After Two Massive Disasters in One Day and Tons of People Dead or Suffering, It’s Reality Check for President Aquino

March 12, 2011

The heavy damage to life and property caused by the twin disasters that hit Japan yesterday, March 11, 2011, was more than unimaginable.

Migrante-Japan joins the people of Japan and the rest of the world in praying for the victims and their loved ones so they may find a way to cope with this monstrous wrath of nature.

As Japan grapples with the rising number of casualties – more than a thousand believed to be dead and tens of thousands injured or unaccounted for – and the devastation to huge expanse of properties, we call on the international community, especially concerned governments to lend swift assistance to the ravaged country which is also host to over a million foreign migrants, including more or less 250,000 Filipinos.

We specifically call on our government through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine embassy in Tokyo and the Philippine Consulate General’s Office in Osaka to exhaust all means to reach out to every single Filipino in every area devastated by the 8.9 earthquake and the 30-meter tsunami that slammed the northeastern coastline of Honshu Island one after the other; and to ensure that all are well accounted for, on safer grounds and their needs adequately addressed.

It has been long since an earthquake of this high magnitude and a tsunami as strong and furious as this one had struck Japan. The country has been known for its model disaster preparedness programs, yet all efforts seemed no match as nature unleashed its full might.

Our sympathy goes to the victims and their families left to witness the ugly faces of this unprecedented tragedy.

Migrante-Japan calls on every Filipino in Japan to remain strong and to collect themselves for the bigger challenge ahead. As the Philippines continue to reel from abject poverty, severe unemployment and a host of other problems that drive every able-bodied Filipino, men and women, young and old, to scuttle for work overseas, including Japan, we dare our government to remember the images of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) braving disasters, natural or man-made, just to survive and offer decent living for their families left behind.

We challenge President Aquino to reflect and rethink his government’s Labor Export Policy (LEP) and instead begin implementing genuine economic programs that will truly address poverty, unemployment and landlessness for the majority of farmers in the Philippines. Our people have suffered long enough from your neo-liberal globalization policy that made the Philippines a bankrupt economy that it is today. We continue to be vulnerable to internal and external crisis one after another precisely because you continue to allow foreign monopoly capitalists to dictate on us.

If we truly are a sovereign nation, then be the first to assert our independence and lead the nation towards the “right path” as you had promised. No Filipino deserves to be pinned beneath tons of rubble, eaten alive by a tsunami and much less fed to vultures preying on poor people’s labor. We deserve to be with our family, in the comfort of our own home and enjoying the fruits of our hard work.

March 12, 2011