September 17, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 September 2009
Overseas Filipino Workers in UK gear up for protest on Arroyo visit:
- Protect the rights of senior care workers in the UK
- End Arroyo’s labour-export policy
Migrante UK will stage a picket protest on Friday, 18 September 2009 in front of the Riverbank Plaza Hotel at 3:15pm, where Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is scheduled to give a keynote speech about Philippines’ supposed economic resilience and growth amidst the global crisis during the Economist-led 2009 Emerging Market Conference.
“The supposed stability of the Philippine economy is paid for by the blood and sweat of Filipino migrants through taxations and remittances. How dare Arroyo brag about this when she did nothing to address the problems faced by Filipino migrants in the UK?” lamented Rafael Maramag, coordinator for Migrante UK.
Migrante UK, together with the Kanlungan alliance of Filipino organizations in the UK, are actively campaigning for the right to UK settlement of Filipino senior carers who have fallen victim due to the changes in immigration rules. Kanlungan is set to file a judicial review against the UK Border Agency to challenge the latter’s rejection of settlement applications of affected senior carers.
“We challenge Arroyo to directly lobby the UK government and directly address this issue during her visit. Senior care workers have a right to settle in the UK,” said Jamima Fagta, Migrante UK Secretary-General and project worker for Kanlungan alliance. “It is shameful that Arroyo plans to meet investors and other companies and continue to peddle Overseas Filipino Workers as cheap commodity, while a lot of us Overseas Filipino Workers who have been affected by unreasonable changes in local immigration laws have now become undocumented migrants. Arroyo should put as a priority and push for the proper recognition and documentation of migrant workers in the UK.” added Fagta.
The UK Border Agency has avowed a big shake-up in managing migration, implementing speedy removals of undocumented migrants and failed asylum seekers while instituting return bans for up to ten years for offenders.
“Joblessness and extreme poverty in the Philippines are forcing hundreds of Filipinos everyday to seek jobs abroad, including in the UK, even if it meant the risk of being exploited and becoming undocumented. But Arroyo doesn’t seem to care as long as remittances are being sent back home,” said Maramag. “What Arroyo should do is take action in addressing both the welfare of the more than 200,000 OFW’s in the UK while creating real jobs back home rather than churning out lies of economic resilience in the Philippines,” he added.