Home | Letter to the Editor | An open invitation

An open invitation

OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families welcome President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision of “a better Philippines” that OFWs can come home to. However, a “better Philippines” for OFWs does not only mean a drug-free or corrupt-free Philippines.

Ultimately, a better Philippines for OFWs means an end to unemployment, contractualization and poverty that are the root causes of forced migration. A better Philippines for families of OFWs means that they will not have to be apart from their loved ones just to survive. A better Philippines is a self-sustaining Philippines, one that does not rely mainly on our cheap labor and remittances to stay afloat.

Duterte can listen to what a better Philippines means to OFWs and families on Sept. 17. Migrante International will be holding a public consultation with OFWs, returned OFWs and families of OFWs, especially distressed OFWs in Saudi Arabia and families of OFWs on death row.

This is an open invitation to President Duterte. He is more than welcome to grace the event and hear the sentiments of OFWs and families. The president has said to just call whenever we need him. We are calling on him now to consult with us. We are more than willing to work for a better Philippines that we can come home to. This is a chance for the president to hear directly from OFWs and families what a better Philippines means for us. The public consultation will be live-streamed for participation of OFWs around the world. –Garry Martinez, Chairperson, Migrante International


Concerned over Declaration

KABATAAN Partylist expresses deep concern over Presidential Proclamation No. 55, which declared a “state of national emergency” following the Davao market bombing last week.

We are wary of the ramifications of the declaration of the state of national emergency, given the way such declaration has been abused by state security forces in the past to infringe on civil liberties.

We are referring to Presidential Proclamation 1017, which former President Gloria Arroyo signed in 2006 following rumored coup attempts against her administration. PP 1017 was abused by the Arroyo administration to suppress political dissent, curtail the freedom of expression, and served as the material basis for expanding military operations that targeted even the legal democratic movement. We are wary that PP 55 will again open the proverbial can of worms.

While there is a real need to address the threats posed by those behind the Davao bombing, we fear that PP 55 will only result in more harm than good.

We appeal to President Duterte to remain within the bounds of law and not use PP 55 in the same manner it was used by former President Arroyo.

President Duterte should not take a page from Mrs. Arroyo’s anti-people playbook. At all times, human rights must be protected. The people should be vigilant in the manner which state security forces will implement PP 55. Security and stability must not come at the expense of our fundamental civil liberties. –Sarah Elago, Kabataan Partylist representative, and Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist national president


War on Zika

I CALL for an intensified government prevention and detection drive against the Zika virus after a sixth case was confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH should equip the barangay health centers, as they are the frontline service providers that can aid the government in the monitoring and providing of immediate care to those infected with Zika virus especially the pregnant women.

I support the ongoing preparations and ground work of the Department of Health to strengthen its information, detection and monitoring drive to prevent the further spread of the disease, and to provide immediate care to those infected with the virus. Kailangan nating suportahan ang ginagawang hakbang ng ating DOH at mga lokal na pamahalaan upang mapanatiling ligtas ang ating pamayanan mula sa komplikasyon na dulot ng Zika virus.

I urge the DOH to provide anti-Zika virus packets to barangay health units to protect their constituencies from the virus. The packets should contain mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, condoms and reading materials on the virus. She said the Zika virus is spread by mosquito bites during the day and night, and through unprotected sex from a person who has Zika.

I will also consult with the DOH to ensure that funding for these kind of health-related issues are included in the proposed 2017 health budget in order for the government to immediately and properly respond to the needs of the public.

I laud the DOH action in including Zika virus in its Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System, which reports within 24 hours all suspected cases of Zika virus to the Epidemiology Bureau of the health department.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are advised to immediately contact the Philippine embassy or consulates once the epidemic of Zika spreads in their country of work of if they showed symptoms of the virus. Filipinos should seek medical intervention once they experience fever equal to or higher than 38 degrees centigrade for more than two days, conjunctivitis, skin rash, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, body weakness and pain behind the eyes.

Per DOH advisory, patients who experienced those symptoms within two weeks after traveling from countries with confirmed reported cases of Zika virus and patients who have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome should seek immediate medical intervention.

Filipinos should get accurate information from the DOH and other reputed medical institutions regarding Zika virus and refrain from sharing information from unauthorized sources. —Risa Hontiveros, senator


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