Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today said that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) fully support the call for a nationwide “Blackout Protest” tomorrow, January 21, against impending increases in power rates.
“OFWs support calls to stop the power rate hike because the unending spate of rate increases are taking a heavy toll on them and their families, especially in light of the dwindling dollar, the continuous onslaught of calamities, and other state exactions being imposed on them, such as the Philhealth premium increase and the proposal to make SSS and Pag-Ibig contributions mandatory for OFWs,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
Martinez said that remittance-dependent families are in a very vulnerable and dangerous place. “OFWs send an average of P10,000 per month to their families to cover expenses for rent, food and other utilities. The dollar depreciation combined with the power rate hike and the continuously swelling inflation rate poses an ominous impact on OFWs and their families.”
He said that Migrante will join the rally in front of the Supreme Court tomorrow morning in time for the public oral hearing on the Temporary Retraining Order the SC issued against the rate hike. After which, OFW-dependent families from different communities in Manila will turn off their lights at 7:00 in the evening. “Let tomorrow be a message to the SC and the Aquino government to permanently junk Meralco’s proposal for a power rate hike or suffer the anger of OFWs and families.”
He said that the Aquino government could actually do something to stop power rate hikes if only it had political will and the welfare of its citizens in mind. “Ang laki-laki ng kita ng Meralco, ang laki-laki ng nakukurakot ng mga kawatan sa gobyerno sa pork barrel, ang laki-laki ng sinisingil para sa mga iba pang serbisyo sa edukasyon, kalusugan at iba pa. Kulang na kulang ang serbisyong panlipunan, pero ang bilis-bilis namang magpatupad ng mga dagdag-pahirap sa mamamayan.”
Martinez said that tomorrow’s Blackout Protest will also aim to bring to the public’s and legislators’ attention issues of overpricing, the onerous VAT on power rates and the need to repeal the EPIRA law. ###