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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Migrant group to P-Noy: Protest against US State department baseless report linking OFWs as funds source for ASG


An alliance of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East today urges Malacanang to protest on the report issued by the US Department of State linking OFWs as source of funds, among other sources, for the extremist Abu Sayaf Group (ASG).


Citing news reports, the US State department issued its country report on terrorism dated August 5 saying “The ASG is funded through acts of ransom and extortion and may receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and possibly Middle East-based extremists.”


Reacting to this, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said this is quite alarming because such report is unfounded, unfair, and irresponsible as there is no truth to it.


Such sweeping accusation linking OFWs as source of ASG's funds is unjust; OFWs, in the first place, are forced to accept jobs overseas due to anti-labor policies of the government such as contractualization, union busting, meager wages, lack or no benefits, among many others, and no available decent jobs for them in the Philippines,” Monterona said.


Monterona added such baseless report linking OFWs as funds sources for ASG pose a serious threat not only to the jobs of OFWs but as well as to their rights and well being's safety.


It may send a wrong signal to the host governments especially here in the Middle East, who are active on its campaign against “terrorism” of extremists groups that is believed to have link to ASG in Mindanao,” Monterona averred.


He cited for instance the Saudi government's intensified efforts and campaign against terrorist groups in its neighboring country Yemen near its borders where these terrorist groups are believed to have established strength.


Monterona said OFWs and their families should be spared from “war on terror” as they should not be a target of attack.


For OFWs protection, we demand from the Aquino government to question this baseless report of linking OFWs as source of funds for ASG, and ask the US government to clear and clarify it,” Monterona ended. # # #










 “There is no blood in our remittance"
UNIFIL-HK joins protest vs US’ implication of OFWs to terrorism

“To even insinuate that the Abu Sayyaf bandit group may be receiving funding from overseas Filipinos through the remittance we send is an idiocy and is insulting to OFWs. There is no blood in our remittance.
Militant OFW organization, the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK), today scored the US State Department’s implication of OFWs to terrorist organizations saying that such insinuation is also “preposterous and dangerous”
“We work hard to earn barely enough because we are one of the lowest paid among workers. Now the US dares to taint our hard-earned income with suggestions that it is being used to support terrorist activities. What right does the US State Department have to brand OFWs as terrorist coddlers?” 
she remarked.
Balladares also chided the timing of the US State Department’s accusation that happened just as news of the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA came up.
“We shall not be made pawns for the US’ continued interventionist acts in our country. The people have seen the grave impacts of the VFA and we will not agree to be used by the US to create a hysteria that can allow them to assert for the VFA,” she added.
According to Balladares, the accusation of helping terrorists put in danger the safety of OFWs and families of overseas workers in the Philippines.

“With the malicious suspicion cast on OFWs and our remittance, will we also be made targets for repression? Will not our jobs be made insecure by this unfounded charge and thus also put in peril our family’s future? US policies in the Philippines have made us poor and have forced us to work abroad. Now it wants to take away even our last resort for survival,” she remarked.
In this light, Balladarez also criticized Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s silence on the wrongful and unjust accusation to overseas Filipinos.
“President Noynoy Aquino was quick to speak out against the US travel advisory warning Americans from visiting the Philippines in his speech at the recent Asia Pacific Economic forum. Yet, until now not a word was heard from him to defend the economic heroes who are sacrificing abroad to save the country from complete bankruptcy,” she stated.
UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK challenged Aquino to make true his promise of change by “standing up for his own people” and demanding apology and explanation from the US State Department on this injustice done to OFWs.
“We raise protests when we hear of disparaging and racists remarks against Filipinos. The US State Department’s accusation should be met with even more protests as it insults OFWs and put in jeopardy the lives and livelihood of overseas Filipinos,” she concluded.




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