MIGRANTE: Duterte chains OFWs and families to slavery and poverty

Migrante's SUMA sheds light on how four decades of neoliberal labor export policy has left our overseas Filipino workers no choice but to accept modern-day slave-like working conditions just to survive. Our country's Department of Labor and Employment paved the way for very low minimum wages and rampant contractualization, which fueled forced migration.

Press statement of MIGRANTE International

As President Duterte gears for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and commences his third year in office, the Philippines is certainly in the midst of perilous times. Overseas Filipino Workers and their families are chained to be yanked further into the sinking sands of the tyrant’s rule.

His brashness committal in taxing the poor to relieve the rich via TRAIN Law is set to thrust the prices of basic commodities to traumatic levels in the coming years. The anguish against TRAIN’s first phase is already apparent and yet, it is only just the initial part of our ordeal. Filipinos will be tormented in the years to come with the TRAIN law’s succeeding four phases.

The country’s inflation rate, now the highest in the ASEAN region was maliciously smoke-screened by the regime’s redefinition of inflationary factors to moderate its appalling figure. The objective was to deceive the public with brazen lies about the country’s growth rate which is nothing but illusory as it fails to achieve a significant dent on poverty.

The country’s over-dependence to remittances from OFWs can no longer cope with the plummeting dollar reserves, the lowest in 6 years, and the peso’s depreciation. Our national currency has sunk to its weakest level in 12 years, hiking inflation since imports like rice and oil are paid in dollar terms. Adding insult to injury is the increased value of our foreign debts.

Expect the regime to heighten its labor export program as a quick fix to this dilemma. More Filipinos will be peddled for enslavement in foreign lands as life in the Philippines becomes unbearable as hell under this regime, while private contractors on the other hand plan to bring in Chinese laborers as dictated by Duterte’s Chinese lenders.

Instead of devoting the coffers to improving public services and human development, the bulk goes to debt-servicing and importation of construction materials to finance the regime’s pro-elite and anti-poor Build Build Build program. Duterte’s lethal infrastructure madness will not generate long-term employment for our local workforce but is only meant to surge wealth upward mainly for the benefit of private contractors and foreign lenders who will rake more super-profits from Official Development Assistance, a euphemism for our country’s source of massive debt.

All for the sake of US-Duterte’s bootlicking subservience to imperialist interests; the regime razed Marawi to the ground, undermined our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, terrorized Lumad schools, and forcefully evicted farming communities and poor neighborhoods to give way to big multinational corporations at the cost of thousands of human lives.

With Duterte’s emergent authoritarianism now at hand through his degenerate libido for Charter Change and bloodshed, migrants and their families are united with the rest of the Filipino people in directing their rage against the US-Duterte regime’s tyrannical rule. We, OFWs and families, will not let Duterte drag our countrymen to damnation.

We cry out: End labor export, stop modern-day slavery! Enough of Duterte’s plunder and tyranny!

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