Palace shrugs off OFWs' 'Zero Remittance Day'
MANILA - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are free to push through with their reported plan to stop for one day their remittances to their families here to protest the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam, Malacañang said yesterday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte pointed out that the government is not the one at the losing end of the plan but the families of the OFWs who need the money.
Filipino workers in Hong Kong have supported the call for OFWs around the world not to send their remittances on Sept. 19 to dramatize the protest against alleged massive corruption in the pork barrel fund system.
“We leave it to the personal choices of the OFWs abroad,” Valte told state-run radio dzRB in her regular weekend interview.
“The OFWs are free to choose what platform they want to air their grievances, advocacies against the government,” she added.
Valte pointed out the government will not be affected at all by calls for “no remittance day.”
She said the families of OFWs would bear the brunt when only a small group wanted the remittances to stop for one day.
“We leave it to the personal decision of the OFWs because only they know the financial needs of their families here. We trust their personal decision on this, especially if the family is concerned,” Valte added.
The United Filipinos in Hong Kong-Migrante backed the call for a “Zero Remittance Day.”
“We do not labor overseas and endure separation from our loved ones just so government officials can plunder public funds or so Aquino can uphold the corrupt pork barrel system,” Eman Villanueva, secretary-general of the Unifil-Migrante-HK said.
“Our money is not meant to feed the greed of the corrupt and the plunderers. The billions of dollars of remittance that we send and the billions of pesos more generated from the long list of fees that the government charges to OFWs that keep the economy afloat are not meant to keep a thriving corrupt system of governance,” he added.
The biggest progressive OFW alliance in HK also hit the government’s belittling of the zero remittance call, saying the government’s aggressive export of Filipinos abroad shows that it puts a premium on OFWs’ contribution to prevent the total slide of the economy.
“OFW money may go directly to our family but remittance records are also used by this government to bloat up its earnings that in turn improves its credit standing. We supply the dollars that prevent the peso from total collapse,” Villanueva said.