July 2006

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Philippine Economy – An Overseas Filipino Perspective

The Philippine economy, being driven by remittances from Overseas Filipinos, domestic demand and electronics exports, has been improving. The government’s budget deficit this year looks set to come in below target as collection of taxes and other revenues improves.

But with a higher sales tax and a shortage of jobs, life has barely improved for tens of millions of Filipinos who survive on a dollar or two a day, driving the Filipinos away from the Philippines seeking better options overseas.

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10 Things Pinoys Abroad Can Do To Help Our Country

By Alex Lacson

Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies, in our Philippines.

It is understandable for our OFW’s, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But please spend some of your vacation time and some of your dollars in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the peso. And ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.

Encourage and teach your relatives back home to be good citizens & good Filipinos.

Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They look up to you as a role model. They listen to every word you say. Please teach them to become good Filipinos, to become good citizens. They can start with my book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask them to help me spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them to “Buy local. Buy Pilipino.” A recent article in TIME Magazine said that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic nationalism ” i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products.

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Tips to New Filipino Migrants

The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) now only issues work to residence visas to probable immigrants. Moreso, a personal interview is now required by New Zealand immigration offices prior to approval of visa applications. This means that probable immigrants need to shell out large amount of hard earned money just to get a work to residence visa in New Zealand in addition to the agent fees if the applicant has signed up the services of an immigration consultant.

Inspite this new policy, the influx of our fellow Filipinos to New Zealand is unstoppable. The number of Filipino migrants in new Zealand increases year-by-year. Our fellow Filipnos however may not be aware that even with a work visa, having the right work as indicated in their immiration papers is not easy. These new migrants need to work in a their field of experience, not having it may mean a failure. There will be no residence visa to be issued to them.

As a means of public service to the Filipinos migrants, here are some guidelines to be able to get the right job.

Prepare a comprehensive CV.Make your CV precise and concise but don’t forget to state the company, duration date, your job title and job responsiblity. It should not be more than two(2) pages. Managers are busy people, they don’t have time to read long CVs.

Apply for NZQA assessment.You may have acquired a PhD degree in the Philippines but unless it is duly recognized by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, it means nothing. Companies almost always require NZQA qualifications.

Send as many applications as you can.Use emails or online applications as much as possible, it is free. Most companies in New Zealand use emails as a means of communications. Use snail mail only if email or online application is not available.

Create your network.Do not be ashame to ask for help from your acquiantances. There is a higher probability if you are given referrals when applying for a job.

Search the internet.The internet contains updated job vacancies. There are so many job related websites in New Zealand.

Do not be frustrated.Focus yourself on your goal. Do not get frustrated if you get denied the first time. Always remember, you are now in New Zealand, there is no turning back. Just remember the effort and money you have invested just to acquire your visas.

Believe in yourself.You have been issued a work to residence visa because you have been evaluated as having the qualified experience to be able to integrated into the New Zealand job market. You can do it. Yes, the Filipinos can!

These guidelines are not ultimate. Always seek the most appropriate for you. If you do not get the right job as per your immigration papers, for the meantime, try to land into a permanent job, you may not be issued a residence visa soon but you can work indefinitely with your company. Apply for a residence visa later on. There are always other means to acquire your New Zealand residency.

For those Filipinos who are already New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, extend a helping hand to our fellow Filipinos. Magtulungan tayo!

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All of us can be heroes By Valerie Tan (Inquirer)

By Valerie Tan


Last updated 00:19am (Mla time) 07/05/2006

Published on Page C5 of the July 5, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

RECENTLY, I went to a Gawad Kalinga seminar in MTQ. Gawad Kalinga 777 is an organization that aims to provide a solution to poverty in the Philippines by building 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in seven years. The homes come complete with a school and clinic in each community.

At first, I felt really out of place in the seminar. I was still in my PE uniform and I was probably the only teenager there. My cousin had asked me to come along to keep her company during the seminar; she was required to attend it for her class. She told me that the Englishman who sold all his possessions and came to live in the Philippines, Dylan Wilks, was going to be there.

This man had always made me curious. Why on earth would the ninth richest man in the United Kingdom give up everything he had and live in the Philippines? Let’s face it, I thought, of all the places he could have decided to live in, why did he choose our country?

But first, there was Gawad Kalinga, of which I was really impressed. It had already set up over a thousand houses in different areas of the Philippines, turning slums into beautiful homes. Neighbors helped build each other’s houses, together with GK volunteers. I was so amazed at the genius of it all. Finally, a system that worked, I thought to myself. I had to admit that the concept was so simple that you couldn’t understand why nobody had thought of it sooner. I was impressed, all right, but not inspired.

Alarming passion

Enter Dylan Wilks. Like everything in this talk, he was not what I had expected. I envisioned an old man who was looking for a reasonable cause to blow all his ac(edited)ulated fortune, or at least someone in his 40s who looked like he had burned out.

But no, Wilks was a young, energetic Brit who hadn’t even reached his 30s! I was alarmed at his passion for GK777. I’d assumed someone as young as he would be all fun, fun, fun, or all about success in his life. But here he was, millions of miles away from his hometown, encouraging us to join his cause. He said he had realized there was a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure always needed fuel, you always needed to recharge it, like buying clothes, toys, electronics and whatnot. But happiness, he said, was so much deeper. That was what sparked him to look for organizations around the world that would try to provide a solution to poverty.

It was only in the Philippines, and only with Gawad Kalinga, where he thought people had found a proper solution.

When he returned to the UK, he said, he looked at his brand-new BMW and he felt sick. Just one of the wheels of this car could buy two houses in the Philippines. Wilks sold his car and was able to make 80 houses out of the money.

As I listened to him talk on how amazing the Philippines was, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt. Here I was, a Filipino, standing on Philippine soil and listening to a foreigner say how beautiful my country was. Obviously, something was wrong here. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think: this is a man with not a drop of Filipino blood in him, and yet he was speaking as if he’d be insulted if he were anything but.


I felt wretched. What kind of a citizen was I to have to be encouraged to help my fellow countrymen by a foreigner? I listened to him talk about my country, my people. I couldn’t help but feel a sting in my eyes as I listened to him speaking with such pride, such love and such passion for Filipinos. A passion which, I was ashamed to admit, I didn’t have.

“Filipinos are very special,” Wilks told us. “They have something very unique about them that makes them stand out.”

When you drop a piece of gold on the ground, he said, after 400 years when you pick it up, you won’t see the gold. You see the dirt. Filipinos are all pieces of gold. But because of all the crises in our lives, when we look at ourselves, all we see is the dirt.

Wilks also told us of this 10-year-old Filipino boy who lived in Texas. He believed in GK777 so much that he thought if he sold his drawings to everyone he met, he would be able to set up a house. The boy was not only able to donate one house, but three, as well as a school.

Well, if he could do it—and all the way from Texas—I could do it.

Gawad Kalinga has inspired me to look for the gold. I want to help rebuild the nation, unite the Filipinos and ultimately rid ourselves of the plague of poverty. Gawad Kalinga has shown me that this is possible. With the spirit of bayanihan by our side, I believe we can rise again. Ninoy Aquino said the Filipino is worth dying for, but he is worth living for as well. As the GK777 motto says, “Every Filipino can be a hero.”