October 21, 2022
We Overseas Filipino Workers and migrant Filipinos express our alarm over the food crisis happening in the Philippines. We are deeply bothered by the skyrocketing prices of basic food products such as rice, bread, garlic and onion, and of all commodities in general. These price increases could only mean greater hunger, malnutrition and overall poverty among Filipinos.
We overseas Filipinos reject the notion that the weakening of the peso is good for us, as it supposedly means greater value for our remittances to our families and loved ones. Any weakening of the peso compared to the US dollar is rendered useless by increases in the prices of basic goods and services that go hand-in-hand with it. Many among us have to send home money more often now because of the crisis.
We likewise reject the view, popularized by the presidential son, that the Philippine peso is not weak, it’s just that the US dollar is strong. The truth is that all currencies are facing challenges now amidst a global crisis, but the peso’s depreciation is deeper than that of other currencies. This means greater poverty and suffering among Filipinos compared to other peoples.
The country is disproportionately affected by the global crisis, and this shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with our macroeconomic setup and policy. Bowing to foreign dictates and upholding their self-interest, the elites running the government have refused to develop agriculture and industry to generate decent jobs and produce our basic needs.
We condemn the new Marcos presidency for refusing to undertake immediate measures to lower food prices and at least soften the blow of the current crisis on Filipinos. We also condemn it for declaring continuity with previous economic policies that have made the country more vulnerable to crises and have failed to ensure food security, decent jobs and a decent life to Filipinos.
Farmer organizations in the Philippines and the world have declared October Peasant Month, and we in Migrante-International express our warmest solidarity with the farmers of the Philippines and the world who are fighting for genuine land reform, government support, and agricultural development. Now, more than ever, we see the farmers’ struggle as the struggle of the Filipino people.
After more than 48 years of state-sponsored labor export, the Filipino people continue to suffer. We overseas Filipinos support all calls for immediate relief from the crisis: land and government support for farmers, higher wages and regular jobs for workers, greater subsidy for social services, financial assistance for families and communities in most need, among others.
Labor migration has caused important changes in the Philippines but it has not resolved the decades-old problem of underdevelopment. We overseas Filipinos support the struggle for an independent pro-Filipino economic policy and for genuine land reform and industrialization. Only these policies can create decent and just jobs in the Philippines and facilitate our return home in order to reunite with our families and love ones. ###