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House Approves Bill Allowing Credit Assistance for OFWs

Ngiting Tatak Pinoy ni Dodeth Vergara

An OFW could soon apply for credit assistance of up to P50,000 to leave his family with ample money to live comfortably, especially during the first few months after the worker flies to the country he will be working in – thanks to the proposed Overseas Workers Credit Assistance Act [House Bill 4985].

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Representative Neptali Gonzales Jr., OFW party-list Representative Juan Johnny Revilla, Nueva Ecija Representative Joseph Gilbert F. Violago and Tarlac Representative Susan Yap are the main proponents of this house bill.

Ngiting Tatak Pinoy ni Dodeth Vergara
Ngiting Tatak Pinoy ni Dodeth Vergara : 2010 PEBA Photo Contest Entry

Very Useful Credit Assistance

Even before an OFW leaves the country, he will surely incur a lot of expenses – whether in plane tickets, placement fees, documentation costs, and other charges [airport terminal fees???] that might be needed before he is finally allowed to go.

Also, the family he leaves behind surely needs money for their living expenses, especially if the OFW is the sole breadwinner. Moreover, the OFW could not immediately send back money within days of working abroad, so the family is often forced to take credit from loan sharks who put high interest rates on their short-term loans.

To help solve this problem, the bill’s proponents passed the proposal to grant the OFWs with a loan of up to P50,000. It is up to OFW to use this money, whether to pay for placement fees incurred, plane tickets, or to leave to his family.

Requirements

The full requirements have not yet been released, but OFWs are expected to present “valid employment contracts processed through licensed recruitment and manning agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)”, reports GMA News.

The next-of-kin who would be the recipient of the loan also needs to sign as co-borrower.

Payment Terms

It comes as great news that this loan only has a 6% interest rate per annum (year), so it will not be too hard on the OFW’s pocket. Moreover, payment terms are easy. They are allowed to repay the loan for up to 12 months, on installment.

It is the responsibility of the OFW to repay the loan through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) via accredited banks.

The bill also indicated that within 12 months after this credit assistance bill is implemented, online payments should already be made available so that OFWs can easily repay the loans using online banking and payment facilities.

Penalties

The OFW is expected to repay the loan diligently or risk grave sanctions. Failure to repay the loan can be grounds for the POEA and all its offices to withhold the issuance exit permit, clearance to work abroad, or Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

Private agencies who fail to repay the loans for the OFWs will be suspended for 60 days on the first offense. If the agency violates the program again, then the POEA has the right to cancel its license or accreditation.

Government officials/employees who violate the provisions of this bill will also face a 60-day suspension for the first offense. If that particular employee/official violates the provisions a second time, he will be dismissed from service and banned from working or holding public office for up to 5 years.

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Anti-Homeless “Pay-and-Sit” Park Bench with Spikes Receives Mixed Reactions from Netizens

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It is a sad reality that in many places, a lot of public benches and sheltered spots are taken by the homeless as their ‘temporary home’. But because this could be ‘unsightly’ to the eyes of many, the local councils often do something to ban the homeless from using these facilities so that the residents can use these with comfort.

But while the move is lauded by some people, especially the locals who benefit from the freed up space, such is also slammed for being inhumane. What’s sad is that many of these places don’t have homeless shelters where these people could rest, leading them to sleep on the ground or some other worse spots.

Photo credit: Fabian Brunsing / the Mary Sue

Other areas impose exorbitant fines for those who sleep on their park benches. While this is less forceful, it still is inhumane considering that these people rarely have enough money to buy themselves food!

To protest this inhumane treatment and to highlight the capitalization of local councils on the spaces that the homeless could have used to rest on, design student Fabian Brunsing created an art installation of a “pay-and-sit” park bench.

This unique bench has multiple metal spikes that stay up and prevent anyone from sitting on the benches unless they insert coins which will give them some precious minutes of comfort on the bench.

Photo credit: Fabian Brunsing / the Mary Sue

If you want to sit down, you have to insert €0.50 ($0.60) into the coin slot. This makes the spikes retract and the bench will be like a regular one. Once the time is nearly up, a buzzer makes a sound to warn you.

You’ve got to get up and go or add more coins. If you won’t do that, your butt (or body if you were lying down as a homeless person might do) would be impaled by the spikes as they spring back in position! Crazy, right?

While this was an art installation, many actually said this would be a good idea because people could now use the park benches instead of these being overrun by the homeless – but does that mean that the homeless aren’t ‘people’?

Photo credit: Fabian Brunsing / the Mary Sue

Thankfully, there were more people who were offended by this bench and hoped no one would actually install these in the local parks for real.

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Woman Ends Up Winning New Car Even If She Didn’t Intend to Buy Lottery Tickets

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Every day, millions of people around the world buy lottery tickets in hopes of winning it big and turning their life around but one reluctant buyer actually ends of winning a brand new car even if she had not really intended to buy lottery tickets that day.

The lucky lady was not named but it was revealed that she is a Malaysian lady who had just gone to visit some relatives at a grocery store last January 7, somewhere in Malaysia.

This lady was on leave at the time and decided to meet up with her relatives.

Photo credit: Guang Ming

At the grocery store, she stopped by a shop that had lottery tickets hanging on the counter. Curious, the lady who works as a clerk pulled on ticket out but in doing so, she accidentally pulled out the whole bunch of tickets.

The ring holding the tickets fell to the floor and was broken, making a mess in the store.

Feeling embarrassed, the lady helped clean up the mess. She, then, bought some lottery tickets as a way of saying ‘sorry’ for what she had done’; although she had not really thought about the tickets and didn’t check them at the store.

Photo credit: Guang Ming

Back at home later that day, she recalled the incident and told her family about it. Her mother encouraged her to scratch the cards while her niece joked that if her aunt wins the car, she (the niece) wants the old one.

But the joke turned to reality when one of the scratch cards revealed that the lucky lady did win a car – a brand new Honda HRV 1.8L E. She wasn’t the only one rejoicing over the win as her niece had just gotten herself a free car, even if it was a second hand vehicle.

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Boy Dies of Rabies after Playing with Injured Bat His Dad had Saved

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One dad has regretted saving an injured bat because it led to the death of his son.

What’s sad is that Ryker Roque, 6, was not immediately taken to the hospital because his parents did not think he was in serious trouble and that they were protecting him because he had a fear of injections.

Henry Roque, the boy’s dad, later recalled how he found the bat that would bring the family this deeply saddening situation.

(I) found a bat, put it in a little bucket, put it on the porch and I had asked my son, ‘don’t touch it under any circumstances’. So, apparently he put his hand in there and touched it and he said it only scratched him, so I frantically googled it real quick and it says to wash his hands with soap, hot water for five minutes,” dad Henry said.

Feeling confident that his googled first aid worked, they didn’t bring Ryker to the hospital like they should have done.

A week later, the boy would complain of feeling headaches and numbness in his hands. This time, dad Henry rushed him to the hospital but all the while thinking that the boy must have hit his head while playing.

While going through the child’s medical history to determine the cause of his symptoms, the medical staff were quite alarmed when Henry mentioned the bat.

I mean, alarms, bells, whistles went off. They went frantically looking for the other doctors to tell them that it was a bat and how severe it was. And then they all came in. We had a conference and they explained to me that it’s almost always lethal,” the shocked dad recalled.

Photo credit: GoFundMe

The family quickly set up a GoFundMe account to seek help for Ryker’s medical bills. Sadly, the boy died. Still, the donations continued to pour in for the child as many parents around the world felt the family’s pain and knew that what happened to him was not intentional and that his dad was surely quite devastated that he was partly to blame for the death even if he had not meant for it to happen.

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