Migrante protests budget cut for OFWs


Dubai, Batasan


Posted: September 25, 3010






Migrante deplores budget cut for OFWs; calls it unjustifiable, illegal
by Angel L. Tesorero

9 September 2010

Dubai, UAE – Migrante-Middle East scored the Philippine government and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for slashing the legal assistance fund intended for overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) in the proposed 2011 national budget.

“The cutting of the supposed P100-million legal assistance fund, which was already pared in half, is unjustifiable, highly irregular and illegal. It violates the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 and its amendments by the DFA under the Aquino administration,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said.

DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo disclosed at the budget hearing in Congress Wednesday that the Aquino administration approved only P27-million in legal assistance fund or LAF for next year. For this year, the budget provided was P50-million.

The proposed amount in the 2011 national budget is only a quarter of what is prescribed in Section 18 of RA 10022 or the Amended Migrant Workers' Act which provides for an allotment of P100-million in LAF – of which P50-million will be sourced from the President’s contingency fund, P30-million from the President’s social fund and P20-million from the Overseas Workers Welfare Fund.

“Cutting the funds intended for the protection of OFWs is an indication that P-Noy is also anti-OFW, like the most hated anti-OFW Arroyo. Wala rin ata sa daang matuwid ang Aquino administration,” Monterona said.

Monterona said the numerous cases of abuses, maltreatment, illegal labor practices and the considerable number of OFWs in various jails abroad are enough proof for Aquino to rightly decide and arrange for a higher budget allocation for OFWs.

“We are demanding from P-Noy to review his policies and to look into the proposed DFA budget especially the 100-M legal assistance fund intended for hiring lawyers in defense of accused OFWs and those in jail, among many other problems faced by Filipino migrants,” Monterona added.

Migrante-UAE (United Arab Emirates) Chairperson Yuri Chairman also criticized the budget cutback.

“Is this our reward for remitting more than $17 billion or P765 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 and we were forced to find work in other countries. The least that the government can do is to give us adequate protection and services while we toil abroad,” Cipriano said.

Cipriano added that the government should instead cut the P357-billion allotment for interest payments of foreign debts under the proposed 2011 national budget which may have been inflated by as much as P7.7-billion according to a calculation by Sen. Ralph Recto.


He added that Congress should also scrutinize the P1.425-billion intelligence funds of the Office of the President which is 3.26 percent higher than the P1.38-billion allotted by former president Arroyo for the same purpose this year.

Cipriano supported the call of Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla that the fund allocated to OFWs should not be less than P100 million. # # #

Angel L. Tesorero
Migrante-UAE media officer
+971 55 2334570/ angeltesorero8@yahoo.com


Migrante-UAE statement on document notarisation
21 Sept 2010

Migrante-UAE Chair
00 971 50 7846400/ oikodome@gmail.com

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- The declaration of sponsorship or affidavit of support notarised at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Philippine Consulate in Dubai is another money-making scheme imposed on migrant Filipinos.

Migrante-UAE calls for its immediate scrapping as it is not clear that it will curb human trafficking. Our diplomatic posts are imposing this regulation which is not even required by the UAE federal government. It will be another financial burden and will cause inconvenience to our kababayans who might want to bring their family members here in the UAE.►►►


While Pres. Noynoy Aquino and his group are enjoying hotdogs in New York, migrant workers under Migrante-UAE are protesting the recent budget cut for OFWs. The group said that the rights and welfare of migrant workers do not seem to be a priority for Noynoy. The indoor protest was held in Karama, Dubai on Friday. (photo by Angel L. Tesorero)


Our oficials must do their job with no extra cost to our OFWs. They should not also curb our right to travel abroad.

The way we see it, this travel regulation is plain and simple pangongotong (mulcting) especially now that the holiday season is approaching and relatives are expected to visit their families in the UAE.

The timing for implementing this guideline is also highly questionable. DFA's 2011 budget was recently cut by almost P2 billion. It seems that our diplomats in the UAE are already raising money to plug the deficiency.

It can be recalled that there was a similar policy previously imposed by the former Philippine ambassador to the UAE but was eventually scrapped. Why impose the same rule now which has been proven ineffective? This can be another source of corruption as it is not clear where the money collected will go to.

Aside from Filipino expats in the UAE, OFWs in Macau are also up in arms in reiterating calls to scrap the reinstated AOS (authenticated affidavit of support) for visiting relatives in their territory.

According to Migrante-Macau coordinator Catalina Yamat, the AOS requirement in Macau has been repeatedly scrapped and reinstated in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2010. She observed that in the previous years, it had been reimposed always one year before election period.

The AOS requirement in Macau has been suspended twice as a result of protests from the Filipino community there.

Meanwhile in Manila, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan filed a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry on the matter.

Migrante-UAE reiterates its call to scrap the unncessary document notarisation. Philippine diplomatic officials must have the political will to go after the perpetrators of human trafficking and not make means to grease their palms. # # #


Harana sa kongreso ng mga OFW at pamilya

Photos by Migrante International



Danny Fabella

(kinanta sa hearing sa Kongreso)

Kami ang unang nagbibigay
Upang dugtungan pa ang buhay
Nang ekonomiyang malaon naghihingalo

Bawat kayod araw gabi
Hirap lungkot tumitindi
Sa amin walang dumadamay sa malayo

Sa tuwing may disgrasya
Sa tuwing may sakuna
Sa tuwing may inhustisya





Saan kami nagkulang, bat pinagkakaitan
Nang sapat na tulong ng pamahalaan
kulang ba pa ang dolyar na aming padala
kulang pa ba ang singil ng mga ahensiya
kulang pa ba ang nawasak, na mga pamilya
kulang pa ba ang buhay na nawala

Mga pangako mo noon
Ba’t napapako na ngayon
Sa baluktot na daan kami iniwan



Vancouver: Migrante B.C. in Solidarity with Protesting Hyatt Workers on Their Day of Action



Migrante B.C. in Solidarity with Protesting Hyatt Workers on Their Day of Action

Vancouver, B.C.-- Migrante B.C., a Filipino community organization for migrants' rights and welfare, joined the employees of the Hyatt Regency Hotel when they took to the street to protest staff cuts, reduced hours and other unjust labour practices by the hotel management. The historic hotel workers' mass action last July 22 in downtown Vancouver was part of a coordinated protest in 15 other cities in North America.

For several hours, from 5:00 p.m. till the early evening, more than 600 hotel workers and members of UniteHere!, their friends and supporters took over Burrard street in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Vancouver Hyatt Hotel workers are fighting for a new union contract. Hotel workers have endured staff cuts, reduced hours and excessive injury rates.

The hotel workers, characterized by large percentages of immigrant workers, occupied Burrard Street by the sheer strength of their numbers. Guest room attendants, cooks, bell staff, food and beverage servers, kitchen and laundry workers showed up, some of them wearing their white coats and chef hats, their blue uniforms, and service uniforms, and many of them sporting the bright red T-shirts with “UniteHere!”name/slogan. Local 40 flags waved proudly as the hotel workers and their supporters marched and chanted slogans, sat down on the street and stopped all traffic.

Global Hyatt is one of the few global corporations that dominate the world hotel industry. As hotel companies consolidate and expand internationally, hotel workers are organizing in roughly 90 hotels in North America to win contracts that protect the workers and raise their standard of living.

Local 40 members from around the Lower Mainland, labour unions, community groups and elected leaders, including MP Don Davies and MLA Mable Elmore, joined the Hyatt protest action. Sisters and brothers from CAW, HEU, CUPE, COPE 378, BC Ferryworkers, ILWU, Building Trades, VDLC, BC Fed, Migrante B.C., CCPA, First Call and many other organizations provided vital solidarity to the Hyatt protesters.

Mabuhay ang Hyatt Hotel Workers!

Photo credits: Lingling Maranan-Claver

For more info about the Hyatt workers' struggle, please visit this site: http://uniteherelocal40.org/?m=201007 and the video http://uniteherelocal40.org/?p=1303
For the link to the Hyatt rally video made by Angelina L. Cantada of Curly Tail Pictures , click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifc0LRZ-kE0.






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!



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