Migrante Australia, a national alliance of organisations advocating for Filipino migrants mourns the death of Jerwin Roj Royupa, a 21-year old newly arrived Filipino migrant worker.
Jerwin came to Australia just 5 weeks ago on a traineeship visa. He died on 15th of March 2019 after allegedly jumping from a moving vehicle.
It began as a dream. In the end, it killed him. When Jerwin saw an opportunity to go to Australia, he took it wholeheartedly. He anchored his big dreams on a traineeship scholarship. As part of this scholarship scheme, he underwent a 4-month training in the Philippines. He didn’t mind that. He was ecstatic when his traineeship visa came.
Finally, his dream to build a house that didn’t get flooded, his dream to take his parents to Australia, his dream to set up his own business and his dream to prove to his parents that he is someone they can be proud of again after he failed to pass the board exam are going to be fulfilled.
Barely a month in Australia, he told his family and friends that he wasn’t being paid, he wasn’t being properly fed, the electricity and Wi-fi connection where he was staying was frequently switched off. He told his friend that his passport was taken off him as soon as he arrived at the airport by his employer. He also told his family that according to his employer, he didn’t have any rights in Australia. He was working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.
George Kotsakis, Migrante Australia’s Chairperson said that over 6000 Filipino workers leave the country on a daily basis under the labour export policy program of the Philippine government. Forced migration is a reality and to many Filipinos, it is their only option, if they want to provide for the basic needs of their families. And for Jerwin, it was the only way to make his dreams come true.
“It is the responsibility of the Philippine government to ensure that overseas Filipino workers are protected and treated with respect in countries they work in”, Kotsakis added further.
The lack of employment opportunities in the Philippines has forced many young Filipinos like Jerwin to work stripped of their rights at work – or their human rights in general.
We join the Royupa family in seeking justice for their beloved Jerwin.
Justice for Jerwin!