News from home: Another NAIA power outage, more Sudan OFWs home

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
News from home: Another NAIA power outage, more Sudan OFWs home
This photo shows overseas Filipino workers being evacuated out of Sudan.
Facebook / Department of Migrant Workers

MANILA, Philippines — From another airport power outage during a holiday weekend to the government’s operations to bring overseas Filipino workers and other Filipinos from Sudan back home—these were among our headlines and news stories from the past week we think you should know if you’re a Filipino based abroad.

Overseas Filipinos

  • The Philippines is bringing batches of OFWs back home, repatriating them from Sudan. Aside from the initial financial aid given to them upon crossing the Sudan-Egypt border, the government is providing a total of P100,000 humanitarian assistance—P50,000 from the Department of Migrant Workers and another P50,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to assist the displaced OFW’s family.
  • The remains of the four OFWs who died in Lian Hwa Foods Corp.’s factory in Taiwan were finally brought back home on Sunday, a little over a week after the factory caught fire. The families left behind by the workers received financial assistance from both the Philippine and Taiwanese government as well as from Lian Hwa. 
  • Philippine authorities reported that they have rescued 1,090 individuals who were trafficked into the country and were forced to run scam hubs online. This comes a month after Sen. Risa Hontiveros warned that the country had become a hub for “scam call centers.”

Work and the economy

  • President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. faced criticism on Monday for spending his first Labor Day overseas, specifically by meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington DC. Marcos Jr., in a statement, promised that the government is already working on addressing workers’ concerns. 

    Marcos Jr. traveled to the United States in hopes of “greater economic engagement” with its major trade partner. Labor leaders said that while foreign investments may yield to the creation of jobs back home, some took offense as this is being done by marketing Filipino labor as “cheap, flexible, [and] precarious labor.” 

    A livable wage, quality jobs back home, and the protection of trade union rights were some of the key priorities identified in this year’s labor day protests.

  • The Supreme Court has suspended from practice a senior partner at a local law firm for sexually harassing a junior associate. The now-suspended lawyer was harassing his younger colleague through “dirty jokes, innuendos, inappropriate personal intimate questions about her romantic relationships, and sharing his extramarital sexual acts/conquests, to actual sexual advances.” 
  • While attacks against labor unions and activists back home continue, labor group of BPO workers welcomed a court’s decision to dismiss trafficking and exploitation charges against activist Lean Porquia. Authorities pointed fingers at Porquia over his alleged recruitment of a student into youth organization League of Filipino Students, before the student allegedly joined the New People’s Army.
    Porquia has denied the accusation, with the BPO Industry Employees Network backing him in his defense.
  • The Philippines and the US will create a bilateral working group to ensure that internationally recognized labor rights are practiced as well as facilitate dialogue between governments and workers through their unions. The proposed mechanism also aims to ensure that “workers can organize freely and safely.”

Politics and the nation

  • Several flights to and from Ninoy Aquino International Airport were either cancelled or delayed on May 1 after Terminal 3, which is used by Cebu Pacific, AirAsia Philippines, and other international airlines, faced a power outage at 1:05 a.m. on Monday. Meralco said the terminal had a “main breaker problem” and worked to immediately restore power. 

    The Manila International Airport Authority will be shutting down the country’s airspace for six jours on May 17 – from 12 midnight to 6 a.m. – to replace an uninterruptible power supply unit for the air traffic management system. 

    Since this is the second time the country’s main gateway suffered a power outage this year, the Department of Transportation said it is not ruling out the possibility that the outages were intentional “to embarrass the government.”

  • The Philippines and the US have released their Bilateral Defense Guidelines, which details the priorities of the two countries when it comes to defense and security cooperation, particularly on the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and introducing pointers on cyber defense. During Marcos Jr.’s visit to Washington, it was also announced that the US will be transferring several military assets to the Philippines, including patrol boats. 

    Aside from military and defense, Manila and Washington also held discussions on education, environmental protection, as well as nuclear energy.

  • The Department of Education is planning to teach the human rights violations committed during the Marcos Sr. dictatorship and during the administrations that followed in the country's basic education curriculum. The lessons, under the proposed curriculum, will be put at the “challenges to democracy / the Marcos dictatorship” subtopic under Araling Panlipunan (Social Sciences), which will be taught beginning third quarter for students in Grade 6.

  • After his trip to the US, Marcos Jr. flew to the United Kingdom to attend King Charles III’s coronation. While there, the chief executive said he plans to hold a “very casual” talk with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss about the UK-Philippines relationship, possible trade agreements, and Filipino healthcare workers.

You can view last week’s rundown here or sign up for the newsletter here.

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