Migrante cries out for justice in the wake of Fascist carnage that claimed the lives of Ryan, Nelly, Nonoy and Neptali

Just as we were still trying to take in the tragic news about the cold-blooded murder of human rights defenders Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Balagasa of Karapatan-Sorsogon on Saturday (15 June), another peasant activist was shot dead just hours afterward. Nonoy Palma is a member of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Bukidnon. In the course of this writing, former campaign head of BAYAN-Bicol Neptali Morada was gunned down in Naga City by an armed assailant. These atrocities depict a very grave image gripping our country today. Under the tyrannical reign of the US-Duterte regime, the Philippines has been turned into a vast killing field where the overflowing blood of numerous fatalities cry out for justice.

Seething with rage and anguish, Migrante International strongly condemns this continuing slaughter of human rights workers and activists perpetrated by the ruthless mercenaries of the US-Duterte regime. As our hearts bleed with the grieving loved ones and friends of the slain victims, we deeply mourn for the woeful calamity that has befallen the oppressed and impoverished people of our beloved country.

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The Filipino people are constantly assaulted with impunity by Fascist violence and repression. Even the scantiest of our remaining democratic rights that we seek to guard and preserve are getting trampled. Killing the poor and their defenders as what the vicious US-Duterte regime intends to accomplish will in no way solve our deep-rooted issues of poverty and hardships that afflict the struggling majority.

To expose the monstrous crimes of the US-Duterte regime, Migrante International fully supports all efforts to raise the dreadful human rights situation in the Philippines to the United Nations and other international bodies. A joint petition will be submitted by different rights advocacy groups to UN special rapporteurs who have openly expressed their desire to probe the brutal killings in the Philippines. Duterte’s intimidation of human rights workers and activists, order to bomb Lumad schools, his sexist denigration of women, and his threat to kidnap and torture auditors at one point are just some of the regime’s many instances of violent incitements.

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Photo: BICOLTODAY.com

Duterte has not brought law and order to the country. Instead, he has dragged the entire nation to disgrace by presiding over lawlessness and widespread disorder through the brutality of his state forces. Streets and alleys have become execution grounds where the blood of destitutes and committed servants of the people are shed to appease the supreme butcher in Malacañang. It is now a very dangerous place for our children and our loved ones back home. Allowing Duterte to remain at the helm of his pestilential reign of terror is the clear road that leads to national perdition.

Nevertheless, we shall face these tribulations with unified strength and action. Before us is the compelling task of building society’s waxing resistance to its broadest and most zenithal form. Only by advancing the national democratic struggle will we be able to truly ascribe honor to the bravery and sacrifice of these devoted rights defenders. They have not perished and their names will never be blotted out from our memories. Ryan, Nelly, Nonoy and Neptali are still alive through our indestructible fervour and collective pursuit of life, justice and freedom for the downtrodden Filipino people.

 

Justice for Ryan Hubilla!

Justice for Nelly Balagasa!

Justice for Nonoy Palma!

Justice for Neptali Morada!

Stop the killings!

 

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References:

  • Joanna Concepcion, Chairperson, Migrante International,

USA contact number: 1 (909) 969 3313

Email: chair.migranteintl@keemail.me

 

  • Arman Hernando, Chairperson, Migrante Philippines;

PH Contact nos. 0967-277-53-32

 

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Migrante decries Philhealth ‘ghost claims’ and Duterte’s fake ‘Universal Health Care’

Migrante decries Philhealth ‘ghost claims’ and Duterte’s fake ‘Universal Health Care’

The recent Philhealth scandal involving unlawful ‘ghost claims’ by WellMed points to the rotten state of a profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system in the Philippines. Since Philhealth membership is mandatory for OFWs, it is just one of the many state exactions being relished by the corrupt Duterte regime. Migrante views this crime as a horrible offence against OFWs and their dependents.

At this period when many OFW families are battered by the unreasonably high cost of healthcare and all sorts of state exactions, we find it insulting that our hard-earned contributions are getting funneled into the over-bloated pockets of reprobate thieves.

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Photo: Inquirer.net

Recently, the Duterte regime has been bragging about its Universal Health Care Law which automatically enrolled all Filipinos under Philhealth membership. Contrary to what the name suggests, there is really nothing universal about Duterte’s much vaunted healthcare law. In fact, we see this as just another government scam to subsidize private profit.

There is no question that the privately-dominated healthcare system in the country enables large-scale corruption. Massive theft has been going in for many years. Since 2013, over Php 154 Billion was lost due to fraud and overpayment. What’s more outrageous is that the Duterte regime is hell-bent in recovering this huge amount of losses through a hike in the contribution rate of Philhealth members.

Migrante International is one with OFWs and their families in opposing this atrocious hike. OFW pockets are being suctioned dry with various forms of state exactions while corrupt vultures feast on our hard-earned money.

Likewise, we find it troubling that the Duterte regime is exempting Philhealth board member Francisco Duque III from investigations. Duque was Philhealth president in 2004 when his involvement in the Php 500 Million malversation scandal was bared. Duterte asked all the rest of the current Philhealth board members to resign. What makes Duque so special above the rest?

Despite the Duterte regime’s excessive braggadocio, the Philippines is stricken with underfunded hospitals that are rapidly getting devoured by intensified commercialization and privatization. Our Filipino healthcare workers are forced to endure being overworked in long shifts under meager pay and poor facilities. This painful reality is driving thousands of Filipino healthcare professionals to search for better opportunities overseas.

Instead of building adequate infrastructures for public health services, the Duterte regime fastens itself to neoliberal economic policies that systematize the gobbling of public funds to fill the coffers of big private entities.

Such is the deteriorating state of the Philippine healthcare system. This most recent Philhealth scandal is just a dot in the larger scheme of corruption in this field. The profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system overindulged with subsidies from the Philippine government through public contributions in Philhealth is in itself the biggest form of theft that deprives Filipinos of their right to genuine universal health service.

Through unified actions, Migrante International will continue to expose the neoliberal attacks being perpetrated by the Duterte regime against Filipinos here and abroad. OFWs and their families will not stand idly as legalized plunder occurs under Duterte’s watch.

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After deadly missile strike on Saudi airport, Duterte government falls short in drawing lessons from similar events in Libya and Iraq – Migrante

On the 23rd of May, Migrante International issued a statement slamming the Duterte government for its failure to lay out contingency measures to assist OFWs in regions close to the Yemeni border. After the deadly missile strike in Abha on Wednesday, we are outraged that the Duterte administration remains stone-deaf in hearing our calls to ensure the safety of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia as the Philippine government displays the same ineptitude it has shown during the previous outbreak of armed conflict in Libya, Iraq and Syria.

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Instead of readying concrete contingency measures, the Department of Foreign Affairs only re-echoed almost the same consulate advisory issued by its office in Jeddah last month. Will the government wait once more for thousands of Filipinos to be caught up in the deadliest last minute before it even lifts a finger?

Now that airports and control towers are being targeted, it will no longer be safe for Filipinos to be airlifted to safety from these regions. According to the Consulate in Jeddah, in regions closest to the Yemeni border, about 15,000 Filipinos work in Jizan and 7,850 are in Najran. In the Asir region, there are 13,000 OFWs in the city of Khamis Mushayt alone. The city is close to the King Khalid Air Base which experienced a deluge of airstrikes a few days ago.

The Yemeni Forces vowed to launch more attacks in response to what it claims are “US-Saudi crimes of aggression” on the Yemeni people. What’s striking is that Saudi Arabia is increasingly becoming more incapable of intercepting drones and missiles launched from Yemen as airstrikes rapidly advance forward into its inland territory. This should already ring the loudest  alarm into the deaf ears of the Duterte regime and his officials.

Signs of exacerbation have been staring at Duterte’s face in the last few months and yet embassy and consulate officials in Saudi wasted several weeks electioneering for Duterte’s anointed candidates in the recently-concluded midterm national elections. This vile apathy demonstrates how much weight the Duterte government places on its lust for power than looking after the welfare of imperiled OFWs.

Once again, Migrante International reiterates its call on the Duterte government to ensure that concrete actions are already in place to readily assist OFWs in need of immediate evacuation in all locations of Saudi Arabia within missile range. It should draw lessons from similar periods in the past when it only responded upon the moment when lives have already been lost.

As long as the Duterte regime stubbornly clings to its rotten labour export program, Filipinos abroad will remain under threat as collateral damage in countries jolted by armed conflict. OFWs and their families will not stop at nothing less than making the Duterte regime and his government officials accountable for their negligence.

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Migrante lauds Wulandari’s release. Calls for Mary Jane Veloso’s freedom

Finally reunited with her family, Migrante International extends its heartfelt wishes to Dwi Wulandari as she begins her life anew. We are elated that she has finally achieved justice after suffering terribly from her ordeal which started back in 2012 upon her arrest for alleged drug smuggling in the Philippines.

On March 29, the Court of Appeals ruled that she was innocent of all the charges. The original life sentence verdict handed by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court in 2017 was overturned after an appeal on her case was raised with the help of public lawyers. Arrested in September 2012 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Wulandari was charged with smuggling illegal drugs into the Philippines.

Just like Mary Jane Veloso who is still on death row in Indonesia, Wulandari was a victim of big international trafficking syndicates and drug smugglers who have been preying  on vulnerable migrants. Many of these trafficking victims embarked overseas to fulfill their dreams of better lives for their loved ones, only to be tricked by vicious traffickers who reverse migrant aspirations into dreadful years of nightmare and torment.

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(Photo by Jakarta Post) Dwi Wulandari (center) embraces her loved ones upon her return in East Java on Sunday.

We welcome this recent Court of Appeals (CA) decision to overturn Wulandari’s verdict. How we wish that the appellate court granted the same favor to Mary Jane Veloso when she pleaded for her right to deposition in Indonesia. Since CA barred Mary Jane from testifying against her traffickers, the Veloso family are now fighting for her life in the Supreme Court.

May Wulandari’s case be a strong message to the Supreme Court of the Philippines as we reiterate our call to let Mary Jane Veloso speak the truth so that justice will finally be served.  We want all the international human trafficking syndicates and big drug smugglers to pay for their crimes against Mary Jane Veloso and Dwi Wulandari.

Mary Jane’s Supreme Court case has been dragging for months. We fervently hope that Wulandari’s new found freedom will be reciprocated by the Indonesian government with a bestowal of clemency for Mary Jane Veloso so she can be finally relieved from the debilitating years of suffering and incarceration.

As Dwi Wulandari begins her new life in sweet reunion with her family, Migrante likewise longs for the moment when Mary Jane Veloso will finally be granted her freedom and be reunited with her loved ones. Migrante International vows to continue pursuing justice for all OFWs and their families who continue to be afflicted by the Duterte regime’s deadly labour export program and by his stiff refusal to address  the roots of forced migration in the Philippines.

AS DRONE ATTACKS AND MISSILE BLASTS ROCK SAUDI ARABIA, MIGRANTE SLAMS DUTERTE GOVERNMENT FOR FAILURE TO LAY OUT CONTINGENCY MEASURES TO ASSIST OFWS

On account of the escalating war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, Migrante International expresses alarm over the Duterte government’s failure to lay out and implement comprehensive contingency measures to secure the safety of the OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

As we have observed in the past, the Philippine government only comes to the rescue when OFWs are already caught up in fierce armed battles and lives have already been lost. We are appalled that the Philippine government is once again exhibiting the same attitude in response to the Saudi crisis.

The barrage of ballistic missiles and drone attacks in Taif, Jeddah, and allegedly in Makkah reveal that the conflict is rapidly advancing forward into Saudi Arabia’s interior. Despite the mounting strife between competing powers in the Gulf region, the DFA ‘s Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah has by far merely issued an advisory a few days ago, 20th of May.

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PHOTO: Abante Tonite

Worse, embassy officials in Saudi Arabia spent several weeks electioneering for Duterte’s candidates instead of preoccupying themselves with the work of ensuring the welfare of OFWs.

For the sake of the almost 1 million Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, the Duterte government needs to conduct an accurate general evaluation of the current situation and draw lessons from similar events that occured in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

We demand that President Duterte and concerned government agencies ensure that concrete actions are already available for OFWs who need immediate evacuation and assistance especially from regions and cities located near Yemen’s border or in any part of Saudi Arabia within missile range. According to the Consulate in Jeddah, in regions closest to the Yemeni border, about 15,000 Filipinos work in Jizan and 7,850 are in Najran.

Most importantly, without a solid reintegration program anchored on pro-labour policies like higher wages and end to contractualization, OFWs will continually find themselves as commodities of the government’s labour export program with the Duterte regime as the number one pimp.

Migrante International will continue to monitor the Duterte government’s actions in Saudi Arabia as we keep up raising the collective voices and concerns of OFW families who are distraught by serious threats to the safety and security of their loved ones in Saudi Arabia and in other parts of the world.

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Hustisya para kay Constancia “Connie” Dayag! Kilalanin ang Karapatan at Kagalingan ng bawat OFWs!

Ipinaabot ng Migrante-Philipipines ang marubdob naming pakikiramay sa naiwang mahal sa buhay ni Constancia Dayag. Nakikiisa ang migranteng Pilipino sa hangarin ng kaniyang pamilya na matamo ang katarungan at indemnipikasyon sa pagkamatay niya sa kamay ng kaniyang employer sa Kuwait.

Si Constancia, 47 taong gulang, ay idineploy ng gobyernong ito bilang domestic worker sa kaniyang among Kuwaiti noong Enero, 2016.  Noong Mayo 14, patay na nang dalhin siya sa Al Sabah Hospital sa Kuwait matapos makaranas ng malalang pambubugbog. May bakas din ng paglapastangan sa kanyang pagkababae nang makitaang pinasukan ng pipino ang kaniyang ari.

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Ikinalulungkot ngunit higit na ikinagagalit namin ang pangyayaring ito. Pagkatapos patayin ang ating mga kababayan na sina Joana Demafelis, Josie Lloren at ilan pang mga domestic worker sa Kuwait noong isang taon, pinatutunayan ng kalupitang sinapit ni Constancia na walang pagbabago sa kanilang kalagayan. Nananatili silang inaalipin ng kanilang mga amo at pinababayaan ng gobyernong Kuwait at Pilipinas. Nagpapatuloy ang patakarang pumapatay sa mga tulad nilang napilitang magsilbi sa banyagang amo sa pag-asang matutugunan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang pamilya sa Pilipinas.

Pinatutunayan din ng pangyagaring ito na walang silbi ang Memorandum of Understanding sa pagitan ng Kuwait at Pilipinas. Wala itong pinagtibay kundi ang regularidad ng eksportasyon ng mura at siil na kababaihang manggagawa sa Kuwait.

Kagyat na nananawagan kami na dalhin sa hukuman at maagap na mapanagot ang amo ni Constancia sa kalupitang ginawa nito. Kailangan din na maagap na matugunan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ang kahilingan ng pamilya na madalaw nila si Constancia sa Kuwait habang mabilisang ipinoproseso ang pag-uwi ng kaniyang labi sa Pilipinas.

Dapat managot ang gobyerno ng Kuwait at Pilipinas sa pagpapanatili ng kaayusan kung saan nagiging bulnerable sa abuso at pagmamalupit ang mga katulad ni Constancia.  Sa kalagayang ganito, nananawagan kami na repasuhin ang MOU ng Kuwait at Pilipinas at tiyakin na ganap na napoprotektahan ang ating mga kababayang manggagawa sa Kuwait. Mula noong isang taon ay naghapag na ang Migrante ng kongkretong hakbangin kung paanong ang mga karapatan ng mga Pilipinong domestic worker sa Kuwait ay mapoprotektahan.

Itigil na ng gobyerno ang pagbabalat-kayo nito na tagapagprotekta ng karapatan ng mga migrante dahil malinaw sa bawat pinipirmahan nitong tratado na mas pinapaboran nito ang interes na ipagpatuloy at pasahulin pa ang ipinatutupad nitong Labor Export Program. Hindi sasapat ang asta nitong tumutugon sa kagyat na pangangailangang pang-ekonomiya ng mga biktima samantalang inutil ito sa pagtitiyak ng ganap na hustisya para sa kanila.

Sa pamilya ni Constancia, nawa’y tibayan ninyo ang inyong kalooban at hindi tumigil sa paghahanap ng katarungan. Kaisa niyo ang mga migrante at buong sambayanan sa inyong laban.

The Philippine election is a sham! We shall not be duped! Oust Duterte!

Migrante Australia joins the Filipino people in protesting against the outcome of the May 13 National and Local Elections. We reject the unfolding result of this election as election irregularities continue to be collected and documented by independent watchdog like Kontra Daya. http://www.votereportph.com.

The results of the election favours heavily the Administration senatorial candidates or President Duterte’s chosen whose loyalty is only to him. Duterte’s state machinery was in full force.

  1. Government resources, paid for by Filipino people’s taxes, were used to promote pro-administration candidates and sustain their nation-wide campaign. There were massive and rampant vote-buying.
  2. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) were instructed to target and harass opposition groups especially the progressive partylists and candidates. Duterte used his presidential position to denigrate opposition and progressive candidates. Police and military personnel were out spreading black propaganda materials against the opposition candidates and progressive partylists.
  3. Duterte, complete control of the Commission on Elections, manipulated the automated polling system. The election saw over P10 Billion of taxpayers’ money spent on an automated election that lacked transparency. There were more machine and software failures this year compared to previous elections. Most glaringly, the transmission of election returns was marred with suspicious lapses and a staggering 7-hour server delay. COMELEC denied requests for open data and independent checks.
  4. Mindanao, still under Martial Law, saw military presence inside precincts, which is a violation of election law. Also, the military and police agencies are supposed to be non-partisan and must remain neutral.
  5. Duterte’s trolls milled out lies about opposition candidates and partylists. Five partylists under MAKABAYAN coalition were reported to have been “disqualified” by COMELEC days before election day.

 

  1. Those of us who are overseas absentee voters suffered a similar fate with disenfranchisement, late deliveries of ballots, postal delays, broken seals, stamp/postage issues and receipt discrepancies.

Migrante Australia joins the Filipino people in protesting the highly irregular election results. We will not concede defeat! We will continue to fight for genuine democracy, national sovereignty and social justice. Oust the fascist and corrupt Duterte regime now!

 

Migrante Australia

17 May 2019