Migrante lauds Gabriela Partylist for seeking review of Migrants’ Act of 1995

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families today commended Garbiela Women’s Partylist for filing a resolution calling for an evaluation of the Migrants’ Act of 1995, or Republic Act 8042, amended by RA 10022.

The Migrants’ Act of 1995 was signed into law 22 years ago, on June 7, National Migrants’ Day, as a response to strong public condemnation after the execution of Flor Contemplacion.

“Twenty-two years after the enactment of R.A. 8042 or the Migrants’ Act of 1995, to say that the plight of Filipino migrant workers has worsened is a gross understatement. If Pres. Duterte wants to protect our OFWs and curb labor migration, he must begin at questioning the labor export policy institutionalized in this law,” said Arman Hernando, Spokesperson of Migrante International.

Before session ended, Gabriela Women’s Partylist lawmakers Rep. Emmi De Jesus and Rep. Arlene Brosas filed House Resolution 1056 or the “Resolution directing the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs to conduct a comprehensive review, in aid of legislation, of Republic Act 8042 or otherwise known as the Migrante Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as amended by Republic Act 10022 to evaluate its effectivity in the promotion and protection of Filipino migrant’s rights and their families and resolve the root cause of forced migration in fulfillment of Article II Sec. 18 and Article XIII Sec. 3 of the 1987 Constitution.”

In a position paper circulated in Congress, Migrante argued that “the Migrants’ Act of 1995 intensified the commodification of people as it continues to promote the Labor Export Policy and the extraction of unfair taxes and unjust fees from migrant workers.”

Migrante also asserted that the law “took away the responsibility of the Philippine government towards OFWs and their families and passed this on to private recruitment agencies and employers abroad.”

To concretize the government’s adherence to labor export since the enactment of the Migrants’ Act, Migrante cited data from POEA showing yearly increase of OFW deployment from 1995 to 2015. From 1995, the OFW deployment of land-based new-hires increased by 140% in 2015.

“The more revolting fact is that even after the death of Flor Contemplacion, the government unabatedly continued deploying the most vulnerable section of OFWs, the domestic helpers. By 2015, 533 domestic helpers are being deployed every day, an increase of 207% from 2015. And they are all treated like slaves,” lamented Hernando.

Hernando stressed that despite of the guarantees under the law, OFWs are still exposed to various abuses by their employers and incapable of seeking justice. Repatriation, recruitment violation and criminal cases involving Filipino migrant workers continue to flood the offices of POLO, POEA, OWWA and such other government posts daily.

“We reject the Migrants’ Act of 1995 as we reject the commodification of migrant workers in the unjust Labor Export Policy of the government,” concluded Hernando.

On June 7, National Migrants’ Day, Migrante International will hold a forum dubbed “SUMA 2017: The State of the Filipino Migrants and their Families under the Duterte Administration” to be held in University of the Philippines – Diliman. ###