OFW group Migrante International held pre-SONA picket at SSS

Members of Migrante International held a picket protest before the national office of the Social Security System (SSS) on friday, 19 July to denounce the neoliberal attacks of the Duterte regime on the Filipino migrant sector.

“It is outrageous that OFWs are being squeezed to death with Duterte’s plunderous policies that rip off our hard-earned money. State exactions like the mandatory SSS, mandatory insurance and the mandatory 1-year premium exaction for Philhealth will only serve the interests of big private corporations lusting after OFW contributions for Duterte’s Build, Build, Build projects,” Migrante Philippines Chairperson Arman Hernando said.

Rex Margallo from labour group Kilos Na Manggagawa hit the impact of Duterte’s anti-labour policies. “Aside from these state exactions, poor workers in the Philippines are cast aside with poor social services coupled with TRAIN Law that only favors the rich through tax cuts as the poor contends daily with the rising cost of living.”

A former OFW from Macau was likewise present to express disgust over the worsening roots of forced Migration. Emer de Lina of Migrante Caloocan retorted, “Many OFWs are from peasant families. Under the US-Duterte regime, farmers are being slapped with adverse policies like the Rice Tarrification Law. More Filipino farmers will be driven to look for overseas jobs just to survive.”

Joanna Concepcion, chairperson of Migrante International, said that the OFW group will join thousands of protesters on Monday, 22 July to present the true People’s SONA. “Even the OFW sector is not spared from Duterte’s reign of terror. Just a few weeks ago, an OFW-son named Bryan Conje went missing, only to be declared dead under the custody of the Navotas police. Enough of Duterte’s bloodshed! United with other sectors, OFWs and their families will march in the streets to assert our collective right to life and liberty. ”

As build-up for the upcoming State of the Nation Address of President Duterte, Migrante International will be conducting protests this weekend in different cities around the world where there are large concentrations of Filipino migrant workers and residents.