26 July 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson-09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994
Migrants group calls for PGMA’s prosecution after2010
Internationally coordinated SONA protest launch
Amidst the deployment of about 12,000 anti-riot police, the biggest global
alliance of Filipino migrants staged a lightning rally on the eve of
President Arroyo’s State-of-the-Nation-Address in Batasan Road, Quezon
City. This is said to coincide with rallies and pickets in front of
Philippine embassies and consulates in Hong Kong, Canada, South Korea,
Taiwan, United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
among other countries where there are chapters of Migrante International.
“Unparalleled exploitation and abuse against Filipino migrants – this is
how we summed up the 9 years of suffering of OFWs under the Arroyo
Administration. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will again incriminate
herself to multiple perjuries once she boasts in her SONA the more than a
million Filipinos that were deployed in different parts of the world last
year. For us, the massive migration of Filipinos today only shows the
government’s dismal failure to address the basic needs of the Filipino
people here in our own country,” exclaims Garry Martinez, Chairperson of
The group went up to the footbridge at the entrance of Batasan Road and
unveiled big protest streamers calling for the ouster of President Arroyo
and to stop the convening of the constituent assembly that will supposedly
extend her term as president.
“We likewise demand that President Arroyo be arrested and be put to jail
indefinitely the minute she step down from office and her immunity from
suit ends. A mere life sentence would not be enough to repay her crimes
against OFWs and the Filipino people in general,” Martinez added.
In its State-of-the-Migrants-Address, Migrante enumerated the “mortal
sins” allegedly committed by President Arroyo against OFWs. The
appointment of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo as the Presidential Adviser for
OFWs in 2001 is first in the list.
“The appointment of President Arroyo’s husband as her adviser for OFW
affairs at the start of her presidency was a bad omen for OFWs especially
to those who are in death row. The First Gentleman’s way of raising funds
for blood money instead of immediately giving appropriate legal assistance
to OFWs has become a signature of the Arroyo administration in dealing
with OFWs facing death sentences. Within the 9-year term of President
Arroyo six (6) OFWs were beheaded in Saudi Arabia and 51 more dreadfully
awaits their execution,” Martinez explained.
The group likewise recounted several scams involving the OWWA fund. They
accused President Arroyo of directly using the said OFW fund for its own
interest especially during the 2004 presidential elections.
“President Gloria Arroyo committed not only an electoral fraud when she
distributed Philhealth cards for free during her campaign trail in 2004.
She is likewise guilty of pilfering OFW funds by transferring Php530
million from OWWA to Philhealth not to mention the imposition of the OWWA
Omnibus Policies that disenfranchises hundreds of thousands OFW
contributors from their benefits,” Martinez added.
Migrante cited the intensification of the government’s labor export
program as the biggest liability of President Arroyo to OFWs. The group
asserted that the aggressive marketing of Filipinos as cheap and docile
labor in different countries have placed OFWs in the most exploitative
conditions abroad at present.
“The only legacy that will be left by President Arroyo to OFWs in its 9
year term is her brazen callousness for our rights and welfare protection.
She is the only President who openly admitted and has even issued an
administrative order to concerned agencies to sell us as mere disposable
commodities. The scale of President Arroyo’s criminal neglect to distress
OFWs will have its time of atonement. We will make sure that after her
presidency, Citizen Gloria Arroyo will spend the rest of her life behind
bars,” Martinez concluded.###