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Tinig ng Migrante

The ever-worsening socio-economic
conditons of the Filipino people under-
score the urgent need to struggle and
work for the ouster of the BS Aquino re-
gime. By putng forward the demands
for genuine land reform, higher wages,
employment, sufcient social services,
lower prices, justce and other demo-
cratc demands, Filipinos around the
world can efectvely expose and op-
pose BS Aquinos claims of tuwid na
daan and economic miracle.
26 years of bogus land reform
65 years old na ako. Araw-araw nag-
bubungkal pa rin ako para sa pagkain (I am
65 years old. I stll tll the land everyday for
(Migrants Voice)
JULY 2014
Filipinos around the world
want BS Aquino out
Prepared by Migrante Internatonal, July 2014
fer four years of corrupton, mendacity, puppetry, oppression and human
rights violatons, Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III (BS Aquino) has once
again roused the Filipino people into collectve acton and determinaton to
exercise their democratc power to bring about regime change as mountng calls
for his ouster contnue to gain strength around the country and all over the world.
food), said Nanay Leoning, a farmer from
Brgy. Mapalacsiao, Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac.
Her small parcel of land in the hacienda
is currently under dispute following the
distributon of Certfcate of Land Owner-
ship Awards (CLOAs) by the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) to farmworker-ben-
efciaries under the Comprehensive Agrar-
ian Reform Program (CARP).
Last year, Nanay Leonings small par-
cel of land was rafed of and awarded
to another farmer-benefciary as part
of the DARs implementaton of the
landmark 2012 Supreme Court deci-
sion ordering the distributon of 4,500
hectares of land to 6,296 farmworker-
benefciaries in Hacienda Luisita. Mas
masahol pa sa sabong ang ginagawa
nila sa amin. Nangako sila ng pamama-
hagi ng lupa pero kami-kami ang pinag-
aaway nila dahil sa iskemang ito. (What
theyre doing to us is worse than a cock
fght. They promised to give us land but
this distributon scheme is dividing us
and turning us against each other).
Nanay Leoning, like countless farmers
and farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita and
other vast farmlands in the country, is
testament to the failure of the Philippine
governments land reform program.
CARP, or Republic Act 6657, was
passed in 1988 by former Pres. Corazon
Aquino as the centerpiece of her admin-
istratons professed social justce leg-
islatve agenda. It was initally efectve
for 10 years and was extended for an-
other 10. By its deadline in 2008, some
1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands
remained undistributed to farmers. It
was further extended through RA 9700,
more popularly known as CARP with Re-
forms (CARPER), when Pres. Benigno BS
Aquino III took ofce in 2010. CARPER is
set to expire on June 30, 2014.
According to DAR, from 1987 to June
2009, CARP had covered 2,321,064
hectares of private agricultural lands
and 1,727,054 hectares of non-private
agricultural lands, or 4,048,118 hect-
ares all in all distributed to 2,396,857
benefciaries. For 2002 to 2013, it said,
it had already issued 67,577 notces
of coverage (NOCs) for 628,745 hect-
ares for complusory acquisiton. An
NOC mandatorily places an agricultural
landholding under the CARP.
Chronic crisis: BS Aquinos
perpetuation of a backward,
pre-industrial economy belies
economic growth
Tinig ng Migrante
Further, the DAR said that, under
CARPER, it had distributed 196,055
hectares of private agricultural lands
and 209,151 hectares of non-private
agricultural lands from July 2009 to
December 2012, awarded to 210,586
benefciaries. The DAR said that it is
geared to distribute 5,635 NOCs cov-
ering 48,344 hectares by the June 30,
2014 deadline.
According to a study by think-tank
Ibon Foundaton, however, land re-
form and distributon in the
Philippines had been on a
steady decline since 1972,
when then Pres. Ferdinand
Marcos passed Presidental
Decree No. 27 that created
the DAR. During that tme,
fully-owned lands accounted
for 63 % of total agricultural
farmlands. By 2002, the num-
ber had decreased to around
50 %. The Annual Poverty In-
dicators Survey (APIS) of 2002
also reported that only 11 %
of families who owned lands
other than residental proper-
tes obtained their land own-
ership through CARP.
In terms of post-Marcos re-
gimes, the BS Aquino admin-
istraton is now at the helm
of implementng the longest-
running, and most spurious,
agrarian reform program in
the world 26 years since
the implementaton of CARP
and 41 years since Marcos
PD No. 27. It comes as no
surprise that despite protests
and declaraton from farmers
that CARP had failed them, a
haciendero president like BS
Aquino is stll now advancing the
passage of yet another law extend-
ing the efectvity of the CARPER.
Pres. BS Aquino had already cert-
fed as urgent for the next Congress
House Bill 4296 that seeks to extend
CARPER untl 2016. According to
data from the Kilusang Magbubukid
ng Pilipinas, almost 95 % of the es-
tmated 900 million hectares of land
covered by CARPER has not yet been
distributed to farmers as of the sec-
ond half of 2013. Seventy-fve %
(75%) of these lands comprise of
haciendas and hacienda-type farms
located in 25 provinces in the country.
DAR Sec. Virgilio delos Reyes himself
admited that at least 500,000 hectares
with NOCs will remain undistributed by
the June 30, 2014 deadline.
The most controversial land up for
distributon is the Aquino-Cojuangco-
owned Hacienda Luisita.
From 1988 to 2004, CARP allowed the
implementaton of a sneaky circumven-
ton of land distributon in Hacienda
Luisita through the Stock Distributon
Opton (SDO). The SDO declared Luisita
farm-workers as stockholders, in efect
re-concentratng the lands up for distri-
buton back to the hands and ownership
of the Aquino-Cojuangcos.
Through the SDO, the Aquino-Cojuang-
cos were able to re-organize Hacienda
Luisita into a corporaton, and in lieu of
subjectng its lands to distributon, own-
ership of the agricultural portons of the
hacienda were transferred to the corpo-
raton; and stock shares, instead of land,
were distributed to Luisita farm-workers.
The unjust SDO was met with militant
protests by the farm-workers resultng
in the violent dispersal of the strike of
farm-workers, now infamously known as
the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, that killed
seven strikers on November 16, 2004.
Several other peasant leaders, actvists
and advocates also became victms of
harassment and extra-judicial killings in
the succeeding years.
Moreover, because CARP gives abso-
lute premium to the right of landlords
to so-called just compensaton, the
BS Aquino government had
graciously disbursed a gener-
ous sum of Php471.5 million
to the Aquino-Cojuangcos for
the 4,500-hectare supposedly
distributed lands. This, even
before any minimal land trans-
fer to the tenant-benefciaries
could be completed.
The Aquino-Cojuangcos have
cleverly maneuvered to exempt
Hacienda Luisita from land ac-
quisiton and distributon over
the years. Their most recent
scheme was carried out on
more than 350 hectares of ag-
ricultural land being disputed
by Luisita farm-workers and
the Tarlac Development Cor-
poraton (TADECO), the Luisita
estate administrator . The BS
Aquino-Cojuangcos cunningly
declared that the said lands
are not covered by CARP be-
cause they have been classifed
as a residental area in 1985
by the Tarlac City Council. Last
December 2013, the DAR is-
sued an NOC subjectng said
lands for distributon. TADECO,
however, disregarded the NOC
and has since been employing
all sorts of atacks intended to expel
farmers who have been tlling the area
since 2005 bulldozing and setng fre
to kubols (nipa huts), crops and even
houses set up by farm-workers assert-
ing their right to the land. The DAR, for
its part, could not do anything and has
ironically cited principles of the CARP
in defense of TADECO, stpulatng that
NOCs do not necessarily mean automat-
ic land acquisiton and distributon.
Now, afer 26 years, CARP remains a
failure, an insult to farmers and a bogus
land reform scheme. The extensions it
had been given, including the CARPER,
Tinig ng Migrante
underlines its bankruptcy. Hacienda Lu-
isita is not an isolated case but rather a
prototype of the very antthesis of land
reform. A similar tambiolo system is
being implemented in Hacienda Dolores
in Pampanga; Hacienda Looc in Batangas
is being land-grabbed by business tycoon
Henry Sy and Fil-Estate Lands; Hacien-
das Arloc and Ilimnan are being claimed
by the governor of Negros Occidental.
Likewise, farmers in these haciendas are
holders and benefciaries of CLOAs but
they are stll currently engaged in intense
land disputes and struggles.
These land struggles intensifed un-
der the BS Aquino regime despite state-
ments by DAR and Malacanang that
claim otherwise. The fact is CARPs fail-
ure is rooted in its very orientaton. It is
not about free land distributon, which
is the core program of any genuine land
reform. It is not pro-farmer because it
gives primacy to landlord compensaton
by the state whilst requiring farmer-
benefciaries to pay for the very land
that they have been tlling for genera-
tons. What it is, fundamentally, is an
agreement and connivance between the
government, landlords and big corpora-
tons, with the government successfully
actng as comprador.
And CARP, CARPER or any so-called
land reform especially under BS Aqui-
nos haciendero presidency is nothing
but promised land to tllers, and a
smokescreen for land-grabbing, land
conversion, corrupton and social injus-
tce in favor of the kamag-anak, kak-
lase at kabarilan.
25 years of labor
In 1989, the Labor Code was amend-
ed to insttutonalize and legitmize la-
bor contractualizaton, or the hiring of
workers for short-term, non-regular em-
ployment. The amended Labor Code is
tantamount to the deprivaton of ben-
efts and privileges accorded by law to
regular workers, and the practce of la-
bor contractualizaton has ran rampant
among business and industrial enter-
prises in the country since.
Labor contractualizaton, combined
with the ever-worsening state of un-
employment, has been plaguing work-
ers, especially so under the present BS
Aquino administraton. In his past State
of the Naton Addresses (SONAs), BS
Aquino atempted to downplay the jobs
crisis by claiming lower unemployment
rates (1.4 million jobs created in 2011
and 3.1 million jobs created in 2012).
However, he failed to menton that the
jobs created were either short-term,
contractual or highly disproportonal to
the ever-growing labor force.
By 2012, the growing number of job
loss in growing sectors belied any at-
tempts to face-lif the fgures. On the
third quarter of 2012, wholesale and
retail recorded 728,000 job losses, real
estate 45,000 job losses, fnancial and
insurance 15,000 job losses and agricul-
ture 694,200 job losses (IBON).
To cover-up the record-high jobs crisis
in the frst quarter of 2013, Malacanang
placed a very unbelievable Labor Force
Survey data of a mere 7.2 % a very huge
discrepancy from fgures released by the
Natonal Statstcs Ofce (NSO), Social
Weather Statons (SWS) and other eco-
nomic surveys. Presidental Spokesperson
Edwin Lacierda even cited that the peak in
unemployment in the frst quarter of 2013
was a result of an employment bonanza
during the Christmas season when sea-
sonal jobs were on the rise.
On the other hand, those who do
land domestc jobs stll sufer very low
wages. Since 2001, the gap between the
mandated minimum wage and the fam-
ily living wage (FLW) in the Natonal Cap-
ital Region (NCR) had considerably wid-
ened. In 2001, the minimum wage was
52 % of the FLW. By March 2013, the
P456 NCR minimum wage is only 44 % of
the P1,034 FLW. Worsening joblessness
feeds on already chronically low wages,
with the current minimum wage grossly
inadequate to sustain even the most
humble of families. Family incomes are
not keeping up with the infaton. By the
end of 2012, the average family in NCR
lived on P22 to P37 a day (IBON data).
Labor contractualizaton has suc-
ceeded in further depressing wages
and repressing the rights of work-
ers to strike and form unions. It has
spawned union-bustng schemes
among industries beleaguered by
labor disputes, much to the advan-
tage of big local capitalists and for-
eign-owned corporatons.
Presently engaged in struggle for
a signifcant wage hike and against
labor contractualizaton and union-
bustng are workers of the NXP
Semiconductors Cabuyao, Incorpo-
rated (NXPSCI).
NXPSCI, formerly Philips, is a sub-
sidiary of NXP Semiconductors, one
of the top semiconductor manufac-
turers in the world, operatng in 25
countries. In the Philippines, it has
5,000 workers, of which 1,600 are
regulars and 1,700 are contractuals,
the rest are supervisors. Located
in Light Industry and Science Park
1 (LISP 1) in Cabuyao, Laguna, one
of the countrys special economic
zones under the jurisdicton of the
Philippine Economic Zone Authority
(PEZA), it is one of the biggest semi-
conductor manufacturers in the
country. It produces microchips and
is a supplier of well-known brands
Apple, Bosch, Contnental, Del-
phi, Huawei, Panasonic, Samsung,
among others.
The NXP workers are demanding
an 8% increase in wages (Php 80),
but the management is ofering a
mere 3.5% hike (Php 25). They are
also demanding that contractual
workers, some of whom have been
working in the company for more
than two years, be regularized. The
managements refusal to enter into
a CBA and unfair labor practces
brought on series of protest actons
by the workers in the form of tak-
ing leave from work on four ofcial
holidays: April 9 Araw ng Kagitn-
gan (Day of Valor), April 17 Maundy
Thursday, April 19 Black Saturday,
and May 1 Internatonal Labor Day.
2001 P265 P509 P244
2014 P456 P1,200 P744
Source: IBON Foundation, estimates on data from National Wages and Productivity Commission
Tinig ng Migrante
In response, the NXP Manage-
ment fred 24 union leaders and
issued an explanaton slip threat-
ening to dismiss 1,700 contractual
workers. Condemning the illegal
dismissals and harassment of work-
ers, the NXPSCI Workers Union as-
sert that their leave from work are
within bounds of their right to take
holidays and have since launched
silent protests in their workplaces
to demand the reinstatement of
their union leaders. The NXP Man-
agement, in turn, is now threaten-
ing to dismiss all regular workers.
The real reason, the union stresses,
more than the protest actons, the
company has long been gearing to
transform all its workers into con-
tractuals and is now utlizing the
labor dispute to commence its mas-
sive retrenchment of workers. The
NXP management has been hasten-
ing the training of contractuals since
the labor dispute erupted.
Interestngly, even former Sen. Er-
nesto Herrera, main author of the
1989 Labor Code, has endorsed a
bill fled in Congress seeking an end
to labor contractualizaton. House
Bill 4396, authored by Gabriela
Womens Partylist Reps. Luz Ilagan
and Emmi de Jesus, is a revised ver-
sion of an earlier bill fled by the
late Rep. Crispin Beltran and former
Reps. Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza.
Salient points of the bill include a
clause preventng employers from
terminatng workers without just
cause, the setng up of a six-month
probatonary period for contractual
workers to become regularized, and
the repeal of Artcles 106-109 in
the Labor Code which gives license
to the Labor Secretary to authorize
so-called fexibilizaton of labor
under the guise of increasing ef-
fciency and streamlining opera-
tons. Indeed, Artcles 106-109 of
the Labor Code insttutonalize labor
contractualizaton as a state policy.
According to labor group Kilusang
Mayo Uno (KMU), the case of the
NXP workers is not just the viola-
ton of workers rights but the gov-
ernments collusion with big capital-
ists as shown in its inacton on labor
disputes. The government is stand-
ing idly by as violatons of trade-
union rights contnue to be commited.
The Center for Trade Union and Human
Rights (CTUHR), for its part, slammed
the unjust dismissal of the NXP union
leaders, saying that it is a deliberate
move to weaken union organizing in ex-
port processing zones.
The BS Aquino administratons ant-
worker and pro-capitalist government
and its contnued and more rabid subser-
vience to neoliberal policies will surely
bring forth a more aggressive policy of
labor contractualizaton and, in efect,
worsened wage depression and cheap
labor policy in favor of big local busi-
nesses and foreign-owned corporatons.
Under the BS Aquino administraton,
union-bustng schemes were also em-
ployed in Carina Apparel Inc. and Hoya
Glass Philippines, resultng in the re-
trenchment of 3,600 workers in February
and 2,600 workers in April, respectvely.
For four years, BS Aquino has consis-
tently rejected demands for a signifcant
wage hike and has instead implement-
ed so-called non-wage benefts which
come from workers taxes and premium
contributons. It has taken great advan-
tage of chronic unemployment to co-
erce workers into acceptng starvaton
wages and slave-like conditons in the
workplace, contractualizaton and union
rights violatons.
Weakened economy,
intensifed chronic crisis
aggravate forced migraton
The problem lies in the BS Aquino gov-
ernments perpetuaton of a semi-feudal
semi-colonial economy through its re-
fusal to implement genuine land reform
and natonal industrializaton to gener-
ate decent employment. The countrys
economic situaton has not improved
under BS Aquinos policies. Develop-
ment policies, including the Philippine
Development Plan (2011-2016), contn-
ue to rely heavily on foreign investment,
export-import dependence, debt and
the so-called free market. BS Aquinos
essental economic thrust is clear-cut:
strict adherence to policies of neoliberal
globalizaton, implement these more
thoroughly and systematcally through
his Private-Public Partnership (PPP), and
more recently, through a proposal for a
charter change.
This explains why a more intensifed
and aggressive labor export policy has
been further entrenched in the BS Aquino
administraton. Through remitances from
overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the gov-
ernment earns exponentally without hav-
ing to shell out much capital investment.
The BS Aquino administraton, while
mouthing local job generaton as its
core program to eliminate unemploy-
Country 2008 2009 2010 2011
United States 7,825,607 7,323,661 7,862,207 3,232,073
Canada 1,308,692 1,900,963 2,022,611 830,863
Saudi Arabia 1,387,120 1,470,571 1,544,343 616,193
United Kingdom 776,354 859,612 888,959 382,347
Japan 575,181 773,561 882,996 381,192
UAE 621,232 644,822 775,237 307,964
Singapore 523,951 649,943 734,131 317,786
Italy 678,539 521,297 550,515 242,411
Germany 304,644 433,488 448,204 194,475
Hong Kong 406,134 339,552 362,524 148,873
Top 10 OFW remittance-sending countries
Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Trend in Remittances
Source: POEA, BSP
Tinig ng Migrante
Graph from BSP Consumer Expectations Report, 2013
Relationship of Remittances to Other Philippine External Income
ment, contnues to hail the remitance
boom to further promote labor export.
To do this, it has become more aggres-
sive in lobbying for job markets abroad
in the past four years. Even funds for la-
bor outmigraton management through
agencies such as the Philippine Over-
seas Employment Administraton and
the Overseas Workers Welfare Admin-
istraton (OWWA) are directly sourced
from OFWs or recruitment agencies and
employers through various fees.
However, the so-called remitance
boom does not necessarily translate
to economic growth, nor does it au-
tomatcally translate to higher invest-
ments or economic relief for families
of OFWs factors that are supposed to
have contributed greatly to the Gross
Domestc Product (GDP) growth.
The latest survey of the BSPs Con-
sumer Expectatons Survey conducted
on the second quarter of 2013 showed
that the increase of households in the
higher-income group with savings was
overshadowed by the decline in savings
among households in the low- and mid-
dle-income groups. Of the total num-
ber of 5,884 number of households,
525 respondents in the survey were
remitance-dependent families. Of this
number, 95.4% said that remitances
from their relatves abroad were spent
mainly for food, 67% for educaton,
54.9% for medical expenses, and 42.1%
for debt payments. The percentage of
remitance-dependent families that
used remitances for savings fell signif-
cantly, from 42.5% to 39.4% during the
frst quarter of 2013.
The latest BSP report also showed that
OFW households that alloted part of
their remitances for investments such as
the purchase of real estate and other real
propertes sufered a steep drop com-
pared to previous years. Savings, if any,
were prioritzed for emergency, educa-
ton and hospitalizaton.
With the contnuous spates of onerous
price hikes of basic utlites, tuiton fee in-
creases and privatzaton of services and
hospitals, and in the wake of the devas-
taton brought by supertyphoon Yolanda
and other calamites, this fgure is expect-
ed to further decline in the coming years.
Further, although annual OFW remit-
tances increased amid the global eco-
nomic crisis, its growth rate has been
decreasing in recent years. From a 25%
record growth in 2005, it dropped to a
lowest 5.6% in 2009, a year afer the
global economic erupted. In the US
where 50% of remitances originate, the
growth rate had decreased from 7.8 %
in 2008 to 7.3% in 2009. It had a slight
increase to 7.9% in 2010 but has been
sufering a steady decline since the US
debt crisis ensued.
The contnuing decrease in growth rate
of remitances is a constant worry for the
Aquino government. If the trend contn-
ues, the government will be in big trouble
because it relies mainly on remitances for
foreign exchange revenues.
Policy-wise, there are no indicatons
that BS Aquino would instll much-need-
ed reforms to curb forced migraton and
deviate from a policy of labor export. If
anything, the Philippine economys de-
pendence on labor outmigraton and re-
mitances has become unparalleled un-
der the BS Aquino administraton.
Tinig ng Migrante
GURO, or Grupo ng mga Gurong
Umuusig kay Rodriguez, bewailed
the Makat RTCs release order for
trafcker Isidro L. Rodriguez, dated
April 14, on grounds that the frst
batch of teachers who fled an es-
tafa and illegal recruitment in large
scale against him failed to appear as
witnesses in court.
GURO represents at least 200
teachers who were victmized by
Rodriguez. Rodriguez, through his
agency Renaissance Stafng Sup-
port Center (formerly Great Provider
Service Exporters, which is licensed
by the Philippines Overseas Employ-
ment Administraton), was able to
dupe hundreds of teachers by ofer-
ing them fcttous jobs in the United
States. Rodriguez was able to collect
an average of P500,000 from each of
his victms. He recruited teachers in
batches, with each batch consistng
of about 10 to 15victms. Migrante
Internatonal is currently aware of
at least 20 batches in the Philippines
and some 70 teachers in the US who
have fled cases against him.
Some of the teachers were able
to leave the country, only to realize
that no jobs awaited them in the US.
The US-based teachers have already
fled human trafcking cases against
Rodriguez in the US and some have
been granted T-Visas (trafcked visas)
by US courts. Meanwhile,majority of
the teachers remain in the country
and only learned about Rodriguez
treachery when he was arrested
last November 2013. The Philippine-
based teachers have fled case upon
case of estafa and illegal recruitment
in large scale against Rodriguez et
al, while three batches have already
fled trafcking in persons cases
against him.
GURO questoned the Makat RTCs
dismissal of the frst case, People of
Anatomy of Forced Migration:
The case of traffcked Filipino teachers to the US
group of teachers victmized by an elaborate trafcking scheme today
launched a manhunt for their trafcker afer he was released from
detenton following the dismissal of a case against him by the Makat
Regional Trial Court.
the Philippines versus Isidro L.Rodriguez,
docketed criminal case nos. 13-2830 to
13-2834. They learned that the frst batch
of teacher-complainants came into setle-
ment with Rodriguez. While this may be
true and is very unfortunate, there is no
logic and justce behind the release order
when the Makat RTC, the PNP-CIDG and
the Department of Justce are fully aware
that there are numerous other pending
cases against Rodriguez. Also, under the
amended Migrant Workers Act (Republic
Act 10022), since Rodriguez was arrested
via entrapment, investgators and his ar-
restors can act as witnesses against himin
the absence of witnesses.
Rodriguez remains at large to date.
He was expected to appear at previous
hearings of the trafcking cases against
him but failed to atend.
The specifcs of each case vary
slightly, but all follow a disturbingly
similar trajectory:
A licensed recruitment agency like
Great Provider and Renaissance will re-
cruit and process applicatons from po-
tental victms. The local agency will af-
fliate itself with a foreign agency in the
US, usually also controlled or founded by
the local agencys owner. It will introduce
itself as having connectons with employ-
ers, or in this case, schools, in Washing-
ton, DC or other states in the US.
The local agency will ensure that it
appears, for all intents and purposes,
legitmate. It will open an online adver-
tsement and will strive to maintain its
good standing status in the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administraton
(POEA). Should anyone complain, caus-
ing the cancellaton of its license, the
owner or the same people who founded
the agency will be able to get another
license from the POEA by registering an-
other agency with a diferent name.
In transactng with the applicants, the
agency will ensure that they pay an ini-
tal deposit, usually the biggest amount
that they will be asked to pay in the
whole applicaton process. They will call
this the processing fee, in the case of
the teachers amountng to USD$6,500.
This will be the point of no return for
the applicants. They will not be able to
easily retract their applicatons because
they already invested a huge amount of
money acquired through debts with
onerous interest rates.
To evade suspicion and preempt pro-
tests, the agency will give the applicants
false hope by staging a detailed and
comprehensive applicaton process
seminars, updates with the US embassy,
meetngs with employers, and if need-
ed, deploy a handful of applicants
toleave the country. Through these, the
applicants will contnue to be at the
agencys mercy and the modus operandi
is maintained. The victms are lef with
no choice but to shell out more money to
fulfll all requirements, and the agency
retains its good standing status at the
POEA. In other words, the agencys ille-
gal processes are legalized.
A modus operandi as intricate and so-
phistcated as this cannot be made pos-
sible if Rodriguez is not in cahoots with
agencies such as the POEA, US Embassy,
the Bureau of Immigraton, among oth-
ers, as well as connectons with parale-
gal services in the US.
Most of the teachers victmized by
Rodriguez are teachers from public or
small private schools. While they do
have job security and regular incomes,
they stll chose to apply for teaching
jobs abroad even if it meant going into
debts or mortgaging their meager prop-
ertes. Why?
According to the Alliance of Concerned
Teachers (ACT), a licensed teacher receives
only Php18,549 in salary every month.
This amount is a far cry from the monthly
allowance, for example, of a high school
cadet in the Philippine Military Academy
who receives Php21,709 a month.
According to a study by Ibon Founda-
ton, Php1,054 or Php31,620 per month
is needed to fulfll the Family Living
Tinig ng Migrante
Wage (FLW) in the Natonal Capital Re-
gion (NCR). The teachers salaries are
certainly not enough to fulfll their fami-
lies monthly needs.
Meanwhile, for fscal year 2014, BS
Aquino enjoys Php1.1 trillion in presiden-
tal pork while only Php3.2 billion is allot-
ted to fund teachers proposed 75% sal-
ary increase for salary grade Teacher 1.
Patronage politcs and cronyism are
basic characteristcs of a semi-colonial
semi-feudal order practces that BS
Aquino have promoted, protected and
benefted from despite his posturing of
good governance and tuwid na daan.
The use of politcal power and privi-
lege for personal gain or politcal fa-
vors for the kamag-anak, kaklase,
kabarilan remains rampant under the
BS Aquino regime. His ant-corrupton
rhetoric now rings hollow amid obvious
atempts by the government at cover-
ups and whitewash involving the pork
barrel scam. What has become more
clear now is that, a year since the disclo-
sure of the pork barrel scam, corrupton
and dirty politcs contnue under the BS
Aquino administraton.
The pork barrel scam has evolved into
a more complex web of lies, deceit and
exploitaton of the Filipino people, with
BS Aquino and his allies in full control.
The pork barrel is stll present in the
2014 budget, only this tme concentrat-
ed within and controlled by the Execu-
tve branch. The governments selectve
prosecuton of politcal foes, while pro-
tectng the likes of administraton allies
Sec. Abad and Sec. Alcala, whose names
appeared in the notorious Napolist,
has caused widespread doubt and skep-
tcism among the public of the BS Aqui-
no governments sincerity and politcal
will to punish all plunderers.
Since BS Aquino took ofce in 2010,
allocaton for the Priority Development
Assistance Fund (PDAF) increased expo-
nentally. The biggest chunk of this al-
locaton went to the presidental pork.
According to a study by the Philippine
Center for Investgatve Journalism
(PCIJ), 57% of the natonal budget went
to discretonary special purpose funds,
unprogrammed funds and lump-sum
funds under the presidental pork. For
the 2014 fscal year, in the Php2.6 tril-
lion natonal budget, Php1 trillion in un-
programmed and lump-sum funds again
went to the presidental pork.
Former Natonal Treasurer Leonor
Briones broke down the Php1-trillion
presidental pork into the following:
(1) SPFs -- Budgetary support to state-
owned corporatons; Allocatons to local
government units; Calamity fund; Con-
tngent fund; DepEd school building pro-
gram; E-government fund; Internatonal
commitments fund; Miscellaneous per-
sonnel benefts fund; Pension and gra-
tuity fund; PDAF; at, Feasibility studies
fund. (2) Unprogrammed funds -- Bud-
getary support to government-owned
and controlled corporatons; Support to
foreign-assisted projects; General fund
adjustments; Support for infra projects
and social programs; AFP moderniza-
ton program; Debt management pro-
gram; Risk management program; and,
Year Total numbers of
OFWs deployed
Land-based Sea-based
2010 1,470,826 740,632 229,002
2011 1,850,463 740,632 247,983
2012 1,062,567 788,070 274,497
Source: POEA
Corruption and dirty politics
in daang matuwid
In search of jobs, higher wages and
livelihood, the number of OFWs has in-
creased signifcantly since BS Aquino
took ofce. By 2012, at least one-fourth
of the countrys labor force has gone
abroad to fnd work. According to the
Labor Department, there are now 12
million OFWs abroad. Migrante Interna-
tonal pegs the number of overseas Filipi-
nos between 12 to 15 million, to include
undocumented OFWs. The Internatonal
Organizaton for Migraton (IOM) stll
places the Philippines as the fourth lead-
ing migrant-sending country in the world,
next only to China, Mexico and India. Ac-
cording to data from the POEA, 1.5 mil-
lion Filipinos were deployed abroad on
the start of BS Aquinos term in 2010.
This fgure is 50,000 or 3.4 % higher than
the deployment rate in 2009.
Under the BS Aquino administra-
ton, the number of OFWs leaving
the country increased from 2,500
daily in 2010 to 4,884 in 2013. In
2013, the BS Aquino government
has breached the two million mark
in deployment of OFWs for a year,
the highest record in history.
Peoples survivial fund. These are
all under the complete discreton
of the president and do not have to
undergo scrutny by the Commis-
sion on Audit (COA). The trillion-
peso presidental pork is on top of
the funds alloted for the Ofce of
the President in the General Appro-
priatons Act, amountng to Php2.8
trillion for 2014.
In 2010, BS Aquino gave the big-
gest pork barrel to congressmen,
senators and local government units
who delivered the biggest votes for
him and his allies in the previous
electons. They also enjoyed the
largest funds for their Pantawid
Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or the
conditonal cash transfer, ballooning
its budget to Php23 billion in 2011
despite proposals to junk the pro-
gram due to allegatons of corrup-
ton. During BS Aquinos frst two
years as president, large sums of
pork allocaton, now revealed as the
Malacanang-concocted Disburse-
ment Acceleraton Program (DAP),
were given as bonuses to solons
who voted to impeach former Su-
preme Court Justce Renato Corona.
BS Aquino has favored his cronies,
allies, big businesses and the ruling
elite in the awarding of infrastrac-
ture contracts under the Public-Pri-
vate Partnership Program. The most
lucratve PPP contracts were award-
ed to his biggest contributors in the
Tinig ng Migrante
2010 presidental electons among
them, Danding Cojuangco, Henry Sy,
Manuel Pangilinan, the Ayalas and
other big businesses. Even rehabili-
taton and reconstructon eforts in
the wake of supertyphoon Yolanda
were also awarded to these same
benefciaries. Such PPP negotatons
were allegedly brokered by his sis-
ters and closest allies as in the cas-
es of Ballsy Aquinos involvement in
the purchase of new trains for the
MRT-3 project, and Executve Sec.
Paquito Ochoas hand in the award-
ing of huge infrastrature contracts
to his brother-in-law Jojo Acuzar of
the New San Jose Builders.
Despite these, BS Aquino signed
Administratve Order 31, calling on
all government heads and agencies
to ratonalize the rates of their fees
and charges, increasing their rates
and impose new fees and charges.
He has incessantly raised taxes and
imposed state exactons while his
administratons tax policies are
heavily tlted to favor big business.
According to IBON, at least 40% of
the top 100 companies in the Philip-
pines are not included in the Bureau
of Internal Revenues top 500 cor-
porate taxpayers, while foreign cor-
poratons, including oil and mining
companies, are among the biggest
benefciaries of tax exemptons.
The BS Aquino administratons
blatant plunder of public funds is an
unforgivable crime against the peo-
ple considering the contnuous de-
cline in the quality of social services.
This is especially scandalous for
OFWs who have been getng a
share of less than one % (1%) of
aggregate funds in the natonal
budget since 2010. Each OFW only gets
roughly Php260 per capita spending per
fscal year. Since 2010, the BS Aquino
government has slashed funds for direct
services to OFWs, and passed on the
burden to OFWs through various fees
and collectons.
A study by Migrante Internatonal est-
mated that since 2010 the BS Aquino gov-
ernment has been collectng an average
of at least Php26,267 from every OFW
processed by the POEA. This amount was
higher than the average Php18,000 the
government collected before 2010.
With the recent increases in the Phil-
health premium, NBI clearance fees,
e-passport fees, barangay clearance
fees, and the mandatory contributons
to Pag-Ibig, OWWA and mandatory in-
surance, among other requirements,
the average cost for every OFW for the
processing of their Overseas Employ-
ment Certfcates (OECs) has reached
an estmated Php30,000. If 4,884 OFWs
leave daily to work abroad, the govern-
ment now earns an average of Php146.5
million a day from processing fees and
other costs shouldered by OFWs, even
before they leave the country.
Aside from the hike in costs of require-
ments for the OEC, other fees and tax
schemes being imposed on OFWs include
the afdavit of support (AOS) in UAE, Ma-
cau and some parts of Europe and the
discriminatory P75 Comelec certfcate of
registraton, other onerous fees specif-
cally charged to seafarers and entertain-
ers, and House Bill 3576 dubbed as the
forced remitance bill.
Ironically, the further insttutonaliza-
ton of state exactons and tax imposi-
tons has not translated to improved
welfare services for OFWs in distress.
Unresolved cases of OFWs contnue
to pile up at the POEA, Natonal Labor
Relatons Commission (NLRC), OWWA
and the DFA. OFWs are plagued with
an assortment of issues and problems
throughout the entre migraton cycle
yet the BS Aquino government has bare-
ly done any decisive acton to support
and protect migrant workers and their
families. The BS Aquino governments
ability to uphold Filipino migrants rights
and promote their welfare has lagged
behind its apparent success in money-
making schemes.
State exactons have caused OFWs and
their families to become debt-ridden,
contributng greatly to the widespread
landlessness and poverty of many. It is
not unheard of for peasant families to
mortgage or sell their small parcels of
land or to submit their children to un-
paid labor just to be able to pay debt-
ors or produce the sum needed to pay
for exorbitant pre-departure and place-
ment fees. The contnuous onslaught of
state exactons on OFWs, combined with
the BS Aquino governments lack of wel-
fare service and assistance to OFWs in
distress and the overall economic con-
ditons of OFWs and their families amid
widespread corrupton and criminal ne-
glect of the government are enough rea-
sons for Filipino migrants to call for BS
Aquino to step down from ofce.
Fees charged to OFWs for the Overseas Employment Contract (OEC)
Basic document requirements (approximate) P12,000
E-passport (minimum) P1,200
OWWA fee (USD $25) P1,100
POEA fee (for new hires) P7,500
Pag-ibig mandatory contribution P600
Mandatory insurance coverage (minimum premium USD $144) P6,336
Philhealth premium P1,400
TOTAL P30,136
Source: Migrante International estimates, 2014
Tinig ng Migrante
BS Aquinos remorseless subservience
to US-imposed policies and dictates has
totally stripped the country of its sover-
eignty and independence, and has fur-
ther endangered the lives of millions of
OFWs around the world.
The BS Aquino administratons recent
signing into the Enhanced Defense Co-
operaton Agreement (EDCA) and its un-
derhanded tactcs to implement charter
change (cha-cha) are paving the way for
US re-occupaton and re-colonizaton of
the Philippines. History is testament to
how US military occupaton and domi-
naton over natonal industries and
lands have undermined natonal patri-
mony and sovereignty.
Under the EDCA, a much bigger, un-
inhibited and unlimited number of US
troops and their armaments are allowed
to be statoned on Philippine soil. US
troops can now easily set up base virtu-
ally anywhere in the country for an indef-
inite period of tme. Needless to say, US
military presence in the Philippines has
never been more strongly established
than under BS Aquinos presidency.
The EDCA is much worse than the
return of the former US bases in Clark
and Subic that were expelled from Phil-
ippine soil afer the historic rejecton
of the Philippine Senate of the bases
agreement in 1991. It in fact multplies
US military presence beyond the 1947
Military Bases Agreement. Under the
EDCA, US troops are allowed to prep-
ositon and store military equipment
inside Philippine military bases; and,
to exercise operatonal control over
airfelds, ports, public roads and other
agreed locatons, including those used
for civilan purposes. It will convert Phil-
ippine military bases into US bases and,
worse, will turn the entre country into
one huge US facility.
Since he took ofce, BS Aquino has
dangled the China bogey to jus-
tfy military and defense decisions it
has made. The EDCA is supposed to
modernize the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and, thus, increase
its chances of defending the country
against Chinas incursions. However, no-
where in the EDCA does it state that US
troops are required to come to the AFPs
aid should any atack take place. Even
US Pres. Barrack Obama was not able to
give a categorical response when asked
by Philippine media during his state visit
this year. Critcs argue that then, as now,
there is no imminent threat of a China
invasion. And even if the threats were
genuine, the Philippines should be able
to assert its sovereignty from territorial
threats on its own terms, instead of al-
lowing itself to become a batleground
of US proxy wars in light of the US mili-
tary pivot to the Asia Pacifc.
The US governments contnued vested
interest in the Middle East-North Africa
(MENA) region, for instance, is cause for
unending conficts in the said countries
imperiling the lives and welfare of tens of
thousands of OFWs in the region.
The Department of Foreign Afairs
(DFA) recently again raised the crisis
alert in Libya and Iraq to Alert Levels 3
and 4, respectvely, or mandatory and
voluntary repatriaton for OFWs. Alert
Levels 3 and 4 also mean the impositon
of a total deployment ban of OFWs to
Iraq and Libya.
The Philippine government frst en-
forced a total ban to Iraq in 2003, during
the Gulf War. In 2004, Iraqi insurgents
fghtng the US-led overthrow of Saddam
Hussein kidnapped OFW Angelo dela
Cruz and condemned then Pres. Gloria
Arroyos support for the US. In 2011, the
total ban was partally lifed to allow the
deploymen of OFWs partcularly in US
military bases. Another total ban was
imposed in 2012, and it was only last
year that the total ban was lifed, al-
lowing the processing of job orders
from Iraq. There are currently ap-
proximately 10,000 OFWs in Iraq.
Dela Cruz had said then that the
confict in Iraq will not simply end be-
cause what the Iraqis want is for US
troops to leave. The situaton is stll
the same now. Since the overthrow
of Hussein and the installaton of a
US-backed government, violence in
Iraq has erupted tme and again. For
as long as the US government refus-
es to leave Iraq to fend for its own,
confict in the region will not end.
The most recent crisis in Iraq is yet
another civil war waitng to happen,
with the US goverment at its helm.
Pres. Obama had already hinted of
a possible military acton targetng
Iraq. Presently, the US aircraf carrier
USS George H.W. Bush and its strike
groups have been spoted in the Ara-
bian Sea, presumably waitng to act
on Obamas orders on Iraq.
Meanwhile, Libya, where an est-
mated 13,122 OFWs are located, has
largely remained in confict. At the
height of the Libya civil war in 2011,
the US government was accused of
funding terrorists to sow violence and
confict in the country. Libyas Gadhaf
was a staunch ant-imperialist leader
who was outspoken about his objec-
ton to US policies.
Like before, OFWs in crisis-riddled
countries Iraq, Libya, Syria, Kuwat,
Afghanistan are caught between
EDCA and Cha-cha:
Unparalleled surrender of
sovereignty and plunder
of patrimony
Tinig ng Migrante
the devil and the turbulent sea. They
lef despite risks posed in working in
these countries because of worsen-
ing domestc unemployment. And
like before, a number of them will
surely opt to stay because no jobs
await them should they decide to
return. OFWs contnue to be placed
in precarious conditons in these coun-
tries due to US interventonist wars to
protect its vested interests, and the BS
Aquino administratons dogged sup-
port for the US contnue to place them
in dangerous situatons.
The Aquino governments rail-
roading of cha-cha, on the other
hand, will allow 100% foreign own-
ership and control of lands, busi-
nesses, industries and resources
and will make Filipinos squaters in
their own homeland.
Cha-cha will also pave the way for
the signing of the US-PH Transpacifc
Partnership in trade which will fur-
ther aggravate forced migraton and
the labor export policy. It will mean
a more systematc and no-holds-
barred privatzaton, deregulariza-
ton and denatonalizaton of the
countrys resources, lands and indus-
tries which will result in massive un-
employment, wage depression, land-
lessness and dismal social services.
Once again, the BS Aquino admin-
istratons recourse will again be to
further seek job markets abroad and
intensify its labor export policy at the ex-
pense of the rights and welfare of OFWs.
The labor export policy is nothing but a
big business venture, which cha-cha will
allow without restricton or obstructon,
from which both the US and PH govern-
ments proft, with OFWs as milking cows.
The BS Aquino administraton has a
habit of labelling its policies with blatant
misnomers, and its peace and develop-
ment program is no excepton.
In 2011, the regime, through the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),
claimed to have fashioned a counter-
insurgency program that is focused on
winning the peace, not just defeatng
the enemy. Oplan Bayanihan, which
will run untl the end of BS Aquinos
term in 2016, is said to prioritze on non-
combat strategies. Unlike its predeces-
sors Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, which
drew the ire and condemnaton of hu-
man rights groups and the internatonal
community for numerous gross human
rights violatons, the AFP promises to
operate under the premise of protect-
ing human rights and respectng inter-
natonal humanitarian laws.
Oplan Bayanihan is paterned afer
the Unites States Counter-Insurgency
Guide of 2009 (US COIN Guide 2009). It
supposedly banks mainly on two strat-
egies: the whole of naton approach
and people-centered approach. As
such, Oplan Bayanihan involves a so-
called mult-stakeholder approach that
would include various stakeholders in
the promoton of peace and develop-
ment, namely, government agencies,
the AFP, civil society organizaton and
the general Filipino public with the aim
to end insurgency through civic-military
operatons, social services, relief and re-
habilitaton eforts and the like.
Fast forward to 2014. The AFP is now
tangled in a web of its own lies and bro-
ken promises when it declared that the
Oplan Bayanihan is stll focusing on triad
operatons to combat insurgency. Triad
operatons involve the employment of a
combinaton of combat and non-combat
operatons that are far from being peo-
ple-centered. Non-combat and intelli-
gence operatons mainly serve to fortfy
military intelligence and intensify milita-
rizaton of civilian communites.
Oplan Bayanihan turned out to be
no diferent from, and is actually worse
than, Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2. Un-
der ostensible peace and security op-
eratons, the AFP uses it to deceive the
masses, vilify revolutonary movements
as well progressive and actvist organiza-
tons, increase the mobilizaton of civil-
ian enttes for counter-insurgency and
intelligence networks, and deodorize
the AFPs image.
The BS Aquino administraton aimed
to project Oplan Bayanihan as pro-
peace and pro-people progam but has
failed miserably. Human rights group
KARAPATAN records 192 victms of ex-
trajudicial killings (EJKs) since BS Aquino
took ofce, 21 of whom were victm-
ized in the frst quarter of 2014 alone.
Most of the victms were farmers and
indigenous peoples who fought for their
land, environmental protecton from big
mining companies and foreign corpora-
tons, and those who denounced human
rights violatons by state perpetrators.
Recently, more than 1,300 Manobos
were forcibly evacuated from their com-
munites in Talaingod, Davao del Norte
afer a series of indiscrimintate aerial
bombings, frings and other rights viola-
tons by the 68th Infrantry Batalion, 60th
IB PA of the 1003rd Brigade and the 4th
Oplan Bayanihan: Anti-peace,
Tinig ng Migrante
Oust the US-BS Aquino
Special Forces of the AFP since March 3,
2014. In the whole of Mindanao, Oplan
Bayanihans direct detrimental efect is
the deployment of fve divisions, or an
estmated 60%, of AFP forces. According
to the AFP, their concentraton in Min-
danao, partcularly in the Davao region,
is aimed at annihilatng strongholds
of the New Peoples Army (NPA), the
armed wing of the Communist Party of
the Philippines (CPP). As a result, towns
and villages where the AFP are situated
sufer the most number of human rights
violatons by the governments military
and para-military forces.
What is happening now in Talaingod
and the massive militarizaton of coun-
trysides underline the urgent need for
the BS Aquino government to resume
peace talks with the Natonal Democrat-
ic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), some-
thing that the Philippine government
has unfortunately blatantly abandoned.
Countless human rights violatons show
the BS Aquino administratons uter
disregard for previously signed agree-
ments such as the Joint Agreement on
Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG)
and the Comprehensive Agreement on
Respect for Human Rights and Interna-
tonal Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),
among others. The recent arrest of
Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, se-
nior leaders of the CPP and NDFP peace
consultants, is another testament to
the BS Aquino governments contempt
and insincerity in working for a just and
lastng peace. For the BS Aquino gov-
ernment, capitulaton and ceasefre are
preconditons to peace talks.
The peace deal between the Aquino
government and the Moro Islamic Lib-
eraton Front (MILF), for instance, gives
much emphasis ondecommissioning,
or the surrendering of arms of the MILF.
Artcle No. 5 of the GPH-MILF Frame-
work Agreement on normalizaton
states, The MILF shall undertake a grad-
uated program for decommissioning of
its forces so that they are put beyond
use. This, while the BS Aquino govern-
ment contnues to circumvent key issues
in the peace deal that are instrumen-
tal in addressing the root causes of the
centuries-oldBangsamoro confict.
The stalled GPH-NDFP peace nego-
tatons, on the other hand, should by
now have tabled the second substan-
tve agenda in the peace talks socio-
economic reforms addressing the root
causes of the communist insurgency. BS
Aquinos low prioritzaton of the peace
talks with the NDFP is yet another indi-
caton of its unwillingness to go beyond
rhetorics, propaganda and psywar. In es-
sence, the regimes peace and develop-
ment agenda is nothing but a program
for pacifcaton and a cover-up of the
actual fundamental problems of a semi-
feudal semi-colonial system. Its main
objectve is to crush armed revoluton
and other movements struggling against
ant-natonal, ant-masses and ant-
democratc rule. All that Oplan Bayani-
han is ofering are superfcial solutons
that do nothing to address the historical
and real problems of landlessness,
lack of social services, poverty, op-
pression and injustce.
To achieve a just and lastng peace,
the BS Aquino government should
take up the core issues of rebellion
and armed conficts. It should fo-
cus on genuine land reform, decent
wages, social justce and the right to
self-determinaton. Without these,
the deterioratng socio-economic
and politcal conditons in the coun-
try will further fuel the peoples re-
sistance and unrest.
BS Aquino should be made ac-
countable for his ant-people and
pro-imperialist regime that contn-
ues to perpetuate and worsen the
chronic crisis of the semi-feudal
semi-colonial economy. His sub-
servience to imperialist dictates to
the extent of allowing 100% foreign
ownership of lands and industries
and the re-occupaton of US military
troops in the country should be ve-
hemently opposed and fought.
BS Aquinos cacique presidency
and patronage leadership make him
responsible for massive corrupton
in government in favor of big busi-
nesses and politcal cronies amid
widespread poverty and hunger. He
is primarily accountable for the gov-
ernments criminal neglect of mil-
lions of Filipino people who sufered
from calamites and catastrophies.
BS Aquino should be made ac-
countable for the contnuous rising
costs of health care, educaton and
other social services as a result of
privatzaton and deregulaton. He
should be denounced for impos-
ing labor contractualizaton and a
wage-freeze policy amid price hikes
and various state exactons and tax
impositons. As an haciendero presi-
dent, he can never be expected to
implement genuine land reform but
will instead contnue to condone
land-grabbing, land transformaton
and the plunder of the environment
and natural resources.
Tinig ng Migrante
BS Aquino should be
condemned for wide-
spread human rights
abuses and atacks on
civil libertes in the use
of militarizaton against
the people. His is a fas-
cist government hiding
behind rhetorics for so-
called peace and devel-
These are the reasons
why Filipino im/migrants
and their families want
BS Aquino out. They do
not want him to remain
untl 2016. They know
that BS Aquino has the
capacity and gall to ex-
ploit his power over vari-
ous government agencies
and sectors in society for
his politcal expediency
and to escape account-
ability. Filipinos around
the world are now resolved more
than ever to work more vigorously
to compel him to resign, have him
impeached or ousted from power.
Migrante Internatonal fully sup-
ports the establishment of a transi-
ton council that will hold BS Aquino
responsible for all his crimes against
the Filipino people. A transiton
council borne out of a broad mass
movement that can facilitate clean
and honest electons for regime
History has proven twice that
the Filipino people can succeed in
efectng regime change: in over-
throwing the fascist Marcos dictatorship
in 1986 and oustng the corrupt Estrada
regime in 2001. History has also proven
the signifcant role of the Filipino mi-
grant sector all over the world in suc-
cessfully exposing and opposing puppet,
corrupt and fascist presidents. By bring-
ing to the fore the demands and plight
of OFWs compelled by dire situatons in
the country to leave their families in or-
der to work abroad; by fghtng for their
rights abroad and struggling against
modern-day slavery, exploitaton, dis-
criminaton and oppression; by exposing
and opposing government neglect and
abandonment of OFWs in distress; and,
by arousing, organizing and mobilizing
Filipinos all over the world
to unite and fght, Filipinos
all over the world, compris-
ing of more than 10% of
the populaton and situated
in more than 100 countries,
are a potent politcal force
for the ouster of the US-BS
Aquino regime and, ult-
mately, for the struggle for
natonal democracy.
The Filipino migrant sec-
tors struggle is not isolated
from the struggle of other
sectors in society. The prob-
lems of the Filipino migrant
sector are deeply rooted in
the fundamental problems of
Philippine society. Its strug-
gle for dignity, rights and
welfare, against government
neglect and against forced
migraton play a very impor-
tant role in the struggle for
genuine freedom and naton-
al democracy. The only soluton to the
problems of the Filipino migrant sector
is genuine social change so that families
would not have be separated and broken
apart in order to survive.
To genuinely address the problem
of forced migraton, economic policies
should focus on developing the natonal
economy by advancing local industries,
agriculture and basic services. Migrante
Internatonal fully supports the call and
struggle for natonal industrializaton and
genuine land reform as the ultmate solu-
ton to the problem of forced migraton
and to end the labor export program. n