Pro-OFW group issues 'wish list' ahead of Duterte's first SONA
Hours before President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, an OFW group laid down its wish list in the hopes that the new administration would come up with better actions for migrant workers.
In a statement, Migrante International said the Duterte administration should have a "comprehensive" program for returning OFWs, particularly those rendered jobless by drastic plunge in oil prices in the Middle East.
"What awaits tens of thousands of OFWs in the event of their emergency return? Definitely there are not enough domestic jobs available," said Migrante chairperson Garry Martinez, adding that past administrations' reintegration programs were nothing but "meager dole-outs and band-aid solutions."
Aside from a reintegration program, Migrante also called Duterte's attention on the following:
the case of Mary Jane Veloso who remains on death row in Indonesia, and others like her who have been victimized by drug traffickers and illegal recruitment syndicates but have received no legal assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA);
the immediate recall of all notorious abusive and erring embassy officials;
the quick resolution of illegal recruitment and trafficking cases filed by countless OFW victims at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC); and,
the scrapping of unnecessary fees that are viewed by our OFWs as nothing but “legalized kotong”, such as Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), among others
Ultimately, the group also urged Duterte to expound in his first SONA how he plans to decisively deviate from the labor export policy and instead focus on creating decent and sustainable local jobs to end the cycle of forced migration.
"It is high time the government reviews past governments’ recourse to chronically seek job markets abroad in exchange for remittances despite the ongoing global crisis and to the detriment of OFWs and their families," Martinez said. —KBK, GMA News