Migrante International is calling on President Duterte and his government agencies to give attention to the plight of 14 Overseas Filipino Workers currently stranded in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. According to the OFWs, Philippine authorities refused to allow them to fly back to Manila on the pretext that “it already reached its quota.” Among the fourteen is a domestic helper while all the rest are seafarers from Curacao. Duterte’s task force officials have recently restricted the entry quota of returning OFWs to 1,000 to 1,500 per day depending on the availability of quarantine facilities.
These imposed quotas are only meant to allow the Duterte regime to buy time as the country’s healthcare and quarantine facilities remain inadequate to absorb the surge of Filipino repatriates displaced by the COVID-19 crisis. The Duterte regime has been hit by a strong public backlash following widespread reports of OFWs sleeping on airport pavements and under bridges along roads leading to NAIA terminals. Most of whom will be going back to their respective places without receiving a single pence from any of the government’s promised financial amelioration for OFWs and workers. Where is Malacañang’s so-called ‘VIP treatment’ of OFWs?
Inflicting the world’s harshest and longest lockdown has not really brought desired improvements despite the fact that these heavy-handed measures are backed by President Duterte’s rapacious emergency powers. The government’s debt is projected to swell to Php 9.59 Trillion as it scampers to borrow money left and right and yet the humanitarian crisis experienced by OFWs and their kababayans back home is getting exacerbated by the day.
Migrante International demands for immediate assistance and repatriation for all stranded OFWs. For all the troubles that they experienced from the Duterte regime’s ineptitude, no OFW should be going back to their families empty handed. It is atrocious that while the Philippines is being buried further underneath a mountainous pile of debt, the overwhelming majority of distressed OFWs are not really getting any substantial amelioration from the Duterte regime. What they got instead are rubbish laws like the mandatory Philhealth premium hike increase and the despicable Terror Bill. There is no truth to Malacañang’s loudly trumpeted ‘VIP treatment’ of OFWs. It’s clearly a big lie! Enough of the garbage-like treatment of OFWs! Ayuda hindi diktadura!