In line with the government’s aim empowering Overseas Filipinos, the Philippine Embassy conducted two (2) stakeholder engagement activities with Filipino Community in Brunei Darussalam: (1) Kapihan sa Pasuguan (3rd edition) on Friday, 05 July 2019 and (2) Post Arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS – 3rd edition) on Sunday, 07 July 2019.
In both events, newly-arrived Philippine Ambassador Christopher B. Montero announced the launching of the Embassy’s new initiatives to improve the delivery of its services to the Filipino community:
- The regular conduct of a Consular Outreach Missions in far-flung areas outside of Bandar Seri Begawan that host a large concentration of OFWs (such as Kuala Belait) who usually take at least 2 hours to travel to the Embassy. In addition to consular services, Post’s partner-agencies (POLO, OWWA, SSS and Pag-IBIG) will also join the outreach missions and extend frontline services.
- Sunday Consular Services (once a month) that will allow OFWs during their regular day-off to avail of the Embassy’s services.
- A new dedicated hotline for consular inquiries, in addition to the existing hotline for ATN-related services.
- Issuance of a Philippine Citizen Registration Card at no cost to Filcom members, which will serve as the primary source for the creation of a database of OFs in Brunei, in order to further assist the Embassy in promoting the welfare and protecting the interest of the OFs.
- The publication of A Basic Information Guide Booklet for newly arrived Filipinos in Brunei that contains useful information i.e. Social and Religious Norms in Brunei, Basic phrases in Malay, Employment Guidelines, Embassy services, etc. A copy of the Guide is attached for reference.
- Institution of new Security Procedures for public access to the Embassy’s Consular Section to ensure both the safety of Embassy personnel and its clients while inside the Embassy premises.
- Formulation of an Updated Contingency Plan with the assistance of Filipino Community volunteers to assist the Embassy in effectively implementing the Plan when emergencies arise.
Ambassador Montero further encouraged Filcom members to actively participate in the Embassy’s client feedback program in order to obtain a more accurate measure on the quality of its services.
Colonel Jose Ricky A. Laniog, Defense and Armed Forces Attaché (DAFA) also conducted a briefing for the Filipino community titled “An Orientation on the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) Problem for the Filipino Community in Brunei”. The presentation imparted relevant information on the CTG problem that operates not just in the Philippines, but worldwide, and enabled Filcom members a better appreciation and awareness on how, together with the government, they can assist in addressing this issue.
On the other hand, the holding of the 3rd edition of the Post-Arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS) for 2019 coincided with the commemoration of Migrant Workers’ Day with a theme of “Salamat sa Tapang, Sipag at Pagmamahal Mo, Kabayan.” At the initiative of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) in Brunei provided free health screenings such as blood pressure check and sugar level monitoring to the almost 120 participants comprised mainly of newly-arrived Household Service Workers.
A new innovation in the PAOS program was the inclusion of testimonials from three (3) successful OFWs who have lived and worked in Brunei for more than 20 years.
Ms. Ofelia Valera, Manager at Lufthansa Royal Flight, Ms. Merciditha Oliveros, Manager at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, and Ms. Cora P. Sulit, a successful driver and amah (household service worker) shared with the attendees their humble beginnings, valuable lessons on how to overcome early struggles through positive attitude, and the will to succeed for their families and loved ones.
Embassy and Partner Agencies’ personnel also gave presentations their respective frontline services and programs that participants could avail of during their deployment in Brunei. In addition, a copy of the Basic Information Guide Booklet and goodie bags filled with Philippine-made products such as Century Tuna, Purefoods Sisig, Purefoods Cornbeef and Choco Mani, were distributed to each attendee, in addition to a take-home lunch featuring a local food delicacy Ayam Penyet.
The Kapihan sa Pasuguan is a regular forum organized by the Embassy for Filipinos in Brunei to keep them abreast of its services or programs, as well as of current developments that affect them, while the PAOS is conducted once every quarter for newly arrived OFs especially for the Household Service Workers and the semi-skilled workers. END