human trafficking

Arroyo spreads news in New York about her admin's feats

Arroyo spreads news in New York about her admin’s feats

“Start spreading the news…” that’s how Liza Minelli’s 1977 song “New York, New York” goes.

That’s what former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did. At two recent events in New York in the United States, Arroyo highlighted the achievements of her administration.

Taunted in the Philippines for corruption issues, Arroyo found two international venues — the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) conference and the Important Dinner for Women — to cite her administration’s achievements, especially for women.

Arroyo attended the two international gatherings from September 20 to 22. Arroyo’s classmate, former US President Bill Clinton, and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan invited her to these events.

Both events focused on addressing women issues related to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states, and at least 23 international organizations, have agreed to achieve by the year 2015.

These goals include:
(1) Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger;
(2) Achieving universal primary education;
(3) Promoting gender equality and empowering women;
(4) Reducing child mortality rate;
(5) Improving maternal health;
(6) Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
(7) Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
(8) Developing a global partnership for development.

Presenter of commitments

In the 5th CGI conference, Arroyo was the “presenter of commitments” on enhanced education for about one million girls.

In a press release, Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo’s spokesperson, said the “commitment” was shared by Barclays (a financial services institution), Goldman Sachs (a global investment banking and securities firm) and Room to Read (a non-profit organization based in the US).

Women empowerment

During the 5th Important Dinner for Women, Arroyo was a discussant on the lagging targets on women empowerment and maternal deaths.

The discussion was participated in by Netherlands Prime minister Emily de Jongh-elnage, and Ida Odinga, wife of Kenya’s Prime Minister, among others.

During the event, the former president shared her administration’s accomplishments.

Arroyo said the country was among the world’s top in providing economic opportunities for women. She said the 2006-2007 global entrepreneurship monitor noted that the Philippines was the only in the country in the world where the women are more active in starting business than men.

She added there was a significant increase of women in the labor force, with 49% of all women now working, topping gender equality among managers, professional and technical workers.

Arroyo admin’s achievements

Arroyo also cited that the Philippines has been at the top of the ranking of developing countries in the World Economic Forum’s “global gender gap index” for four consecutive years. She added that the Philippines also has the highest ranking in Asia.

Arroyo further said the government tops in gender equality among legislators and senior officials, adding that women dominate civil service at the technical level.

“The Philippines continues to be the top performer in gender equality in literacy rate and enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The country also tops gender equality on life expentancy with women outliving men,” the former President said.

She also said that her administration also made landmark legislations for women, such as the enactment of the Magna Carta for Women, a comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women.

The magna carta seeks to recognize, protect, fulfill and promote the rights of Filipino women, particularly those in the marginalized sector.

She also cited the Anti-Violence against Women and the Trafficking Persons Act of 2003, recognizing that women are the number one victims of human trafficking.

Empowerment of women

She said the Philippines is the only country that automatically appropriates 5% of its annual budget for the empowerment of Filipino women.

Yet, like many other countries, the Philippines faces the difficult challenge of reducing maternal mortality from 160/100,000 in 2009 to 55/100,000 in 2015, she said.

Arroyo said maternal deaths affect not only women empowerment but also the promotion of an intact family unit, the breeding ground of an individual’s values and direction for the future.

She said most of maternal deaths are caused by the absence of birth experts and proper birth facilities.

Arroyo said her administration has thus made health care services more available for women. They also made pregnancy quality for public health insurance.

Arroyo also put priority to facility-based, rather than home-based delivery of babies, by upgrading the gynecological, obstetrics, and surgical services of government hospitals.

Aside from attending the two events, Arroyo also held meetings with philanthropists and non government organizations to discuss possible projects addressing the concerns of women and overseas Filipino workers. Arroyo also discussed possible infrastructure, relief, and reconstruction projects. –VVP, GMANews.TV

BSAIII action plan on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

Platform for Overseas Filipino Workers

Action Plan on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

For more than three decades, the Philippines has witnessed the migration of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to take up work in other countries. While there are economic benefits from overseas employment, there are attendant social costs such as the abuse, maltreatment, and discrimination of Filipino migrant workers and the psychosocial impacts of the separation of family members. As a policy, working away from one’s home and family should be a product of choice, not necessity.

As President, Noynoy Aquino commits to create jobs at home so that working abroad will be out of choice, not necessity; and guarantee the welfare and protection of OFWs.

  • An Aquino Government will uphold the State’s policy of not pursuing overseas employment as a development strategy and establish concrete policies and steps towards more sustainable alternatives.
  • Prioritize the protection of overseas Filipino workers and their families
    • Implement policies to establish a higher standard of protection and promote the empowerment of migrants and their families.
    • Review the continued deployment of workers to countries which are high- and medium-risk areas, as well the continued deployment of workers in high-risk occupations
  • Improve and enhance government’s services and resources for OFWs and their families
    • Create an efficient “one-stop shop” for processing applications for overseas work and seeking redress for grievances in order to streamline the bureaucracy, cut down on complicated and unnecessary procedures, and reduce avenues for corruption.
    • Audit the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to rationalize the management of its funds, in terms of the benefits provided as well as how the funds are invested.
    • Transform Philippine embassies, consular offices and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) into centers of care and service for overseas workers by assigning more foreign service officers to posts where there are many OFWs and train them in the needs of the communities they serve.
    • Invest in training and upgrading the skills of our overseas workers. TESDA will formally and regularly be involved in training OFWs and we will hire returning OFWs to conduct training so that they may transfer skills learned abroad.
    • Pursue and prosecute those engaging in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers and especially traffickers that target women and children. We will fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
    • Assist OFWs in achieving financial stability that also contributes to the Philippines’ development through training, investment and savings programs.
    • Address the social costs of migration by working closely with communities and families of OFWs to provide effective social welfare services such as counseling and pre-departure orientation seminars
    • Improve the seafarers’ upgrading program, credit/loaning program, self-insurance coverage program, which includes life insurance, burial benefit and disability and dismemberment benefits, and reintegration program.
    • Complete a global trading master plan that aims to establish worldwide trading posts that rely on the labor, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
  • Engage the participation of the migrant sector and civil society in governance
    • Involve civil society and migrants themselves in developing, implementing and reviewing policies and programs related to the migrant sector
    • Support the creation or strengthening of community-based support groups for families of OFWs
  • Strengthen re-integration programs for returning migrants
    • Facilitate the re-integration of returning OFWs by favorable terms of investment, tax incentives, access to government financial institutions and other benefits that are offered to foreign investors.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]