Help OFWs in distress! Watch Migrante (The Filipino Diaspora)

Gusto mo bang makatulong sa mga kababayan nating OFWs na palagiang dumaranas ng pang-aabuso sa ibayong dagat? 

Suportahan at panuorin ang pelikulang “MIGRANTE (The Filipino Diaspora)” ng batikang Direktor na si Joel Lamangan. Tampok sa pelikula sina Jodi Sta. Maria at Allen Dizon. Kasama din sina Luis Alandy, Bangs Garcia, Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon, Rich Asuncion, Jaime Pebanco, Raquel Villavicencio, Alex Castro at Tony Mabesa.

Ika nga ng mga taong nasa likod ng pelikula:

Of the many films on the Filipino migrant workers, we are proud to say that “Migrante (The Filipino Diaspora)” makes a difference. While it may have hewed to the commonplace story of a Filipino family forced by circumstances to join the perilous diaspora of migrant workers, it offers a critical insight on the OFW phenomena and the quicksand that is government’s labor export policy.

Ipalalabas ang “Migrante (The Filipino Diaspora)” sa July 15, 2012 sa Robinson’s Galleria Cinema 5, Ortigas.

Ticket prices:
10am screening – P50
1pm – balcony P120, orchestra P100
4pm – balcony P120, orchestra P100
7pm gala premiere – sponsor tickets (limited seats only) P1,000 and P500

Bahagi ng kikitain ay mapupunta sa  Rights and Welfare Assistance Program ng Migrante International – na pinakamalaking alyansa ng mga samahang OFW sa buong mundo. Ang grupong ito ay kilala bilang pinakamasigasig na nakikipaglaban sa kapakanan ng sektor.

Para makakuha ng tickets, makipag-ugnayan lang sa Migrante International sa telepono bilang (02) 9114910. Hanapin lamang si Pam.

Tara nuod tayo!


“We have a substantial number of OCWs (overseas contract workers) and we have to protect… It’s in our interest to protect–to help those economies because we have a substantial number of Filipinos there,” Edwin Lacierda, on defending the $1B loan to IMF


Bakit tayo may OFW?
Kasi may IMF –
na imperyalistang instrumento
para gipitin ang mga hutuhutang
kolonya at mala-kolonya –
‘gaya ng Pilipinas.

na magpapautang pa ngayon
ng $1B sa IMF.
Pang-tulong din daw ito sa mga OFW,
sa mga nasyong apektado
ng krisis at resesyon – na
niluwal din naman ng mga
baluktot na polisiya’t imposisyon
ng IMF!

Isang bilyon itong
kontribusyon, pang-bayad
sa lubid na siyang ipang-bibigti natin
sa sarili nating mga leeg!
Isang bilyon itong sampal
sa mukha ng naghihirap
at pinahihirapang si Juan dela Cruz!

Huthot piga

Pagpasensyahan niyo na po
ang ating gubyerno
dito kasi, walang trabaho,
walang makain ang maraming tao

E ‘bayani’ nga kayo ‘diba?
Kung hindi nga dahil sa
perang padala ninyo,
ang ekonomiya natin ay guguho,
siyempre, kasamang maglalaho
pati ang gubyerno –

‘Yung parehong gubyernong
walang tigil sa kaiisip ng mga pakulo
para lalo pa kayong huthutan;
‘yung mga masisibang walang kabusugan,
hangga’t hindi nasasaid
ang pera niyong pinaghirapan;
‘yung mga buwitreng walang kapaguran
hangga’t hindi nasasakmal
ang lahat ng inyong laman;
‘yung mga lintang walang pagkakuntento
hangga’t hindi napipiga ang
kahuli-hulihang patak
ng inyong dugo…

Kaya, ‘wag na kayong magreklamo
kayo na po ang bahalang magpasensya
sa ating gubyerno

Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) in the Philippines

Today we celebrate National Migrant Workers’ Day!

In commemoration of this occasion, I deemed it necessary to focus on Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), the mechanism by which our kababayans abroad may participate in electing our leaders here in the Philippines.


The right to suffrage of Filipino citizens, here and abroad, is enshrined in the highest law of the land.

Section 2, Article V of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that “Congress shall provide  a system of securing  the secrecy and sanctity of the ballots as well as the system for absentee voting  by qualified Filipinos abroad.”

Thus on February 13, 2003, Republic Act No. 9189 or the “Overseas Absentee Voting Act” was made into law, granting “all citizens of the Philippines abroad” the right to vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-list representatives.

But since its enactment eleven years ago, Filipinos overseas have yet to reap the benefits of full voting rights as promised by the Constitution. Participation by our overseas compatriots in the system remain dismally low.

Migrante International, the biggest alliance of OFW organizations worldwide, maintained that the low participation can not be attributed to the so called  “growing apathy” among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), contrary to claims by the government and some migrant advocacy groups.

Migrante averred:

While OAV turn-out was indeed low, we believe that it is more important and urgent to review and evaluate the limiting provisions in Republic Act 9189 or the OAV Act , as well as the indifference of some government agencies, particularly the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to OFWs’ issues and complaints pertaining the actual processes and implementing procedures of the OAV. These, primarily, are the main reasons for the massive disenfranchisement of overseas Filipino voters.

The group prepared a Position Paper on what they think the government should undertake in order to improve the system.

I believe Congress and the COMELEC should seriously consider Migrante’s proposals.

In the meantime, I strongly urge Filipinos overseas to register as overseas absentee voters. OAV Registration have been running since October 31 last year. It will end on October 31, 2012.

Qualified Filipinos abroad may file their applications for registration at their Philippine Posts or Consulates. They need only bring their passports- and in the case of the seafarers, their Seaman’s Books – to register.

To learn more on the basic features of the OAV, below is a power point presentation prepared by the COMELEC Education and Information Department on the Basic Features of the OAV. Kindly click on the link to download: 2011_oav_regn

OFWs Kalahok sa Pagbabago! Magparehistro para Makaboto! 

OFWs and Financial Literacy

CNN’s “Eye On” made a special report on the Philippines recently, focusing on our Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs. The report stated that while they earn billions of dollars abroad, our OFWs are faced with the challenge of investing their money wisely.

So to address this, CNN said the Philippine government ventured on providing financial literacy trainings to teach OFWs money management and investment skills and to equip them with the necessary knowhow to “stop their relatives back home from spending all the cash.”

“There’s a lot of money,” Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Grace Princesa told the CNN. “If we can guide overseas Filipinos and their families to invest, I think that will be a large source of private-public sector cooperation,” she said.

Ambassador Princesa and the Philippine government appear to be trivializing the almost four-decade old forced Filipino migration and its ruinous social costs. For them the solution to the complex issues and problems besetting our OFWs and their families is as simple as educating them on how to spend their hard-earned cash wisely.

What’s worse, the fact that the government is again turning to our OFWs to invest their money if only to spur economic growth, reveal its parasitic reliance to OFW remittances. It also proves that the government has no plan at all in generating long-term and sustainable jobs in the country.

OFW country

The Philippines has been in the business of exporting Filipinos since the early ‘70s. Right now, we have more than 12 million Filipinos toiling in almost 200 countries worldwide. In 2010, OFWs remitted $18 Billion, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The amount contributed to the spike in the country’s growth rate from 5.6% in 2009 to 8.2% towards the end of 2010. The total remittances that year were equivalent to 8.7% of the country’s Gross National Product (GNP).

Indeed, the money generated by our army of OFWs is huge. But we need to dissect this further.

Government data shows that majority of Filipinos overseas works on service, production and skilled job categories such as domestic workers, caregivers, factory and construction workers, among others.

This means, a huge chunk of OFWs labor on jobs that are tagged as ‘dirty, difficult, demeaning and dangerous’ – or jobs that does not pay well, however backbreaking and demanding it is.

In fact according to Migrante International, a global alliance of OFWs and their families, a remittance-dependent family in the country receives only an average of P7, 000 a month from their relatives abroad. A survey conducted by Hong Kong based migrant Filipino groups also reveal that a typical OFW there sends their families here a measly average of $166 (P6, 640) a month.

This goes to show that the money received by remittance-dependent families here in the country simply is not enough if we compare it to the government estimated data of P29, 000 needed by a family of six to survive. Even if their husbands or wives here in the country have jobs, the pay on the domestic front is glaringly insufficient considering the unabated increase in the prices of oil and petroleum products, transportation, education, utilities and other basic commodities.

So, if the majority of our OFWs barely have enough cash to support their families’ needs here at home, where on God’s earth will they find the money to save or even invest?

To say then that the problem lies in our OFWs’ ignorance in money management is tantamount to saying that they and their families that depend on them are ‘waldas’ (irresponsible spenders) and ‘bilmokos’ (local street slang for ‘buy me this, buy me that’).

Our OFWs don’t need ‘financial literacy’ trainings.

What they need and deserve are sustainable and gainful employment here at home. What they need and deserve is a government that is truly responsive to their needs. ###

Hari ng Padala

“But of course you have to remit bigger so as to avail of lower charges,” PNoy

Sa harap ng mga Pinoy sa Japan,
sumubok magpa-bibo ang Pangulo:
“Alam ba ninyong may programa ang gubyerno
para pababain ang singil sa perang padala ninyo?”

Kaya laking gulat na lamang nito
nang ang isagot ng mga Pilipinong naka-tipon,
ay isang tumataginting na “NO!”

“Ha? Hindi ninyo alam? Baka kulang lang sa abiso,”
palusot pa ng feeling bibo…
Sabay dagdag na may usapan pa nga raw
ang Land Bank ng Pilipinas at Postal Bank ng Japan
para sa mas mababang kaltas nito..

“Tama po ba ‘yon?,”
tanong ulit ng Pangulo…
Na siya namang sinagot ng kakarampot at tila pilit-na pilit na “Opo”

“Kasi naman, unawa ko na kailangan niyong
makatipid sa padala ninyong pera sa pamilya..
Para sa pag-aaral ng inyong mga anak,
sa pagpapagawa sa inyong dream house..’

“Etcetera… Etcetera… Etcetera”

Kaya kung gusto ng mga OFW na maka-bawas sa kaltas
sa pinapadalang pera sa pamilya,heto ang maipapayo niya:

“Dagdagan pa po ninyo ang perang padala!”

Teka.. Teka.. Teka..
Ano na nga ulit ang ibinandong programa ng Hari ng Padala?

Kami pa ang inutil? (Isang upisyal ng Embahada habang kausap ang sarili)

Sobra naman sila!
Paano naman nila nasabing walang konsyensya
ang mga upisyal ng embahada sa Saudi Arabia?
Porke ba hindi man lamang namin inasikaso ng husto
ang kaso ng pagkamatay ng kababayan nating
si Romilyn Ibanez sa Al-Khobar?

Maliwanang namang ‘suicide’ ang nangyari!
Tama ang mga otoridad na nag-imbestiga.
Nagpatiwakal si Romilyn sa pamamagitan
ng pagsaksak sa sarili ng paulit-ulit.
Sa leeg, sa sikmura at sa braso…
Sa leeg, sa sikmura at sa braso…

At para daw sigurado,
nilaklak pa ni Romilyn
ang halos isang konteyner ng sulfuric acid.
Kaya nga may mga paso siya ng asido sa bibig.
Ngayon anong ‘foul-play’ ang sinasabi nila?

Tapos sasabihin pa nilang inutil ang Embahada, ang gubyerno?
Eh tutok na tutok nga kami sa kaso ni Romilyn…
Sa katunayan, eksaktong isang taon lang naman ang binilang
para maiuwi ang mga labi ni Romilyn sa kaniyang pamilya…
Ang iba nga, nabubulok na lang sa mga freezer sa mga morgue rito  sa katagalan..

Sila pa ang may ganang mag-reklamo…
Wala na raw mata at dila si Romilyn
nung dumating ang bangkay niya sa kaniyang pamilya nitong nakaraan.

Tsk tsk tsk…

Hindi ba nila naiisip na pupwede namang,
pagkatapos pagsasaksakin ang sarili
at lantakan ang halos isang konteyner ng sulfuric acid,
ay tinungkab pa ni Romilyn ang kaniyang mata,
habang tinatabas ang sariling dila?

Tapos sasabihan nila kaming inutil!


Philippine Daily Inquirer: OFW’s remains repatriated; tongue, eye missing

Photo from Migrante-Middle East