Anakpawis and Migrante:

The Global Forum on Migration and Development

is one more "capitalist tool exploiting cheap labor"


Quezon City

October 20-21, 2008




Photos courtesy of Anakpawis Partylist


News Release
20 October 2008

Anakpawis charged upcoming GFMD as one more "capitalist tool exploiting cheap labor"

WITH CAPITAL FLOWS slowing down after a global financial debacle, the nationalist democratic partylist group, Anakpawis, lambasted the government-sponsored Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) as one more "capitalist tool exploiting cheap labor."

The partylist described remittances from migrant labor, estimated by the World Bank to have reached $251-billion in 2007 from $31-B in 1990, as outpacing official development assistance which amounted to $54-B in 1990 but reached only $104-billion in 2007.

Governments and private businesses are rethinking of using migrants' remittances to sustain capital flows and "this is what the GFMD is all about," Anakpawis spokesperson Joel Maglunsod said.

"They are hailing the Philippines as one model of development using remittances to sustain growth but this is actually another form of dependence. The growth is consumption-led and does not contribute to agrarian modernization and real industrialization. With the credit squeeze stemming from the recent financial meltdown, the liquid cash comes from the sweat and toil of the laboring migrants," Maglunsod said.

"About 10 million Filipinos are working abroad because of backward feudal structures and neocolonial plunder which could not provide secure jobs and stable incomes with the lack of real sustainable development. We want to dismantle these outmoded structures even at the policy level," Maglunsod said.

Anakpawis supports the International Assembly of Mirgants and Refugees (IAMR) scheduled to meet in Manila this October 29. The partylist, known for championing the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Congress and in the parliament of the streets, has also called for a "zero-remittance day" on October 29 as a sign of protest against the state-sponsored GFMD

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October 20, 2008
DANILO RAMOS, KMP Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)

Peasant groups affirm landlessness, poverty root causes of migration
KMP supports Migrante, international groups against Global Forum on Migration and Development

About 200 members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya-Pilipina s, UMA and Amihan protested in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform Central Office to protest against the coming Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), an informal international body led by the World Bank and US to focus on how to manage and exploit fully international migrants who reach to about 205 million and who remit about $ 2.26 trillion. The GFMD will be held at the PICC, Manila on October 29.

"We, peasant groups are against this move by the World Bank and US to exploit further migrants, now they know how valuable they are to the world economy," opened Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General. He added, "In the countryside, landlessness and poverty are the root causes of why people from the barrios go abroad and continue to dream of it. Moreover, this World Bank is also the mastermind that puppet governments such as Arroyo's, implement market-oriented `land reform' programs who in real-life serve the interests of rich countries and foreign-monopoly agro-corporations. "

"It is a sad fact that there are many who come from the countryside who go abroad, such as those sons and daughters of peasant families who even sold or pawned their lands, carabaos and other properties just to be able to pay for placement fees and everything," Ramos shared. Adding, "This is all due to landlessness that creates the deep poverty they are in."

As the GFMD nears, the group Migrante International plans a series of actions to go up against the said forum. "We fully support Migrante International' s campaign against the GFMD, we believed that this is to systematize further the already-exploitativ e and oppressive practices of governments and capitalists of rich countries of their migrant workers," added Ramos. He mentioned, "We support the internationally- coordinated action of Zero-Remittance on October 29, Arroyo should feel the united effort of Filipino migrants around the world, who the government pay lip-service when they infuse US dollars to the economy but neglect in times of crisis."

"We are here at DAR, fundamentally because this office is the main proponent of CARP, the government program that never served the interests of the landless peasants in the country, Arroyo is exploiting us Filipino peasants and migrants," Ramos explained of the protest venue.

In support of the Zero-Remittance Day on October 29, KMP then relays the plan to all its regional and provincial chapters, for their member peasant families to remind their OFW relatives abroad to observe of the plan.

"This is to remind the public that Arroyo's management of the country is very volatile and totally dependent to the remittances of the OFWs. The fundamentals she is blabbering about is nil, the real modern day heroes of the economy are the working and sacrificing OFWs abroad, and she is just enjoying the fruits of their labor, like us the peasants here, who cultivate and produce our food supply but her programs are to displace us from our farms and import rice that compete directly with our produce. This zero-remittance day should be more often, to shake up Arroyo," Ramos suggested.




News Release
October 22, 2008

Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

Filipino-Americans Support Zero-Remittance Day

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 12 Filipino organizations across five US cities, has endorsed the international call for "zero-remittance day" for next Wednesday, October 29th. The call was issued primarily from the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), of which BAYAN USA is a founding member of, and Migrante International, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino organizations.

A recent statement from Malacanang indicated the Philippine government's concern over the call, so much so that a government appeal have been made to have the call withdrawn and have the concerns of its proponents taken up inside the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a multi-lateral state dialogue scheduled to occur next week in Manila. The key agenda to be taken up at the GFMD will be migration's correlation to the development of nations by studying the Philippine labor export model.

"We support the call of IMA for a day of no remittance because we believe the Philippine model of outmigration is not an example to be proud of," states Chito Quijano, chair of BAYAN USA. "Using the Philippines as a case study, massive and aggressive outmigration of over 3,000 Filipinos daily is an indicator of domestic economic failure, not development. The Philippines now has the most remittance-dependent economy in the world, and domestically is in a chronic state of economic crisis and massive poverty that will only get worse with the looming global financial crisis. At the same time overseas Filipinos around the world remain oppressed, exploited, abused in their host countries, and unprotected by the very government that pushed them out. This is anything but 'development' the people of the world seek. By not remitting for one day, Filipinos all over the world harness their economic power and take a stand against the sick and violative nature of the Philippine labor export program."

In 2007, overseas remittances to Philippine banks totaled a record $14.5 billion US dollars. Out of this, 51% came from Filipinos in the United States, making the call from the US even heavier. There are approximately 4 million Filipinos living in the United States today, making it the largest overseas Filipino population in the world. Despite strong outpouring of remittances from the US, Filipinos in the US still face harsh conditions related to immigration, including unjust raids and deportations, massive job lay-offs, curtailment of civil rights, and many other issues that the Philippine government has always ignored.

"We literally save the Philippine economy everyday from sinking by our dollar remittances, and corrupt politicians have been enjoying their pork barrels fueled by our hard-earned dollars, without any action taken when migrants need their advocacy overseas. It's time to let them know where the real economic power comes from-- migrants," Quijano added.

"But in the end the measure of our economic development should not be how many Filipinos we can export abroad, but how many decent wage jobs we can offer Filipinos in the Philippines, so that they can live, work, and stay with their families in their own country and have a good quality of life," Quijano concluded.

Quijano further added that job development in the country starts with rejection of neo-liberal trade agreements to build the Philippine's economic self-sufficiency and the development of national industries to provide jobs for the domestic population.

Filipinos from the US will be attending the upcoming challenge conference to the GFMD, the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) in Manila from October 28-30. Actions in the US will also take place in support of zero-remittance day. ###