Various disappointments and agitations

October 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

It was something rather expected, still when I got word from the No Deal! Movement that the Senate just ratified the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, I felt my spirits sink. The anti-Jpepa fight was a good one. No way did the agreement survive public debate. The voices in protest were always broad and insistent and carried only the soundest of arguments. Since it was signed by Arroyo last 2006, I’ve done several articles exploring the many facets of Jpepa–constitutional, economic, grassroots impact, environmental–and they always ended with the same conclusion: that it must be absolute folly to concur. So this is how it ends: through deliberate folly of those so deeply steeped in neo-liberal dicta. I am sad for those who will be most affected: the farmers whose produce will further lose in the market due to the influx of imports, the workers who will be paid depressed wages and repressed in export-processing zones, the small fisher folk who’ll be robbed of catch in our own territorial waters.

* * *

I felt sad, too, for the striking workers of Kowloon House in West Ave., Quezon City who had their hopes crushed when a vehicle bearing the signage of the Philippine Daily Inquirer stopped by the Chinese restaurant more than a week ago but the occupant, rather than interviewing them as they expected, went for take-out. It was no other than Conrado de Quiros. The workers waved placards at his face and shouted boycott. But he was nonchalant, said a friend/fellow-reporter who witnessed the incident and identified the famous columnist. We were drained of all admiration for him henceforth. Read about Kowloon House’s non-payment of the minimum wage and illegal dismissal of 73 workers here.

* * *

Yesterday, PGMA infuriated me once again. At the launch of the media campaign for the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development, she said that we should be calling Filipino migrants “expatriates” instead of “workers” since most are skilled and get high pay anyway. Her claim is imbecilic as 1 out of 3 OFWs are unskilled, according to the National Statistic Office’s 2007 Survey on Overseas Filipinos. Only 9% are skilled workers. On the average, OFWs are only paid $200-300 per month of P10,000 to P15,000. “Their earnings are barely enough for their families to subsist back home, given the spiraling costs of basic necessities and the government’s lack of social services. No one is living the good life–not OFWs nor their families,” said Migrante International in a statement. Lately I’ve been immersing in migrant issues and figure that it’s a highly interesting sector with emerging importance in Philippine society and struggle. On October 27-30, the International Migrants Alliance will be holding the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees, parallel to the GFMD. It is an alternative space for the migrants’ voices to be heard, and this is their message:

(Illustration by Tarik Garcia)


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

For myself, tomorrow (yawn) Allen’s welcome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

RSS Pinoy Weekly Online

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.


%d bloggers like this: