Category Archives: Malta

ENFiD Statement: ENFiD IS AN OPEN ORGANIZATION

Download the pdf version here: ENFiD-is-an-open-organisation

 

ENFiD  IS AN OPEN ORGANISATION

 

ENFiD is non-political, non-sectarian and not-for-profit network. It comprises members from different sectors of the society, including all political leanings. ENFiD’s foundations are formulated in its Constitution. It provides a forum for regional and global interaction between and among Filipino individuals and organisations within the European Community, with Philippines and with the rest of the world. It inspires and initiates non-partisan dialogues and discussions on relevant topics and participates in the international dialogue on ethical, cultural and political issues with a view to alleviate global poverty.

Let it be known that members of ENFiD are a mixture of supporters and non-supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte. As ENFiD, we believe that individual members have the freedom to express their (political) opinion on a personal level. However, let this be clear to all that these individual positions of various ENFiD members are NOT THE POSITION OF ENFID.

The Board of Directors of ENFiD deplores the current malicious, unfounded attacks to ENFiD in social media where ENFiD is accused of being the European arm of the Liberal Party (the yellowist) and of being funded by US-based Filipino philanthropist, Attorney Loida Nicolas. Both are not true. These accusations were based on the attendance of Mr. Gene Alcantara, the former Chair of ENFiD, at a protest rally organized by anti-Duterte groups in Paris. Mr. Alcantara was there as a journalist-correspondent of ABS-CBN and not as an ENFiD representative. ENFiD was not represented in that rally.

ENFiD is an open organization. It welcomes all Euro-Pinoys from all political colors, from any religion, from all background, as long as one adheres to principles of democracy and respect for one another.

Within ENFiD, reflecting the diversity of the Filipino society at large, different positions exist which have led to spontaneous partisan positions in public, which do not necessarily represent the official position of ENFiD.

ENFiD core values and principles: As mentioned in ENFiD Constitution, our network aims to bring different communities of the OF’s and OFW’s in Europe together, to function as a platform for exchange across European borders and to promote joint action for the cause of Filipinos in Europe, but also in support of the development of our home country.

As OF’s/OFWs in Europe, and our exposure to European society, we have benefitted from the core values and principles on which European democratic societies are built, such as the respect for the rule of law, solidarity and basic humanitarian principles. Europe’s development over the past decades cannot be delinked from these fundamental political and societal foundations which we subscribe to.

Signed:

 

The Board of Directors of ENFiD

13 June 2017

 

Previous ENFID Statement on Yellow Arm

Check out our upcoming General Assembly and Conference in Germany

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ENFiD Statement: On Yellow Arm

ENFiD Statement

Concerning the posting “’ENFiD: European Network of Filipino Diaspora’ is the YELLOW ARM here in Europe” posted on 28 April 2017 on the Facebook Wall “For the Motherland,” the ENFiD Board states the following:

The posting refers to a shared Facebook post of the ENFiD Country Representative of Iceland. This posting does not reflect the official position of the ENFiD Board and was not mandated by the same Board.

ENFiD is non-political, non-religious and not-for-profit network. It comprises members from different sectors of the society, including all political leanings. ENFiD’s foundations are formulated in its Constitution. It provides a forum for regional and global interaction between and among Filipino individuals and organisations within the European Community, with Philippines and with the rest of the world. It inspires and initiates non-partisan dialogues and discussions on relevant topics and participates in the international dialogue on ethical, cultural and political issues with a view to alleviate global poverty.

Concerning the content of the shared posting of the ENFiD-Iceland Representative regarding the war on drugs, ENFiD’s Board states the following:

“Since entering into office of the Duterte Government, the issue of alleged Extrajudicial Killings (EJK) became a highly contested topic within the Philippines and within the community of OF’s/OFW’s. At the international level, many eyes have turned towards the Philippines commenting with surprise and disapproval on these alleged EJK.

Also within ENFiD, reflecting the diversity of the Filipino society at large, different positions exist which have led to spontaneous partisan positions in public, which do not necessarily represent the official position of ENFiD.

ENFiD core values and principles: As mentioned in ENFiD Constitution, our network aims to bring different communities of the OF’s and OFW’s in Europe together, to function as a platform for exchange across European borders and to promote joint action for the cause of Filipinos in Europe, but also in support of the development of our home country.

As OF’s/OFWs in Europe, and our exposure to European society, we have benefitted from the core values and principles on which European democratic societies are built, such as the respect for the rule of law, solidarity and basic humanitarian principles. Europe’s development over the past decades cannot be delinked from these fundamental political and societal foundations.

Against this background, ENFiD was created with a spirit of openness, respect for the other and willingness to include all different OF/OFW communities. This spirit does not align with the manner how the drug problems are being dealt with in the Philippines. The current practices go against the rule of law and against basic humanitarian principles as written in international agreements which also the Philippines has adhered to.

ENFiD’s position with regard to the Philippine war on drugs is informed by six aspects:

  • Recognition that drugs is a serious problem in the Philippines and that the Government needs to address it with vigor;
  • Disapproval of the practice of EJK as it goes against the rule of law and human rights principles
  • Killings of humans, whether by drug gangs, other criminals or the police, is categorically unacceptable and should be condemned;
  • Drugs problems need to be attended to by means of specific Government programs to help drug dependent person and families and setting up rehabilitation centers;
  • Drug problems, and the related criminal practice of users, cannot be looked at in isolation; they need to be seen as a product of poverty, inequality, social problems and economic exclusion which the Government’s policies and actions should be focused on;
  • Corruption within Government institutions, which have allowed criminal and drug-related illegal practices to proliferate need to be targeted and fought against.

What ENFiD does: ENFiD promotes towards our network, our members and our relations to support alternative approaches in dealing with the drug problems. This comprises support to rehabilitation projects, specific programs to help drug dependent person and their families, anti-drug public awareness campaigns, the setting up of rehabilitation facilities, utilisation of judicial system and non-violent initiatives to combat drug use.”

 

Signed

 

ENFiD-Europe

28 April 2017

Click here to download the statement

[ENFiD-Malta] Spotted in Malta: June 2016

118th PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION IN MALTA

Philipine Honorary Consul Mr. Roger Strickland, Focowim President Mona Rogong, and Nadeen Shaw, ENFiD- Board Director celebrated the 118th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Philippine Independence with the theme “Pagkakaisa, Pag-aambagan, Pagsulong sa kalayaan ” on June 12, 2016 at Preluna Hotel & Spa, Malta. They were joined by other members and officers of various Filipino organizations in Malta. The celebration was attended by close to 150 people, including several Maltese nationals, and featured entertainment numbers performed by Filipino Community Dancers and Dabarkads group. The event was also entertained by Miss Independence 2016 contestants who showcased colourful Philippine dresses and performed from traditional dances to contemporary music, each telling a story, explaining the Filipino identity and unique Philippine cultural heritage. Lunch was served at the Preluna Hotel, Meridian Hall.

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[ENFiD-Malta] Spotted in Malta: Februry 2016

malta

Uniting Filipinos through Sports!

ENFiD MALTA will hold its SPORTS FEST which will start on 13 March till 29 May, 2016. It will kick off with the torch lighting ceremony followed by the presentation of teams and cheering competition. The best muse and best in uniform amongst the participating team will be selected as well.

We can make it happen! Pag sama-sama, kayang kaya!

[ENFiD-Malta] Malta Situationer

By Mae Cayir, Vienna, Austria

The 2nd European regional overseas Filipino conference in Malta early August 2015 provided a landmark importance to the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD) as the voice of the overseas Filipinos to be heard in Europe. The aftermath of the conference forum for the many concerns of Filipino migrants in Malta gave rise to (a) unraveling of human trafficking and recruitment irregularities in Malta that have gone unnoticed by Philippine government agencies, (b) the openness of the emboldened Filipino leaders to talk about their suspicions on the Filipino evacuation process that occurred in August 2013, and the (c) the clamor for an honorary consul in the persona of Kevin Attard, the Maltese businessman who was the principal conference ground coordinator and a long-time “go-to person” bailing out Filcoms in need and distress.

Inasmuch as Malta is the registered country of ENFiD, it has strongly pursed with the Philippine authorities the issue of recruitment irregularities and the nomination of an honorary consul in Malta. ENFiD requested the Commission on Filipinos Overseas to open an investigation on the alleged irregularities. Sometime on 25 August, the acting Labor Attache in Rome visited Malta to make enquiries and she was aided by Kevin Attard to interview some of the recruited victims. Concomitantly, ENFiD appointed Kevin Attard as Special Advisor to ENFiD-Malta.

A follow-up communication was sent to Philippine Labor Secretary Baldoz on 14 September laying open the goings-on regarding the recruitment irregularities, documented by Jennifer Calleja and Ronnie Bagaycay, leading Filipino community leaders, and Kevin Attard. On 16 September, the case was immediately assigned to Director Roberto Larga of the Licensing and Regulation Office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to take charge of the investigation.

Meanwhile with media taking an interest in an apparent widespread recruitment anomaly, more revelations have been surfacing and those pertaining to the Filipinos are sent directly to Kevin Attard who is in constant communication with Director Larga. An importantly result of this pursuit is the arraignment of a Maltese recruiter of Filipino workers for the company Ozone Systems. There are Maltese employers, sympathizing with the victimized Filipino workers, who gave their testimonies to Mr. Attard, even offering to have some in their employ.

On the Philippine side, the 27 September email of Director Larga to Mr. Attard and ENFiD indicates that investigations started and added testimonies from the victimized Filipinos were requested. In October the Philippine Embassy-Rome will be conducting an outreach in Malta. Whether there will be further action from the Philippine government similar to the sweeping action by the Maltese government is a big question mark.

With regard to the nomination of a Philippine Honorary Consul in Malta, ENFiD, together with Secretary Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and a strongly signed petition from the Filipino community in Malta, all have sent their endorsement communication to the Philippine Embassy-Rome, the Office of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs Secretary and its Office on Appointments of Honorary Consuls, favoring the appointment of Kevin Attard. This activity is still on-going. More encouraging endorsements to be sent from the Filipino community in Europe could aid the process.
Another mark for ENFiD resulting from the conference was the article by published Rodel Rodis, a US-based Filipino lawyer and contributor to the Philippine Inquirer, “Questionable $1.8M rent of ship to evac 766 OFWs from Libya”, exposing another potentially explosive anomaly that took place in Malta. The next move on this is a direct report to the Ombudsman. We will keep you updated.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Mae Cayir at mae.cayir@gmail.com.

For those interested, Public Policy Exchange will host the 6th Annual International Symposium on Preventing Human Trafficking: Strengthening Cooperation, Developing a Multilevel Approach on 01 December 2015 in Brussels. See event details here.

See also: Kevin Attard: Maltese Businessman with a Heart for Filipinos” by Tessa Mendoza Cruz

[ENFiD] Kevin Attard: Maltese businessman with a heart for Filipinos

This article originally appeared in Viajera Filipina.  

At the Second European Regional Conference of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFID) held in Malta from July 31 to August 2, 2015, a bald Maltese gentleman was often seen working feverishly behind the scenes.

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Working behind the scenes at the Malta conference (Photo credit: Ysa De Jesus)

 

One minute, he’s giving instructions to the volunteer staff.  The next, he could be found checking on the meals for the delegates after adjusting the lighting of the conference hall to be suitable for the ongoing presentation. Even after the fellowship dinner that he organized in the bustling entertainment district of St. Julian, he was going from table to table with a stack of papers, confirming airport transfers for the departing delegates.

The first question that most people had in mind when they saw Maltese businessman Kevin Attard attending to various logistical details of the conference was what could his connection to the Filipino community be for him to be so heavily involved. Many assumed that he was married to a Filipina. Seeing his warm rapport and interaction with the Malta-based Filipino volunteers that provided the legwork for the event, one would think that he must be a major employer of Filipino workers in this tiny Mediterranean nation.

It would surprise many that Attard was not tied to the Filipino community by marriage or official business enterprise.

First contact

Attard’s first meaningful contact with the Filipino community started when his mother’s health started to decline from Multiple Sclerosis. His father made a promise to keep her in her home environment as much as possible. This necessitated 24-hour care. That’s when they employed a Filipino caregiver.   When his mother’s condition got worse, they got a second Filipino caregiver to assist. They have since been working with the Attard family for 11 and 8 years, respectively.   Attard considers them his sisters, saying that they know his parents needs very well and are fantastic to work with.

From there, his connection with the Filipino community in Malta grew.   When the tiny island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea joined the European Union in 2004 and become a Schengen state, many Filipinos living in Malta found themselves with difficulties in immigration. Some of the caregivers’ friends were among these people.   They asked their boss Kevin for help, knowing that he was well connected. What started as assisting a few friends grew bigger and bigger, until “Mr. Kevin” became a go-to guy for many Filipinos in Malta on a completely voluntary basis.  Many of his Maltese friends also knew to come to him to refer them to good Filipino workers.  He became an unofficial bridge between the two cultures.

When asked why he does it, he said that he was raised by his parents to help people as part of their Catholic faith.   Married for 20 years with three children, Attard values his family deeply and clearly empathizes with the difficulty faced by the OFWs who are far they are from their country and their families.

A successful Maltese businessman

42-year old Attard is the CEO and Managing Director of Attard Holdings with companies providing services related to the shipping industry.  Malta is in the middle of the oceanic highway between North Africa and Europe, and is a critical point in the trading route.

The first company he built on his own was for customs brokerage and clearance, at the age of 19.  He also has another company that worked on assisting importers/exporters including those that exported tuna to Japan.  His third company provided ferry transport services between Malta and Italy.

Although he doesn’t directly employ Filipinos for his businesses, he has met many of them in his career, from captains to deckhands of the ships that he has business transactions with.

His affiliation with the Filipino community and his stellar reputation in the Maltese shipping industry seemed destined to prepare him for one of his biggest endeavors.

48 lives

In 2013, a Taiwanese vessel was stranded in the Mediterranean sea, four hours away from the Maltese coast. The company, a car carrier, had lost its contract and was in deep financial troubles. There was a big mortgage on the vessel.   Port charges would had to be paid if it came into Malta.  As such, it would be immediately seized if it entered the harbour.   The agent that was supposed to make the arrangements had abandoned the vessel.   The Taiwanese company left the ship and all aboard to languish in the open waters for three months.

On board the ship were 48 Filipino crew members.  They were left to fend for themselves by the Taiwanese shipping company and the recruitment agency that hired them for the job.   They could not leave the ship because if they did, they would have waived their rights to their hard-earned wages.   It was also illegal by maritime law to abandon a ship. One of the crew members suffered a heart attack while on board.  There were some who entertained the thoughts of suicide.   They were finally able to send word about their plight to the Philippine embassy in Rome.

Attard came to hear about this situation when Mr. Virgilio Reyes , then Ambassador of the Philippines to Italy, sought his assistance for securing the stranded seamen. Every week for two months, Attard visited the ship to provide updates as he took on the responsibility of representing them in court.   Finally, the court ruled in the Filipino seamen’s favor and they were repatriated back home with full wages, bonus and danger pay.

When praised for his efforts, Attard is quick to clarify that he was compensated for his company’s services in the situation. However, one could sense that Attard took on this task for reasons other than money. He said he kept thinking of the 48 Filipino lives on the ship and the families waiting on them. He was focused on the impact that being able to secure the repatriation of the 48 crew members would have on their loved ones.

Botched nomination

Because of his service to the Filipino people in Malta and as his efforts with the Filipino crewmen, then Ambassador Reyes put forth Attard’s nomination for Consul General for the community in Malta. Attard shared that he had provided the necessary requirements to process the nomination and was told that it was approved.

Soon after, he received a call from another consul who, he later gathered, was not in good terms with the ambassador.  He was informed that his nomination was rejected by the Maltese government. No reason was given, nor did Attard see any official documentation from either the Philippine or Maltese government regarding this rejection. He was surprised to hear this, particularly since he has a good relationship with the leaders of his country. It was good enough that with one phone call to the office of the President of Malta, he was able to secure Marie Louise Preca’s appearance at a Filipino conference later on. However, Attard did not pursue the issue.   He instead returned to working and helping Filipinos in his personal capacity.

ENFID

In 2015, Ms. Marie Luarca-Reyes, then Executive Director of  ENFID  called on Attard’s assistance in organizing the group’s second regional conference in Malta.  At first he said no. When asked if he was burned by the previous experience, he replied that it wasn’t the issue. He was concerned about how effective he would be in accomplishing this project. Not having an official title linking him posed as a challenge. It was only with his personal network of connections in business and government that he had been able to pull things together.

ENFID Chairperson Gene Alcantara awards a Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Attard for his contribution to the event

ENFID Chairperson Gene Alcantara awards a Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Attard for his contribution to the event  (Photo credit: Ysa De Jesus)

With the same enthusiasm he’s always had for the Filipinos, Attard agreed and called on friends and contacts to put together a very successful and organized event. Between securing a beautiful resort hotel for a venue, contracting a taxi service for airport transfers for the delegates, connecting the organizers to the Malta Tourism Authority, making sure that all the volunteers and their children at the event were fed, to having the President of Malta attend the event for a brief talk, Attard took on the task and accomplished it with an equal measure of efficiency and compassion.

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Mr. Attard with Ms. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and her husband Mr. Edgar Preca (Photo credit:  Ysa De Jesus)

WHISTLEBLOWER

During the ENFID Conference, it came to light that Attard was involved in the efforts to repatriate Filipinos from the besieged country of Libya.  Atty. Rodel Rodis in his article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer revealed that Amb. Reyes had again sought Attard’s assistance in finding a way to evacuate Filipinos out of Libya.

In his article, Atty. Rodis wrote that Attard had contacted a Maltese ferry company that had previously provided services for  the U.S. and Australian governments, the International Red Cross,  Doctors Without Borders and various corporations for their own evacuation missions in 2011.   Attard showed proof for a bid for the services that cost less than half of the $1.8 million that Philippine government eventually paid a different company and contact, under the direction of a Philippine diplomat other than Amb. Reyes.

Another nomination bid

Recently, another nomination has been submitted for Attard to be appointed as Consult General of Malta.   He said that the biggest advantage that this appointment would give him is having an official title will open more doors and provide more expedient results in resolving the matters concerning the Filipinos in Malta.

The main concerns that he want to address as Consult General are the integration of the Filipino and Maltese cultures, and as well as incidences of exploitation on Filipino workers.   He firmly believes that the Filipinos have their own mind, their own identity and capabilities, and should have the opportunity to do well in life.

To illustrate his point, he shared one more story that touched his heart. Two years ago, his mother became ill and was taken to the Intensive Care Unit.   Attard sat there with his mother’s Filipino caregiver around New Year’s Day, fearing the worse. The monitor gave out a long beep, which made them think that his mother might be passing. In the room with them was a Filipino cleaner.

“Don’t worry – the machine is just cycling around,” the cleaner assured them calmly.   Attard was surprised by this and asked if she had been working at the hospital for a long time to know this. The cleaner said she knew because she was a nurse back in the Philippines.

This, Attard said, was just one of the many stories that he’s witnessed and heard that strengthened his conviction in the huge potential of mutually beneficial relationships of Malta and the Filipino community. One of the immediate projects he wants to initiate once appointed as Consul General is to organize a special course with the University of Malta for Filipinos, especially nurses, to complete the remaining classes and units needed in order to quality for Maltese professional standards. He firmly believes that education is the key to success, whether for the Maltese or the Filipino.

[ENFiD] What is Wrong with Overseas Filipinos

Presented by Gene Alcantara, ENFID Chairman on the 2nd Filipino European Overseas Conference in Malta v.20150801 (latest)

what is wrong cover

Please click the photo above for the latest presentation.

 

Presented by Gene Alcantara, ENFID Chairman in the 3rd Global Summit in Manila, Philippines v.20150224

what is wrong cover (summit)

Please click the photo above for the presentation in 3GS.

 

[ENFiD] and ENFiD-UK presents Appellation of Origin in London. September 10.

Appellation of Origin: The Philippines is organised to celebrate the Philippine artistry and imagination in the form of crafts unique to Philippine culture.

Appellation of Origin: the Philippines is a project of WELL (Work, Environment & Lifelong Learning) Trust; Ajos Trust; ENFiD: European Network of Filipino Diaspora and ENFID UK.

Please BOOK your tickets now:

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Like AoOP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Appellation-of-Origin-The-Philippines/382529201949980?sk=timeline

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and check their website – http://www.aoop.london/

[ENFiD] The 1st ENFiD Essay Writing Contest Winners

Article written by Rachel Hansen
Photos courtesy of JJ Formento

 

The 1st ENFiD Essay Writing Contest was launched to coincide with the 2nd European Regional Overseas Filipino Conference in Malta held last July 31-August 3.

essay winners

An overwhelming number of entries from 44 Euro-Pinoys were submitted and the first three essays which garnered the highest points were proclaimed the winners. The announcement and the prize-giving ceremony took place at the ENFiD Cultural Evening held at the Catholic Institute Auditorium in Floriana, Malta last August 1st 2015.

The purpose of the Contest was to engage as many Euro-Pinoys as possible in ENFiD objectives as well as to examine their roles in Europe’s multicultural environment. The essayists were asked to provide an entry on the following topics:

1 My cultural life before and after being an Overseas Filipino
2 My profession, work habits/ethics before and after working in Europe
3 How much do I know about Europe (or my adopted country)?
4 Am I am better individual as Euro-Pinoy (i.e. living, studying and working in Europe)?

Four judges were handpicked meticulously to choose the winners based on a selection criteria such as Creativity, Structure, Adherence to Topic, Grammar, Length and “Wow!” factor.

The top 10 essays that received the highest points were subjected to a second reading, and the judges engaged in a measured discussion of the essays content and value, before finally voting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winning entries. It was a tough task for the judges to say the least.

The 1st prize went to Jaye de la Cruz-Bekema from the Netherlands, the 2nd prize to Marj Akil of the United Kingdom and the 3rd prize to Richelle A. Craw from the Czech Republic.

enfid essay 1st prize

Rohlee de Guzman, ENFID-NL, receives the award in behalf of the 1st place ENFiD Essay Writing Contest winner: Jaye Dela Cruz-Bekema

enfid essay 2nd prize

Amelia Alado, ENFiD-UK, receives the award in behalf of the 2nd place ENFiD Essay Writing Contest winner: Marj Akil

enfid essay 3rd prize

Richelle Anne Craw, 3rd place winner of the 1st ENFiD Essay Writing Contest receives her award with Ambassador Lecaros, 1st Secretary and Consul General Jed Dayang, and Marison Rodriguez (ENFiD-CZ)

The 1st prize winner received 700 EUR cash, one week stay in Tagaytay Condo for 2 and weekend stay in a 5-star hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast.

The 2nd prize winner received 500 EUR cash, weekend stay in Tagaytay Condo for 2 and weekend stay in hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast

The 3rd prize winner received 300 EUR cash, weekend stay in hotel for 2 in Manila with breakfast.

ENFiD is planning to hold an Essay Writing Contest annually on different themes.