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My Birthday Wish is Jolo's full recovery - can we help them?

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4th post-operation day - changing dressings
This is Jolo my nephew who had his second stage surgery last June 23 2011, at Philippine Heart Center. The surgery lasted for 14 long hours. They have to re-open him because his valve is not functioning well. Jolo's family were told to prepare Php 470,000 (USD 10,964) for the procedure, but because they have to replace his valve, they were charged double. The hospital bill  is now 600,000 (USD 13,996). Doctors' fees not yet included. It was so kind for the Philippine Heart Center to have done the operation despite the payment of the total cost.

My birthday is on 9th of July. One of my birthday wishes is for him to fully recover and to continue living an animated life. If you plan to gift me (I know you don't), may I knock on your kind hearts please to, instead of giving me presents, can we share a little of our blessings to Jolo and his family? Or if you know someone or a group who can lend a help, can you share this blog to them please?
Jolo after transfer from I.C.U.
with his Pedia Cardio, Dra.Azcueta, Dra. Mappala & Dra. Valdez
We are very thankful and very happy that Jolo, an 8-year old, is so brave to battle it out. This promising kid dreams a lot of big things for him and his family. He's doing well in school, especially in his favorite subject, Science.  He is one kid whom I can see a bright future ahead.  Let's all wish for him to fully enjoy childhood and growing up.

If you want to learn more about what Jolo has gone through til this date, read this blog: http://thefighterboy.blogspot.com

Thank you so much in advance for any amount you could wholeheartedly share. 


Please get in touch with her mom, Joy Guerrero-Gonzales via email: ljoy_gonzales @yahoo.com.ph
You ay directly deposit any amount to:
Account Name: Lorelie Joy Gonzales
Account Number: 429002100018
Philippine National Bank (PNB) Mangarin Branch

You can also contact me at connect @iongonzaga.com or call +63915-2182858 in the Philippines or +97150-3104958 in UAE.

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Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai, Have You Heard About Common Sense?

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Does an electric fan (if you can't afford an air-conditioned waiting area) costs more than the chandeliers hanging inside your offices? Does one water dispenser with disposable cups also expensive?

All we wanted is to go back home, yet you're making us feel uneasy and frustrated about going through the process we need just to get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

How uncommon your senses are? Have you ever seen any place in Dubai that isn't air-conditioned? Now I just did. At the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-OWWA) in Abu Hail, their waiting area for applicants getting certification is a villa garage, covered only by a thin metal roof. Yes they have one small room inside, but not enough to accommodate applicants. You are a huge customer service / public service office and you provide a 'clinic' for a reception? You, public servants, sit comfortably in couches in your spacious offices - and you can afford to see people suffer under the 45 degrees Celsius heat?

Oh I forgot! That office isn't a UAE territory anymore. Welcome back to Philippines! What a pre-taste of homecoming.

We arrived 1:30PM - I couldn't come at a really earlier time as I need to finish crucial works in the office that day; Got my queue number - 394 - current number served was 230. So I was 164 heads behind. The designated holding room which is just as big as 10 toilet cubicles was overflowing with people seated and standing with literally no space to move elbows. Thanks to the malfunctioning aircon and the useless faulty electric fans - people are sweating. I wish this office also employs people who could organize and well handle a crowd, not just somebody who gives out papers to fill in and then cries when the people coming in becomes faster than their encoding.

One applicant - a lady attempted to take a photo of the room, and then, a staff yelled 'Mam bawal po yan!' (Madam, taking photo is not allowed). Since when did other people had the right to tell what's not allowed to photograph? But that's it - they don't want pictures of the heck situation to spill out.

This is their holding area outside. If we choose not to squeeze inside and suffocate - we'd brave the heat!
We decided to stay outside where dozens of people rather brave out the heat than to succumb in suffocation inside.  It's June 29 - for heaven's sake, temperature soars around 43-45 degrees! I asked a staff for water and guess what... NO WATER! I wonder how they drink. I have never been into any office in the UAE, private or government, that doesn't have water. In bus stations, RTA provide cold bottled water for FREE. In other establishments, you will be asked to choose what drinks you want. What is it to them to serve one glass at least to someone dehydrating? I'm fighting with my temper on that day to prevent from bursting out. It was really dehydrating - not the lack of water but the lack of senses of the so-called public servants. The nearest grocery is blocks away.  After some 2 hours, a water vendor came in... whew! Good thing he doesn't overprice (Only 1AED per bottle) - he's not a Filipino kasi.

A basic water dispenser (without fridge) in Carrefour doesn't cost more than 500AED - and is only a one-time purchase. A 5-gallon of water costs 8AED (80AED for 10 in a day maybe). Disposable cups are priced around 0.50 fils per piece. Now I wonder why they can't allocate budget for this wherein each OEC applicant pays more than 100AED for the certificate - and the number of OEC applicants day-to-day is on the range of 300-500 heads. (OEC applicants pa lang yan.) Now do the math.

They could've also talk to sponsors to put a vending machine for water, sodas and some chips and cookies. They just didn't.

And how about a single industrial fan at least? Heck, they will not spend more than 500AED for a decent one. Actually, why not air condition the holding areas? Why not for us overseas Filipinos?!

And you have 2 luxury SUVs parked inside huh... Plainly, totally insensitive.

The queue moves really slow at 10 people in every half an hour. The reason they say is that they only have 2 in the staff to process OEC. AGAIN, why not employ more? If demands are higher why not add service? Oh by the way, they are already taking pride that these 2 people works beyond the duty hours just to finish the applications... No thanks.

How dare you to prioritize applicants whose employers come with them? Which rule book says that when a non-Filipino employer pleads to prioritize their employees you will effin' give in?

I was called by around 6:15PM. That call is for me to get into another holding room. Finally, after 4.5 hours of being 'roasted.' I was so lacking of energy, hungry, deprived of a care and service I've been paying since I become an OFW.

Thought that was it but I was wrong. There are about 30+ heads before me waiting for their turns. Can you imagine how frustrating it was? This room though is a bit spacious, but some were still standing. I spent more than half hour on that room before finally claiming my effin' OEC. It was a grueling almost 6 hours of hell. 6 hours I borrowed from work just to attend to this mandate.

But in fairness, in the last holding room, most of the staff (the elder ladies) were polite, courteous and really accommodating. It's saddening that these real public servants are being eaten up and overshadowed by the rotten system.

I know this issue is not as heavy as others could be - but this post intends to create awareness (yet again) that even at the smallest needs of the people where the solutions are handy - the "leaders" doesn't seem to use their common sense to act on it - or maybe it's not common to them at all.  And I'm not referring to the topmost leaders. I'm talking about the immediate "leaders" - the Consul Generals, the Labor Attaches, even the OICs or the officers-of-the-day. We are your customers, you are our public servants. And nobody deserves to be b'sh****d in whatever way.

RELATED ARTICLE: Gulfnews: Filipinos sweat to meet employment certificate rule

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A little trivia: Did you know that the Philippine Consulate / POLO-OWWA in Dubai (I don't know in other cities) could vie for a Guinness World Record for the public office with the most number of holidays? YES! They take both the UAE holidays and the Philippine holidays off. So if it is (example) National Heroes Day in the Philippines and it is just supposedly a typical working day in the UAE- the Consulate/POLO-OWWA is off and is on holiday - leaving a lot of kababayans on halt for their needed processes. Galing no! 

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Organizer of PBA Games in Dubai screwed me, used me, Talk n Text suffers

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Before I go to the title story, allow me to say that I was contacted by the organizer / promoter Ramon Pizarras 3 weeks before the games to design a t-shirt and logo for the PBA Games in Dubai. As a big PBA and sports fan, I agreed (with terms). After I sent my design to him - I got no word and he can't be contacted by any means. I didn't get ANYTHING in return - even complimentary tickets. Let me clear that I DID NOT volunteer for that job.

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Today I learned a shameful news - The Talk n Text Tropang Texters team were stranded in Dubai Airport. Thanks to the promoter Mr. Ramon Pizarras who left them out after the celebrated games.  According to a reliable source, the organizers missed to pay the hotel bills of the teams and their return tickets.

According to Coach Chot Reyes tweet (below), the (Asiana?) Hotel management refused to release their passport after knowing that an amount of $8000 is still in due. All three teams (Ginebra and BMEG the other 2) paid the remaining hotel fees from their own pocket in order for their passport to be released.

Unfortunately, Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters was the only team stranded at Dubai Airport.

@coachot Chot Reyes
Nightmare in Dubai! Hotel refuses to release all 3 teams' passports as organizer still has $8000 debt. We had to advance d funds! Anobayan





I don't have to add up anything else. Just look at the photos and read their tweets below and tell me how you'll feel.

rich_alvarez Richard Alvarez
Man, first they wouldnt release our passports at the hotel, and now they didnt confirm our plane tickets!? This isnt good..

@JAlapag3 Jimmy Alapag
Could be in for a long night if we don't get on this flight back to Manila...

@mtnpeek Ali Peek
Pissed off man! How irresponsible! How s the league gnu 2 leave the champs behind in the middle east to fend 4 themselves!

@mtnpeek Ali Peek
I dropped $6,000 2 help some of my teammates get a flight bk home! Oh! I'm gng 2 get my cash back n sm1 has to pay!

@JAlapag3 Jimmy Alapag
Midnight here at Dubai airport trying to get these flights back to Manila organized...

rich_alvarez Richard Alvarez 
Looks like we are stuck in Dubai for at least a day, unless we can pull off a miracle! I love it here, but I miss my fiance and my family.

@ManilaBlack4 Harvey Carey
Bad business...

@coachot Chot Reyes
Here na in Bahrain.Still cant get over leaving my guys behind,but cudnt offload my luggage anymore + twas best so less pax to worry about.

@coachot Chot Reyes
UNBELIEVABLE how badly d PBA handled this trip, esp since I warned them already about this promoter, coz this is NOT d 1st time this happnd

@coachot Chot Reyes
A coach is only as good as his assts:goodwork @scwtN! update coach: 345am emirates 3 pax, 555am Qatar flight 13 pax, 945am emirates 3 pax

j_rey_8 Josh Reyes
by coachot hey, @pbaprodteam , how can you let this happen?? iniwanan kami ng lahat? shouldered hotel bill, paying for our tickets with personal money.

@aresgutlerrez Ares Gutierrez
by coachot @TinaMaralit @coachot shucks.. promoter was notorious. local basketball community avoids them like a plague. ewan ko ba pano nito nagoyo PBA

@coachot Chot Reyes
To those asking, d name of Dubai promoter is Ramon Pizarras. I warned d PBA about him na, pero tinuloy pa rin e -- kami pa nadamay :(

fmango Fidel Mangonon III
Either this bad experience in Dubai for TNT has 'grandslam' written all over it, or is a bad omen re: its particular bid for it.

@rich_alvarez Richard Alvarez
So we've been in the airport for 9 hours.. We had to buy our own plane tickets because our promoter couldn't settle the bill.. Wow.

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With regards to my issue with Mr. Ramon Pizarras, it was clear that my work had been used all throughout the event. This photo below shows that customized PBA (Dubai) logo -with buildings silhouette at the back - and yet I got no single word from him.



I promoted his event on my network. That blog entry alone got 5,348 hits, 433 times shared on Facebook, and 97 times Tweeted, and I got loads of calls and politely lead them to ticket sales. And no word from Mr. Ramon Pizarras. I designed the shirt and logo despite my super busy schedule (because he follows up). I was not asking for payment - I only hold on to his promise that
  1. I'll be receiving an allowance for the shirt design
  2. I will be joining their committee and will be receiving an allowance (means automatic entry to the games)
  3. I will be his official photographer on upcoming sports events
  4. I will be his official blogger / publisher on upcoming sports events
All these happened through phone conversation. And sociable I am, I agreed. I trust people easily as much as I don't. But this served another lesson to me. And to you Ramon Pizarras, shame on you! I've lost all respect I thought you deserve. Shame on you - to let the guests teams down. Shame on you for running away. Shame on you for avoiding to communicate with me - with us. I wouldn't have bothered to blog about my personal experience with you - but letting a guest professional basketball team this way, sorry i couldn't help it. This is not the way to treat guests. And what happened to me is certainly not the way to treat people who render help wholeheartedly.

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