Monday, June 28, 2010

HK OFWs present ten-point demands

Aquino admin urged to undo anti-migrant policies of GMA regime
HK OFWs present ten-point demands

Press Release
27 June 2010

For reference:
Dolores T. Balladares
Chairperson, Tel. No.: 97472986

“Undo Arroyo’s regime of neglect and extortion.”

This was the challenge posed by Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE HK) to soon-to-be installed President Noynoy Aquino who is scheduled to get inducted to the highest office in the country this Wednesday.

The statement was issued in a press conference held at Chater Road, Central conducted by the group together with other alliances and organizations to make public the ten-point agenda of Filipino migrants in Hong Kong “President-elect Noynoy Aquino can start fulfilling his promise for positive change by, first and foremost, scrapping Arroyo’s policies to OFWs that transformed us as cash cows of her corrupt regime and made concrete services to us mere pipe-dreams,” Balladares said.

One of the foremost demands that the OFWs called for President-elect Aquino to act on is the “overpriced” e-passport issued in Hong Kong. Balladares said that said passport is three times the price as that in the Philippines.

“Why should passports here be ridiculously more expensive than back home? Passport price is the prerogative of the president and Aquino can very well set it if he wishes to,” she remarked.

Aside from this, Balladares also mentioned the OWWA Omnibus Policies, implemented in 2001, as another policy that worsens the condition of OFWs. She reported that said policy further constricted the benefits that OFWs can avail of from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) through the General Financial Assistance Program.

“For more than nine years, the Arroyo regime has given nothing but misery to the OFWs. Arroyo abused her executive power using the billions of pesos OWWA funds as her piggy bank. To achieve this, she put in position her own people to ensure the smooth flow of money to finance her own interests,” Balladares-Pelaez stressed.

Balladares also hit the POEA Guidelines for Hiring Filipino Household Service Workers that she said removed placement fees to recruitment agencies while allowing for even bigger fees through the training it has imposed to new overseas Filipino domestic workers. The Arroyo government further subjected OFWs to the whims of recruitment agencies through the ban on direct hiring it implemented last year.

“It is time to correct the sins committed by the Arroyo regime! President-elect Noynoy can set the tone of his promised humane and just governance,” Balladares-Pelaez stated.

Hong Kong Filipinos cast their vote of confidence and trust in Noynoy in the recent national elections placing him number one here. It is incumbent for Aquino, she remarked, to respond to the demands of HK OFWs.

The HK OFWs’ ten-point agenda:

  1. Scrapping of the OWWA Omnibus Policies;
  2. Scrapping of the Ban on direct hiring;
  3. Scrapping of the POEA Guidelines;
  4. Reduce the cost of passport to the amount similar to the cost in the Philippines;
  5. OEC should be given free of charge;
  6. Reduce the cost of employment contract processing, remove the authentication fee;
  7. Provide free medical and legal services on site;
  8. Release the COMELEC Voter’s ID;
  9. Stop overcharging/illegal collection of recruitment agencies; and
  10. No examination fee for teachers, nurses and midwives abroad.
“We keep watch for the approval of these demands. President-elect Noynoy’s time starts now,” Balladares-Pelaez concluded.

The Secretariat
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
2/F., New Hall, St. John's Cathedral,
4 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 31562447 Fax. (852) 25262894

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