TINIG NG MIGRANTE

Published by:

Migrante International

JULY 2012 ISSUE

SUMA:
D
Underdevelopment and forced migration

Summing-up of the State of Migrants Under Aquino (2010- June 2012)

espite his promises and posturing, President Benigno Aquino III, after two years in office, had done nothing to stem the tide of forced migration and instead pursued a more intensified, aggressive and sophisticated labor export policy than his predecessors.
not to mention those already unemployed and underemployed before this. According to the January 2012 Labor Force Survey (LFS), 64.3 percent is unemployed and actively looking for jobs. Most of the unemployed are fresh graduates, young and educated – some half are aged 15 to 24 years while 30 percent is 25 to 34 years old. The number of jobless and underemployed Filipinos increased by over 600,000 during Aquino’s first year in office. Those who land domestic jobs suffer very low wages. Since 2001, the gap between the mandated minimum wage and the family living wage (FLW) in the National Capital Region (NCR) had considerably widened. In 2001, minimum wage was 52 percent of the FLW; by end of 2011, the P426 NCR minimum wage was only 43 percent of the P993 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 inflation. The average family in NCR now lives on P22 to P37 a day. This indicates the poor quality of life that minimum wage earners in Metro Manila can afford. To conceal this striking reality, the government tried to obscure the number of impoverished Filipinos by lowering the official poverty line. However, the rising hunger and malnourishment rates belie any attempts to face-lift the figures. The gap between the rich
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By October 2011, an additional 1.35 million Filipinos have been forced to go abroad by sheer lack of opportunities, decent jobs and wages, livelihood and social services in the country. This figure is higher by 5.3 percent than the 1.281 million OFWs from January to October 2010. According to independent think-tank IBON Foundation, the number of jobless Filipinos has risen to unprecedented heights from 2001-2010 and continues to reach record-high levels under Aquino. Hundreds of thousands are underemployed. At least one-fourth of the country’s labor force has gone abroad to find work. At the end of 2010, 11.2 million Filipinos or 28 percent of the labor force was either unemployed or in search for additional jobs. On July 2011, the National Statistics Office (NSO) declared that the rate of unemployment increased from 7.0 percent in 2010 to 7.2 percent; 19.1 percent was underemployed, an increase from 2010’s 17.9 percent. One in every four Filipino workers was either jobless or underemployed. In his 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA), Aquino attempted to downplay the jobs crisis by claiming a lower unemployment rate (1.4 million jobs created). However, he failed to mention that the jobs created were disproportional to the ever-growing labor force (an additional 1.2 million by July 2011) and underemployed (an additional 829,000). This is

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and the poor has further widened, with the income of the top 1 percent of families equivalent to that of the bottom 30 percent of households, IBON said. Social service spending, moreover, has not improved under Aquino. The government has failed to allot enough resources to address shortages and insufficiencies in education, health, housing and welfare services. Social services’ share in the gross domestic product (GDP) has continued to drop in light of annual budget cuts and privatization of public utilities. Aquino claims that his administration’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program reduced poverty, an exaggerated and unscientific boast, if anything. Being a beneficiary of the CCT is not tantamount to a family emerging from below the poverty line. It is not sustaining and offers merely band-aid solutions to the problems of joblessness and low wages. Aquino also fails to mention that the cash dole-out supposedly for 100,000 families would only hold for five years, during and after which no prospective jobs, wages or livelihood are available to beneficiaries.

tries situated in six continents, namely, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Africa and Europe. The biggest population is located in the United States (3.5 million based on the 2010 US Census); next is Saudi Arabia (1.5 million based on POEA 2010 data); and Canada (639,686 based on 2009 CFO data). There is also a big concentration of Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Qatar, Malaysia, Japan, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the Philippines, about 30 to 40 percent of the 99 million population is remittance-dependent. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) places the Philippines as the fourth leading migrant-sending country in the whole world, next only to China, Mexico and India. According to data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 1.5 million Filipinos were deployed abroad in 2010. This figure is 50,000 or 3.4 percent higher than the deployment rate in 2009. Majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are deployed in Saudi Arabia (293,049), the UAE (201,214) and Hong Kong (101,340). Most are in the service sector (154,535) working as domestic workers, hotel and restaurant staff and caregivers; 129,647 are in manufacturing as factory workers; and 41,835 are professionals (doctors, nurses, teachers, etc). A closer look into overseas deployment data would show that of the total number deployed in 2010, 781,966 were re-hires while only 341,966 were new hires. The number of new hires decreased by 2.2 percent compared to 2009 (349,715) and 2008 (376,973) data. In the past three years, there was a slight decrease in the number of new hires de-

The present administration is also second place in terms of poor land distribution among post-Marcos regimes. Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Gil delos Reyes admits that they would not be able to finish land distribution in time for the 24th anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on June 10 – leaving some 500,000 hectares or almost half of DAR’s target for land distribution undistributed by 2014, affecting at least 1.1 million farmers. Table 2: Number of Deployed Landbased Overseas Filipino Workers by Major Occupational Category Perhaps the most controversial lands up for land New Hires (2004 – 2010) distribution are the Aquino-Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita that remain undistributed to this day despite favorable ruling by the Supreme Court for farmers and farm workers. This comes as no surprise from a president who hails from a landed clan and family of hacienderos. In search of jobs, higher wages and livelihoods, the number of Filipinos overseas and leaving everyday – and the amount of remittances they send back – has been on the rise over the last three decades. The Philippine economy’s dependence on labor outmigration and remittances has become unparalleled under the Aquino administration. Remittances and intensification of labor export According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are now 15 million Filipinos abroad. This figure is substantively higher than the 8.6 million recorded by the Center for Overseas Filipinos (CFO) in 2010, not including the 330,424 recorded number of seafarers in the same year. Migrante International (MI) pegs the number of overseas Filipinos between 12 to 15 million. For MI, DOLE may be bloating the figures to make it appear that employment rate abroad has increased. The CFO, on the other hand, may be brandishing lower numbers in an effort to obscure the annually increasing number of undocumented Filipino migrants all over the world. Of present, overseas Filipinos are scattered in at least 239 coun-

Source: POEA (2010)

ployed. In the first quarter of 2011, according to the POEA, only 380,188 new hires were deployed or 3.9 percent lower than the 395,189 number deployed during the same period in 2010. (See Table 3) The POEA attributed the decrease in the number of new hires to the global economic crisis that erupted in 2008. The downtrend in deployment in first quarter 2011, it said, was the result of the crisis in the Middle East-North Africa regions and the multiple disasters in Japan. The agency further said that the decrease in deployment of new hires should not be interpreted as a drop in demand for OFWs in the global market. In fact, by end of 2011, the POEA was confident that it had reached its target job orders and deployment for the year.

However, according to a study by MI, job orders have indeed decreased over the years, even before the global economic crisis transpired. This, however, did not stop FiliTable 1: Number of Filipinos overseas pinos from being forced to leave the country in search for “greener 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Permanent 2,736,528 2,807,356 2,865,412 3,187,586 3,391,338 3,556,035 3,692,527 3,907,842 4,056,940 pastures”, as the yearly increasing Temporary 3,049,622 3,167,978 3,385,001 3,599,257 3,651,727 3,802,345 4,133,970 3,636,259 3,864.068 growth rate of migration shows. Irregular 1,625,936 1,607,170 1,512,765 1,297,005 881,123 874,792 900,023 653,609 658,370 Aside from the average 4,500 who TOTAL 7,412,086 7,582,504 7,763,178 8,083,848 7,924,188 8,233,172 8,726,520 8,187,710 8,579,378 leave the country daily who pass Growth Rate 2.3% 2.4% 4.2% -2% 3.9% 6% -6.1% 4.8% through the POEA, millions depart Source: Center for OverseasFilipinos (2010) through irregular means. They are

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Table 3: Number of Deployed Overseas Filipino Workers by Type of Hiring (2008-2010)

Source: POEA (2010)

those who become victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment, who eventually become undocumented in their countries of transit or destination with the hope of landing jobs despite not having regular documents. Meanwhile, seafarers still constitute the 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 in the world. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Philippines is still the top source of seafarers. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 seafarers are added to the total deployment every year. Remittances from OFWs remain at record-high from 2001 until 2011 despite the global economic crisis. Statistics from the Bangko Sentral ng PilipiTable 4. nas (BSP) show that it had reached Number of seafarers a whopping US$20 billion by end of in the world, 2003 = 2011, from US$ 18.8 billion in 2010 1,250,000 or 67% of and US$17.3 billion in 2009. During deployment the first five months of 2011, an estiPhilippines 28.1% mated US$ 7.9 billion were remitted, Russia 6.8% 6.18 percent higher than remittances Ukraine 6.3% during the same period in 2010. According to the World Bank, the Philippines is the fourth biggest remittance-receiving country next to India, China and Mexico. It is no secret that the Philippine economy relies mainly on remittances to keep it afloat. By 2010, despite the global economic crisis, remittances had already made up 8.7 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP), surpassing the share of traditional exports of agricultural products. This can be attributed to the following factors: (a) OFWs compensate the dwindling dollar by sending more amounts to their families Table 5. Top 10 OFW Remittance-Sending Countries Country 1)United States 2)Canada 3)Saudi Arabia 4)United Kingdom 5)Japan 6)U.A.E. 7)Singapore 8)Italy 9)Germany 10)Hong Kong Source: BSP (2010) 2008 7,825,607 1,308, 692 1,387,120 776,354 575,181 621,232 523,951 678,539 304,644 406,134 2009 7,323,661 1,900,963 1,470,571 859,612 773,561 644,822 649,943 521,297 433,488 339,552 2010 7,862,207 2,022,611 1,544,343 888,959 882,996 775,237 734,131 550,515 448,204 362,524
China India Indonesia Poland Greece Turkey Myanmar Source: POEA 6.2% 5.0% 4.0% 3.5% 2.8% 2.5% 2.3%

back home; (b) OFWs get double or triple jobs to offset effects of the crisis in host countries; (c) OFWs resort to more borrowing/loaning to be able to send money home; (d) OFWs are now sending savings they had acquired over the years, if any; and, (e) the number of undocumented OFWs sending remittances back home has increased. Further, in a study made by the ILO, more and more OFWs have been looking for additional sources of income on top of their regular jobs in order to survive the global economic crisis. No matter, what is obscured

Table 6. OFW Remittance (2001-2010)

from these figures is the fact that increasing remittances means millions of Filipinos have to slave it out even harder in foreign shores just to up or continue sending money to their families. And the government cannot only but rejoice. However, although annual remittances increased amid the global economic crisis, its growth rate has been decreasing in recent years. From a 25 percent record growth in 2005, it dropped to a lowest 5.6 percent in 2009, a year after the global crisis erupted. (See Table 7) Jan-May 2011 3,232,073 830,863 616,193 382,347 381,192 307,964 317,786 242,411 194,475 148,873 In the US where 50 percent of remittances originates, the growth rate had decreased from 7.8 percent in 2008 to 7.3 percent in 2009. It had a slight increase to 7.9 percent in 2010 but has been suffering a steady decline since the country’s debt crisis ensued. The continuing decrease in growth rate is a constant worry for the Philippine government. If the trend continues, the government will be in big trouble because it relies mainly on remittances for its foreign exchange revenues.
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Table 7. Trend in Remittance

natural economic ‘compulsion’ of many Filipino workers to seek work wherever they can to survive does not require any strategic government thinking, planning or intervention. It is also notable how the migration phenomenon has spawned a vast industry of related services such as recruiters and remittance services, as well as created profitable opportunities for other private sector actors such as banks, real estate developers, telecommunication firms and malls – again, with little need for government attention. Instead, the Philippines’ labor export policy is disproportionately focused on maximizing the overall inflow of remittances as a development goal in itself without weighing this against the welfare of migrant workers and their families. Anti-migrant and neo-liberal policies The country’s economic situation has not improved under Aquino’s unreformed government policies. Development policies in the country, including Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016), continue to rely heavily on foreign investment, export-dependence, debt and the so-called free market – principles from which a more intensified and aggressive labor export policy is entrenched. Aquino’s essential economic thrust is clear-cut: stick to adherence to policies of neoliberal globalization, implement these more thoroughly and systematically than his predecessors, promote privatization through his Public-Private Partnership (PPP), and selectively implement social protection programs like the CCT. For OFWs, Aquino has employed the same impetus. The situation of OFWs has gone from bad to worse in Aquino’s two years. Since Aquino took his oath two years ago, it had been especially more grueling for OFWs and their families. Policy-wise, there are no indications that he would instill much-needed reforms to curb forced migration and deviate from a policy of labor export. Budget cuts During Aquino’s first two years, funds for direct services for OFWs were slashed in the National Expenditure Program. For fiscal year 2012, budget for OFWs only got a less than one percent share (0.17 percent) in the P1.8 trillion national budget. Direct services for OFWs from concerned government agencies, namely specific items under the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Justice (DOJ) as lead agency of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the Office of the President (OP), were decreased. Budget for OFW welfare and services in said agencies suffered an 18 percent cut (P792 million) from last year’s sum of P3.8 million. This translates to a pitiful per capita spending of P261.83 for 15 million overseas Filipinos. Moreover, while funds for welfare and services for OFWs decreased, increases were made in the DOLE and POEA budgets mainly for their “marketing and job placement” purposes. The national budget is one concrete manifestation of the government’s thrust to further intensify the

Source: POEA, BSP (2010)

This explains the Aquino administration’s desperation to further seek job markets abroad and intensify its labor export program. Through remittances, the government earns exponentially without having to shell
Table 8. Relationship of Remittances to Other Philippine External Income (Source: BSP, ADB, WORLD BANK, DOT, INQ7)

out much capital investment. Even funds for labor outmigration management through agencies such as the POEA or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are directly sourced from OFWs or recruitment agencies and employers through various fees. The Aquino administration, while mouthing local job generation as its core program to eliminate forced migration, continues to hail the ”remittance bonanza” to further promote labor export in the attempt to offset the downtrend in growth rate. To do this, it has become more aggressive in implementing labor export, hence, the Aquino administration’s active lobbying for job markets and signing of bilateral agreements with host countries in the past two years. Recently, it even lifted several deployment bans in perilous countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan in its greed for remittance inflow. Aside from overseas remittances, labor export provides a tempting alternative to the unemployed and underemployed. Because of this, the government is not obligated to create jobs that offer decent wages and instead it becomes convenient to evade responsibility of implementing policy reforms to turn the economy around. By its nature as the exercise of individual choice, albeit forced by circumstance, migration does not in and of itself require much government ‘investment’ and will occur even if the state does not devote substantial economic, financial, administrative and political resources. The

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government’s labor export policy despite declarations from Aquino that he will focus on local job generation and more incentives for returned OFWs to address forced migration. State exactions and double taxation Under Aquino, OFWs suffered more state exactions throughout the whole migration cycle. Since 2010, the government had imposed numerous other fees from OFWs pre- and post-departure – the increase in epassport fees, mandatory Pag-Ibig contributions, Philhealth premium cost hike, mandatory medical insurance, Affidavit of Support fees, to name a few. MI estimates an average of P20,000 collected for every OFW processed by the POEA. If 4,500 OFWs leave daily to work abroad, the government earns P90 million a day, or roughly P32.8 billion yearly, from processing fees and other costs shouldered by OFWs. State exactions have caused OFWs and their families to become debt-ridden, contributing 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 unpaid labor just to be able to pay debtors or produce the sum needed to pay for exorbitant pre-departure and placement fees. Government neglect of OFWs in distress For the first time in history, four Filipinos were executed abroad under one presidency. The number of Filipinos on death row has increased from 108 to 123. At least 7,000 Filipinos are languishing in jails abroad without legal assistance and at least 20,000 are stranded and awaiting repatriation. In his two years, the Aquino government failed to address the immediate evacuation and repatriation of OFWs affected by conflicts in the MENA region. The so-called “one-country team approach” of the DFA, DOLE and OWWA is non-functional, with the concerned agencies blaming each other for lapses and inaction in the urgent repatriation of OFWs. In the ongoing repatriation efforts for OFWs in Syria, for instance, the OWWA and the DFA offer conflicting information on the average deployment costs needed to negotiate with Syrian employers for the release of OFWs from their contracts. The OWWA said that it had set the average deployment cost at US$2,500 per OFW while the DFA pegged it at US$3,000 to US$4,000. Even the figures for total population of OFWs in Syria do not match. MI criticized discrepancies in the agencies’ official reports, saying that efforts will be futile if concerned agencies do not agree with basic facts. Poor rights and welfare service programs The Philippine government has been hailed for introducing migration policies that allegedly ensure the protection of its workers abroad and for displaying “good practices” that promote migrant workers’ protection. Its pre-departure orientation program (PDOS) has been commended as a useful model for offering protection that “begins at home”. The Aquino government has also been highly praised for its attempt to work with labor-receiving governments to formulate both formal and informal agreements meant to ensure that migrant workers conditions are within nationally and internationally-accepted standards. These, however, are more wishful thinking than reality. The truth is, OFWs are plagued with an assortment of issues and problems throughout the entire migration cycle yet the Aquino government has barely done any decisive action to support and protect its migrant workers and their families. The Aquino government’s ability to uphold Filipino migrants’ rights and promote their welfare has lagged behind its apparent

success in pursuing it labor export policy. The efforts and outcomes are uneven. On one hand, efforts are systematic, sustained and deliberate on regulatory matters facilitating the departure of migrants and receipt of remittances. These have resulted in record numbers of Filipinos overseas. On the other hand, efforts are spotty, partial and erratic on matters relating to giving migrants protection and support at home or abroad. There is even a lack of accurate, comprehensive and timely information about the migrant workers themselves. All these highlight the steady rise in violations of migrant rights. Many OFWs and migrant organizations have gone so far as to characterize the government as “criminally negligent” in its repeated abdication of taking primary responsibility for protecting migrants and their families. Despite these, the Aquino government continues to promote labor export. While it is also true that the country has a sophisticated and well-developed legal framework to protect the rights and welfare of migrants and their families, this has largely been pushed by force of circumstance of the rapidly increasing numbers of OFWs that have been victimized by violations of rights and the resounding clamor of a great number of OFWs, their families and advocates who have managed to organize among themselves. Particularly significant measures such as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (RA 10022, amended RA 8042), Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208) and the Overseas Absentee Voting Act (RA 9189) have not been implemented and fulfilled under the Aquino administration. This is mainly because the fuller realization of the potential benefits from formal laws and policies on migrant rights and welfare is hindered by the country’s underlying labor export policy. The measure of success in protecting migrants lies only partly in the system in place and more in how systematically and sincerely migrant workers are actually protected given their rising numbers, the existence of national institutional mechanisms and processes, and the actual legal and political circumstances in receiving countries. Taking these factors into consideration, the recurring problems of maltreatment, insufficient social and welfare services, government failures and violence against OFWs underscore the reality of the wide gap between the labor export policy and the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and their families. The OWWA Omnibus Policies (OOP), for instance, which was passed under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003, continues to be in force to this day. The OOP limits the benefits and welfare services entitled to OFWs – among its provisions are the termination of OWWA membership upon expiration of employment contract; restriction of voluntary membership to two years; selective repatriation of migrant workers in times of crises, epidemics and wars; and the granting of the sole deciding authority to the OWWA Board of Trustees with regard the management of OWWA funds. Also under the OOP, only active members of OWWA could avail of the services and benefits consisting of a life insurance for natural death, insurance for accidental death, disability benefits, scholarship programs, repatriation and reintegration. Others, such as medical insurance and health benefits, have either been privatized or taxed from OFWs and/ or employers. Under the current OWWA policy, only active members of OWWA could avail of the services and benefits that include a P100,000 life insurance (for natural death), and P200,000 insurance (for accidental death), disability benefits, scholarship programs, repatriation and reintegration programs. There is also a lack of comprehensive and sustainable reintegration program for returned OFWs. What the Aquino government offers
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are mere dole-outs and band-aid solutions that are not long-term solutions to unemployment, low wages and lack of social services. Most of the government’s reintegration programs for returned OFWs are made up of loans and one-time livelihood programs. Most recently, returned OFWs are complaining about the P2 billion OWWA reintegration program that Aquino inaugurated in 2011 because of its stringent requirements for collateral and onerous interest rates. Aquino also failed to investigate allegations of misuse and corruption of the OWWA funds. The plunder case filed against former president Arroyo for misuse and corruption of OWWA funds, for instance, was initiated by private citizens and organizations and not the Aquino administration. Aquino’s lies At the start of his presidency, Aquino committed to create jobs at home and to uphold the policy of not pursuing overseas employment as a development strategy and instead establish concrete policies and steps towards more sustainable alternatives. He promised to prioritize the protection of OFWs and their families. Aquino also committed to improve and enhance the government’s services and resources for OFWs and their families. He said that he would audit the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to rationalize the management of its funds, in terms of benefits provided as well as how the funds are invested. Aquino also vowed to strengthen reintegration programs for returning migrants and facilitate their return by favorable terms of investment, tax incentives, access to government financial institutions and other benefits. But the facts and figures are telling. In the past two years, the Aquino government has been aggressive in crafting programs and services aimed at facilitating and encouraging migration. While acknowledging the many social costs, these are effectively downplayed and the resoluteness of the labor export effort often creates the impression that migration is unequivocally beneficial for the migrants and their families. This is particularly done by overstating supposed development benefits for the economy and the income benefits for households. The economic compulsion for the government to keep exporting Filipinos to maintain or especially to increase remittances unfortunately overrides and precludes undertaking any measures that, directly or indirectly, constrict the flow of migration – even if such measures would immediately and in the long-run prevent the incidence of abuses and migrant rights violations. Conclusion In the last two years, Aquino had miserably failed. Aquino is no different and, in fact, worse than Arroyo. Filipino people are being forced to migrate because of desperation. The economy’s lack of development resulting in job loss, low wages and lack of livelihood at home is the primary push factor. OFWs have borne witness to how insincere, insensitive and inept the Aquino government is in upholding and securing the protection and welfare of OFWs, while ironically also showcasing a more blatant and unapologetic labor export policy that exploits OFWs’ cheap labor and foreign remittances. To genuinely address the problem of forced migration, the government should decisively deviate from the past and present administration’s labor export policy and focus instead on developing the national economy by advancing local industries, agriculture and basic services. MI fully supports the call and struggle for national industrialization and genuine land reform as the ultimate solution to the problem of forced migration and labor export program. Only through taking steps in building the domestic economy and ensuring social welfare intervention can joblessness and forced migration be truly addressed. ###

LIAR, LIAR
Sa loob ng dalawang taon ni Aquino, pinatunayan ni PNoy na hindi siya katulad ng mga nauna sa kanya. Mas masahol siya. Para sa Migrante International, ang mga sumusunod ay mga dahilan kung bakit walang pagbabago, at sa halip, sumahol pa ang kalagayan ng OFW at pamilya sa ilalim ng kanyang panunungkulan: •Sa kabila ng kanyang mga pangako at pagpopostura, walang ginawa si PNoy para pigilan ang pwersahang migrasyon. Sa halip, lalo pa niyang pinaigting ang patakarang labor export sa pamamagitan ng mas agresibong pagbebenta ng murang lakas paggawa (cheap labor) ng mga OFW sa mga dayuhan. •Pagsapit ng Oktubre 2011, dumami pa ng 1.35 milyon ang mga Pilipinong napilitang mangibang-bayan dahil sa kawalan ng trabaho, mababang pasahod at kawalan ng serbisyong panlipunan sa bansa. Mas mataas ito ng 5.3% kaysa sa 1.281 milyong Pilipinong nangibang-bansa noong Oktubre 2010. •Mayroon nang tinatayang 12-15 milyong Pilipino sa labas ng bansa sa mahigit-kumulang 239 bansa sa Asya, Australia, North America, South America, Africa at Europe. •Sa Pilipinas, may 30-40% na ng kabuuang 99 milyong populasyon ang umaasa sa remittance (padala ng OFW). •Nananatiling pataas ang halaga ng remittance mula 2010 sa kabila ng pandaigdigang krisis. Gayunpaman, pababa ang tantos ng pagtaas (growth rate) ng remittance mula nang umupo si PNoy. •Kaya naman gayon na lang ang desperasyon ni Pnoy na magpadala ng mas maraming OFW sa ibang bansa sa pamamagitan ng patakarang labor export. Dahil pinakamasahol ang krisis pang-ekonomiya sa Pilipinas, at walang makabuluhang mga repormang ipinapatupad ang gobyerno, walang ibang rekurso kundi ibayong ikalakal mga OFW. •Habang halos walang binibigay na serbisyo at proteksyon ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno para sa kanila. Sa halip, mas lumalabas ngayon na ang patakarang labor export ay isang MALAKING NEGOSYO para sa gobyerno na walang ibang hinuhuthutan at kinokotongan kundi ang mga OFW mismo sa pamamagitan ng mga dagdag-bayarin at singilin. Walang duda, si PNoy ang pinakamasugid na tagabenta ng mga OFW sa mga dayuhan. Ang kaniyang mga pangako at pagpopostura – pawang kasinungalingan. Para sa mga OFW, kay PNoy, wala namang nagbago. Para sa mga OFW, kay PNoy, wala nang maaasahan. Kailangan nang lumaban. Trabaho at makabuluhang dagdag-sahod sa Pinas, hindi sa labas! Serbisyo, hindi negosyo! Proteksyon, hindi koleksyon! PNoy, pahirap sa OFW at pamilya! Labor export policy, ibasura!

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APPEAL for URGENT ACTION
Independent and Transparent Investigation on the Death of Terril Atienza
Terril Atienza, an overseas Filipina worker who died in Mongolia, was a victim of human trafficking. Circumstances relating to her death point to foul play and organ trafficking.
With a tourist visa, she left to work in Singapore in 2010. After one and a half years, under threat of imprisonment, she was sent to Mongolia by her foreign agency purportedly to complete a two year contract. She worked as a domestic worker for Sergelen Davaakhu, Austria’s Honorary Consul to Mongolia and President of the International Federation of Business and Professional in Mongolia. In her four month service for this rich and powerful employer, she was only able to send US$184 to her family. In November 2011, she was found dead in her room. Initial autopsy reports from the National Institute for Forensic Science of Mongolia indicated that Atienza died of “severe intoxication from an unknown source.” A conclusive autopsy report from Mongolia is still pending following results from laboratory tests conducted on her body. However, conflicting information has raised questions about Terril’s death and its cause. Regent, Terril’s foreign recruitment agency, informed the family that Terril committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. However, soon after Terril’s remains were repatriated, an autopsy was done by the National Bureaus of Investigation (NBI) at the behest of Terril’s family. The autopsy discovered that Terril’s heart was missing and a rag was found inside her body. The NBI autopsy report stated that her death was “probably secondary to hypertensive cardiovascular disease” due to a stabbing incident. Six months after the Philippine government has been informed of her death, the family still has not been given the full forensic report and police investigation results from Mongolia and the belongings of Terril have not been delivered to them. The family now fears a whitewash of the case and is pressing the government to immediately release the results of the police and forensic report and conduct an independent and transparent investigation.

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RECOMMENDED ACTION:
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on: • The Philippine Embassy in China who has jurisdiction over Mongolia and the Department of Foreign Affairs to immediately release and provide the Atienza family results of the investigation in Mongolia and facilitate the immediate return of Terril’s belongings to the family, • The Philippine government to conduct an open and independent investigation on the death of Terril Atienza, and • The Philippine government to institute the rightful case against the parties liable for the illegal recruitment, human trafficking and eventual death of Terril.

You may send your communications to:
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III President , Republic of the Philippines Malacañang Palace, Office: JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80 Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968 E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph Hon. Alberto del Rosario Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils Phone: (+632) 834-7374 Fax: (+632) 832-1597 Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph Hon. Esteban Conejos Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Wokers Affairs Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils. Phone: (+632) 832-1672 Fax: (+632) 551-0847 Email: oumwa@dfa.gov.ph Hon. Hans Leo Cacdac Administrator Philippine Overseas Employment Agency Blas F. Ople Building Ortigas Avenue cor EDSA, Mandaluyong City Phone: (+632) 722-1159/ 722-1163 Fax: (+632) 724-3665 Email: administrator@poea.gov.ph Hon. Leila De Lima Secretary, Department of Justice Office: Padre Faura St., Manila, Philippines Direct Line: (+632) 521-8344; 5213721 Fax: (+632) 521-1614 Email: soj@doj.gov.ph Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, QC, Philippines Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188 Fax: (+632) 929 0102 Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below. Migrante International 45 Cambridge st., Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines Telefax: (+632) 9114910 Email: migranteinte2007@yahoo.com.ph
8
JULY 2012

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