2 March 2013
Group to senatorial candidates: Commit, work for OFWs welfare; join calls to protect OFWs in Sabah
To secure the votes of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in the May 13, 2013 elections, Senatorial candidates should not just ‘dip their fingers’ on various issues and concerns of the OFWs, according to Filipino migrants’ rights group in the Middle East.
“Grandstanding by senatorial candidates and simply just making ‘epal at sawsaw’ on OFWs various issues and concerns is an exercise in futility and will fail to obtain the OFWs and their families’ votes,” said Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona, also MIGRANTE Sectoral Party of OFWs and Families Vice-chairperson.
Monterona added, “Kapansin-pansin na dumami ang mga OFWs advocates among the Senatorial candidates. Karamihan sa kanila nasa posisyon na bago kumandidatong Senador na wala namang ginawa para isulong ang kagalingan naming mga OFWs at protektahan ang aming mga karapatan bilang migranteng mangagawa (We could noticed that OFWs advocates among Senatorial candidates have increased. Most of them are in the position already before they declare their Senatorial candidacy, but they’ve done nothing to advance OFWs welfare and protection of rights as migrant workers.)
He cited the Sabah standoff as a case in point, adding that they will welcome senatorial candidates who will denounce PNoy double standard approach in dealing territorial issues involving the Philippines.
“We urged senatorial candidates to join us in our call to the Aquino III govt. to resolve the conflict peacefully and protect our fellow Filipino migrants in Malaysia,” Monterona lamented.
There are around 800,000 Filipinos leaving and working in Malaysia.
Monterona also cited the rampant abuses and mysterious deaths among OFWs in the Middle East.
“We would like to hear from senatorial candidates what program of action they have to advance OFWs welfare and protect our rights while working abroad.”
On February 22, M-ME issued a statement challenging Senatorial candidates to ‘visit us, hold campaign sorties abroad’ in order for the 700,000 overseas absentee voters (OAVs) to ‘hear the candidates platform of governance and stand on specific issues that directly and indirectly affect the OFWs and the Filipinos in general.’
Monterona projected that there will be high voters’ turnout among the OAVs that will reach to 50% or even higher, out of the 700,000+ registered OFW voters around the world.
The Saudi-based OFW leader admitted that it requires intensified voters education, not just by the COMELEC, but also by various Philippine diplomatic posts and the Filipino communities and OFWs organizations.
“To win OFWs vote, our senatorial candidates must commit and work side-by-side with us in advancing OFWs rights and welfare,” Monterona averred. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No. 00966 559428739