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T he Of fici al P u bli ca ti on of Fil i pin o EPS W or kers Ass oc ia ti o n - So u th K o rea (F EW A )
필리핀 EPS ( 외국인 (외국인 고용허가제) 협회 공식 발행 – 대 한민국 한민국 필리핀 EPS 고용허가제) 근로자 근로자 협회 공식 발행 – 대
Volume 3 Issue 2 2011 www.sulyapinoy.org
NOT FOR SALE
by Benj Del Mundo
yewa-dong, SeoulThe Filipino EPS Workers Association (FEWA) and the Hyewha-dong Filipino Catholic Community (HFCC) conducted a forum last February 27, 2011 held at St. Benedict Parish Church Coffeeshop. The main topic of the said forum was about the extension of term or sojurn of the EPS (Employment Permit System) workers here in Korea. The forum’s objectives were: 1) gather common issues and concerns in relation to EPS policy; 2) consolidate proposals that address prevailing issues of workers and; 3) plan out a campaign for support. The forum was attended by more than 100 participants, including leaders from
the different Filipino organizations. They introduced their activities that provide help to migrant workers and gave their statements and recommendations in addressing the issue on contract extension. The event was graced with the presenters such as Ms. Gennie Kim (HRD Korea), Atty. Pill Kyu Hwang (Korea Public Interest Lawyer's Group), Ms. Lee Kyung Sook (Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea), and Philippine Labor Attache Atty. Fely Bay. This year many of the Filipino workers here in Korea under the EPS will end their contract. The workers are proposing to the Korean government, specifically to the Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Justice, to make revisions on the law.
Several of the representatives of the different Filipino organizations are calling for the revision of the EPS law to prevent the massive
increase of undocumented workers. One of the suggestions was for a migrant worker to sign a waiver stating he/she does not intend to avail for a
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by Ma.Lourdes Espinola
Hyehwa-dong, Seoul – Officers, members and volunteers of the Filipino EPS Workers Association (FEWA) and the SULYAPinoy publication held an acquaintance party for the Korean Language Test - KLT Batch 6 last Lunar New Year. The event was started at 2:00 PM that lasted until midnight in a Filipino Restaurant in Hyehwa-dong last February 04, 2011. It was a simple gathering with a variety of Filipino foods and a sing-a-long that made the party livelier. Aside from celebrating the new year it was also an opportunity to introduce the organization and at the same time encourage
People and God-centered Association
members of the KLT Batch 6 to be active and involved. Mr. Benji Del Mundo, who hosted the program, introduced to the newcomers the mission and vision of
FEWA and SULYAPinoy as President of FEWA to Suwell as its Board Memlyapinoy volunteers, Mr. bers, officers and volun- Pete Rahon for his work as teers. Certificates of rec- editor-in-chief, and to Ms. ognition were given by Mr. Amy Sison-Genova as forMarzy Serdeña the mer literary editor.
SU LY AP INO Y is T he Off icia l P u blica tion of F ilip ino EP S W or ke r s A ssociat ion - Sout h K ore a (F EW A )
SULYAPINOY is accepting cash donations for its monthly printing expenses. You may deposit them @ Account # : 1002 640 334730 / Acct Name: Marcelino M. / Bank: Woori Bank - Hyehwa-dong Branch
06 March 2011
Mr. Jung, Bong Su, Assistant Director Ministry of Employment and Labor Foreign Workforce Policy Division
Dear Mr. Jung: We, the undersigned, Filipino workers and Korean employers under the Employment Permit System (EPS), and members of Filipino organizations in Korea, appeal to the office of the Foreign Workforce Policy Division of the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) for kind assistance so that measures that facilitate orderly re-entry of foreign workers, who have finished 6 years or 4 years and ten (10) months period of stay in Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS) may be implemented. We fully acknowledge that the Act on Foreign Workers’ Employment and its amendments brought forth greater benefits to the foreign workers. However, we also recognized that the current system for hiring foreign workers needs to include a procedure that is more suitable for workers seeking reemployment in Korea after the completion of their legal stay under the EPS. We, further, recognized that some of the current requirements for employment in Korea may not be necessary for a foreign worker, who has legally worked in Korea for 5 or 6 years; who already learned Korean language and culture; who have developed and mastered working skills in Korean factories and industries, and
who have gained the trust of their Korean employers. Strict age requirement and the normally long procedure of application for this group of workers would entail a great loss for the Korean small and medium size businesses. We, therefore, respectfully appeal that the current implementing regulations of the Act on Foreign Workers’ Employment be reviewed so that a different procedure and set of req uirements may be applied to foreign workers who are seeking reemployment in Korea, after having completed either the 6 years or 4 years and ten (10) months period of sojourn under the Employment Permit System (EPS). We further appeal that such set of requirements may not include (1) the Korean Language Test (KLT)/Test on Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), and (2) the age limit of 38 years old. We further appeal that such set of requirements may include (1) medical certificate, and (2) a certificate of recommendation for reemployment from the last Korean employer. Lastly, we appeal that the period of waiting for re-entry to Korea, for this type of foreign workers, may be shortened to the minimum legal requirement. We, the undersigned, plead for your office to render proper consideration and action on the above-mentioned appeals so that a more sustained and productive working relationship between the foreign workers and Korean businesses, may be attained.
Signed by: Name of Workers
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
Name of Employers
_______________________ _______________________ _______________________ _______________________
Name of the Company & Business Permit No.
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
(Mangyari lang po na gupitin at ipadala ang napirpamahang pahina na ito sa address na: Appeal of EPS Workers-Sulyapinoy 115-9 Songbuk-gu 1-dong, Songbuk Villa, Seoul, Korea 136-020. O kaya i-scan/kunan ng litrato at i-email sa firstname.lastname@example.org. Maraming Salamat po!)
irst, I would like to thank Fr. Alvin Parantar for co-organizing this event with our organization the Filipino EPS Workers Association (FEWA). I would like to thank all the resource persons: Philippine Embassy’s LABATT Felicitas Q. Bay, Mr. Pill Kyu Hwang of the Korea Public Interest Lawyers Group GONGGAM, Ms Lee Kyungsook of JCMK Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea, Ms. Gennie, HRD volunteer and the rest who came to share with us their precious time in enlightening us on this issue and to all of you friends, colleagues and EPS coworkers, mga Kababayan, a pleasant and a blessed Sunday afternoon. The issue on contract extension has been raised and discussed at Sulyapinoy Online Forum, many in those discussions are speculations and false rumors that continue to circulate among Filipino migrant workers or Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) particularly EPS workers. So we decided to come-up with an online survey to get the pulse and gauge the perception OFWs on the issue. We now have more than 200 respondents of the survey and in the January 2011 issue of Sulyapinoy, FEWA’s official newsletter, we came out with an editorial and initial findings of the survey. This statement that I am about to share in this forum is informed and reflects the sentiments of the many Filipino workers anxious and concerned of their ending work contract. We Filipino Migrant Workers came here to Korea to realize our dreams of a better life for our families. Provide good education to our children and save for a capital to use for business when we go back home. Through our remittances our country benefits through the Korean won that we send. We came here to Korea to find a decent job that is lacking in our country. Although we have jobs here but we are confronted with so many problems and challenges. In particular, the Employment Permit System that serves as Korea’s labor policy still needs a lot of improvement. This law has caused many of our compatriots to become undocumented because of its stringent provisions. Thus, making us migrant workers vulnerable to all forms of discrimination, abuses, and our rights not protected and guaranteed even for minor errors, defaults and lapses on the law that most of the time is not even of our own doing but brought about by the negligence and lack of knowledge on the EPS law of our company officials. But despite all these, some of us have shown loyalty to our companies by working straight for 3-5 years, have proven our skills, resourcefulness and initiatives that we have won the admiration and confidence of our Sajangnims. Like most of us they are now very concerned of the future of their medium-small businesses without us, well trained and skilled in our jobs as well as familiar with the Korean language and culture.
This year many of us are going to finish our contract but not all of us are planning to go back home. Korea will be confronted anew with a big number of undocumented migrant workers should it not address this problem and revise the law to avert this looming crisis. This trend is being confirmed by 90% of our survey respondents.
We call on the Korean government to realize that contract extension is the short term solution; the long term solution in addressing all these kinds of labor problems is the issuance of a more comprehensive working visa to migrant workers instead. We appeal to the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to actively support this initiative by migrant workers and continue to push the agenda and interests of the OFWs for better working terms with the Korean government on contract extension. And that this issue should also be brought up to the Philippine President Noynoy Aquino’s support as well. We appeal to the Korean Civil Society, the church, and other International organizations to help promote our cause. We appeal to all Filipino migrant workers and the whole of the Filipino community to join us to this cause. Marzy Serdeña President, FEWA 27 February 2011 Hyewha, Seoul, ROK
A four-year and 10 months contract is not enough, it is very short. It is not enough time for us to save and provide for our kids education. We proposed that our contract should be extended, better still to allow us to work for as long as we are capable and our companies need us. It is high time that the current EPS law should be revised and migrant workers should be provided with a working visa instead. There’s a need to review and update the bilateral MOU particularly on age limit. We believe that the age requirement is a form of discrimination. Even the Korean government has now a law that addresses this issue. International norms also discourages this kind of practice. This age cap should therefore be removed and allow us to work for as long as we are mentally and physically fit to work and remain productive. Our Sajangnims are still in need of us. Our continued presence will also sustain their businesses productivity and profit. It prevents them from all the hassles of paper works and additional burdens of training a new set of workers who are unfamiliar with work, culture and language. Recognizing the need for gradual transition of work skills transfer of current workers with the new will be more beneficial and more practical. We strongly believe that only through contract extension that Korean government will be able to prevent migrant workers from becoming undocumented. Allow us migrant workers to work for some more time here in Korea. The need to implement contract extension is necessary! We appeal to the Korean government which is vested with political powers and will to address a potential crisis in the increase of undocumented migrant workers. We call on the Korean government to take heed and listen to the voice of migrant workers. Migrant workers are your partners in developing and sustaining small and medium businesses of the Korean people. We migrant workers need work, we want to continue working here in Korea. We want to work and be respected with our rights as decent and documented migrant workers.
By Rhean R. Delos Reyes
As for those men and women who have not received anything in February or March, they can join other singles in eating black bean paste noodles or jjajangmyun 짜장면 which are usually served at chinese restaurants around the country during April 14th or the Black Day. The difference between Korea and Western countries is that these practices and gift-giving are generally limited to unmarried people in their 20’s. If you missed these special days in February, March and April, here are the rest of the ‘love day’ themes that you might want to keep in mind: May 14th - Rose Day June 14th - Kiss Day July 14th - Silver Day August 14th - Green Day September 14th - Music Day October 14th - Wine Day November 14th - Movie Day December 14th - Hug Day January 14th - Candle Day Remember that these are promotional ideas and social fads, so the list may change from one year to the next. Watch out for marketing adverts that will give you the clue as to which theme will be next so you can prepare your gifts or sonmul 선물 for your loved ones. Source: www.korea4expats.com * Note: The idea of White Day, however, is of Japanese origin and was first celebrated in Japan in 1978. It was started by Japan’s National Confectionery Industry Association as an answer to Valentine’s Day. But this time, (Japanese) men should pay back the women who gave them chocolates and other gifts on February 14 by giving them white chocolate, jewelry, or even white clothing (usually lingerie). The reason why it was called “White Day” is because the color of sugar (white) is the main ingredient for candy which was traditionally given on this day. The writer/researcher, Rhean R. Delos Reyes, is a graduate student at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, and a member of Filipino Photographers in South Korea or FILIPOS.
ave you ever wondered what Koreans meant by Red Day, White Day and Black Day?
These so-called ‘love’ days are not official nor traditional holidays in Korea. It is possible that these concepts were earlier coined by young people or university students, and were then picked up on by marketers or product advertisers. The whole practice may have also started from celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14. For Koreans, February 14th is the day for women to give chocolate to men, and is popularly called as Red Day. From early February, we begin to see speciallypacked chocolates in almost every store including coffee shops, department and convenience stores, etc. Although Valentine’s Day signs are seen everywhere in February, it is on March 14th known as White Day* that men are expected to reciprocate with non-chocolate candy to the woman/women who remembered them the previous month. Consequently, you will see all kinds of candy display at the same places where you saw the chocolates in February.
Photo from Yeinjee.com
FEWAnians’ Take on Contract Extension
by Maria Lourdez Espinola
Here are some of the opinions and suggestions of Filipino EPS Workers Association’s (FEWA) Board Members regarding the contract extension issue: Benji Del Mundo: Signing a waiver, but the problem, it is not that easy to make the Korean government to agree in signing a waiver. It is not like a credit with collateral but it’s worth giving a try. Or maybe revise the law of the EPS. Why not try the law that is applied and practiced in the Middle East. Every 2 years a contract is signed by the employee and the employer. So let’s air some possible solutions. Norman Matudan: Sa aking sariling opinyon tama lang na magkaroon tayo ng iisang tinig upang ipaalam o ipabatid sa Korean goverment ang ating ninanais o saloobin, lalung-lalo na kung gusto pa nating magkaroon ng ekstensyon sa pagtatrabaho. Hindi sapat ang ibinigay nilang taon para tayo makaipon. Karamihan sa ating mga OFW ang tumatayong bread winners ng ating pamilya o di naman kaya may mga pinapaaral. Hindi lang sana extension of visa ang maisulong kundi magbigyan tayo ng visa na pwede tayong magtrabaho hangga’t kaya natin gaya ng ibang bansa para na rin mabawasan ang pagkakaroon ng illegal workers dito sa Korea. Nawa'y matugunan ang ating pangangailangan. Paul Adeva: Ok sana kung merong extension dahil pabor na pabor sa mga matatapos na ang contract this year, para kung wala pang masyadong naipon may oras pa para makaipon, at para na rin sa mga pamilya na umaasa sa atin sa Pilipinas. Pero kung wala na talaga, tanggapin na lang natin ng maluwag sa ating loob. Sana naman ang gobyerno natin ay magkaroon naman ng programa na maaring makatulong sa mga papauwing OFWs galing dito sa Korea, nang sa gayon may pagkaabalahan naman tayo paguwi na makatulong sa ating pangkabuhayan. But for the majority of the OFWs, the main problem is that they do not plan properly. So, staying longer here will not always be enough. The above statements were the views of some of FEWA’s board members during the Forum on EPS contract extension held last February 27, 2011. to come up with a unified statement as well. Whatever the result of this appeal, let us all remind ourselves that we still need to respect the Korean law in the end.
Lastly, let us always be ready for other options. Let us go back and remind ourselves of our plans before coming here to Korea. Most of us know that we are just given a 3There is no harm in appealing to year contract. There will the Korean Government which will Alwyin Casiño: The extension is not always be life after Korea as both benefit the employers and the the solution for all migrant workers long as we have a clear vihere in South Korea. My advice to all EPS workers. It is hoped that this sion and action plan. issue will be raised in pure humility the new migrant workers coming and diplomacy to have a better here is to please build your plan for a FEWA would like to thank all leverage with the Korean governgood future. I know the longer the the Filipino communities who ment. FEWA believes that OFWs’ time that you stay here the more actively participated in the sacrifices you make just to earn more voices will be much stronger if we forum. It was a proof of reach out to other workers and money. Filipino solidarity. Embassies with an EPS agreement
One Lonely heart In the Garden of Highs Waiting for the Angel and Wondering on why. One Single Soul On the distant apart Searching for an answer Questioning on Why.. For I, not a prince With our riches and gold A humble and a smiley guy That makes your heart cry.. For You, an Angel A Sadly soul from apart A day gone bye Time will comes by… Time will tell for the Two destined hearts Two souls, Become one That makes them apart…
In the house of Highs All angels will arise For the time have come And the two souls unite… For I, the humble guy Knell before u as a truly man Joseph is my name. As your Prince that comes by… I lay my heart of all the angels Standing here as your Guardian Angel I’ll keep the time For the Two Destined Heart… Forever and Always to be apart..
The following is the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III on the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution: My warmest greetings to all the Filipinos around the world, as we commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution. We Filipinos continue to demonstrate the same ideals of unity and patriotism that freed us from oppression 25 years ago. These values embody our determination to tackle the challenges of today. Thus, this celebration is not only a day to remember, but also a day to affirm our duty to our fellow Filipinos and to our country. I am grateful for our countrymen abroad who have been keenly following the course of our country's progress and have remained proud of our multifaceted heritage, which defines our identity as one people. Now that we are in a period of transformation, let us keep alive the spirit of People Power and democracy, as we work together and fulfill our aspiration of a peaceful and progressive Philippines. We are moving forward in this era of daylight and hope, and it is incumbent upon each of us to take on the responsibility of realizing our dreams for our beloved country on the straight and righteous path to change. BENIGNO S. AQUINO III (Sgd.)
(Source - http://www.philembassy-seoul.com/ann_details.asp?id=400)
EDITOR’ S NOTE
By Gennie Kim
The following Q & A were raised with a certified public labor lawyer belonging to a foreign employment support team 1. How true are these rumors about a 2 year extension for those who will finish their 6- year contract? Answer(A): We have not heard of them and there are no official order yet on the extension. These rumors are being spread by brokers and this is illegal. So migrant workers should be more careful when approached by these syndicates. 2. What should be done by those who have finished their 6 years contract and wanting to come back? A: They have to repeat the same process like the first time they applied. 3. Why are workers not allowed to be re-hired back by their previous companies? A: We are following the standard contract as stipulated on the EPS. We are also concerned about the interest of our country especially the increase of crimes, drugs, etc. Also, we still need more time to be more open with foreign labor. 4. What are the reasons for the delay of applicants getting an employer/job even if their names are already in the rooster of HRDKorea? A: It all depends on the employer. Once applicant’s names are submitted to HRD-Korea their names are then passed to the Labor Office. They have the list the companies who are in need Filipino workers. Then Labor will provide the list of all the applicants including their photo and profile to the employer. The employer will choose from among the list of workers available. Labor does not have any say on the selection; it is up to the employer to pick their choice.
If before the policy was, below 10 employees are not included for severance insurance or toejigeum as per labor code, this is now changed. Currently from 5 and above employees are now entitled to claim their severance insurance pay. As an example on January 1, 2008 2005~ 2006 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December how to calculate the last 3 months of salary upon completing your contract for your services from January 1, 2005 to KRW 1,200,000 KRW 1,100,000 KRW 1,000,000 KRW 1,200,000 KRW 1,100,000 KRW 1,000,000 KRW 1,200,000 KRW 1,100,000 KRW 1,000,000
The highlighted amount is x 3 the total of severance fee: KRW 3,600,000 this is the net amount of the salary not the gross amount. Even undocumented workers have the right to claim their toejigeum. For questions and assistance please email Gennie Kim at email@example.com.
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permanent residency so as to be allowed to work on a long term basis, since it is perceived that the short term employment for foreigners is due to the immigration policy of allowing immigrants to avail citizenship if they have stayed in Korea for a period of more than five years. Most workers also complained that the 6 years and, for others, 4 years
and 10 months is not enough time to have their dreams materialize. Another contention raised was the age limit set for applicants at 38 years old. It prevents those older in age but still physically and mentally fit to avail for work in Korea. EPS workers believe that these kinds of policies should be the subject for revision.
Participants of the forum agreed to explore on campaigning for three options: (1) Extension of Term, (2) Visa conversion from E -9 to F-2, and the (3) Formulation of different requirements for those re-applying for work to Korea, after having completed 6 years or 5 years term under the EPS. An Ad Hoc Committee
was formed to finalize and come up with a campaign plan to implement the output and suggestions from the forum. (Ed note: Please refer to page 5 and support the Appeal of the Filipino Workers and Korean Employers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) and the Filipino Organizations in Korea).