|OFW 2000: STATUS OF THE CAMPAIGN
(The Fight Is Not Yet Over)
On October 13, 1999, PWEFI received e-mail from Mr. Emmanuel Tatad, Secretary of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment & Human Resources Development which is chaired by Sen. Francisco Tatad, informing us that there were actually two Senate Resolutions filed for the declaration of OFW Year (one authored by Sen. Legarda and co-authored by Sen. Enrile and the other authored by Sen. Biazon). We were also informed that they were studying the possibility of these being taken up by the Senate without the benefit of public hearings in order to expedite the adoption of the resolutions.
Letters were received from Senators Juan Flavier, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Sergio Osmena and Renato Cayetano expressing their support to the resolutions and the campaign.
The last communication we received (in December) were from Sen. Legarda giving us the assurance that they do not cease in the campaign for the Year 2000 to be declared as OFW Year. The other was from Presidential Spokesperson, Jerry Barican, endorsing the campaign to Sec. Jose Jaime C. Policarpio, Presidential Adviser for Legislative Affairs and Head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, for his consideration and appropriate action. (It must be noted that despite several letters posted, faxed and e-mailed-to President Estrada himself, we never received a single reply from him. We would like to think that the office of Executive Secretary Ronnie Zamora which, we understand, screens everything for the
President is the one to blame, not Erap himself. Otherwise, it will send a very ugly message to OFWs as to how the President really regards OFWs.)
In The Filipino Channel's The Global Filipino (during its anniversary week in December), the campaign was mentioned in the interview with Ms. Evelyn Hernandez-dela Rosa, Deputy Chief of Staff of Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs William Gatchalian. Likewise, it was mentioned by Sen. Legarda herself the following evening in her TGF interview and in her monthly program, "Loren," in its December 12 episode which focused specifically on OFWs.
On January 17, PWEFI faxed the office of Sec. Policarpio to express our sentiments regarding the inaction of government in connection with OFW Year and to request his office to act on it the soonest. As of this writing (January 30), we have not heard from him.
On January 23, PWEFI faxed and e-mailed Mr. Emmanuel Tatad (with copies furnished to Senators Legarda, Flavier and Santiago) to urge them further to work on the resolutions. We're awaiting, hopefully, some good news in the coming days.
As mentioned earlier, PWEFI will pursue the campaign relentlessly not only because we believe OFWs deserve the honor of having an entire year dedicated to them but more so because the token declaration could be the start of much better things for OFWs.
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