Press Statement

03 May 2023

BB Eme na naman iyan! 

This was how Migrante-International, the biggest organization of migrant Filipinos, described President Bongbong Marcos’ statement to US-based Filipinos that his government is working so that they can retire in a better Philippines. 

Marcos, speaking before a Filipino community activity in the US on Tuesday morning Philippine time, said he hopes to improve the country’s airports, roads, internet and governance and encouraged the children and grandchildren of Filipino migrants in the US to visit the Philippines.

“That’s another trademark BBM grand rhetoric big joke. What Marcos said to Filipino migrants in the US is different from what his government is doing. The truth is that his government has been aggressively pushing for labor export, and the labor export program is now part of his government’s

economic blueprint for the country,” said Joanna Concepcion, Migrante International chairperson.

Concepcion said that as early as November 2022, Migrante-International has criticized the Department of Migrant Workers for pushing for Filipino labor export to Hungary, Croatia and other Eastern European countries; Germany; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and seafaring vessels around the world. 

“Labor Day has just passed and Marcos has refused to address calls for higher wages, lower prices and other improvements in the country. The condition of Filipinos are getting worse, not better, under his presidency,” Concepcion added. 

Migrante-International cited the following data from independent think-tank Ibon Foundation: (1) the number of jobless, self-employed and informal Filipinos are at a record high, with jobs in private establishments decreasing, and (2) the March 2023 real wage in Metro Manila, supposedly the highest in the country, is the lowest in 12 years and even lower than 34 years ago.

“The truth is that Marcos is not taking major steps to improve agriculture, industries and the economy. His promise to migrant Filipinos in the US is a kind of double-speak, similar to his father’s promise that labor export when it started in the mid-1970s is just a temporary measure,” Concepcion added.

Migrante International also criticized Marcos’ praise for the supposed “special relationship” between the Philippines and the US as responsible for the good opportunities enjoyed by migrant Filipinos in the US as justification for his government’s puppetry to the US. 

“Marcos wants to justify expanded US military bases and troops presence in the Philippines. He simply wants the Philippines to deepen its dependence on the US, not chart an independent economic and foreign policy. That’s another proof that he just wants continuation of the status quo, not change; labor migration, not jobs in the Philippines,” Concepcion said. ###