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Libanan urges solution to problem of entertainers

Eastern Samar Rep. Marcelino C. Libanan said yesterday that the problem plaguing the overseas entertainment sector as a result of Japan's implementation of stricter immigration laws must be addressed immediately.

Roughly 80,000 Filipino entertainers were displaced as a result of the restriction in granting an artist's visa, he said.

A sharp decline in the deployment of Overseas Performing Artists (OPAs) to Japan has been noted, contrary to the Japanese Embassy's declaration that "there will be no reduction in hiring Filipino artists."

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes said there were only 291 OPAs deployed last July, compared to 2,692 during the same period last year.

"To licensed recruitment agencies who were granted visas, we would like them to share their secret with us. From us from the government side, we are at a loss for guidelines where Japan immigration based decision to grant artist visas. It could be self-implementing guidelines because years ago, the same were required of our artists - the club certificate," he added.

It will be recalled that Administrator Rosalinda D. Baldoz of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Undersec-retary Danilo Cruz, and Brillantes were directed to draft their own set of implementing rules and regulations in compliance with Japan's stringent immigration policy. (Sel A. Baysa)

Indon JI killed in clash alive, says MILF official

COTABATO CITY - A senior Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist reported killed in a clash with government troops in the southern Philippines is still alive, a Muslim rebel spokesman said Saturday.

Eid Kabalu, spokesman of the Muslim secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said JI operative Omar Patek has been spotted on different occasions in Maguindanao province, 960 kilometers south of Manila.

"He is alive," Kabalu said. "Our informants have spotted him on several occasions. …