October 20, 2008
DANILO RAMOS, KMP Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)
Peasant groups affirm landlessness, poverty root causes of migration
KMP supports Migrante, international groups against Global Forum on
Migration and Development
About 200 members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),
Pamalakaya-Pilipina s, UMA and Amihan protested in front of the Department
of Agrarian Reform – Central Office to protest against the coming Global
Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), an informal international body
led by the World Bank and US to focus on how to manage and exploit fully
international migrants who reach to about 205 million and who remit about
$ 2.26 trillion. The GFMD will be held at the PICC, Manila on October 29.
"We, peasant groups are against this move by the World Bank and US to
exploit further migrants, now they know how valuable they are to the world
economy," opened Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General. He added, "In the
countryside, landlessness and poverty are the root causes of why people
from the barrios go abroad and continue to dream of it. Moreover, this
World Bank is also the mastermind that puppet governments such as
Arroyo's, implement market-oriented `land reform' programs who in
real-life serve the interests of rich countries and foreign-monopoly
"It is a sad fact that there are many who come from the countryside who go
abroad, such as those sons and daughters of peasant families who even sold
or pawned their lands, carabaos and other properties just to be able to
pay for placement fees and everything," Ramos shared. Adding, "This is all
due to landlessness that creates the deep poverty they are in."
As the GFMD nears, the group Migrante International plans a series of
actions to go up against the said forum. "We fully support Migrante
International' s campaign against the GFMD, we believed that this is to
systematize further the already-exploitativ e and oppressive practices of
governments and capitalists of rich countries of their migrant workers,"
added Ramos. He mentioned, "We support the internationally- coordinated
action of Zero-Remittance on October 29, Arroyo should feel the united
effort of Filipino migrants around the world, who the government pay
lip-service when they infuse US dollars to the economy but neglect in
times of crisis."
"We are here at DAR, fundamentally because this office is the main
proponent of CARP, the government program that never served the interests
of the landless peasants in the country, Arroyo is exploiting us Filipino
peasants and migrants," Ramos explained of the protest venue.
In support of the Zero-Remittance Day on October 29, KMP then relays the
plan to all its regional and provincial chapters, for their member peasant
families to remind their OFW relatives abroad to observe of the plan.
"This is to remind the public that Arroyo's management of the country is
very volatile and totally dependent to the remittances of the OFWs. The
fundamentals she is blabbering about is nil, the real modern day heroes of
the economy are the working and sacrificing OFWs abroad, and she is just
enjoying the fruits of their labor, like us the peasants here, who
cultivate and produce our food supply but her programs are to displace us
from our farms and import rice that compete directly with our produce.
This zero-remittance day should be more often, to shake up Arroyo," Ramos
October 22, 2008
Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:
Filipino-Americans Support Zero-Remittance Day
The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of
12 Filipino organizations across five US cities, has endorsed the
international call for "zero-remittance day" for next Wednesday, October
29th. The call was issued primarily from the International Migrants
Alliance (IMA), of which BAYAN USA is a founding member of, and Migrante
International, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino organizations.
A recent statement from Malacanang indicated the Philippine government's
concern over the call, so much so that a government appeal have been made
to have the call withdrawn and have the concerns of its proponents taken
up inside the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a
multi-lateral state dialogue scheduled to occur next week in Manila. The
key agenda to be taken up at the GFMD will be migration's correlation to
the development of nations by studying the Philippine labor export model.
"We support the call of IMA for a day of no remittance because we believe
the Philippine model of outmigration is not an example to be proud of,"
states Chito Quijano, chair of BAYAN USA. "Using the Philippines as a case
study, massive and aggressive outmigration of over 3,000 Filipinos daily
is an indicator of domestic economic failure, not development. The
Philippines now has the most remittance-dependent economy in the world,
and domestically is in a chronic state of economic crisis and massive
poverty that will only get worse with the looming global financial crisis.
At the same time overseas Filipinos around the world remain oppressed,
exploited, abused in their host countries, and unprotected by the very
government that pushed them out. This is anything but 'development' the
people of the world seek. By not remitting for one day, Filipinos all over
the world harness their economic power and take a stand against the sick
and violative nature of the Philippine labor export program."
In 2007, overseas remittances
to Philippine banks totaled a record $14.5 billion US dollars. Out of
this, 51% came from Filipinos in the United States, making the call from
the US even heavier. There are approximately 4 million Filipinos living in
the United States today, making it the largest overseas Filipino
population in the world. Despite strong outpouring of remittances from the
US, Filipinos in the US still face harsh conditions related to
immigration, including unjust raids and deportations, massive job
lay-offs, curtailment of civil rights, and many other issues that the
Philippine government has always ignored.
"We literally save the Philippine economy everyday from sinking by our
dollar remittances, and corrupt politicians have been enjoying their pork
barrels fueled by our hard-earned dollars, without any action taken when
migrants need their advocacy overseas. It's time to let them know where
the real economic power comes from-- migrants," Quijano added.
"But in the end the measure of our economic development should not be how
many Filipinos we can export abroad, but how many decent wage jobs we can
offer Filipinos in the Philippines, so that they can live, work, and stay
with their families in their own country and have a good quality of life,"
Quijano further added that job development in the country starts with
rejection of neo-liberal trade agreements to build the Philippine's
economic self-sufficiency and the development of national industries to
provide jobs for the domestic population.
Filipinos from the US will be attending the upcoming challenge conference
to the GFMD, the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) in
Manila from October 28-30. Actions in the US will also take place in
support of zero-remittance day. ###