Militants hit OFW forum

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
By Annabelle L. Ricalde

MILITANTS protested Tuesday in front of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) office to denounce the holding of Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in the country next week.

The two-day forum will be participated by different countries that are members of the United Nations, private banks, investors from big telecommunication companies, money transfers and recruitment agencies.

Wildon Barros, spokesperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Northern Mindanao, said the purpose of the forum is to re-align the working system abroad for the government and other big corporations to benefit the dollar remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). He said the forum will also outline new taxes for OFWs.

“Nahimo na nga commodities ang atong mga OFWs nga basta na lang ipatrabaho sa gawas ug gihimong gatasan sa gobiyerno,” Barros told Sun.Star.

Militants condemned President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the continuing economic crisis, which they said has made the country the second largest human resource exporter in the world.

Barros added that the forum will actually represent how backward the country’s economy is, contrary to Arroyo’s claim that the forum will delve on the OFWs contributions to the country’s economy.

Surprised by the protest, Roseller Bartolome, Owwa’s officer-in-charge explained that their office is not the proper agency to answer the grievances aired by the militants.

“Kumbaga sa task force, Owwa is only a member and besides we are only implementing mandate from the national level,” Bartolome told Sun.Star.

The scheduled activity is a multi-agency forum coming from different countries in which delegates will discuss the human depict of migration and recognize it as the key to development.

Barros, along with other militant groups such as Anak Pawis, Gabriel-Northern Mindanao Region and Alagad sa Maayong Panlawas, is also demanding the removal of remittance fee and service charges, including documentary stamp tax, imposed on OFWs.


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