Press Statement
30 June 2023

What grade are migrant Filipinos giving President Bongbong Marcos Jr after his first year in office? Fail! In fact, he should be FIRED for the following crimes: (1) Failure to create decent jobs at home, (2) Inaction on migrants’ urgent issues, (3) Repression of migrant activists, (4) Extortion of migrants’ hard-earned income, and (5) Deception about government performance. 

(1) F. In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos Jr made it clear that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the creation of which lies at the center of his programs for OFWs, will largely mean promoting labor export. The DMW itself has immediately proven the worst fears of its critics. It has been continuously talking to various governments to increase the number of OFWs in their countries. It is now busy holding job fairs for prospective migrants. According to Ibon Foundation, meanwhile, joblessness in the country continues to grow, along with part-time and precarious jobs. 

(2) I. In line with his predecessors’ haste in deploying OFWs to Kuwait, the Marcos Jr regime failed to protect our OFWs there. Jullebee Ranara, murdered in January, is the fourth Filipina killed in that country since 2018, while more than 200 OFWs are in government shelters there. At the same time, the regime ignored calls to protect Pinoy seafarers and fishers through the Magna Carta for Seafarers. It refused demands to uphold the sector’s security of tenure and cover new recruits; it even added an escrow provision that will deny seafarers the fruits of victories in their legal battles. Also, the regime refused to take decisive action to request the Indonesian government to immediately set free Mary Jane Veloso, victim of drug trafficking who has been imprisoned since 2010.

(3) R. Migrant activists who criticize the regime, educate fellow migrants, and provide them with various services are being red-tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC. Red-tagging has often been a prelude to various forms of repression, such as abduction, one victim of which is Bazoo de Jesus, a son of a migrant activist couple. 

(4) E. The Marcos Jr regime has continued the government’s extortion of migrant Filipinos’ hard-earned incomes. It has ignored migrant Filipinos’ demand to junk fess that the government has been using to make them a milking cow. In his first SONA, Marcos Jr promised the automation of the Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC, which charge us fees and is actually unnecessary for our employment and for providing us with social protection.

(5) D. The Marcos Jr regime has inherited the Rodrigo Duterte regime’s machinery and modus of deception, as well as media control measures. To cover up its failure to actually serve the rights, welfare, and interests of migrant Filipinos, it has bombarded them with fake news and lies.###