NZ OFWs tell presidentiables: Bare plans on migration, labor

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines—Migrante’s local chapter in New Zealand (NZ) challenges presidential aspirants to reveal their programs for labor and the migrant workers, saying that they want to know whether, like past administrations, the country will depend heavily on labor export and remittances to keep the Philippine economy afloat.

In a statement, Dennis Maga, national coordinator of Migrante-Aotearoa said, the overseas Filipino communities in New Zealand and elsewhere, want to know whether the next president will have a concrete platform of governance that addresses economic woes, particularly lack of job opportunities back home and the complete protection of the OFWs’ rights and welfare.

“We want to know if the next president, whoever he or she is, is ready to reverse the policies of all-out trade liberalization, deregulation and privatization, which we believe is the primary cause of the woes that the Filipino people are facing and have forced millions of our compatriots to leave their families in the Philippines to try their luck overseas,” Maga said.

He further said that, in order to stop the phenomenon of forced migration, the next president must decisively take steps to place the common good above the interests of the country’s elite, especially on issues regarding land reform and exploitative working conditions that drive Filipinos to seek jobs abroad.

On the other hand, Maga criticized the outgoing chief executive for her alleged failure to address the economic crisis and her dependency in labor export in providing jobs for Filipinos.

“In 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared that Filipinos can withstand the economic crisis by turning to job opportunities in New Zealand, Australia and other countries, not knowing that these countries are also badly hit by the global financial crunch. In New Zealand alone, there has been massive layoffs, leaving hundreds of Filipinos and other skilled workers jobless,” he said.