BDO is one of the first banks to issue ATM debit cards with EMV chips. I had to get mine yesterday because as of February 1, 2018, all BDO ATM cards without EMV chips can no longer be used.
What’s the difference you may ask? The EMV chip is an added security feature on our ATM debit cards. This is similar to what you see on credit cards. This move is mandated by the Banko Central ng Pilipinas to which all banks must comply by June 2018. For comparison, here’s a photo of the old and new BDO ATM cards:
Is the new ATM card free? Yes.
How do you claim your new ATM card? For BDO, you may simply go to your branch and bring your old ATM card and a valid ID. No appointments or registration necessary. The new card is already with them; the process is the same as picking up a card for a newly opened account. I got mine in less 10 minutes upon arriving at my branch.
What will happen to unclaimed ATM cards? Your bank will keep them, practically until those cards are claimed. Banks do not mail ATM cards, and doing so for these new cards will defeat the purpose of all these security measures.
Our property management just announced that there will be no increase in our condo dues this 2018.
The cost of association dues vary depending on the developer and property itself. Other factors, such as location and type of development, are also being considered.
For some condominiums, the amount is the same for all units, which ranges from P1000-P1500 per month. For others like SMDC, this is computed per square meter:
The same is true for Robinsons. A friend who owns a unit in a Robinsons development is paying P74 per square meter a month for condo dues. I believe DMCI also follow this per square meter computation. This means that the bigger your unit, the higher your association dues will be. It sounds unfair, but NOT if you have more than three tenants in those bigger units (as opposed to three or less in the smaller units).
And for some good news, association dues will no longer be taxed under the new TRAIN law. This looks like an additional savings for condo owners?
How much are you paying for your condo association dues?
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “This is free for our OFWs. We do not want our OFWs to shoulder the cost because this is a gift from the President to recognize their sacrifices and immense contribution to our economy.”
2. Currently, this is only available for NEW Balik-Manggagawa (worker-on-leave, or vacationing OFWs).
“This is only the first phase of implementation and will cater first to our Balik-Manggagawa until the system is ready for all OFWs. We are doing this to secure the database and for further improvements in the system,” Secretary Bello said.
This means that moving forward, OFWs will be able to do perform their transactions online! Per DOLE advisory:
“With the use of the ID, OFWs will no longer need to queue in transacting with agencies for their overseas employment as they can now access government services online during the further phases of the iDOLE eServices implementation.
The first phase of the system links DOLE with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The iDOLE system will further interlink the databases of DOLE offices and agencies with other government agencies for a more reliable, updated and complete Labor Market Information System (LMIS) for employment facilitation purposes.” – Source: https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/view/3929
What is the POEA Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS), and why do you need to take it?
The PEOS is informal online seminar that you need to take when applying for a job overseas; you can access this at http://peos.poea.gov.ph/.
This is required by the POEA, and in case you are applying through an agency, the agency will be asking you to submit the printed copy of your PEOS completion certificate. This certificate will be provided at the end of the online seminar.
The PEOS consists of a series of videos showing all the information that you will need to know when applying for a job abroad. At the end of each video, you will be asked to answer a short “quiz” to test your knowledge and to ensure that you understood what was discussed in the videos.
Why do you need to take the seminar? It’s a quick and convenient way to learn and understand the ins and outs of becoming an OFW. It will provide you information about the legal ways of obtaining a job abroad, tips on how to spot and avoid illegal recruiters, and the physical, emotional, and psychological preparations that one should do before leaving his or her family in the Philippines to work overseas. It was a fun and easy online seminar, just like watching 5-10 minute Youtube videos. You can do it anywhere, and all you need is an internet connection and a computer.
Ideally, the PEOS should be taken before an aspiring OFW start his or her application. It will actually also help you decide whether you are “ready” to work abroad or not. Nonetheless, you can still do it at any time during your application process. My brother, for example, took this online seminar while waiting for his OEC to be released.
I moved-in to my new place in April, and from May to December, my electric bill always comes with an amount under the “Balance from Previous Billing” box. This is despite the fact that I have been paying the total amount due in FULL since my first billing. The “balance” has always been less than 10 pesos so it never really bothered me. But since we are now on the topic of saving money, I finally decided to contact Meralco.
How do you contact Meralco? For a lazy guy like me, I chose the easiest way. Twitter:
Per Meralco’s advice, these are withholding taxes from the previous tenant. There was never a previous tenant in my unit, so I guess those are taxes earned from when SMDC installed electrical lines?
This also still doesn’t explain why these “balances” continued to appear in my bills until December despite having been paying everything in full and on time since May. This message thread will surely continue in January if I see yet another “balance”.
To be fair with their social media representative/s, they are very polite and accommodating. I’ve had previous inquiries with them so we were already following each other (you will need to follow each other’s account in order to send private messages on Twitter).
I’ll definitely keep an eye on the “balance from previous billing” box in my next bill. Next update: January 2018.
January 2018 Update: Consistent to what I’ve been receiving in the past 7 months, another P7.76 was added to my December 2018 bill. After several DM exchanges with MERALCO, it looks like there had been an error at their end. They promised to deduct this from my next billing:February 2018 Update: The amount under “balance from previous billing” has eventually been removed from my latest bill.
I learned it the hard way. Very hard, but amusing way!
Late in 2016, we started processing my brother’s papers for his employment in Canada. It took us around six months to prepare all the requirements including his passport. We submitted the documents via the MyCIC website in April 2017, I did everything online.
Everything happened so fast – medical exam, submission of passport, and claiming of visa. It all happened in less than two months. We never seek assistance from an agency nor asked help from a third party, a move that we later on regret not doing. We have the visa, we thought that’s all we need. In June 2017, we immediately booked his flight and he’s set to leave in three weeks.
His flight schedule is 9AM, so we left Quezon City at 4AM. On our way to the airport, I had this strange feeling that something is not quite right. I just still couldn’t believe that it happened so fast, that it is even possible to do it that quick. When we passed by the POEA office in Ortigas, I had this deep sigh of relief thinking that we didn’t have to go through all the process inside that building. I would often see long lines there in the past and it surely looks depressing.
We got at the airport two hours too early. We didn’t let him in until 7AM, just enough time for checkin. My sister and I proceeded to the waiting area inside the terminal and decided to wait until his plane takes off.
15 minutes later, my phone started ringing. My brother was calling and I knew that something was wrong.
Imagine our horror when we learned that airport staff were looking for a document called OEC! We were in shock!
We did try our best to possibly get him through to no avail, but we stayed calm and present. It took awhile for everything to sink in but we knew we have to keep moving. We gathered all the information we needed and left the airport. That was my longest EDSA trip ever!
We spent the next five weeks literally running around Metro Manila to process his OEC. Although we knew we can’t relax until he actually makes it to Canada, we were laughing at the whole experience all throughout. We complied with all the rules of DOLE and POEA, two agencies that I wish I will never have to deal with ever again.
He finally took his flight in August 2017 and landed in Vancouver safely. It’s been four months (as of this writing) and I still couldn’t believe that this happened to us, and how we actually managed the whole thing. I am proud to say that we dealt with it peacefully. It was quite an experience, but definitely something that I do not wish anyone to go through!
So if you are leaving the country as an OFW for the first time, make sure that you have an OEC prior to booking your plane ticket. You may proceed to POEA directly for inquiries, or look for an agency that could help. Make sure that the agency is legit, visit http://poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/aglist.aspfor the list of POEA-accredited agencies.
The Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) is a policy bank dedicated to provide financial products and services tailored to the requirement of overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries.
Per the advisory posted by the Department of Finance on their Facebook page:
“Beginning next year (2018), OFWs and foreign-based Filipinos would be able to make use of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB). The OFB is focused on delivering quality and efficient foreign remittance services to our Filipinos abroad.
The LandBank and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) are also exploring ways of mobilizing the savings of overseas-based Filipinos for them to invest in the country’s capital markets.”
If you are a direct hired OFW, and recently applied for an OEC, you can check if your name is already on the list of those whose clearances were approved. This list is available online. Go to the POEA website via the below link:
The page will show you the main directory of Notices, each number representing a group or batch of applicants with approved OECs. These Notices will open as a pdf file, and also include an instruction on how to claim your OEC.
Click on each of the Notices to find your name, you can make the indicated date as a reference. For example, if you applied in September or early October 2017, your name would probably be under Notice No. 336 if your clearance is approved:
If your name is not on any of the lists and you want to check the status of your OEC application, you can contact POEA directly at 722-11-44 or 722-11-55.