On the back of the country’s worsening unemployment and the on-going socioeconomic turbulence in traditional OFW deployment destinations like the Middle East, the Duterte regime is eyeing China as the primary alternative labour market for Filipino workers. With the state-visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, we expect that Duterte will likewise be wooing Chinese investors to take the plunge into his Build, Build, Build program.
Despite throwing too much weight around China’s 2016 investment pledges worth $24 Billion which was projected to create a million jobs annually, most of which have not yet materialized. The Philippines remains to have the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN region and a September SWS survey revealed that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed while pessimism on job availability rose to 16%.
At the expense of Filipino employment, many Chinese funded projects and investments are hiring considerable number of Chinese labourers. This is a slap in the face of every OFW who left due to unemployment in the country and just another proof that investments in infrastructure do not really translate into the actual generation of stable and secure jobs for Filipinos. Instead, they are meant to suction wealth upwards into the hands of the ruling elite.
The regime is creating illusions of growth and heightened economic activity through its Build, Build, Build program. Bereft of a strong industrial base, the Philippines has long been dependent on foreign borrowings and importations to realize its infrastructure madness.
Migrante maintains that this debt trap will only reinforce the regime’s exploitation of OFWs as milking cows. Money generated from additional state exactions like the mandatory SSS and the burdensome TRAIN law only serve as guarantees to China and other foreign lenders on our capacity for debt-servicing.
As lenders from China and the US along with local oligarchs rake super profits from pro-elite infrastructure projects, generations of Filipinos to come will have to bear this debt burden imposed upon them by the Duterte regime.
Our country does not deserve to be treated as a platform of strife between imperialist powers. We Filipinos will never allow ourselves to become collateral ropes in the imperialist tug-of-war between China and the US. Through the militant struggle of Filipino migrant workers in unity with the broad masses, we shall crush this imperialist plunder to put an end to the Duterte regime’s mockery of our national integrity.
Reference: Arman Hernando, Spokesperson, Migrante International, 0932-509-50-54