Friday, February 23, 2007


Please read below the message we received from Mr. Silvestre Berso:

From: silvester berso
To: OFW Manifesto
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 11:46:52 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you

Congratulations! for this timely message. In fact I already send it to all my friend and colleagues from all over the world and I put you in Cc:, however your first email address that I used was wrong, my email bounced back. But this time I got it right.

I have read the Migrants Manifesto on PetionOnLine website. Indeed this would be a good venue to voice out OFWs opinion on the present crisis that our country is undertaking today. I dream that someday all OFWs will form a group in the internet to share their views and solutions to the current problems in our country. I am thinking of organizing a centralized email group among all OFWs. All issues concerning the Philippines will be disseminated to all members of the group and share everybody's opinion.

I am sure we can think of many ways to improve not only the condition of the migrant workers but also the majority of our poor countrymen. As an OFW here in US of A, I have worked in different part of the world and I have seen many good examples of government policy that can easily be implemented in our country.

By the way, which organization do your group belong to?

Best regards and more power to you,

Silvestre Berso

Response from Joy Puyat, OFW Blogspot

Dear Mr. Berso,

Thanks for your email. This is very encouraging! We all share the same dream to make the Philippines a better place and to help every Filipino. I am glad that this address works out in terms of sifting through reactions and suggestions especially for those who have this strong genuine desire to give back to the country. Actually, you are our first respondent! If you don't mind, can we feature your comments to our blogspot at:

It seems that you have extensive networks across the globe. Perhaps you can help us build the email directory/database of OFWs. There are certain technical limitations to the current online petition website that we use. Perhaps later, we can create a more sophisticated OFW website when we have more substantive material. In the meantime, we use the blogspot. We also use this focussed e-group for brainstorming purposes and post the finished products on the blogspot.

I am copying the authors of the manifesto and our initial collaborators. To answer your question, we all belong to different organizations and live in different countries. We all wear different hats but for the OFW purpose, most of us are there on our personal capacity. In my case, I work for an international organization and I am involved in the NY-NJ Filipino orgs/coalitions/communities. Considering that we all carry certain platforms, the entry point is on migrant issues which links back to making a better Philippines. To focus our interventions, we are undertaking a strategic planning activity -- all done online considering our geographic locations. So far, I've only met 3 persons on this list - i.e. Lalay Rispens-Noel, Doris Alfafara and Basco Fernandez of the Netherlands here in New York, on various occasions/circumstances. The amazing part is, the OFW group is still very young -- discussions on the manifesto started only in February and yet I can say that this is one of the most productive groups I've seen so far.

We look forward to your suggestions.

With best wishes,

Joy Puyat

Reaction from JOHNNY PECAYO, Chairman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Manila-U.S. Times, Glendale, California

Johnny Pecayo was the first editor who published our Migrants' Manifesto

From: Johnny Pecayo []
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2007 4:35 AM
To: Nerissa Fernandez; Leila RispensNoel; Fil-Ams Houston; FilAm Forum; Patricia Ann V. Paez
Subject: ABS-CBN; Manifesto on Page 7 of the MANILA-U.S. TIMES

Please enjoy reading.

February 12 - February 18, 2006 Manila - U.S. Times 7

We, the Overseas Filipinos worldwide, urge each and everyone in the coming May electoral contest to implore all political parties, emerging parties and their respective candidates to bring forth a platform-based campaign so that the electorate can choose credible persons who are worthy to lead the nation.

In order to advance democratic governance in the Philippines, there should be a structure or process of reform that promotes increasingly participatory and accountable governance. In this context, the will and voice of the people should
be respected at all times and the sanctity of the ballots must be safeguarded.

The root causes of human insecurity in the Philippines -- and thus, threats to overall peace and development -- include conditions of inequity, with an elite few controlling power and economic resources; abject poverty; poor governance; injustice, abuse of authority and violations of human rights; and marginalization of minority groups.

And yet, squandering of billions of pesos from legitimate and illegitimate sources had been a common scenario in a personality and patronage-based electoral contest.

The proposed platform-based campaign is envisioned to change this bad practice. In order to sustain poverty reduction, there must be equitable growth and the poor people who are in the majority must have political power – i.e., with a real voice and space. The powerful and/or the elites—whether political leaders, corporations or
other influential actors—must be held accountable for their actions; more specifically, they must be held accountable for their success or failure in their individual or party platform of promised good governance.

We are calling for robust, transparent, internally democratic and accountable political parties in order to develop a stronger democratic culture in the Philippines. Otherwise, the right to choose will remain to be pre-empted by the elites that own the political process, including the political organizations.

We challenge those who want to become legitimate servants and leaders to articulate a concrete and doable developmental plan aimed at the Filipino migrant workers around the world.

We pledge to support legitimate servants of the people running for any public position that aggressively promote the interest of our sector on the following issues:

1) Institute meaningful comprehensive electoral reforms starting with the removal of the residency requirement inserted at the last minute by congress in the Absentee Voting Law. Introduce laws that will create a transparent campaign expenditures and verifiable financial source imposing a limit to individual, group, and corporate campaign donations;

2) Creation of an office with a Cabinet status such as the Ministry of Migration and Development that will truly work for the interests of migrant workers. This office must be led by a Minister whose primary task is to manage orderly labor migration, harness the development potentials of migration and development (co-development). Set up an advisory board composed of qualified, dedicated, and credible Overseas Filipinos to advice the Ministry.

In addition, the Ministry must:

- See to it that the rights of migrants are protected;

- Facilitate return migration and in such a way that overseas Filipinos who wish to return voluntarily remain active in the labor force or has the necessary means to secure his or her financial future including their families;

- Monitor the performance of government agencies in charge of migrant workers (OWWA,etc.) and particularly to review structures relating to the migrant workers trust fund to enable migrants to have an effective voice and meaningful representation in policy formation, and to ensure proper administration and management of their fund;

- Explore ways to address present gaps and barriers that hinder the effective mobilization, distribution, monitoring, and accountability procedures, in order to achieve economies of scale in current Filipino diaspora giving;

- Facilitate creation of an enabling environment (investments, provide financial services including housing, insurance, education, savings, etc. for migrants) that fully harness the development potentials of Philippine migration;

- Encourage multi-stakeholder approach to development and promote public-private partnerships; and

- Support and stimulate the transnational role of Overseas Filipinos so that they can contribute to the country’s development; while the government on the other hand, should establish a systematic way of tapping these skills (not only waiting for
their remittances);

3) Strengthen the capacity of Philippine consulates and representative offices worldwide to better serve the needs of migrant Filipino workers

4) Promote good governance, honesty, and accountability of our government servants
from the highest to lowest position. The virtue of servant-leadership must be practised;

5) Promote the welfare of our women, elderly and children; and

6) Access to a better education for all.

We urge government groups, media facilities, civil society, church organizations, and other responsible citizens, to organize and support pre-election public forums and other similar initiatives requiring candidates or party representatives to debate and publicly present their platforms on where they stand regarding these migrant issues.

This will enable the citizenry, including eligible overseas voters and members of their families in the Philippines, in making informed decisions and to help ensure that only those candidates with clear and sincere intentions of promoting the welfare of the migrant sector, their families, and millions of poor people in our country are
elected to public office.

Editor’s note: This move was initiated by Lalay Rispens-Noel of The Netherlands, and the manifesto is gaining support from Filipinos all over.


Boracay said...

OFW's are the modern day heroes for the Philippines because they sacrifice a lot to help the families. They contribute a lot to the Philippine economy by their remittances, without it
the Philippines economy will suffer. Thanks to the Overseas Filipino Workers and their sacrifices the Philippines economy has weathered the Global recession

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gene apolinares said...

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