Migrante fears whitewash on Allan Rafael case, calls for independent probe

OFW advocacy group Migrante International expressed doubts about the on-going NBI-led investigation into the case of ex-OFW cancer-patient Allan Rafael who was allegedly robbed, tortured and killed by cops stationed at Barbosa Police Precinct in Quiapo, Manila.

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“We cannot simply entrust the investigation to NBI or to PNP and expect impartiality. As what we’ve seen in the cases of Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo ‘Kulot’ De Guzman, the murder charges against the tagged policemen were dismissed. We fear that Rafael’s case will be handled similarly. We call for a re-autopsy of Rafael’s body as part of an independent and impartial probe,” Migrante Philippines Chairperson Arman Hernando said.

In a fact sheet, Migrante pointed out the flaws in the police statements as they contradicted the family’s narrative. The police claim that Rafael died from shortness of breath but his family belied the cops’ account of the story insisting that while still alive, the victim recounted the torture and the beatings he went through under police custody to compel him to confess drug use based on his frail and emaciated physical appearance. Rafael contended that he had chest surgery and has been undergoing a series of chemotherapy cancer treatments for his lymphoma. He even challenged the police to subject him to drug test which the latter refused.

Based on reports, Rafael also related that prior to his detention, police officers stole his watch and forced him to withdraw cash. At the police station, his belongings were forcibly taken: his watch, his mobile phone, wallet and motorcycle. The family also revealed that the PNP officers offered to drop the charges against Rafael if they hand over Php35,000. His family also decried Rafael’s embalmment without their consent and without the requisite autopsy.

Hernando of Migrante maintained his fears by slamming the promotions received by Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna who is now Bulacan’s top provincial police chief and Caloocan Regional Trial Court judge Georgina Dumpit who was appointed by Duterte as associate justice of the Sandiganbayan last June after the dismissal of the murder case against the Caloocan cops involved in the slaying of teenagers Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” De Guzman. Recently, Bersaluna also figured conspicuously again after the violent dispersal and arrests of striking NutriAsia workers, their supporters and some media personnel.
Hernando also gave reference to the case of Kian delos Santos, a son of an OFW who died in an Oplan Tokhang operation of the Caloocan police in August 2017. A year after, his case remains unresolved.

“We enjoin everyone in the community and the church to push for more vigilance to ensure that there will be no whitewash in the cases of Kian and Allan. We call on our kababayans who supported the #OFWs4Kiancampaign to speak out for the pursuit of #JusticeForAllan. Together, let us raise our voices even louder against Duterte’s fake drug war and demand for an end to all these killings,” Hernando said.

In their pursuit for justice, Migrante offered assistance to the family and also called on all witnesses to come out and coordinate with their organization for the independent probe. ###

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Urgent Appeal for Tita Mel

MT (1)

12 Agosto 2018

 

Mga kasama at kaibigan,

Ikinalulungkot po naming ipabatid na sinapit ng ating mahal na si Benedicta ” Tita Mel” Pillas Tee ang isang major stroke at kasalukuyan siyang naka-confine sa Emergency Room ng Ospital ng Maynila mula Miyerkoles ng hapon (Agosto 8).

Ayon sa resulta ng CT Scan, may namuong dugo na nagbara sa ugat ng kanyang ulo. Hindi naigagalaw ang kanang bahagi ng kanyang katawan. Hindi siya nakakapagsalita nang kahit na isang salita bagamat nakakakilala at nakakatango pa noong Agosto 9.

Mula umaga ng Agosto 11 ay pinadaan na ang dextrose/pagkain niya sa ilong at ginagamot ang sumulpot na pneumonia. Dahil sa seizure noong araw na ito, nagsagawa kinagabihan ng panibagong CT scan at nakitang lumaki na ang sakop ng stroke sa kaliwang utak nya.

Si Tita Mel na kasama at kapatid ng ating mahal na yumaong si Ka Sol Pillas (Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng Migrante International) ay kumilos mula at sapol sa Migrante nang mahigit isang dekada — nang walang maliw at buong kasigasigan sa kabila ng kanyang edad at karamdaman. Siya ang naiwan na mag-alaga hanggang bawian ng buhay nang magkakasunod ang kanyang mga kapatid na lalake at pinakahuli ay si Ka Sol.

Tayo na ang nalalabing pamilya ni Tita Mel. Niyayakap natin siya nang higit pa sa isang pamilya. Mahigpit na katuwang ng kanyang kaanak ang Migrante.  Bilang full-time at walang-wala ring naiwan sa pag-aabroad ni Ka Sol, nananawagan kami ng tulong sa mga kasama, kasapi, kaibigan ni Tita Mel at ng Migrante ng suportang moral, pisikal at pinasyal para sa pagbawi at pag-inam ng kanyang kalagayan.

Sa mga nais dumalaw, kasalukuyan siyang nasa Ospital ng Maynila ngunit isinasaayos na mailipat sa ward o sa hospital na may Intensive Care Unit (ICU) sa lalong madaling panahon.

Maraming salamat sa inyong suporta at pagmamahal kay Tita Mel at sa kanyang ipinaglalaban. Makakarating ang inyong tulong-medikal hanggang sa pinakahuling sentimo. Maaaring ipadala ang ating tulong para sa kanyang pangangailangan sa sumusunod na account:

MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)

Kalayaan Branch

Account Number 1994-0218-06

 

Maraming salamat po. Mabuhay kayo. Padayon!

 

MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL/PHILIPPINES

150-A Ermin Garcia E. Rodriguez St., Cubao

homeoffice@migranteinternational.org, https://www.facebook.com/migranteinternational

02-9360162/HOTLINE 09212709079

OFW NA CANCER-PATIENT, BIKTIMA NG HOLDAP, TORTURE, TRUMPED-UP CHARGE AT PAMAMAMASLANG NG MGA KAPULISAN NG BARBOSA POLICE STATION!

Naninindigan si Aaron Rafael, nakababatang kapatid ni Allan Rafael na hindi kriminal ang kaniyang kapatid. Isa siyang OFW na umuwi sa Pilipinas upang magpagamot sa sakit na Lymphoma. Hindi totoo na adik si Allan. Salungat sa akusasyon ng PNP na siya ay gumon sa droga, ang kaniyang pangangayayat ay dulot ng pagsasalialim niya sa chemotherapy.

Plake

Walang nais ang pamilya Rafael kundi katarungan: mapasinungalingan ang ulat ng PNP at mapanagot ang mga pulis na pumatay kay Allan.

Samahan natin ang pamilya Rafael sa paghahanap ng hustisya para kay Allan. Isang taon pagkatapos patayin si Kian Lloyd Delos Santos, nagpapatuloy at lumalala pa ang pagpatay at pangaabuso ng kapulisan sa mga OFWs, pamilya at mahihirap na mamamayan sa ngalan ng gera kontra droga ng rehimeng Duterte.

Hustisya para kay Allan Rafael!
Itigil ang pamamaslang!
Labanan ang tiraniya!

OFWs call for scrapping of TRAIN law: TRAIN reduces value of monthly OFW remittance by P3,000, reinforces government use of Filipino migrants as cash cows – Migrante study

(July 18, 2018)

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International joined calls challenging the Duterte government to stop the TRAIN-induced price increases saying that the new taxation scheme “hits the OFWs and families hard” because it reduces the value of OFW remittances while the government gains more income from TRAIN-related new fees imposed on OFWs and their families.

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Based on their recent study, the average OFW monthly remittance of P20,000 will have a reduction in value of P3,000 because of the decrease in the purchasing power of the peso due to record-high inflation and currency depreciation. According to government data, the value of P1.00 is now only 0.85 cents compared to its value in 2012.

Economic analysts revealed that the Philippines registered the fastest inflation rate ever in nearly a decade. The peso’s depreciation also increased the value of its foreign debts. The currency sank to its lowest level in 12 years, a massive blow to a country like the Philippines dependent on imports which are paid in dollar terms.

“Duterte’s TRAIN will force OFWs and their families to tighten their belts further and take on severe austerity measures to conserve their remittances. Many will be forced to do overtime and do side jobs to increase their earnings while their families in the Philippines will have to reduce their spendings or find additional sources of income,” said Arman Hernando, Chairperson of Migrante Philippines.

According to Migrante, OFWs and applicants looking for overseas work will also suffer the brunt of increased fees of government-issued certificates, particularly those issued by the Philippine Statistics Administration (PSA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which are essential documents for overseas employment. PSA and NBI imposed their new schedule of fees due to TRAIN last February 2 and March 12 respectively, increasing their charges by P15.

The study also revealed that the Duterte administration, from overseas Filipinos alone, will generate P9 billion annually from the increased rate of the documentary stamp tax on remittances and at least P100 million every year from the increased charges for birth certificate, NBI clearance, CENOMAR and various other documents.

“Sa pamamagitan ng TRAIN patitindihin pa ang pagsasamantala ng pamahalaan sa mga OFW bilang gatasang baka nito. Paniyak, tulo-laway sa pananabik ang rehimeng Duterte sa panibagong koleksyong kikitain nila mula sa mga migranteng Pilipino,” said Hernando.

Hernando also maintained that “no long-term jobs will be generated since these projects will bring in Chinese laborers at the behest of Chinese private contractors and lenders. It will only induce more resentment from our large local labor pool at a time when the Philippines has already cemented its position as having the highest unemployment rate in the entire ASEAN region.”

Migrante also named some of the private contractors who will rake in profits from Duterte’s Build, Build, Build which will be funded by TRAIN. Among those companies identified are San Miguel Corporation, Megawide Construction Corporation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, China National Machinery Industry Corporation and China CAMC Engineering Corporation.

Migrante argued that more communities will soon be forcefully evicted and more farms will be wiped out to give way to the interests of big developers. “Expect more scenarios like those of Marawi and Boracay,” Hernando warned.

The group joined the petition drive spearheaded by the STOP Train Network and initiated a sign-up campaign at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Their preparations are now in full swing as they gear to join next week’s United People’s SONA to protest against what it calls “Duterte’s neoliberal and fascist attacks on the people.”

“We can no longer expect the current regime to work on improving social services and spurring countryside development through genuine agrarian reform since the bulk of the budget goes to debt-servicing, importation of construction materials for his pro-elite projects such as the Build, Build, Build. Duterte has already allocated hundreds of billions more from the national budget to intensify his atrocious wars against the urban poor, peasants, Lumads and Moros. Sobra na! Tama na! Wakasan na ang TRAIN Law at lahat ng anti-migrante at anti-mamamayang patakaran ng rehimeng US-Duterte,” Hernando concluded. ###

 

Migrante New York Condemns Violent Dispersal of Striking Workers of NutriAsia in the Philippines, Demands Justice for the Arrested Protesters

July 30, 2018

Migrante NY joins the rest of the Filipino people in condemning the violent dispersal and arrest of the striking workers at NutriAsia along with community supporters and journalists.

“Kami sa Migrante NY ay tumutuligsa sa hayagang pagyurak sa karapatang pantao na ipinakita ng kapulisan sa nakaraang dispersal sa NutriAsia strike” (we in Migrante NY condemns the blatant violation of human rights shown by the police of the recent dispersal at the NutriAsia strike) declared April Quibin, vice chairperson of Migrante NY.

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Migrante NY also demands justice for the workers, supporters and journalists who were arrested during the dispersal.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) together with hired goons attacked the picket line of the workers while in the middle of a mass injuring several workers and supporters and arresting at least 19 people including members of independent media. Many of the injured were taken to the hospital including elderly and senior citizens. The PNP accused the strikers and supporters of firing gunshots and the arrested are accused of possession of firearms and drugs–a typical trumped up charges used by the PNP to justify their brutal actions. However videos taken during the commotion clearly showed that the strikers were provoked by the PNP.

NutriAsia is the company that makes famous Philippine food products such as Silverswan soy sauce, Datu Puti vinegar, Mang Tomas sauce, UFC banana sauce, Papa ketchup, Golden Fiesta sauce, etc. that can be found at various Asian supermarkets and groceries across the US. The Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia (NMN) or United Workers of NutriAsia launched a strike and put up a picket line in front of the factory since June 2, 2018.

Over 50 workers were illegally terminated by NutriAsia when the workers formed a union and made demands that prompted the workers to go on strike and set up a picket line in order to fight for their demands. Earlier this year, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released an order for several companies to regularize their workers-meaning to hire them permanently instead of “contractualization” where workers are often hired temporarily over and over.

“Migrante NY is supporting the call to boycott all NutriAsia products. We demand for the company to end contractualization and to release all the arrestees.” Said Gary Labao, Chairperson of Migrante NY.

He also added “We are launching a campaign to educate the consumers here in NY about the conditions of the workers in the Philippines and will also call to boycott the products of NutriAsia.”

Dominique Liwanag, Finance Officer of Migrante NY claimed “Nananawagan kami sa mga progresibong unyon, lalu na yung may malaking bilang ng members na Pilipino, na manindigan at makiisa sa manggagawa ng NutriAsia sa pamamagitan ng pagrelease ng pahayag at paglahok sa boycott”. (We urge all progressive Unions, especially those with significant Filipino membership, to stand in solidarity with the workers of NutriAsia by releasing solidarity statements and by participating in the boycott campaign).

Migrante NY is also urging the Unions and other supporters of workers cause to go visit the Philippines and see for themselves the conditions of the Filipino workers.

Over 6,000 Filipinos leave the Philippines everyday in search of work abroad partly due to lack of decent jobs in the Philippines as a result of the Philippine government’s continuous adherence to neoliberal economic policy the main culprit of contractualization practices such as the case of NutriAsia. In the main Philippine government’s Labor Export Program (LEP) that systematically sends thousands of Filipinos to work abroad to rely on their dollar remittances to keep the Philippine economy afloat manifests further implementation of neoliberal economic policies.

SUPPORT THE WORKERS OF NUTRIASIA!
JUSTICE FOR THE 19 ARRESTEES!
END CONTRACTUALIZATION!
BOYCOTT NUTRIASA PRODUCTS!

Reference:
Gary Labao, Migrante NY
tel: 914-719-7705
e-mail: MigranteNewYork@gmail.com

Migrante to Duterte government: Declare Sondos Alqattan persona non grata

Migrante International is challenging the Duterte government to declare Sondos Alqattan a persona non grata. The OFW bloc also wants the Kuwaiti celebrity to be blacklisted and be totally prohibited from hiring Filipino workers.

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Despite facing a barrage of online criticisms and backlash from her endorsers, Sondos Alqattan remains unapologetic and stands by her previous controversial remarks condemning new laws giving Filipino household workers a weekly day-off and the right to keep their passports.

“Sondos is symptomatic of the long-standing impunity caused by the negligence of the government which is why Filipinos are continually being subjected to abuse and maltreatment. The Duterte administration should all the more fulfill its promise of achieving justice for Demafelis and other abused and maltreated OFWs,” said Armando Hernando, Chairperson of Migrante Philippines.

Pinky Alamo, spokesperson of SANDIGAN or Samahan ng mga Domestic Helpers sa Gitnang Silangan, thanked her fellow OFWs who also criticized the Kuwaiti celebrity and appealed to them to storm all social media accounts of Sondos to “discredit and eliminate her influence” and use the hashtag calls: #SondosApologize #SondosPersonaNonGrata

“Maraming salamat sa ating mga kababayan na nanindigan para sa kagalingan ng mga DH sa Middle East. Huwag nating palampasin ang mga ganitong panghahamak sa mga OFW. Sama-sama tayong kumilos at isigaw, Stop modern-day slavery,” Alamo concluded.

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Overseas Filipinos hold protests ahead of Duterte’s #SONA2018

Overseas Filipinos led by Migrante International held protest actions across the globe in solidarity with the United Peoples SONA which will be held just before President Duterte delivers his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon. Demonstrating their resistance against Duterte’s “plunder and tyranny,” various events are being held simultaneously in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Belgium and UK.

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Among the prominent issues highlighted in the pre-SONA events is the opposition of OFWs to the TRAIN Law which they say “weighs heavily on their struggling families back home.”

Rod Pasion of Migrante-Bologna in Italy said that due to the price increases in the Philippines, OFWs in Italy are compelled to make additional cutbacks in their spending and work even more so they can set aside more money for remittances to their families.

The group Nagkakaisang Pilipino sa Pransya also manifested their strong opposition to the TRAIN Law. In a statement, they clarified: “Hindi nangangahulugan na ayaw namin sa pagkakaroon ng maunlad na imprastruktura. Ang malinaw nating tinututulan ay ang pagdaragdag ng buwis sa malaking bilang ng mga naghihirap na mamamayan. Naninindigan tayo na ang dapat buwisan ay ang may kakayanan magbayad — ang malalaking negosyo at dayuhang korporasyon.”

Down under, Filipinos in New South Wales in Australia held a forum where they raised calls to stop the deportation of an elderly Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox. Her case has sparked public outcry after the Bureau of Immigration moved to expel her following Duterte’s order for an investigation concerning the nun’s missionary activities with poor farmers and Lumads.

Meanwhile, Migrante New Zealand blasted the Duterte regime for its failure to scrap excessive fees charged on OFWs including the Overseas Employment Certificate.

On Saturday, 21st of July, Migrante and other organizations under BAYAN Canada convened for SONA NG BAYAN. Canada-based Filipinos and local supporters hit Duterte’s Charter Change drive.

In a statement, BAYAN-Canada said,”the proposed shift in the draft constitution towards federalism is designed to give dictatorial powers to the president, extend the terms of elected officials, weaken the rights of the people, remove prohibitions to foreign military bases, and sell out the Philippines’ national economy and patrimony to foreigners.”

Also on the same day, Migrante and Gabriela in Washington DC, USA gathered together for their Family Day to discuss the worsening economic crisis and the relentless killings in the Philippines. They are set to mobilize for tomorrow’s United People’s SONA in front of the Philippine Embassy.

In Riyadh, members of Migrante-KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) held an indoor gathering to raise their concerns on the failure of the Duterte government to adress the main problems of the workers hit by the mass retrenchments due to the oil crisis and Saudization policy.

In Hongkong, Filipino workers are conducting their #StopTRAIN petition drive which they will submit to the Philippine Consulate General on Monday morning. They will also hold the “HK Migrants’ SONA 2018′ on July 29 at Chater Road.

Ugnayang Pilipino sa Belgium (UPB) persuaded Filipinos to oppose the regime’s emergent authoritarianism. In a statement, the group remarked: “Walang matatamong pagbabago at pag-unlad sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Duterte. Walang mapagpipilian ang sambayanang Pilipino kundi ang umasa sa sariling lakas para baguhin ang kanilang kalagayan. Mas lalo ang pangangailangan sa ngayon, higit kailanman ang kumilos para sa tunay na kapayapaan at pag-unlad. Higit na isulong at igiit ang mga hakbangin para wakasan ang ugat ng kahirapan at kaguluhan. Manawagan para sa pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon. Sukdulang tumugon sa panawagang patalsikin sa pwesto ang pasistang rehimeng ito kung kinakailangan.

According to Migrante Philippines Chairperson Arman Hernando, bigger protest actions are expected to be conducted tomorrow by Filipinos overseas while their families in the Philippines march with the rest of the Filipino people in the historic #UnitedPeoplesSONA. ###