Sunday, February 15, 2009

GCC Review on expat employment policies threatens export of labor

Press Release
10 February 2009

Review on GCC expat employment policies threatens the Arroyo regime's massive export of labor; genuine agrarian reform and nationalization of industries answer to global economic crisis

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers' organizations in the Middle East today warn of an impending reversal of the current expatriates' employment policy in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries that would threaten the Arroyo regime's policy of massive export of labor.

The warning came after a review of GCC migrant labor policy was proposed by an official of the Council during the recent conference on human resources held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

"Based on the reports by the Associated Press (AP) in Saudi Gazette, a local newspaper in Saudi Arabia, an official of the GCC has proposed that jobs available in the GCC countries must go first to their respective nationals, and that they must be given utmost employment preference over expatriate workers," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

AP reports quoting his Highness Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal during the conference on human resources in Abu Dhabi urging GCC-member countries to review its economic policies in a serious manner to build national economies that benefit their people and not the millions of foreign workers.

Monterona opined the governments of GCC countries have all the rights to prioritize its own nationals to have jobs and to be employed than any other foreign nationals amid the global financial crisis that laid offs millions of workers.

"It is very understandable that GCC-countries must give employment preferential to its own people than hiring expatriate workers; it is on their people's very interests," Monterona added.

The GCC-member countries attained economic growth that is fueled by oil exploration coupled with the surge of the price of oil which in turn provided each country the opportunity to develop its infrastructure, construction, and services industries that forced them to hire millions of foreign workers.

"In the midst of the global financial crisis, the GCC countries may heed on this protectionists call – employment preference to their national, which would mean no hiring of expatriates workers anymore," Monterona averred.

Monterona said this would run counter to the Arroyo administration's thrust of exporting millions of unemployed Filipinos.

"What we are saying is that all world economies are moving heaven and earth to save jobs for their nationals due to major companies' losses and closure, yet the Arroyo administration is on a massive export of OFWs – which is not a viable labor policy in time of global financial crisis," Monterona opined.

Migrante-ME said the Arroyo administration is on a wrong economic path on its blind adherence to U.S neo-liberal policies of globalization.

"Instead of developing an economic policies based on what we have – rich natural resources, human labor, skills and knowledge, our country's comparative advantage – the Arroyo administration blindly adhere to U.S. neo-liberal policies of globalization which ultimate aim is to take advantage of its unfair trade relations with the Philippines and its other neo-colonies to survive its own ailing economy," Monterona added.

Migrante-ME said genuine agrarian reform program must first be seriously implemented coupled with the nationalization of basic industries for the Philippine economy to be self-reliant, adding "this is the economic model suited for the Philippines."

"Now, it is a question of political will on the part of the present administration and for any administration to come or it is a question of whose interests the present administration would like to serve – the interests of poor famers and struggling workers or the interests of landlords and local businessmen who are occupying seats in the government, either in Congress or in the Executive branch?" Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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