MANILA – The Palace called on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to vote based on the platforms of the candidates in the 2016 elections, amid threats by some OFW groups that they will not vote for administration candidates in the wake of the balikbayan box controversy.
OFW groups on August 28 held a ''No Remittance Day'' to protest the Bureau of Customs' plan to toughen rules on balikbayan box inspections. The move for a stricter inspection has since been aborted by President Benigno Aquino III.
OFW groups discontented with the government, however, said they will also launch a campaign that will cost the ruling party OFW votes.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while voters have the right to choose whom they will vote for, ''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 ho ng buhay ng ating mga pamilya.''
As to the plan of some OFW groups to hold another zero-remittance day, Valte said, ''Malaya naman po ang ating mga kababayan na ipahayag 'yung kanilang mga saloobin.''
''Ang lagi ko pong sinasabi sa kanila ay malaya po silang ipahayag 'yung kanilang mga saloobin, whether they join a 'no remittance day,' or they join-or they send government a message on Facebook or they post their sentiments online or magpa-interview po sila sa media,'' she said.
Valte said the government will respect whatever the OFWs decide to do.
She added that they have no data yet as to the extent of the economic impact of the no remittance day.