Our Times

Writings of Susan Ople aka Toots, columnist of Panorama Magazine and Tempo, proud mother of Estelle and 7 dogs, namely, Picasso, Monet, Suzy, Miggy, Marty, Chandler and Joey. Daughter of the late war veteran, journalist, writer, labor minister, constitutional commissioner, senator, senate president, and foreign affairs secretary Blas F. Ople aka Ka Blas.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

OFWs back Cha-cha?

Sigaw ng Bayan does it again. It issued a press release stating that more overseas Filipino workers are backing the administration's move to shift to a parliamentary form of government. Ludicrous, of course, but unless challenged by genuine OFW groups, the politically naive might just accept this as gospel truth.

What is the basis for this latest assumption by SnB? The news story goes: "Lambino revealed in Davao the positive responses that its website has received nationwide and even from overseas Filipinos who have similarly supported people's initiative." It then cites two quotes from a Filipino based in Riyadh and another who lives in Hong Kong, based on website hits.

The truth is Filipinos everywhere have such a difficult time making ends meet that they have little energy and intellectual leisure time left to dissect the political issues of our times. The truth is that many OFWs don't even realize that when the shift happens, the Overseas Absentee Voting Law that many of them lobbied for so long to be approved, becomes inutile. The truth is that in the administration's haste to bring about a new Constitution, they are willing to forego the passage of an amendment to the OAV Law that would allow our OFWs to vote in any plebiscite or referendum. I have no problem if genuine OFW groups and their families do openly come out in favor of Charter change after they receive the right kind (meaning honest) information needed to arrive at such a decision.

OFWs back Cha-cha? Does a handful of website hits represents the sentiments of over 8 million Filipinos overseas? To SnB, I ask: please respect our OFWs. Leave them out of your propaganda blitz. So many of them already suffer from emotional stress from having to work and live in extremely difficult circumstances. Do not claim to have them on your side based on something as trivial as website hits. Do not take their sector's name in vain. And do not make a political exercise out of cobbling up the most vulnerable and thus gullible lot of them in order to project a united OFW front for an agenda that is as distant to their hearts as their own physical distance to the loved ones they have left behind.


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