10/21/2008 | 05:45 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Militant groups are eying hundreds of millions of pesos in “lost” revenues for government when they hold a zero-remittance day protest action on Oct. 29.
Gary Martinez, spokesman of Migrante International, said Monday this will be a reminder to the government that its claim of migration being used as a tool of development will not wash.
“Sa loob ng isang araw, maliwanag aabot ito sa daang milyong piso. Sa isang buwan $1 billion pinapadala ng OFW. Kung kukuwentahin sa 30 araw daang-milyon piso ang di papasok sa ating bansa (In a single day we expect government to lose hundreds of millions of pesos in remittances. In a month, OFWs bring in $1 billion in remittances. Divide it by 30 and we can see hundreds of millions of pesos in lost remittances in a single day),” Martinez said in an interview on dzBB radio.
He said they expect millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 192 countries to take part in the Zero Remittance Day next Wednesday.
Martinez also questioned the government’s offer of a retraining program for OFWs who may lose their jobs due to the global financial crisis.
According to him, the government issued a similar retraining program offer in 1997 but OFWs did not benefit from it.
“Wala kaming nakuhang retraining program. Di na bago ang sinasabi ng pamahalaan sa pangyayari sa aming kasamahan sa labas ng bansa (We got no retraining program. So the government’s offer is not new),” he said.
Earlier, migrant groups composed of 112 organizations worldwide will declare Oct. 29 as a “Zero Remittance Day” to signify its opposition to “forced migration and systematic exploitation of cheap labor.”
In a statement released on Sunday, the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) said its symbolic protest action would coincide with the opening of the Global Forum on Migrant Development (GFMD) that would be hosted by the Philippines in Manila.
IMA said that through the Zero Remittance Day, the organizations would be sending out united message of protest from millions of migrants worldwide “who are forced to leave their homelands and subject themselves to cheap labor and exploitation out of desperation.”
The alliance said the message would discredit migration as an effective tool for development, and unmask it as a “result of continuous unemployment, landlessness, and lack of basic services in sending countries.”
Migrant organizations worldwide will also hold the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) on October 29 to oppose the GFMD.- GMANews.TV