Migrante Criticizes Amendment to Law on Migrant Workers

Article excerpt

A worker’s group slammed over the weekend the newly amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, or Republic Act 10022, saying that it will only “heighten and intensify” exportation of human labor while not safeguarding the well-being and rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).They noted that provisions of the amended act are very reminiscent of its predecessor, Republic Act 8042.Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said the new republic act is an anti-OFW law as it allows the government to impose additional state exactions and fees that will bleed migrant workers dry of their earnings.“It will also absolve employers and recruiters from their accountability to OFWs’ rights and welfare,” said Monterona. “Migrante chapters around the world strongly opposed the law when it was still being deliberated in Congress from a consolidated bill. It seems that President Arroyo found her way not to sign it so she could escape from the ire of millions of OFWs and their dependents,” he added.Republic Act 10022 lapsed into law on March 8 after President Arroyo did not act on it within a 30-day period.Monterona claimed that the law is based on the framework of neo-liberal policies of globalization such as liberalization, privatization, and deregulation where the interest of business and profit are given priority over the rights of laborers.Citing the provision in the old RA 8042 which states, “The State does not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development,”  Monterona said that the government, through the DoLE-POEA, as leading recruiter, conducts extensive marketing of OFWs sending more than 1 million yearly abroad but failing to defend the provisions in the law based on the rampant contract substitutions and violations that have been reported by OFWs yearly on site. …