Monday, 15 April 2013 00:00 Published in Metro
A party-list lawmaker yesterday appealed to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to be more circumspect in the candidates they choose to vote, saying the electoral exercise should be a way by which they could uplift their welfare.
According to Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano, the OFWs should be wary of candidates who promise them the moon and the stars during the campaign but get nothing in return when in power.
Mariano noted the work of the Filipinos abroad has its economic gains but brings about some difficulties in the family.
He said if the economy is good there would not be a need for a member of the family to leave the country.
“OFWs must choose national candidates that have clear platforms on providing employment for Filipinos. Among the major cause of labor migration and the exodus of Filipino workers is the perennial lack of livelihood and employment opportunities in the country,” Mariano said.
“OFWs must also choose candidates that can give solution to the lingering problem of rising prices of goods and services. Remittances sent by OFWs to their families here in the Philippines are hardly felt because of constant price hikes and increasing cost of living. Under Aquino, prices of oil products and rates of vital utilities like electricity and water continue to increase,” Mariano said.
The lawmaker added the government should focus on improving local employment opportunities than overseas employment which has led to many broken families.
“To create regular, decent-paying jobs in the country, the local economy must be strengthened, particularly industries that provide jobs to Filipinos. But instead of providing local employment to workers, the Aquino administration encouraged Filipinos to work abroad and intensified labor export policies that allowed the modern-day slavery of OFWs,” he said.
“Despite the Aquino government’s ‘imagined economic development’ and boasting of the country’s so-called ‘rising tiger of Asia’ status, economic indicators show that local unemployment has worsened under the current administration,” he added.
Local unemployment rate is at 7.1 percent while underemployment is at a high 20.9percent. Under Aquino, more than 4,400 workers scurry out of the country to work as skilled workers, laborers, trade and service sector workers abroad.
“Majority of OFWs abroad are employed as plant and machine operators and assemblers, workers in trade and related industries, laborers and unskilled workers,” he said.
“There are no significant industries in the country to give these workers long-term and decent-paying jobs. They are pushed to the path of labor migration,” Mariano added. “The Aquino government has no plans of genuinely developing the local manufacturing and agriculture sectors — the real backbone of domestic economic development,” he said.
According to Comelec official data, there are 988,384 overseas voters for this year’s election. Automated polls will take place in the following countries with large concentration of overseas voters: Hong Kong (83,118); Singapore (50,063); Dubai (55,842); Jeddah (30,328); Kuwait (30,468); Riyadh (53,396), and Abu Dhabi (21,645).
But Filipino workers in Hong Kong have already warned that a big number of them may not be able to vote because of the lack of ballots and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that have been assigned to some 123,000 absentee voters.
Migrante officials, interviewed last week, said registered voters in Hong Kong have increased to 122,820 from 95,000 in 2010.
The reduced number of PCOS machines would also affect voting because while the overseas voting would last for a month, the OFWs could only be able to vote on weekends. Migrante said the ballots that have been assigned to Hong Kong will not be enough as they have been reduced by 21,941 to only about 90,800.
Saturday, 13 April 2013 00:00 Published in Nation
Local candidates in Mindanao yesterday expressed high hope that the gruesome 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people, including 37 journalists, will be resolved before the end of the Aquino administration.
“The President and I talked about the massacre…we will do everything to bring closure to the case,” re-electionist Gov. Toto Mangudadatu said yesterday.
Mangudadatu said that he still believes justice will prevail.
“I am hoping that we are going to win the case. The accused are having a hard time presenting their evidence,” he said.
In separate interviews, senatorial candidates Bam Aquino and Aurora Rep. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said that the Maguindanao massacre case should be a wake-up call for the government to institute reforms in the country’s justice system.
“The judiciary needs reforms. Many say that cases such as the Maguindanao massacre should have been resolved earlier. Let’s hope that this can be resolved immediately,” Aquino, cousin of President Aquino, said.
Angara shared Aquino’s view.
“Let us further strengthen our efforts to reform the justice system in the country to serve justice with dispatch,” Angara stressed.
Thirty-eight journalists were killed in the incident. Mangudadatu’s wife Genalyn was also killed in the including his two sisters in the Nov. 23 massacre.
Mangidadatu, was then the mayor of mayor of Buluan town, when the incident happened.
He was running against Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of then Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., in 2010 elections.
Two senatorial candidates of the administration Team PNoy earned the support of Lakas-CMD Party. Four were from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, president of the Lakas-CMD, disclosed that the party decided to endorse Aurora Rep. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Grace Poe from Team PNoy and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile and re-electionist Sen. Gringo Honasan from UNA.
Romualdez said that the six senatorial candidates have been chosen based on their competence as congressional leaders and championing people’s interests, especially in showing sympathy and extending assistance to the constituents of Lakas-CMD members whose congressional districts had been battered in the past by disasters such as strong typhoons.
“We see them as allies for extending help to our colleagues whose districts have been flooded by typhoons and seriously affected by other natural disasters,” Romualdez said following the party’s
National executive committee meeting held at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Harvard Street, Forbes Park, Makati City.
“They will champion people’s interests and obviously we share principled ideas, policies and goals to help the country propel its economic growth,” Romualdez added.
“We admire them for adhering to the principles and practices that serve the people and help us make the right decisions leading to good governance. They also follow the highest standards of public service,”Romualdez pointed out.
The executive meeting was attended by Lakas-CMD stalwarts, including Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., chairman; House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, both vice chairmen; and among others.
Romualdez said the party will pick next week four more senatorial candidates whom they would support as a party.
He said that they will announce another set of candidates whom they would support next week.
“By next week, we will make another announcement to complete the ten names and will leave the two slots as agreed upon earlier at the discretion of our members. Some of our local candidates have expressed sympathy and support to some senatorial candidates of their choice and we are respecting this request,” Romualdez explained.
“But it doesn’t mean that a certain senatorial candidate would not get support from Lakas-CMD members if his or her name is not included in the final list. Like Sen. (Legarda) Loren, if ever her name would not be included in the final list, I will still support her using the two seats left at the discretion of every member,” he said.
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