Sagip Migrante relief operation to typhoon victims in Isabela, a success

After Northern Luzon incurred widespread damages due to typhoons Ompong and Rosita in the past two months, Migrante International mobilized its disaster response in the province of Isabela through Sagip Migrante on Saturday, 10th of November.

 

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Different Migrante chapters in Europe: Filipino Domestic Workers Association-UK, Saint Phillips New Worshiping Filipino Community (Earl’s Court, London), Filippinsk Integration Forening (Denmark), Migrante Denmark and Migrante Bologna in Italy sent in their cash donations to aid fellow Filipinos back home reeling from the impacts of the typhoons. The relief goods which included rice and canned goods were then packed in Nueva Ecija by members of Migrante’s provincial chapter led by the family of Mary Jane Veloso.

Notwithstanding simultaneous preparations for this week’s court hearing against Mary Jane’s illegal recruiters, the Veloso family heartily worked up to the late hours of the evening on November 8 empyting boxes and containers to place the items inside distribution bags. The following day, Cesar Veloso set off for Isabela to meet with the teams from Manila’s Migrante Home Office and Migrante Isabela.

By Saturday morning, November 10, more than a hundred beneficiaries from a dozen baranggays in Ilagan and Cauayan, Isabela assembled to receive the relief goods.

In September, Sagip Migrante partnered with a local Marikina parish of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente for the distribution of relief goods to some Marikina residents just days after Ompong. The donations were sent by Filipino workers in Israel. Disaster response was also undertaken in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal in partnership with the local government unit.

 

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Migrante International expressed gratitude to donors from Migrante chapters in Europe as well as to members and volunteers who actively participated in Sagip Migrante’s relief drive in Isabela.

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Justice for Tuti! Save all migrant workers on death row!

Migrante International stands with the family of Tuti Tursilawati and the Indonesian people in demanding justice. We denounce the Saudi government’s blatant disregard for the life of a rape victim who suffered the worst forms of cruelty while working overseas. Sentencing a woman who acted in self-defense against sexual assault is utter injustice and a total violation of the principles of human rights.

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It is indeed sorrowful to hear about Tuti’s tragic end in the gallows at a time when we were also lauding the release of Jennifer Dalquez who was saved from death sentence. We mourn with Tuti’s family as they grieve over her bitter passing.

Among many countries, Indonesia and the Philippines are both afflicted with the deadly combination of labor export and forced migration. Under this growing trend worldwide, Tuti will never be the last migrant to perish unless labor sending governments address the roots of forced migration which are ravishing many families and communities in poor countries.

Every migrant and ordinary citizen can draw lessons from Jennifer Dalquez’ new found freedom and Mary Jane Veloso’s reprieve from death penalty for only by working together and rising up for our rights, we can save lives and prod authorities to look at the plight of migrants who were unjustly sentenced to death or are languishing in jail.

Now more than ever, we call on all migrants and all the citizens of the world to close ranks and demand justice for all foreign workers who continue to be the subjects of abuse and cruelty.

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Solidarity sans borders – Migrante welcomes Sister Pat in Australia!

Sister Pat arrived back in Australia amidst a crowd of Filipino and Australian friends coming from various member organisations of Migrante Australia and the Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA), bearing placards and streamers welcoming her, thanking her for her genuine service to the poor and oppressed Filipinos, whilst protesting President Duterte’s harassment and attacks on critics and those who oppose his fascist and dictatorial rule.

Migrante Australia Welcomes Sr. Pat

Migrante members and allied organizations warmly welcomed Sr. Patricia Fox in Melbourne after she was deported by the Duterte administration

72 – year old Sister Pat has lived in the Philippines for 27 years. She has worked among the poor, the peasants and the underprivileged Filipinos, shared their hardships and supported them in their struggle for survival, dignity and justice. She understood that it is not fate that has made them poor and powerless, rather it is the neo-liberal and anti-people policies and practices of the Philippine government.

Filipino migrants in Australia are amongst the millions of Filipinos outside who left the Philippines to seek a better life for their families. The Philippines, despite being a very rich country with bountiful natural resources and fertile, arable land cannot feed its own people, provide decent jobs with decent wages and guarantee human rights of the Filipino people. The forced migration of Filipinos will not stop unless the root causes of poverty is substantially addressed.

Yet government after government – especially the current government allowed the Philippines natural resources to be exploited by foreign companies and has made a mockery of the Filipino people’s desire for progress, for peace, freedom and justice. Those who fight are massacred, tortured, detained, persecuted, arrested and like Sister Pat, branded undesirable alien and forced to leave our country.

Sister Pat understood and embraced the aspirations of the struggling Filipino people. At the airport this morning, Sister Pat called on Australians to start taking responsibility on what is happening over there in the Philippines.

We are inspired by sister Pat’s dedication, we thank her and salute her and look forward to standing together with her in our fight for justice and lasting peace for Filipinos here and in the Philippines.

Jennifer Dalquez is free! Onwards to liberating our OFWs from slavery!

Migrante International expresses cheers of joy and relief for the release from imprisonment in UAE of Jennifer Dalquez and for her immediate return to the Philippines. We rejoice with her loved ones as we anticipate their soon reunion to celebrate her freedom and new beginning.

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The prayers we offered and the collective actions we conducted have casted a glimmer of hope to the Dalquez family throughout their toughest times. Our determination to fight for her life snatched Jennifer Dalquez from the damned fetters of death row in her last year’s acquittal.

Near at hand, we shall now reap the fruit of our collective efforts when Jennifer Dalquez will finally be reunited with her loved ones here in the Philippines. Migrante and Jennifer’s myriads of supporters celebrate this great victory which we achieved through our united voices and concerted actions.

Now that our fervent hope for her soon return is finally at the door, we commend everyone, church people and other sectors that marched with us and merged their voices in unison for the life and freedom of Jennifer Dalquez.

With open arms, let us welcome Jennifer Dalquez back to her homeland with joy and love. In our hearts, let us stoke the colossal challenge of doing more in the service of the Filipino people.

For Migrante, liberty is earned through steadfast struggle and never freely given when we soothe ourselves in silence. Filled with tribulations, the first two and a half years that Jennifer Dalquez spent in prison was a nightmare for her and her family.

The government’s grim labor export program condemned her fate and that of more than a hundred other OFWs under the shadow of death as they await execution of their death sentence. Along with thousands of other OFWs in prison, they have brought their unfulfilled hopes and dreams with them behind bars.

As we laud our triumph, let us never lose sight of our fellow Filipinos who are still on death row and those thousands of other OFWs languishing in prison. The battle is not yet over. Mary Jane Veloso’s life is still in limbo while millions upon millions of Filipinos likewise suffer government neglect, repression and persecution.

More than ever, Migrante is calling on Filipinos both at home and abroad to continue waging this great struggle to save the lives of many Filipinos who are continually ruined by the government’s pernicious labour export program. Together we must thrust forward as we wrestle against an unjust system that has brought misery and despair to our national democratic aspirations.

Let us continue to bear the torch for the struggle of OFWs and their families until we as a nation finally uproot the causes of forced migration that continue to drive Filipinos into the farthest corners of the world.

 

MIGRANTE Japan condemns the airing of anti-migrant TV program

MIGRANTE Japan condemns in the strongest terms the airing of “Taikyo no Shukan” (“At the very moment they were deported”) tackling the plight of undocumented migrants in Japan over Fuji Television last October 6, 2018.

Using a typical reality show format, the two-hour program was shown on a prime time slot where a Fuji Television team was seen following a group of immigration officers called “G-Men” crackdown visa “overstayers” in dormitories, factories and squalor homes.

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MIGRANTE Japan believes that the whole concept of the program is xenophobic. It has turned the plight of undocumented migrants into another piece of entertainment which we fear may further fuel anti-migrant sentiments in the country – a problem that has been on the rise in recent years.

In the first segment of the program, immigration officers were seen storming the apartment of a Vietnamese man for alleged violation of his trainee visa. He and two others were arrested and interrogated on camera and then deported 24 hours later.

Then, another segment showed immigration officers raiding a factory and arresting a group of Indian nationals while the owners of the factory who should be equally liable never appeared on camera.

The final segment investigated on Chinese “squatters” who have planted vegetables on a public land along a riverbank in Kyoto

Japan has been experiencing serious demographic crunch for more than four decades now largely due to its aging population and low birthrate. The entry of migrants to Japan from mostly Asian countries is favorable to the country than it is a problem which the Japanese government through media is trying to project.

MIGRANTE Japan thinks that it is hypocritical of the Japanese government to treat undocumented migrants this way while seeking to recruit at least 500,000 migrant workers in the next few years to deal with its serious labour shortage.

MIGRANTE Japan believes that Fuji Television has crossed the line of decency by allowing itself to be used by the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau to propagate the way it handles and treats undocumented migrants. In the process, Fuji Television has also disrespected the over 2 million foreign migrants in Japan whose enormous contributions to society have kept the economy of Japan safe from spiraling downwards.

Instead of humiliating and poking fun at the plight of undocumented migrants, Fuji Television should have tackled the ugly side of immigration detention facilities which is unknown to many Japanese. Over the years, there has been an increasing number of documented violations of human rights committed inside various detention facilities around the country.

Since 2009, 13 undocumented migrants have died inside detention facilities. In 2013, 75 Filipino detainees were forcibly dragged into a chartered plane headed for deportation back to the Philippines even if some of the deportees have pending cases in court. Many migrants also complain of constant harassment and intimidation while in detention, deprived of medical attention and psychologically tortured to force them into signing the deportation order.

MIGRANTE Japan is also calling out the Philippine government through its embassy in Tokyo and Consulate in Osaka to immediately act on this and issue a statement denouncing the airing of the said television program. This is the least it can do to safeguard the interest and protect the rights of over 274,000 Filipinos in Japan.

As migrants, we are deeply appalled by how fellow migrants are being portrayed in Japanese media. We are not criminals and we are not a threat to Japan. The truth is, we are marginalized and vulnerable to abuse. We work hard under low wages and precarious work conditions. We were driven by severe poverty in our homeland, but we work hard to make a niche for ourselves in society. We, therefore, do not deserve to be treated this way.###

On the red-tagging of Migrante Taiwan members

Migrante International strongly denounces the malicious red-tagging and defamatory attacks being posted online by a certain Chen Ni Kao aka Janet Palattao against our organization as well as against our members and lead-organizers in Taiwan.

In a Facebook post, dated 10 October 2018, Palattao tagged Migrante members as belonging to the CPP-NPA, or the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. At a time when the red-tagging of progressive groups and individuals in the Philippines has led to the killings and enforced disappearances of many activists, Palattao’s wanton red-baiting of Migrante gravely endangers the lives of our members and lead-organizers around the world. Even more, it imperils the safety and security of our members in Taiwan.

In light of the brutal massacre of nine peasant activists in the Philippines recently due to red-tagging, we demand that Palattao recant her ludicrous allegations.

Claiming that she has the full backing of many brokers and employers, Palattao likewise threatened to get the list of Migrante members so that she can furnish the list to brokers and prevent OFWs from getting transferred.

Migrante finds Palattao’s evil intents against her fellow Filipinos as merciless and reprehensible considering that many distressed OFWs who seek Migrante’s help are already straining under difficult circumstances in their desire to support their struggling families back home in the Philippines. For seeking harm and deprivation to the livelihood and sustenance of poor Filipino migrant workers, Palattao uncloaked herself as a brute of obnoxious character.

Under the same malevolent sway, we have found out that Gina Lin, an officer of MECO’s Assistance to Nationals, has been actively prodding Chen Ni Kao in her malicious online posts and redbaiting tirades against Migrante International on her social media account.

This barrage of disparaging online diatribes went going after Filipinos in Taiwan boosted their support to Migrante’s campaign in keeping the Manila Economic and Cultural Office open on Sundays to service OFWs whose only available free time is limited on that day of the week.

Furthermore, Palattao vilified Migrante just because our members in Taiwan set off actions to express their legitimate demands and collective sentiments on the socio-economic conditions in the Philippines. By posting social media threats against our Migrante members for merely exercising their universally recognized rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, Palattao is putting herself as an overseas agent of Duterte’s Fascism and tyranny.

Once and for all, we demand an immediate stop to these defamatory assaults being hurled against Migrante International and to our members in Taiwan. Until Palattao recants and ends her wicked collusion with Gina Lin of MECO, Migrante International will back whatever legal actions our members in Taiwan will undertake. Decisively, we shall pursue intervention from Taiwanese and Philippine authorities to thwart Palattao’s pronounced ill intents against OFWs receiving assistance from Migrante.

We are calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to immediately act and intervene to stop Palattao and Gina Lin from further jeopardizing the safety of our Migrante members and lead-organizers. If ever both government offices fail to exert any intervening action, Migrante International shall hold MECO accountable for whatever untoward incident or harm that may befall our Migrante members and officers in Taiwan as a result of the online incitements by Palattao and Gina Lin.

Utmost to our concern and responsibility in view of this disturbing episode in Taiwan is to guard our members from all possible ramifications of these attacks on their lives, security and work. Since Migrante’s inception, we have been advancing the rights, welfare and dignity of Migrant Filipinos far and wide. Regardless of whether they are Migrante members or not, we will remain steadfast in our commitment for every migrant Filipino in every corner of the globe.

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Giit ng Migrante Saudi Arabia sa gobyerno ng Pinas: Pauwiin ang 6,000 distressed OFWs bago mag-Pasko

Iginiit ng grupong Migrante – Saudi Arabia ang agarang pagpapauwi ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa mahigit 6,000 distressed OFWs. Hiling ng mga OFW ay mapauwi sila bago mag-Pasko.

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Ayon sa Migrante humigit kumulang sa 1,500 ang bilang ng mga stranded OFW sa Jeddah, 1,600 sa Riyadh at 3,000 sa Al Khobar kabilang ang mga Pilipinong manggagawa ng Azmeel Contracting Company. Dagdag pa dito ang mga “undocumented” na hindi rin inaaksyunan ng pamahalaan ang kanilang pagpapauwi.

Ang mga problema ng mga OFW ay inihapag ng Migrante sa pamahalaan sa isang dialogue sa Riyadh noong October 19 kasama ang mga kinatawan ng mga apektadong OFW. Sa kabila ng presensya ni OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, dismayado ang grupo sa hindi pagdalo ni DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III at Ambassador Adnan Alonto.

“Hinahamon namin si Sec. Bello na palawigin ang pangako nitong tulong sa mga taga-Azmeel para maisama ang iba pang stranded kagaya ng OFWs sa Hidada Contracting Company sa Jeddah, Al Samama Group of Companies sa Riyadh, pati ang mga nasa Bahay Kalinga at deportation centers,” ayon kay Rodel Macalintal ng Migrante KSA.

Noong nakaraang October 16, nagtungo si DOLE Sec. Bello sa Saudi Arabia at iba pang mga opisyales ng OWWA, DSWD, DOH at DFA sa Al Khobar matapos lumaganap sa social media ang kalagayan ng mga apektadong OFW sa Azmeel Contracting Company. Napabalitang mahigit sa 1,470 OFWs ang naiipit ngayon sa riot dulot ng strike ng mga manggagawa. Naiulat na 4 hanggang 5 buwan na ang pagka-delayed ng sahod ng mga manggagawa sa nasabing kumpanya.

Sa monitoring ng Migrante, ganito rin ang kalagayan at panawagan ng mga stranded OFW ng Hidada Contracting Company sa Jeddah na mahigit isang taon na mula nang umapela sila sa gobyerno subalit wala pang linaw hanggang sa ngayon ang kanilang pagpapa-uwi. Ayon sa mga manggagawa, hindi na matapos-tapos ang problema sa pagpapasahod ng kanilang kumpanya.

Gayon din ang sinapit ng mga kababaihang OFW ng Al Samama sa Riyadh na ilang buwan ng hindi pinapasahod at walang mga iqama.

“Nanawagan din ang mga OFW sa loob ng Bahay Kalinga ng POLO at Philippine Embassy na sila ay bigyang atensyon ng pamahalaan na tila nagtutulog-tulugan sa kanilang mga hinaing. Patuloy na dumaragsa ang bilang ng mga distressed at stranded OFW sa mga deporation center at temporary shelter na nangangailangan ng agarang tugon ng gobyernong Duterte na sila ay mapauwi,” dagdag ni Macalintal.

Sa dialogue iginiit din ng Migrante na pabilisin ang proseso ng pagbibigay ng financial aid sa mga pamilya ng stranded OFWs at huwag gawing “selective” ang pagbibigay ng tulong. Nilinaw din nila na hindi sapat ang electronic email response sa kada kasong kanilang inihahapag sa Philippine Embassy. Hamon ni Macalintal, “kung tunay ang kanilang malasakit, dapat mabigyan ng kagyat na tugon ang mga kaso na naihahapag sa kanilang tanggapan.”

 

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Reference:

 

Rodel Macalintal

Spokesperson

Migrante – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia