At the OWWA OFWs and families say:

We need relief, bring them home!



October 15, 2009




Photos courtesy of Migrante International


October 15, 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

We need relief, bring them home! – OFWs and Families

Amidst rain, families of stranded OFWs and recently repatriated Filipino workers united together in pressing the Philippine authorities to immediately bring all distressed OFWs back to the Philippines.

“Dobleng paghihirap ang hinaharap ngayon ng mga OFW at kanilang pamilya. Habang ang mga pamilya ay lugmok sa delubyong hatid ng bagyo, ang kanilang mga kaanak sa ibayong dagat ay ipit sa walang kaligtasan,” explained Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International as they held a protest rally at the office of Overseeas Workers Welfare Administration.

Martinez noted that there are thousands of Filipinos abroad, particularly in the Middle East, that are seeking immediate repatriation after experiencing gross violations in employment contract, maltreatment, abuse and “exploitative” rates of salaries. He cited the particular cases that they are presently handling, the almost 200 at the deportation center at the Hajj Airport in Jeddah, the more than 100 Filipinas working for Annasban Company in Riyadh, the 100 more construction workers in Maldives and the hundreds more in Libya.

Mila Espinas, mother of Godfrey Espinas, one of the OFWs at the deportation center said “halos hindi na po ako makatulog sa pag-aalala, sana maibalik na sila sa Pilipinas. Kahapon tumawag siya, sinisingil daw sila ng 120 SR, wala naman silang kapera-pera dun at halos walang tulong na nagmumula sa Philippine Embassy.”

While at the center, Godfrey collapsed and was brought to the hospital. Many of them have gotten sick but, according to Espinas, the Philippine Embassy only provides them one tablet of paracetamol each day.

“Now that typhoons are continuously sowing fear and insecurity, OFWs and their families basically want one simple thing – to be united together in the hope of rebuilding what they’ve lost,” said Martinez.

Danilo Catalon, one of the workers from Maldives who arrtived penniless last month and whose family and house was flooded in Marikina city found it hard to cope by their situation.

Catalon said “umalis ako papuntang Maldives sa pangarap na maiahon ang aking pamilya sa hirap at pagkakautang, pero sa pagbalik ko lalo pa kaming nabaon sa matinding kahirapan at pagkakautang.”


Catalon and his colleagues applied for OWWA’s calamity loan with the hope of getting relief for their plight.

“We challenge OWWAs sincerity in ensuring welfare and providing assistance to OFWs and their families. We demand that they give and use the hard-earned money of the OFWs back to them and their families. We want to see the millions worth of funds for the swift repatriation of distressed OFWs. We want them to give calamity assistance instead of the calamity loan that brings OFWs to further indebtedness,” exclaimed Martinez. ###

#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910



14 October 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418

Comelec delisted 26 partylist without due process – Migrante

The global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations assailed the Comelec for failing to conduct any hearing before removing 26 partylist groups from the list of registered national, regional or sectoral parties, organizations or coalitions.

"The Comelec decision is highly irregular since it veered away from the process where partylist are only removed from the list after due notice and hearing as provided by law. This time, however, the Comelec issued a resolution to remove 26 partylist groups first then asked concerned parties to just submit written opposition if there are any. This is unacceptable," Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International exclaimed.

Martinez was pertaining to the Comelec’s en banc resolution no. 8679 that was issued October 13, 2009, ordering the removal of partylist groups who allegedly failed to comply with Section 6, item no. 8 of Republic Act 7941, otherwise known as the Partylist System Act.

The said provision cites the grounds for the exclusion of partylist which failed to participate in two preceding election or failed to obtain at least two percentum of the votes cast in the two preceding elections.

"In addition to the lack of due process, the Comelec likewise committed a gross mistake when it removed 5 of the 26 partylist just because they failed to get 2 percent in one election and was not able to participate in another election. This clearly negates the qualifier in the provision wherein the instance of failure should be committed twice and in two preceding elections,” Martinez asserted.

The group explained that the Comelec is now getting desperate in its aim to shorten the list of participating partylist groups in the 2010 elections. There are about 150 partylist groups that participated in the last 2007 elections while more than 300 new partylist groups have filed their petition for registration this year.

“If the Comelec found the list of participating partylist groups ridiculously too long for the coming election, it has no other one to blame but itself. It was the sole agency that approved the registration of those partylist who cannot even be considered as part of the marginalized sector as defined in the Constitution. The Comelec’s desperate scheme to reduce the numbers of participating partylist groups at present should not be done at the expense of the true and legitimate representatives of marginalized sectors,” Martinez protested.

Migrante, Abanse Pinay, AK, PCDO-ACTO and PGBI were the five partylist groups which have not committed two instances of failure to participate or failure to obtain 2% votes in two preceding elections yet were still deleted in the list by the Comelecs en banc resolution.

"This is anomalous and we will certainly file a formal protest against this Comelec resolution. Unfortunately, it is only the Malacanang backed partylist groups who are going to benefit from this Comelec decision while legitimate representatives of the marginalized sectors of our society are getting denied of their right to due proccess," lamented Martinez.

Last 2007 election, Comelec Chairman Abalos refused to heed the calls of different groups to reveal the nominees of participating partylist groups being suspected as mere fronts of Malacanang. Among them were Maria Lourdes Arroyo, sister of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, of Ang Kasangga Partylist, and Jovito Palparan of Bantay Partylist who both were given a seat in congress after the Supreme Court decision last April.

Other partylist groups that were delisted by the Comelec resolution are Aging Pinoy, Ahonbayan, AKSA, Akapin, Asap, A Smile, Assalam, BTM, Bahandi,Cocofed, Grecon, Nelffi, PMAP, SM, Sanlakas, SPI, Suara, Anak Mahirap, Aba, and Ako Partilist.

#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910