At least thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong expressed their support for the September 19 “Zero Remittance Day,” initiated by Migrante International, stressing that their money is not intended to keep a “thriving corrupt system” of government in the Philippines.
Eman Villanueva, secretary general of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong-Migrante (Unifil-Migrante-HK) said that OFWs’ money are not meant to “feed the greed” of the corrupt and the plunderers.
“The billions of dollars of remittance that we send and the billions of pesos more generated from the long list of fees that the government charges to OFWs that help keep the economy afloat are not meant to keep a thriving corrupt system of governance,” Villanueva said.
“We do not labor overseas and endure separation from our loved ones just so government officials can plunder public funds or so Aquino can uphold the corrupt pork barrel system,” he added.
Villanueva further claimed that OFW’s money help bloat up the remittance records of the Philippines used by the government
“We supply the dollars that prevent the peso from total collapse. Aquino and his mouthpiece, Lacierda, are not fooling us with their uncaring projection for the truth is they are scared out of their wits by the zero remittance day action,” he remarked.
On Sunday, Palace warned the OFWs saying that their families will be the most affected of their plan not to send remittances to their family.
Villanueva however stressed that the government’s aggressive effort to “stop” them from doing the protest shows a premium on OFW’s contribution to prevent the total slide of the Philippine economy.
Deprived of support, protection
On the other hand, Villanueva said that OFWs around the world are “angry” at the Aquino administration citing that they were deprived by basic support and services to protect their human rights.
He added that lives of OFWs are endangered because of lack of funds for repatriation, and families of OFWs struggle to make ends meet with skyrocketing of goods, utilities and services, “while billions of pesos are in the coffers of government officials with Aquino leading the pack for the advancement of their own agenda.”
Abolish pork barrel
Villanueva on the other hand called for OFWs to join the ZRD and other actions in pursuit of the abolition of the pork barrel system, prosecution of the corrupt government officials and the rechanneling of funds to direct services to the people including overseas Filipinos.
“Let us continue our fight against the massive corruption and against government officials who capitalize on their position to plunder the economy and steal the Filipino people’s money. Together with our families in the Philippines let us express our collective indignation against this ‘pork barrel system’ that aggravates our vulnerable situation and our long separation from our families,” Villanueva said as he urged other OFWs to support in abolishing the pork barrel of the senators and congressmen.
According to Villanueva, the administration’s unwillingness to totally scrap the pork barrel system comes from the fact that the president’s pork barrel is the biggest and he uses it to maintain and strengthen patronage politics to ultimately serve the comprador and landlord elites benefiting from a system that remains backward and foreign-dominated.
“OFWs are angered by the continuing corruption, slow prosecution of culprits, and Aquino’s special treatment of Lim-Napoles,” Villanueva disclosed.
Robertzon F. Ramirez