Also the group urged Pres. Benigno Aquino III to allocate more budget to help Overseas Filipino in distress instead of allocating amount for the implementation of the said “grossly unpopular law.”
“Under Pres. Aquino’s watch, four Filipinos were executed in China because of lack of legal assistance and support from the Philippine government on the onset of their arrests,” said Francisco Mangulabnan, coordinator of Migrante – Aotearoa New Zealand chapter, in a statement to Manila Channel.
Quoting a report from Migrante International, Mangulabnan said that “the budget for Overseas Filipinos’ legal assistance fund (LAF) was slashed by 50 percent – from P50 million in 2010 to P27 million in 2011, when it is clearly stated in the law that the LAF should be at least P100 million.”
This happened during the time of their appeals, he added.
“We urge the President to re-channel the P50M fund to protect and save more overseas Filipinos facing death row. Aside from the fact that many Filipinos have become victims of maltreatment, abuse, labor violations and foul play, Filipinos have also been caught in the midst of calamities, wars and political crises that endangered their lives…,” Mangulabnan stressed
“In Christchurch, New Zealand, Filipino nurses were among those who died when massive earthquakes hit the city. How can the government prepare in assisting Overseas Filipinos who may face similar calamities and wars when it keeps decreasing budget for us?,” he asked.
According to Mangulabnan, overseas Filipinos who keep the Philippine economy afloat deserve more protection and benefits, not government neglect and threats to their freedom of expression as brought by the Cybercrime law.
He emphasized that social networking is widely used by Overseas Filipinos since it is the cheapest and fastest way of communication and expressing the sentiments of Filipinos scattered around the globe.
“With the new Cybercrime Law, I am one of the millions who are threatened that simply liking, commenting, and sharing something on Facebook that may be interpreted by government to be libelous would put me to jail,” Mangulabnan noted.
The group then hoped that when President Aquino visits New Zealand on October 22 he will announce for the repealing of Cybercrime law and pledge to allocate more funds for Overseas Filipinos needing urgent support.