Martinez clarified that cultural and religious differences are not the main reasons why OFWs, especially in the Middle East have suffered abuses. He believes that if the government continues to neglect the welfare and protect the rights of OFWs, foreign employers would continue to abuse Filipino workers because they think that they could always get away with it.
The need for a long-term solution
Martinez admitted that the Philippine economy is hugely dependent on remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Thus, the increasing number of OFWs being retrenched due to the global financial crisis has surely decreased the dollar remittances being sent by Filipino migrant workers. Martinez said that this could possibly be the reason why the current administration decided to lift the deployment ban to these countries. The government, said Martinez, is frantically searching for countries that would accept the deployment of OFWs, even if these are places where a lot of OFWs ended up penniless and, worse, lifeless.
“Ngayon ay mukhang nanginginig na ang upuan ni Ginang Arroyo pag naririnig niyang bumababa ang remittances” (It seems that Mrs. Arroyo is becoming restless every time she hears that remittances are decreasing.), he added.
Martinez said that the Arroyo administration should focus more on long-term solutions to the crisis. It should, Marinez added, generate local jobs that provide salaries that can support an average Filipino family.
“Kasi maraming trabaho sa Pilipinas, e,” (Currently, there are many jobs available in the Philippines), he said sarcastically. “Pwede kang scavenger, pwede ka sa call center, pwede ring sa call center sa kalsada, y’ong barker” (One could work as a scavenger, in call centers, or even in street call centers, such as the barker who calls for passengers in jeepney terminals.)(Bulatlat.com)