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Marlon Alexander Luistro

Lipa, Philippines
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About Marlon
Marlon Alexander Luistro is a journalist based in Lipa, Philippines.

Customs seizes P34.5M worth smuggled sugar from Hongkong

24 Jun 2024  |  Hong Kong News
Customs authorities seized P34.5 million worth of smuggled refined sugar from Hong Kong, falsely declared as silica sand. The shipment, consigned to Smile Agri Ventures Inc., was uncovered during spot-check examinations. Smile Agri Ventures Inc. may face multiple charges for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. The smuggled sugar will be subject to warrants of seizure and detention.

Costlier plane tickets expected by Sept. as fuel surcharge rises

18 Aug 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in the Philippines has raised the fuel surcharge to Level 6 due to increasing jet fuel prices, leading to higher costs for plane tickets starting September. The surcharge for domestic flights will range from P185 to P665, and for international flights from P610.37 to P4,538.40. Airline representatives from Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia have stated compliance with the CAB's advisory and encouraged advance bookings to secure lower fares.

Ombudsman orders dismissal of suspended MIAA chief, deputy

17 Aug 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Manila International Airport Authority acting General Manager Cesar Chiong and acting Assistant General Manager Irene Montalbo for grave misconduct, abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The decision follows their preventive suspension in May and highlights improper reassignments of nearly 300 employees, which were not aimed at improving service delivery. If the dismissal cannot be enforced, it will be converted into a fine equivalent to their one-year salary.

Vaccine certificate no longer required for inbound PH travelers

15 Aug 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Vaccination certificates for inbound travelers to the Philippines are no longer required, as announced by the Department of Transportation based on a Department of Health circular. The order, effective from August 12, 2023, applies to all international travelers regardless of vaccination status. This change follows the lifting of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency by President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. on July 21. DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista welcomed the development, emphasizing the department's coordination with the Bureau of Quarantine to ensure passenger safety and convenience.

Aspiring OFWs warned vs slave-like abuse to trafficking victims

13 Aug 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines has warned aspiring overseas Filipino workers about the abusive conditions faced by trafficking victims in Asian countries. Commissioner Norman Tansingco highlighted a recent case of a Filipino victim repatriated from Myanmar, who endured long working hours and physical torture. Authorities are investigating potential links to larger syndicates. Additionally, a raid on a Philippine offshore gaming operator service provider uncovered around 650 workers involved in fraudulent activities.

SC: Meralco must give 48-hour prior notice before disconnection

05 Jul 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Philippine Supreme Court ruled that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) must provide a 48-hour prior notice before disconnecting a consumer's electricity, upholding consumer rights and due process. The case, initiated by Lucy Yu, involved Meralco's immediate disconnection of electricity without prior notice, which was deemed a violation of the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994. The Court's decision reduced the awarded temperate and exemplary damages but eliminated moral damages due to lack of justification.

DOT terminates contract with ad firm over video blunder

04 Jul 2023  |  hongkongnews.com.hk
The Department of Tourism in the Philippines terminated its contract with DDB Philippines after the advertising firm used non-original or stock footage in the 'Love the Philippines' promotional campaign video. The DOT emphasized that the content should have been original and in line with their objectives. No payments were made to DDB under the contract, and the DOT will forfeit the firm's performance security. The video, which was uploaded on June 30 and taken down on July 2, faced criticism after blogger Sass Rogando Sasot revealed that some clips were not from the Philippines.

Bomb threat disrupts Manila-bound flight at Bacolod-Silay airport for 2 hours

04 Jul 2023  |  Hong Kong News
A bomb threat caused a two-hour delay for a Cebu Pacific flight from Bacolod-Silay Airport to Manila. The threat was received via AirDrop, prompting immediate action from the flight crew and the Philippine National Police Aviation Security and Emergency Unit. Passengers were evacuated, and the aircraft was inspected by a bomb squad. The flight eventually departed safely with 193 passengers. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is coordinating with relevant authorities to investigate the incident.

Advertising agency apologizes for tourism video boo boo

03 Jul 2023  |  Hong Kong News
DDB Philippines, an advertising firm, issued an apology for using stock footage in a promotional video for the Department of Tourism's 'Love the Philippines' campaign. The video was removed after a blogger identified non-original clips. The firm took full responsibility, stating no public funds were used for the video. The DOT, which spent PHP49 million on the campaign, has launched an investigation and vows to protect the country's interests.

Survey says Palawan is Filipinos’ most preferred tourist destination

02 Jul 2023  |  Hong Kong News
A recent PAHAYAG 2023 Second Quarter Survey conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. revealed that Palawan is the most preferred travel destination among Filipinos, with 23% of respondents favoring it. Baguio City, Cebu, and Siargao followed in popularity. The survey, conducted from June 7-13, 2023, included 1,500 registered Filipino voters and highlighted the diverse travel preferences across different regions in the Philippines. The survey results underscore the appeal of various destinations, including Palawan's beaches, Baguio City's cool climate, and Cebu's cultural experiences.

NAIA expansion necessary amid influx of international passengers

29 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has called for an expansion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to accommodate the increasing number of international passengers. BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco highlighted the unprecedented volume of foreign travelers at Terminals 1 and 3, leading to the deployment of additional immigration officers and mobile counters to ease long queues. The daily passenger volume at both terminals has significantly increased, with Terminal 1 seeing a 48.1% rise and Terminal 3 a 19.58% rise. The transfer of Philippine Airlines' international flights to Terminal 1 and the shift of all domestic flights to Terminal 2 have also contributed to the surge in passenger numbers. The BI advises passengers to check in at least three hours before their flights to avoid delays.

Airlines not automatically off the hook due to global supply issues that caused flight delays, cancellation – CAB

25 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla stated that airlines cannot be automatically exempted from accountability due to global supply issues causing flight cancellations and delays. He emphasized the need to establish a direct relationship between supply problems and airline performance. Arcilla also proposed reintroducing a cap on airline overbooking, a practice under investigation by the Senate. PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna expressed support for CAB's regulatory efforts.

PAL forced to cancel international flights due to ‘plane shortage’; Cebu Pacific apologizes

21 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Philippine Airlines has canceled several international flights from Manila due to grounded planes, affecting routes to destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok. The cancellations are attributed to increased aircraft maintenance needs driven by high travel demand. Cebu Pacific, facing similar issues and public complaints, has apologized and outlined measures to improve operations. The airline industry is experiencing global challenges, including grounded aircraft due to engine issues and environmental factors like the rainy season.

BI alarmed over use of fake CFO certifications; says it’s sign of new trafficking trend

20 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines has raised concerns over the increasing use of fake Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) certificates, which are required for Filipinos in intermarriages and bi-national relationships to travel abroad. BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco highlighted several instances where fake certificates were presented during immigration inspections, including a recent case at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The BI believes this is part of a new trafficking trend targeting Filipinas for work in scam call centers, as mail order brides, or illegal surrogates. The BI has issued warnings and is working with the CFO to prevent such schemes through a shared information system.

Passenger ferry catches fire in Bohol; 72 passengers, 60 crew rescued

19 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Passenger ferry MV Ezperanza Star caught fire in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, with all 72 passengers and 60 crew members rescued. The fire started near the engine room as the ferry approached the dock. The Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Philippine Coast Guard are investigating the incident, including the possibility of an oil spill.

Over 39,000 affected by Mayon unrest says NDRRMC

18 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Approximately 39,000 people have been impacted by the ongoing unrest of Mayon Volcano, with over 20,000 residents sheltering in 28 evacuation centers in Albay. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that classes have been suspended in at least six cities and towns, and the government has provided over P62 million in aid. Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman has proposed a P196 million fund to support evacuees, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is considering. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has maintained Mayon at Alert Level 3, with continued ash and lava emissions, and residents are advised to avoid the six-kilometer permanent danger zone.

SC acquits seaman who did not provide financial support to wife; says obligation must be shared by couple

18 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Supreme Court acquitted a former ship worker previously convicted for failing to provide financial support to his wife, ruling that the obligation to provide support is mutual between spouses. The court emphasized that the law does not impose a heavier burden on husbands and should not perpetuate gender disparities. The decision reversed earlier rulings by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, which had convicted the husband under the Violence Against Women and Their Children law.

DMW, DHSUD, Pag-ibig Fund sign deal on socialized housing programs for OFWs and their families

14 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development in the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding to include overseas Filipino workers as beneficiaries of a housing program. The agreement, part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.'s flagship housing initiative, aims to help OFWs provide homes for their families. Eligibility extends to members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and those with approved employment contracts abroad. The DMW also partnered with the Pag-IBIG Fund to promote financial literacy and savings among OFWs.

Philippines must make it worth it for nurses to stay given the huge demand for their jobs abroad says DMW

14 Jun 2023  |  hongkongnews.com.hk
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in the Philippines, led by Secretary Susan Ople, emphasized the need to make local nursing jobs more attractive to prevent the migration of Filipino nurses, who are in high demand globally. Countries such as the US, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Singapore, Japan, and Germany are actively seeking Filipino healthcare workers. Ople, who previously advocated for relaxing the deployment cap for nurses, now calls for domestic reforms. The deployment cap, initially set at 5,000, was raised to 7,500. Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Ted Herbosa also highlighted the global demand for Filipino nurses, recognized as among the best, and his commitment to addressing their overdue COVID-19 allowances and benefits.

More than 11K overseas jobs offered at DMW mega job fair

12 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in Manila offered 11,750 overseas jobs through a mega job fair with 40 licensed recruitment agencies. The event, coinciding with the 125th Independence Day, saw over 2,000 applicants. DMW Assistant Secretary Levinson Alcantara emphasized the importance of matching skills and experience with employer requirements. Most participating agencies are ethical recruiters who do not charge placement fees. Jobs are available in 17 countries, including the USA, UK, and Japan. DMW Secretary Susan Ople announced the launch of regular online job fairs starting July 7.

DMW imposes one-strike policy for recruitment agencies found guilty of violating rules

11 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in the Philippines has introduced a one-strike policy for recruitment agencies found guilty of serious offenses such as corruption, illegal recruitment, and trafficking. The new rules simplify penalties, extend license validity, and increase escrow deposits to better protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The policy aims to streamline processes and ensure stricter compliance among recruitment agencies.

Working abroad should be ‘free choice’ not a necessity, says lawmaker

09 Jun 2023  |  hongkongnews.com.hk
OFW Partylist Rep. Marissa Magsino emphasized that labor migration for Filipinos should be a choice, not a necessity, during the celebration of Migrant Workers Day on June 7. She highlighted the need for policies that ensure full employment in the Philippines and addressed issues faced by migrant workers such as illegal recruitment and employer abuses. Magsino also commended OFWs for their significant economic contribution through remittances, which amounted to $36.136 billion last year, representing 8.9% of the GDP and 8.4% of the GNI.

DMW, DTI, sign pact to help train returning OFWs on business

08 Jun 2023  |  hongkongnews.com.hk
The Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Trade and Industry in the Philippines have signed an agreement to provide business training and mentorship to returning overseas Filipino workers. The initiative, announced during the 28th National Migrant Workers’ Day, aims to help OFWs create sustainable income sources through entrepreneurship. The program includes assistance in business registration, marketing, financial literacy training, and inclusion in DTI fairs for promotion. Certificates awarded upon completion can be used to access financial assistance from DMW. The DMW has also partnered with other government agencies and private sector players to support OFW welfare, aligning with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s directive to transform OFW journeys into inspirational stories.

Alert Level 2 raised in Mayon volcano due to increased rockfall

06 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Mayon Volcano's alert level has been raised to Level 2 due to a significant increase in rockfall events, as reported by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). The frequency of rockfall events has surged from an average of five per day to 49 within a 24-hour period. Since April 1, there have been 318 rockfall events and 26 volcanic earthquakes. The lava dome has also increased in volume significantly. Phivolcs warns that the current unrest could lead to phreatic or hazardous magmatic eruptions and advises the public to avoid the 6 km radius permanent danger zone.

BI warns vs fake OECs sold online

05 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines has issued a warning about counterfeit Overseas Employment Certificates being sold online, which have led to the interception of several would-be overseas Filipino workers at airports. BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco highlighted the ease of verifying legitimate OECs through their integrated system with the Department of Migrant Workers' database. Incidents at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport involved individuals who were deceived into purchasing fake OECs, with some paying additional fees for expedited processing. The victims were referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation and legal action against the fraudsters.

Kuwait to deport 450 Filipino workers in the coming days, says local media

04 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Kuwait is set to deport approximately 450 Filipino workers amid ongoing disputes over migrant worker welfare. The deportations follow Kuwait's suspension of visas for Filipino workers, a move seen as retaliation for the Philippines' earlier suspension of Kuwait-bound workers after the murder of domestic helper Jullebee Ranara. The Philippines has rejected Kuwait's conditions for lifting the visa ban, maintaining that their shelters for distressed workers are legal. Kuwait is exploring alternative sources for migrant workers, including a recent agreement with Ethiopia.

PAGASA: Rainy season underway

02 Jun 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has declared the start of the rainy season in the Philippines, marked by widespread rain and thunderstorms influenced by Supertyphoon Betty and the southwest monsoon. The rainy season is expected to last until October, with 11 to 14 tropical cyclones anticipated to enter or develop within the Philippine Area of Responsibility from June to November. PAGASA also highlighted the potential transition to El Niño, which could lead to below-normal rainfall and possible droughts, although it may also enhance the southwest monsoon, bringing above-normal rainfall to western regions. The public and relevant agencies are advised to take precautionary measures.

Saudi offers 1 million jobs for Pinoys

31 May 2023  |  hongkongnews.com.hk
Saudi Arabia plans to offer 1 million jobs to Filipino workers over the next two years, as announced by the Department of Migrant Workers. This comes amid Kuwait's suspension of entry visas for Filipino workers. DMW Secretary Susan Ople discussed a special hiring program to meet Saudi's demand while maintaining local employment needs. The program will focus on Saudi's tourism sector, particularly in hotels and restaurants. European countries and other regions like Guam and Canada also show interest in Filipino workers. Discussions with Saudi officials included addressing unpaid wage claims from bankrupt companies affecting over 12,000 OFWs. Currently, around 700,000 Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, down from 1.5 million before the pandemic.

Congress OKs OFW hospital placed under DMW

30 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Philippine Congress has approved House Bill 8325, placing the OFW Hospital under the Department of Migrant Workers' supervision. The hospital, which opened in June 2022 in San Fernando City, Pampanga, provides comprehensive health services to OFWs and their dependents. The bill aims to ensure quality healthcare for OFWs, including 24/7 telehealth services, pre-employment medical examinations, and health surveillance. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is tasked with enhancing health benefits for OFWs, while other government agencies are mandated to support the hospital's implementation.

Cebu Pacific, PAL cancel some domestic flights due to typhoon “Betty”

28 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have canceled several domestic flights due to typhoon Betty, also known as Mawar. Affected passengers are offered options for free rebooking, travel fund conversion, or refunds. The typhoon has slightly weakened but continues to affect travel plans. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) provides ongoing weather updates.

Mawar could be downgraded into typhoon but strong winds likely says PAG-ASA

26 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Super Typhoon Mawar may be downgraded to a typhoon as it approaches the Philippines, but it is still expected to bring strong winds and heavy rains. PAGASA officials warn of potential flash floods and landslides, especially in Batanes and parts of Luzon and the Visayas. The typhoon is forecast to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility soon and may enhance the southwest monsoon, causing further weather disturbances.

Underaged OFW bound to Saudi with fake docs intercepted at NAIA

25 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
A female overseas Filipino worker was intercepted at Ninoy Aquino International Airport for presenting fake documents that misrepresented her age. The Bureau of Immigration officers discovered that her birth certificate was altered, suspecting she might be under 20 years old. The victim, unable to read or write, was likely exploited by her recruiters. She was referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for assistance and prosecution against her recruiters.

Priest arrested for offending religious feelings

24 May 2023  |  www.philstar.com
Detectives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested 57-year-old priest Winston Fernandez Cabading on May 13 for violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code, which pertains to offending religious feelings. The arrest followed a complaint by former Commission on Elections chief Harriet Demetriou, who accused Cabading of mocking the apparitions of the Virgin Mary during a conference. Cabading, who serves as the Archdiocese of Manila's exorcist and teaches at the University of Santo Tomas, was apprehended based on a warrant issued by Judge Madonna Concordia Echiverri. Demetriou, a devotee of Our Lady Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, argued that Cabading's actions infringed on her religious freedom.

Total ban eyed on OFW Deployment to Kuwait

23 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
A Filipino lawmaker, Rachel Arenas, has called for a total ban on the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to Kuwait due to ongoing abuses and crimes against them. She criticized the Kuwaiti government's lack of enforcement of laws protecting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and urged the Philippine government not to yield to Kuwaiti pressure to lift the existing ban on first-time household workers. The Department of Migrant Workers reported that 815 Filipino workers have been affected by Kuwait's suspension of new entry visas, with financial and employment assistance being provided to those impacted. Bilateral labor talks between the Philippines and Kuwait are ongoing.

Stricter bill underway vs illegal recruitment, trafficking of OFW; 2 persons conniving now considered a syndicate

22 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
Senator Robinhood Padilla has introduced Senate Bill 2216 to amend the Philippine Labor Code and the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, aiming to redefine illegal recruitment by considering two or more persons conspiring as a syndicate. The bill seeks to enhance the protection of overseas Filipino workers against illegal recruitment and trafficking, promoting safer and fairer recruitment practices. Padilla emphasizes the importance of adapting to the changing labor migration landscape to safeguard Filipino workers' rights and welfare.

Cheaper fares seen as CAB lowers fuel surcharge for June flights

21 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Civil Aeronautics Board in the Philippines has reduced the fuel surcharge levels for June flights from Level 5 to Level 4, leading to lower airfares. Domestic passengers will be charged a fuel surcharge of P117 to P342, while international passengers will see rates from P385.70 to P2,867.82. Airlines may choose to apply this optional fee to offset jet fuel costs. Cebu Pacific and AirAsia representatives have expressed positive views on this development, anticipating a boost in air travel due to more affordable prices.

HK gov announces launching of Special Scheme to Import Care Workers for Residential Care Homes

19 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
The Hong Kong government's Social Welfare Department has announced the launch of the Special Scheme to Import Care Workers for Residential Care Homes to address manpower shortages and enhance service quality. The scheme, starting on June 19, allows residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities, as well as nursing homes, to import care workers. The Labour Department will cease accepting applications for care workers under the Supplementary Labour Scheme. Discussions with Filipino officials highlighted the need for foreign workers and the protection of overseas Filipino workers' rights.

Pres. Marcos asks Widodo to ‘re-examine’ case of Mary Jane Veloso

12 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has requested Indonesian President Joko Widodo to reexamine the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino worker on Indonesia’s death row for drug charges. Marcos discussed Veloso’s case with Widodo during the 42nd ASEAN Summit, emphasizing respect for Indonesian laws while seeking leniency. Veloso has been imprisoned since 2010 after heroin was found in her suitcase, with her execution postponed in 2015 following the arrest of her recruiters in the Philippines. The Philippine government continues to pursue legal remedies, including pardon and extradition.

OFW bares the modus operandi of a check-in baggage agent who demanded a payment be deposited into his personal account

10 May 2023  |  Hong Kong News
A check-in baggage agent at Ninoy Aquino International Airport demanded an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) deposit payment for excess baggage into his personal account, leading to his suspension. The agent allegedly wrote the payment demand on a napkin and threatened the OFW, Maryclair Reyes, who was traveling to Thailand. Philippine Airlines (PAL) has suspended the agent and is investigating the incident in collaboration with Macro Asia, the agent's employer, to prevent future occurrences and maintain operational integrity.

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