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Friday, September 10, 2010

Pres. Aquino Do Not Heart OFWs?

I can forget that during his first SONA or State of the Nation Address, there were not a single sentence that mentioned about his plans or support for OFWs. Nevermind that he was supposed to be voted by around 55% of overseas voters. I don't feel betrayed, I didn't vote for him. 

Second, he cut the budget for education. This means, there will be not enough funds for public universities that means, they will raise their fees, that will eventually be the reason that most students can't pursue college or university education. I question his priorities here. I don't know why he didn't the point. Education unlocks the door of opportunities. Education is the most basic benefit he can give to the younger generations, because they are our countries future. 

And the latest, he cut the budget for DFA and OFW social services by a whopping 40%. From the law requirement of P100M fund, the Arroyo administration provided only 50M, and now, Aquino wants to make it 27M. Now you can see that the government really doesn't care for OFW's. Now it is beginning to be seen that for all these years, we are nothing but lame heroes kuno that are being milked with our money remittances.

If you can join this page by liking it, we will truly be happy. This will serve as a petition to the government not to cut the budget for OFWs because it means, legal assistance, lawyer fees, repatrition, and other aids for OFWs will greatly be jeopardize.

Below is an excerpt from Susan Ople's blog, an OFW advocate explaining the impact of this budget cut to the OFWs.

"So in cutting down (or chopping off!) more than half of the DFA’s budget including that to be used for legal and other forms of assistance to Filipinos overseas, the consequences may be the following:

1. The task of repatriating trafficked victims and other distressed OFWs shall now fall on: 1) individual politicians from senators to mayors; 2) OWWA which are made up of contributions of workers who left the country legally; 3) the very individuals and agencies that conspired to victimize these workers thus diminishing the crime and reducing the entire matter into a bargaining situation.
I would have added the NGOs except one can really count on one’s fingers the number of NGOs that could afford to repatriate workers even from neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
No. 1 weakens institutional governance because it would lead to the politicizing of welfare assistance to OFWs in distress; it will also cause enormous lag time in providing onsite assistance – time that could mean the death or survival of an OFW.
2. RA 10022 or the amendments to the Migrant Workers’ Act states that the DFA can now use its legal assistance fund to file cases against abusive and exploitative employers and agencies outside the country. The Ople Center and other NGOs were happy to know this because the filing of such cases would greatly boost our anti-trafficking efforts. But with only Php 27-M for an entire year, how can the DFA even hope to pursue such cases? And what about the 3,000 Filipinos in jail, some of who have been detained more than their penalty calls for? If the current legal assistance fund is insufficient in looking after the legal rights of our OFWs, what more just a quarter of that amount? For an entire year!
3. Our foreign posts serve as the refuge of trafficked and maltreated workers. In Dubai alone, the welfare center is overflowing with at least 200 stranded workers at a single given time. A video taken of appalling conditions in Saudi Arabia for workers awaiting repatriation stresses the need for more funds, not less particularly for posts with a high concentration of Filipino workers. If we cannot afford change, then how can we see it? In this case, the OFW sector is not asking even for more funds — though it has every right to do so. But at the very least – a status quo. For now. Especially for a sector that brings in billions in dollar remittances that makes for a positive credit rating from international credit rating agencies. Why cut social services for OFWs?
Unless — the unjustified cuts are but another symptom of internal conflicts driven by magnified, puffed-up bureaucratic and political hurts. Read:factionalism. This may be a valid observation because of how deep the cuts are. Too deep to be superficial; too ruthless to be developmental. The cuts were made to hurt, and hurt bad – except that the wounds are being inflicted several times over on the bodies of the innocents.
We do want to hope again. The yearning is there, it is unmistakable, and while we are watchful, it is a watchfulness for both the bad, and most especially for the good. Honestly, I would prefer the inconvenience of a noisy wang-wang to the heart-wrenching wail of an OFW unable to come home despite numerous beatings from her employer. NFA – no funds available. So what else is new?
This latest move of chopping off millions meant to protect the rights and welfare of our OFWs is simply unjustifiable. When a child leaves home, a parent does what is humanly possible, despite the distance, to make sure that he or she is alright. The Assistance to Nationals Fund and the Legal Assistance Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs is the budgetary equivalent of that.
With such drastic budgetary cuts, this administration might as well have cut lives short.
“Kayo ang boss ko!” Prove it to millions of OFWs and their families here at home, Mr. President. This is in your power to change. Do not cut the budget for the DFA’s assistance to nationals and legal assistance fund."


1 comment:

  1. Even during the campaign periods he don't have plans for OFWs.