Thursday, 28 April 2011 12:39
Ex-prexy Marcos, 1st peddler of cheap Filipino labor abroad, is not a hero –migrant group President Ferdinand E. Marcos is not and in no way be considered a hero, according to the largest overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) group in the Middle East.
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, Saturday said ex-president Marcos is considered to be the ‘1st peddler of cheap Filipino labor’ abroad as he was the first to adopt the labor export program as a means to control social unrest in the late 60’ and early 70’.
Marcos was re-elected in 1969 courtesy of vote buying and cheating coupled with high-spending -reasons cited as to why the national treasury had been emptied. Marcos family and its cronies looting the national coffer was widely perceived. The Filipino nation and the whole world knew how corrupt the Marcos regime was.
Marcos left no other option then than to avail foreign loans from international financial institutions which forced him to devalue the Philippine peso by a drastic 40%, tightly restrict imports, and slow down economic growth.
According to TIME Magazine article on April 12, 1971, Marcos foreign borrowings, devaluation of peso, and restriction of impost further resulted to higher rate of unemployment and underemployment totaling to 25% in the succeeding year and 21% rate of inflation in 1970 that was officially admitted by his government.
“Aside from martial declaration, thereafter human rights violations, deepening economic crisis and growing political instability, Marcos also exploited the Filipino labor when he implemented the labor export program in 1974 otherwise known as forced migration,” Monterona added.
The conviction and affirmation by the US court to indemnify thousands of human rights victim was a resounding attestation that indeed Marcos regime committed human rights violations.
The LEP was intended to relieve the unemployment problem, as well as alleviate through the remittances of migrant workers, the chronic financial crisis brought about by the neo-colonial pattern of trade and the massive foreign borrowings to finance infrastructure-building and the import-dependent-export-oriented industrialization program.
The LEP resulted in the mass exodus of Filipino migrant workers abroad in the construction and related industries in the Middle East, as well as domestic workers, factory trainees, entertainers and construction workers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Europe.
“From 1975 to 1985, there were 2,287,913 contract workers deployed abroad. Their remittances during this span of time reached to US$5.15-B,” Monterona added.
Despite huge remittance coming in from OFWs, Monterona said OFWs became victims of their employers’ abuses, maltreatment and rampant labor malpractices and other forms of exploitation without protection from the Marcos regime.
It was also during Marcos regime when Executive Order No. 857 or the so called ‘forced remittance’ had been implemented.
“EO 857 violated individual’s right when to send and how much money an OFW will be sending to his or her dependents,” Monterona explained.
Monterona said the 1st international campaign formation called United Filipinos Against Forced Remittance had been formed and staged by various OFWs groups in Hong-Kong, Saudi Arabia, US and Europe opposing Marcos EO 857. “This formation later became an anti-Marcos dictatorship fighting for Marcos ouster -his illegal and immoral dictatorship,” he added.
“There is no way that former Pres. Marcos be recognized as a hero by OFWs who have been victim of forced migration; the succeeding governments, from Pres. Cory Aquino to Pres. Arroyo and seemingly under the Aquino III administration, have not done good to boost the Philippine economy that had been long in chronic crisis due to wrong economic policies subservient to US neo-liberal policies of globalization,” Monterona concluded.
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