• If government neglects OFWs, who will take care of them?

    3
    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    BECAUSE of an interruption that Due Diligencer cannot ignore, the distribution of cash dividends declared by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., as promised in Monday’s piece, will have to wait.

    Instead, it is giving today’s space to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who wrote to say his/her—gender not known—piece on Due Diligencer’s “Foreign investments causing peso’s fall?” which appeared in this space on August 17.

    In his/her comment on August 18, he/she lamented the government’s lack, or absence, of concern for them, noting Due Diligencer’s report on the dollar remittances of foreign stockholders of listed companies. The OFW is right.

    The government cares more for big businesses that gamble their money by contributing to politicians’ election campaigns hoping that when their bets win, they would have some powers to rely on when the time for them to collect comes.

    It really is unfortunate that OFWs have always wanted to be heard but their voices have never been heard. They need a proper forum to ventilate their complaints against government policies that are detrimental to their well-being but don’t have any, yet.

    Yes, the OFW who identified himself as “Supsupin” is correct in criticizing government planners for taking more care of foreign investors by giving them tax incentives, such as tax holidays, but have never had any for Filipino workers in other countries who, by remitting their dollar earnings to their families, contribute to the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Will the government pay attention to the OFWs’ plight?

    Due Diligencer would never know if it would but assures OFWs that this space is open to them for their suggestions and comments so that they would have some outlet they could rely on. Again, it is a big yes to the OFW suggestion that the government should provide incentives to encourage him and his fellow Filipino workers in other countries to remit their dollar earnings, to use his/her words, “through legal channels and not through some shadowy quasi bank.”

    Then being a true Filipino who, unlike some dirty politicians, loves his country, he/she added: “I will expound the benefit to RP if you have time.” Why not? (On an optional note, will “Supsupin” identify himself/herself by his/her true name so that Due Diligencer would know his/her gender?

    You need not worry about being exposed to retaliation by uncaring public officials because your true name will not be published.)

    Why should the government listen to the voice of OFWs, who may have some grievances against certain policies that hurt them and, in the process, force them to keep their dollars abroad instead of sending all of it back home? Filipino politicians have only good words for OFWs’ contribution to the economy, noting they contributed, as reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, $12.7 billion to the Philippines’ foreign exchange reserves in the first six months of 2014.

    Despite their dollar remittances, OFWs are only admired by politicians in their press releases, if ever they have issued even one, but not in proposing legislation that would benefit them and encourage them to send home more of their dollar earnings thru the banks.

    For example, why are elected national leaders, who are, of course, politicians, very attentive when businesses speak? Due Diligencer has the answer. For elected officials, voters are good only for the votes they cast every three years but are better forgotten during the intervening years while businessmen are worth remembering ALL the days for their votes, and more importantly, for their cash. By the way, OFWs should not believe politicians who make promises.

    You might be deceived by their press releases because in believing them, you may end up as a useful tool in promoting their ambition to higher elective office to be able to steal more.

    esdperez@gmail.com

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    3 Comments

    1. During Erap, we pay 99 pesos for processing. Came Gloria and her mandatory php 900 for medicare. Oh, hindi pa nasiyahan, the next year an additional insurance of php 2000 was added. The name of OFW medicare was changed to a new name called Philhealth. Some medical priviledges were reduced. Then came Noy. SSS payment was increased, Philhealth payment was doubled. Syempre, Kaawaawa naman ang pamunuan ng SSS at Philhealth kakarimpot yaong milyong pinasusuweldo nang mga members sa kanila at ang bonus na 1 to 1.5 ay kulang pang pambayad ng koryente sa kanilang mansiyon kaya kami na naman ang nabukolan. Maraming hinaing ang mga OFW. Dito pa lang sa consulado palagay ko naman napapanood nyo sa tv. Pagdating diyan sa erport kapag bakasyon kinakalakal na kami pati tourist. Trabaho namin kasabay ng taga consulado kaya kapag pupunta kami upang magrenew ng passport ay absent muna. Madami pa. Isa pa lang ako. Yaong Iba?

    2. Dear Due Diligencer,

      Thank you for your article above on OFWs and to “Supsupin” who triggered such article. I would like to suggest the following which are simple enough and most doable to help OFWs:
      1. Eliminate or at least try to minimize the long lines/queues usually endured by OFWs in Phil. embassies/POLO/missions aboroad when transacting business such as passport renewals, OEC, Affidavit of support and guarantee, etc. I cannot understand why after so many decades and several “intelligent” people assigned to Phil. embassies, no one has come up with a more efficient system to address this. Even I can suggest several more efficient systems than what they are implementing currently. It seems, however, that the embassy staff from the highest position to the lowest clerks are already satisfied and, worst, seems to be happy to see long lines of people waiting for their services.
      2. Eliminate OEC for OFWs with resident visas from the countries where they are presently working when they are coming home to the Philippines for vacation and going back after. I do not see any logical reason why an OEC (Oversees Employment Certificate) is required for an OFW who has a residence visa from the countries where they are working stamped on their passports. I accept that OEC may be required for an OFW who is going to work abroad for the first time but not when you are only going home for a vacation. Is this a money-making venture for the DFA? Will eliminating this affect the DFA’s budget? If it so, then just tell us to pay a certain amount every time we go back home without subjecting OFWs to hardships in getting an OEC.
      3. Previously, getting an Affidavit of Support and Guarantee notarized in Phil. embassies/POLO was very easy. You just present a copy of your kin’s and your passport, pay the fee and you have it. Now, they added several requirements befor they issue this. Is this logical or is this another way of adding burden to OFWs?

      Thank you…

    3. Dominador D. Canastra on

      We are lucky to have you writing about the Philippines stock market and the corporations. No other Philipppine source has your kind of analyses. Mr. Perez. Congratulations. Kudos to you, sir.