On Migrants Day, OFWs lament gov’t policy
Militant labor group Migrante International on Sunday marked National Migrants Day by enumerating a litany of problems besetting Filipino migrants, saying that the sector was in its “worst state” under the Aquino administration.
The government has not made known any activities or celebration to observe the occasion, which is also known as “Araw ng Pasasalamat,” to mark the signing into law of Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995.
The law was designed to “establish a higher standard of protection and promotion for the welfare of migrant workers and their families.”
In a statement, the group noted that 20 years after the law was enacted shortly after the execution of Filipino domestic worker Flor Contemplacion in Singapore, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were “more beleaguered than ever.”
Migrante International secretary general Sol Pillas said it still remained to be seen whether the law would work for the protection of migrant workers or simply further institutionalize the policy of labor export.
“Twenty years after and the bomb has exploded on our faces. What we feared has happened and worsened under the present Aquino administration. [His] labor export policy continues to wreak havoc on the lives and welfare of migrant workers and their families,” Pillas said.
She said labor export had intensified under the current administration since OFWs continued to save the country’s deteriorating economy. She also belied Aquino’s claim in his speech during his recent state visit to Japan that the number of OFWs had declined since 2010 due to the “developing economy.”
Citing data from research group Ibon Foundation, Pillas noted that the number of Filipinos leaving to work abroad had tripled since Aquino took office—from 2,500 daily in 2010 to 4,500 in 2012 and 6,000 by the end of 2014.
Because of the Aquino administration’s desperation to find more job markets abroad due to the country’s worsening economic situation caused by unreformed policies, its only recourse has been to intensify its labor export program at the expense of the OFWs,” she said.
“It has become more clear that the labor export policy is nothing but a big business venture from which the government profits, with OFWs as the milking cows,” she added.
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