OFWs: Aquino III did not say a word about them in his SONA,

Now, Migrante presents him with  a 10-point challenge

 

Manila

 

{psted: Sept. 1l, 2010

 

 

Three poems:  

 

■  Banta    ■   Saan ka patungo aking asawa?    ■   Papuri sa OFW’s! 1.62 B. Remittance sa buwan ng Hulyo

 

 

Awit: Makibaka

 

 

   
/p

/p

 

Photos courtesy of Migrante International

 

 

Visit Migrante websites:

http://migrantecampaign.ning.com

http://migranteinternational.org

           
           

 

Banta

ni Pia Montalban

 on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 7:48am

 

Thousands of distressed Filipinos abroad may be facing a tough year ahead in terms of getting government assistance after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) slashed by 42.6 percent the budget sought by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

DFA: Budget cut to add woes to troubled OFWs

 

“Is this our reward for remitting more than $17 billion to the Philippines? We contribute more than 10 percent in our country’s economy even if the government cannot provide us with sufficient jobs back home," said Migrante-UAE chairperson Yuri Cipriano.

 

P2-B cut in DFA budget scored by OFW groups

 

 

BANTA

 

Wala ni isang linya,

kataga't tugma

ni kahit pasaring na talinhaga

ang pumulas sa iyong SONA

sa una mong ulat sa masa

tungkol sa mga manggagawa

sa ibayong bansa.

 

Kami tuloy ay napatanong:

Sa tuwid na daan ba'y

hindi kami isasama?

 

Gayong ang remittance

namin ang sumusuhay sa numero

para ang ekonomiya'y

magmukhang malusog-- kahit hindi totoo

na umaangat ang kapangyarihan

ng mamamayang bilhin

ang kanyang gusto?

 

Ganito na pala kaming iyong Boss

pagkatapos kang makaraos

at mailuklok,

ng mga nasilaw, kaya di nakatalos--

na mangyayari ang nangyayari:

Ang kami ngayo'y igapos,

ilubog sa pagkabusabos

ilunod sa pusali ng hikahos!

 

Kaninong taba ang dapat kaltasan?

 

Ang pondong laan para pangalagaan

ang nangangayayat na mamamayan,

pangangayayat na dala ng linta sa katawan,

linta ng gahamang pamahalaan

na may polisiyang ikalakal ang mga anak ng bayan?

 

O ang bariles na pondo

nitong baboy-de-hunyango

na nagmamantika pa'ng nguso

kahit sa kalagitnaan ng krisis sa Quirino

na kinamatayan ng Siyam, Siyam katao!

 

Kaninong taba ang dapat kaltasan?

 

Taba ng utak

ng Rehimeng wala pa ngang

isang daang araw sa pagakpak

ay lagapak, palpak!

 

Lasong dilaw

na akala'y maningning,

tinitigmak na dugong nasaling

at masasaling,

ngayong ang mandato

ng RA ten-zero-two-two*

ay di mo kikilalaning batas na totoo.

 

Lasong dilaw

na akala'y maningning,

tinitigmak ng dugong nasaling,

at masasaling--

Isa-isa

Isa-isahin

mong salingin

ang sektor, linlangin.

 

Tiyak na (matatapos mo nga ang insurhensya**,)

matatapos mo nga ang dilim na kinasadlakan ng bansa,

matatapos ng sama-samang pagbalikwas ng masa!

 

 

-------

* Section 18 of RA 10022 or the Amended Migrant Workers' Act provides for an allotment of P100 million in Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) subalit sa pondo sa taong ito, P27 million lamang ang nakalaan para sa kanila.

** New AFP battle plan aims to defeat NPA before 2015

 

Stop forced migration, create jobs at home! Call of Migrante International, relatives of OFWs and former OFWs during the SONA

Urgent demand of Filipino Migrant Workers during the March held at P-Noy's first State of the Nation Adress

     
           

 

Saan ka patungo aking asawa?
(Tula alay sa kapwa OFW at laban sa OFW Budget Cut)
Ni Ka Elmo, (Migrante Austria) 09/11/10

Saan ka patungo aking asawa?
Batid mong maiahon ang ating kahirapan.
Dahil sa bansa na iyong nilisan
Ay walang sapat na kabuhayan.
Tiniis mo ang pagkawalay sa asawa’t mga anak
At sa ibang bayan ay maghanapbuhay.

Pawis at dugo ang aking puhunan na iniambag
Para sa yaman ng bayang nilapastangan
Ng mga buwayang ganid sa pamahalaan
Tiniis ang pang-aabuso ng dayuhang amo
Mapasapalad lamang ang sweldong inaasam
Ng pamilyang binubuhay

Walang seguridad at benepisyo sa ating pagtanda
At katiyakang makasama ng lubusan
Ang pamilyang naiwan sa bayan
Sapagkat walang programa ang gubyerno
Na magkaroon ng sariling industriya

Ni anino ng gubyernong bwitre
Ay di nakikiaalam sa ating kalagayan
Walang sapat na suportang binibigay
Sa tulad naming nakapiit sa kulungan
Ang mahalaga sa kanila
Ay tuloy tuloy ang pasok
Ng aming remittances buwan buwan

At ngayon milyon-milyon sa ating budget
Ay binawasan ng administrasyong mapangyurak

Hanggang kailan natin titiisin
Ang hirap ng buhay sa ibayong dagat?
Ilang administrasyon pa ba
Ang makikinabang sa ating remittances?

 

 

At mapahanggang ngayon
Ay wala pa rin kasagutan
Sa ating dinadaing na pagbabago
Sa bayang iniwan
 

Bagkus ay patung patong na mga singil
Ang kanilang pinapataw sa atin.
Ito ang kanilang gantimpala
Sa atin na pingalanang mga Bagong Bayani.

Sa aking mga kababayang OFW
Magkapitbisig muli tayo
At labanan ang sistemang mapaniil

Balikan natin ang ating kasaysayan
Ang panawagang Stop force remittances
Sa panahon ng diktadurang Marcos.
Stop Domestic Helper Deployment in Middle East
Sa panahon ni Cory Aquino.
Hustisya para kaya Flor Contemplacion!
Sa panahon ni Ramos.
Palayain si Sarah Balabagan!
Sa panahon ni Estrada.
Iligtas si Angelo dela Cruz.
At Zero Remittance!
Sa panahon ng rehimeng GMA.

At ngayon ay muli tayong inuudyok
Na muling magkaisa at lumaban.
Sa panahon ng administrasyong Noynoy Aquino
Sama-samang tayong manawagan
Trabaho sa sariling bayan.
Pambansang industriyalisasyon!
Tunay na reporma sa lupa!
 

           

 

27 July 2010
PRESS RELEASE:
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 0939-3914418

How about OFWs’ dreams? Migrante asks P-Noy after ‘bland’ SONA
 

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez today described Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s first State of the Nation Address as “matabang (bland), stating the obvious and empty in merit.”

“Aquino said that we can dream again but there was no mention at all of plans that would give hope to millions of our OFWs. What of the dreams of those 102 in death row, 1,665 victims of human trafficking, hundreds in jail, more than 10,000 stranded in other countries and the six to 10 remains of OFWs arriving at the NAIA every day?” Martinez said.

He said that OFWs worldwide are “very disappointed” with Aquino’s speech especially since they expected the president to deliver concrete plans for migrants after Aquino’s “special mention” during his inaugural address.

He said that Aquino failed to mention how he would immediately address much-needed assistance and protection for OFWs in distress. “We were not shocked at all by the figures he brandished, we were expecting them after nine years of Gloria Arroyo. But he failed to mention ‘figures that are a matter of life and death’ for our OFWs.”

Among them, he cited the much-needed release of the P150 million repatriation and legal assistance funds from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as well as the imperative investigation of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds which have been subject to numerous allegations of misuse and corruption.

The mandatory $12 OFW contributions to OWWA are said to have reached P12 billion this year, on top of other compulsory fees imposed on OFWs.

Intensified labor export

“Sa kanyang speech, mukhang malalaking negosyante at foreign investors lang ang pwedeng mangarap (In his speech, it seems that only big businesses and foreign investors are allowed to dream).”

“Public-private partnership in deference to foreign investments and our continuing dependence on export is precisely the blueprint for forced migration and cheap labor export. It has come to a point where our very own labor force are being utilized to cater to foreign and multinational demands or their services outright exported as if they were produce,” he said.

Martinez said that they were waiting for Aquino to categorically state that he would deviate from the past Arroyo administration’s labor export policy and focus instead on national industrialization and genuine land reform. “But from the looks of it, his thrust to intensify privatization, commercialization and adherence to the global market further douses all hopes for our OFWs.”

He said that the development of national industries and agriculture is very essential in stopping forced migration. “It would stop the general sense of desperation and hopelessness that have been driving our people to ‘dream the impossible dream’ abroad.”

There are currently 11 million OFWs and an estimated 3,800 leaving the country at a daily rate. OFW remittances have kept the economy afloat amid fiscal deficit and the global economic crisis. Remittances have reached record-high levels at $1.6 billion last May. ###

--
http://migrantecampaign.ning.com

http://migranteinternational.org

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

     
     
           
     
The overpriced e-passport issue
           

 

August 23, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 0939-3914418

OFWs on Cry of Pugadlawin anniversary
Sigaw ng bagong bayani: Stop e-passport fee hike, other fee impositions

On the anniversary of the historic Cry of Pugadlawin, Migrante International today trooped to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila to protest the recent increase in e-passport fees and other onerous fee impositions on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, “Today is a very significant day for our OFWs. Like our heroes did in the Cry of Pugadlawin, let today mark how our OFWs, mga tinagurian nating bagong bayani, are fed up, angry and ready to fight abusive state policies.”

E-passport petition drive
 

Earlier, Migrante International launched an internationally-coordinated petition drive calling to stop e-passport fee hikes and to investigate DFA Sec. Alberto Romulo for alleged anomalies in the e-passport procurement contract.

The new e-passport now costs P950 to P1,200 from P550 to P750 in the Philippines, while e-passport costs have risen abroad to as much as thrice as the previous rates and approximately $6 (USD) more than the fee prescribed for e-passports in the Philippines.

The petition was launched in light of allegations that the contract entered into by Romulo for the procurement of the new e-passport is illegal and tainted with corruption. (Below is the full text of the petition drive)

Martinez said that in a span of a few weeks since they launched the petition drive, they have gathered thousands of signatures from disgruntled OFWs from different parts of the world.

In Hong Kong alone, Martinez said that their chapter had already gathered 16,000 signatures which they have already submitted to the Philippine Consulate. “The petition signatures were received by no less than Vice Consul Val Roque who is also the head of the passport division of the Consulate in Hong Kong. As of press time, the petition is still ongoing and gaining more support in Hong Kong.”

He added that at least a thousand signatures have come in from the Middle East a week after they launched the petition in the region. “They started gathering signatures at the start of the Ramadan and they are still collating signatures as we speak from Khobar, Riyadh Central and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Israel and Libya where there are heavy concentrations of OFWs.”

In Japan, ten (10) OFW organizations have already attached their collective signatures into the petition.

“Here in the home front, we have also circulated the petition in OFW communities, care-giving, nursing and maritime schools, as well as consortia of recruitment agencies. So far, the response has been overwhelming. We expect to gather as much as 50,000 signatures from OFWs, their families and advocates all over the world by early September,” he said.

Martinez said that they are still awaiting feedback from their chapters in United States, Canada, Italy, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Taiwan and Denmark whom have just recently launched their own petition drive in their respective areas.

Onerous and unnecessary state exactions

Martinez also called on the government to stop other onerous and unnecessary fee impositions on OFWs.

Recently, Migrante protested the mandatory collection of Pag-Ibig contributions, calling it another form of ‘legalized kotong.’

The POEA recently released Memorandum Circular 06-2010 (MC06-2010) compelling OFWs to pay, upon registration and deployment, an initial membership contribution of P600 for six months as a pre-requisite for the issuance of their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). MC06-2010 was effective last August 1 as a result of Republic Act 9679, or the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009, placing informal sectors under mandatory coverage of the Pag-Ibig fund.

After widespread complaints from OFWs, however, Vice President and Housing head Jejomar Binay ordered the POEA to suspend of the memorandum a few days after its implementation.

“While this development is an initial triumph for OFWs, we are still not assured that the POEA would lift the suspension. Also, since the law is still in effect, OFWs are still compelled to pay a mandatory P100 per month Pag-Ibig fee,” he said.

Aside from the Pag-Ibig contributions, Martinez said, OFWs are also burdened with other mandatory fees such as the $25 OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) membership fee, P900 Philhealth, P100 processing fee and other charges, on top of placement fees and other costs.

He added that the recently amended Migrants Act or Republic Act 10022 now stipulates a mandatory health insurance the costs of which may also be imposed on OFWs.

“Tama na, sobra na, tigilan na ang pangongotong sa mga OFW. Kung talagang tinuturing kaming mga bagong bayani ng gobyerno, asikasuhin nila ang mga hinaing at panawagan ng ating mga OFW kaysa ang tuluy-tuloy na pangongotong,” he said.

Martinez said that instead of institutionalizing mandatory fees, the government should prioritize the provision of legal support and welfare aid to OFWs in distress especially those in death row, in jail, stranded and in need of immediate repatriation. ###

(full text of petition drive)

Itigil ang dagdag-singil sa e-passport fee!
Imbestigahan si DFA Sec. Romulo sa maanomalyang e-passport contract!

Kami, mga mamamayang Pilipino sa loob at labas ng bansa, ay mariing tumututol sa di-makatwiran, maanomalya at walang-abat na pagtaas ng singil sa e-passport.

Ang pagtaas ng singil sa e-passport ay dagdag-pabigat, lalo na ngayong panahon ng krisis. Hindi ito makatwiran dahil pilit na ipinapasa sa mamamayan ang gastusing dapat lamang na karguhin ng gobyerno.

Naglaan ang gobyerno ng P1.4 bilyon sa DFA para sa implementasyon ng proyektong e-passport, labas pa sa P530 milyong inutang ni Romulo sa Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) na nakalaan diumano para sa pagpapagawa ng bagong gusali at mga pasilidad sa Mall of Asia para rito.

Bakit ngayon nagtaas ng singil para sa e-passport kung may nakalaan naman palang pondo ang gobyerno para rito?

Lalong hindi ito makatwiran dahil batbat ng katiwalian, “tongpats” at anomalya ang mismong kontratang pinasok ng Department of Foreign Affairs sa ilalim ni Sec. Alberto Romulo para sa panibagong e-passport. Tinatayang P120 milyon kada taong patong sa presyo ng laminates, o P50 kada laminate, para sa e-passport ang kinitang “tongpats” ni Romulo.

Kung gayon, lalong walang karapatan si Romulo at ang DFA na magtaas ng singil para sa e-passport gayong kinurakot na ang pondo para rito!

Malaking perwisyo rin para sa mga aplikante at mamamayan ang ubod ng bagal, walang sistema at mas pinahirap na proseso para sa application ng e-passport. Nasaan ngayon ang sinasabi ng DFA na para ito sa ikagiginhawa ng mamamayan?

Mariin ang panawagan ng Migrante International, sampu ng mga chapter nito sa loob at labas ng bansa, kasama na ang mamamayang nakapirma sa petisyong ito, na agad na ITIGIL ANG DAGDAG-SINGIL SA E-PASSPORT FEE at IMBESTIGAHAN AT PANAGUTIN SI ROMULO SA PANGUNGURAKOT SA BUWIS NG MAMAMAYAN SA E-PASSPORT CONTRACT. ###
-
http://migrantecampaign.ning.com

http://migranteinternational.org

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

 

Dwonload:

Key issues in  the e-passport controversy

Partial monitoring of e-passmort fee increases

Akala ko ba walang korap and other press statements

 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Papuri sa OFW’s! 1.62 B. Remittance sa buwan ng Hulyo
Ka Elmo 09/18/10
by Sining Para Sa Bayan on Saturday

September 25, 2010 at 3:30am

Balitang balita tayong mga OFWs sa buong daidig
Sa ating kabayanihan, kasipagan at katapangan
Ng ating pakipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa
Umabot sa 1.62 bilyong dolyar ang remmitances
Pinupuri ang ating ambag sa kabang yaman
Para sa kinabukasan ng ating pamilya

Nagpiyesta na naman ang mga bwitre
At ang kanyang among imperyalista
Nag-aagawan at nagpapataasan ng palitan
Ang mga bangko at remittance centers
Hinde mapapalagay ang kanilang bituka
Tila mga bulate ay nakikisabay din
Bilyong dolyar sa ating remittances
Mapapasakamay na naman sa mga buwaya.


 

 

Samantala tayong mga ofw
Hirap na hirap sa ating kalagayan
Diskriminasyon, pang-aabuso
At paglabag sa ating karapatan
Iligal na contract substitution
Maliit na sweldo at sobrang oras sa trabaho
Walang benepisyo at delayed kung magpasweldo
Walang regular na check up sa ating kalusugan

Mapapangalagaan ba tayo ng administrasyon Aquino?
Na magkaroon ng kasiguraduhan sa trabaho?
Na hindi nilalapastangan at inaalipin?
Tinuturing at ginagalang bilang tao
At hindi bilang kalakal na binibenta
Na pangluwas sa ibang bansa

Desenteng kabuhayan sa lupang sinilangan
Ang nagkakaisa nating panawagan
Panata natin ay buong pusong mag-aambag
Ng ating talino, lakas at kagitingan
Para sa tunay na kasarinlan
At sa ikauunlad ng ating bayan
 

=          
==          
     
 OFWs in distress
           

 

 

3 July 2010

PRESS RELEASE:
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418
 

Migrante to Noy: Heed wangwang of OFWs in distress

Migrante International today called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to urgently heed the wangwang (distress calls) of overseas Filipino workers in death row, seeking immediate repatriation and overstaying in jails abroad.

In a press conference, Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, presented cases of OFWs "that cannot afford to wait for Pres. Aquino's 100 days to finish."

"Kung galit si Pres. Aquino sa mga wangwang, ibahin niya itong wangwang na distress call ng ating mga OFW. Kumbaga, tulad ito ng wangwang ng ambulansya na kailangan ng agarang lunas at kung hindi'y maaaring ikamatay ng ating mga kababayan ," Martinez said.

Martinez said that according to data gathered by their Migrants Assistance Committee, there are currently 101 cases of OFWs in death row, of which 66 are from China and 26 from the Middle East; while 226 are stranded and languishing in Filipino shelters in the Middle East, Somalia and Taiwan.

He also urged Aquino to immediately address the sending back home of the remains of six OFWs majority from the Middle East Region.

There are also hundreds of OFWs, he added, who are presently overstaying their sentences in jails abroad.

"They are enduring the most deplorable and cruel of conditions and are lacking much-needed legal and financial support from the DFA, Philippine embassies and consulates.”

Martinez accompanied to the press conference relatives of Joselito Zapanta, Nerissa Neri and Sergio Garcia who tearfully appealed to Aquino to provide aid and assistance to their loved ones.

Zapanta was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia last April. He accidentally killed his abusive employer in self-defense. He already appealed his case before the designated deadline last May 1 but his relatives say that the DFA has neglected to them update since.

Neri was drugged and raped by a Bangladeshi national in Saud Arabia in August 2009. Her employer sent her to jail "for having an illicit affair" upon discovering that she was pregnant. No thanks to the government, Neri will soon be released because her rapist was caught. However, she will still receive 50 lashes, according to Muslim law. Priority must be given for her immediate repatriation.

Garcia is a cargo salesman in Jeddah who has served his one year jail sentence but is yet to be released. His family has also not yet received word from the DFA.

" We expect Aquino to make public his plans and course of action on these cases as soon as possible," Martinez said.

He urged the president to seriously review and consider Migrante's "10-point migrant challenge" which presents viable solutions to address the protection, welfare and defense of OFWs, including the immediate release of the yearly P1 million Legal Assistance and P1 million Repatriation Fund for migrant workers and OFWs in distress. ###

--
http://migrantecampaign.ning.com
http://migranteinternational.org
#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910
 

 

 

10-Point Migrants Challenge to President-apparent Noynoy Aquino

The incoming administration to be headed by President-apparent Noynoy should never take labor export as a tool for development and should see forced migration as an effect of the worsening problem of unemployment in the country.

There is no way to solve forced migration but to aggressively pursue local job generation through improving our local agriculture and industry by implementing genuine agrarian reform and nationalist industrialization.

While strategically looking forward to ending forced migration, the new president should take the following viable steps that will provide immediate relief to OFWs and their families, and solve the worsening problems of Filipinos abroad.

1. Prosecute President Arroyo for corruption of OFW funds and other crimes against the Filipino migrant workers

Call for a thorough and immediate investigation of the OWWA Funds sourced from the US$25 welfare fund contribution and interest income of investments;
• The P530 million Medicare fund diverted to Philhealth Corporation which was used for Arroyo’s 2004 presidential bid. The P260M bogus claims exposed by then OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo himself just to justify OWWA Medicare fund transfer to Philhealth under the present Arroyo Administration.]
• The un-audited US$293,500 for the Middle East Preparedness Team headed by General Roy Cimatu during the US war of aggression to Iraq where repatriation of OFWs never took place
Make Arroyo criminally liable for wanton neglect of OFWs in distress (abused, maltreated, stranded, jailed, in deathrow);
Make Arroyo accountable for continuously deploying OFWs to high-risk and banned countries.

2. Ensure Justice and indemnification to migrant victims of human rights violations, and make erring officials accountable.

Work for the establishment of a special court for migrant workers. It takes several months to several years before a decision is made and justice served on complaints of OFWs filed at the POEA or NLRC. As to filing criminal charges against recruitment agencies or illegal recruiters in local courts, OFWs find it very difficult to shoulder costs for all the legal process.
Forge agreements with receiving governments that will ensure that violators of migrant rights will be punished;


File cases against abusive and erring officials with the Ombudsman, the Committee on Human Rights and other legal remedies, the Congress Committee on Overseas Migrants Affairs and the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development. Investigate the direct involvement of government officials in TESDA, DOLE, POEA, OWWA and DFA officials in illegal recruitment activities.
Immediate recall of officials with notorious record of neglect and are conniving with exploitative employers and human trafficking syndicates;
Establish a monitoring system on the conduct of government officials in exercising their functions as mandated by RA8042 and other related memoranda, circulars and executive and department orders.

3. Provide direct services and assistance to migrants and their families.

Reorient the OWWA, POEA, DFA-OUMWA and RP posts into true service institutions;
Work for the increase of the annual P1M Legal Assistance and P1M Repatriation Fund for migrant workers and OFWs in distress through the General Appropriations Act as mandated by Republic Act 8042 or the Magna Carta for Oveseas Filipinos and Migrant Workers Act of 1995, as amended by RA9422;
Push for a review of the annual OWWA budget. The current budget allocates 70% to administrative expenses and only 11% is allocated to on-site services and should be granted to all migrant workers and OFWs in distress regardless of their status;
Immediate provision of legal assistance to OFWs in deathrow (Dondon Lanuza, Gonzales Brothers, Eduardo Arcilla, Joselito Zapanta and more others) and detention, and scrap DFA policy of no legal assistance to jailed OFWs unless they are already given a death sentence;
Significantly increase the numbers of deployed Legal and Welfare Attaches over Police Attaches especially in countries with large concentration of OFWs and high presence of OFW abuse and exploitation – Middle-East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan;
Revamp and reorient the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) from a money-making program for recruitment agencies to a genuine program educating migrant workers and their families of their rights and privileges;
Create a comprehensive reintegration program for OFWs that is not grounded on providing financial loans;
Institute a system that will address the social costs of migration. Fund a comprehensive study to identify how to mitigate effect of migration to the social fiber;
Create migrant programs in schools and barangays to increase the peoples’ awareness on migration especially the OFW families.

4. Repeal anti-migrant laws.

Scrap the OWWA Omnibus Policies (OOP) imposed and implemented by OWWA Board of Trustees through OWWA Board Resolution No. 038 and push for the reinstatement of the Legal Assistance Program, Medicare Program, General Financial Assistance Program and on-site services for migrant workers. The OOP limits OWWA Funds for OFWs to access while significantly increases the conditions for corruption;
Scrap the Memorandum Circular No. 04, New POEA Guidelines on the Deployment of Household Service Workers (under Gloria’s Supermaid Training);
Scrap the Mandatory contribution of OFWs to the PAG-IBIG Fund.

5. Ensure protection and work for the legalization of undocumented workers.

Protection and legalization of undocumented Filipino workers needs urgent action as crackdown operations become more massive due to more stringent and harsh immigrant laws such as the Return Directive of the European Union. This in aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis.

6. Create a comprehensive program for the protection for the migrant women and minors.

Push for a more accessible and fund-assured protective mechanisms for women and minors to include interventions, legal representation and litigation costs;
Push for the establishment of additional safe shelters for women and minors with in-house social workers, doctors and psychiatrists as support services to victims of rape and sexual abuse, maltreated and victims of trafficking,

7. Stop all forms of illegal recruitment and trafficking.


Push for an independent body to track down and investigate erring recruitment agencies (ex. Sentosa) and push for their prosecution and imposition of stiffer penalties to life imprisonment;
Conduct extensive education information and dissemination on illegal recruitment and trafficking from the barangay level and up;
Push for an independent investigation of the involvement, directly or indirectly, of government officials especially those from TESDA, POEA, BI/NAIA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, and;

8. Scrap all exorbitant and excessive state exactions and other fees.

Move to scrap all excessive government fees, taxes and charges such as the mandatory US$25 Welfare Fund contribution on a per contract basis, mandatory PAG-IBIG contribution, mandatory Consular Sponsorship fees in Macau (even if the Macau government doesn’t require it), additional fees on passport (such as Comelec certification), application and training fees.

9. Forge bilateral agreements based on international labor standards and other instrumentalities. Review the massive deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia.

Scrap existing exploitative bilateral agreements -- Unified Contract (Saudi Arabia), Employment Permit System (South Korea), JPEPA (Japan);
Actively campaign for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Actively participate in the campaign for the establishment of an International Convention on Domestic Workers and the International Maritime Convention for Seafarers;
Push for the review of all existing agreements or other diplomatic relations, and foreign policies entered into by the Philippine government with the receiving governments especially those that involve Filipino labor. Work for the collation and critique of the existing national policies of receiving governments vis-à-vis international conventions, norms and other related documents;
Design education curriculum which will include CARHRIHL, international conventions and norms, obligations of states under international law to respect the rights of migrants and labor;
Seriously address the worsening problem of OFWs in Saudi Arabia. Over the years Saudi Arabia maintains to be the topmost destination of OFWs. Concurrently it also hosts to the most number of reported cases of human rights and labor-related violations. There are also no instituted mechanisms for the protection of migrant workers in the country;
Decisively enter into a comprehensive agreement with the Arabian government that will give protection to 1.5 million Filipinos in the Kingdom.

10. Provide migrant workers genuine representation in government or in decision-making bodies.

Work closely with genuine migrants’ organizations to ensure the promotion of a pro-people migrants’ agenda;
Ensure the representation of genuine migrants’ organizations in the process of crafting legislation so that the migrants’issues, concerns and rights will always be included in committee hearings, resolutions and bills and in their respective legislative agenda;
Push for the review of the OAV law an its conduct and the Partylist System Act and for reforms to ensure that migrants and other marginalized sectors be afforded equal representation in Congress.###

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DOWNLOAD:
Repatriation Cases and needs legal assistance (some of the current cases being handled by Migrante’s Rights and Welfare Program January 2009-April 2010

 

     
     
     
     
     
Mther of Mark calling for help to repatriate a dozen of bodies at the morgue
Mother of OFW Mark Lloyd Carmen
Wife and eldest son of OFW Mark

 

June 1, 2009

 

HON. CARMELITA DIMZON

Administrator

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

 

Dear Administrator Dimzon,

 

Greetings amidst trying times!

 

We are writing you to formally convey the complaint of the Annasban OFWs against Welfare Officer Nestor Burayag who we assume is directly in charge to look into the situation of the workers currently on work stoppage against gross contract violations and are clamoring for immediate repatriation.

 

According to the OFWs, Welof Burayag is deliberately delaying the repatriation of the OFWs by not securing with the Annasban Company the documents necessary for the release and repatriation of the workers. Based on the communications of the involved recruitment agencies to us and the families of the OFWs, they have already provided air tickets or are willing to arrange tickets except that their exit visas are not yet prepared. Welof Burayag is also forcing the workers to pay deployment costs instead of asking the Annasban management to waive the costs.

 

Moreso, Welof Burayag is not providing the basic survival needs of the workers – food, water and medicines since they started their protest. According to the OFWs, they are rarely given supplies. Because of this, they are already subsisting from toilet water. Medical assistance was also not provided even if the workers are already facing serious illnesses.

 

We believe that Welof Burayag is not just performing his assigned duties as a welfare officer. He has consistently deprived assistance to our kababayans and wantonly went against the request for assistance

 

We demand an urgent investigation on his conduct and sincerely consider removing him from his post. Government officials of this character should be stripped off from duty as they are more of a danger rather than a helping hand.

 

We would also like to inform you that we are studying the prospect of bringing this case to the Office of the Ombudsman as the workers have gathered enough evidence necessary to prove his disservice.

 

Thank you very much. We hope that this complaint will be given immediate resolution.

 

Sincerely,

 

GARRY MARTINEZ

Chairperson

Migrante International

           
     
Migrante on the Aug. 23 hostage crisis
           
           


Fearing possible reprisals to Pinoy community in HK
MIGRANTE calls for peaceful resolution of Manila hostage crisis

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups worldwide has called on the Philippine government to exhaust all means necessary to bring the ongoing hostage crisis in Manila to a peaceful resolution.

“We are calling on the Aquino administration to pull out all stops to ensure that the ongoing hostage crisis will be brought to a peaceful resolution so as not to expose our thousands of our compatriots in Hong Kong to possible attacks and reprisals,” said Migrante International Chairperson Garry Martinez.

At 10:00 o' clock this morning, a dismissed Police officer took hostage a bus load of Hong Kong tourists at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The police officer, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was reportedly demanding his reinstatement to the police force.

The Migrante leader said that we have more than 150,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong and most of them are domestic workers.

He said the ongoing hostage drama in Manila, if not handled well by Philippine authorities, will likely expose Filipinos in Hong Kong to possible violent reprisals in the former British colony. ###
‘Major, major blunder’: OFWs shouldn’t suffer from police, gov’t lapses in hostage tragedy

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez today said that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong should not be made to bear the brunt for police and government incompetence in yesterday’s Manila hostage tragedy.

“We express our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Alam po namin kung gaano kasakit ang maranasang sinusundo ang isang mahal sa buhay na nakakahon at isang malamig na bangkay na,” Martinez said.

The migrant leader said that they, together with members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong, are in unity with calls of the Hong Kong government and nationals demanding justice for the victims and accountability for lapses of the Manila police and the Philippine government.

“Heads must roll for the deaths and measures should be urgently enacted to heal strained diplomatic relations. For our OFWs, what happened was a ‘major, major blunder’ of the Aquino administration. Our OFWs in Hong Kong and elsewhere should not be in any way obliged to defend what was clearly an unorganized and incompetent handling of the hostage crisis,” Martinez said.

He also called on the Philippine government to “ensure at all costs that the rights and welfare of our OFWs in Hong Kong are not jeopardized.”

“Hindi dapat pagbayaran ng ating mga OFWs ang kapalpakan ng gobyerno sa naganap na trahedya. We demand to hear concrete measures by the Philippine government and the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong to prevent untoward incidents from happening to our kababayans. Mangyayari lamang ito kung maagap na mapapanagot ang mga nagkulang.”

Martinez also appealed to the Filipino community in Hong Kong to stay calm and be vigilant.

So far, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong has reported at least one (1) OFW whose contract was pre-maturely terminated by an employer as a result of the tragedy. He said that he fears that tension and emotions would be more intense once the bodies of the victims arrive in Hong Kong later today.

There are more than 150,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong, most of them domestic workers. ###

For Reference:
 

Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418

--
http://migrantecampaign.ning.com

http://migranteinternational.org

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

     
     
           
           
     
     
     
Migrante vs Bawal na (mandatory) Pagibig
           
     

 

7 August 2010
PRESS RELEASE:
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418

OFWs to troop to POEA vs. ‘bawal na Pag-Ibig’
Mandatory contribution legalizes ‘kotong’ from OFWs

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez today said that mandatory Pag-Ibig contribution from overseas Filipino workers is another form of “legalized kotong.”

“Wala talagang natutuwa sa bawal na Pag-Ibig, lalo na ang ating mga OFW na lagi na lang nakokotongan ng gobyerno. This added burden is unfair, unreasonable and we question its real intent,” Martinez said.

The POEA recently released Memorandum Circular 06-2010 (MC06-2010) compelling OFWs to pay, upon registration and deployment, an initial membership contribution of P600 for six months as a pre-requisite for the issuance of their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).

Martinez announced their plans to hold a picket protest at the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) main office next week.

MC06-2010 was effective last August 1 as a result of Republic Act 9679, or the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009, placing informal sectors under mandatory coverage of the Pag-Ibig fund.

Employer, not OFW, should pay

Sec.2 Declaration of Policy of RA9679 clearly states that the fund should come from “mandatory contribution support of the employers.” Furthermore, it states that “failure or refusal of the employer to pay or remit….shall not prejudice the right of the covered employee to the benefits.”

Martinez said, however, that the law “became muddled and misleading” in the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) of RA9679.

He cited Rule V, Fund Coverage and Membership, Sec. 1, d. stating that while “coverage under the Fund shall be mandatory for Filipinos employed by foreign-based employees whether deployed here or abroad, or a combination thereof,” their foreign-based employers “shall not be subject to mandatory coverage.”

“These irregularities once again entail the virtual passing on of fees meant for employers to OFWs. Despite what is clearly stated in law, the government unfortunately has no sound-proof mechanism to ensure that employers would pay their share. Saka maaasahan ba natin ang mga employer na magbayad para sa mga OFW kung minsan nga pati sahod hindi nila maibigay?” Martinez said.

“How is this different from the $25 contributions to OWWA which was originally charged to employers but is now another mandatory imposition on OFWs?”

Martinez also said that OFWs are being forced to pay when they are not even ensured of the housing benefits. He cited Sec. 11 of the RA stating that only members who have the “ability to pay” will be granted housing loans.

“How will the Fund’s Boart of Trustees determine if OFWs have the ability to pay? Hindi naman pala lahat ng nagbabayad ay makakakamit ng pabahay. Paano kung isa kang OFW na mababa lang ang sahod, o di kaya’y contractual lang at hindi aabot ang paghuhulog sa required maturity period for loans? Nagbabayad ka lang pala para sa wala. Kotong lang talaga ito,” Martinez said.

Not only OFWs

Lastly, Martinez said that there is a need to forge the broadest unity not only among OFWs but other sectors as well because RA9679 is “a blanket measure that would affect even private employees, the self-employed, informal sector such as cigarette vendors, household helps and the like, and even full-time housewives.

“Mandatory na ito para sa lahat. Isa itong malaking kalokohan. Hindi ito makatwiran at lalong dagdag-pahirap sa mamamayan, especially the marginalized sectors,” Martinez said.

He called on the Aquino administration to stop the imposition of RA9679. “If the president has the interests and welfare of OFWs at heart, he should first conduct consultations with OFWs before imposing more questionable and onerous fees. Tanungin niya muna ang mga OFW kung ano ang totoong gusto namin at kung ano ang dagdag-pahirap para sa amin.”

Martinez also said that they plan to seek a dialogue with vice president and housing head Jejomar Binay “to bring to his attention OFWs’ vehement opposition to the mandatory imposition.” ###
 


http://migrantecampaign.ning.com

http://migranteinternational.org

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

 
     
     
           
 

 

 

Makibaka! is a song for and about the people's struggle for change! Maraming salamat Tony Palis and Walkie Miraña for helping out with the recording! (Music, lyrics, and arrangement: Karl Ramirez; Lead guitar and lyric consultant: Tony Palis; Supporting vocals: Walkie Miraña) Photo from Arkibong Bayan. Lyrics after the jump. Click to listen

 

     
           
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