5 February 2009
REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Abby Valenzuela (Public Information Officer) 0915-7639619
P1-B EXPAT FUND: FOR GOV'T'S LOAN BUSINESS, NOT 'PAYBACK' PROGRAM
Gabriela Women's Party on Thursday exclaimed deep disgust over Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's proclamation during her visit to the Middle East that the P1 billion expatriate livelihood fund for OFWs to be affected by the global economic crisis is a "payback" program for the "saviors" of the national economy.
"Mrs. Arroyo is twisting the facts. She is making it sound like her government is doing this out of goodwill, when in truth, this is another way for them to milk the 'cows'," Rep. Luz Ilagan said.
According to Ilagan, the P1 billion is nothing but another loan program for the OFWs, which the migrant workers will pay with interest.
"This should not be the case because the money for this program will come from the OWWA fund which basically comes from the OFW mandatory contribution of $25. Mrs. Arroyo is trying to lend them their own money with interest," said Ilagan.
"Real 'payback' has yet to happen. Arroyo has promised a lot of things to our migrant workers since the start of her term as president but nothing has ever been delivered. Instead, she keeps on peddling our OFWs to foreign nationals who are looking for cheap labor to exploit, which is what she is doing in the Middle East"
Meanwhile, Ilagan urged both houses of Congress to look into passage of House Bill 5868 or an act creating an unemployment benefit package for retrenched OFWs amounting to a lump sum of P50,000 from the budget of DFA, Bureau of Immigration, DOLE and POEA. The bill was filed by Gabriela Women's Party, Bayan Muna Party-list and Anakpawis Party-list on Monday.
Ilagan, the main author of the bill, confessed that the bill is a mere band-aid solution.
"If the government is sincere in addressing migrants' issues, it will stop bargain-selling Filipinos to foreigners and abolish its labor export policy. Arroyo should instead immediately create local jobs, initiate genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, " she said.