MANILA — It is up to the overseas Filipino workers to choose the candidates they want in the next election, a Palace official said as a reaction to statements that migrants organizations are initiating a “zero vote” campaign against administration candidates.
The OFWs carried out a “zero remittance day” and some groups are allegedly planning a zero vote for administration candidates as a response to a customs policy on balikbayan boxes.
“Karapatan po nilang mamili kung sino po ang gusto nilang iboto sa darating na eleksyon,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a radio interview on Saturday about the planned campaign.
“Ang inaasahan lang po natin ay, siyempre, mababase po ito sa plataporma; mababase po ito doon sa ano po ba ‘yung ikagaganda pa ng ating bansa, at ‘yung ikabubuti pa ng buhay ng ating mga pamilya,” she told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan.”Kalayaan natin lahat ‘yan, kung paano po natin sasalain ang ating mga kandidato.”
OFWs are furious over a new Customs policy on balikbayan boxes. The Bureau of Customs said balikbayan boxes are being used as a means to smuggle goods or ship illegal narcotics.
Valte said OFWs are free to express their sentiments on any issue like the one on balikbayan boxes.
The Palace official also said that because of the balikbayan box issue, they got a lot of messages from different parts of the world.
“At ang lagi ko pong sinasabi sa kanila ay malaya silang ipahayag ang kanilang mga saloobin whether they join a ‘no remittance day’ or they may send government a message on Facebook or they can post their sentiments online or magpa-interview sila sa media,” she said.
According to the central bank, the zero remittance day has no significant impact on the economy but migrant groups warned of more mass actions against plans to tighten rules on balikbayan boxes.