27 July 2008
For reference: Norman Uy Carnay
Country Information Officer, Tel. No. 96472567
BAYAN-HK says “long hands of poverty” extend abroad
“GMA is calamity personified”
“Poverty is rampant and the economic and political crisis is even worse.
We can feel it so even abroad. Truly for the Filipino people, GMA is
This was the statement today by Norman Uy Carnay, Country Information
Officer in Hong Kong of the militant group BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance)
as overseas Filipino workers in HK rallied a day ahead of the State of the
Nation Address (SONA) of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“As breadwinners of our families, we cannot escape from the tragedy after
tragedy that GMA’s policies and inaction to burning issues bring. Every
month, we are full of worries as to how we can still shoulder the
increasing needs of our families,” he said.
Carnay remarked that the rice problem, the incessant increase in prices of
oil and oil-dependent commodities and the Value Added Tax are the major
concerns of OFW families that impact Filipinos abroad.
“These are the everyday needs of our families that stretch our budget to
the limits. These expenses are on top of what we have to shoulder on
education and health that should have been basic services that this
government has never delivered,” he added.
According to him, there’s “not a grain of truth” to the projection of
progress in the midst of high unemployment, increasing number of poor
people, and dwindling budget to basic services.
“Don’t she dare tell us that everything’s well. Don’t she dare tell us
that we’re facing a bright future. At the heart of all the calamities we
have faced is GMA,” he stressed.
Carnay said that Filipino migrants are enraged with the refusal of the GMA
government to heed the people’s demands that will alleviate the hardships
that the people face such as the removal of the VAT on oil and the
scrapping of the oil deregulation.
“Instead it keeps on exacting from the earning of OFWs through various
government fees. It even takes money from what we send to our families
through the documentary stamp fee in every remittance,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, he added, it remains silent on issues affecting OFWs in the
host country. He mentioned the lack of reaction of the Philippine
government to the HK$100 wage increase for foreign domestic helpers in HK
that migrant groups have called “too small” as well as the suspension of
the levy that migrants believed would lead to massive termination of
“Other consulates have already expressed disappointment over the levy
decision but the Philippine Consulate General has remained silent. It just
shows how the GMA government mortally fears rocking the labour migration
boat that is the only one supporting the country’s economy,” Carnay
Finally, Carnay echoed the calls of groups in the Philippines for GMA’s
“GMA has committed too many crimes against the people. There is no hope
for us as long as GMA is in power. There’s only one call on this SONA but
Oust GMA Now,” he concluded.
27 July 2008
HK OFWs protest SONA
“We belie GMA’s claims of development and progress”
“We are the living proofs of GMA’s lies and delusions of progress and
development. Filipinos abroad no longer believe the lies that Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo will spin in her State of the Nation Address (SONA).”
This was declared today by Dolores Balladares, chairperson of the United
Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-Migrante-HK), as hundreds of Filipino
migrant workers in HK trooped to the Philippine Consulate General in a
protest action before GMA’s annual SONA.
“It is shameless for GMA to even think of saying that Filipinos can
already feel economic development. Everyday, millions of the poor
Filipinos struggle to put up with oil price hikes, rice crisis, continuous
increase in the price of commodities, unemployment – the list is endless,”
Balladares said that about 33% of Filipinos live below poverty line which
is already a conservative figure as the government uses an “unbelievably
low poverty threshold”. Thus, she said, the massive flow of Filipinos
migrating abroad continues unabated.
“This of course is a most favorable condition for GMA. Labor export is the
industry that brings billions of funds to the government that this
administration uses for nothing else but corruption and plunder,” she
Balladares maintained that OFWs remain as the milking cows of the GMA
government. Aside from the various fees it charges to every OFW, it still
gets money from the remittances that OFWs send. For every US$200.00
remittance sent every month, at least $15- 22 in service fees are charged,
according to an initial study conducted by Migrante International.
“Instead of bringing relief to
the overseas Filipinos by scrapping taxes imposed on remittances, the GMA
government even charge .15% documentary stamp tax for every remittance
transaction. This government’s greediness is unparalleled,” Balladares
Balladares said that together
with remaining deaf to the demand to address the sliding value of
remittances of OFWs, OFWs are also indignant of the lack of protection and
services to Filipinos abroad.
She underscored the inaction of the government, through the Philippine
Consulate General in HK (PCG-HK), on the recent suspension of the levy by
the HK government does not cover ongoing contracts. Foreign helpers
expressed concern that such will result to massive termination as
employers will opt to get a new employee to avail themselves of the
“Considering that the majority of foreign domestic helpers here are
Filipinos, this government is so afraid of losing the market that the
putting our livelihood in jeopardy is something it is willing to
overlook,” she remarked.
Balladares also hit the refusal of the PCG-HK to call for a Leader’s Forum
that has, in the past, served as a venue for OFW groups to express concern
on various government policies.
“When it comes to money it can get from us, the PCG-HK is fast on its
feet. But when it is about our rights and protection, it gets
immobilized,” she added.
Balladares said that they shall monitor GMA’s statements tomorrow.
“We’re sure she will spout nothing but lies. We shall always be here to
say that we have enough of GMA and the only immediate way to take as out
of the state of calamity we are in right now is her ouster,” Balladares
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
G/F, No. 2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 2723-7536 / (852) 9477-3141
Fax. (852) 2735-4559
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