Thursday, July 11, 2013

Labor group calls on PH and Taiwan to resolve row ASAP

Press Release
July 11, 2013

The labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on the government of the Philippines and Taiwan to resolve the row over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in the interest of OFW’s. “Whether 3,000 or 10,000 OFW’s are becoming jobless because of the continued freeze hiring policy of Taiwan, that still means thousands of workers and their families losing their means of livelihood. Let us not quibble over numbers but act fast to solve the problem,” insisted Renato Magtubo, national chair of PM.

PM and unions such as Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) held a peace rally last May 22 at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Makati in the face of harassment by Taiwanese of OFW’s. The groups called for resolving the dispute without sacrificing the welfare of some 80,000 OFW’s in Taiwan.

PM asked the Taiwan government to immediately lift the ban on OFW’s as it averred that Filipino migrant workers should not be held hostage to the row. The group also criticized Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for giving “false hopes” of reintegration to the thousands of affected OFW’s.

“If the government’s reintegration program is effective then how come more than 3,000 Filipinos daily choose to leave their families for the promise and perils of working abroad? The row with Taiwan and the repatriation of OFW’s in strife-torn Egypt are wake up calls to the government to stop promoting labor export and start developing domestic industry to provide local jobs,” argued Magtubo.

He added that “A decent reintegration scheme is an initial step but the strategic goal is domestic employment for millions of Filipinos. For that the country needs an industrial policy that reverses the model of liberalization, deregulation and privatization. The growth of domestic manufacturing and local agriculture must be led by the state since the private sector has historically defaulted on the challenge. An inclusive growth strategy must be anchored on an industrial policy and the domestic economy.”

“What use is GDP growth to the workers and poor when only 40 capitalist families monopolize increased wealth in the Philippines?,” Magtubo quipped. The call for policy of wealth redistribution and inclusive growth is part of the demands to be raised by PM in the forthcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Benigno Aquino III on July 22. The group is planning pre-SONA protests as a buildup to the big counter-SONA rally by militant groups.

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