My Blunt Existence

The rhythm of my hand goes well with the drops of ink and with words floating in my brain. I do not have highfalutin words to speak of, instead, the way of my emotions and the labyrinth that my soul’s going through are the ones obliging me to put the significance of other’s life into scriptures.

Seven Money Saving Motivation

No one says no to a bulkier bank account, so say a big “hello!” to our list of money saving motivations. In the current economic climate many of us are feeling the pinch, so here are seven handy ways to boost your bank account:

Effect of Growing Population

I'm not an economist, so my knowledge on the effects of high population growth on economic development is solely based from the research I have done, and it clearly oppose the government's stand.

World Peace. Anyone?

Generally war is the result of a national entity wishing to improve the standard of living for its people. A major second cause is when a nation perceives a possible reduction in a current standard of living and fights to protect what it already has.

On My Way Back

They say, the only permanent thing in life is change. I have learned to cope with the changes. I have realize that I have to change in these changing times. But change does not mean that I have to change what I do or drop what I have. Change don't make me give-up my dreams. I just need to change my way. Can I be the best? Can I be a winner?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Forgive Me When I Whine

I just want to share with you guys a very inspiring song from Zain Bhikha. I lately play this song over and over on my mp4 player.


Forgive Me When I Whine
by: Zain Bhikha

Today, upon a bus I saw a girl with golden hair,
And in my heart I wished that I was just as fair
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile.
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs to walk upon and the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy; met a boy who had such charm.
We talked, he seemed so happy, if I were late, it do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, "Thank you, you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you. You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes to see the world and the world is mine.

Later that day on my way, I saw a boy with eyes of blue.
He watched the other children play; he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment, then I said, "Why don't you join the others, dear?"
He kept on looking straight ahead and then I knew he could not hear
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears to hear the world and world is mine.

With legs to take me where I'd go.
With eyes to see the sunset glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know
Oh the world is mine

I stopped for a moment, just look how much I have
Everywhere, in all our lives, these are His signs

Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have been blessed indeed, and the world is mine
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have been blessed indeed, and the world is mine

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Are You Willing To Do Mistakes?


They always say that mistakes can teach us valuable lesson and I would jokingly answer, "Are you willing to do mistake then?". If it teaches us a great lesson, why is it that nobody is willing to do such? If anyone ask me that question, I would answer yes. I am willing to be wrong. I'd rather try and fail than to do nothing. To be willing to make mistake is to gain one's greatest asset, that is self-trust. I don't want to diminish myself second-guessing myself by worrying about failure. With all those mistakes that I've done, I can now consider the prospect of failure, but I don't need to preoccupy myself with pointless worries. If I fail, so be it, I just need to deal with it.
A man grows more from failure than he does from success. Success cannot test his resolve in the way that failure can. Success has its challenges, but a man learns more about himself when he takes on challenges that involve risk. When a man plays it safe, his vitality is lost, and he losses his edge.Having been said, I refuses to play it safe. Taking on all challenges even if it means stabbing myself with a blunt dagger over and over again, until I grow numb of the pain. I would risk anything even if it means going beyond my comfort zone.

Friday, December 28, 2012

On Making New Year's Resolutions


Photo: quizzle.com
In a matter of days we will be saying goodbye to 2012 and say hello to a new year. This is the time to make a list of what we want to do or accomplish next year. It's the time that we like to have a clean slate to start over again.
Every year, we also produce a sadly familiar repertoire of aspirations dealing with bad habits. On the first days of every year, we always mean well, but it's clear that some of us lack firmness of purpose. The spirit is willing, but the flesh loses its temper. You could say, that's the essence of New Year's Resolution. It's a wet sponge, slurping up the black marks of the past, leaving a clean slate for the future.
What if, going forward, you aren't determined but instead you have determination? I know, you're wondering "What's the difference?" Other words for determined are: resolute, gritty, and unwavering. I'm not sure about you, but all I feel when I read those words is "blah"! I don't feel very inspired. When setting goals and making plans, being inspired is an absolute! Now let's look at the word determination: it also means purpose. Another word for purpose is intention, which also means goal. 
What is the purpose that you want to accomplish this year? Is it really quitting a bad habit? Is it really about exercise or is it about feeling great inside and out? 
What if this year you said "My purpose for 2013 is to look great, feel great and love my reflection" instead of saying "My New Year's Resolutions are... blah... blah... blah..."? How do you think that would change your outlook? 
But still, if you break your goal/resolution, don't feel bad about yourself. After all,  it's not the breaking of resolutions that counts so much as the making. To make a resolution is to travel hopefully, to reach beyond one's grasp, to try a better life-style on for size, just in case --- this year --- you'll finally be able to say, "I've finally grown big enough to fit into it."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Poke Me, Poke Me Not

Photo from: itunes.apple.com
The new Facebook Poke iOS app lets you send expiring images, videos and messages to Facebook friends

In a blog post of Facebook last December 21, 2012, they announced the arrival of a new application for iPhone called Facebook Poke. This free standalone iOS app, allows you to send fleeting messages, pokes, photos and 10-second videos to Facebook friends. The messages expire after a set period of time, from 1 to 10 seconds, and cannot be retrieved by either party again. This makes the app perfect for sending salacious images without leaving a trail. The poke feature has been a part of Facebook since 2004. Now they're sharing a new poke experience for mobile.
So they really think that setting it to self destruct will keep it private? If anyone has a way to take a picture of the screen, bingo! This is really scary, especially having teenagers with phones. To encourage this kind of behavior with these apps is appalling to me. It's just saying "here kids, beat the system!".  All you need is a second device, either another phone or a camera or you can even take a screenshot  and suddenly 5 seconds is forever.
The only thing this app is going to do is make it more tempting for pedo's to send nude pics and vids to their victims and feel more safe while doing it. Just watch the pile up of cases with this app and see if I'm wrong, Facebook is going to be in headlines at a constant pace with this app rolling. Who needs a 10 sec video or pic displayed?... Unless you're a spy or a flash freak. It is my wish that things like this app don't come about, it's not progress or genius when you make something more safe to do more harm than good is it?
Now, poke me? or poke me not?



  • Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    The Story of a Blind Boy

    "It is He Who created for you (the sense of) hearing (ears), sight (eyes), and hearts (understanding). Little thanks you give." [The Qur'an, Surah Al-Mu'minun; 78]




    A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

    Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. 

    The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"

    The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."

    What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it."


    Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?
    Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    I Wish I'm a Phoenix


    I'm screaming behind this bars
    On this world of selfish desire
    Longing for an escape
    Free myself, whatever it takes.

    But try hard as I might
    I always get lost every night
    Each passing day I grow weak
    No one to hear me as I speak.

    So I pray my breath to leave
    Take away my life with it
    Consume me with fire from hell
    Go forth, you have a story to tell.

    And leave me alone crying
    With burning tears never ending
    Making a pool of blood beneath my feet
    My reflection laughing, I was deceive.

    Oh how I wish I'm a phoenix
    That burst into flame when his heart ache
    From ashes, a new life begins
    Free from misery, no memory of the past.

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    Fairy Tale Story

    Photo:  katekingtherapy.blogspot.com

    I knew you was my `once in a lifetime’. That you are the one who’ll always matter, the one who’ll always be different, the one who’ll always stand best. 

    You gave me my life back. The music I lost, I began to sing. The poetry and romance, I had lost my faith in and had forgotten, grew within me, all over again. It felt like I was alive for the first time, like everything was brand new, and that for once, the fairy tale felt real. 

    You had the most passionate kisses, and the warmest embrace. You made the sweetest whispers and drew the deepest breath. You looked through me with your eyes and you spoke deep into my soul. You caressed every inch of me with a single touch of your hand and beside you, I felt the world was perfect and I was complete. 

    If anyone had seen me dance beside you, you would’ve noticed that I did not see anybody else. If anyone had seen me walk by you, you would’ve noticed that I owned the world. If anyone had seen me watch you slept, you would’ve noticed that I was watching my life, reflected on you fast asleep. 

    I counted the minutes, the hours, the days and the months. I wanted to remember when you came and how. I wanted to remember every moment, every word, and every breath of laughter. I wanted to write a fairy tale love story in my mind. 


    I loved you more than I could’ve imagined, or more than anyone could've dreamed of. I knew I loved more than love itself. No tears, no rainbow, no wedding bells or song's beauty or sorrow, could ever describe the way I offered myself, to the painful reality that it was a fairy tale love that's not really mine. And yet, I loved you. How I truly loved you. Fearlessly. Without hesitation, and never holding back. 

    You doesn’t know now, and perhaps you never will. I had walked away empty, my heart, my life and my soul all within your hands. There really are some things that you lose in love that you can never take back... I walked away to give you away to the life that I could not offer. I walked out for I knew that I can never be the man that you will choose to look at every single day of your life. For I knew, that as you was the core of my world, to you, I was just a spice. I walked away to set you free, as I forever further entangled myself to the pain that was all that I had left of my fairy tale. I had walked away as silently as I could, with nobody ever hearing the sound of my shattering heart. Nobody. So I left... even when I knew that in my lifetime... I would never love anyone else that way again. 

    Oh, how could I have walked away...I can’t come face to face and watch my fairy tale fade before my very eyes. So I chose the easier way out that wasn't easy at all. No confrontations, no unbearable goodbyes. This way, you’ll never know how I cried. You’ll never know that at that fleeting moment when like in near death, I saw the life we had flashing before my very eyes, that I almost died. My heart bled in every way possible, and as I fought for every single ounce of strength I could muster, just to let you go, I was weaker at every second... 

    This way, you will never know that I still dream about you. You’ll never know that my eyes still get watery sometimes… and usually at the weirdest times: While on my way to work, while I run around, while I watch a movie… yes I cry. You’ll never know that even in the middle of a big jolly crowd, the loneliest I am, and the more alone I felt. You doesn’t know now, and perhaps You  never will… 

    My time is up. I’ve taken the last flight out that led me nowhere. I have no regrets, though. I am even thankful that I was able to feel that love exists, that for once in my life I was sure that love was alive... and then realize that love doesn't have to last forever to be real. I know now that love is great. It is indeed what makes the world go around. It is what makes one reach for the stars, and at the same time jump into the greatest depths. It is what makes one altogether scared and hesitant and yet to certain and brave. It is what makes one both shattered and complete. Love is a cacophony of contradictions, and it is the greatest of all magic. Love is not only happiness, it is also a realization that pain and sacrifices can still be sweet, if only to preserve the one you love’s happiness. 

    I go on, now, what's left of my life ahead of me. There’s no turning back. There's nothing to turn back to now. Somehow, I’m no longer afraid to face anything anymore, but not because I’m strong, but because the world can’t do anything to touch me now. No pain will ever be greater than this wound that will never heal.

    My life story closes as this fairy tale ends. It's over. There’s nothing left to write now… 


    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Winners of $20 Firmoo Vouchers

    The following are the winners of $20 Firmoo Vouchers.
    *Please use your vouchers on or before midnight of December 25, 2012.
    * The vouchers applies to any order excluding the designer glasses.
    *The voucher doesn't cover shipping charges.


    1. 83-84    ZaiZai Salonga Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    2. 93-94     Joana Patricia Decilos Tweet about the Giveaway
    3. 27-28     Balut Manila Tweet about the Giveaway
    4. 31-32     Milton Coyne Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    5. 53-54     Joanne del Rosario Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    6. 71-72     Melly Ng Tweet about the Giveaway
    7. 37-38     Mariam Azcueta Tweet about the Giveaway
    8. 27-28     Jonnaly Alagos Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    9. 101-102 pinkline Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    10. 117-118 Mark Paulines Like Firmoo on Facebook
    11. 121-122 Patrick Noel Genio Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    12. 47-48     DarkAeon Fiel Tweet about the Giveaway
    13. 147-148 Mish Rendon Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    14. 137-138 Ella Dalistan Tweet about the Giveaway
    15. 181-182 Ella Huh Follow Colors and Grays on GFC
    16. 129-130 Francis Castillo Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    17. 163-164 Ella Dalistan Follow Colors and Grays on GFC
    18. 29-30     Jonnaly Alagos Like Firmoo on Facebook
    19. 35-36     Mariam Azcueta Like Colors-and-Grays on Facebook
    20. 105-106 DarkAeon Fiel Post this Giveaway on Facebook
    21. 81-82     ZaiZai Salonga Follow @ColorsandGrays on Twitter
    22. 19-20     Balut Manila Follow Colors and Grays on GFC
    23. 189-190 Ella Dalistan Post this Giveaway on Facebook
    24. 97-98     Joana Patricia Decilos Follow @ColorsandGrays on Twitter
    25. 175-176 Ella Huh Like Firmoo on Facebook
    Congratulations to all the winners. Please send an email to colors.and.grays@gmail.com so that I can send you the code for the vouchers. 
    Thanks to all who have joined on my first ever giveaway. 
    Kahit kunti lang sumali, nairaos din. lol.....


    Monday, December 17, 2012

    A Quick Post

    My Firmoo Giveaway has just ended. I'll post the winners tomorrow. Kinda busy today. I'm sorry, hope you'll understand.

    Monday, December 03, 2012

    Firmoo Giveaway For My Comeback


    I have been away in blogosphere for about 4 months. I have decided to get away from my so-called virtual life to find myself. Plus, I have been very busy with my work lately that I have no time to get on-line much less to write a post in my blog.
    But hey, everything has an end, right? And my hybernation has just ended.
    I just hope that my loyal readers are still here. And I have a surprise to all of you.
    Whats a better way for a comeback than to host a giveaway?
    Yes my dear readers and fellow bloggers, Colors and Grays in collaboration with Firmoo is giving away 25 vouchers worth $20 to spend on firmoo glasses.
    Joining is so easy. Just use the Rafflecopter below to earn entry points. You can have as many entries as you want until December 17, 2012.
    Goodluck to ya all!



    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This is an international giveaway, so everybody can join. The vouchers applies to any order excluding the designer glasses.It doesn't cover shipping charges. This vouchers expires on December 25, 2012 at midnight.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    On My Way Back

    I went along on this journey called life. Sometimes I won. Sometimes I'm defeated. Sometimes I'm lost and struggle hard to find my way. Sometimes I'm just moving along. Sometimes I'm stuck and just can't move on.
    They say, the only permanent thing in life is change. I have learned to cope with the changes. I have realize that I have to change in these changing times.
    But change does not mean that I have to change what I do or drop what I have. Change don't make me give-up my dreams. I just need to change my way.
    Can I be the best? Can I be a winner?
    I will try and do whatever it takes to be, until I arrive to the success where I really wanted to be. Success can be found somewhere.I just need to look for it and when its in my hand I won't let it go.I pray for it. And work for it. I have decided to be the best of myself.

    I was away for over a month and it's by choice. I need to get away from my on-line life because I need to find my self and renew my faith. But now, I'm back and I hope that my loyal readers are still here. I'll update this blog soon.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Seven Money Saving Motivation


     No one says no to a bulkier bank account, so say a big “hello!” to our list of money saving motivations. In the current economic climate many of us are feeling the pinch, so here are seven handy ways to boost your bank account:


    1. Create a spreadsheet
    Instead of constantly trying to work things out in your head and making rough estimates on how much money you have left for the month, make things a whole lot easier by creating a spreadsheet.  At first glance, these can seem a little daunting but it’s really easy once you get used to it and there are many free spreadsheet websites online which work out all the sums for you. By having your outgoings on a list in front of you, you can identify what you’re saving on and what you perhaps need to cut back on.  

    2. Avoid shopping when you’re feeling emotional... or hungry 
    You’re feeling a little down in the dumps but you need a new work shirt... bad idea. Turn around, get back inside the house, lock the doors, and ask someone to hide your keys right now—if you’re feeling emotional there’s a high chance you will end up splurging on stuff you don’t really need to give you a quick happiness boost. After spending five minutes looking for a shirt, you return with a few tins of paint to re-vamp the house, a new wardrobe of clothes, and a mop for the kitchen floor, but the new work shirt is nowhere to be seen.
    Whilst these spur-of-the-moment purchases may uplift your mood for an hour or two, the initial high will soon wear off and you’ll be left feeling worse as you realize you’re left with nothing more than a few bargains and an empty bank account. For a thriftier approach to shopping, go when you’re in a pretty good mood and—whatever you do—don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry.

    3.Surround yourself with exciting hobbies and positive people
    Rather than spending money on takeaways and meals out to cheer you up after a long hard day, identify other things you like doing that will boost your mood instead of spending money. Arrange some fun things to do with family and friends around your house or take up a new hobby such as gardening or crafts. We often end up spending more when we’re bored, emotional, and/or lonely so plan a film night with your family or buy a few ingredients from the grocery store and try cooking something you’ve never made before.

    4. Save little and often
    It’s a common mistake to think that you can’t start saving because you don’t have much money, but that’s like saying you won’t go on that one-hour run because you don’t have the whole day off to exercise—it’s counterproductive and unrealistic. Experts advise that the best way to boost your bank balance is by taking the ‘little and often’ approach to saving. Rather than putting a lump sum of your month’s wages into a savings account and leaving very little to live off for the rest of the month, just put a small amount away as often as possible and the money will mount up without you even noticing it. The more you see your bank balance rising, the more you will want to keep adding to it. Go on, try it—it’s addictive.

    5. Put some money aside for pleasure
    It’s important to treat yourself occasionally to avoid getting frustrated and spending all your savings at once, so make sure you include a little “happy time” money in your budget to treat yourself every now and again. Do you want a new television for the living room? Save up for one. Fancy a small break somewhere nice? Save up for it. Once you’ve saved up for something and reached your target amount, you’ll feel much better than you would if you spent money that you didn’t really have in the first place.

    6. Read a finance blog or make your own
    Personal finance blogs are becoming an increasingly popular form of inspiration for many people; they can encourage you to save and adopt good financial habits in the process. It’s also really interesting to take a sneaky peak into the lives of other people and see what they enjoy the odd splurge on. If you’re feeling really brave, you could create your own finance blog to share your own tips and advice with others. This will not only help you to network with other people in the same financial mindset as you, but it will encourage you to save more so that you can feel extra proud of yourself when you share how well you’re doing with others.

    7. Get support
    If you’re really feeling the pinch and you need advice, don’t feel ashamed to seek support from others. You may feel like a little fish in a big pond when it comes to finances, so seek advice from a financial expert who will have a lot of experience dealing with problems like yours. Your financial adviser will come up with a realistic plan to help you sort out any money difficulties.

    (Source: Yahoo Finance)

    Saturday, July 07, 2012

    United Nations' Human Rights Council, Passes Resolution For Human Trafficking Victims




    The U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 tells us that we are making a lot of progress. Twenty-nine countries were upgraded from a lower tier to a higher one, which means that their governments are taking the right steps. This could mean enacting strong laws, stepping up their investigations and prosecutions, or simply laying out a roadmap of steps they will take to respond.
    Another good news, is the passage of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council resolution for victims of human trafficking. This HRC resolution is sponsored by the Philippines, with its main partner Germany, led 68 countries on July 5 in successfully pushing for the adoption of the resolution.
     The said resolution encouraged states to recognize trafficked persons as victims with specific protection needs and to ensure the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of their human rights.
    From the statement of Ambassador Evan Garcia, Philippine permanent representative to the UN Offices in Geneva, data show that there are at least 2.4 million people who are victims of trafficking at any time. At least 66% of the trafficked victims are women and 16% are girls.
    The passage of the resolution is a victory for the estimated 27 million people around the world who are victims of modern slavery, what we sometimes call trafficking in persons. 
    As for the Philippines, the US State Department has placed the country under Tier 2 of its 3-tier metric system this year. Tier 2 countries are officially defined as "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards."

    (Photo source: MercoPress)

    Friday, July 06, 2012

    Its Never Too Late: Sign Up The Petition To Ratify ILO 189

    I have blogged about the online petition to end the modern day slavery last June 20, 2012 and I signed the petition too on that day. The said petition was lunch to urge the Philippine Senate to ratify ILO 189 .
    This petition is spearheaded by Walk Free, Inc., a not-for-profit campaigning organization. Its goal is to build the global movement of people everywhere, fighting to end modern day slavery.
    According to Tim Dixon, a member of Walk Free team, there are now over 40,000 people from 156 countries who have signed the petition calling on the Philippines to protect millions of women from domestic slavery. Walk Free want to reach 50,000 signatures by the time the Senate comes back in session in three weeks.


    "More women from the Philippines leave their homes to work as maids and nannies than from any other country in the world. They are the face of domestic work, and sadly the face of domestic slavery. But a win in the Philippines could mean huge change for domestic workers around the world! If the Philippines becomes the second country to ratify the law, under the International Labour Organization’s provisions, it could go into effect globally. The world is watching."

    Click HERE to sign-up the petition now and help make a change.


    For more info, you may
    Like their Facebook fan page 
    or
    Follow them on Twitter


    Thursday, July 05, 2012

    DNS Changer Malware: It Pays To Be Safe

    Check your computer if you have been infected with DNS changer malware before it's too late. The clean DNS servers, that were setup to replace the malicious server to give enough leeway for users to clean up their infected computer will be turned off on July 9, 2012, and computers still impacted by DNSChanger may lose Internet connectivity at that time.

    (Photo courtesy of Infoniac.com)

    The DNSChanger is a Trojan virus that belongs to the Zlob family, caused quite a stir in the US last year. But the FBI has taken actions against it and they announced that they’ve found the source of the virus and shut down the operation. Six Estonian nationals have been arrested and charged with running a sophisticated Internet fraud ring that infected millions of computers worldwide with a virus and enabled the thieves to manipulate the multi-billion-dollar Internet advertising industry. Users of infected machines were unaware that their computers had been compromised — or that the malicious software rendered their machines vulnerable to a host of other viruses. 
    Domain Name System or DNS is a critical Internet service that converts user-friendly domain names, such as www.fbi.gov, into numerical addresses that allow computers to talk to each other. Without DNS and the DNS servers operated by Internet service providers, computer users would not be able to browse websites or send e-mail.
    To check if your computer were infected with this virus, click here.
    Be sure to check your computer before they pull the plug of those clean DNS server. You only have 4 more days to go. By taking action today, you can avoid future inconvenience. Even if you know that your computer was not compromised, it pays to be safe. If your computer has been infected, I suggest you get a professional help.

    Tuesday, July 03, 2012

    A Rhetoric TV Commercial

    video

    I'm sure most of my loyal readers are familiar with the TV commercial dub "May Liwanag ang Buhay". While it is true that this company brings light to the home of every Juan ( at least in the NCR), this commercial is a rhetoric.
    I am just wondering why Meralco needs to adjust its Maximum Average Price from P1.6012 per kilowatt-hour to P1.6303 when they have just posted a core net income growth of five percent to P3.42 billion in the first quarter. They really targets a core profit of P15 billion for this year – or excluding non-recurring item – up from P14.9 billion last year. [pun intended]


    Meralco has 5.07 million connections and 90% is residential customers. If every household consumes an average of 200 kWh a month, based on the P0.0291 per kilowatt-hour increase they can easily get P28.8 million a month or P346.78 million in one year as this Meralco's new MAP will be implemented from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Really, this increase in our monthly bills empties our pockets of our hard-earned cash as Meralco's executives enjoys a handsome amount of salary and benefits. Talking about economic inequality eh? 
    What I don't understand is why Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved such an increase in the distributor’s rate. Perhaps the Performance-Based Regulation set by the commission itself, allowing utilities to adjust their rates based on spending requirements, service performance, among others,  is to blame?
    Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Our government is aiding those in the upper echelon in the society to rob the common Pinoy.


    Saturday, June 30, 2012

    A Masculine Wash For A Guy's Naughty Parts

    What would you do when you feel itchy and you need to scratch down under? When you are alone, I think it's okay to scratch it like there's no tomorrow. But how about if you have company? If you are in a public place? Are you going to scratch it? That would be an embarrassing situation, right?
    Well, that's what the video below is all about. It is a commercial of Freshman Masculine Wash directed by Marie Jamora way back in July 2010. I only chance upon this video today as I am surfing the net. (courtesy of a free wi-fi, lol)




    As you may guess by now, I was intrigue by this product. Can you imagine, a specialize product just for washing a guy's naughty parts? Gone are the days when only ladies have those feminine wash as men also now have "masculine wash".
    From what I was able to find on the net, Freshman Masculine Wash is a product of Elev8 Trading and Marketing Corp. They have two variant, regular and freeze. I bet, the freeze variant has menthol that's why they named as such. Cool, isn't it?
    It also has tea tree oil, a natural antibacterial disinfectant, that makes it a popular natural agent for curing all types of infectious organisms.
    Shall I try using it? I might give it a try to avoid "Dyahe move".

    Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. 

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Yay! My Very First Blogger's Award

    When you say versatile, you mean it has many uses. Well that is a versatile tool. But how about a blogger? A blogger can be called versatile when he/she embrace a wide variety of subjects or fields. A versatile blogger can turn with ease from one subject to another. At least, that's what I know about what versatile blogger is.
    I'm talking about versatile blogger today because I received Versatile Blogger Award from Balut Manila.
    I've seen this award around a few of the blogs I've been reading, and from what I notice they are awarded between bloggers as a way to recognize fellow blogger, to build networks and of course to gain precious back links.

    The Versatile Blogger Award


    This award has three rules that a nominee has to follow (otherwise I will not send to you the monetary prize that comes with this award) Did I just write that? Just kidding. But hey, I might be giving away some "gift" from my up coming sponsors. I am just waiting for the right time to do my very first give-away promo.
    Enough of those ek-ek, here are the rules.

    1. Thank the blogger who gave you this award. Don’t forget to link his/her blog.
    2.  Post seven random things about you.
    3. Give the award to 15 other bloggers you love and let them know you gave them this award.

     

    Acceptance Speech

    I have been blogging for about three months now, so I am very humbled that Balut Manila considered to include me in her nominations. Thank you so much. You are the first one who recognize me as blogger. And also, I got my very first give-away prize from you. I hope to meet you someday so that I can tell you personally how grateful I really am.
    I would also like to thank everyone who has been reading and following my blog. It has been so much more successful than I imagined it would be this early in, and I am really enjoying blogging about almost everything that I am so passionate about, from my own opinions on politics up to my personal experiences and anything in between.
    I know you've all seen this before tons of times and some of you aren't really into blog awards but seeing as this is my first ever award  I thought I would just go ahead and do it.
    [You need to applause on this part]

    Seven Random Things About Me 

    1. I write with my left hand.
    2. I eat with my right.
    3. I'm a muslim.
    4. I sleep till noon on weekends.
    5. I always do movie marathon every Friday night. I can watch up to 10 movies in every movie marathon.
    6. My favorite movie is Matrix Trilogy that's why I named my son Neo.
    7. I love noodles that my mom says I can survive in evacuation centers.

    That's all. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm signing an autograph.

     

    And Finally....

    Here are the versatile bloggers who must pass on the award to keep in going, and I expect to get a back link from them by doing what I have just done. lol (in no particular order)

    1. bluedreamer27 of Top Five
    3. Nurse Tina of When Writing Means Sharing
    4. Rezki Nuarta of Rezkinuarta
    5. Key of Noblesse Key
    6. Allan of Allan is the Man
    7. Charotero of Simple Tips for Beginners 
    8. Rogie of The Ignored Genius
    9. Tin of The Average Jane
    10. Gene of Metered Words
    11. Keatondrunk of The KeatoNDrunk's Journey
    12. Gladys of  UntiedEscape
    13. Chai of Ice GodHez
    14. Mario of Mar Unplog
    15. Jeatte of Learning to Compute

    So there, congratulations to all of you guys. May this inspire you to write more meaningful blog post. Rest assure, I will always support you as you have supported me thru all this time.
    To those who are not on the list, this doesn't mean that you are not versatile. Of course, you are. If I could only give it to all of you, I would've done that. But as you can see, I am only abiding the rules.
    [edited: June 30, 2012]

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Filipino Olympians All Set for the London Olympics

    Exactly one month from now before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This biennial games (Summer and Winter Olympic games alternating every two years) will be held in London, United Kingdom from July 27, 2012 to August 12, 2012.
    The Philippines contingent for this Olympiad will be the smallest delegation in the history of Olympics since 1996. Out of 302 events, Filipino athletes only managed to get 11 slots. From the small Philippine Olympic delegation, three of them are qualifiers and the rest are wild card entries and token representatives.
    Nevertheless, I fully support our Filipino Olympians. Our faith with them is all what they have to strive harder to win a medal. I salute them, win or lose, for bringing honor to this country.
    It's just so sad that Filipino athletes are not getting full support from our national government. Most of them are sponsored by privates companies.
    Anyhow, hurray to our Olympians!!!

    Mark Pinili Javier
    Mark will compete in the men's individual in archery. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing Javier finished his ranking round with a total of 654 points. This gave him the 36th seed for the final competition bracket in which he faced Kuo Cheng Wei in the first round. Kuo won the match with 106-102 and advanced to the next round in which he was beaten by Park Kyung-Mo.
    He finished 42nd in his event in the just-concluded World Archery Championships in Ogden, Utah where he gained his Olympic ticket.


    Rachel Anne Cabral
    She is our entry in the women's individual in archery. Cabral finished 37th out of more than a hundred participants in the World Archery Championships in Ogden, Utah where she gained her Olympic ticket together with her fellow archer Mark Javier. They both trained under Korean coach, Chun Jae-Hun.


    Rene Herrera
    Rene Gamarcha Herrera is a Gold Medalist in the 2011 South East Asian Games held at Palembang, Indonesia. He will compete in the 300m steeplechase.

    Marestella Torres
    She is also a Gold Medalist in the 2001 South East Asian Games and this is where she achieved her personal best jump of 6.71 meters, which is also a new SEA Games record. She is one of the Filipino qualifiers Olympian. She qualified after the Indonesia SEA Games. Torres’ 6.71-meter jump surpassed the 6.65m B-standard set for the London Games by the International Athletics Associations Federation. It was actually just 0.04m short of the A-standard of 6.75m.


    Mark Anthony Barriga
    Philippines is a home for many great boxer with the likes of Onyok Velasco and Manny Pacquiao among others. But Philippines will only send a lone Olympian in boxing.
    Mark Anthony Barriga is the first Filipino to qualify for the Olympics. He qualified after competing at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships. He will compete in the flyweight division.


    Daniel Caluag
    Daniel Caluag, a Fil-Am BMX rider, figured prominently in three tough qualifying tournaments to get the needed high-ranking points and emerge as the only Asian to make it to the BMX event in the quadrennial games.


    Tomohiko Hoshina (in whites)
    Veteran judoka Tomohiko Hoshina qualified in the men’s plus-100 kilogram category through a worldwide ranking by the International Judo Federation. He secured an Olympic berth after ranking 28th out of the 32 qualifiers for the weight category.


    Brian Rosario
    Brian Rosario  is a wild card entry. Brian got his Olympic ticket when the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) leadership formally declared him to be the Philippines representative in the skeet shooting by the invitation of the International Shooting Sports Federation. 
    Notwithstanding the wild card tag, Rosario is a legitimate qualifier, according to the PNSA. 


    Jessie Lacuna
    Jessie Khing Lacuna won silver in the men's 200 m freestyle in the 2011 South East Asian Games. He also won bronze both  in the men's 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m Freestyle. He will compete in the 200m freestyle.


    Jasmine Alkhadi
    Fil-Am swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, is a 3-time gold medalist in the  2011 Southeast Asian Age Group. She qualified to the olympics by universality through her participation and best time in the world championships. She will compete in the 100m freestyle.


    Hidilyn Diaz
    She is ranked 9th in the world. Hidilyn Diaz is a wild card holder and the youngest participant in the last Beijing Olympics, made it as qualifier this time on the strength of her topnotch showing in the 58-kg class of the IWF World Championships last year in Paris, where she placed seventh and the Asian championships last month in Korea, where she wound up fourth. She will compete in the 58 kg division in weightlifting.

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    House Bill 6195: Withdrawn by Rep. Trisha Bonoan-David

    A copy of Rep. Bonoan-David's letter to the Committee on Rules.

    Trisha Bonoan-David submitted a letter last June 18, 2012 to the office of Committee on Rules headed by Cong. Neptali Gonzales II, indicating that she is withdrawing sponsorship of the House Bill 6195 which she files last May 17, 2012.
    On her letter, Rep. Bonoan-David says she withdraws the bill "after some careful considerations on the provisions of the bill".
    The bill has received wide criticism in the social media, and a strong opposition from Migrante-Middle East. John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator, says that Rep. Bonoan-David’s proposal is ill-advised.

     

    My Verdict

    Nice move from this lady solon. It's a win-win solution here. Our OFW's was saved from paying $50 OWWA contribution hike and Rep. Bonoan-David gains her constituents trust by playing that she hears what the masses says.
    But I think, by filling this House Bill 6195 in the first place, only demonstrates how incensitive and detached she is from the common Filipino.

    Related post:

    House Bill 6195: $50 Contribution From Every OFW Leaving The Country

    On ILO Convention 189

    For the first time ever, there’s a global standard to protect domestic workers. If the Philippines follows Uruguay, the first country to ratify ILO C189, the standard will go into effect globally, protecting millions of women and girls. 
    ILO Convention 189 is the manifesto that every domestic worker deserves. It lays down basic rights and principles, and requires States to take a series of measures with a view to making decent work a reality for domestic workers. This Convention unveils the universal rights of the domestic worker including those working overseas. Most of all, it was the Philippines that championed its entry from committee to the floor of the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference on June 16, 2011, when history was made with 396 affirmative votes of Conference delegates.

    (Read the full ILO Convention 189 text here.)


    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Firmoo: Creating Buzz Around The World

    Bloggers Can Get Eyewear Totally Free from Firmoo.com!

    PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Recently, Firmoo.com, the world's most popular online eyeglasses store, tried a new tack by offering totally free eyewear to bloggers.
    Firmoo.com is currently the most popular online glasses store in the world. They have over 482k fans on facebook, and the number is still increasing rapidly. Why are so many people fond of Firmoo.com? It owes not only to their quality & fashionable frames, accurate prescription and excellent service, but also to their providing opportunities for new customers to get their first pair of eyewear FREE without risk. So far, over 100k customers have claimed their free eyewear from Firmoo.com. Most of them are quite satisfied with their free pairs, which can be reflected in the numerous positive testimonials and the huge number of Frimoo fans on Facebook.
    Even so, there are still many people who are hesitating to choose Frimoo.com. In order to assure them and enable more people to try Firmoo's eyewear, Firmoo.com cooperates with a great majority of bloggers to achieve this goal. Any blogger can fill in a free eyewear application form. Once his application is approved, he will get the eyewear as he requested in his application form totally free. The only thing he needs to do as for an appreciation is to write a real and objective review for his free eyewear or his experience in getting it and post it to his blog(s).
    Up till now, thousands of bloggers from all over the world have joined in this program. Most of them have got their free eyewear and written numerous reviews on their blogs. Such reviews undoubtedly can be a reliable reference for other customers in choosing Firmoo.
    "The main purpose that we launch this program is to strengthen the confidence of people who're hesitating to choose us in trying our products and service by using the real and objective reviews provided by the bloggers because we deeply know people would rather believe a real & objective customer review than trust 100 good words of the suppliers," Patrick Li, CEO of Firmoo.com, said.
    If you're a blogger and interested in this program, check out http://www.Firmoo.com/z/free-bloggers.html.

    First Time May Not Always Hurt

    Who says first time always hurts? Base on my experience, it isn't. I even feel elated.
    You will only be hurt on your first time if you expect to much. That is the mantra I follow so as not to get hurt on my first time.
    But hey, I think I'm lucky enough to win a prize on my first time joining a giveaway promo from a blogger friend. Yeah, it's my first time ever to join such, that's why I keep telling myself not to expect to win so that  I won't be disappointed when I didn't.
    I won a cool sunglass from Balut Manila sponsored by Firmoo last June 8. I received my prize last June 18. Imagine how happy I am when I got it. It was delivered right into my doorstep by Express Mail Service.



    You may check out their site here.

    or like their Facebook fan page

    or follow their Twitter account

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Pre-employment Requirements Will Soon Be Less a Burden

    Free barangay clearance, free National Bureau of Investigation clearance, free police clearance and free medical certificates from government hospitals, clinics or health centers. Who don't want free now a days?  But hey, this is only for indigent job-seeker.
    Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario
    This is what Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario of Davao del Norte is aiming for authoring House Bill 6178. According to Del Rosario, there is still a large segment of the population who cannot liberate themselves from the bondage of poverty because of the lack of employment opportunities. 
    The Mindanao solon said that while these poor people are capable of work, there are limited jobs available for them thus preventing them from escaping poverty.
    Under House Bill 6178, indigent persons are exempted from paying fees in securing or processing documents for employments purposes. Del Rosario said exempting indigents once a year from paying any fees when securing clearances and certifications from government offices will lessen the financial burden on the less fortunate but still capable-of-work people. 
    Under the bill, it defines the indigent as a person who has no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for the subsistence of his family based on the criteria set under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction as certified by the barangay and validated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

     

    My Verdict

    This bill has its positive and negative impact. I agree that this will be a great help to our less fortunate countrymen because they will not have to spend anything that an employer requires them to submit before they will be hired. 
    If I remembered it right, an NBI Clearance cost about 150 pesos and a police clearance is about 100 pesos. Medical certificate cost about 500 to 700 pesos. Barangay certificate cost something like 60 pesos. Some employers even requires Mayor's permit that may cost about 300. This means that a job-seeker have to spend more than 1000 pesos before landing a job. But if House Bill 6178 will pass into law, securing pre-employment requirement will be less a burden.
    On the other side, I hope  Del Rosario has a ready answer on where and how to offset the lose income coming from this government issued certificates and clearances.

    U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2012: Full Text on the Philippines Narrative

    Philippines (Tier 2)

    The Philippines is a source country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. A significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude worldwide. Men, women, and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in factories, at construction sites, on fishing vessels, on agricultural plantations, and as domestic workers in Asia and increasingly throughout the Middle East. A significant number of Filipino women working in domestic service in foreign countries also face rape, physical violence, and sexual abuse. Skilled Filipino migrant workers, such as engineers and nurses, are also subjected to conditions of forced labor abroad. Women were subjected to sex trafficking in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, and Japan and in various Middle Eastern countries. For example, from January to March 2012, the government repatriated 514 Filipina domestic workers from Syria; over 90 percent were identified as trafficking victims who had suffered physical, psychological, and verbal abuse from employers in Syria.
    Trafficking of men, women, and children within the country also remains a significant problem in the Philippines. People are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers including Manila, Cebu, the city of Angeles, and increasingly cities in Mindanao, as well as within other urban areas. Men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in the agriculture, fishing, and maritime industries. Women and children were trafficked within the country for forced labor as domestic workers and small-scale factory workers, for forced begging, and for exploitation in the commercial sex industry. Hundreds of victims are subjected to forced prostitution each day in well-known and highly visible business establishments that cater to both domestic and foreign demand for commercial sex acts. Filipino migrant workers, both domestically and abroad, who became trafficking victims were often subject to violence, threats, inhumane living conditions, nonpayment of salaries, and withholding of travel and identity documents.
    Traffickers, in partnership with organized crime syndicates and corrupt law enforcement officers, regularly recruit family and friends from villages and urban neighborhoods, often masquerading as representatives of government-registered employment agencies. Fraudulent recruitment practices and the institutionalized practice of paying recruitment fees often leave workers vulnerable to forced labor, debt bondage, and commercial sexual exploitation. Reports that illicit recruiters increased their use of student, intern, and exchange program visas to circumvent the Philippines government and receiving countries’ regulatory frameworks for foreign workers are not uncommon. Recruiters adopted new methods in attempts to avoid government-run victim detection units at airports and seaports. Traffickers utilized budget airlines, inter-island ferries and barges, buses, and even chartered flights to transport their victims domestically and internationally.
    Child sex tourism remained a serious problem in the Philippines, with sex tourists coming from Northeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Increasingly, Filipino children are coerced to perform sex acts for Internet broadcast to paying foreign viewers.
    Children in conflict-afflicted areas faced increased vulnerability to trafficking. One NGO estimated that over 900,000 Filipinos, most of whom are based in Mindanao, lack identity documents; the lack of birth registrations or other official documentation is widely recognized as contributing to this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a separatist group, and the New People’s Army were identified by the United Nations as among the world’s persistent perpetrators of violations against children in armed conflict, including forcing children into service. During the year, the UN reported on the Abu Sayyaf Group’s continued targeting of children for conscription as both combatants and noncombatants.
    The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government significantly increased funding of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) from the equivalent of approximately $230,000 in 2010 to the equivalent of $1.5 million in 2011. The government continued to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders and implemented a new program to protect and rehabilitate victims. Additionally, authorities continued to make efforts to address trafficking-related corruption, filing criminal cases against 18 officials during the year. The government made notable efforts to prevent trafficking, including through training public officials, strengthening and expanding structures to screen for trafficking indicators before Filipino migrant workers’ departure overseas, and negotiating bilateral agreements to protect its workers employed in foreign countries. The government did not, however, make progress on efforts to criminally prosecute labor recruitment companies involved in the trafficking of migrant workers abroad, and overall victim identification and protection efforts remained inadequate. Rampant corruption at all levels continues to enable traffickers and undermines efforts to combat trafficking.

    Recommendations for the Philippines
    Sustain the intensified effort to investigate, prosecute, and convict an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders in the trafficking of Filipinos within the country and abroad; increase funding for anti-trafficking programs within IACAT member agencies; address the significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and those under trial in the courts; conduct immediate and rigorous investigations of complaints of trafficking complicity by government officials and ensure accountability for leaders that fail to address trafficking-related corruption within their areas of jurisdiction; strengthen anti-trafficking training for police recruits, front-line officers, and police investigators; improve collaboration between victim service organizations and law enforcement authorities with regard to law enforcement operations; make efforts to expand the use of victim processing centers to additional localities to improve identification of adult victims and allow for victims to be processed and assisted in a safe environment after a rescue operation; increase victim shelter resources and expand the government shelter system to assist a greater number of trafficking victims, including male victims of both sex and labor trafficking; increase funding for the DOJ’s program for the protection of witnesses and entry of trafficking victims into the program; increase efforts to identify trafficking victims in destination countries and to pursue criminal investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; and develop and implement programs aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts.

    Prosecution
    The government continued to prosecute and convict sex and labor trafficking offenders at a rate similar to the previous year. The Philippines criminally prohibits both sex and labor trafficking through its 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, the government convicted 29 trafficking offenders, compared with 28 traffickers convicted during the previous year. Two of the 29 traffickers were convicted of labor trafficking. Sentences for the convicted offenders ranged from one year to life imprisonment, with the majority of offenders sentenced to life imprisonment. The government reported that it concurrently pursued civil cases on behalf of victims, unless the victims opted to pursue such a case independently. Nevertheless, hundreds of victims continue to be trafficked each day in well-known, highly visible establishments, many of which have never been the target of anti-trafficking law enforcement action. Five of the 29 convictions were the results of cases filed and prosecuted by an NGO on behalf of victims, as the Philippines justice system allows private attorneys to prosecute cases under the direction and control of public prosecutors.
    Although the DOJ continued to encourage courts’ expedited processing of trafficking cases, inefficiencies in the judicial system continue to pose serious challenges to the successful prosecution of some trafficking cases. Philippine courts have over 680 pending or ongoing trafficking cases and an additional 129 cases remained pending at the DOJ. In 2011, the DOJ increased its number of designated trafficking prosecutors from 36 to 58 individuals in various national, regional, and airport task forces to work on anti-trafficking cases. In this task force model, prosecutors are assigned to assist law enforcement in building cases against suspected trafficking offenders, a notable difference from the normal practice in which prosecutors wait until an investigation is complete to review a case.
    The government increased its efforts to provide anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials: IACAT conducted 81 training sessions for 3,000 government and NGO stakeholders, police trained 2,105 officers, including nearly half of the officers working on women and children’s desks, and NGOs and foreign donors provided additional training to law enforcement officers. Nevertheless, NGOs continue to report a lack of understanding of trafficking and the country’s anti-trafficking legal framework among many judges, prosecutors, social service workers, and law enforcement officials – a significant impediment to successful prosecutions. Prosecutors continue to have difficulty distinguishing labor trafficking crimes from labor contract violations, which may be one reason more criminal forced labor cases are not filed.
    Law enforcement officials’ complicity in human trafficking remains a pervasive problem in the Philippines, and corruption at all levels of government enables traffickers to prosper. Officials in government units and agencies assigned to enforce laws against human trafficking reportedly permitted trafficking offenders to conduct illegal activities, allowed traffickers to escape during raids, extorted bribes, and accepted payments or sexual services from establishments known for trafficking women and children. Allegations continued that police officers at times conducted indiscriminate or fake raids on commercial sex establishments to extort bribes from managers, clients, and women in the sex industry, sometimes threatening women with imprisonment for solicitation.
    During the last year, the government continued to take some steps to identify and prosecute officials complicit in trafficking and it dismissed officials who may have facilitated trafficking for administrative violations, but no public officials were convicted for trafficking or trafficking-related corruption during the reporting period. The DOJ filed criminal cases against 18 officials for trafficking-related offenses, but none of the cases had been concluded as of the end of the reporting period. While the government began a partnership in 2009 with three NGOs to jointly prosecute corrupt officials, and several investigations have resulted in this partnership, no criminal cases have been filed under this program. Cases against six officials accused of trafficking-related corruption were dismissed during the year.

    Protection
    The government increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. In 2011, the government allocated the equivalent of approximately $577,000 to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, which it began implementing in June 2011. Over 1,000 victims received skills training, shelter, and legal assistance under this program, and almost half of those received financial assistance to seek employment or start their own businesses. The DSWD continued to operate 42 temporary shelters for victims of all types of abuse, and some victims continued to receive support through its residential and community-based services. The government referred victims to both government and private short- and long-term care facilities and provided a small amount of funding to NGOs to provide victim care, although the government did not provide reliable statistics for the total number of victims identified and assisted during the year. Government shelters did not detain victims against their will, although victims who chose to reside in shelters were not permitted to leave the premises unattended. Identification of adult trafficking victims remained inadequate, which left victims vulnerable to being charged, fined, and imprisoned for vagrancy. Three children reportedly were detained by the government’s armed forces for alleged association with armed groups. No foreign trafficking victims were identified during the year. IACAT operated an anti-trafficking hotline; during the year, the line received 68 trafficking-related calls leading to the identification of 17 trafficking cases. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but the government’s serious lack of victim and witness protection, exacerbated by a lengthy trial process and fear of retaliation by traffickers, caused many victims to decline or withdraw cooperation. The DOJ’s witness protection program assisted 18 victims, including nine children, during the year. However, this program lacked funding, and inadequate witness protection and shelter remained a significant deficiency in the government’s response to victims’ need for protection and assistance. The DSWD conducted training for 552 government and non-governmental social workers on recovery and reintegration of victims, and IACAT, with support from an international organization, trained 3,000 police officers on trafficking victim identification. Most local social welfare officers, however, remain inadequately trained on how to properly assist rescued trafficking victims, particularly children and victims of labor trafficking.
    In 2011, the government significantly increased its budget allocation to the Assistance-to-Nationals program, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to the equivalent of $9.86 million to assist Filipinos in situations of distress overseas, including trafficking. The DSWD and the DFA coordinated with NGOs in other countries to provide temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance to 1,469 victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment abroad, largely in Malaysia, Lebanon, the United States, and Palau. From January to March 2012, the government repatriated and provided shelter to 514 trafficking victims evacuated from Syria. The government continued to operate multi-agency Filipino workers resource centers overseas to assist Filipino migrant workers in 21 countries with 20,000 or more Filipino workers.

    Prevention
    The government demonstrated increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. Senior government officials regularly spoke publicly about the importance of combating human trafficking, and the IACAT developed and disseminated a three-hour television show on trafficking awareness.
    The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) conducted 1,539 pre-deployment orientation seminars and 583 pre-employment seminars for over 100,000 prospective and outbound Filipino overseas workers. The POEA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also conducted seminars on recruitment and trafficking in the country, attended by local prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, local government units, NGOs, recruitment agencies, and community members. The POEA distributed nearly 100,000 pieces of printed material about trafficking and illegal recruitment and the community education programs of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) reached over 50,000 people. In 2011, POEA opened a community center to offer legal assistance to trafficking victims in partnership with civil society representatives and a labor assistance center to verify overseas workers’ documents before departure; the latter identified 101 suspected victims and prevented them from departing for situations of suspected exploitation.
    In 2011, the government significantly increased the IACAT Secretariat’s full-time staff from eight to 37; it also employed 115 part-time staff members. In December 2011, the government launched its National Strategic Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons 2011 – 2016. The government continued to operate its Overseas Passenger Assistance Center (OPAC) to screen passengers for signs of trafficking; in August 2011, it opened a second OPAC in a region in which the seaports are known to be a departure point for many trafficking victims. CFO assisted 40 adults working overseas in labor and employment cases during the year, five of whom were identified as trafficking victims and referred to the DFA. CFO conducted anti-trafficking training sessions for 201 government, NGO, and community stakeholders.
    In October 2011, the government implemented a provision in its amended law on migrant workers and overseas Filipinos, banning deployment of Filipinos to 41 countries deemed to lack adequate legal protections for workers. The following month, however, this list was recalled for further review. At the close of the reporting year, the deployment ban remained suspended pending the issuance of a new POEA resolution. During the year, the government signed a new MOU with Jordan on the employment of Filipino domestic workers, and it reported ongoing negotiations for similar agreements with other noncompliant countries.
    In January 2012, the Bureau of Immigration began implementing the “New Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International Bound Passengers in all Airports and Seaports” to screen for potential possible trafficking victims. This intensified effort to detect potential trafficking victims and “off-load” them for interviews – in essence blocking their travel from the Philippines – raised concerns that Filipinos’ right to travel out of the country might be unduly restricted. The guidelines were enacted to systematize the process and ensure consistent norms were applied. From January – March 2012, 66 potential victims were identified through this process.
    In 2011, the government canceled licenses of 153 recruitment companies for violations of overseas employment laws, closed two unlicensed staffing agencies, and convicted five individuals for illegal recruitment. As a result of 22 DOLE-led rescue operations, 125 children were rescued from the sex trade and six businesses accused of sex trafficking were permanently closed. Despite significant local demand in the country’s thriving commercial sex industry, the government’s efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the Philippines were limited, as were the government’s efforts to address the demand for forced labor. Although the government acknowledges the problem of child sex tourism, it did not prosecute or convict any foreign pedophiles, instead deporting suspects without pursuing criminal charges. The government provided training, including a module on human trafficking, to Philippine troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.

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