OFWs in US not recession proof; expect slump in remittances, economic crunch — Maza

Oct. 14, 2008

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza said Malacanang’s economic managers should stop sugarcoating the global financial crisis and its impact on the Philippine economy and tell it like it is.

“The global financial crisis and the recession that the United States is currently experiencing will have a substantial impact on our economy and on Filipino migrants in the United States. Let’s not fool each other,” said Maza reacting to recent statements issued by Department of Budget and Management Rolando Andaya, claiming that the jobs of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the United States are recession-proof.

“There is no such thing as a recession-proof job and there is no such thing as a recession proof Filipino migrant. On the contrary, Filipinos in the Unites States are extremely vulnerable. ”

Maza explained that “the bailout plan hatched by US President George Bush burdens tax payers, including Filipino migrants. More importantly initial studies on the demographics of subprime borrowers indicate that minorities and migrants– Filipinos included–who have yet to establish a good credit standing that will allow them to qualify for regular loans are most vulnerable to subprime borrowing.”

The Gabriela lawmaker also said that impact of the US crisis will be felt full press in the Philippines in no time. “Expect the economy’s lifeline–OFW remittances–to go down. We must likewise expect a slowdown as an estimated 70 percent of our country’s financial transactions are done with the United States.”

Ibon reports that majority of investments in the country are dominated by foreign capital, accounting to around 54 percent of total flows in the country. Furthermore, around 20 percent of foreign investment in the country comes from the US. Some 20 percent of exports already directly go to the US but a large part of exports to Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia which take up another 50 percent of exports, are actually components for assembly into products whose final destination is still the US.

“Instead of feigning stability and virtual imperviousness to the crisis and feeding us hogwash, Malacaang should put in place immediate relief measures to cushion the impact of the crisis on ordinary, low-income Filipinos starting with the removal of the regressive RVAT on oil, implementing a nationwide across-the-board wage hike, increasing the budget for social services, and suspending debt payments because of the people’s urgent need for resources and support.”

For reference:

Representative Liza Largoza Maza 0920-9134540

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119

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