MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 24, 2011) - A Philippine lawmaker has called on President Benigno Aquino to give due importance to concerns Filipino workers abroad and prioritize the passage of measures that will ensure their protection.
Congresswoman Luz Ilagan said the President should put forward a concrete action plan on how the government intends to address the plight of 122 overseas Filipino workers in death row, and of the more than 7,000 others in jail, including some 20,000 stranded OFWs awaiting repatriation.
“We have around 10 million OFWs all contributing to uplift our ailing economy, thousands of them in distress. The least that this government should do is ensure that services, protection and assistance due them and their families are adequately provided,” she said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
“In the past year, the Aquino administration has been quick to impose additional fees and exactions but extremely slow in giving assistance to OFWs in distress,” she added.
Ilagan also said that the government budget for OFWs Legal Assistance Fund and Assistance to (Filipino) Nationals was slashed from P200 million to P109 million for a still unknown reasons.
“A comprehensive economic policy that the Aquino administration promises to put forward in the State of the Nation Address should take into consideration our OFWs, address their various concerns including and most especially their appeal for a sustainable employment program in the country that will put an end to the country’s labor export policy,” she said.