By Chito Chavez
Militant workers group Migrante International criticized the recent disqualification of Manggagawa Party-list from the roster of accredited party-list groups that will run in the upcoming May 2019 midterm elections.
The move was seen as another blow in protecting the rights of workers especially of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who are subjected to various forms of human rights abuses.
“We view this as a rabid attack on progressive party-list groups that are striving for genuine representation of marginalized sectors. The bastardization of the party-list system in favor of bureaucrat capitalism is an affront to our country’s already besieged-democratic process,’’ Migrante International said in a statement.
The group scored at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for succumbing to the pressure of Malacanang, stressing that “most of the accredited party-list groups are without any credible track record in serving the grassroots’’.
“We are truly convinced that these aberrations are ushering the complete takeover of the House of Representatives by political dynasties and big business interests,’’ the group added.
Unlike most of the other party-list groups that were formed merely for the fulfillment of President Duterte’s alleged tyrannical whims and dictates, the Manggagawa Party-list is slated by nominees that have long fought for the rights and welfare of oppressed sectors like Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), jeepney drivers, the urban poor and labor unions.
Meanwhile, Migrante International alleged that fake OFW party-lists like Bertiz’s ACTS OFW Party-list and others are backed by trapos (traditional politicians) and private recruitment agencies.
The group also noted that ACTS OFW Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz III who claims to be the lone representative of OFWs in the 17th Congress figured notoriously for yelling at OFWs in Hongkong a few years ago.
Migrante International also claimed that Bertiz is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Global Asia Alliance Consultants, a recruitment agency that was suspended for irregularities.
Joanne Concepcion chairperson of Migrante International said “OFWs are longing for a genuine House representation that will uphold their interests and ensure that they get shielded from the harmful costs of the government’s labor export program’’.
As Manggagawa Party-list pushes to favor higher wages, junk burdensome state exactions and eliminate contractualization, Migrante International is certain that it is the “greedy ruling elite that are behind the Comelec’s delisting of progressive party-list groups’’.
Under the pro-elite reign of terror and repression, Migrante International asserted the “faithful servants of the Filipino masses can no longer count on making it smoothly to the halls of Congress as active participants of representative democracy without getting shoved and troubled by a corrupt electoral system that consistently obliges itself in ensuring the overwhelming predominance of corrupt political dynasties, hacienderos, plunderers and criminals in the government’s legislative branch’’.
“We will never allow the Duterte regime to drown out the voices of OFWs and other marginalized sectors. No setback will stop us from drumming our legitimate calls until we have fully realized the national democratic aspirations of the Filipino people,’’ Migrante International concluded.