Saturday, December 19, 2015

Presidential aspirant Grace Poe addresses 'migrantes'/OFWs

The Migrante Partylist presented their platform for the coming 2016 elections at a forum at the University of the Phillippines College of Law yesterday, 18 December 2015 to mark International Migrants Day.

Sen. Grace Poe responding to the presentations of the migrants/OFWs and their families.

Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe came to listen to represntative migrants/OFWs, live or on audio/video, tearfully narrating their sad experiences and asking what the candidates can do about their plight if they get elected.  She later commented on the presentations and responded to the query with her 'must-do' on the concerns of the OFWs and their families.

As an aside, Poe acknowledged the presence of Nora Aunor, who she called 'the national artist in the hearts of all Filipinos.' Also, around to support the migrantes were senatoriables Congressman Neri Colmenares and well-known lawyer Lorna Kapunan.

Left to right: Migrante Partylist nominee, Atty Lorna Kapunan, Rep. Neri Colmenares and Nora Aunor.

The partylist nominees presented their General Course of Action using the acronym MIGRANTE:
  • M -  Makabayang pamamahala at mabilis na serbisyo! [People-centered governance and prompt efficient service]
  • I - Illegal recruitment at human traffiking, wakasan! [End to illegal recruitment and human trafficking]
  • G - Galing at husay ng migrante para sa bayan! [Skills and ability of migrants for the country]
  • R - Respeto sa mga karapatan! [Respect for rights]
  • A - Abusadong opisyal, tanggalin! [Dismiss abusive officials]
  • N - No kotong policy! [No bribery policy]
  • T - Tapat na representante ng migrante sa Kongreso! [True representation of migrants in Congress]
  • E - End labor export, trabaho sa Pinas, hindi sa labas! [End labor export, jobs in the Philippines not outside]
All these are summed up in their policy statement that "it is the basic right of Filipino migrants and their families to be given sufficient services and protection, especially those in distress."

Sen. Poe and Ate Guy.

Sen. Poe reflected on the issues affecting migrants and their families they leave behind here in the country, citing recent cases like the tanim-bala, the balikbayan box, the long line of returning OFWs waiting for OWWA certificates and the latest report on the OFW starved by her anorexic employer.  

She cited the reason why she also left to work abroad, zeroing on the need for more jobs in the country, for investments to produce 'made in the Philippines' items (like electric fans, etc) and thereby generate more employment. She quipped: "Kung artistahin lang po ako, eh di sana madali na lang akong nakapasok" and the audience laughed because she's the daughter of movie idol FPJ.

Some of the heartily applauded 'must-do' items she mentioned if given the chance to serve were:
  • firing government officials who do respond to, or dismiss complaints of migrants like the victims of illegral recruitment/human trafficking;
  • financial assistance to and financial literacy of migrants so that they can save part of their income for their future;
  • Fast internet access and a WiFi zone in every community for fast communication between migrants and their families; a wired city via CCTV accessible to all as this would help allay the fears for the security of the families;
  • Airport and terminal fees. Why fall in line for reimbursements/certificates when these should be automatic?
  • Symbolism of the balikbayan box: love and sacrifice of the migrant who buy sale items to fill it up for the folks back home; 
  • Increase the legal assistance fund, after all goverment has money if it only knows how to spend it properly.
Who should the people vote for? Senator Grace Poe said someone with these three qualities: integridad [integrity], kakayahan [ability] and malasakit [interest/care].

Listening to Senator Grace Poe.

My friend Mon videographed the talk of Sen. Poe in two parts, which can be seen via YouTube:  

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