Loren gets fresh wave of overseas support

May 7, 2013

Not to be toppled from her lead in recent elections surveys, Sen. Loren Legarda has gained the backing of two influential non-partisan overseas Filipino organizations as one of their endorsed candidates for the May 13 elections.

The US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), headed by philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis, and the Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC) have announced that they are endorsing Legarda, along with 11 other senatorial candidates and one party list group.

Both organizations made their choice based on criteria of competence, integrity and a track record of accomplishing observable good results that benefit people.

Atty. Ted Laguatan, Spokesperson and Legal Counsel for both USP4GG and GFDC stated: “Having essentially the same objective criteria, it’s perhaps not surprising that the candidates and Party list endorsed by both organizations came out to be a mirror image of the other – except for the addition of Teddy Casino on the GFDC list.”

The candidates and Party List endorsed by USP4GG and GFDC are: Loren Legarda, Bam Aquino, Edgardo “Sonny Angara”, Grace Poe, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Alan Cayetano, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Risa Hontiveros-Barraquel, Edward Hagedorn, Eddie Villanueva, and Akbayan Party List. Candidate Teddy Casino for his part was endorsed by GFDC.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, recently conducted a dialogue with members of the GFDC on the issues of human trafficking, protection of domestic workers, and vulnerability to climate change of indigenous peoples.

“President Aquino already signed into law the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which is a stronger version as it covers attempted trafficking and accomplice liability. We are hopeful that this will effectively address the problem of human trafficking,” said Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the law.

“We also have an existing law which covers the protection of indigenous peoples especially in this era of climate change—the 2009 Climate Change Act. Government is supposed to map out an action plan on climate change, which is important for our IPs who are among those vulnerable to extreme weather events because they usually live either in our forested areas, coastal areas, slopes or foothills,” she added.

USP4GG has effectively lobbied the U.S. and the Philippine governments for policies and legislation which benefit Filipinos everywhere. GFDC is a global organization of overseas Filipino community leaders from 27 countries whose avowed goal in its Constitution is the betterment of life for Filipinos overseas and those in the Philippines. Some USP4GG members are also very active with the GFDC because of the commonality of goals.

Recently, Rodel Rodis and Ted Laguatan, lawyers for the two organizations – appeared before the Comelec and successfully argued for the reinstatement of about 239,000 overseas voters which Comelec disenfranchised for failing to vote in two consecutive elections. They argued that the failure to vote was not out of apathy but simply because they were serving in ships as seamen or else they had changed addresses and did not receive the ballots from Comelec.

Both organizations not only encourage overseas voters to vote for these endorsed candidates but also to urge their relatives in the homeland to vote for the same.

Legarda has been responsible for the passage of laws promoting the rights and welfare of OFWs and seafarers. Through the Senator’s efforts, the Senate has concurred in the ratification of treaties and international agreements that promote the protection of the rights of overseas Filipinos, including the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) for the protection of the rights of seafarers; the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and China, which establish a legal framework that obligates Contracting Parties to assist in the investigation, prosecution, and suppression of criminal offenses and proceedings related to criminal matters, the Consular Agreement with the People’s Republic of China, which provides assistance to Filipino nationals in China, and the Convention on Social Security between the Philippines and Spain, which ensures that Filipinos in Spain are secured upon retirement.