Migrante hits Akbayan
Allow us to refute Walden Bello’s claim that he and his party-list group Akbayan represent overseas Filipino workers in the House of Representatives.
To set the record straight, Bello and Akbayan have been misrepresenting the OFWs in bad faith to advance their party’s interests over and above that of the sector they claim to represent.
How could Bello and Akbayan genuinely represent the OFWs in Congress if their stand on various OFWs issues and concerns is totally in conflict with the interest of the OFW sector? Bello’s claim that he and his party Akbayan represent the OFWs is utterly false.
Bello and Akbayan’s docile collaboration with the ruling Aquino administration has rewarded Bello with the chairmanship of the House’s special Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA), which is sitting on numerous OFW issues and concerns.
We ask: Why is Bello silent on President Aquino’s Administrative Order 31, which was issued Oct. 1, 2012, allowing government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to raise fees and charges? Undoubtedly, the OFWs will be hit hard by P-Noy’s AO 31 given the numerous government documents required for our deployment abroad.
Bello also killed a proposed House bill that would place the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) outside the coverage of Republic Act 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 that will transform OWWA into a GOCC and corner its P13-billion trust fund, which comes from the compulsory collection of $25 per OFW member.
Akbayan and Bello also “killed” a proposed bill that would grant credit assistance to OFWs, especially those distressed, and to members of their families.
These are just a few of the many OFW issues and concerns that show Bello and Akbayan’s anti-OFW stance. I cannot remember a proposed bill, or a law for that matter, that was authored by Bello aiming to advance OFW rights and welfare.
For the many OFWs, not only here in the Middle East but around the world, Bello and Akbayan’s claim that they represent OFWs is utterly a false claim.
We join other sectors and progressive groups demanding the disqualification of Akbayan for the reason that it is not “underrepresented” and, worse, not representing any marginalized sector.—JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA, regional coordinator, Migrante-Middle East, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.