South Pacific region, including Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Google News Alert for: ofw taiwan

Computer lessons added to language courses required for OFWs - Los Angeles,CA,USA
In the case of Taiwan, OFWs are now required to take at least 50 hours of language training. The Taiwanese government has upped the number of years an OFW ...
See all stories on this topic

ARROYO SAYS BY 2010 Business service jobs to equal OFW earnings
Visayan Daily Star - Dumaguete City,Philippines
And, so that no Taiwan tremor can cut off our cyber services from their global clients, PLDT and Globe are investing P47 billion in new international ...
See all stories on this topic

President Arroyo's seventh State of the Nation Address
ABS CBN News - Philippines
Maging ex-OFW at ex-tambay kapwang nakahanap ng trabaho sa mga malalaking puhunan na ito. * As we build industry, we must ensure people have clean air to ...
See all stories on this topic

Filipinos Jan-May remittances from Dubai surge 76.48 per cent
Middle East North Africa Financial Network - Amman,Jordan
It said the UAE is one of the countries where the bulk of OFW remittances come from. The other host-economies in the list are Saudi Arabia, Italy, ...
See all stories on this topic

Migrant workers trust
Manila Standard Today - Philippines
For instance, to make the name suit the special nature of the arrangement, all such trusts may be entitled, in noticeable print, "OFW Savings Accumulation ...
See all stories on this topic

31 - PGMA launches TESDA's Language Skills Institute - Minsterley,UK
During the same affair, Syjuco unveiled the new acronym for overseas contract workers from OFW for Overseas Filipino Workers, to Pinoy WOW for "Workers of ...
See all stories on this topic

Stephen J. Sills, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
320 Graham Building
PO Box 26170
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC  27402-6170

Friday, August 3, 2007

Google Videos OFWs Project

"stephen J sills" - Google Video

Philippine News -- Manila Standard Today -- Migrant workers trust -- july18_2007

Philippine News -- Manila Standard Today -- Migrant workers trust -- july18_2007: "Macro-economic figures show that overseas remittance pie is undoubtedly a big one. From only $1.0 billion in 1989, reported cash remittances passing through the banks steadily rose to $3.9 billion in 1995, to $6.0 billion in 2000, and further to $10.7 billion in 2005. In 2006, remittances reached $12.8 billion. For this year, end of May already saw the inflow of $5.9, making the expectation of $14 reasonably attainable despite the slight decrease in the level of deployment of migrant Filipino workers from January to May this year.

The next few years are anticipated to bolster the significant role of migrant workers remittances in the balance of payment figures. The deployment of Filipino workers is expected to rise as labor importing countries such as the Middle East, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore employ more skilled overseas workers to meet the demands of their growing economies. These countries are expected to provide employment opportunities for highly-skilled and professional workers, particularly in the construction, information technology, hotel and restaurant, tourism, shipbuilding/ship repair, medical and healthcare sectors."

Computer lessons added to language courses required for OFWs

Computer lessons added to language courses required for OFWs
MANILA, Philippines -- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is adding computer training to its language courses now required for departing workers.

OWWA began language "familiarization" courses for migrating overseas Filipino workers or OFWs following a recent agreement by the Philippines with several countries.

Courses are conducted at the OWWA center in Intramuros, Manila.

Since it began in January, there have been more than 37,000 OFWs that passed the program, said OWWA administrator Marianito Roque.

Courses are conducted in seven languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian and English.

The Intramuros center has 25 PCs and OWWA will add 10 more and use these to teach OFWs basic computer programs.

"Upgrading OFWs' skills is one way of easing their transition to a foreign workplace," Roque said in an interview.

The courses require a minimum 24 hours. In the case of Taiwan, OFWs are now required to take at least 50 hours of language training.

The Taiwanese government has upped the number of years an OFW can work in Taiwan from six to nine years.

"They want our OFWs to be more proficient in Mandarin because of the current demand for caregivers taking care of their elderly," Roque said.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

BW Research: Economic Indicator

BW Research: Economic Indicator: "Results from the 2006 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) show that the OFWs who worked in a foreign land during the period April to September 2006 reached 1.52 million, 14.3% more than the 1.33 OFWs reported during the same period a year ago....

East Asia remained the second biggest home to OFWs; two out of 10 (22.6%) OFWs worked either in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, while almost one out of 10 (9.9%) worked in our neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore."

Friday, July 27, 2007

OFWs in Taiwan: ‘Pay hike not 75% but only 7.5 to 9.5%’ -, Philippine News for Filipinos

OFWs in Taiwan: ‘Pay hike not 75% but only 7.5 to 9.5%’ -, Philippine News for Filipinos: "Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan on Thursday said the increase in their salaries comes to only between 7.5 to 9.5 percent and not 75 percent as earlier announced by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Rosalinda Baldoz.

At the same time, in an e-mail to, Gi Estrada, Taiwan coordinator of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, said the wage hike does not cover migrant household service workers, who get between only 38 to 76 percent of the current minimum wage.

“The proposed increase in the minimum wage that would be implemented on July 1 would be only between 7.5 to 9.5 percent,” Estrada said.

Baldoz late last month announced the increase to the average US$400 to US$700 (around P18,850 to P33,000) monthly salary of migrant workers in Taiwan.

“Household workers contribute a lot in rendering services to the Taiwan community and society. [They] relieve…the government and even the families of those who need to be taken care of, [of] their responsibility to do this task. Household workers also liberate other members of Taiwanese families from this heavy work to join the working force or in pursuit of other activities. These workers also contribute in consumer spending that is go"

Taiwan: Yrren - Caregiver | OFW-Connect Information Hub

Taiwan: Yrren - Caregiver | OFW-Connect Information Hub:

OFW Survey Guestbook - An Interview with Overseas Filipino Workers

"What could be the undesirable effects when working abroad to you and to your family left back home: first is that you always have to face the discrimation when you are working abroad,'coz no matter how good your education is mababa pa din ang tingin nila sa mga foreign workers like us ofw's.second is that i can't be able to raise my kid on my own,i can't be able to see all the changes that's happening to him everyday."

Migrant Group Assessed POEA Policy Reforms as a Failure | Bulatlat

Migrant Group Assessed POEA Policy Reforms as a Failure | Bulatlat: "Seven months since the implementation of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Guidelines, the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) assessed that it was nothing but “a show-off.”

The POEA policy reforms were instituted to supposedly provide Filipino household service workers (HSWs) a cover of protection from potential abuse and exploitation abroad.

Under the new guidelines, those applying as domestic helpers abroad had to undergo additional training under POEA’s Pre-Qualification for Household Service Workers scheme. The training would cost them P10, 000-P15, 000 ($218 - $327 at an exchange rate of $1=P45.75). Aside from this, the guideline sets the minimum wage of overseas domestic workers to $200 to $400. It also stipulates that no placement fee should be charged to applicants, but limits the minimum age to 23 years old."


"This paper studies export processing zones (EPZs) which have become increasingly popular as a policy tool for development and export-oriented growth, and can be found in 130 countries around the world.... EPZs are a sub-optimal policy from an economic point of view since it benefits the few and distorts resource allocation, but may be useful as a stepping stone to trade liberalisation on a national basis. Governments should consider all available policy options, and conduct a thorough cost/benefit analysis before implementation."


OFWs from Taiwan Slap Agency with Illegal Recruitment, Overcharging Raps | Bulatlat

OFWs from Taiwan Slap Agency with Illegal Recruitment, Overcharging Raps | Bulatlat: "In late 2005 and early 2006, applicants of Mission Way were promised rewarding jobs at Quanta Display, Inc. in Taiwan. But they had to pay every step of the way. Just for filling up the application form, they had to pay the cashier P20 ($0.43). The PF is P140, 000 plus a surety bond of P2,800 ($60.44). “Take it or leave it,” Magsino told them during their first briefing. That made them rush to search for ways of raising the money by all means."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UCAN: Bishops call on gov’t, Catholics to heed migrants' rights - Catholic Online

UCAN: Bishops call on gov’t, Catholics to heed migrants' rights - Catholic Online: "TAIPEI, Taiwan (UCAN) – Taiwan's bishops have urged the government to protect migrant workers' rights by amending labor laws in accordance with international conventions.

In their recently released pastoral letter, the church leaders also asked local Catholics to treat migrant workers fairly.

Migration is a way people can improve their standard of living, the bishops note in the document, 'Concern for Migrant Workers and Immigrants,' released May 16. In Asia, however, migrant workers usually are not allowed to become permanent residents in their host country, they observe, saying this infringes on human rights.

Father John Chen Kun-chen, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Taiwan, told UCA News May 22 that the pastoral letter encourages parishioners in Taiwan's seven dioceses to regard migrants as their neighbors."

More Workers from Philippines Needed in Electronics Sector - The China Post

More Workers from Philippines Needed in Electronics Sector - The China Post: "Manila Economic & Cultural Office Labor Representative Reynaldo C. Gopez said that more Filipinos workers are taking part in the manufacturing of electronics such as computer chips, wafers, LCDs, and television parts.

Gopez said that Taiwan electronics companies are keen to hiring Filipino workers due to their English-speaking ability."

National Health Command Center

National Health Command Center: "Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) states that a medical examination prior to entry into Taiwan is mandatory for all foreign workers in order to obtain a visa. In addition, they are obliged to undergo more medical examinations (all include screening for intestinal parasites) within 3 days, 6 months, 18 months, and 30 months after entering Taiwan. If foreign workers are found to be positive for intestinal parasitic infections, they must be treated and re-examined within 30 days from the date the test result was issued. For foreign spouses applying for resident visa and foreigners applying for residency in Taiwan, they are required to complete the “Items Required for Health Certificate (Type B)” form, which includes screening for intestinal parasites. It should be noted that Taiwan closely and periodically monitors the prevalence of parasites among foreign workers, as well as foreigners and Mainland Chinese spouses applying for residency in Taiwan."

Taiwan Journal - amendment to the Employment Services Act

Taiwan Journal: "The widespread practice of specifying age restrictions in recruitment advertising became illegal following implementation May 25 of the amendment to the Employment Services Act passed by lawmakers May 4.

This added prohibitions on employers discriminating against job applicants on account of their age, sexual orientation or place of birth to Article 5 of the ESA, which already precluded workplace discriminations on the basis of race, class, language, thought, religion, political party, place of origin, gender, marital status, appearance, facial features, disability or previous membership of a labor union....

The amendment also revised a number of regulations dealing with foreign workers in Taiwan. One major change means that employers can now apply to hire a new foreign worker just six months after a previous worker leaves without notifying the employer. This would be especially helpful for employers of foreign caregivers, the CLA Web site stated. Around 400 foreign caregivers leave each month without informing their employers, the China Times report quoted the CLA as saying, citing the council's statistics that 9,500 foreign workers were reported missing last year."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Officials say health of foreign workers deteriorating

Officials say health of foreign workers deteriorating: "According to the Taipei City's Foreign Labor Service Center, so far in 2006, approximately 32 percent of the foreign workers in the city have sought psychological or counseling services. The figure is a sharp rise from that of 7 percent in 2004. Meanwhile, more foreign workers are complaining of chest pains, dizziness, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, and deteriorating vision.

According to the Foreign Labor Service Center, the majority of the foreign workers in Taipei City work as care givers for the elderly or small children. Many of these workers work long hours and have very little time for a social life. Worse, many foreign workers are exploited in terms of working conditions. For example, some workers are forced to work overtime and only allowed one day off per month."

Importation of Foreign Professionals

The Transmigration of Souls: "Taiwan's policy for recruiting foreign white-collar workers has been a lot looser than that for blue-collar workers. For instance, work permits granted to foreign professionals are initially valid for three years, and they can apply for an unlimited number of extensions. They can also be hired by two employers simultaneously and are free to change employers. At the same time, employers are not required to publicly post advertisements for local workers first, as they are for blue-collar workers. Furthermore, there is no quota imposed on the number of foreign white-collar workers allowed in Taiwan."

The Management of Foreign Workers in Taiwan

Lee , Joseph S. 2007. The Management of Foreign Workers in Taiwan

For many years, an understanding existed between the government and the unions in Taiwan that the number of foreign workers imported into the island should not exceed 300,000; however, the rapid rise in the number of foreign healthcare workers has cut deeply into the share of foreign workers in the manufacturing sector. In 2006, after many years of complaints by employers within the labor-intensive industries, as well as threats to relocate their production facilitates to mainland China, the government finally divided foreign workers into two broad categories, production workers and service workers. The government then reinterpreted its promise of no more than 300,000 foreign workers to be imported for employment within the manufacturing sector, whilst all healthcare service workers were explicitly excluded from this overall quota. In January 2006, the government also gave the green light to the importation of an additional 20,000 overseas production workers for employment within the category of ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’ (3D) jobs, those jobs that had become difficult to fill with native workers.

Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan | International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS)

Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan | International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS): "Migrant women are the primary source of paid domestic labor around the world. Since the 1980s, the newly prosperous countries of East Asia have recruited foreign household workers at a rapidly increasing rate. Many come from the Philippines and Indonesia. Pei-Chia Lan interviewed and spent time with dozens of Filipina and Indonesian domestics working in and around Taipei as well as many of their Taiwanese employers. On the basis of the vivid ethnographic detail she collected, Lan provides a nuanced look at how boundaries between worker and employer are maintained and negotiated in private households. She also sheds light on the fate of the workers, “global Cinderellas” who seek an escape from poverty at home only to find themselves treated as disposable labor abroad. Lan demonstrates how economic disparities, immigration policies, race, ethnicity, and gender intersect in the relationship between the migrant workers and their Taiwanese employers."

Taiwan recognises debt to foreign hands

Taiwan recognises debt to foreign hands: "Until a group of foreign contract workers at a construction site for a new mass rapid transit system in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city, rioted over their living conditions in 2005, many of Taiwan's 350,000 foreign labourers were held in virtual captivity.

The riot brought to light the uncomfortable reality for many Taiwanese that the workers from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam who build Taiwan's infrastructure, assemble its electronic products and care for its elderly were often forced to live in cramped dormitories with strict house rules and curfews.

It also shone a torch on the politicians and businessmen who for years enriched themselves by controlling the brokerage system that brings workers in from south-east Asia."

Foreign workers in Taiwan protest exclusion in wage hike -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Foreign workers in Taiwan protest exclusion in wage hike -, Philippine News for Filipinos: "Foreign workers in Taiwan, including overseas Filipino workers, staged a rally on July 1 outside the office of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) in Taipei to protest the exclusion of household service workers in a minimum wage increase.

Migration News - "Taiwan: Migrant Policy Evolution"

Migration News: "Taiwan: Migrant Policy Evolution"
Migration News Vol. 14 No. 3, July 2007

The Council of Labor Affairs announced in May 2007 that the number of foreign workers allowed into the country would be based on the unemployment rate. There will be two categories of guest workers: foreign laborers for industry and workers in welfare service. Different rules will govern admissions of each type of worker. Migrant workers will be able to stay in the country up to nine years; the previous limit was six years.

Taiwan has established a quota of 391,926 foreign workers, but only 347,172 were in the country in May 2007.

Taiwan began to import foreign workers in 1989, giving one-year permits (renewable once) to manufacturing employers and for migrants hired for infrastructure construction projects. The 1992 Employment Service Act established the Council of Labor Affairs to determine Taiwan's foreign worker policy. The CLA required employers to prove that they needed to hire foreign workers by, for instance, advertising for local workers for at least one week.

The CLA limited guest workers to 30 percent of a firm's workers, and allowed initial entries for two years, with a one-year extension possible. Manufacturing firms seeking foreign workers were required to develop plans to reduce their need for foreign workers over time until 1997, when the"

OFWs in Taiwan

Background Information

Due to its proximity to other Southeast Asian countries, its comparatively robust economy, the low unemployment rate, and early development of ties in the global economy, Taiwan has come to be a destination for labor migrants. While it offers work which pays significantly more than positions in the sending countries, it also offers a difficult receiving context where work conditions are harsh and the opportunity for social integration is almost nonexistent.

By the early 1980s, many Filipinos had permanently emigrated to the US and other countries and nearly a half million labor migrants were working abroad as domestic servants, construction workers, skilled technicians, nurses, factory workers, and seafarers. The government of the Philippines, seeing the potential in remittances and reduction of unemployment, further encouraged labor migration as one of its official development strategies (Martin 1993; Aguilar 2000; Tan 2001).

Video 1: Atty. - Fr. Bruno - Stella Maris International Service Center

In 1982, the government established the POEA to promote and regularize a then mostly illegal labor migration. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, remittances from OFWs accounted for up to 9% of the GNP (Tan 2001; Migration News 1999). The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan acts as the de facto consulate and provides labor and social welfare assistance to OFWs while in Taiwan.

Video 2: Atty. Salud - Labor Atache MECO Kaohsiung

Factory Workers

The rationalized global system of production constantly searches for the most cost-effective ways to produce goods. This has meant moving production to locations where labor costs are the cheapest. Undeniably, this is how Taiwan’s economy was able to grow so rapidly during the late twentieth century. Today, however, Taiwan is faced with the dilemma of either moving companies to China, Vietnam, Malaysia, or other developing nation, or reducing their own domestic labor costs. Taiwan has opted to import laborers from other Southeast Asian countries in order to costs down. These workers, paid far less than their Taiwanese co-workers, are often given the longest shifts, assigned to the most difficult tasks, and are segregated from the society in factory -controlled dormitories. Migrant laborers are unlikely to quit (due to the high fees they have already paid to work).They are not allowed to form unions and have no bargaining position in labor negotiations (neither directly or indirectly through proxies). According to a survey of 389 workers that I conducted in NanTze, one-third had experienced some problem with their employer. The top three problems involved unpaid overtime, “unreasonable” workloads, and overtime paid as days off.

Video 3: Factory Workers in Taiwan

Domestic Workers

Unlike factory workers, the domestic workers and caretakers in Taiwan are seldom allowed to leave the homes of their employers. They do not have the close contact with other co-nationals that the factory workers have in the dorms, clubs, church gatherings, social times after work and even at the workplace. Fr. Ciceri explains: “ As soon as they arrive, they are taken into the house of the employer, and practically they become property of, ah, of the employer. And, ah, if they are lucky enough and the employer understands them, they will allow them to, to have at least a day-off once a month, or every Sunday if the employer is very good.”

Issues facing domestic workers include: long work days and poor working conditions; lack of rest breaks, vacations and days-off; lack of payment; lack of overtime pay; as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Yet, as a result of their isolation, few studies have been done to gauge the overall prevalence of these conditions. In Taiwan, the limited research that has been done focuses on domestic workers who have escaped or runaway from their employers as the result of mistreatment.

Video 4: Domestic Workers in Taiwan

Other Nationalities

Filipinos only represent a third of all the imported laborers in Taiwan. While Filipinos dominate the electronics sector, there are many Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesians working in construction, in small privately-owned factories, and as domestic workers.

Video 5: Rev. Tiabthong - Foreign Workers' Counseling Center

Worker Enclaves in Taiwan

Filipino migrants in Taiwan, experiencing xenophobia and racial discrimination, look to one another for protection and mutual support, forming a transnational enclave within the Taiwanese society. Formal institutions (churches, businesses, and NGOs) have provided the core of this transnational enclave in Taiwan. These institutions reinforce the Filipino laborer’s sense of ethnic and national identity and providing a social and physical space in which they may continue to perform homeland culture.

Each of the institutions has played a role in this maintenance of culture. Business, often operated by the Filipina spouses of Taiwanese men, provide Philippine products, food, and communications services. Pseudo-governmental NGOs like MECO provide formal legal services and help to arbitrate issues with the Taiwanese government or employers on behalf of Filipino citizens. Yet, the churches (and principally the Catholic Church’s worldwide network of ministries for OFWs) provide the ultimate sense of solidarity and connectedness with the homeland.

Video 6: St. Joseph the Worker Parish in NanTze, Taiwan