Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan urges President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her government to create local jobs and increase salaries, instead of promoting labor migration.
“The recent threat on the job security of overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan proves that Filipinos cannot forever rely on available jobs abroad. The time will come when other countries will deny jobs to foreigners, including skilled Filipino workers, to accommodate their own unemployed citizens. The Philippine government should start looking for other ways to keep its economy afloat. Its best option is to create local industries and jobs for its labor force,” she said.
Ilagan urged the government to take up immediate measures that will ensure the welfare of Filipinos such as the approval of House Bill 1722 or the “act providing for a P125 daily across-the-board increase in the salary rates of employees and workers in the private sector”, which she co-authored with late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza, and Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino. The bill is pending in the House Committee on Labor.
“Filipino employees and workers need this bill to be immediately enacted into law for them to keep up with the high cost of living. Also, it will keep them from going out of the Philippines as they can already meet their needs even if they stay and work in the country,” Ilagan said.
Ilagan, who earlier condemned the Arroyo administration for its silence on the issues concerning migrant workers, added that the government should not continue its promotion of labor migration because of its inability to protect the Filipinos it sends to other countries from human rights violations.
“Everyday, thousands of Filipinos abroad fell victims to maltreatment, physical, sexual or mental abuse, illegal detention, and other human rights abuses related to working in another country. Women, particularly, experience one or two of these abuses because they are left to fend for themselves,” the progressive party-list solon from Mindanao said.
She continued that the promotion of cheap labor is not the answer to unemployment, as it “only masks the inability of the government to provide a decent life for its people.”