Thursday, January 8, 2009

Labor Chief lacks understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis

Press Release
8 January 2009

Labor Chief lacks understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis to migrant workers

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East today said the plan by the Arroyo administration through its Labor department to send an "advance reintegration team" to Taiwan shows only its lack of understanding on the effect of the global financial crisis that are now adversely affecting thousand of migrant workers and their families.

"This "advance reintegration team" being organized by the Labor Department due to be sent in Taiwan in the coming weeks presumably to assist OFWs who are expected to lose their jobs is nothing but only to cover the vicious effect of the Arroyo administration labor export policy- the sell-out of cheap OFWs labor amidst continuous violations and attack on OFWs rights and welfare," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said Labor Sec. Marianito Roque keeps on denying that OFWs would not be adversely affected by the global financial crisis and yet he is desperate enough to finding new markets for possible OFW deployment and renewing labor agreements with other countries despite prior knowledge that OFWs rights such as the right for decent wage and social and welfare benefits, among many others, will be at disadvantage.

"The answer to the problem of OFWs being laid off due to global financial crisis is not finding new labor markets or resurrecting old labor agreements, but by making the local economy strong and vibrant", Monterona added.

The OFW leader opined that Philippine economy would only be revived if genuine agrarian reform program will be implemented alongside with the nationalization of basic industries to give a breathing space to our struggling economy heavily subjected and dominated by foreign monopoly-capitalists corporations to the exploit of our human and natural resources.

"What the Labor department ''reintegration team'' could do in a foreign land if in his own country it cannot provide jobs with decent wage to the millions of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos back home?" Monterona queried.

Monterona said Labor Sec. Roque should be reminded that the reason why many Filipinos forced to accept jobs abroad is because of un-availability of jobs locally with decent wage and benefits.

On his part, Andrew M. Ociones, Migrante-KSA Chairperson said the Arroyo administration's reintegration program is two-pronged: first, it provides a support mechanism to government's labor export program and secondly, it is more of fund-raising schemes purportedly for government programs and for its business partners franchising.

"That's why instead of providing genuine service, government's reintegration program only yields disservice to OFWs and their families," he added.

Migrante-ME further said creating jobs locally is a dismal failure of the Arroyo administration, thus its is selling its own people cheap, without concrete measures to protect its rights and welfare and to truly recognize them a potent economic force contributing much in keeping the Philippine economy afloat through billions of OFW remittances.

Monterona said the livelihood assistance provided by the Arroyo administration to lay off OFWs is a band-aid solution. '"We even doubt if these amount would surely benefits and go to laid off OFWs, and not to the pocket of corrupt government officials," he added.

"The Arroyo administration must squarely face the bitter reality and accept whole heartedly the fact of OFWs mass lay off, only then it could better understand the effect of the global economic crisis and realize that its large-scale labor exportation is sham and vicious, and must be stop," Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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