OFF with their heads

5

IMAGINE just half of the 12 million Filipinos as a unified voting bloc.

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Then consider that each Overseas Filipino holds sway over the decision of family members receiving remittances, especially during Christmas and enrollment seasons.

If one Overseas Filipino has at least two relatives at home of voting age, this influential electoral block – Overseas Filipinos and their Families (OFF)–would swell to 10 million votes that could put corrupt politicians’ heads on the chopping block.

In 2010, swept into power by an outpouring of grief and sympathy from the death of his mother, former President Cory–and the magic of the PCOS machines, Mr. Benigno S. Aquino 3rd became president. He got 15,208,678 votes – 5,720,841 more than the Joseph Estrada.

In 2010, Then Mayor Jejomar Binay beat the Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate by a narrow margin: Binay, who ran under the PDD-Laban banner, got 14,645,574 (41.65%) to Mar Roxas’ 13,918.490 (39.58%).

Appointed Interior Secretary by PNoy, Manuel Roxas II’s electoral protest against Vice President Jejomar Binay remains pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) four years after the vice presidential race.

In an exclusive interview with Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis – who is the Chairman of the Overseas Voting Secretariat – Seguis said that they are targeting a total of two million Overseas Filipinos to register and vote for the 2016 presidential elections.

Seguis is confident that they will reach their target.

This month, the OVS says it has set two historical milestones for the 2014 OV registration: First, for the month of May 2014, a total of 18,631 new overseas voters registered, 111% higher than the first month of overseas voter registration for the 2013 Senatorial elections; 64% more than the 2010 Presidential elections and more than 630% higher than the 2007 Senatorial elections.

The Second milestone is the 7.5% increase over the “record breaking performance of last May, bringing the two month total (April-May) to 38,670.

The OVS report states that “(W)hen added to the existing accumulated overseas voter stock of 975,263, the one million registered overseas voter mark is broken by the total of 1,013,933.” (Emphasis on the report)

What can more than a million votes do?

In the case of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, it was victory over the popular Fernando Poe, Jr. One million votes would have gotten Roxas over the hump and trump the current Vice President. In the presidential election of 2004, the difference between the votes cast for Arroyo and FJP was over a million votes – 1,123,576.

How about five million votes?

If – and this is a BIG “IF,” half of the 10 million votes (of Overseas Filipinos and their relatives) are cast for the presidential candidate, senators and party-list representatives that they perceive represent their interests, then Overseas Filipinos and their Families (OFF) can indeed be game changers. They can OFF candidates who incessantly raid the national coffers and pocket the people’s money.

Overseas Filipinos should convey their voting preferences to their family members. But only after examining the details of what each presidential, senatorial or party-list representative has to offer to ensure that:

1) Filipinos would be able to find decent paying jobs in the Philippines that will allow them to stay home instead of going abroad. For example, the Nursing Law of 2002, or Republic Act 9173, pegs the floor pay of public nurses at Salary Grade 15 or a monthly rate of at least P22,688. However, the law is violated by government hospitals themselves for lack of funds. Even the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. is paying their nurses only about P15,000 monthly. Private sector nurses suffer more for being paid less. And to get into paid employment, nurses usually volunteer (or work without wages) simply to gain experience.

2) The government will adopt measures that would elevate the skills of Filipino workers and professionals to world class levels. TESDA and CHED should ensure that their qualifications framework meet the standards of the countries of traditional migration destination including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US as well as the European union and, closer to home the ASEAN countries.

Fact: Filipino professionals and skilled workers have to accept jobs that are not at par with their qualifications or credentials, preventing them from practicing their occupations overseas. Nurses bound for U.S. have to take the NCLEX; those choosing Australia must complete the bridging course; then the Competency Assessment Program of New Zealand and UK’s Overseas Nursing Program. The same goes true with Engineers, Architects, Accountants, and Teachers.

Yet, where to the billions of pesos in public funds – taxes that you and I pay – go? Billions are pocketed by politicians and their cohorts through overpriced infrastructure and “development” projects.

Beyond the reach and riches of politicians greedy for power and accumulating wealth by virtue of their elected positions (passed on to their sons, daughters, wives, mistresses, nieces and nephews) Overseas Filipinos would usher in a government that would be truly answerable to the people.

With their votes, Overseas Filipinos and their relatives at home would be able to have their Boses, (voices) heard instead of being paid lip-service as “Bosses” kuno of elected officials.

Let’s turn the corruption switch to OFF.

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5 Comments

  1. Indeed the OFWs are a potent force if only they can be harnessed, and the way to do that is to give them the right message to which they will immediately respond. Lets hope somebody discovers that message, and soon.

  2. I agree with your words here but how do you work out who is for what. I come from the uk & i know what each party stands for here its like a ramshackle mismatch of i dont know what. I dont see any of them talking policy. In the uk what they are going to do for the people of the country is told to us, here they tell you nothing. By knowing what they stand for gives you the reason to vote for him or her.
    Whoever gets into power its going to be so difficult to oust corruptiuon as in every single department so many are involved in it & help to cover it up. Their salaries are low & barely liveable so when offered a little sweetener with a little corruption all will say yes. Then its a way of life, its part of their working regulations, almost. They see it as their right as their pay is low.
    & yes the filipino when it comes to voting is very easily swayed, throw him a few candies & he will vote for you. & those in power know to keep the masses uneducated & the more that is so the easier to get away with their corrupt practices.

  3. Yes, this is what all of us hope would happen. Even The Manila Times’ Rene Bas
    worked actively with global OFW groups to secure passage of the overseas voting law. His question to then President Arroyo at a Manila Overseas Press Club dinner pressed her to commit on nationwide TV that she would immediaely push for the passage of the overseas voting act. But why are the OFWs not serving as the voice of the more internationally exposed and therefore anti-corruption Filipinos? They to seem to be as tolerant ot the corrupt Aquino administration pretending to be following the Daang Matuwid. Why are they blind? Answer: The large Filipino newspapers and the ABSCBN and GMA are captives of President Aquino and have been suppressing honest news about the corruption of his administration.

    Only The Manila Times is consistently making these truthful exposes. Unfortunately it dos not reach as many people as The Manila Times.

    • I agree with your comments 100%. Majority of Filipinos are still gullible and this two media outfit are fooling them in accordance to the wishes of Aquino.

    • i agree with you cres and maxtar. overseas pinoys whether ofw or immigrants still believe boy sisi because of tfc, the number one promoter of boy sisi. i noticed this when i talked over the phone with my relatives in the u.s.a. i was dumbfounded when they were defending boy sisi’s violation of the constitution and bribing of congress. they seem to justify these crimes by saying that the opposition cannot be believed and boy sisi is clean as white.