“President Arroyo is enticing more and more Filipinos to work abroad despite the deplorable situation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai who have found themselves jobless and scrounging around scrap garbage to sell for survival,” said Gabriela solon Luzviminda Ilagan, citing reports of 137 Filipino bus drivers and of many more migrant workers who expected to land jobs but who ended up stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The progressive lawmaker noted that the Arroyo government has been peddling illusions to unemployed Filipinos that they could be emancipated from the worsening economic crisis by flying out of the country. “GMA’s aggressive sale of Filipino work force, ignoring the myriad problems of employer abuse, low wages and deceptive contracts merely highlights her government’s pursuit of a labor export policy that relies on OFW remittances to prop up a sagging local economy,” said Ilagan.
“In reality, Pres. Arroyo is scavenging for jobs abroad to cover up for her failure to provide decent jobs in the country amidst the increasing cases of illegal recruitment victimizing more than a thousand OFWs every day,” she said. “Illegal recruitment is a gargantuan problem that the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has continuously failed to address,” she added.
Ilagan cited the provision under Art. VI of the Omnibus Rules and Regulations of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 also known as Republic Act 8042, which states that illegal recruitment shall include the failure of the recruiter whether or not a holder of a license or authority “to actually deploy without valid reason as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment.”
The militant solon challenged President Arroyo to cease taking expensive and useless trips to the Middle East and the POEA to carry out its mandate to ensure the protection and welfare of OFWs against illegal recruiters and other forms of exploitation.
Rep. Luz Ilagan (0920-9213221)
Lorie Ann Cascaro (Public Information Officer, 0908-9237212)