Migrante chapters from different cities in Italy and Italian organizations in solidarity with Filipino people’s struggles and concerns organized a mobilization in support of the GRP-NDFP peacetalks on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at Piazza delle Escuelino in Rome, Italy.
Filipino overseas workers led by Migrante chapters from Rome, Milan, Firenze, Bologna, and Mantova were joined by leaders and members of the Italy-Friendship Association, Unione Sindicale di Base USB, Comitato Immigrati Italia, CARC and more than fifty members of the delegation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who are participating in the third round of formal peacetalks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in Rome, Italy.
In the said rally, Ann Brusola, Migrante Europe Secretary General, specifically called on the GRP “to address the root causes of the armed conflict by pursuing comprehensive reforms on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.” On August 22, 2016, during the first round of formal peacetalks of the NDFP with the GRP peace panel under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Migrante-Europe submitted a document stating the concerns and proposals of Filipino migrant workers in Europe in the crafting of the agreement on social and economic reforms, the second substantive agenda in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Among the immediate concerns and strategic agenda emphasized by Migrante-Europe forwarded to the GRP are the legalization of undocumented Filipino migrants, the abolition of government exactions such as the exorbitant fees which they are required to pay to different government agencies, the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers by migrant receiving countries, to put stop to sex and human trafficking, legislative/executive action to push for pensioners’ bilateral agreements so impediments to the Filipino retirees/pensioners can avail their hard-earned pension benefits, and to stop human rights violations against migrants committed in the name of anti-terror campaigns.
“We believe that the crisis of migration is a result of the lack of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, and of an independent and nationalist foreign policy. Because there is no genuine agrarian reform and basic industries in the country, there are no social conditions to provide jobs and livelihood for the people. Migrant Filipinos need to continue to unite and struggle to continuously assert migrants’ and people’s rights, and the GRP-NDFP peace process is a venue of our advocacy,” said Franklin Irabon of Migrante-Milan.
After the rally, a forum organised by Socio-Cultural and Sport Committee of Sentro Filipino in collaboration with Umangat-Migrante and other Filipino communities in Rome at the Basilica di Santa Pudenziana in Via Urbana 160, where more than 300 members of the Filipino community in Rome heard both the NDFP and GRP agenda in the peace process, including their views on migrants’ rights and concerns.
They also voiced out their support for the calls to release all political prisoners and the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). “We will be vigilant on the GRP’s compliance to the CARHRIHL. One significant test of its adherence to the said agreement is the release of all political prisoners,” Brusola said.
“We will continue to enjoin our fellow Filipino migrants in Europe to actively engage in this process because our futures, and our children’s, are at stake,” Brusola concluded.