To mark the upcoming elections in the Philippines, my friend Tonyo Cruz ,a journalist and blogger asked me to to be part of 100Araw and I accepted the invitation with 40 others. I'm proud to be among these Journalist and bloggers. Please check the website at 100araw.com.
Here is my first blog entry for the group :
OFW group dares presidentiables : Bare plans to address jobs crisis,migrants woes
“Once in power, how will you address unemployment and effectively stop driving Filipinos to seek jobs abroad?”
This was the question raised by Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand to presidential aspirants amid growing numbers of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) losing jobs in recession-hit countries like New Zealand.
To recall, New Zealand Immigration Jonathan Coleman says it is made clear to applicants that there are no guarantees of work, job offers or residence under the work to residence scheme.
Under the program, applicants have nine months to come to New Zealand to seek skilled employment, and those who succeed qualify to apply for permanent residency.
In an statement, Migrante Aotearoa National Coordinator Dennis Maga, said Will the next president be able to reshape Philippine economy from its current state of being largely dependent on overseas remittances? .
“We are greatly interested to know who among the presidential aspirants will depart from existing policies that have turned Filipinos into the country’s number one export”, He added.
He asked ,”Will the next president heed the cry for government to provide adequate protection and assistance for distressed OFWs around the globe? Can the next president ensure that returning OFWs will find decent jobs back home and never be forced to leave the country again?”.
“We dare the presidential aspirants to be ready to reverse the policies of all-out trade liberalization, deregulation and privatization that have condemned poor peasants and workers in a vicious cycle of poverty, landlessness and joblessness. To stop the phenomenon of forced migration, the next president must decisively take steps to place the common good above the interests of the country’s elite, especially on the issues of land reform and exploitative working conditions that drive Filipinos to seek jobs abroad” Maga noted.
In 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared that Filipinos can weather the economic crisis by turning to job opportunities in New Zealand, Australia and other countries.
Migrante Aotearoa pointed out that hundreds of Filipinos and other skilled migrants in New Zealand have also been laid off. The group advised Filipinos who might be attracted to apply for the new Silver Fern Visa effective April 2010 to be aware that many skilled migrants under the Work-to-Residence (WTR) scheme failed to get employment under the present economic climate in NZ.
“It would be another betrayal of election promises of CHANGE should the next president continue to promote labor export policy rather than address the roots of chronic unemployment and economic injustice in the country,” the group concluded.