Pinoy protesters say Aquino needs to prioritize OFW concerns

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 29, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – About 100 Filipino activists from various organizations gathered at Union Square in San Francisco to march to the Philippine Consulate to protest the Aquino government.

Organization flags and impeachment posters were held high as their chants echoed throughout downtown San Francisco.

Various leaders took turns addressing the crowd with reasons why President Aquino has failed to protect the interest of the Filipino people.

They also smashed pig piñatas to symbolize the Pork Barrel Scam and the unconstitutional use of Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP.

They dispute Aquinio’s claims of economic growth.

Pia Cortez, co-chair of Gabriella SF asked, “If you think there is progress in the economic situation of the Philippines then why are there so many Filipinos, specifically Filipino women, going to the United States?”

Mario de Mira of Migrante SF asked, “If the OFWs are sending such a great sum of money, and its being processed through the government, then why are there systems in place to protect these workers, these so called new ‘bayanis’ of the Philippines?”

Harold Butanes, who claims he’s a victim of human trafficking, says Aquino needs to prioritize protecting overseas Filipinos because his government’s failure to give them jobs forced them to leave their own homeland.

“Everybody is having a hard time. Once we leave the Philippines we are no longer protected. OFWs are responsible for contributing so much to the Philippines,” said Butanes.

Rhonda Ramiro, Vice-Chair of BAYAN-USA, says that President Aquino failed to deliver the truth in his SONA.

“Aquino, in his State of the Nation, tried to tout how the economy is growing and the facts of the OFWs believe that lie, that you have over 5,000 people who have to leave, no jobs,” said Ramiro, “And he did nothing in the State of the Nation address the root issues behind that.”

Ramiro also points out that President Aquino does not focus on long-term developments.
“He has a lot of short term projects, infrastructure projects, that are maybe five or ten years,” said Ramiro. “What then? We don’t have any lasting industry he has been investing in.”

Like other Fil-Am activists, Ramiro believes their voices will be heard all the way to the Philippines.

“We’re not going to wait,” said Ramiro. “We are actually going to take it to the streets and demand his resignation, demand his ouster if he doesn’t change.”

These activists say that the SONA was another opportunity for President Aquino to give the Filipino people more false promises.

The activists say they will continue to fight for overseas workers until they can finally be protected by the country they support.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at for more information.

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  • Kuya
    29 July 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Guys, guys, guys… We don’t have Superman President okay? In fairness to Pnoy. He is the only President who was able to improve Philippine credit standing in International Banks. He is the only one who was able to increase budgets for Military, Education.! Health and Agriculture… You need to open your eyes and see the truth… Stop bringing down your country when the International community see the Philippine Economy rising and getting stronger…