“Beyond banning the deployment of OFWs in unsafe countries, what is needed is a sustainable program for generating decent employment in the country.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s statement today, as it reacted to the government’s deferment of the plan to ban the deployment of OFWs in 41 countries considered unsafe, saying what is needed is a locally-generated employment plan offering decent jobs to Filipinos.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration announced yesterday that it is considering deferring for three months the ban which is to take effect on Nov. 17, citing opposition from a Department of Foreign Affairs worried over straining relations with countries.
“The government should be reminded, again, of the cause of Filipinos’ migration: the very meager wages, widespread contractual employment, and the general lack of decent employment in the country,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Decent employment should be generated by the government, and it should start by implementing a significant increase in wages and a ban on contractual employment schemes. With wages not meeting families’ needs and with widespread contractualization, the government is actually pushing Filipinos to go abroad to look for work,” he added.
KMU has been calling for the implementation of a significant or P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide and the junking of contractualization. These are contained in House Bills 375 and 5110, respectively, both filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano.
“Because of the severe global economic crisis, there is in fact decreasing employment opportunities for Filipinos abroad. The ban on the deployment of OFWs to 41 countries should not distract us from recognizing this fact. Even the US is suffering from record-levels of unemployment,” Soluta said.
“What is needed is a comprehensive program for locally-generated employment, one that is not dependent on foreign economies which are susceptible to severe crises. History has shown that only genuine land reform and national industrialization can constitute such an employment program,” he added.
“Only these programs can generate decent employment in a sustained way and satisfy the needs of our poor people,” he said. Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary General