From Migration News
"Remittances to the Philippines rose to $8.5 billion in the first half of 2009, a surprise amid predictions that the global recession would reduce remittances. Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said: "our workers are getting jobs and sending home more money than ever. They are keeping the boat stable." Remittances are a seventh of GDP.
However, more Filipinos are discussing the social costs of sending workers abroad, including the reluctance of some in families that receive remittances to accept jobs in the Philippines.
Departing migrants pay a $25 fee to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to provide services in the event of death or illness abroad. The OWWA has posted staff in 38 sites abroad to provide services to migrants.
The Filipino ambassador to the UN between 2003 and 2007 was charged with abusing his household helper in New York. Lauro L. Baja Jr. brought Marichu Suarez Baoanan to New York in 2006; she charged that she was required to work more than 100 hours a week without pay. Baja, who disputes the charges, invoked diplomatic immunity, but a federal judge in June 2009 said that because Baoanan's duties were "unrelated to Baja's diplomatic functions," her suit could proceed.
A July 2008 Government Accountability Office report identified 42 cases of abuse of household help by foreign diplomats in the US over an eight-year period, but emphasized that there were likely more such cases. The GAO cited 19 trafficking investigations involving foreign diplomats from 2005 to 2008, but no indictments. The US Department of State has not yet revoked a diplomatic visa because of an abuse allegation.
Corazon Aquino, who replaced Ferdinand Marcos as president in 1986, died in August 2009, prompting reflections on the past 23 years of developments in the Philippines. Political instability continues. Since Aquino left office in 1992, there have been three presidential elections, two attempts at impeachment, two apparent attempts to stay in power through constitutional change, and one popular uprising that ousted an elected president and another that failed.
Some say that politics diverts attention from the country's economic problems, including poverty--30 percent of the 90 million residents are living below the poverty line."