2009 (STAR) By Paolo Romero – Government agencies will hire some 93,000 unemployed or underemployed Filipinos this year for a P1.77-billion roadside maintenance program in line with President Arroyo’s call for agencies to strengthen the country’s economic foundation in the face of continuing uncertainties in the global economy and international labor markets, Malacañang announced yesterday.

National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary Domingo Panganiban said the move was in line with the development plans of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Arroyo emergency job plan under the Economic Resiliency Program (ERP).

“The country’s national roads are essential to the strength and stability of the economy, helping to encourage investments and create jobs for a vast number of the Filipino poor,” Panganiban said.

“While experts have noted signs of recovery in the global economy, now is not the time for complacency,” the NAPC chief said. “We are still in the thick of what is probably the worst economic slump in modern history.”

NAPC, which is under the Office of the President, oversees the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP), launched by Mrs. Arroyo in October 2008 to address the need for new jobs as a result of the global economic meltdown.

The Arroyo government has assured the availability of jobs and employment opportunities for poor Filipinos amid the global economic slowdown through the employment program.

The President has cited ERP and CLEEP as priority programs that the government is vigorously implementing.

Mrs. Arroyo had said that local government units (LGUs), in partnership with the private sector, are working doubly hard in creating and maintaining jobs as well as in investing on vital infrastructures, livelihood programs and other economic activities that will help generate more employment.

Panganiban said the new hires would work on some 30,000 kilometers of national roads under the Out of School Youth Towards Economic Recovery (OYSTER) program of the DPWH.

“The workers will see to the maintenance of around 30,000 kilometers of national roads under OYSTER Program of the DPWH,” Panganiban said.

Panganiban said the DPWH had already met a considerable portion of its emergency employment targets and was able to hire 42,930 workers for various roadside maintenance projects nationwide as of Sept. 30 this year.

He said the government plans for the employment of some 59,968 roadside maintenance workers in Luzon while 14,120 more laborers are put to work in roadside projects in the Visayas.

“Another 19,120 workers will be employed in roadside maintenance projects across the island-region of Mindanao,” Panganiban said.


(STAR) By Marvin Sy - President Arroyo has ordered the holding of a special professional licensure examinations in the Middle East for Filipino expatriates based in that region.

Executive Order 835 directed the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to hold and conduct a special professional licensure board exam for qualified overseas Filipino workers based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the other Middle Eastern countries with whom the Philippines has diplomatic relations.

The exams will be held once a year in the region starting December of this year.

The venue for the exams will be determined by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through its consular offices.

During her visit to Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia last September, the President announced before the Filipino community the conduct of the special licensure exams once a year.

The move was made in response to the clamor of Filipino professional organizations in the region.

Considering that the cost of flying to Manila from the Middle East just to take the exams, it was argued that holding the tests there would be more practical for the Filipinos concerned.

The Philippine Professional Organization-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia envisions united and dedicated professional organizations in the country and the Middle East through the conduct of the special licensure exams for its qualified members and other Filipinos working in the region.

“It is the thrust of the national government to encourage qualified overseas Filipino workers to take and pass the licensure board examinations abroad as it would greatly enhance their edge and competitiveness in the labor market and it would spare them from expensive travel expenses and rigorous travel permits from their employers and/or host country,” the EO stated.

'No politics in GMA visits to Pampanga' By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) Updated November 02, 2009 12:00 AM

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – Amid controversies triggered by reports that President Arroyo will run next year for Congress, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Hermogenes Esperon insisted last Saturday that there is “no politics” involved in Mrs. Arroyo’s frequent sorties recently to her second district in this province.

Esperon, interviewed here by The STAR on his way to his 6th district in Pangasinan for All Saints’ Day, also decried as “malicious” those who have accused the President of early campaigning for the congressional race in Pampanga.

Esperon said, “as daughter of Pampanga, she (President Arroyo) should not be barred from making frequent visits to her province.”

“As former head of the PSG (Presidential Security Group), I can say she did her best to reach all parts of the Philippines. So what’s wrong if she comes often to her province?” he said.

“If our frequent visits are appreciated by local folk, what can we do? If there is another chance to serve them further, at least the people can say we have not forgotten them,” he added.

He said he himself has always visited his hometown in the sixth district of Pangasinan, but admitted that he intends to run for congressman there in next year’s elections.

“I go back often to Pangasinan as I am the Cabinet officer for eastern Pangasinan. But even before that, I would visit my province way back when I was just a lieutenant, then a captain and especially when I was chief of staff (of the Armed Forces), because I was a son of a teacher and farmer and I think anyone born in a place owes that place something,” he said.

He noted that incumbent Pangasinan 6th district Rep. Conrad Estrella, whom he described as “a real friend” is now on his third and last term.

Esperon said he would run under the banner of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He said he is prepared to resign from his post once he files his certificate of candidacy.

“Let us play by the rules,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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