Mendiola camp-out vs. gov’t neglect of OFWs set on Dec. 8

Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today slammed “government neglect” and lack of transparency with regard the case of a 35-year-old Filipino male who is reportedly set for execution in China on December 8.

 A statement by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that the High People’s Court of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region had convicted the Filipino of smuggling 1.495 kilos of heroin into China.

According to Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez, “Our government has not been very transparent in their processes of providing assistance and negotiations with the Chinese government. In the case of Pinoys on China death row, we have brought these to the attention of the government as early as February last year, way before the execution of our three kababayans there last March. Ngayon, nagkukumahog na naman ang gobyerno natin kung kalian malapit na ang araw ng pagbitay.”

He called on the Philippine government to exert any and all efforts to save the life of the Filipino on death row. “Hindi na ulit papayag ang mga OFW at mamamayan na may bibitayin na naman tayong kababayan dahil sa kapabayaan ng gobyerno. We call on all Filipinos to come together and call for the commutation of our kababayan’s sentence in China.”

On December 8, Migrante International and other sectors will hold a “Camp-out against government neglect of OFWs” in Mendiola.

No aid left for OFWs

Ito na ang resulta ng lahat ng pagpapabaya ng gobyerno. From budget cuts to missing OWWA funds, no aid is left for our OFWs. They slash funds for direct OFW services, pass on the burden to OFWs through various fees and collections, and then they plunder those very funds that came from our OFWs’ hard work and sacrifice,” he said.

A report by the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that OWWA officers overseas failed to remit more than P21 million OWWA funds to their Manila account. Direct services for OFWs also suffered cuts in the 2012 national budget, with aggregate funds for direct OFWs services getting only a share of less than one percent, or .017%, of the P1.8 trillion national budget.

“How then can we expect the government to provide much-needed legal assistance to OFWs in distress, especially those on death row?”

According to Migrante’s monitoring, there are currently 125 OFWs in death row. Of the 125, 85 are drug-related and 79 of these are in China jails. The rest are in the Middle East, Malaysia and Thailand. ###