Open Letter to the Aldovino Family

To the Aldovino Family,

We would like to extend our sincerest condolences on the loss of your family.

Edna Aldovino

We see Edna’s passing as a case of the precarity of working conditions as a result of the negligence the government to its people’s welfare.

Before her death on Aug. 6, 2013, circumstances surrounding Edna have been brought by enticement by some compatriots for work that supposedly provides better compensation. She has had to endure many hardships starting with being a victim of release-upon-arrival scheme. She’s been one of the overseas Filipino workers who refuse to return to the country to look for replacement jobs for fear for unemployment, unable to meet the family’s needs. Rather, she had to stay in Canada for a few months before she could find someone who was willing to hire her with the proper arrangement under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Her graduation from the program and finishing the work requirements have not been a guarantee for her to escape from the risks and hardships. Despite her being diagnosed with cancer in 2011, she opted to work day and night in between chemotherapy sessions. She had waged battle to make use of productivity of precarious working condition. She had a job in affective work immaterial of her bearing a lot of sacrifice.

Philippine envoys to Canada have tried to pay close attention to her case yet the time- and resource-consuming procedures follow. One would surely wonder if the purpose of the offices of the government is to provide assistance to the people they ought to represent and serve for (as written in the country’s constitution, why is not being a member of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration suddenly deprives a migrant worker of their assistance?

On the other hand significant delays in the processing of visa for Edna’s son Kenneth’s visit show how the austerity measures by even a developed country such as Canada interrupt and let the process of precarity be the normal, thus, continuing exploitability, especially of migrant workers.

We, members of progressive youth organization, mourn with you, for Edna’s departure. We encourage you to join other families who have suffered from this vicious cycle of warm bodies for export. May this be a reminder that your case is not an isolated one: almost 92% of LCP applicants are Filipino women who either are coming in directly from the Philippines or other parts of the world—from the fraudulent practice of recruitment agencies to the tied “temporary” work permits and the mandatory live in requirement thus making them vulnerable to different forms of abuses other workers in Canada normally would not experience. These issues create a negative effects on the transnational lives (physically, mentally, psychologically).

We would be glad to let you know that we continue our work in criticizing the government in its increased neoliberal economic policies that mainly serves the interests of foreign investors and only the countries’ elites. The state of Overseas Filipino workers under the Aquino administration remains to have been overlooked in PNoy’s cure-all “Daang Matuwid”—contradictory to cliches for OFWs as the “bagong bayani” among other people. The current government has failed to address the very basic rights, safety and welfare of OFWs worldwide This has been evident in various diplomatic issues OFWs continues to face today.

ABT with Edna Aldovino

Edna’s passing will not be in vain. Her life and memory would not be taken for granted that the cancer in our society should not only be coped with but treated from the very core problems. We are here at your side together with Migrante Canada, BAYAN-Canada, iwWorkers, Filipino Migrant Workers Movement and Gabriela Ontario. Root causes of migration would have to be addressed and resolved while we try to argue for our human rights. Together we call for development not for profit, but for the people.

Sincerely,

Anakbayan-Toronto

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