Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Intensified Commodification of OFWs

Press Release
03 March 2009

Arroyo-Recruiters communiqué is nothing but intensified commodification of OFWs – Migrante-ME

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East today said the issued communiqué by the Arroyo administration along with recruitment agencies is nothing but spells out intensified commodification of OFWs.

“The Arroyo-initiated communiqué, through the Labor department along with recruitment agencies is nothing but continued sell out and commodification of OFWs abroad-- just like a cheap commodity for export,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

The communiqué was issued at the labor forum initiated by the Labor department with recruitment agencies and contains list of measures that both vow to pursue that includes aggressive investments in skills training and skills enhancements; streamlining of recruitment processes and policies; sharing of government and private sector registry of workers; strengthening welfare and protection mechanisms of workers; review of prevailing salary standards; and conduct of bilateral missions for the protection of OFWs onsite.

“Nothing is new in this communiqué except the formalization of aggressive marketing of OFWs abroad between the number 1 OFW exporter – the Arroyo regime, and recruitment agencies which are earning a lot from OFWs huge remittances, and fees and charges,” Monterona added.

Monterona said welfare and protection mechanism, salary standards, and conduct of bilateral missions for OFWs protection remains wanting and the Arroyo administration fails to do.

Monterona said it does not make good if the Arroyo administration continuously peddles millions of unemployed by sending them abroad-- selling their labor cheap and without any guarantee and protection for their safety and security, after all OFWs huge remittances are not properly used to develop a self-sufficient economy.

Monterona said the 11.2-M unemployed, a significant numbers of which are now forced to look jobs abroad as the only remaining option just to survive their struggling families are true measure of the Arroyo regime’s failure to generate jobs locally. “This is attributed due to its wrong economic policies subservient to neo-liberal policies of globalization,” he added.

Migrante-ME said economic policies that are extremely submissive to deregulation, privatization, and liberalization is driving our local economy, dominated by foreign monopoly-capitalist corporations, to a disadvantage position while “waiting the axe to fall on our heads”.

“The billions of OFW remittances are merely used as an “exhaust valve” keeping the economy afloat and to ensure the government has enough dollar reserves for burgeoning foreign debt services,” Monterona opined.

Migrante-ME said sending 1-M or more OFWs overseas is not a viable labor policy especially at the context of neo-liberal policies of globalization which sole purpose is to corner and siphon the billions of migrant workers remittances through sending governments towards the banks of imperialist countries who dominate international financial institutions.

“The Arroyo regime’s bravado that it got lot of jobs abroad for unemployed Filipinos is only a pretentious display and facade of its own failure to generate jobs locally that it keeps on promising but repeatedly failed,” Monterona ended.

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

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