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Summing-Up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino: A Mid-Term Assessment (2010-2013)

Summing-Up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino: A Mid-Term Assessment (2010-2013)

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by Migrante International
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 JULY 2013
resident Benigno Aquino III’s mid-term in of 
ce can only be characterized by the further intensi
cation of alabor export policy that has become more sophisticated, more aggressive and more detrimental to the rightsand welfare of Filipino migrants and their families.
Published by: 
Migrante Internationa
Summing-Up of the State of Migrants underAquino (SUMA): Mid-Term Assessment(2010-2013)
Increased forced migration refutes“economic growth”
In its three years in of 
ce, theAquinoadministration has recorded the biggest number of OFW (overseas Filipinoworker) deployment since the labor export policy was implemented in the 1970s.From an additional 1.35 millionOFWs in October 2011, a
gure higher by5.3 percent than the additional 1.281 mil-lion OFWs from January to October 2010,a total of 1,850,463 (Source: PhilippineOverseas Employment Administration,POEA) OFWs have been deployed to work abroad by the end of 2011. Of this number,1,384,094 are land-based while 466, 369are sea-based.As of June 2012, 4,884 OFWshave been leaving the Philippines on adaily basis (Source: IBON Foundation).This is a far cry from the 2,500 OFWs per day record when Aquino assumed of 
ce in2010 (Department of Labor and Employ-ment, DOLE).These
gures make the Aquinoadministration’s claims of a “reverse mi-gration” phenomenon exceedinglyincom- prehensible. In May, DOLE Sec. RosalindaBaldoz announced that OFWs are optingto return to the country because “more in-dustrial sectors are catching up in terms of labor package and training”. The Aquinogovernment attributes a “reverse migra-tion” in the of 
ng to the 7.8 percent GDPgrowth in the
rst quarter of 2013 – thehighest in Aquino’s term. However, inde- pendent think-tank IBON Foundation as-cribes the growth to election-spending dur-ing the
rst two quarters of 2012, and other factors that belie any claims of the Aquinogovernment of sustainable, comprehensiveand inclusive growth.The Aquino government’s claimis further discredited by data showingthat the Philippines still has the worst un-employment rate in East Asia. Latest datafrom the National Statistics Of 
ce (NSO)showed the country’s unemployment raterose to 7.5% this April, the highest under Aquino.According to the latest survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS), thePhilippines has a 27.2 percent unemploy-ment rate or more than 11.1 million Filipi-nos are jobless as of March 2013. This is a3.7 percent increase from the 23.5 percentunemployment rate recorded in the last
2001 866,590 661,648 204,9512002 891,908 682,315 209,5932003 867,969 651,938 216,0312004 933,588 740,586 229,0022005 988,615 740,632 247,9832006 1,062,567 788,070 274,4972007 1,077,623 811,070 266,5532008 1,376,823 974,399 261,6142009 1,422,586 1,092,162 330,4242010 1,470826 1,123,676 347,1502011 1,850,463 1,384,094 466,369
Table. 1 Increasing deployment of OFWs 
Land-basedSea-basedTotal No. of OFWs Deployed Year
 JULY 2013
quarter of 2012 and a far cry from the un-employment
gures of its Asian neighbors,namely, Singapore (1.7%), Malaysia (3%),Korea (3%), China (4.1%), Taiwan (4.3%),Vietnam (4.4%) and Indonesia (6.5%).For 2012, IBON estimated thenumber of unemployed Filipinos at 4.4million (increase of 48,000 from 2011)while the number of underemployed hasreached 7.5 million (increase of 349,000from 2011), showing a signi
cant 20 per-cent increase in underemployment from theyear before.In his past State of the NationAddresses (SONA), Aquino attempted todownplay the jobs crisis by claiming lower unemployment rates (1.4 million jobs cre-ated in 2011 and 3.1 million jobs created in 2012). However, he failed to mentionthat the jobs created were either short-term,contractual or highly disproportional to theever-growing laborforce.By 2012, the growing number of job loss in growing sectors belied anyattempts to face-lift the
gures. On thethird quarter of 2012, wholesale and retailrecorded 728,000 job losses, real estate45,000 job losses,
nancial and insurance15,000 job losses and agriculture 694,200 job losses (IBON).To cover-up the record-high jobscrisis in the
rst quarter of 2013, Mala-canang placed a very unbelievable Labor Force Survey data of a mere 7.2 percent – a very huge discrepancy from
guresreleased by the NSO, SWS and other eco-nomic surveys. Presidential SpokespersonEdwin Lacierda even cited that the peak inunemployment in the
rst quarter of 2013was a result of an “employment bonanza”during the Christmas season when “season-al jobs” were on the rise.On the other hand, those who doland domestic jobs still suffer very lowwages. Since 2001, the gap between themandated minimum wage and the familyliving wage (FLW) in the National CapitalRegion (NCR) had considerably widened.In 2001, the minimum wage was 52 per-cent of the FLW. By March 2013, the P456 NCR minimum wage is only 44 percent of the P1,034 FLW. In 2012, Aquino further widened the gap by implementing a two-tiered wage scheme that essentially impos-es a wage cut from a wage freeze policy.
from page 1
Minimum wage2001 P265(52%
w) P509 P244March2013 P456(44%
w) P1,034 P578
Table 2.NCR Mandated Minimum Wage vs. Family Living Wage (FLW) 
Family livingwageWage gap
Source: IBON Foundation, estimates on data from NWP
Worsening joblessness feeds onalready chronically low wages, with thecurrent minimum wage grossly inadequateto sustain even the most humble of fami-lies. Family incomes are not keeping upwith the in
ation. By the end of 2012, theaverage family in NCR lived on P22 to P37a day (IBON data).Social service spending, more-over, has not improved under Aquino. Thegovernment has failed to allot enough re-sources to address shortages and insuf 
-ciencies in education, health, housing and welfare services. Social services’ sharein the GDP has continued to drop in lightof annual budget cuts and privatization of  public utilities (IBON).Aquino also claimed that his ad-ministration’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program reduced poverty, an exag-gerated and unscienti
c boast, if anything.Being a bene
ciary of the CCT is not tan-tamount to a family emerging from below poverty line. It is not sustaining and offersmerely band-aid solutions to the problemsof joblessness and low wages. Aquino alsofailed to mention that the cash dole-outsupposedly for 100,000 families would only hold for 
ve years, during and after which no prospective jobs, wages or liveli-hood are available to bene
ciaries.The present administration is alsosecond place in terms of poor land distribu-tion among post-Marcos regimes. Depart-ment of Agrarian Reform Sec. Gil de losReyes already admitted that they would not be able to
nish land distribution intime for the 25thanniversary of the Com- prehensive Land Reform Program (CARP)on June 10 – leaving some 500,000 hect-ares or almost half of DAR’s target for land distribution undistributed by 2014, affect-ing at least 1.1 million farmers. The mostcontroversial land up for distribution is theAquino-Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Lu-isita that remains undistributed to this daydespite favourable ruling by the SupremeCourt for farmers and farm workers. Thiscomes as no surprise from a president whohails from a landed clam and family of ha-cienderos.In truth, the supposed economicgrowth is not translating to economic relief for the people but rather to more wealth for a privileged few. According to the NationalStatistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), poverty incidence in the country remained unchanged, recording a 27.9 percent pov-erty rate in the
rst semester of 2012. Com- pared with the 2006 (28.8 percent) and 2009 (28.6 percent)
rst semester 
gures,the poor quality of life that minimum wageearners can afford has not improved at allsince Aquino took of 
ce.The NSCB reported that 22 outof 100 families were estimated to be poor in the
rst semester of 2012 while 13 outof 100 Filipinos lived in extreme povertyduring the same period. Based on the lat-est SWS survey last January, 54 percent of 10.9 million families now consider them-selves poor, with perception of poverty ris-ing nationwide.The gap between the rich and the poor has also further widened, with theincome of the top one percent of familiesequivalent to that of the bottom 30 per-cent of households (IBON). According toForbes, 11 of the richest Filipinos made itto its top billionaires of the world, enjoy-ing a net worth of USD$13.2 billion as of March 2013.In search of jobs higher wagesand livelihood, the number of OFWshasin-
 JULY 2013
creased signi
cantly since Aquino took of 
ce. In fact, the number of jobless Fili- pinos has risen to unprecedented heightsfrom 2001 to 2010 and continues toreach record-high levels under Aquino.By 2012, at least one-fourth of the coun-try’s labor force has gone abroad to
nd work. According to the January 2012Labor Force Survey (LFS), 64.3 percentof Filipinos are unemployed and activelylooking for jobs.According to DOLE, there arenow 12 million OFWs abroad. MigranteInternational pegs the number of over-seas Filipinos between 12 to 15 million,to include undocumented OFWs. TheInternational Organization for Migration(IOM) still places the Philippines as thefourth leading migrant-sending country inthe world, next only to China, Mexico and India. According to data from the POEA,1.5 million Filipinos were deployed abroad on the start of Aquino’s term in 2010. This
gure is 50,000 or 3.4 percent higher thanthe deployment rate in 2009.Of present, overseas Filipinos arescattered in at least 239 countries situated in at least six continents, namely, Asia,Australia, North America, South America,Africa and Europe. The biggest popula-tion is located in the United States (3.5million based on the 2010 US Census);next is Saudi Arabia (1.8 miliion based onPOEA data); and Canada (639,686 based on Commission on Filipinos Overseasdata). There is also a big concentrationof Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates,Australia, Qatar, Malaysia, Japan, Unit-ed Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore.In the Philippines, about 30 to 40 percentof the total population is remittance-de- pendent.Majority of OFWs are still de- ployed in Saudi Arabia, UAE and HongKong. Most are in the service sector working as domestic workers, hotel and restaurant staff and caregivers, in manu-facturing as factory workers, while a fewtens of thousands are working abroad as professionals.Seafarers still constitutethe biggest sub-sector of OFWs.The Philippines is still one of the biggest maritime countries,with Manila still in the list of the biggest most important ports inthe world. According to the In-ternational Labor Organization(ILO), the Philippines is still thetop source of seafarers. An esti-mated 8,000 to 10,000 seafarersare added to the total deploymentevery year.
Philippines 28.1%Russia 6.8%Ukraine 6.3%China 6.2%India 5.0%Indonesia 4.0%Poland 3.5%Greece 2.8% Turkey 2.5%Myanmar 2.3%
Table 4. Number of seafarers in the world,2003 = 1,250,000 or 67% of deployment 
Source: POEA
A closer look into overseas deployment data would show that of the total number land-based OFWs deployed in2010, 781,966 were re-hires while only 341,966 were newhires. The number of new hires decreased by 2.2 percent com- pared to 2009 (349,715) and 2008 (376,973) data. In the pastthree years, there was a slight decrease in the number of newhires deployed. In the
rst quarter of 2011, for instance, ac-cording to POEA, only 380,188 new hires were deployed or 3.9 percent lower than the 395,189 deployed in 2010.
Table 5. Type of Worker and Hiring (Source: POEA, 2010) Table 3.Number of Deployed Overseas Filipino Workers by Type of Hiring (2008-2010) Source: POEA (2010) 

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