Migrante International lauds the ongoing repatriation efforts of the PH government, as Pres. Duterte arrives home today with stranded OFWs who availed of the amnesty program of the Saudi Arabia government for undocumented migrant workers.
Repatriation efforts, however, will fall short if thousands upon thousands of returned OFWs will only fall victim anew to forced migration, the group said.
“We have stressed the need for a comprehensive reintegration program since the Saudi crisis came full force. We expect more OFWs to be repatriated or deported in light of the ongoing economic crisis in the Middle East and looming mass deportations of undocumented OFWs in US and Malaysia. They are to return home only to leave again in search of decent-paying jobs abroad that they will not be able to find here,” said Arman Hernando, Migrante Spokesperson.
Hernando said that while efforts of relief operations and on-site assistance should be lauded, these are short-term and band-aid solutions that do nothing to address the major issues of emergency repatriation, labor issues and comprehensive reintegration for affected OFWs and their families.
“It will be a never-ending cycle, unless Pres. Duterte makes good his promise to address the root causes of forced migration. Unemployment, low wages, contractualization, landlessness, and poor social services have been driving our OFWs away. If the president sincerely wants them to come back, we need more regular jobs, higher wages and pro-labor policies, not a labor export policy that has long gone bankrupt,” Hernando said.
Returned OFWs from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East are expected to join Labor Day protests on May 1. ###