Are we really inviting trouble for our OFWs?

By this time, most of our overseas Filipinos who are spending Christmas in the country are now back home.
There’s no question that they were really bringing in the bacon, but their mere presence alone is already their best gift to their families.

There are over 3.1 million OFWs who have become our real heroes, for being the buffer of a fragile economy that now rely on the billions of dollars in remittances from our foreign workers.

But what good news can our government offer?

Before our policy makers start taking a break, it would be best to finally resolve the question of whether or not Republic Act 10022 which amended the Migrant Workers Act will really help our foreign workers.

I have to admit being bothered by speculations in recent weeks that the RA100222 could trigger the fall in OFW remittances, and this was one of the reasons why Former President Gloria Arroyo washed her hand on the accountability over the law. She did not sign the measure and allowed it become a law.

As one political writers put it, “GMA’s not signing the law  yet not vetoing it tells us a lot about the sinister design to create problems that will invite military adventurism.”

We have to know the real score since there were reports that  very few countries would qualify to the requirement of  RA10022, which demands that destination countries should have  law that protects migrant workers/and or either of the two:Sec.4b of RA 1002  “It is a signatory to multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of migrant workers”; Section 4c”it has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government promoting  the rights of overseas Filipino workers.”

If we are indeed focusing on the service sector, we could be courting disaster, says Rey Junia, who
recently wrote an opinion piece that tagged RA 100222 as “GMA’s landmine.”

He wrote, “by enacting RA10022 we shoot ourselves in the foot. The government must have underestimated how the destination countries will react to this.”

According to Junia, Taiwan and Hong Kong already announced they will stop hiring Filipinos. Employers in the Gulf countries also reportedly met recently to address the issue and  decided to stop hiring Filipino workers.

Junia is no doomsday advocate, but his reports were really alarming.

I only hope that the issue of RA10022 has not really been explained well to the nation and its good points have not really been justified by this government, which has promised to improve the conditions of the Filipino workingman.

But unless, government can explain the brighter side of RA10022, I would presume that Junia has a point.

That includes his position that Mrs. Arroyo was “not only brilliant; she is a genius who has mastered the art of government takeovers, she is also cruel for at stake here is the life and future of every Filipino.”

But it’s not yet too late for the PNoy.

We suggest that Mr. Aquino should fully explain the logic behind the new law.

It was reported that some bright boys really wanted it implemented since the law also provides mandatory insurance that will bring in over P6 billion a year in insurance premium business.

There was reportedly a strong lobby for the passage of the law as if that would mean tot protects the interest of the OFWs. Some OFW recruitment agencies were allegedly on the take from the insurance groups that they forgot to advice their partners in Congress that it was a conspiracy to fleece more money from the OFWs of the effects of the ban in many destination countries, says Junia.

But before our balikbayan workers starts returning to their places of work, Mr. Aquino should already have a clear-cut policy that would ensure that Junia was wrong. Otherwise, we are really inviting trouble. Joel Paredes


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