OFWs to bear the brunt of Duterte’s loans from China

On the back of the country’s worsening unemployment and the on-going socioeconomic turbulence in traditional OFW deployment destinations like the Middle East, the Duterte regime is eyeing China as the primary alternative labour market for Filipino workers. With the state-visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, we expect that Duterte will likewise be wooing Chinese investors to take the plunge into his Build, Build, Build program.

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Despite throwing too much weight around China’s 2016 investment pledges worth $24 Billion which was projected to create a million jobs annually, most of which have not yet materialized. The Philippines remains to have the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN region and a September SWS survey revealed that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed while pessimism on job availability rose to 16%.

At the expense of Filipino employment, many Chinese funded projects and investments are hiring considerable number of Chinese labourers. This is a slap in the face of every OFW who left due to unemployment in the country and just another proof that investments in infrastructure do not really translate into the actual generation of stable and secure jobs for Filipinos. Instead, they are meant to suction wealth upwards into the hands of the ruling elite.

The regime is creating illusions of growth and heightened economic activity through its Build, Build, Build program. Bereft of a strong industrial base, the Philippines has long been dependent on foreign borrowings and importations to realize its infrastructure madness.

Migrante maintains that this debt trap will only reinforce the regime’s exploitation of OFWs as milking cows. Money generated from additional state exactions like the mandatory SSS and the burdensome TRAIN law only serve as guarantees to China and other foreign lenders on our capacity for debt-servicing.

As lenders from China and the US along with local oligarchs rake super profits from pro-elite infrastructure projects, generations of Filipinos to come will have to bear this debt burden imposed upon them by the Duterte regime.

Our country does not deserve to be treated as a platform of strife between imperialist powers. We Filipinos will never allow ourselves to become collateral ropes in the imperialist tug-of-war between China and the US. Through the militant struggle of Filipino migrant workers in unity with the broad masses, we shall crush this imperialist plunder to put an end to the Duterte regime’s mockery of our national integrity.

 

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Reference: Arman Hernando, Spokesperson, Migrante International, 0932-509-50-54

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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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JUSTICE FOR MASSACRED FARMERS IN NEGROS! In “Red October” ploy, the Duterte regime is the sole destabilizer and murderer

In the strongest terms, Migrante International vehemently condemns the massacre of the nine farmers on the 20th of October in Sagay, Negros Occidental. This vicious act of terrorism was perpetrated at a time when we are honouring this peasant month of October the greatness of those who tirelessly till the land at the sweat of their brows and whose produce, feed the nation.

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Photo: Migrante at this year’s October 19 “Martsa Laban sa Kagutuman at Pasismo” protest action for peasants’ rights in Mendiola.

Plagued by landlessness and extreme feudal exploitation, hungry farmers have collectively risen up to occupy idle lands previously stolen by greedy landlords and hacienderos. The growing “Bungkalan” movement is seen by farmers as the answer to the stubborn refusal of regimes past and present to address landlessness in the country through genuine agrarian reform.

This heart wrenching tragedy is part of a massive and systematic policy of violent tyranny being waged by the US-Duterte regime against progressive groups critical of his bloody three-pronged war (Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Kapayapaan, Martial Law in Mindanao).

Last week, NDFP consultant Adel Silva, three activists namely Ediecel Legaspi, Ireneo Atadero, Hedda Calderon as well as their driver Julio Lusania were illegally arrested in Sta. Cruz, Laguna by PNP-CIDG-ISAFP on trumped up charges based on illegally planted evidence. Despite the issuance of release orders to free three of the five detainees after the dismissal of the trumped up case on illegal possession of firearms, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) continues to illegally detain them in blatant opposition to the court order.

Just two days after the arrests of the Sta.Cruz5, Anakpawis member Cesar Carreon was abducted by 9 masked men in Mexico, Pampanga. Three days after his disappearance, his lifeless body was found in Candaba, Pampanga. In the same region, Central Luzon Bayan Muna peasant organizer Joey Torres remains missing up to this moment.

In Nueva Ecija, peasant advocates Yolanda Diamsay and Eulalia Ladesma were likewise illegally arrested and severely tortured by combined elements of CIDG, 7th IBPA and the Philippine National Police. This points to how far state agents are consciously willing to break the law and trample on human rights at the pleasure of the ruling class and the Duterte regime’s imperialist masters.

It is now becoming clear that AFP’s fake “Red October” swill is actually its own drawn-out plot to persecute as gory and as appalling as possible all those who rise up to oppose the regime’s tyrannical rule and the centuries old feudal oppression being inflicted by big land lords.

For its outright rejection of genuinely addressing inflation, widespread hunger and the torrent of shabu imports, the US-Duterte regime is plotting its own ruin and ouster. There is no other destabilizer and murderer in the “Red October” ploy but the Duterte regime itself. Its attempt to blot out the seething anger and resentment of the public over his tormenting neoliberal policies and repressive rule will end up in futility.

Duterte’s extreme hatred towards progressive voices is no secret. Just a few weeks ago, Duterte himself has placed the life of Naga landslide survivor Sheila Eballe in danger after tagging her as an NPA trained speaker for strongly denouncing big quarrying operations in her own community. In the same manner, AFP and PNP has red tagged all groups and sectors who dared to stand up for human rights and resist the emergent authoritarian rule in the country.

The people will no longer be deceived by the regime’s fake posturing of purported public service through empty words and cheap theatrics. Clearly, the Duterte regime is out to kill and maim to serve and protect the interests of the ruling class and its US imperialist master.

As the Duterte regime seeks favour from big landlords, land grabbers, drug lords and wealthy oligarchs in its effort to salvage its reign from collapse, we expect that the regime’s evil machinations will resort to more attacks and killings to obliterate the likes of activists and peasant victims who militantly offer their lives for the just cause of combatting state-imposed hunger and poverty through collective struggle.

Now more than ever, the US-Duterte regime is incurring the boiling wrath of the Filipino masses. AFP and PNP’s efforts to silence progressive groups will utterly fail. No amount of intimidation, harassment and persecution will ever shake our conviction in defending the oppressed and struggling for social justice.

The united voices and actions of Filipinos both here and overseas will thunder and conquer the evil forces that have been bloodily wreaking havoc on our democratic rights. The US-Duterte’s reign of terror is doomed to fail and the people will totally crush the impunity of the regime’s blood-soaked hands.

#JusticeForSagay9 #JusticeForCesarCarreon #FreeStaCruz5
#StopKillingFarmers #StopTheAttacks #ResistCrackdown
#FightTyranny

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