Sept. 19 is Zero Remittance Day for Zero Pork!
Zero Remittance Day (ZRD) is a symbolic protest and a political exercise for Filipino im/migrants from different parts of the world to collectively show their outrage on issues that affect them.
The first ZRD was launched on October 29, 2008 in protest against the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) which was held in Manila. The ZRD criticized the GFMD and the Philippine government’s promotion of modern-day slavery through the labor export policy. It was supported by more than 112 Filipino migrant organizations all over the world, resulting in hundreds of millions lost in remittances according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The second ZRD protested former Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s attempts to implement charter change through a constitutional assembly on July 26, 2009.
Now this time, September 19, 2013, is ZERO Remittance Day for ZERO pork!
On this day, Filipino im/migrants from all over the world will once again send a united message against the pork barrel system. Our remittances that keep the economy afloat are being plundered by greedy officials. Through the ZRD, we will make our voices be heard in the call to abolish the pork barrel and re-channel funds for the people’s interest, including more efficient services and welfare assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress.
While we are hardly surviving by the day due to the global crisis combined with the onslaught of price hikes, to learn that our hard-earned money is being plundered for patronage politics and self-serving interests of a privileged few is a huge injustice. We are more than ready to take the lead in the international indignation against corruption and the plunder of our hard-earned money.
On September 19, Filipino immigrants will refrain from remitting to demand the following:
Abolish the pork barrel system! Scrap the presidential and congressional pork barrel!
Investigate agencies, and prosecute and punish all officials involved!
Re-channel funds to the people’s interests! Provide free, more accessible and more efficient services and welfare assitanc to OFWs in distress!
Why September 19?
September 19 is the anniversary of the implementation of the Overseas Workers Welfare Assistance (OWWA) Omnibus Policies (OOP) that effectively made the $25 OWWA contributions mandatory per contract. The OOP also limited benefits and services provided by the OWWA to member OFWs.
The OOP had since been deemed anti-migrant. It is one form of taxation imposed on OFWs that has gathered an estimated P14 billion in revenue for the government from OFWs’ contributions alone. OWWA funds have long been misused and plundered by government. But despite resounding calls for a full audit, the Philippine government has kept OFWs in the dark on how their hard-earned contributions are being utilized. In fact, despite billions of OWWA funds and the $21 billion worth of OFW remittances, services and assistance for Filipino migrants in distress have gone from bad to worse under the Aquino administration.
The power to send or not to send remittances rests on Filipino im/migrants and OFWs alone. By not remitting for one day, Filipinos all over the world will use their economic power to make a stand against corruption, patronage politics and social injustice.