119th PH Independence

#mitsamasg.  Hunyo 12. Maligayang Araw ng Kasarinlan ng Pilipinas!

It was a bright and beautiful morning at the Philippine Embassy earlier today as they celebrated a simple flag raising ceremony to commemorate the Philippines’ 119th Independence Day.  Mr. Shaun Acasio, our SAMA External Vice President, attended the event together with a handful of the Filipino community and friends in Singapore.

Maligayang Araw ng Kasarinlan! Mabuhay!


Viva Mapua!!!


FilCom Meeting No.3

#mitsamasg (late post: 2017.05.20)

The Philippine Embassy hosted the 3rd Filipino Community (FilCom) Meeting on 20th of May 2017 with the usual sponsored Kapihan sa Embassy and the Lunch packs. Here are some of the updates in brief:


  • Our Philippine passport is being reviewed by the government to change its validity from the current 5 years to 10 years. It will be valid for those 18 years old and above while below that, it will remain as 5 years valid.
  • Registration for the Overseas Absentee Voting is on-going in the Embassy. They have also started accepting applicants during the FilCom meeting and the PAOS events.
  • Singapore is the Philippine’s 5th global trading partner, whereas in ASEAN, it is its 1st trading partner.


  • The DTI provides assistance to Filipino entrepreneurs in the Philippines thru its various Negosyo Centers located in every region.
  • Updates from ATN (Assistance to Nationals)
    • High occurrence of theft cases and outrage of modesty cases
    • False declaration in the embarkation forms as well as falsification of documents
    • Be aware of people who might be suffering from mental health due to stress, etc.
  • OFW Bank and ID still under review.
  • OEC issuance for direct hired Filipinos in SG is again allowed. Direct hiring is also allowed as long as the company is only hiring up to 5 new employees otherwise they have to go through an agency.
  • OWWA Update:
    • NRCO benefit or livelihood starter kit from Php20k can be requested upon application at the nearest regional OWWA office.
    • Scholarship program EDSP is now increased to 1000 qualified scholars with up to Php60k financial assistance per student per year.
  • SSS Update:
    • 2017 is the 60th anniversary of SSS
    • Consider the SSS flexi fund program for additional returns
    • Capture of UMID picture is done only from Mon-Weds and Sat-Sun.
  • The PIDC committee is inviting everyone to attend the event on 18th June from 0900-1830h at the SCAPE #2 Orchard Link 237978
    • Theme: (SG)  Ikaw@Ako, Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago.
    • Theme: (PH) Pagbabagong Sama-Sama Balikatin
    • Like and share their FB page: Pagdiriwang 2017

FilCom meeting no. 1

#mitsamasg / 2017.01.21

The Philippine Embassy in Singapore organized the first Filipino Community meeting at The Bayanihan Center this year because of the on-going renovation works at the embassy’s home at Nassim Road.

Here are some updates from the respective embassy departments…

From Consul Tony – regarding Philippine passport application/collection

  • A new passport takes about 8 weeks delivery
  • It arrives weekly, every Thursday, via DHL/similar courier
  • You can check your passport availability via the embassy website (link)
  • Since there were issues of delays in passport delivery, the embassy is offering free passport extension as of this meeting. It is provided to those who have an existing passport for renewal in process.
  • E-appointments (link) per day maximum is about 210 but only 30%, on average, turn up. Still, everyone is encouraged to use the e-appointment and come on the date of your selected appointment also.

From Consul Gonar – regarding ASEAN

  •  The SG economy increased by about 2.8%
  • Encourage entrepreneurship in the Philippines

From VC Lala – regarding ATN (Assistance to Nationals)

  • There was a 4% increase in cases in 2016 compared to 2015
  • Below are the common problems of an OFW that the ATN is taking care of

From Labor Attache Mon Pastrana – regarding POLO

  • In Asia, SG has the highest remittances in 2016.
  • The OEC exemption system has been fine tuned.
  • Those dependent pass holders in SG who are given permission to work here are not exempted from OEC because only those registered under POLO are considered OFW.
  • POLO will soon release the new salary range of the household worker in SG.
  • POLO Welfare Officer Rosanna will end here tour of duty on 31st January 2017.

From Consul Mers

  • The Philippines is the ASEAN chair this 2017
  • It is also the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN. Logo and theme below.

The Philippine Embassy distributed the certificates to the organizations and individuals who have volunteered during President Duterte’s visit in Singapore last December. Our own SAMA certificates were received by Mr. Edwin on behalf of our volunteers.


Receiving Certificates from Amb. Morales on behalf of our SAMA volunteers for our volunteer work during President Duterte’s visit in Singapore last December 2016.

We also took the opportunity to invite the FilCom to participate in our SAMA activites as per the lineup presented by Mr. Edwin.


Here are other pictures during the event. Ms. Vhines and Ms. Rochelle were also present and took the traditional photo evidence of attendance.

Other announcements:

  1. FDS – IBM 2017 will be held on June 25. SAMA will be joining this annual dragonboat event. If you are interested to join us, please contact Ms. Vhines thru email.
  2. PIDC 2017 – no theme set yet. Further details will be announced on the next FilCom meeting in March.
  3. Bayanihan Walk 2017 – tentative date in April. SAMA has always participated in this event by volunteering and taking up specific assignments to help the PBSS. Contact us if you would like to participate!

The meeting ended with a delicious packed lunch of chicken rice and drinks courtesy of the usual sponsors.

Viva Mapua!!!

Filcom Meeting No.4



The Filipino Community representatives with the Philippine consulate led by HE Amb. Morales had their 4th FilCom meeting last 16th of July at our Embassy in Nassim Road. Here are some of the highlights worth sharing to our SAMA members and friends in Singapore.

  1. Art Trek 10th year anniversary will be happening this last week of August until mid-October 2016. Schedule of activities will be posted in the embassy FB and web pages.
  2. Singapore investments to Philippines grew more than 50% this year. Remittances also had positive growth of about 17%.
  3. If you are interested in starting a business back home, the embassy has arranged for a Swine Raising Seminar to be held in the Bayanihan Center on 24 July 2016, from 9:30am. Please contact the Bayanihan Center for further inquiries.
  4. SSS Updates
    – The loan restructuring program in on-going until April 2017. For those with outstanding loans who have stopped contributing or delinquent members, you can now settle your loans without interest.
    – The UMID (Unified Multi-purpose ID) that used for SSS, GSIS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG is also available from their SSS Singapore office. More information about this card can be found here. Please visit the SSS office in Lucky Plaza from Monday to Sunday for more inquiries.

After the meeting, all participants were treated with some lunch complete with dessert.

Viva Mapua !!!
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FilCom Meeting No.3

Dateline: 14 May 2016, Saturday
Where: The Philippine Embassy, Singapore

The third in the series for this year, the Philippine Embassy hosted another great meeting and networking session with a number of Filipino Communities here. Here are some highlights of the event:

1. OAV in SG 2016

Election fever here ended last 9th May with the results posted online the following week in the Philippine Embassy’s Facebook page. In the Singapore tally, Mr. Duterte won the Presidential bid while his running mate, Mr. Cayetano won the VP race.

Here are some numbers that were shared during the presentation of Consul Gen. Vic Dimagiba on the recently concluded OAV:

39659 – number of people who voted out of 83721 registered voters in SG.
2 – Singapore was the country with the second highest OAV turnout, after Hongkong.
95 – percentage, of the 39659 voters who turned up, are those who appeared personally to vote.
5 – percent, of the above voters who turned up, are those who opted for postal voting.
45 – number of votes that Mr. Cayetano had more than Mr. Marcos, who placed second, in the VP race in the OAV-SG tally.
2017 – start of the next voters’ registration period.

In the midst of all this, SAMA volunteers lent their precious time and patience every Sunday during the one month election exercises (details in our previous post and photos here.). Ambassador Morales extended his appreciation and thanks to SAMA as well as those other organizations who did the same. The event was considered peaceful and orderly by most of the overseas Filipinos who cast their votes. For more details, please visit the Philippine Embassy website or Facebook page.

2. SSS

The Social Security System has an on-going Loan Restructuring Program. This program allows all SSS members, who are delinquent in paying their respective loans, to pay off their loans without interest. Please visit their office in Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road, Mondays – Sundays from 8am to 6pm. They also mentioned that they work even during lunch time. Details of the SSS OFW Coverage can be found in this link.

3. R.A.10022

Republic Act 10022, also known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,  which amends R.A.8042, “aims to provide insurance support to Filipino migrant workers as part of the State Responsibility to afford and ensure the protection and promotion of their fundamental rights and welfare.” It is a compulsory insurance plan that gives coverage to the overseas worker including other coverage that benefit their family members. One of the leading insurance companies in the Philippines, Charter Ping An in partnership with PAMIOFW, did a presentation on the topic and explained what coverage are included in the Bayaning Pinoy Family insurance pack. This package costs about Php5,000.00 per annum. Some slides below (click to zoom).






If you are interested, you may contact the numbers below as shown in their brochures. Unfortunately, the Singapore liaison or partner is still under review as of this writing.



4. Ateneo Certificate Program – LSE Program

“LSE” stands for Leadership, Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship Program offered by the Ateneo School of Government. It is 10-12 sessions offered from May to November 2016 that gives the student how to be financially successful, a social entrepreneur and a leader. You may contact the number and email in their brochure below.




5. IBM Update

Isang Bangkang Malaya happening on 26th June 2016. Here’s a preview of the free dragonboat shirt…




Viva Mapúa!!!


Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) 2016 starts today in Singapore. The Philippine Embassy has opened it’s doors to registered overseas Filipino voters from today until 9th May to cast their votes for the Philippine elections. The Philippines will elect her President, Vice President, 12 Senators and a Party List Representative.

About one month before the event, the embassy informed the various FilCom organizations for their interest to be accredited as volunteers for COMELEC for this event. SAMA submitted a number of volunteers from our ranks and was eventually granted accreditation after the review.

Today, the right to vote has officially started with a simple opening ceremony in the Philippine Embassy led by Ambassador Morales.

20160409 OAV SG

20160409 OAV SG

Check here if you have registered and is eligible to vote via OAV in SG.  If you are, here is a “Voting 101” guide for you. Here is also a short video on how to vote using the Voting Counting Machine (VCM).

The facebook page of the Philippine Embassy posted this photo to show the simple steps to follow when you cast your vote.

More information can be gathered from the embassy’s website.

A couple of our SAMA representatives are there today to cast their own votes and to see how the process works (and share with the rest of our volunteers).

20160409 OAV SG

SAMA will be volunteering every Sunday starting 10th April. Look out for us in our signature SAMA shirts. See you there!

Be part of history. Go out and vote!

Viva Mapua!

Bayanihan Workshop 2016

The Philippine Bayanihan Society (Singapore), or PBSS for short, had its workshop last 12th March participated by various leaders and representatives of the Filipino Communities in Singapore. It was a gathering or brainstorming meant for the review and improvement of the current mission, vision, purpose and services offered by the Bayanihan Center building located at 43 Pasir Panjang Road and is easily accessible via bus or mrt. More information can be found at it’s website: www.bayanihancentre.com.

SAMA was represented in this gathering by Edwin and Joy, current President and current Special Projects Committee Chairman, respectively. It was a whole day affair complete with buffet lunch and tea break snacks.

From left: Mr. Basty (BV), Atty. Ranvir (PBSS), Ms. Luz (Pinoy Star), Ms. Minnie (PBSS), Consul Mers (Phil. Embassy), Ms. Cristy (PBSS), Mr. Edwin (Guardians), Mr. James (USTAAS), Engr. Joy (SAMA), Cecil (Bayanihan Center), Engr. Edwin (SAMA), Mr. Pol (BV)

The participants were grouped into five tables comprising of 5-7 persons from different FILCOM organizations including the Philippine Embassy representatives. There were many good and creative ideas for the improvement of the Bayanihan Center but one among them was commonly raised. It was the idea of maintaining one room in the Bayanihan Center as a tambayan or a place to hangout with other FilCom groups. The room itself may have a number of tables assigned for each FilCom group willing to participate. This way, the networking, in the bayanihan sense, will be achieved.

The PBSS Board collated all the suggestions and will deliberate further with the hopes that the Bayanihan Center will be utilized to it’s full capacity. All of us in the room look forward to that.


Viva Mapua!