Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Revoke VFA, LEP

Press Statement
17 February 2009

Migrante-Middle East joins call to revoke VFA, LEP too…

Migrante chapters, members and their families in the Middle East and around the world along with the entire Filipino nation today join the call to revoke the Visiting Forces Agreement. Migrante-Middle East is likewise calling for the scrapping of the Arroyo administration's Labor Export Policy now clearly stated on it recently issued Administrative Order No. 247. Both, the VFA and Arroyo's LEP, was a by-product of foreign impositions and unequal relations.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Arroyo administration's Labor Export Policy (LEP) are both concrete manifestations of foreign impositions and of the existing unequal relations between the governments of the United States and the Philippines.

The one-sided ratified VFA, as it was only ratified by the Philippine Senate and not with the US Senate, as it is to note that both must ratify the VFA to make it legally binding between the two parties, spells out foreign domination in the political realm; while the LEP means foreign imposition to Filipino nation's economic life as it was part of the structural adjustment program required by the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (IMF-WB) to ensure the continuous in-flow of dollars to the Philippines for its debt payment and servicing.

VFA allows the entry of US troops in the Philippines enjoying legal impunity despite American forces allegedly committing atrocities not once, but twice and many times, against the Filipino people., while Arroyo's LEP continuously send OFWs abroad sans measures to protect OFWs rights, welfare and safety.

Arroyo's LEP promotes the sell out of OFWs cheap labor abroad. Just recently, Arroyo issued administrative Order No. 247 in its vain attempt to legitimize its continuous peddling of OFWs abroad to siphoned the billions OFWs remittances and fees it overcharging, thus overburdening OFWs and their families.

While visiting American forces enjoy all impunity and Filipino hospitality, our OFWs abroad are often victims of abuses, maltreatment, and labor malpractices.

While visiting American forces enjoy their stay in the Philippines due to the V.I.P. treatment provided by the Arroyo administration, our OFWs abroad are treated like slaves, working more than the required 8-hours, OT-work not being paid, and often salaries not paid on time or never to receive salaries at all.

While visiting American forces have their pride and head high during stay in the Philippines, our so-called 'Bagong Bayani' treated as third class citizen, literally heads are on the floor right after abusive employers physically manhandled a Pinay domestic helper or a Pinoy construction worker bad mouthed, insulted by his employer.

Migrante chapters along with OFWs and their families are calling the members of the Senate to finally send the VFA into the Senate archived after its revocation. We welcome Sen. Francis Pangilinan's Senate Resolution scrapping the VFA and eventual expulsion of US Military forces and personnel in the Philippines.

At the same time, we are calling members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives to file a resolution questioning the legality and constitutionality of Arroyo's Administrative Order No. 247 dated 4 December 2008 making labor export a matter of national policy that runs contrary to R.A. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.

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

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