#SaveMaryJane supporters welcome Pres. Widodo’s signing of Convention Against Trafficking

Supporters of the #Savemaryjaneveloso_migrante_2015_escobarMaryJane campaign welcomed Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo’s recent signing of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Convention Against Trafficking in Person (ACTIP), saying that the move is one step towards attaining justice for drug trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso.

Widodo signed the said document together with other leaders of the ASEAN. The ACTIP will focus on curbing and fighting trafficking in the region, especially of women and children.

Widodo’s signing of the Convention came in light of reports that Indonesia has announced a “moratorium” on executions to focus on the country’s economy.

“These are all very welcome developments and, hopefully, indications that Pres. Widodo continues to hear our plea for Mary Jane and all other victims of trafficking who are presently on Indonesian death row. We pray that Pres. Widodo will make good his commitment to fight trafficking by evaluating cases such as Mary Jane’s. Pres. Widodo can set an example in the region by granting clemency and pardon to Mary Jane, a victim of trafficking,” said Mic Catuira, Migrante International deputy secretary-general.

Consequently, Catuira said, it is now more than imperative for the Philippine government to ensure that the trafficking and illegal recruitment cases filed against Mary Jane’s traffickers in Philippine courts embark without further delay. “The resolution of these cases will prove once and for all Mary Jane’s innocence. It has been eight months since Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve, and still the trials are in their preliminary stages.”

Scheduled arraignment for Mary Jane’s traffickers on cases of large-scale and syndicated illegal recruitment will not be until February 2016, following series of delaying tactics by the defense. Meanwhile, the qualified trafficking case filed by Mary Jane herself and the Veloso family is yet to roll in court.

“Indonesia’s reported ‘moratorium’ is a welcome Christmas gift for Mary Jane and her family. We wish for positive developments on Mary Jane’s trafficking case before her 31st birthday on January 10,” Catuira said. ###

On death of 12 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia

photo from Facebook

photo from Facebook

Migrante International extends its most sincere condolences to the families and friends of at least 12 Filipinos who reportedly died in a vehicular accident in Saudi Arabia last Monday afternoon while on their way to their accommodation.

Apart from the 12 Filipinos, 13 other Filipinos, all employed by  KENTZ Company, were also reportedly wounded when their coaster collided with a delivery truck in Al-Ahsa, a province in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia.

As of this posting, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is yet to confirm reports. However, GMA News has already confirmed the accident and the deaths. Filipino migrants in Saudi Arabia have also contacted Migrante through social media to confirm the reports.

“We are still coordinating with our chapters in Saudi Arabia to get complete information on our kababayans. We demand immediate action and assistance from the government. We received reports from our friends in the media that when they inquired, the DFA said that they have not had time to coordinate with PH posts in Saudi ‘because they are still busy with APEC’. This is simply unacceptable! Instead of taking great pains to impress APEC leaders and foreign delegates, our government should prioritize our kababayans, especially those in distress,” said Mic Catuira, Migrante International deputy secretary-general.

Catuira said that families of the victims should be entitled to immediate assistance and benefits from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), particularly repatriation costs, medical assistance, burial and other death benefits and scholarships for children of those who died. “Aside from quick action from the government, they deserve to be given all these benefits entitled them.”

For inquiries and assistance, Catuira said families and next of kin of victims may contact Migrante’s hotline, 0921-2709079. ###

ALERT: #APEC2015 protesters from Pampanga blocked, detained by police

 

junk apecMigrante International condemns in strongest terms desperate efforts and attempts by the Aquino government to suppress big global protests in time for APEC2015 tomorrow, November 19.

This morning, at 9:20 in the morning, jeeps carrying protesters and members of Migrante in Pampanga were blocked by policemen at McArthur Highway and brought to the police station in Balibago, Angeles, Pampanga. They were interrogated at the station for at least 30 minutes. They were only released after police got the names, addresses and contact numbers of the passengers. The jeepneys are now on their way to Manila to participate in the anti-APEC protests.

Following the blockade and detention of our Lumad brothers and sisters at the Baclaran Redemptorist Church, the forced eviction of street dwellers and urban poor communities, and threats of arrest and deportation of foreign protesters by the government,  this recent harassment and suppression of people’s protests further demonstrates the PH government’s punitive actions against anti-APEC protesters.

Thousands of protesters and participants in the anti-APEC protests from Southern Tagalog and Northern Luzon are also expected to arrive in Manila today.

The Aquino government is getting desperate but peoples’ movements will prevail. Global and local activists, supporters and protesters joining the People’s Campaign Against Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG) will not be threatened and stopped from defying state repression and the APEC’s resisting neoliberal attacks. ###

 

Migrante at mamamayan, salubungin ng protesta ang APEC 2015!

junk apecGabay sa Pagtalakay, Inihanda ng Migrante International, Oktubre 2015

Ano ang APEC?
Ang Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation o APEC ay organisasyon ng 21 bansa sa kalakhang Asya-Pasipiko. Bukod sa mga bansa sa Asya-Pasipiko, kabilang din sa APEC ang US, Japan, China, Russia, Canada at Australia – mga bansang may pinakamalalaking negosyo at pamumuhunan sa rehiyon. Itinatag ito noong 1989 sa layuning buuin ang “kooperasyon” ng mga kasaping bansa para diumano sa “paglago ng ekonomiya” sa buong rehiyon. Nahahati ang malaking porsyento ng yaman at ekonomiya ng daigdig sa mga kasaping bansa ng APEC – 40% ng populasyon ng daigdig, 50% ng pandaigdigang kalakalan at 60% gross domestic product ng buong mundo.

Unang pinatawag ng US ang economic leaders meeting (ELM) ng APEC noong 1993 bilang susog sa Uruguay Round ng World Trade Organization (WTO) sa kabila ng mariin at nagkakaisang pagtutol ng mga maliliit na bansang kasapi nito. Ginamit ng US ang APEC bilang behikulo upang pagtibayin ang mga programang tinututulan ng mga maliliita na bansa sa WTO. Pangunahing layunin ng APEC ang pagtutulak ng mga patakarang liberalisasyon, deregulasyon, pribatisasyon at de-nasyunalisasyon – mga neoliberal na patakaran ng imperyalistang globalisasyon na nagsisilbi lamang sa interes ng mga malaking bansang tulad ng US, Japan at China.

Nang idaos ang APEC Summit sa Pilipinas noong 1996, pinagtibay at sinuportahan ng US at iba pang imperyalistang bansa ang programa ni noo’y Pang. Fidel Ramos na “Philippines 2000” na nangako ng pang-ekonomiyang pag-unlad at ang paghirang sa bansa bilang isang Newly-Industrializing Country o NIC. Sinalubong ito ng dambuhalang mga protesta mula sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan at buong daigdig at hinirang na instrumento ng imperyalista at mga lokal na burgesya upang panatilihin ang paghahari ng imperyalistang US sa pandaigdigang ekonomiya.

Dalawampung taon matapos ang huling APEC Summit dito sa Pilipinas, nasaan na ang ipinangakong kaunlaran? Sa halip na malutas ang malawakang kahirapan, kawalang-trabaho, kawalang-lupa at serbisyong panlipunan, lalong nasasadlak ang mamamayang Pilipino at daigdig sa busabos na kalagayan, habang ang mga mayayamang bansa ay nagpapakasasa sa likas-yaman at lakas-paggawa ng mga mahihirap na bansang tulad ng Pilipinas.

Ano ang lalamanin ng gaganaping APEC ELM ngayong Nobyembre?
Ngayong darating na Nobyembre 18-19, gaganaping muli sa Pilipinas ang taunang Economic Leaders Meeting (ELM) ng APEC sa Maynila. Nagsimula na ang mga serye ng pre-meetings, senior leaders meetings at ministerial meetings ng APEC sa iba’t ibang syudad sa bansa noong Disyembre 2014 pa.

Noong 1994, inilabas ng APEC ang deklarasyon ng Bogor Goals na lantarang nagtutulak ng liberalisasyon ng kalakalan at pamumuhunan (investment) sa rehiyon hanggang 2020. Mula noon, ginamit na ng US at iba pang malalaking bansang imperyalista ang APEC sa pagsusulong ng mga neoliberal na mga patakaran sa mga maliliit na bansa. Tiyak na pangunahing agenda pa rin ng gaganaping ELM ngayong darating na Nobyembre ang pagsusulong ng interes na ito.

Para sa taong 2015, ang tema ng APEC ay “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”. Gamit ang mga mabulaklak na terminong tulad ng “inclusive growth”, “human capital development”, “small and medium enterprises” at “resilient communities”, layunin ng APEC na higit pang mapatindi ang pagkubabaw ng interes ng monopolyo kapitalismo sa lakas-paggawa, ekonomiya at maging sa small and medium enterprises.

Kabilang din sa mayor na agenda ng APEC ang Regional Economic Integration(REI) na pagsisilbihin naman para isulong ang ibayo pang pagtalima ng buong Asya Pasipiko sa neoliberal na globalisasyon. Kabilang sa balangkas ng REI ang:

(i) Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) – na magtutulak sa mga kasunduan para sa “integrasyon” alinsunod sa layunin ng mga sunud-sunod na nabigong mga pagpupulong ng WTO, mula Uruguay hanggang Bali. Ilan sa mga patakarang mariing tinututulan ng mga mamamayan ng maliliit na bansa ang ibayo pang pagtatanggal ng mga regulasyon sa mga angkating produkto at ang pagluwag sa tariff.

(ii) Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – isang mabangis at mapaminsalang kasunduang ibayo pang magbubuyangyang sa ekonomiya ng mga maliliit na bayan sa mga atake ng imperyalismo alinsunod sa US Pivot to Asia. Bahagi ng TPPA ang pagbabago o repaso sa mismong mga batas ng mga bansa upang umayon sa interes ng mga imperyalistang bayan sa ekonomiya at pulitika, tulad ng di mamatay-matay na panukalang charter change sa Pilipinas. Kung maaprubahan, ang TPPA ang magiging pinakamalaking rehiyunal na trade agreement sa buong mundo.

(iii) Ang bansang Tsina naman ay nagtutulak din “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)” – sariling bersyon nito ng FTAAP na layuning “tapatan” ang pamamayani ng US sa rehiyon.

Dahil dito, ang paparating na APEC ay nagiging larangan hindi lamang ng kutsabahan kundi paligsahan at palakasan din ng mga malalaking kasaping bansa, partikular sa pagitan ng US at Tsina, sa kapinsalaan ng maliliit at naghihirap na mga bansa.

Sa darating na APEC ELM sa Nobyembre 18-19, tiyak ding ipagmamalaki ng mga lider ng mga nasyon ang diumano’y pagbaba ng “trade barriers” mula 16.9% noong 1989 tungong 5.8% noong 2010. Ipagmamalaki ring tiyak ang pagkakaroon ng nasa 140 “free trade agreements” sa rehiyon.

Sa kabila nito, kailangang mailantad na mahigit na 200 milyon ang walang trabaho sa buong mundo, 2.7 bilyon ang naghihirap (impoverished) at 808 milyon ang nagugutom. Samantala, nananatiling nakakonsentra sa 1% ng populasyon ng daigdig ang higit kalahati sa kabuuang yaman ng mundo at katumbas lang ng yaman ng 80 pinakamayayamang tao ang kabuuang yaman ng nakabababang 50% ng populasyon ng daigdig.

Bakit dapat tutulan at malakas na labanan ng migrante at mamamayan ang darating na APEC ELM?
Napatunayan na ng dalawang dekada ng APEC na kasangkapan ito ng mga imperyalistang bansa upang ipagpatuloy ang pagsasamantala at paghahari sa mga maliliit na bansa at sa buong daigdig. Sa panahon ng pandaigdigang krisis pang-ekonomiya, naipapasa ng mga imperyalistang bansang tulad ng US ang krisis sa kanilang bayan sa mga maliit na bansa sa pamamagitan ng mga kasunduan sa loob ng APEC.

Bagamat “boluntaryo” at “konsenswal” ang mga kasunduan sa loob ng APEC, sa pamamagitan ng mga rehiyunal, ministeryal at bilateral na mga kasunduan ng mga kasaping bansa, naipatutupad ang mga neoliberal na patakaran sa migrasyon. Isang matingkad na halimbawa ang Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement o (JPEPA) kung saan pinayagan ng Pilipinas ang pagtatambak ng toxic waste ng Japan at walang-taning na access (unlimited access) sa mga kagamitang industriyal ng bansa kapalit ng pagbubukas ng mga “job order” para sa mga Pilipinong health worker sa Japan. Ang JPEPA ang kauna-unahang kasunduan sa kasaysayan ng labor export ng Pilipinas na ginamit ang migrante manggagawa bilang “bargaining chip” sa isang tratado.

Gayundin, dahil hindi kailanman totoong may “malayang kalakalan” at “malayang pamilihan” at “kooperasyon” sa pagitan ng mga imperyalistang bansa at mga pinaghaharian nito, nagagamit ang APEC upang selyuhan ang mga kontra-mamamayang mga patakaran sa “trade in labor”. Sa TPPA, halimbawa, iwinawasiwas ang “better labor mobility” bilang isa sa mga “haligi” ng naturang kasunduan. Kinakatangian ang “labor mobility” ng higit pang pagpapadulas ng pagpapatupad ng labor export sa pagitan ng mga kasaping bansa, pagbubukas na mas malaking “market” para sa “cheap labor” ng mga migranteng manggagawa, at pagpapatupad ng tinaguriang “employable labor standards” na nakakiling sa interes at dikta ng mga “migrant-receiving” kaysa “migrant-sending” na mga bansa. Dahil nakatuntong sa ibayo pang liberalisasyon ng industriya ng migrasyon, kapalit ng kasunduang tulad ng TPPA ang mas masahol na pagbaratilyo sa mga migranteng manggagawa.

Sa sektor ng migrante, malaon nang isinisigaw ang pagtutol at paglaban sa APEC at mga neoliberal na patakarang itinutulak nito:

(i) Dahil sa malawakang deregulasyon at liberalisasyon, nagresulta ito sa ibayong kawalan ng trabaho, lupang sakahan at serbisyong panlipunan na siyang nagtutulak sa milyong migrante sa pwersahang migrasyon;
(ii) Nagresulta ito sa mas mababangis at pinalawig na pagpapatupad ng patakarang labor export ng mga bansang tulad ng Pilipinas bilang tugon ng gobyerno sa malawakang kawalan ng trabaho;
(iii) Nagresulta ito sa mga kontra-migranteng patakaran at batas, tulad ng “austerity measures” (budget cuts) upang pondohan ang mga bailout o di kaya’y pagluluwag sa mga regulasyon sa mga pribadong kumpanya at/o recruitment agency sa ngalan ng labor export;
(iv) Nagresulta ito sa mas maraming “state exaction” at pagbubuwis dahil sa malawakang pribatisasyon ng batayang mga serbisyo at utilidad (halimbawa, mandatory insurance, pagtaas ng singil sa terminal fee, pagtaas ng singil e-Passport, at iba pa)
(v) Habang binabawasan ang responsibilidad ng gobyerno sa pagbibigay ang welfare at proteksyon para sa mga migrante (hal., OOP, kawalan ng sustainable reintegration program, kawalan ng mga benepisyo, atbp);
(vi) Nagresulta ito sa mga kontra-migranteng mga patakaran, laluna sa host countries, tulad ng ibayong diskriminasyon, xenophobia, ibayong pagbaba ng mga sahod at kawalang benepisyo at pagtitibay sa mga trabahong 3D (dirty, dangerous, demeaning) para sa migranteng manggagawa sa ngalan ng labor export;
(vii) Dahil sa epekto ng pandaigdigang krisis sa ekonomiya, nagiging bulnerable o biktima ang mga migrante sa mga pinahigpit na immigration at labor policies (hal., Saudization, Mos Maiorum sa Europa, EPS sa South Korea, EU Return Directive, TFW Program sa Canada at iba pa), at nagresulta sa kriminalisasyon ng mga migrante at/o malawakang retrenchment (tanggalan) sa mga naluluging industriya sa host countries ng mga migranteng manggawa;
(viii) Nagresulta ito sa mas maraming mga paglabag sa karapatang-tao ng mga migrante at pamilya, laluna kapag sila ay naiipit sa mga imperyalisatang gerang agresyon.

Sa pamamagitan ng APEC, pinagtibay ang ibayo pang komodipikasyon ng lakas-paggawa ng migranteng manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng neoliberal na patakarang labor export. Tumindi ang “trade in human labor” sa iba’t ibang porma, kabilang na ang laganap at mas masidhing human trafficking na isa nang pinakapinagkakakitaang (most lucrative) industriya sa rehiyong Asya-Pasipiko. Halimbawa’y kakatwang itinaas pa ng US ang trafficking rating ng Malaysia mula Tier 2 tungong Tier 1 sa kabila ng notoryus na rekord nito sa trafficking at matapos ang naging papel nito sa krisis ng Rohingya. Ang Malaysia ang isa sa mga pinakatanyag na destination at transit point ng mga biktima ng trafficking sa Asya-Pasipiko. Isa rin ito sa may pinakamasahol na rekord ng paglabag sa karapatan ng mga biktima ng trafficking sa rehiyon.

Bahagi rin ng agenda ng APEC ang mga neoliberal na “reporma” sa edukasyon at paggawa, gaya ng K+12, wage cuts at kontraktwalisasyon, na naglalayong higit na ituon ang sistema ng edukasyon at paggawa sa pangangailangan ng malalaking imperyalistang kapangyarihan.

Malinaw kung gayon sa migrante at mamamayan na ang mga usapan at kasunduang target na abutin ng darating na APEC ELM ay naglalayong lumikha ng ibayo pang “bukas” at “malayang” kalakalan at pamumuhuan, wasakin ang nalalabing mga proteksyon ng mga bansa, at lalupang ibubuyangyang ang kapital, yaman at lakas-paggawa ng mga mahihirap na bansa sa imperyalistang pandarambong at pagsasamantala.

Ano ang ating mga tungkulin?
Dapat ilunsad ng migrante at mamamayan ang malakas at dambuhalang protesta sa Nobyembre 18-19 upang ilantad at labanan ang APEC at ang kinakatawan nitong mga neoliberal na atake sa mamamayang Pilipino at daigdig.

Dapat malakas na ilantad na salot sa bayan ang APEC at ang pananalasa ng imperyalistang globalisasyon. Ilunsad ang pinakamaraming mga pag-aaral, talakayan, aktibidad at protesta sa mga komunidad, eskwelahan at iba pang konsentrahan ng migrante at pamilya. Katuwang ng gabay na ito, maramihan at malawakang talakayin din ang “Panunupil at Pandarambong, Tigilan Na! (KPMM, 2015)”, “Ang migranteng Pilipino sa panahon ng imperyalistang krisis at gera (Migrante International, Pebrero 2012)”, at “Ang Imperyalismong US at Paglaban ng Sambayanang Pilipino (Prop. Jose Maria Sison, April 2014).
Pagsilbihing “palaman”, pagpapatotoo at “build-up” ang malakas na pagtutol at protesta ng sektor sa mga neoliberal na patakaran sa migrasyon, tulad ng mga kampanya laban sa OOP, budget cuts sa serbisyo para sa mga migrante at laban sa di-makatarungang mga pangongotong/pagbubuwis at kawalang-benepisyo. Dapat ipabatid sa migrante at mamamayan kung paanong ang mga lokal at sektoral na mga suliranin at laban ay epekto ng pagtutulak ng mga makadayuhan at kontra-mamamayang imperyalistang mga patakaran.

Mahalagang pagkakataon din ang paparating na APEC ELM sa Nobyembre upang ibayong ilantad at labanan ang walang-kahihiyang pagpapakatuta ng rehimeng US-Aquino sa mga dikta ng imperyalistang globalisasyon. Dapat malaman ng buong mundo kung paanong isinusuka ng migrante at mamamayan ang mga neoliberal na patakarang isinusulong ng rehimeng US-Aquino. Si Aquino ang pinakamasahol at pangunahingpapet, tagapagtanggol at tagapamandila ng imperyalista. Si Aquino ang pinakamatinding tagapanatili ng bulok na sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal sa bansa.

Sa pagtatapos ng termino ni Aquino, tiyak na marami pang mga neoliberal na patakaran at kasunduang nakatakdang selyuhan tulad ng pagpapatindi ng pribatisasyon, ibayong labor export at pwersahang migrasyon, charter change bilang rekisito sa TPPA, pagpasok ng tropang dayuhan at muling pagtatayo ng mga base militar at iba pa.

Dapat ilahad sa migrante at mamamayan na tanging ang pambansa-demokratikong program at alternatiba ang siyang solusyon sa bulok na sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal – at tanging sa pagbubuo at pagkakaisa ng pandaigdigang kilusang anti-imperyalista ng mamamayan ng daigdig makakamit ang tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya. ###

Tech Executives Sued by Former Migrant Domestic Worker for Wage Theft and Sexual Harassment

justice for julieta 3

Tech Executives Sued by Former Migrant Domestic Worker
for Wage Theft and Sexual Harassment

[San Francisco, October 7, 2015] Julieta Yang, a Filipina migrant worker employed as a live-in domestic worker filed a complaint today in the San Francisco Superior Court against her former employers, tech executives Cameron Poetzscher and Varsha Rao. The complaint alleges that Poetzcher and Rao failed to pay Ms. Yang the required minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked and failed to provide the required off-duty breaks. The complaint also alleges that Poetzcher and Rao created and maintained a sexually hostile work and home environment and failed to prevent harassment in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

“For many years, I helped raise their children, cooked for them, did their laundry, cleaned their house, and was at their beck and call,” said Ms. Yang. The complaint alleges that despite the long hours she worked, the couple paid Ms. Yang a flat rate that compensated for only five hours of work a day. The complaint further alleges that when his wife and kids were not home, Poetzscher sexually harassed Ms. Yang including but not limited to nudity, comments of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual advances, and unwanted touching. “I’m not alone,” said Ms. Yang. “I want other migrant domestic workers to know that they don’t have to work under conditions like this either.”

Princess Bustos, an organizer from Migrante said, “Julieta is like many other Filipina migrant workers who, due to the lack of jobs in the Philippines and in order to support their children, are forced to work abroad, often under abusive conditions. Migrant workers are left alone to navigate new environments and cultures without protection and services from the Philippine government or any knowledge of their rights as workers,” said Bustos.

More than 6,000 Filipinos leave the Philippines every day in search of a livelihood abroad. In 2014, migrant workers remitted $24.3 billion back to the Philippines and its economy. Despite this, the Philippine government fails to allocate sufficient funds or provide much needed legal and basic services to assure the protection of Filipino migrant workers. A majority of the migrant workers who leave the Philippines are women, many of whom end up employed as domestic workers.

According to American Community Survey (ACS 2004-2009), 46% of an estimated 2.5 million domestic workers in the United States are foreign-born. In a 2013 California report issued by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, 61% of domestic workers surveyed were paid an hourly wage at their primary job that was below the level needed to adequately support a family (using a conservative measure of income adequacy).[1] 25% of the domestic workers reported that they were paid below the California minimum wage. Sexual harassment of domestic workers is also a problem. Worker advocates believe that the sexual harassment of domestic workers remains severely underreported.

“Domestic workers, who work alone and behind closed doors, are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, low pay, and other unfavorable working conditions,” stated Hina Shah, Director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law, and one of the attorneys for Ms. Yang.

“Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that for many domestic workers, the place where they work is also where they live,” explained Winifred Kao, Litigation Director at the Asian Law Caucus and also an attorney for Ms. Yang. “There is fear that coming forward will jeopardize both. We want people to know that community and legal organizations can help. Julieta and other live-in domestic workers like her are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime for the hours they work, and to a work and home environment free of sexual harassment.”

“Despite the vulnerabilities, migrant and domestic workers are standing up and organizing. They are collectively educating the larger community about their experiences, taking action against abusive employers, and pushing for greater workplace protections. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Bustos.

Contacts:

Princess Bustos
Migrante Northern California
C: (707) 567-8715
E: princessrb86@gmail.com

Winnie Kao
Asian Law Caucus
C: (410) 908-5936
E: winifredk@advancingjustice-alc.org

Hina Shah
Women’s Employment Rights Clinic, GGU
C: (415) 595-3909
E: hshah@ggu.edu

About Migrante Northern California

Migrante Northern California is an alliance of Filipino migrant workers groups and organizing committees in the Bay Area that advocate for the rights and welfares of Filipinos overseas and their families. They educate and organize the community around local issues such as wage theft, discrimination, and trafficking and link these to larger systemic issues and movement building for real social change in the Philippines.  Migrante Northern California is the lead organizer of the “Justice for Julieta” campaign.

About Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (ALC)

The mission of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus is to promote, advance, and represent the legal and civil rights of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, the Asian Law Caucus is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant, and underserved APIs.

About GGU Law’s Women’s Employment Rights Clinic (WERC)

The Women’s Employment Rights Clinic (WERC) is a clinical law program at Golden Gate University School of Law. Over the past 20 years, WERC has partnered with community based organizations, advocating for the rights of low-wage and immigrant workers through direct service, impact litigation and public policy work. WERC served as legal counsel to the California Domestic Workers Coalition, which helped pass AB 241 in 2013, extending overtime to approximately 80,000 domestic workers in California.

About the California Domestic Workers Coalition

The California Domestic Workers Coalition led the passage of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2013.  It is a coalition of grassroots domestic worker organizations and community supporters that work together to uphold the dignity of domestic work in our homes and ensure that statewide laws and agencies defend domestic workers from abuse.

[1] National Domestic Workers Alliance et al., Home Truths: Domestic Workers in California 6 (2013) at http://www.datacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/HomeTruths.pdf.

“BSA, how many Lumads have you killed today?”

M12006283_10153544790844326_5252353150592625999_nigrante International adds its voice to the outrage and public furor against Pres. Aquino’s nonchalance and “double-speak” amidst the outrage and public furor on the spate of extrajudicial killings targeting Lumads in Mindanao.

In a conference with journalists and editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the president was quoted saying that “there is no government policy to kill Lumads”, in light of allegations that the military and AFP-baked paramilitary groups were involved in the killings. In the same breath he said that “(T)here is a campaign to go after everybody who commits crimes, regardless of who they are”.

Migrante International finds Pres. Aquino’s statements atrocious, blatantly unsympathetic and dangerously double-edged. There is a very obvious Marcosian campaign by the government to annihilate Lumads and the people of Mindanao who have been very vocal against rampant military abuses and government-backed large-scale mining operations that have caused the massive displacement of tribal communities from their ancestral domains.

According to Karapatan, at least nine Lumads and an advocate of indigenous people’s rights were killed between August to September 9, 2015. On August 18, AFP soldiers allegedly massacred a Lumad family, among them children aged 13 and 17, in Bukidnon. Since May, hundreds of Lumads have taken refuge in a church’s evacuation camp in Davao City after the military occupied and ransacked their communities as part of an ongoing offensive against the New People’s Army (NPA).

The latest most gruesome atrocity was the killing of Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo and ALCADEV Lumad school Executive Director Emerito Samarca on September 1. They were killed by the AFP-backed Magahat/Bagani/Marcos Bocales paramilitary group in broad daylight, allegedly under the command of the 36th IBPA, the 75th IBPA and 1st Special Forces Battalion.

Lumad schools all over Mindanao have long been under attack. Based on reports submitted by alternative school institutions and indigenous peoples organizations to the United Nations and other rights groups, perpetrators are elements of the AFP and its mercenaries such as the CAFGU and ALAMARA. The AFP, some local government officials and the Aquino government have vilified these schools as alleged training grounds of the NPA. As a result, at least 3,000 students and teachers have been displaced and forced to stop operations since the first quarter of 2015. The military’s attack on ALCADEV school in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur is by far the most vicious and evil attack on Lumad schools.

President Aquino cannot deny these killings, or simply brush them off and pretend that they did not happen. Our Lumad brothers and sisters, Lumad children, are dying by the day while the perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity. Aquino’s double-speak can only mean that the killings will continue. There is an apparent undeclared “open season” on Lumads and the Aquino government is hell-bent on justifying human rights violations on grounds that military’s targets are criminals or “enemies of the state”.

Migrante International calls on all freedom-loving Filipinos all over the world to stand for Lumads. We call for international solidarity to strongly call for a stop to the killings and an end to the state policy that gives these merciless hunters license to kill.

Migrante International, together with all its chapters, members, networks and advocates around the world, stands with the Lumads. An injustice against the Lumads is an injustice against the Filipino people. #StopLumadKillings #EndImpunity

#FreeMaryJane On AGO statement that death penalty is no longer Indonesia’s priority

 

thank you card(1)“We welcome this very positive statement coming from the Indonesian Attorney General who has been known for his ‘hard stance’ on the death penalty. This brings hope to Mary Jane’s family, all her supporters worldwide, and human rights advocates who continue to appeal to #FreeMaryJane. We are reinvigorated by this good news. It is now clearly incumbent upon the Philippine justice system to uphold Mary Jane’s innocence. Let us all continue to unite in prayer and collective action for Mary Jane’s permanent reprieve from death row,” said Mic Catuira, Migrante International deputy secretary-general.

Trial for cases of illegal recruitment and estaga filed by several witnesses against Mary Jane’s recruiters is set on September 18 at the Regional Trial Court in Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija.

The cases of qualified trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa filed at the Department of Justice by Mary Jane and her family against Sergio etal, meanwhile, have also been raffled to the same Nueva Ecija RTC and are still awaiting trial. ###