Ofws Want Gloria to Resign
understandably outraged over the recent expose of Mrs. Arroyo's massive
electoral fraud during the last elections. She stole and denigrated our
historic first time overseas absentee votes. She flagrantly violated the
sanctity of the ballot and now, she dares hide under "image make-overs",
public relations gimmicks, smear campaigns and outright harassment tactics
directed against those demanding her resignation.
The following is a glimpse into some of the reasons why many migrants and
their families want Gloria to resign:
1. She is guilty of the gross misuse and plunder of the P8 billion OFW
trust fund at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. She
demonstrated this clearly when she essentially ordered the Department of
Foreign Affairs on March 12, 2003 to charge OWWA US$293,500 to cover the
Philippine government's so-called preparations for the then impending US
invasion of Iraq. This was evidenced by her handwritten "Ok charge to
OWWA" note on the memo requesting the funds.
2. She is also responsible for the transfer of approximately P530 million
from the OWWA Medicare Fund to PhilHealth – a move instigated in 2002 by
then PhilHealth President Francisco Duque who explained the infusion of
OFW funds into the ailing PhilHealth coffers will have a "significant
bearing on the 2004 national elections…"
3. Under her administration, benefits and welfare assistance at OWWA has
gone from bad to worse. OFWs and their dependents were hit with the
anti-migrant OWWA Omnibus Policies passed September 2003. Under these new
policies, many OFWs were disenfranchised from accessing services while
some legal and medical assistance programs were diminished or wiped out
4. She single-handedly jeopardized the lives of 1.5 million OFWs in the
Middle East when she declared her avid support for Bush's so-called War on
Terror and unjust wars of aggression. As such, we hold her responsible
for the (at least) 11 OFWs killed, 21 injured and 4 abducted in Iraq and
5. During the past four years, OFWs are also increasingly victims of the
Arroyo administration's criminal neglect of their rights and welfare.
Along with being abused and exploited by employers and host governments,
the Arroyo administration often serves us a double-whammy by criminally
neglecting our rights and welfare and playing deaf to our cries for
justice. Numerous unsolved cases of OFW "mysterious deaths" attest to
It is also distressing to note that instead of being alarmed over the
exodus of Filipino workers overseas, Mrs. Arroyo actually boasts about how
her goal of exporting one million workers this year is on target. We
agree with Archbishop Rosales when he pointed out that the exodus of OFWs
manifests the utter failure of this administration's economic policies.
For these reasons, migrants that demand Gloria's resignation are on solid
ground. Thus, the option of sending their remittances through informal or
non-bank channels – to manifest their withdrawal of support against
Gloria's anti-migrant and anti-people regime is a valid one.
Instead of Mrs. Arroyo, we support calls for the creation of a Transition
Council composed of representatives of various sectors and organizations,
including migrant groups. Among the items this council can oversee is the
implementation of pro-people reforms and the subsequent election of a new
Clearly, Mrs. Arroyo has no moral or legal basis to the Presidency and
given her systematic betrayal of our rights and welfare, we resoundingly
reiterate – Gloria Resign Now!
Connie Bragas-Regalado, Chairperson, Migrante International
July 21, 2005
to Alternative Reader Index
BACK TO TOP ■
© 2004 Bulatlat
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided
its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.