Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of progressive Filipino migrants' groups in the Middle East, today gives President Benigno Simeon Aquino III a failing grade in his 1st year in the Presidency after assuming the top post in the government on June 30 last year.
"After a thorough consultation and deliberation and assessment on what the Aquino presidency had done so far after a year, We, member-organizations of Migrante in the Middle East, declare that he failed to deliver what he had promised during presidential campaigns and policy pronouncements during his inaugural and public speeches. Thus, we are giving him a failing grade of 65%, 10% point below the 75% passing grade," declared by John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator.
Monterona said his group's parameters in assessing the performance of President is based on what it promised to do, in the absence of a concrete plan for OFWs, and what it actually had done during his first year in the Presidency.
"During his inaugural address, P-Noy made a marching order to all concerned government agencies to attend on various OFWs issues and concerns that fell short on the deaf ears of his officials; after that we never heard any orders and actions improving the plight of our OFWs and their dependents," Monterona added.
Monterona added the OFWs and their families have seen from the Aquino III govt. were the following:
- - Patent criminal neglect and dilly-dally in repatriating and providing assistance to OFWs in war-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yeman, and Syria.
The Aquino govt. had been caught unprepared in repatriating OFWs in these worn-torn MENA countries and admitted that it can't do mass repatriation of affected OFWs; worse it even required vacationing OFWs to issue a 'waiver' in effect absolving the govt. of its responsibility to provide assistance and protection to returning OFWs.
- - During P-Noy's 1st year in office, three Filipinos were executed in China.
- - The numbers of OFWs on death row surge to 122 from 108 in various countries around the world. There are around 7,000 OFWs in various jails worldwide mostly in the Middle East. Every day, there are 6 to 10 OFWs arrived in coffins in several airports in the country. Many jobless would-be OFWs have fallen prey to human smugglers and drug traffickers.
- - In his first year in office, P-Noy did not seriously act providing protection to OFWs especially in the Middle East. Many still have been abused, mistreated, jailed, tortured, raped, murdered, and other with trumped-up charges, with no due process, much less indemnification from those who have done them wrong.
- - Amid numerous reports on misuses and corruption on OFWs trust fund and other government allocated funds for OFWs and their families, P-Noy failed to move for the criminal prosecution of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her erring officials.
- - Despite yearly increases in OFWs remittances keeping the local economy afloat, the Aquino III govt. failed to move in scrapping unnecessary government fees and charges that add to the burden of OFWs.
- - Instead of easing vacationing OFWs formalities to return for work, the POEA will be implementing a new procedure in getting an exit clearance which entails additional time and cost, an added burden to OFWs.
"We note that he (Pres. Aquino III) is just a year in office and that he has enough time left, 5 years more in his term, but 1 year is too long for an unproductive president as an empty stomach of our people couldn't wait. As days go by, poor Filipino people will be more disgruntled and will mass up in the streets to demand genuine change in the government and the society at large," Monterona ended.