Conviction of Kian’s murderers point to Duterte’s hand in EJKs

Migrante International welcomes the decision of the Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 in convicting police officers PO3  Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz for murdering  17-year old and OFW son Kian delos Santos. This court decision is highly significant as it confirms the involvement of officers from the Philippine National Police in perpetrating extrajudicial killings in the  Philippines under the bloody reign of terror of the US-Duterte regime.

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We count on judicial authorities in ensuring that these murderers will fully serve their sentences in jail. Let this be a stern warning to all uniformed personnel who got blood on their hands. For the growing masses of Filipinos who pursue justice,  this is viewed as an ominous handwriting on the wall for Duterte who is the chief instigator of state-sponsored killings.

The prevailing question now is what happens to the thousands upon thousands of unresolved cases of killings? We call on all the bereaved families and friends of the victims to come out and assert the attainment of justice for their loved ones. Duterte and his murderous state agents must pay for their crimes.

Likewise, it is crucial that all of us remain vigilant on the next steps that will be undertaken by the defense team of the convicts to appeal for the court’s verdict. In numerous times, Duterte has vowed that he will fully support and protect any police that will be prosecuted for these killings. Last September, Duterte himself admitted his sinful role in extrajudicial killings.

More outrageous, Caloocan City Police Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna who was sacked after Kian’s murder was promoted this year as Bulacan’s provincial chief and led the violent dispersal and imprisonment of leaders and supporters of the NutriAsia workers’ strike. This madness must stop! Duterte’s addiction to impunity must be countered by the people’s dissent and resistance.

Just very recently, the Duterte regime issued Memorandum Order 32 deploying additional troops to Samar, Negros, and the Bicol region to quell “lawless violence”. While the groups targeted are not cited,  we dread that the Fascist forces of the regime will use this decree to intensify Fascist attacks on peasants clamouring for genuine agrarian reform. At the back of the approaching campaign period, this may be used to repress and harass supporters of the opposition in the countryside.

In the same manner, Duterte’s pronouncement on the formation of death squads to slay idlers in transport terminals whom he branded as prospective NPAs is seen by many as a go signal to assassinate and target leaders and members of progressive people’s organizations operating in urban areas.

Migrante denounces all Duterte’s efforts to cement his criminal reign of terror and bloodshed in the Philippines. We call on the OFW family of Kian to work with other families of victims in attaining justice. For this pursuit, the Filipino people must unite and stand with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines to hasten the enforcement of judgment on the perpetrators by judicial authorities.

Stop the killings! Stop the attacks!

Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!

End Duterte’s reign of terror!

 

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Stop the attacks on “migrants’ caravan.” End US imperialist plunder of Central America!

In strongest terms, Migrante International denounces President Trump’s use of violence through his federal agents who have been driving back desperate migrants away from the US-Mexico border. Scenes of terrified mothers and children screaming as chemical weapons are lobbed at them by heartless border security personnel somewhat depict images of Jews being gassed by Nazi mass murderers.

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President Trump’s use of chemical agents against migrant children and women deserve worldwide condemnation. Having the nerve to state that nobody comes to the US unless they come legally is pure hypocrisy on his part and of the ruling powers that Trump represents. For decades, US imperialism has illegally intruded Central American countries in violation of their sovereign rights. It continues to build and expand military bases in the region to arrest the rising tide of resistance from the struggling masses.

Migrants who form this “caravan” mostly come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to flee from the enormous humanitarian crises brought about by US imperialism. This proves that  US-crafted neoliberal economic policies under CAFTA or Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement brought more misery to the citizens of these countries and has utterly failed to uplift their lives.

CAFTA was only meant to reconcentrate wealth on the hands of monopoly capitalists while ordinary citizens wallow in ever-increasing exploitative conditions. The pro-capitalist agreement intensified the mass exodus of Central Americans suffering from depressed livelihood opportunities and their lack of access to basic social services.

US imperialism stole their wealth and for many decades, the people of Central America have struggled to reclaim their countries from imperialist plunder but in all their attempts, one US administration to another launched brutal military and economic interventions to repress democratic rights and protect the interests of monopoly capitalists salivating after the abundance of the region’s natural resources.

For the longest time, US imperialism is the chief destabilizer not only in that region but in many countries across the globe including the Philippines. It has overthrown left-wing governments in Latin America and installed dictators who subserviently supported the bloody counterinsurgency campaigns waged by US imperialism.

Just as in the Philippines, the US military likewise formed, financed and trained paramilitaries, death squads and army units to butcher Central American peasants and evict minorities from their ancestral lands. Abject poverty accompanied by grave violations of human rights,land-grabbing, torture of activists and exploitation of workers are the main drivers of forced migration leading to the banishment of millions of Central Americans from their homelands. Trump is just reaping the outcome of the havoc US imperialism has been sowing on these countries.

As long as the US and its puppet governments place private profit as their foremost priority over the welfare of their people, forced migration will continue to persist in the region.

Migrante International stands in solidarity with the “migrants caravan” and with all Central Americans who vigorously resist and struggle against US imperialist and neoliberal dictates. We demand that US immigration authorities look into their plight and lend ears to their pleadings. Migrants and advocates must surge forward in building unities with all sectors to stamp out the ferocity of Trump’s anti-migrant attacks and the rampage of US imperialism.

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

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.###