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Sunday, June 20, 2010

OFWs Join Independence Day Protests


2 out of 10 deployed by Arroyo are domestic workers

Arroyo pushed jobless Pinoys to be slave workers

of the world - Migrante


As the Arroyo administration "splurges" on a P10 million parade for the country's Independence Day celebrations, OFWs and their families join protests to belie the outgoing president's claim of achievements in addressing poverty and joblessness.


Migrante International, the largest alliance of OFW groups, link-up with other peoples organizations in a counter-parade of modest floats depicting the misdeeds and failures of the Arroyo regime. Meanwhile its chapters abroad held assemblies and other activities to expose the worsened situation of Filipino migrant workers and challenged the Aquino government to scrap the labor export policy. 


"Once again Arroyo will cite the OFWs as one of her crowning achievements. She will boast of curbing unemployment by referring to the millions of Filipino workers deployed all over the world during her term. This has been her clever lie. But the truth is, it is precisely because of her failure to solve the economic crises why millions of Filipinos opt to work abroad and endure family separation," said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante.


According to Migrante, citing from data gathered from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Arroyo administration processed 9.2 million OFW deployments from 2001 to 2009. Seven million were deployed as land-based workers, 40% which or 2.8 million were new hires. These figures do not include undocumented workers which the group estimates as 1,000 leaving everyday. 


"Closer scrutiny of the deployments will reveal that what Arroyo essentially does is pushing jobless Pinoys to become cheap and docile slave workers abroad which can be highly abused and exploited by foreign employers. To concretize, in her reign, 2 out of 10 OFWs are deployed as domestic helpers. Half of which going to the Middle-East where there is high incidence of OFW maltreatment," Martinez explained.


Based on POEA data, 515,417 OFW new hires from 2001-2008 worked as Household Service Workers, 331, 058 Entertainers and 183,159 Nurses and Caregivers.


According to Martinez, the new hires were largely deployed to Middle-East countries where OFW wage rates are very low. Domestic Helpers and Caregivers in the Middle-East, which accounts for 50%, receive $200-300/month which is just about the same amount of the minimum wage in Metro Manila. Nurses in Saudi Arabia, which is 60%, on the other hand receive $400-500/month which is just equal to the daily cost of living in the Philippines.


"Given this situation, we must celebrate independence day by reliving and continuing the fight for freedom of our forefathers. The Filipino people must unite in making Arroyo pay for her crimes and challenge the Aquino government to solve the basic problems of landlessness and joblessness. We must unwaveringly pursue the struggle for national democracy," Martinez ended. ###

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