Newly Amended Law for Migrants to Intensify Exploitative Labor Export Program

Press Release
21 March 2010

“The newly amended law for Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (Republic Act 10022) as it introduces amendments to R.A. 8042, will only heighten and intensify the exportation of human labor as a primordial labor program of the government under the present Arroyo administration,” today said by an alliance of Filipino migrant workers based in the Middle East.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said the new law (RA 10022) that became a law even with out the signature of the President does not go away from its original (RA 8042) of being an anti-OFW by allowing the government not only to further institutionalized the government’s labor export program but it is also seen to intensify the exportation of human labor even without guarantee that Filipino migrant worker’s well-being, rights and welfare are safeguarded and protected by the receiving host-governments.

RA 10022 lapsed into law on March 8, 2010 without the President signing it in accordance to the provision of the 1987 Constitution specifically Art. VI, Sec. 27 (1) which states “The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.”

“Migrante chapters around the world and other OFWs organizations’ strong opposition to the passage of the new amended law when it is still being deliberated in Congress from a consolidated bill, Mrs. Arroyo found her way not the sign it so that it could escape from the ire of the millions of OFWs and their dependents; but actually pro-administration lawmakers are behind its passage,” Monterona added.

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Monterona said the new law (RA 10022) is an anti-OFW as it allows the government to impose additional state exactions and fees that will bleed OFWs dry of their earnings.

“The new amended law will also absolve employers and recruiters from their accountability to OFWs’ well-being, rights and welfare which the government passed to them by virtue of RA 8042,” Monterona averred.

Monterona noted with RA 10022, the government totally abandons its primary duty and responsibility in taking care the well-being, rights and welfare of deployed OFWs into the hands of profiteering recruitment agencies, local and overseas.

“In short, RA 10022 is basically a law not for migrant workers because it is based on the framework of neo-liberal policies of globalization (liberalization, privatization, and deregulation) whereby the interest of businesses and profit is given priority over the welfare and rights of the working people; thus it is very anti-OFWs,” Monterona added.

Monterona cited 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,” and yet the government through the DoLE-POEA, as leading recruiter, conducts extensive marketing of OFWs sending more than 1-M yearly abroad but failed to defend the provisions in the standard contract set by itself as rampant contract substitutions and violations have been reported by OFWs yearly on site.

“We have made our position clear in several committee hearings called for by Congress during the deliberation of the amendment of RA 8042; first, we are for the scrapping of the labor export program of the government as we believe the government must concentrate in domestic job generation and in providing social services, not a state that sells us as cheap and docile labor in foreign markets,” Monterona said.

Monterona further said Migrante, OFWs and their dependents are for the scraping of all state exactions that bring OFWs to a lifetime of indebtedness and victimize them as slave labor abroad; OFWs do not need additional exactions that squeeze them further dry of their earnings.

Monterona added OFWs and their dependents deserve to have a genuine Magna Carta that is holding the government and profiteers accountable for their disservice to OFWs and their dependents, and a government that will firmly stand up for the protection of migrant Filipinos having no other interest at stake but our rights and welfare.

“That is why we are urging OFWs and their families to help us and commit their share in establishing a society where families are not broken up just for the need to survive -one way of doing it is by electing candidates that have a clear program for OFWs and their families,” the Saudi-based OFW ended.

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator

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