“She has robbed them off their money, rights and even votes before; now she is depriving OFWs and their families a joyous Christmas,” says Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party. “GMA is worse than the Grinch.”
According to Ilagan, “while Christmas has ceased to be a happy occasion for Filipino overseas workers because of the loneliness they have to endure during this special time when families are supposed to be together, this Christmas is showing signs of becoming the most depressing for them as they face the possibility of layoffs as a result of the global financial crisis which has forced a number of big companies abroad to close down.”
“More than having no money to buy gifts for Christmas day, migrant workers fear that their families might not even have food on their table in the coming days.”
Ilagan blames the government for implementing copycat strategies such as the Labor Export Policy of the Marcos administration and perpetuating unemployment, hunger and poverty in the Philippines.
“Common sense tells us that 34 years of experience and painful evidence are more than enough to know that the government’s Labor Export Policy is anti-development. The Philippines has sent millions of Filipinos to work outside the country and has received billions in remittances, but until now the Philippines is far from the economic take-off stage that its supposed to have been assuming that the government is correct in its assumption that migration and development are related concepts,” Ilagan said.
She added, “All we got from exporting labor are daily news of Filipinas raped in the Middle East, OFWs languishing in jails and in the deathrow in Kuwait, domestic workers maltreated, starved and not given their salaries in Singapore, or migrant workers tastelessly and racially discriminated in television shows in Europe or North America.”
Last Tuesday, migrant worker Jenifer Bidoya was beheaded one-and-a-half years after he was convicted of murdering a Saudi national and sentenced to death by the Jeddah Sharia’h Grand Court.
According to the lawmaker, “Migration can never be a tool for development, despite what GMA and the Global Forum on Migration and Development are trying to brainwash us with,” the Gabriela Party-list solon said. “To achieve development, people must have secure jobs to counter poverty and hunger with and receive appropriate social services for holistic human development.”