As the nation awaits the fate of another Filipino scheduled to be executed in China on December 8, Migrante International also bewailed how the Aquino administration is “killing OFWs softly” with a new tax imposition by the Social Security System (SSS) and Pag-Ibig.
“Para na rin kaming unti-unting pinapatay ng gobyernong ito. This is too much. First they slash the budget for direct services for OFWs, corrupt and misuse our OWWA funds, and now they also want to tax us, on top of other numerous onerous fee impositions,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that previous attempts and proposals to make SSS and Pag-Ibig contributions mandatory were met with strong protests from OFWs. SSS and Pag-Ibig contributions are voluntary to OFWs who want to avail of their services and benefits.
“Hindi sila nagwagi sa mga pakana nila noon, kaya magpapataw sila ng buwis ngayon. Kawawang-kawawa na ang mga OFW. Sawang-sawa na kami sa bulok na sistemang ito. Ang kailangan ng migranteng Pilipino ay serbisyo at hindi negosyo, proteksyon at hindi koleksyon,” Martinez said.
Martinez said, “Umaalis ang mga kababayan natin dahil walang trabaho, lupa at kabuhayan dito sa ating sariling bayan. Pero sa labor export policy ng gobyerno, pinakikinabangan na nga ang remittances namin, ginagawa pa kaming gatasan. Kapalit nito, wala namang maasahang proteksyon at serbisyo mula sa gobyerno.”
The migrant leader said that it is time to “change the system”.
“Baguhin na ang bulok na sistemang nagpapatupad ng labor export. The government needs to seriously deviate from its labor export policy. It has brought nothing but crisis, tragedy and hopelessness to our OFWs and their families. We need a government that will focus on creating decent and sustainable local jobs to end the cycle of forced migration. We need a government that will genuinely work to uphold and protect the rights of our OFWs,” he said.
Migrante International will join the Camp Out of different sectors in Mendiola starting December 6.
On December 8, date of execution of the Filipino on China death row, Migrante and other sectors will hold a protest program in Mendiola against government neglect of OFWs and their families. ###