“There is no one else to blame for the beheading of Jenifer Bidoya but GMA. In favor of preparing an ostentatious welcome for current and future business partners in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), President Arroyo has further pushed aside the welfare of Filipinos abroad,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan.

Bidoya was an overseas Filipino worker beheaded in Saudi Arabia last October 14 after two years of serving detention for allegedly murdering a Saudi national.

“The support this government provided Bidoya was just a “drop in the bucket” of what a government should have done for its citizen facing a legal battle outside its borders,” Ilagan said. “They may have asked the Saudi government for pardon, but that was it; plain lip-service for the sake of saying that they tried to help him.”

Recently, another OFW was sentenced to death by firing squad for allegedly robbing and murdering a Taiwanese national. The Philippine government remains silent on the issue and has not offered any form of support to Cecilia Alcaraz, a former Gabriela women’s alliance leader in Laguna, or her family.

“The fact that Arroyo can sleep at night or proudly call the Philippines a model country for Labor Export while OFW blood is in her hands is a proof that she does not have even an inch of concern for them,” Ilagan said demanding that the government seriously and immediately take heed of Alcaraz’s and her family’s calls for help in negotiating for the commutation of the former’s death sentence.

There are currently 29 overseas Filipino workers still languishing in jails and awaiting execution abroad. According to Ilagan, the actual number would have been twice as many, if not for the relentless lobbying of local and international human rights organizations for them to be pardoned.

While dozens of Filipinos are literally shedding sweat and blood in other countries for their poverty-stricken families in the Philippines, the Arroyo government is busy spending time and millions of pesos on the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a multi-stakeholder process tagged by Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan as “a closed-door meeting between business tycoons exchanging deals and strategies on how to maximize profits from Labor Export of Third World countries”.

“Arroyo is far too excited about the GFMD to care about the OFWs. And why shouldn’t she be: this is a big opportunity for her to show off the country’s wide variety of “cheap labor for export” to potential buyers. For a businesswoman like her who thinks about nothing but amassing wealth from the sweat of other people, labor export is lucrative.”

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