Filipinos in the US call for the immediate release of ICE-detained Larry Nicolas

On December 4, friends, loved ones and supporters led by Migrante Portland and Migrante Seattle trooped to the court to demonstrate support for Larry Nicolas who is unjustly detained in a private U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility. The group called for his immediate release and to stop his imminent deportation. The hearing on Larry’s case was however posponed as the judge sought additional information on his condition.

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Larry Nicolas has been a legal and permanent resident in the US for 17 years. In August 2018, on the day of his release from jail, he was secretly whisked away by ICE agents and detained at the Northwest Detention Center, a private immigration prison in Tacoma.

Larry has been struggling with a life-long mental condition which got him involved in a conflict and led to his incarceration. While in jail, he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was able to get access to mental healthcare and psychiatric services which greatly improved his condition. This led to the dismissal of the restraining order filed against him and was ordered to be released in August 2018.

Nestor Nicolas, Larry’s father criticized ICE agents for withholding information on his whereabouts when he was transferred to Tacoma. Nestor stated,”they should’ve let us know, so we’d know where to find our son. If he didn’t call, we wouldn’t know where to find him. They didn’t let us know. He has a family here. He has kids. He has parents.They should have let us know before they took him to a different city.”

According to Migrante, Larry’s case is a preview of a more massive scale of arrests, detention and deportations of immigrants.

In September, Trump raised a proposal that would punish legal immigrants for accessing social welfare benefits including medical assistance. Migrante blasted this anti-migrant policy as the they likewise called for Larry’s immediate release.

The Nicolas family and Migrante expressed fear that Larry’s deportation would be a “death sentence considering the worsening crisis in the Philippines and the government’s indifference to Filipinos facing similar situations.”

Larry’s daughter Jy’violette stated, “I don’t want my dad deported to the Philippines, not only because he’s a big part of my life, but because he’ll die if he goes to the Philippines.”

In January 2017, when asked about the US-crackdown on immigrants, Duterte said, “If you are not allowed to stay there, get out. If you get caught there and deported, I will not lift a finger.”

Arman Hernando, spokesperson of Migrante International did not mince words as he chastised the Duterte government’s inaction. “Duterte’s inutility in challenging Trump’s Fascist persecution of migrants and their families totally debunks his fake pro-migrant posturing. Duterte is best at glorifying OFW contributions to the economy with US-based Filipinos as number 1 remittance contributor but completely disregards their welfare when they are besieged by harmful immigration policies.”

 

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Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFew8dVFN0&list=PLTEMZEIUtw0uJI1d8w1J4RgIDqR2e0Ygk&index=3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5X1RFWFQzk&index=2&list=PLTEMZEIUtw0uJI1d8w1J4RgIDqR2e0Ygk&fbclid=IwAR0JOfr4XfnOeP-JinL6X6NJnIxh_ItKqSwRqxhYpUz2-rFTNsDx1EsEUhE

https://www.gofundme.com/justice-for-larry-nicolas

https://www.facebook.com/MigrantePortland/posts/2809877762428000?comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22O%22%7D

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Mga istranded na Pinay sa Saudi, dismayado sa aksyon ng Embahada at POLO, iginiit kay Duterte ang agarang pagpapauwi

Sa pamamagitan ng isang “indoor protest“, iginiit ng mahigit 30 kababaihang OFWs na mahigit dalawang buwan nang istranded sa Saudi Arabia na sila ay kagyat na mapalaya mula sa abusadong employer at mapauwi na sa Pilipinas.

Indoor Protest

Ayon kay Kristine Arevalo, tagapagsalita ng grupo, si Pangulong Duterte na mismo ang inaasahan nilang umaksyon dahil bigo ang mga ahensya ng pamahalaan sa kanilang kahilingan. “Lahat na ay napuntahan namin. Ang sabi lang ng Embassy wala silang magagawa dahil hindi nila hawak itong case namin. Ang POLO naman ang sinasabi, ang kaya lang nila gawin ay makiusap sa aming employer.”

Ang mga apektadong OFW ay tapos na ang 3-taong kontrata bilang Patient Attendants sa ilalim ng kumpanyang Al Samama Group of Companies at ni-deploy ng mga agency na: Placewell International Services, Ozem Intenational Placement, Greengate Manpower, Al Batra Recruitment na ang iba ay may problema na sa kanilang lisensya sa POEA.

Ayon sa mga OFW, maraming naging paglabag sa kontrata ang employer tulad ng underpayment, delayed na pagpapasahod, hindi makatarungang salaray deductions at lipas na mga iqama. Tiniis nila ng tatlong ang ganitong palakad alang-alang sa kanilang pamilya subali’t hindi na nila pinalampas ang panggigipit ng employer sa kanilang pag-uwi.

“Kung tutuusin hindi namin kailangan makiusap kasi tapos namin ang mga kontrata namin. Three years kami mahigit dito at sobra pa sa kontrata. Bakit kailangan pang maki-usap eh karapatan naming umuwi. Karapatan naming makuha ang mga benepisyo namin.” giit ni Arevalo.

Sa liham ng mga OFW kay Pangulong Duterte, inireklamo nila na tila “nabayaran na” ang POLO ng kanilang employer dahil pumayag daw ito sa “pwersahang” pag-extend sa pagpapatrabaho sa mga OFW sa kundisyong pauuwiin na lamang sila sa Pebrero.

“Napaka-unfair naman po. Mag-fo-four years na nga kami dito tapos maghihintay pa kami ng February. Gusto na nga namin umuwi, Ayaw na namin magtrabaho dito!” paliwanag ni Arevalo.

Ayon sa Migrante na tumutulong ngayon sa kanila, ganito rin ang kalagayan ng libo-libong iba pang OFW sa Saudi Arabia na istranded din. Lumolobo ‘di umano ang bilang ng istranded bilang epekto ng “pabagsak na ekonomiya” ng bansa at dahil sa patakarang Saudization.

“Ang masaklap nito, alam na ng administrasyong Duterte ang magiging hagupit sa OFWs ng krisis sa Saudi Arabia subalit wala pa rin itong komprehensibong plano kung paano tutulungan ang mga OFW. Puro pa-bida, wala namang aksyon.” pahayag ni Arman Hernando, Tagapangulo ng Migrante Philippines.

Ayon kay Hernando, isang malaking insulto sa mga OFW at kanilang pamilya ang ginawa ni Duterte nang payagan nitong dumagsa ang mga manggagawa sa Tsina. “Sa ngalan ng pagpapakatuta sa Tsina, ang trabaho na para sana sa mga Pilipino ay binigay pa sa iba.”

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLDoZl8wrvw

On Bonifacio Day: Migrants, “modern-day heroes,” rise against modern-day slavery, fascism and imperialism

Born 155 years ago, Andres Bonifacio lived for just a little more than three decades, and yet this great revolutionary leader who rose to lead great throngs of brave warriors to demolish Spanish colonialism in the Philippines continue to inspire many generations of Filipinos in their struggle for national democracy.

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More than a century after the withdrawal of Spanish forces, the age old troubles of poverty and oppression continue to grip millions of Filipinos. The heinous treachery of Emilio Aguinaldo has been recurrently embodied by puppet presidents from one US-controlled regime to another.

The Duterte regime is a perfect epitome of this Aguinaldo type of treason detested by the Filipino masses. It abominably presides over the gang rape of our country by emergent and established imperialist powers like China and the US.

Itching to offer his Build, Build, Build program to China, Duterte dragged the Philippines into dirty deals with big Chinese corporations. At the cost of our territorial integrity and energy security, a joint exploration deal was likewise laid down eyeing the exploitation of the rich gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea.

Migrante recognizes that these debt-ridden deals with China aggravate the Duterte regime’s exploitation of OFWs as milking cows to guarantee the country’s capacity for debt-servicing. As the country descends into the sinking sands of debt burdens brought about by corrupt neoliberal policies,   OFWs will bear the brunt of numerous and exorbitant state exactions like the mandatory insurance and SSS coverage.

Battered by Duterte’s TRAIN law, OFWs and their families back home are crying out against the agonizing 9-year high inflation rate, the worst in the ASEAN region. Under these excruciating neoliberal policies, there is no way that Filipinos will be able to get rid of their economic hardships.

Furthermore, the influx of foreign workers from China is a slap in the face of millions of OFWs who left their homeland due to the worsening poverty and unresolved issue of unemployment.

Like many Filipino workers, these Chinese workers are underpaid and overworked by exploitative Chinese firms which earned contracts for Duterte’s Build, Build, Build projects. This proves that debt-driven foreign investment on infrastructure neither translates to job generation for Filipinos nor does it improve working conditions.

120 years since the mock surrender of the Spanish forces to deceitful American troops, the prevailing problems of landlessness still plague majority of our poor farmers. Killings and harassments of organized peasants persist as the Fascist regime’s primary stance to stamp out dissent in the countryside. Up to this moment, families and supporters of the SAGAY9 massacre victims are aggressively persecuted by AFP-PNP and their paramilitary goons.

Just yesterday, Fascist elements from AFP and PNP illegally detained several dozens of Lumad students and teachers in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Among those detained were members of the rescue team which include ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, and Pia Malayao of Katribu. They have been falsely charged of trafficking minors when in fact, they were only rescuing school children from the AFP-trained terrorist Alamara paramilitary group that closed down the Salugpongan community school. This is utterly detestable considering that Imelda Marcos and other big wealthy criminals still roam freely and even enjoy parties despite their convictions.

All bloodthirsty brutes from AFP and PNP enjoy the full backing of US imperialist aggressors. To this day, US imperialism remains the bloodiest and most destructive neocolonialist power in the Philippines as manifested in its direct involvement in all aspects during the destruction of Marawi and the three-pronged war being carried out by its puppet, the US-Duterte regime. The persecution of progressive people’s organizations through the US-dictated Oplan Kapayapaan will be intensified by Duterte’s Memorandum Order No.32 and his recently pronounced desire to form a death squad that will target idlers whom he branded as “prospective NPAs.”

In addition, the ever expanding presence of US troops both in our territorial lands and waters like in the West Philippine Sea grooms the Philippines into the main battleground between the US and China in the event that a military confrontation breaks out between the two rivals. All these imperialist expeditions must be vigorously opposed.

We Filipinos must learn from the revolutionary lessons drawn out by the heroic life of Gat Andres Bonifacio. Casting away the colonial mentality of mendicant dependence on foreign powers, we enjoin the Filipino masses to assert our sovereignty and strengthen our democratic force through our collective struggle in unity with the oppressed peasants, workers and all exploited sectors of our society.

By getting rid of the US imperialist grip on the Philippines and ending the Fascist reign of its puppet Duterte regime, only then will we be enabled as a people to freely chart our own course as a nation in the interest of the greater masses. Go forth and uphold our struggle for national democracy and liberation to address the roots of forced migration through genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.  With all our might, let us terminate the Fascist reign of terror and the neoliberal attacks of the evil US-Duterte regime.

Conviction of Kian’s murderers point to Duterte’s hand in EJKs

Migrante International welcomes the decision of the Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 in convicting police officers PO3  Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz for murdering  17-year old and OFW son Kian delos Santos. This court decision is highly significant as it confirms the involvement of officers from the Philippine National Police in perpetrating extrajudicial killings in the  Philippines under the bloody reign of terror of the US-Duterte regime.

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We count on judicial authorities in ensuring that these murderers will fully serve their sentences in jail. Let this be a stern warning to all uniformed personnel who got blood on their hands. For the growing masses of Filipinos who pursue justice,  this is viewed as an ominous handwriting on the wall for Duterte who is the chief instigator of state-sponsored killings.

The prevailing question now is what happens to the thousands upon thousands of unresolved cases of killings? We call on all the bereaved families and friends of the victims to come out and assert the attainment of justice for their loved ones. Duterte and his murderous state agents must pay for their crimes.

Likewise, it is crucial that all of us remain vigilant on the next steps that will be undertaken by the defense team of the convicts to appeal for the court’s verdict. In numerous times, Duterte has vowed that he will fully support and protect any police that will be prosecuted for these killings. Last September, Duterte himself admitted his sinful role in extrajudicial killings.

More outrageous, Caloocan City Police Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna who was sacked after Kian’s murder was promoted this year as Bulacan’s provincial chief and led the violent dispersal and imprisonment of leaders and supporters of the NutriAsia workers’ strike. This madness must stop! Duterte’s addiction to impunity must be countered by the people’s dissent and resistance.

Just very recently, the Duterte regime issued Memorandum Order 32 deploying additional troops to Samar, Negros, and the Bicol region to quell “lawless violence”. While the groups targeted are not cited,  we dread that the Fascist forces of the regime will use this decree to intensify Fascist attacks on peasants clamouring for genuine agrarian reform. At the back of the approaching campaign period, this may be used to repress and harass supporters of the opposition in the countryside.

In the same manner, Duterte’s pronouncement on the formation of death squads to slay idlers in transport terminals whom he branded as prospective NPAs is seen by many as a go signal to assassinate and target leaders and members of progressive people’s organizations operating in urban areas.

Migrante denounces all Duterte’s efforts to cement his criminal reign of terror and bloodshed in the Philippines. We call on the OFW family of Kian to work with other families of victims in attaining justice. For this pursuit, the Filipino people must unite and stand with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines to hasten the enforcement of judgment on the perpetrators by judicial authorities.

Stop the killings! Stop the attacks!

Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!

End Duterte’s reign of terror!

 

Stop the attacks on “migrants’ caravan.” End US imperialist plunder of Central America!

In strongest terms, Migrante International denounces President Trump’s use of violence through his federal agents who have been driving back desperate migrants away from the US-Mexico border. Scenes of terrified mothers and children screaming as chemical weapons are lobbed at them by heartless border security personnel somewhat depict images of Jews being gassed by Nazi mass murderers.

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President Trump’s use of chemical agents against migrant children and women deserve worldwide condemnation. Having the nerve to state that nobody comes to the US unless they come legally is pure hypocrisy on his part and of the ruling powers that Trump represents. For decades, US imperialism has illegally intruded Central American countries in violation of their sovereign rights. It continues to build and expand military bases in the region to arrest the rising tide of resistance from the struggling masses.

Migrants who form this “caravan” mostly come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to flee from the enormous humanitarian crises brought about by US imperialism. This proves that  US-crafted neoliberal economic policies under CAFTA or Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement brought more misery to the citizens of these countries and has utterly failed to uplift their lives.

CAFTA was only meant to reconcentrate wealth on the hands of monopoly capitalists while ordinary citizens wallow in ever-increasing exploitative conditions. The pro-capitalist agreement intensified the mass exodus of Central Americans suffering from depressed livelihood opportunities and their lack of access to basic social services.

US imperialism stole their wealth and for many decades, the people of Central America have struggled to reclaim their countries from imperialist plunder but in all their attempts, one US administration to another launched brutal military and economic interventions to repress democratic rights and protect the interests of monopoly capitalists salivating after the abundance of the region’s natural resources.

For the longest time, US imperialism is the chief destabilizer not only in that region but in many countries across the globe including the Philippines. It has overthrown left-wing governments in Latin America and installed dictators who subserviently supported the bloody counterinsurgency campaigns waged by US imperialism.

Just as in the Philippines, the US military likewise formed, financed and trained paramilitaries, death squads and army units to butcher Central American peasants and evict minorities from their ancestral lands. Abject poverty accompanied by grave violations of human rights,land-grabbing, torture of activists and exploitation of workers are the main drivers of forced migration leading to the banishment of millions of Central Americans from their homelands. Trump is just reaping the outcome of the havoc US imperialism has been sowing on these countries.

As long as the US and its puppet governments place private profit as their foremost priority over the welfare of their people, forced migration will continue to persist in the region.

Migrante International stands in solidarity with the “migrants caravan” and with all Central Americans who vigorously resist and struggle against US imperialist and neoliberal dictates. We demand that US immigration authorities look into their plight and lend ears to their pleadings. Migrants and advocates must surge forward in building unities with all sectors to stamp out the ferocity of Trump’s anti-migrant attacks and the rampage of US imperialism.

OFWs to bear the brunt of Duterte’s loans from China

On the back of the country’s worsening unemployment and the on-going socioeconomic turbulence in traditional OFW deployment destinations like the Middle East, the Duterte regime is eyeing China as the primary alternative labour market for Filipino workers. With the state-visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, we expect that Duterte will likewise be wooing Chinese investors to take the plunge into his Build, Build, Build program.

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Despite throwing too much weight around China’s 2016 investment pledges worth $24 Billion which was projected to create a million jobs annually, most of which have not yet materialized. The Philippines remains to have the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN region and a September SWS survey revealed that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed while pessimism on job availability rose to 16%.

At the expense of Filipino employment, many Chinese funded projects and investments are hiring considerable number of Chinese labourers. This is a slap in the face of every OFW who left due to unemployment in the country and just another proof that investments in infrastructure do not really translate into the actual generation of stable and secure jobs for Filipinos. Instead, they are meant to suction wealth upwards into the hands of the ruling elite.

The regime is creating illusions of growth and heightened economic activity through its Build, Build, Build program. Bereft of a strong industrial base, the Philippines has long been dependent on foreign borrowings and importations to realize its infrastructure madness.

Migrante maintains that this debt trap will only reinforce the regime’s exploitation of OFWs as milking cows. Money generated from additional state exactions like the mandatory SSS and the burdensome TRAIN law only serve as guarantees to China and other foreign lenders on our capacity for debt-servicing.

As lenders from China and the US along with local oligarchs rake super profits from pro-elite infrastructure projects, generations of Filipinos to come will have to bear this debt burden imposed upon them by the Duterte regime.

Our country does not deserve to be treated as a platform of strife between imperialist powers. We Filipinos will never allow ourselves to become collateral ropes in the imperialist tug-of-war between China and the US. Through the militant struggle of Filipino migrant workers in unity with the broad masses, we shall crush this imperialist plunder to put an end to the Duterte regime’s mockery of our national integrity.

 

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Reference: Arman Hernando, Spokesperson, Migrante International, 0932-509-50-54

#LandedStatusNow: Filipinos in Canada unite with care workers for full recognition of rights under proposed Federal Workers Program

Filipino care workers in Canada joined other nationalities in a broad action of various migrant and care workers’ advocacy groups on Sunday, November 18 to call for permanent landed status, family unity and full recognition of their rights. Likewise, an online campaign #LandedStatusNow was launched to gather signatories for a petition addressed to Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

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In unison with other nationalities, Filipino care workers back the petition which calls “to create a Federal Workers Program for Care Workers (FWP) as proposed by Care Workers organizations across the country to ensure that migrant Care Workers come to Canada with their families and permanent resident status (PR).” The proposed FWP will serve as a critique to the current Caregiver Program.

Despite the absence of consultation with care workers, the Caregiver Program was promulgated in 2014 and is set to expire by November 2019. Under this program, home care is labelled as a “temporary labour market need” disregarding the reality of a growing and aging Canadian population. Restrictive and complex immigration procedures have left workers and their families in limbo while others fear deportation.

“Care Workers do the critical work of raising families, caring for an elderly population and ensuring dignity for those who are sick and disabled, without us the economy doesn’t work, yet we get low wages, long work hours, unsafe housing and constant stress. Making these changes won’t just benefit migrants, it will ensure that everyone in Canada is healthy and has a better quality of life,” Cynthia Palmaria of Migrante Alberta stated.

The announcement made by the Canadian government in April stating that it will no longer accept applications for permanent residency from caregivers after that period drew strong objections from the sector which is mostly represented by Filipino migrants.

While the program is being crafted, migrant groups are demanding immediate reforms like ensuring labor mobility, family reunification, removal of the additional English test and post-secondary education requirements for PR applicants, resolving permanent residency backlogs and the enactment of other pro-labor policies.

Aimee Beboso of Migrante Ottawa said, “We are hoping for courageous support from everyday people who will join us for justice and fairness for everyone.”

The mobilizations were held across Canada in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa.

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