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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PNoy Must Act Now or Be Sorry Later! MIGRANTE-Japan Lays Demands for President Aquino's SONA


Press Release

MIGRANTE-Japan joins the call for PNoy to once-and-for-all address the plight of
millions of OFWs around the world.

In view of PNoy’s first SONA, the group composed of 15 Filipino organizations
across Japan calls on President Aquino “to state clearly his action plan on
behalf of more than 8 million OFWs in the remaining days of his first 100 days
in office and not just offer a mouthful of promises that he may never deliver.”
“Without a whimper to show concern for the sorry condition of many hard-working
compatriots overseas, President Aquino must lay clearly what’s in his agenda for
us and what’s his take on our demands,”  Nestor Puno, MIGRANTE-Japan
spokesperson said.

For one, the group demands PNoy to immediately recall erring Philippine embassy
and consulate officials in Japan who are not responsive and intolerant to their
needs and interests. Second, the Tokyo Embassy and Consulate General’s Office in
Osaka must streamline procedures to attend to Filipino nationals who are in dire
need of assistance, especially the sick, victims of abuse, and those in
detention for various reasons.  And third, pull down the cost of its services,
particularly the overpriced passport and other consular documents that is
siphoning whatever limited resources they have.

“Embassies and consulates are no haven for government officials who sleep on
duty while we suffer various forms of abuse and are unjustly treated,” said

For the longest time, Japan-based Filipinos complain about arrogant and
irresponsible embassy and consulate officials who, according to them, never
cease to demand money from migrant Filipinos in exchange for run-of-the-mill

“The sick and those in detention awaiting deportation have to beg for their
services. Embassy and consulate officials have always been detached from the
community; they hardly knew what’s going on in the field. Even paid employees
are very arrogant; they abhor us whenever we call to ask for assistance. These
must be stopped,” Puno lamented.

The group also complains about bureaucratic red tape inside the Tokyo embassy
and Consulate General’s Office in Osaka.

“These officials have the habit of introducing policies that instead of
streamlining procedures make them even more burdensome to us.  That is why the
sick die unattended while those in detention wallow in misery while waiting for
their action,” added Puno.

Meanwhile, the cost of passport in Japan is 4 times more expensive than its
actual cost in the Philippines.  Puno said that an e-passport in Japan costs Y
7,800 or roughly 4,000 pesos.  This has been the bone of contention considering
the current economic slump in Japan that is hurting migrant workers, in
particular. Puno’s group also complains about the extended processing time of 45
days and the very stiff requirements to secure the passport.

“The cost of e-passport in Japan is scandalously high for most Filipinos in
Japan who are already downed by the ongoing economic crisis.  We cannot fathom
why a passport made in Japan could be this expensive when the same could be
acquired in the Philippines for just PhP 950.  This is highway robbery,” said

Around 30 leaders of various Japan-based groups and associations allied with
MIGRANTE have met recently to formulate their demands to PNoy and to call for
his immediate intervention on the sorry condition of OFWs in many parts of the
world, particularly the more than 40 cases of OFWs on death row and the recent
murder of two Filipina OFWs in Kuwait.

“Under the Arroyo government, migrant Filipinos in Japan had endured 9 years of
neglect and abuse.  We will not bear another day of misery that is why PNoy has
to immediately act on our demands or he shall lose face and risk getting the ire
of OFWs worldwide,” concluded Puno.

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