Thứ Sáu, 1 tháng 8, 2014

Our hapless OFWs

News of a Filipina nurse who was kidnapped and gang- raped by a group of marauding Libyans speaks volumes of the government’s flawed foreign affairs and labor policies.

Earlier, a Filipino male worker was beheaded by Libyan rebels.

We are not about to blame the Aquino government alone on this one. This flawed government policy in the deployment of our workers goes all the way back to previous administrations

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, is on his way to Libya to oversee the evacuation of our workers there caught in the middle of a raging civil war. It makes for good pogi points for the foreign secretary  but it’s something he does not have to do if a well thought out policy is worked out with the Labor Department.  Together, they could have avoided undertaking contingency evacuation plans if stricter measures had been enforced to prevent Filipino job-seekers from going to these dangerous places.

The problem is that the moment fighting subsides in such strife-torn Middle East countries like Libya, Syria and Iraq, the government lifts the deployment ban on our OFWs to those places.  This inconsiderate policy underscores the vital contribution of our overseas workers to the economy. Indeed, the Philippine economy could collapse without the millions in foreign currency remittances of our overseas workers.

Let us not, however, feed Filipino workers to the meat grinder. There are other places in the Middle East that are less perilous. DOLE should also explore more employment opportunities in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Again, without putting the blame solely on the present administration, more jobs could have been created if government resources were not wasted on pork barrel allocations of legislators. As it is, government expenditures go the way of wealth generation of our politicians. This is the very reason politicians perpetuate dynasties and why our hapless workers are forced to seek jobs overseas.

Jobs could have been generated and dispersed outside Metro Manila if only government had only addressed   the energy shortage in Mindanao.  Factories should have been humming to fuel manufacturing and draw more foreign investors. But how could foreign investors be drawn to areas without electricity?

The government’s request for a supplemental budget and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla’s proposal to give President Aquino emergency powers to address the electricity problem which has now spread to Luzon illustrates the government’s stop-gap measures.

If Petilla cannot solve the energy crisis and he has to ask for emergency powers for the President, he should resign and relinquish the job to someone else who can.

The same can be said of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala whose dismal performance in his department reflects on the agri sector’s non- productivity. Despite the paid newspapers ads Alcala put out touting his accomplishments, the President appointed former Senator Kiko Pangilanan as food security czar with Cabinet rank

Kiko’s wide –ranging job description includes head of the National Food Authority, National Irrigation Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority and the  Fertilizer Fund Authority.

Alcala is left with nothing else but the title of agriculture secretary with most of his functions taken over by Pangilinan. Two questions being asked by DA insiders: Why doesn’t Alcala resign; and why doesn’t PNoy fire him?

NAIA 3 finally fully operational

Airline passengers will surely welcome the news that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 is now fully operational. Delta Airlines was the first to use NAIA 3 yesterday. Cathay, KLM and Singapore Airlines will follow suit sometime this month. So far, no major glitches were reported in the electronic display board showing the arrival and departure schedules. The baggage carousels were also working well.

The only hitch is that vehicular traffic has started to build up on the road leading to Terminal 3 and the Resorts World Casino and Hotel in front of the airport. Slow-moving traffic is reported in the previously less-traveled Skyway.  Airline passengers should still give themselves a three- hour allowance to make their flights on time out of Manila.

Meanwhile, motorists and commuters wish the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metro Manila Development Authority would coordinate in undertaking road repairs.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino rues that workers of DPWH under Rogelio Singson  did not inform him about closing a part of the Sucat interchange for repairs resulting in monstrous traffic jam. The repair job was suspended with DPWH apologizing for the oversight in coordination.

Crime deterrent

I don’t understand the opposition of Metro Manila motorcyclists in opposing a Quezon City council proposal to have them wear vests with the license numbers of their bikes prominently printed at the back.

I myself had suggested this in a column last year when I observed that crimes like ambush assassinations, robbery, and reckless driving were being committed by some of these motorcyclists.

The proposed QC ordinance is being followed by Mandaluyong and Pasay cities as a deterrent against crime, particularly against the riding-in-tandem hired guns.

Our hapless OFWs

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