Filipinos across the United States are expressing “record-breaking alarm rather than record-breaking pride” over Philippine Ambassador Albert Del Rosario’s recent congratulatory remarks for an over 33.2 percent increase in annual remittances from Filipinos in the United States over the past year alone. This totals to an unprecedented $5.3 billion in US remittances to the Philippines in 2005.
Del Rosario further gushed that “less than 30 percent of an estimated 8.1 million Filipinos overseas, or specifically the estimated 2.5 million Filipinos in the United States, have generated 60 percent of the total worldwide remittances.”
BAYAN USA Chair Kawal Ulanday stated “the high dependency over foreign remittances generated from working overseas Filipinos to stabilize the dilapidated economy Arroyo has created is nothing to be proud of. We are shouldering the burden of being the band-aid for a national economy pillaged by government corruption, foreign debt, and neo-liberal economic policies.”
BAYAN USA countered Del Rosario’s remarks that the appreciated peso has increased consumption, which is driving economic growth.
“That is a lie, a picture the Arroyo administration is painting to depict false economic progress to her corrupt administration’s credit,” asserted the alliance.
Genuine economic progress should actually entail a decrease in overseas remittance dependency.
“The peso appreciation is not to the credit of a stronger economy. It is the result of a surplus of dollars flowing in to the country against a 4.84% noticeable decrease in consumer demand. Plainly speaking, overseas Filipinos are hustling to send back the dollars because Filipinos are still not earning enough on their own and still can’t afford the basics to survive,” Ulanday explained.
The alliance also pointed out that over 90% of government revenues from 2005 went to foreign debt servicing rather than to social services their dependents could actually avail of.
Meanwhile, Arroyo is falsely touting her austerity measures and tax hikes on the poor such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) as the responsible components of her economic solution.
And what are the real consequences of the drive to send money home? “Filipinos in the US are pushing their physical limits– juggling multiple jobs, working extra-long hours, separating from their families back home or neglecting their families who are here, risking their health– just to make ends meet for their dependents and for themselves,” Ulanday continued.
Ulanday equivocated Del Rosario’s praise of overseas remittances to “a basic admission of the economy’s fundamental failure.”
“This is a driving reason why Arroyo is bad for the Filipino people, and must go,” Ulanday ended.