A Department of OFWs

  • Page Views 1612
  • Migrante International, the biggest global organization of Filipino overseas Filipinos with over 200 member organizations in 23 countries, prepared a position paper that presents and outlines the changes that overseas Filipino workers want to see under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

    The lengthy document starts off with a background of the situation of OFWs under the six years of the BS Aquino government, including the intensification of the labour export policy, complete with updated facts and figures. It tackles the issues of forced migration; the reality of record-high poverty and joblessness; and the many anti-OFW policies. Examples of these are the government neglect of OFWs in distress (e.g.  those in death row and in jail, those stranded, those victimized by illegal recruitment and trafficking), budget cuts, state exactions, a severely lacking rights and welfare program, and the misuse, abuse and corruption of OWWA funds.

    After a discussion of the situation of OFWs, Migrante International presents a 10-point list of action items that the President Duterte can implement within the 100 days of this presidency. The points are clear, citing specific laws and executive orders. Much thought, research, and forward thinking and vision are in these firm suggestions.

    I would like to highlight one of the sections that would be of much interest to migrant Filipinos and that is the Duterte-proposed creation of a Department of OFWs.

    Here is what Migrante International has to say on this Department of OFWs:

    “Indeed, there has been a growing clamor among OFWs for a ‘one-stop shop’ that would cater to the protection and promotion of OFW rights and welfare. The present ‘one -country-approach’ being implemented by agencies tasked to provide direct services to OFWs, namely, the DFA, DOLE, OWWA and POEA, has been dysfunctional and inoperative  to the detriment of OFWs, especially those in distress. Migrante International therefore sees and appreciates the rationale behind President-Elect Duterte’s pronouncement of establishing a “Department of OFWs” that seeks to systematize, consolidate and strengthen government efforts to protect our OFWs.

    Migrante International is not against the formation of a “Department of OFWs” per se, but it forwards its serious apprehensions on the basis of its evaluation of the performances of existing agencies concerned with dealing with OFW services and welfare. Fundamentally, Migrante International has been committed to the advance the rights and welfare of OFWs and their families as well as to work for a just and prosperous society that will eliminate the roots of forced migration and put a decisive end to the labor export policy.

    It is in this light that Migrante International poses the challenge that the formation of a “Department of OFWs” should not work to merely further institutionalize labor export, and instead address the decades-long clamor of OFWs and their families to put an end to it.”

    Here are the numbers:  there are15 million overseas Filipinos and an estimated 6,000 Filipino men and women leaving the country daily to work abroad. OFW remittances, which keep the Philippine economy afloat and the lid on social and economic unrest firmly shut, reached $26 billion in 2014, which is nine per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of the country.

    “Filipinos are being forced to migrate because of desperation borne out of the economy’s lack of development resulting in job loss, low wages and lack of livelihood at home. OFWs have borne witness to how insincere, insensitive and inept past governments have been in upholding and securing the protection and welfare of OFWs…

    The changes OFWs want to see in the six-year Duterte presidency include 10 million sustainable domestic jobs in six years; an end  to contractualization of domestic labor; a genuine reintegration program for retiring OFWs and a public and universal pension system; a fast, efficient and more accessible venues for redress for OFWs in distress, here and abroad; competent and OFW-friendly embassy and department officials; a rights-based bilateral labor and immigration agreements with labor-receiving countries;  justice and indemnification for all victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking; and, an end to all schemes and government policies that treat OFWs as mere milking cows.”

    (I would like to add that the process and procedures of overseas voting by OFWs in Philippine elections need to be reviewed to make it accessible, easy, and more democratic. The voting process and procedures should not be disincentives to the exercise of the right to vote by our kababayan; otherwise what we have is procedural unfairness or disenfranchisement.)

    Migrante International firmly believes in a “Department of OFWs” that is committed and oriented to the rights and welfare of OFWs and in creating an economy that will ensure that there are decent and sustainable jobs, with living wages so that workers can have dignified and decent lives.

    Migrante International and its member chapters abroad will continue to work for genuine participation and representation of OFWs in the Philippine government.  For the complete document, please visit www.migranteinternational.org , the website of Migrante International.

    Tinig Migrante by E. Maestro

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 24 March 2017
      10 hours ago No comment

      Summer Trip to Corregidor

      Located at the entrance of Manila Bay, Isla ng Corregidor was identified by the Spaniards as a strategic defense location when they arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century. They named the tadpole-shaped island Island of the Corrector since this was the place where all ships entering Manila ...

    • 24 March 2017
      13 hours ago No comment

      ABS-CBN involved in Enforcement Effort Against Sellers of Pirated DVDs of ABS-CBN Content

      DALY CITY, CALIFORNIA – Six stores selling DVDs in Toronto and Montreal surrendered last March 7 and 8 over a thousand pirated DVDs of ABS-CBN content.  Included in the enforcement effort were the following stores: Bulacan Fashion, Bon-Bon, Waynes Collectibles, a store at 23 Glen Watford Drive in Dragon Centre, ...

    • 24 March 2017
      16 hours ago No comment

      Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the attack in London, United Kingdom

      The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the attack in London, United Kingdom (U.K.) “We strongly condemn today’s attack in London. I was shocked and saddened to learn of the innocent people who were killed and injured as a result of this cowardly attack. “Canada ...

    • 23 March 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      Impeachment against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte belittled

      Pantaleon Alvarez, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, expressed confidence the impeachment complaint filed against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte by the Magdalo party list, represented by Congressman Gary Alejano, will not prosper. Alvarez noted that not only the charges were fabricated and had no evidence to ...

    • 23 March 2017
      1 day ago No comment

      World Happiness Report: Norway tops list, Canada is 7th, Philippines ranks 72nd

      A new report shows Norway is the happiest country on Earth. Norway jumped to the top slot in the World Happiness Report released on March 20 although prices of oil,  a key part of its economy, are falling. Income in the United States has gone up over the past ...

    %d bloggers like this: