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Press Release 92-2015

The Philippine Consulate General hosted two Gender and Development (GAD) seminars on November 14, 2015 at the PCG Lanai. The morning session entitled “Seminar for Caregivers,” was conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Mr. Roger Forstner, OSHA Area Director, Honolulu Area Office, Rick Foster, Compliance Officer, and Colleen Furutani, Safety & Health Assistant were the resource persons. The seminar was attended by practitioners and professionals in the caregiving industry in Hawaii, which included, Mr. Constancio Domingo, President of the Caregivers Association of Hawaii, Mr. Ramon Sumibcay of Philippine Nurses Association, Hildegard Akee, Caregivers Assocation, Ms. Helen Grace Go of Filipino Nurses of Hawaii (FNOH), and Mr. Giovannie Sibayan of Adult Foster Homecare Association of Hawaii (AFHA). Officers and staff and friends of the PCG also attended.

Mr. Rick Foster, Compliance Officer, discussed topics on Workers Rights, Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, and Blood-borne Pathogens. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, caregivers have the right to a safe work place, and have the right to training, according to Mr. Foster. He said that in 2014, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants reported the second-highest number of injuries and illnesses with 3,710 women reporting injuries. Back pain is the leading cause of injury. There is a need for continuing education in taking care of elderly patients and the use of lifting equipment. Mr. Foster also said that some techniques in lifting patients, such as the “hook-and-toss” are already outdated and result in more injuries to the patient and caregiver. On the topic of blood-borne pathogens, Mr. Foster said that among the risks are exposure to Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS. He stressed the importance of personal protection equipment, good housekeeping, needle stick safety procedures, procedures for cleaning contaminated laundry and medical records keeping for high risk patients which should be maintained for the duration of the employment of the caregiver plus another 30 years after employment.

Mr. Roger Forstner, OSHA Area Director, said that he looks forward to another seminar in partnership with the PCG, such as for the Hotel Worker Industry, since there are many Filipinos in the hotel industry and they are exposed to risks similar to caregivers such as lifting heavy objects, and exposure to dangerous cleaning solutions on a daily basis. PCG agreed to have a seminar for hotel workers next year.

Financial Literacy Seminar- The afternoon session was devoted to Financial Literacy conducted by Ms. Jayna Uyehara Manager of the Business Action Center of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and Mr. Sam Acosta, President of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (FCCH). The Financial Literacy seminar was attended by officers and staff of the PCG, their families and friends. Mr. Alex Vergara, President of the Oahu Filipino Community of Hawaii and Board Member of FCCH also attended.

Ms. Uyehara discussed topics on Registering a Business in Hawaii, services of the Business Action Center, DCCA as a “On-Stop-Shop” for doing business in Hawaii, which includes the Department of Taxation for Tax Licensing and the Department of Labor for Employers Registration. Ms. Yehara discussed Trade Names, Trade Marks, Service Marks, Registering a Business Name, and State vs. Federal Registration. Ms. Uyehara also discussed program partners of the DCCA Business Action Center which offer special business programs on Oahu such as the Small Business Adminstration (SBA), SCORE Hawaii, which offers counseling on small business, and the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) which offers legal advice related to business. All of these programs are free, according to Ms. Uyehara.

Mr. Sam Acosta discussed topics on the Basics of Investing, Debt Cycle vs. Cash Cycle, stressing that debt is “the most dangerous threat to your financial security.” He advised setting up three accounts: an emergency account to take care of emergency purchases, a short term account for more immediate but non-emergency purchases and expenses, and a wealth-building account and retirement fund. He also discussed debt stacking or debt consolidation which can reduce debt. Finally, Mr. Acosta discussed the functions of the FCCH. He commended the PCG for its initiative in coming up with the Financial Literacy seminar, something that the FCCH should be doing.(END).