Press Release - Final version
20 January 2009
OFW group to Labor Chief Roque:
Craft sound social and welfare policies and programs,
not just simply re-cycled old anti-migrant policies of the past
An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East today said Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Marianito Roque must initiate sound social and welfare policies and programs aimed to alleviate the worsening plight of OFWs amid the global financial crisis hitting hard overseas workers abroad.
"The Labor department under Sec. Roque proved to be the same as his predecessors and boss in Malacanang; they are all anti-workers, anti-OFWs. Sec. Roque is proving that he is no different as it blindly adheres, like her predecessors, to the wishes of the occupant in Malacanang," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona is reacting on the order issued by Sec. Roque to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to review the ban on the direct hiring of overseas Filipino workers for Hong Kong.
Monterona said the proposed ban on the direct hiring need not be reviewed.
"It's just a waste of time and taxpayers' money. It has been rejected with vigor opposition by the millions of OFWs and their families, not just those working in Hong Kong, but also domestic helpers from the Middle East, Europe and other Asian countries. Precisely because it is detrimental to OFWs interests," he continued.
He said it is the very reason why the ban on direct hiring was not imposed by past administration though the Labor Code prohibits it. The reason: because it is to the detriment and against the very interests of OFWs. "The Congress must look into it and amend such provision in the Labor Code so that Sec. Roque and Malacanang could not used it as a tool to exploit OFWs and their families," Monterona continued.
"It is but common sense on his part not to impose and/or implement what has been rejected by the OFW stakeholders. Sec. Roque losses his common sense precisely because he is pressured by Malacanang to impose policies that would generate huge amount of money from OFWs pocket. Thus, for the second time, it imposed the ban on direct hiring, first in Hong Kong, then later in the Middle East and other countries would follow soon," Monterona averred.
The OFW leader said Sec. Roque must instead craft sound social and welfare programs and policies to ease the impact of the global financial crisis especially those retrenched OFWs, not just simply re-cycling old anti-workers and anti-migrant policies and programs.
"As migrant workers whose remittances keep the economy afloat, we have the right to demand from the Arroyo regime more and sound social and welfare programs that would alleviate our worsening condition and eases the impact of the global financial crisis," Monteron said.
Monterona suggested if Sec. Roque is running out of ideas what social and welfare programs should he needs to suggest to Mrs. Arroyo, he should better consult OFWs and their organizations. "We may be of good help to him," he continued.
Monterona said Sec. Roque must learn how to listen to the ideas and sentiments of OFWs by conducting regular consultations first before implementing policies that affects workers and OFWs.
"The conduct of regular consultations on proposed policies affecting OFWs and to obey the voice of the majority is democracy. By doing so, he will not be criticized widely and internationally, unlike his Boss in Malacanang who is widely condemned by OFWs and their families," Monterona added.
Migrante-ME said Mrs. Arroyo and Roque could not accept the fact that many have become victims of unscrupolous recruitment agencies that are over charging OFWs and asking for unreasonable fees, which the Arroyo regime failed to solved.
Migrante-Middle East chapters vow to continue their opposition by continuously gathering signatures and petition campaigns, formations and alliances against the ban on direct hiring, and silent protest actions inside Philippine embassies and Consular offices in the Middle East.
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012