The Arroyo government, by way of a press release and after weeks of deafening silence, has finally disclosed their contingency plan to assist the thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that will surely be displaced by the global economic crisis.
In a statement posted on its website yesterday, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Marianito Roque said its “action agenda” consists of “two sets of interventions such as those that shall be provided onsite and those that shall be extended to OFWs upon their return to the country.”
As expected, the government, Roque says would assist OFWs “find employment in other overseas destinations;” and for those who would opt to stay here in the country, they would give them “livelihood or business enterprises” instead.
I, however, find the Department of Labor’s “action agenda” quite disturbing. Roque’s official pronouncements confirms the unmistakable fact that the Arroyo administration, despite its boasts of “sound economic fundamentals,” is utterly incapable of providing long term and viable jobs for the mass of OFWs who are about to be displaced.
Even their promises of livelihood options brings to memory how the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) “Groceria Project” failed miserably and how it was just used by Ms. Arroyo as a campaign tool during the 2004 elections.
Still, their plan to re-export these workers to other “overseas destinations” speaks volumes about the Arroyo regime’s thrust with regard to jobs generation. It exposes how Ms. Gloria Arroyo was lying through her teeth, again, when she declared during the media launch of the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Malacanang two weeks ago that “our policy is not to export labor.”
On October 27-30, the Arroyo regime shall host the 2nd GFMD minus the credibility and moral ascendancy to even pretend that our government “cares” for the well being of our bagong bayanis. One need only look at the inhumane deportation of Filipinos from Sabah, Malaysia; the recent beheading of OFW Venancio Ladion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the death sentence by firing squad to OFW Nemencia Armia in Taiwan; the anxiety befalling our OFWs on death row and the growing number of OFWs trickling back to the country because of the crisis; as proof how bankrupt the Arroyo government and the GFMD’s line that migration leads to development.