Filipinos: The OFW, the Modern Day Slave

12 05 2010

Filipinos are synonymously being referred to as Transnationals with 3,000 Filipinos leaving their homeland, the Philippines a year.  That’s equivalent to more than one million Filipinos leaving the country a year.

Why do they leave?

Majority of Filipinos who leave the Philippines are not tourists, rather they leave the country to seek opportunities.  Very few opportunities for employment exist in the Philippines.  7 out of 10 students who graduate are unemployed.  3 out of 10 generally compete with the rest of the labor market and previous unemployed out-of-school students.  Most do not get a job related to their field of study.  When the intellectuals and workers can’t find jobs in their homeland, they seek work outside.

Modern Day Heroes

The former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says its a sacrifice that must be recognized as Modern Day Heroes.  The Filipino migrants are known as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).  The Philippine economy is held together by the hard work of these migrants.  Yet, these very same migrants are taxed heavily for the application and testing process prior to leaving, they are taxed in the airport, and their remittances are taxed as well.    More often then naught, they have been modern day slaves.

Many migrant Filipinos also suffer from discrimination and violence from being abroad on top of being homesick.  Pinays get sexually molested.  The U.S. military is partially to blame for some of those incidents. Adam Corolla’s comments about the Philippines’ doesn’t exactly help.  In the Mid-East, some Filipinos are enslaved inside of their employers house.  Sometimes the Filipino gets executed without the help of the consulate general.

With the rise of Ethnic Tensions in the United States since 9/11 to current day Juan Crow laws (see Arizona’s recent anti-immigration, anti Ethnic Studies ban) should Filipinos really leave their country in midst of danger?

Indeed these Modern Day Heroes should be recognized as the former president mentioned, how can we protect them from the dangers of a foreign land?

What is Solution?

The Philippines owes it to their people to nationalize their job industries to provide quality jobs.  There are so many brilliant and hard working people forced to leave to provide for their families, this doesn’t have to be the case.  The newly elect, President Aquino should use his mandate to win the hearts of the people.

There are so many raw and natural resources that the Filipino people can enjoy.  The dams have enough power to power the whole Philippines so why charge ridiculous power rates.  At times, the power bill at the Philippines is more expensive then the ones here in the United States.  With so many poor people, who can afford it?  Drop the profits?  Profits only benefit the manager.  Spread the cost savings to the people or use that money to invest in better infrastructures and jobs instead of paying the executives.  Invest in solar clean power.  This one is a no brainer, when there are droughts, solar power should replace the energy lost from the energy garner from dams.

Roads needs to start from the farthest communities inward.  These are the most poverish areas that suffer the most.  Education needs to also be nationalize as well as the language.  The former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, made english the national language.  Okay, this isn’t America and it shouldn’t be a colony of America.  The people have their right to speak their native dialect with a national language being developed (Filipino).

Last but not least, the majority of the Filipino Population are land tillers, Peasants, but they’re landless.  They work the land and pay land owner’s “rent”.  Sometimes rent can be as high as 50% of all your work.  Today, we know that as stealing.  The President elect, Noy Noy promised to go after thieves.  He’s going to have a tough time  bringing down his own family who are responsible for the Hacienda Lucieta Massacre in 1995.  Once land is redistributed out, the feudal practices of the past should fade away with time as culture starts changing.  Migrants won’t be forced to leave and society will progress





9 YR REPORT CARD: Landlessness still Persists

22 04 2010

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines Toots her own horn in her 9 years in Office

Manila. April 22nd, 2010 – One month ago, The president for the past 9 years declared her administration’s accomplishments boasting that economic growth is making positive impact on the lives of real people.  Based on her economic policies, her administration declared the peso strength was gaining on the weak dollar.  The President whose term ends after the middle of this year had been marred with scandal after scandal.  However, that has not stopped the President from tooting her own horns.  She repeated the Agriculture departments claim of generating millions of jobs by establishing security in governmental targeted economic development regions such as Mindinao.

It seemed like only yesterday, when my friend Jack Stephen, who runs and operates The Musturd Seed, went to the Philippines to understand the plight of Filipinos especially in the Labor sector.  There he found out from conducting his own research that the labor struggle is very much indeed connected to the Peasant landless struggle.  Furthermore, instead of just blogging about his experience he decided to take a proactive stance in educating those around him while firmly denouncing the military for their harassment and lack of interest in the protection of the people’s interest.

We will examine her claims and report on the various sectors (Peasants, Labor, Women, Youth and Students, and Indigenous people).  We will also look into her economic policies and her human rights rapport to determine her overall Report Card.

2009 Laklayan was mostly ignored by government officials when they passed into law an extention of CARP with Reforms. Peasants still remain landless and Landlords continue to profit of the current laws: CARP

On PEASANT –  The majority of land tillers still do not own any land.  Most peasants stay poor borrowing year after year to pay for farm tools, seeds, supplement food, and sometimes medicine if there is any money left over.  The majority of peasants are not satisfied.  According to a survey, 8 out of 10 in the country considers themselves poor.  75% of the country are Peasants.  Based on the popular majorities needs, local to national leaders need to address their main problem:  Land distribution. I n order to lift poverty, they will need to address the backwards farm tools by industrializing the economy nationally.

Here is a look at what President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo:  In 2008, she  extended CARP for a third time since the late Cory Aquino first introduced in in 1988 and Ramos extended in 1999.  Each time CARP was supposedly extended was because it fell short of its goal. The president signed into law CARPeR (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms).  Did landlords including the President and her husband go against their own interest to redistribute land from landlords to peasants?  More importantly, did CARPeR finally resolve the centuries old problems of landlessness affecting the peasantry? Read the rest of this entry »





International Women’s Day

9 03 2010

I know I’m hella late to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) however, I’m a firm believer that we should not just wait for one day or month to celebrate IWD or Black History Month (BHM); To do so would be to tokenize the struggle that came to recognize the legacy of past.

IWD is  a hundred years old.  IWD is more than a day to say the genders are still not equal.  IWD is more than a day to say thank you to all the women that means something in your life or the famous or popular women in history and today (Oprah Winfred, Jackie Kennedy, Magaret Thatcher, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, and so on…)

This day symbolizes a hundred  years of resistance and fight.  It started out as a fight to improve 1st world women’s struggle to have the right to vote like their male counterparts.  Women for years have been fighting before IWD for the same rights men receive.  In fact, even before Feudal and Captialistic societies, some societies were matriarchal (women held power over men in these societies).

Through the century, many struggles were fought on many fronts to grant women more rights such as equal wages or right to hold jobs that were exclusive to men.  Growing up, I didn’t know women weren’t allowed to wear pants or jeans in the United States.  In San Francisco, the first 2 women police women were recruited out of 20 women in the 1970s.  The two women were harrassed in the department for along time before one of them quit.

Today, although women are allowed to hold many of the same jobs in the United States, wages are still an issue.  According to the International Labor Organization, women make less than 75 cents for every dollar men make.  Women also have a harder time getting employed because of gender preferences.  Less than 50% of women are working for a wage around the world.

For 3rd world women and poor women, the struggle adds another layer.  Many Religions and Beliefs around the world condemn the poor for having children.  This is also a form of blaming the poor for being poor when simply their root problem is that they are exploited and that their state of being poor is a symptom of a rotten system in society.  In the United States, some doctors before the 1960s performed illegal operations off sterilizing Black and Latino women asking for an abortion. Instead of pointing the finger on Capitalism and its form of exploitation, politician and business men point the finger on the churches and the poor; They point the fingers at the church for not allowing contraceptions and point their fingers at the poor for having children and thereby worsening their own economic situation.

Despite all the attacks on women, women have been resilient especially those who are poor.  Together, when women raise their voices together they have become a force that can not be ignored.

GABRIELA USA launched iVOW on the centennial of IWD.  According to GABRIELA USA press statement, “On March 6, 2010, GABRIELA USA participated in the World March of Women, joining women from over fifty countries to stand for women’s rights. In the Philippines, over 200 women’s organizations are mobilizing with GABRIELA, sacrificing a day’s wages to demand human rights and a pro-people women’s voice in government.  The calls for the World March of Women are resisting poverty, militarization and violence against women.”

GABRIELA USA, an alliance of Filipino women’s organizations in the United States, marched with women around the world to call for all communities to take a vow to fight violence against women and children.

“In the US, the reach of the economic crisis affects not only women’s worsening work conditions, or skyrocketing unemployment and financial instability, but is also seen in the exacerbation of domestic violence. Recent studies show rising stress over economic problems resulting in rising rates in reported domestic violence cases. Simultaneously, the budgets for domestic violence services and shelters are being cut back, most notably in California where statewide funds have been completely withdrawn. The attack on women is three fold, in their workplaces, their homes and even by the state,” the statement concluded.

Happy International Women’s Day, to all the martyrs who have fought for women’s rights and to all those men who stood side by side with women and their struggle, we honor you all.  Onward with the struggle, it does not stop with the liberation of women but the complete freedom of all marginalize in society!





Street Day Care Center

12 10 2008