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Italy’s woes worry Filipino migrants

The nine year political crisis in Italy continues to deepen while its economy is in trough. Filipino migrants expressed concern about the continuing uncertainty followed by President Sergio Mattarella's non-appoinment of a finance minister which led to a caretaker government. This also shook the financial markets. With Italy's current state of political turmoil, some Filipinos are worried of their jobs and their future as migrants in Italy. This could mean doing less hours of work, lower salaries, losing their jobs and worst populist leaders insisting that the estimated 500,000 undocumented migrants in Italy be deported as a priority. Matteo Salvini of The League was clear on his tough stance on migrants that the documented, employed and tax-paying can stay and the undocumented would have to leave the country. There are more than two hundred thousand Filipinos in Italy and according to ISTAT only 166, 459 are documented. Italy has started expelling unemployed migrants including some Filipinos during the first quarter of this year. Leslie Peña fears for fellow Pinoys who might be affected if the situation worsens. “Do Filipinos have a contigency plan if ever the crisis won’t be solved, do they have investments or savings if they suddenly lose their jobs? What will happen would be just like the previous global economic crisis wherein a lot of Filipinos will became jobless”, said Peña. Another Filipino questioned the future of OFW children and other family members coming to Italy. “Filipinos continue to flock to Italy through Italy’s family reunification but we have to know if there will be available jobs for them in the future”, said Leo Villano. Impact on migrants Italy has been losing its competitiveness with problems such as unemployment of young Italian graduates emigrating to find work; increase in retirement age, transfer of industries to countries where laborers are paid lower than the Italian standard. As a receiving country for migrant workers it doesn’t have the resources to support its people and resources are getting scarce. Migration Development and Research Consultant Charito Basa shares her analysis about Italy’s political troubles and stagnate economy and how it will hit Filipino migrants. “Migrants mostly OFWs are vulnerable because they don’t have support mechanisms like savings, properties and job stability. We don't know realities in other countries in the EU or North America. But the situation is just the same”, said Basa. Basa added that the Italian government isn’t ready to face all its problems. There’s no budget to manage and control the influx, no jobs for the new migrants except in agricultural sectors and there are budget cuts on social services that could not even serve its own population. “While I do not believe that migrants are problems. The situation has become serious because of the influx of refugees: the real ones and the economic refugees”. Understanding the crisis Italy used to be a hugely EU-enthusiastic nation, being a founding member of the Treaty of Rome which established the European Union. But more than two thirds of Italians blamed the government for making wrong choices causing the economic crisis. The Euroscepticism has become a strong narrative in Italian politics. Italy is one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the EU at the moment. Migration is one reason and the economy is another. From political to economic, Italians blamed the European Union and feel that they have been left alone and they bitterly resent the European monetary union. Italians believed that the currency favor Germany and not their country thus, most Italian voters chose anti-European parties. Italy is very resentful about the current account surplus, as Italian debt is the second highest in Europe according to Eurostat which is now at €2.1 trillion. Trivial and serious economic debate manifest that monetary policy has no denouement on productivity in the long run. Instead fiscal policies and similar do the job instead. Italexit will affect trade, the import and export, for a country like Italy which is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone where the major industries are tourism, machinery, manufacturing and production. University of Bologna economics graduate Abegail Reyes believes that there is no reason for Italy to exit the European Union. Reyes said the “Italexit” chances seems to hav

e relatively few votes, as of now. Unless otherwise something crucial happens or further disgruntlement towards the European Union will encourage the Italian politicians to start the rather excruciating process of changing the Italian constitution all over again.

“Instead of blaming Europe, Merkel, Monti and Berlusconi, Italian politicians should assume responsibility in Italy. The threat of referendum would han

g in the air “, added Reyes.

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