September 18, 2009
OFW group joins 2010 Partylist race
“For a long time, others have been speaking in our behalf…It is now time to speak for ourselves.”
This was the battle cry of Migrante Partylist members who marched to the Comelec building at Intramuros, Manila upon announcing their intention to run in the 2010 Party-list election.
“Patutunayan namin na ang mga OFWs ay hindi lang Bayani sa ekonomya, kami rin ay Bayani sa Pulitika,” (We will prove that we are not only heroes in our economy, we are also heroes in politics) says Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.
Martinez explained that they decided to join the coming election due to existing policies and laws that are detrimental to the interest of migrant Filipinos and in order for OFWs to be represented by their own partylist.
“Under the term of President Arroyo, policies were geared towards intensifying labor exportation instead of focusing on welfare protection. It is high time that the sector, who has been saving this economy towards total bankruptcy be represented by its own leaders,” Martinez added.
Since the party-list system began in the 1998 election, various OFW groups have failed to win a seat in congress. Overseas workers are one of the marginalized sector cited in RA 7941 or the Party-list System Law that was enacted in 1995.
When asked of its chances, Martinez replied that “we will not solely depend on the Overseas Absentee Voters since the recent figure might not suffice to garner the needed number of votes to win a seat in congress.”
“We will ask our chapters in 23 countries across the globe that they need to campaign among their relatives and friends who are here inside the country. And since OFWs are mostly the breadwinners in the family, we believe that their loved ones will not only support us but would likewise campaign for us in their respective barrios in different provinces,” explained Martinez.
The group is also banking on the support of OFW victims that they have assisted since their formation in 1996. More than a thousand distressed OFWs seek Migrante’s helps annually, Martinez said.
Martinez said, once elected, Migrante’s ascension to the halls of the legislature, will signify a momentous victory not only for the sector they wish to represent, but also to the Filipino people as a whole.
“Migrante commits to work for the passage of laws and measures that will safeguard the interests and well being of millions of OFWs and their families; to fight, in every turn, the government’s parasitic mindset of treating Filipinos as mere commodities for export abroad and to struggle hard to achieve a society where families are no longer torn apart because of the urgent need to survive,” Martinez said.
“Sa mahabang panahon, marami na ang nagsalita para sa amin, panahon na ngayon na aming iparinig ang aming nagkakaisang tinig!” (For a long time, others have been speaking in our behalf…It is now time to speak for ourselves), he concluded. ###
Garry Martinez, chairperson