Search For 2011 Bagong Bayani Award Extends Deadline

The Philippine Embassy of Brunei Darussalam through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has reiterated the announcement for the on-going search for 2011 Bagong Bayani Awards.

The Bagong Bayani Foundation, Inc. (BBFI), in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the private sector, announces that the search for the 2011 Bagong Bayani Awardees has been extended until 31 July 2011 ( the original deadline was 31 May 2011.)

The Bagong Bayani Awards (BBA) pay tribute to the country’s outstanding Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as the new heroes of our time. It gives due recognition to their significant efforts in fostering goodwill among peoples of the world, enhancing the image of the Filipino as a competent and responsible worker and contributing to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

The general pre-qualifying criteria for the nomination of any Filipino working overseas, land-based or sea-based, are as follows:

·Must be or has been an OFW for at least two (2) years;

·Has no past or present criminal or derogatory record;

·Must be of good moral standing or has received recognition from past or present employer for exemplary behavior or outstanding service; and

·The employment contract must have been processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)

For 2011, the following are the awards categories:

1. Bagong Bayani Award for Outstanding Employee

2. Bagong Bayani Award for Community and Social Service

3. Bagong Bayani Award for Culture and Arts

4. Capt. Gregorio S. Oca Award

5. Blas F. Ople Award para sa Natatanging Bagong Bayani

In 2009, Brunei-based OFW Antonio Q. Alabastro, sub-editor of Borneo Bulletin was among the three (3) recipients of the Most Outstanding Employee Award. OFW Alabastro was given recognition for his assistance in putting up the first English daily newspaper in Brunei 19 years ago.

This year, the Philippine Embassy is encouraging members of the Filipino community, including organizations in Brunei, to take part in the search for this year’s nominees.

Details on the documents required and other information can be downloaded from the POEA website (www.poea.gov.ph ).

The nomination, with supporting documents may be submitted to:

BAGONG BAYANI FOUNDATION, INC. (BBFI) SECRETARIAT

Ground Floor Blas F. Ople Bldg., Ortigas Ave.,cor EDSA Mandaluyong City 1501 Philippines

Telephone Nos. (632) 722-1165; 722-11173

Fax No. (632) 724-3646

Email address: bagong_bayani_awards@yahoo.com

Interested parties may also inquire with the Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office through office telephone no. 673-2237052, fax no. 673-2236980. POLO BRUNEI

Philippine Embassy Explains Delay In Release Of E-Passports

The Philippine Embassy announced that the delay in passport releases for the last few weeks was a result of technical concerns and the surge in the demand for E-Passports.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delays, especially to Overseas Filipino Workers and their families, but we would like to assure them that the Department of Foreign Affairs is exerting its best efforts in resolving the issue as soon as possible,” Celeste Vinzon Balatbat, Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. of the Philippine Embassy said.

Minister and Consul Celeste Vinzon Balatbat, Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i., also stated that those with expiring passports who cannot forego their travel may opt to apply for an extension of the validity of their passports instead of applying for a new one.

She attributed the delay in passport releases primarily as a result of maintenance work and upgrades on equipment in the E-Passport Personalization Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility in Quezon City.

This, she said, also coincided with the seasonal increase in passport applications as Filipinos start making preparations for travel abroad this summer.

Minister and Consul Celeste Vinzon Balatbat, Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i., added that the DFA has been working closely with the BSP to resolve the issue and that the DFA is confident that the waiting period will be reduced in the coming weeks.

The delays, which started in February, have affected primarily applicants in the 19 Regional Consular Offices and Foreign Service Posts abroad.PE

Philippine Embassy Explains New Immigration Regulations Concerning Travel Of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors To Philippines

The Philippine Embassy announced the new regulations governing the travel of foreign children to the Philippines who are under 15-years of age and are either unaccompanied by their parent/s or are not coming to visit a parent.

These children, who may be traveling individually or in groups, can enter the Philippines by complying with the following procedures before their scheduled arrival:

1. The minor’s guarding or legal representative shall notify the Commissioner of Immigration in writing of an intent to travel to the Philippines at least 72 hours before arrival;

2. The letter of intent should include the following:

a. Request for the minor’s waiver of exclusion and the relinquishment of exclusion fees;

b. Copies of the minor’s valid passport;

c. Visa (if required);

d. Return ticket; and

e. Letter of invitation from a parent or sponsor in the Philippines.

3. Finding merit in the request, the Commissioner of Immigration shall issue an Order that

a. Waives the minor’s exclusion; and

b. May also waive the exclusion fees; otherwise, a waiver fee of Php3,120.00 shall be imposed.

The minor’s guarding or legal representative will be provided a copy of this Order.

4. A copy of this Order shall be sent to the Immigration Duty Supervisors (IDS) at the port of entry which shall waive the minor’s exclusion and, if allowed, also the waiver fees.

However, in cases where the foreign child/children arrive in the Philippines without notifying the Commissioner of Immigration, they can still enter the Philippines provided that the following steps are taken:

1. The minor’s guardian or legal representative presents copies of the minor’s passport and attaches the accomplished Waiver of Exclusion (WE) forms obtained from the Immigration Duty Supervisors (IDS);

2. After determining that the accomplished WE forms are in order, the IDS shall note “Approved for Payment” and direct the minor’s guardian or legal representative to pay the Php3,120.00 waiver fee for each unaccompanied minor to the authorized cashier.

3. After payment, the minor’s guardian or legal representative shall present WE forms official receipt of payment to the IDS, who shall then direct an Immigration Officer to admit the minor, after noting the serial number of the official receipt and the total number of minors covered by the receipt.

4. The Immigration Officer shall detach the copy of the WE forms and retains a copy of the minor’s passport, for the Bureau of Immigration’s database.

For inquiries on the new regulations, the public may wish to directly contact the Philippine Bureau of Immigration through the following contact numbers +632 527-3276 (Tel/Fax), +632 527-3397 or through e-mail xinfo@immigration.gov.ph

Philippine Embassy Clarifies Procedures Concerning Release Of E-Passports

Clients awaiting the release of their e-Passports are advised of the following:

1. The processing period for the e-Passports, which are all printed in Manila, is more than 1 month;

2. Passport applications filed at the Embassy on the same date may be processed by DFA-OCA on a staggered basis.

Therefore, some of the e-Passports may be released at a later date.

3. The new e-Passports normally arrive every Thursday of the week.

The Consular Section then updates its database by recording the names and electronically scanning the individual e-Passports received by the Embassy.

4. To inform members of the Filipino Community that their e-Passports are available, the Consular Section of the Philippine Embassy does the following:

a. Sends out text messages to the concerned applicants;

b. Posts the list of available e-Passports at the following:

• Philippine Embassy website (www.philippineembassybrunei.net);

• PinoyBrunei website (www.pinoybrunei.com); and

• Billboard of the Consular Section.

The e-Passports are released either to the applicants themselves or to their authorized representatives.

The old passport must be brought along for cancellation before the new e-Passport is released.

To avoid any inconvenience, clients are advised to call the Consular Section through telephone numbers 223-8845 and 222-0781 before proceeding to the Philippine Embassy to claim their e-Passports.