Former Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment


For the Love of God, OFWs and
Service to Our Country
By Imelda Roberts

It was in San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Alumni online group that I first came to meet Josphus B. Jimenez. We both are from SMC and it is cool to know we have the same professional backgrounds. Both of us have been involved in employee and labor relations for many years. He was the Assistant Vice President and Director of Employee and Labor Relations at SMC from 1986 to 1996. I started my career in SMC in Human Resources Division, and already left for the USA when he started at SMC. Though we did not get a chance to work together, there were many things I gleaned from his profile that are inspiring beyond our common career background.

Just like the profile photo showing an ISO Certification, it speaks of a man who makes it his passion to establish a high level of excellence not only for himself, but for those around him. JBJ as he wants to sign on his email note to me is a man of quality achievements. Beyond his intellect and successful career, there is a strong level of connection with many of his thousands of online friends. He shares jokes, his passion for his work, and a knowledge of a wide variety of issues, not to mention what he called, The 12 Secret Steps to Success. As you look through this list, they speak of his values towards God, truth, sharing ones gifts, serving a noble cause, positive thinking, and supporting the needy. Just my kind of role model I must say.

It is not hard to understand why he could have the kind of strong following. The work and initiatives he had done with OFWs are quite impressive. His recent assignment as Labor Attache in Polo, Kuwait serving over 265,000 OFWs gave him an opporunity to help so many Filipinos. Currently, he is assigned as Labor Attache in Central Tawain. His mission is not just to represent the Philppine Government abroad, but he is there to lend a hand to OFWs. His commitment and passion transcend his role as you learn more about the initiatives and activities he has been involved in. Many of his photos, news clips and other sharing reflect upon his generous heart to share his own knowledge and "gifts' to his fellowmen.

Who is Josephus B. Jimenez - His Career and His Passion

Josephus B. Jimenez is a lawyer, a diplomat, and a civic leader with career achievements that are pretty impressive. He has over 30 years solid experience as a labor relations practioner and worked for major corporations in the Philippines, such as SMC and Pepsi Cola. Following his career with private companies, he pursued a career in government becoming the Undersecretary of Labor and Employment in January 2002 to 2005.

As a seasoned lawyer, he specializes in human resources, labor laws and social legislations. He passed the very strict and difficult Bar Exams with a rating of 84.93, despite the fact that he could not afford to pay for the Bar Review in Manila. He graduated from the University of Visayas Law School, as Magna Cum Laude, and Class Valedectorian. He took various courses related to his field of specialization, in the University of the Philippines, in the Development Academy of the Philippines and in many schools/ training centers in New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, Tokyo,Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Taipeh and other institutions around the world.

Atty JBJ's long and successful career spanned twenty years in the private sector and more than ten years in government. He was a Court Interpreter at the age of 19, a Labor Regulation Officer, Chief of the Complaints & Action Unit of the National Labor Relations Commission, and its Chief Information Officer. He was also the Conciliator and Mediator of labor cases. At the age of 24, he became a member of the Philippine Bar. At the age of 28, he was conferred a Presidential appointment as Labor Arbiter, or judge of labor cases. He was the youngest and the only one from outside of Luzon who was appointed to such position. Seeing him with great potentials, he was chosen from among more than three thousand applicants to constitute a special class of 32 young junior excutives. This young group were given a nine-month intensive and extensive training by the Career Executive Service Board and the Development Academy of the Philippines. He topped the class with a rating of "Outstanding" and a "Class Topnotcher" of that batch called SAMBISIG.

Making a Difference in the Lives of OFWs

Atty JBJ was assigned to Malaysia, where he did three monumental accomplishments. First, he packaged a strategic and long-range approach to the backdoor diaspora of Filipinos via the seas of Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawitawi. He went to Tawitawi and discussed the problems with Muslim leaders. He negotiated bilateral agreements with the host government, and personally visited all detention centers of arrested Filipinos who were jailed for violating Malaysian immigration laws. He arranged for humane repatriation of women, children, sick and aged Filipinos who were all lumped together in jails. Second, he put up, managed, and administered a Training and Development Center for migrant workers, who were mostly domestic helpers.. More than 500 graduated every school year, taught by more than 50 resource persons who served without pay, in courses ranging from computer to arts and crafts, caregiving and cosmetology.

Thirdly, Atty JBJ gave impetus to the fight agaisnt trafficking and illegal recruitment. He has caused the arrest, prosecution and convictions of syndicated traffickers who victimized women, minors, and men. He caused the raids, expose and prosecution of illegal recruiters who he said, "victimized young and naive workers from the provinces." He also gave free shelter, free legal counselling, emotional healing and spiritual support to the distressed and run-awway workers in Malaysia. He organized the different workers in Johore, Penang, Pahang, Kota Kinabalu. He gave them training in leaadership and self-help and provided them legal and paralegal support.

In Taichung, Taiwan, he is giving regular learning sessions on FINANCIAL LITERACY , LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT, and BASIC LAWS. He is also working to unify the Filipino workers and federate their dozens of organizations along regional and professional lines. He is fighting hard to eliminate excessive placement fees paid by workers just to get a job in Taiwan. Ensuring the safety for workers, he is insprecting work sites and workers dormitories before approving job orders and work contracts. He is very passionate about his crusade to empower the workers and strengthen their ranks against those who may exploit and cheat Filipino workers.

In Kuwait, Atty JBJ was commended by the Ambassador as the Best Labor Attache ever to be assigned in that country. He was relentless in his crusade against exploitations and oprression of OFWS. He was tireless in his training and capablity building of the migrant workers, empowering them so that they could defend themselves from the many vultures in the recruitment industry. Atty JBJ was taking care of an average of 260 run away domestic helpers at any given time. In a Center where he provided not just food and shelter, but also spiritual counselling, emotional support and legal and paralegal assistance to OFWs, Atty. LBJ is their source of help and advice. He also wrote a regular column for free in a national daily, THE KUWAIT TIMES, a column entitled ITANONG MO KAY LABAT JBJ, where he answers legal queries about work, contracts, family disputes, marital conflicts and property-related problems.

His True Mission - A Child of God

In a short time I met Atty. JBJ, I was truly fascinated by his energy, passion for what he does, and for his spirit of friendship. Perhaps, I may have not covered all his credentials, his achievements in his career, nor the number of people and OFWs that he had helped along the way. But, there is one sure thing that I can surmised from his work and contributions to his country - the "BIO" posted on his online wall is his true mission in life.

I am a Child of God sent here on a mission to create positive meaningful difference, such that, by my struggles and sacrifices, the world will be kinder, life will be gentler, and the persons whom I touched and inspired will touch and inspire others with evern more passion and commitment.



Click photo to see bigger version.

Philippine Independence
celebration in Kuala Lumpur.

With wife, Mrs. Emma Jimenez.

Atty. JBJ at Mr.& Ms. Global Event.

Att. JBJ speaks during a graduation in
one of the seminars he teaches for free.

Atty. JBJ conducts training and seminars benefiting OFWs.

FLAMES I & II Graduation Exercises

Atty. JBJ surrounded by OFWs during a training session in Kuala Lumpur .

As Labor Attache in Kuwait for two years, Atty. JBJ helped OFWs stationed there, by providing them training, free advice, as well as, free food and shelter as needed.

FILCOM Night in Malaysia with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Meeting with FILCOM in Malaysia.

With wife, Mrs. Emma Jimenez.

With wife and five children.

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