[Hpn] OFWs, victims thrice over

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Mon, 07 Aug 2006 11:50:58 -0400


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Consumers Domain
By Ian M. Seruelo

OFWs, victims thrice over
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, =
whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism =
or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
--Mahatma Gandhi=20

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and migrant workers are victims twice =
over by being forced to flee from poverty in their own country and from =
being separated from their families and friends. Aside from that however =
they suffer from the realities in their respective host countries that =
make them victims thrice over.=20


A particular example is the situation of our brothers and sisters caught =
in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon. As war rages on, their =
lives are in constant danger. Images in the news of wives, husbands, =
parents, children worrying about the plight of their loved ones in =
Lebanon or Israel provides a human face to statistics about the number =
one export of the country.=20

It is just sad that many of these OFWs would rather stay and die in the =
crossfire than die impoverished back home. I can just imagine the =
seriousness of their situation here that they would prefer risking their =
lives in the war zone. Indeed, what use is it living without risk if you =
cannot feed yourself and your family.=20

The OFWs are dubbed as the modern day heroes -- the very backbone of the =
country's economy. They are the very reason, in fact, that Gloria Arroyo =
still has an "economy" to boast of as if it was her government's policy =
that keeps it alive.=20

OFW remittances are the very reason that keeps our economy afloat. But =
in spite of it, the government and its various agencies seem unable to =
put their acts together to set up an efficient and effective way to help =
our migrant workers especially those now in Lebanon.=20

We call on the government to immediately give all the necessary =
assistance to our fellow Filipinos working in the war-torn areas. We =
call on this government to account to the nation how it spends the funds =
intended for the welfare of our OFWs. We call on this government to end =
the lip service and buckle down to work.

This senseless war has already claimed hundreds of civilian lives mostly =
caused by Israel's indiscriminate bombardments. This column also would =
like to add its voice to the worldwide call for a ceasefire and end the =
carnage in Lebanon. This column is in solidarity to all those who call =
for an end in violence by perpetrated by Hezbollah and Israel.=20

* * * * *

Now, I would like to accommodate the statement on this same topic by the =
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). The title of this article, by the way, is a =
variation of MFA's title of its statement: "Migrant workers in Lebanon =
are victims twice over".

MFA is a regional network of more than 260 non-government organizations =
(NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual =
advocates in Asia who are committed toprotect and promotethe rights and =
welfare of migrant workers. Below is the full text of their statement.=20

"We are distressed over the raging conflict in the Middle East. Three =
weeks and more than 800 deaths later, the situation seems to be getting =
worse. Last week's attack on civilians in Qana which claimed the lives =
of scores of women and children is truly deplorable. This unfortunate =
incident underscores the need for a concerted international action to =
force Israel and Hezbollah to agree to an immediate and unconditional =
cessation of hostilities. Aggression is not the solution. We must stop =
this foolishness now. We urge the warring forces in Southern Lebanon and =
in Gaza City to lay down their arms and negotiate for a lasting solution =
that will bring genuine peace in the Middle East.=20

"We are especially concerned with the situation of the estimated 200,000 =
migrant workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, =
Vietnam and the Philippines affected by the crisis in Lebanon and =
Northern Israel. According to newspaper reports, one migrant worker from =
Sri Lanka and another from Indonesia were killed in the fighting between =
Hezbollah and Israel. Their deaths are truly tragic because these =
migrant workers are victims twice over: first by the grinding poverty =
from their home countries due to flawed economic policies and second =
from the viciousness of this senseless war. Their dreams of better lives =
for themselves and their families are shattered by the bombs and rockets =
of the Israelis and Hezbollah.

"In spite of the hostile conditions, many migrant workers chose not to =
leave Lebanon and Northern Israel for fear of losing their only source =
of income. For many, to stay means facing serious risk from the ongoing =
violence while to go back home means confronting poverty and =
unemployment. Simply put, these people are caught between a rock and a =
hard place. A significant number of migrant workers who want to leave =
are forced to remain in Lebanon because of the lack of proper =
documentation. We heard many horror stories about undocumented migrant =
workers being abandoned by their respective governments. Many are =
sleeping along the streets of Beirut while some are reportedly =
languishing in jails. Irrespective of status, all migrant workers should =
be given assistance. Repatriation should be open to all, documented or =
not. We also urge the governments of migrant-sending countries to have a =
proper accounting of all of their citizens in Lebanon and Northern =
Israel.

"The predicament of the migrant workers in the Middle East is indicative =
of the failure of the migrant-sending governments to provide their =
people with full and decent employment. It highlights the incompetence =
of migrant-sending countries to quickly respond to crisis situation =
where their citizens are at risk. We reiterate our call for relevant =
national and international agencies to act together to save the lives =
and livelihoods of migrant workers caught in conflict situations. It is =
only through a concerted and programmatic effort that we can ensure the =
safety of the migrant workers.

"In many countries, labor migration has become part of the official =
development strategy. Every year, millions of people move out of their =
countries to search for better opportunities elsewhere.These migrant =
workers, documented or not,provide significant economic contributions =
through remittances amounting to billions of dollars. Maximizing these =
remittances for people-centered development will contribute to =
sustainable economic growth that will reduce dependency on migration. If =
only governments will do their jobs in providing their people with =
enough opportunities at home then they will not be confronted with the =
difficult situation such as what is happening in Lebanon now.

"Finally, on September 14-15 of this yearthe United Nations General =
Assembly is convening the High-Level Dialogue on Migration and =
Development. We call on Member States and Civil Society Actors who will =
be participating in this dialogue to find ways to work together and =
ensure the protection of the human rights of all migrants and their =
families.We reiterate our call for all Member States to ratify, adopt =
and implement all the core UN and ILO human rights instruments, =
particularly the International Convention on the Protection of the =
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. We =
encourage them to discuss not only the effects of international =
migration but rather focus on the factors pushing people out of their =
own communities and countries. We challenge them to draw up solutions =
that will minimize the negative effects of international migration."

(Send your comments and reactions to: for text messages to =
0919-348-6337; for e-mails to ianseruelo@yahoo.com; and for blogs to =
http://consumersdomain.blogspot.com.)

Other Columns
West Visayas, Beautiful & Wonderful (1)
The Ultimate Seven: Fundamental principles of a God-centered Life=20
William Charles Tinker

New Hampshire Homeless / Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.
1-603-286-2492
http://www.missingkids.com
http://www.nationalhomeless.org
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com


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<STYLE></STYLE>
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<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV>
<H5><IMG class=3Dleftimg height=3D55 alt=3DSeruelo=20
src=3D"http://www.thenewstoday.info/images/writers/seruelo.jpg" =
width=3D50=20
border=3D1></H5>
<H5>Consumers Domain</H5>
<P class=3Dbyline>By Ian M. Seruelo</P>
<H2>OFWs, victims thrice over</H2>
<P>"<EM>What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the =
homeless,=20
whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism =
or the=20
holy name of liberty or democracy?"<BR></EM>--<STRONG>Mahatma Gandhi=20
</STRONG></P>
<P>Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and migrant workers are victims =
twice over=20
by being forced to flee from poverty in their own country and from being =

separated from their families and friends. Aside from that however they =
suffer=20
from the realities in their respective host countries that make them =
victims=20
thrice over. </P>
<DIV class=3Dleftimg><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<P>A particular example is the situation of our brothers and sisters =
caught in=20
the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon. As war rages on, their lives =
are in=20
constant danger. Images in the news of wives, husbands, parents, =
children=20
worrying about the plight of their loved ones in Lebanon or Israel =
provides a=20
human face to statistics about the number one export of the country. =
</P>
<P>It is just sad that many of these OFWs would rather stay and die in =
the=20
crossfire than die impoverished back home. I can just imagine the =
seriousness of=20
their situation here that they would prefer risking their lives in the =
war zone.=20
Indeed, what use is it living without risk if you cannot feed yourself =
and your=20
family. </P>
<P>The OFWs are dubbed as the modern day heroes -- the very backbone of =
the=20
country's economy. They are the very reason, in fact, that Gloria Arroyo =
still=20
has an "economy" to boast of as if it was her government's policy that =
keeps it=20
alive. </P>
<P>OFW remittances are the very reason that keeps our economy afloat. =
But in=20
spite of it, the government and its various agencies seem unable to put =
their=20
acts together to set up an efficient and effective way to help our =
migrant=20
workers especially those now in Lebanon. </P>
<P>We call on the government to immediately give all the necessary =
assistance to=20
our fellow Filipinos working in the war-torn areas. We call on this =
government=20
to account to the nation how it spends the funds intended for the =
welfare of our=20
OFWs. We call on this government to end the lip service and buckle down =
to=20
work.</P>
<P>This senseless war has already claimed hundreds of civilian lives =
mostly=20
caused by Israel's indiscriminate bombardments. This column also would =
like to=20
add its voice to the worldwide call for a ceasefire and end the carnage =
in=20
Lebanon. This column is in solidarity to all those who call for an end =
in=20
violence by perpetrated by Hezbollah and Israel. </P>
<P align=3Dcenter>* * * * *</P>
<P>Now, I would like to accommodate the statement on this same topic by =
the=20
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA). The title of this article, by the way, is a =

variation of MFA's title of its statement: <STRONG>"Migrant workers in =
Lebanon=20
are victims twice over"</STRONG>.</P>
<P>MFA is a regional network of more than 260 non-government =
organizations=20
(NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual =

advocates in Asia who are committed toprotect and promotethe rights and =
welfare=20
of migrant workers. Below is the full text of their statement. </P>
<P>"We are distressed over the raging conflict in the Middle East. Three =
weeks=20
and more than 800 deaths later, the situation seems to be getting worse. =
Last=20
week's attack on civilians in Qana which claimed the lives of scores of =
women=20
and children is truly deplorable. This unfortunate incident underscores =
the need=20
for a concerted international action to force Israel and Hezbollah to =
agree to=20
an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities. Aggression is =
not the=20
solution. We must stop this foolishness now. We urge the warring forces =
in=20
Southern Lebanon and in Gaza City to lay down their arms and negotiate =
for a=20
lasting solution that will bring genuine peace in the Middle East. </P>
<P>"We are especially concerned with the situation of the estimated =
200,000=20
migrant workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, =
Vietnam and=20
the Philippines affected by the crisis in Lebanon and Northern Israel. =
According=20
to newspaper reports, one migrant worker from Sri Lanka and another from =

Indonesia were killed in the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. =
Their deaths=20
are truly tragic because these migrant workers are victims twice over: =
first by=20
the grinding poverty from their home countries due to flawed economic =
policies=20
and second from the viciousness of this senseless war. Their dreams of =
better=20
lives for themselves and their families are shattered by the bombs and =
rockets=20
of the Israelis and Hezbollah.</P>
<P>"In spite of the hostile conditions, many migrant workers chose not =
to leave=20
Lebanon and Northern Israel for fear of losing their only source of =
income. For=20
many, to stay means facing serious risk from the ongoing violence while =
to go=20
back home means confronting poverty and unemployment. Simply put, these =
people=20
are caught between a rock and a hard place. A significant number of =
migrant=20
workers who want to leave are forced to remain in Lebanon because of the =
lack of=20
proper documentation. We heard many horror stories about undocumented =
migrant=20
workers being abandoned by their respective governments. Many are =
sleeping along=20
the streets of Beirut while some are reportedly languishing in jails.=20
Irrespective of status, all migrant workers should be given assistance.=20
Repatriation should be open to all, documented or not. We also urge the=20
governments of migrant-sending countries to have a proper accounting of =
all of=20
their citizens in Lebanon and Northern Israel.</P>
<P>"The predicament of the migrant workers in the Middle East is =
indicative of=20
the failure of the migrant-sending governments to provide their people =
with full=20
and decent employment. It highlights the incompetence of migrant-sending =

countries to quickly respond to crisis situation where their citizens =
are at=20
risk. We reiterate our call for relevant national and international =
agencies to=20
act together to save the lives and livelihoods of migrant workers caught =
in=20
conflict situations. It is only through a concerted and programmatic =
effort that=20
we can ensure the safety of the migrant workers.</P>
<P>"In many countries, labor migration has become part of the official=20
development strategy. Every year, millions of people move out of their =
countries=20
to search for better opportunities elsewhere.These migrant workers, =
documented=20
or not,provide significant economic contributions through =
r<EM>emittances=20
amounting to billions of dollars</EM>. Maximizing these remittances for=20
people-centered development will contribute to sustainable economic =
growth that=20
will reduce dependency on migration. If only governments will do their =
jobs in=20
providing their people with enough opportunities at home then they will =
not be=20
confronted with the difficult situation such as what is happening in =
Lebanon=20
now.</P>
<P>"Finally, on September 14-15 of this yearthe United Nations General =
Assembly=20
is convening the High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. We =
call on=20
Member States and Civil Society Actors who will be participating in this =

dialogue to find ways to work together and ensure the protection of the =
human=20
rights of all migrants and their families.We reiterate our call for all =
Member=20
States to ratify, adopt and implement all the core UN and ILO human =
rights=20
instruments, particularly the International Convention on the Protection =
of the=20
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. We =
encourage them=20
to discuss not only the effects of international migration but rather =
focus on=20
the factors pushing people out of their own communities and countries. =
We=20
challenge them to draw up solutions that will minimize the negative =
effects of=20
international migration."</P>
<P><EM>(Send your comments and reactions to: for text messages to =
0919-348-6337;=20
for e-mails to </EM><A=20
href=3D"mailto:ianseruelo@yahoo.com"><EM>ianseruelo@yahoo.com</EM></A><EM=
>; and=20
for blogs to </EM><A href=3D"http://consumersdomain.blogspot.com/"=20
target=3D_blank><EM>http://consumersdomain.blogspot.com</EM></A><EM>.)</E=
M></P><!-- InstanceEndEditable -->
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<H5>Other Columns</H5>
<H6><A=20
href=3D"http://www.thenewstoday.info/2006/08/07/west.visayas.beautiful.an=
d.wonderful.1.html">West=20
Visayas, Beautiful &amp; Wonderful (1)</A></H6>
<H6><A=20
href=3D"http://www.thenewstoday.info/2006/08/07/the.ultimate.seven.fundam=
ental.principles.of.a.god.centered.life.html">The=20
Ultimate Seven: Fundamental principles of a God-centered Life</A> =
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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>New Hampshire Homeless / Founded =
11-28-99<BR>25=20
Granite Street<BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA<BR>Advocates,activists =
for=20
disabled,displaced human rights.<BR>1-603-286-2492<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A><BR><A =

href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A><BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A><BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A></FONT></DIV>

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