“The Duterte regime’s ocean of lies will never withstand the tests of truth and reason” — Migrante Youth on the Bato-AFP-PNP smear campaign against youth activists

Migrante Youth vehemently condemns the Duterte regime’s spate of attacks against progressive youth organizations through the ongoing senate witch hunt headed by Bato dela Rosa and his fellow brood of vipers from AFP and PNP. If there’s any entity that is guilty of abducting, torturing and killing minors, it is the Duterte regime itself through its armed mercenaries in the military and police forces. 

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Contrary to Bato’s false claims that young people are being brainwashed, nobody is being coerced to join and unwillingly remain as members of progressive youth organizations. Alicia and Lory have already refuted these accusations hurled against youth leaders and members. They are out to attest that they are neither missing nor were they ever kidnapped. This only proves that the Duterte regime’s ocean of lies will never withstand the tests of truth and reason. When it comes to coercion, it is the Fascist cutthroats in the Duterte regime that are hell-bent on imposing tyrannical dictates that seek to militarize schools through mandatory ROTC and illegal deployment of armed state forces in universities. 

Recently, Duterte’s lapdogs in congress were itching to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility based on their ridiculous and erroneous argument that children as young as nine are fully responsible for their actions. Why then are they now questioning the zeal of young Filipinos in joining progressive youth organizations and becoming devoted activists? A Fascist hypocrite like Bato dela Rosa is attempting to project a fake appearance of concern for Filipino minors when in fact, his bloodstained hands are responsible for destroying thousands of families by creating generations of orphans and hordes of bereaved parents through Duterte’s bloody wars of aggression against the Filipino people (Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Kapayapaan, etc). 

There is no doubt that among the objectives of Bato’s witch hunt is to warrant the revival of the anti-subversion law and the forcible deployment of military and police troops inside school campuses. We only have to recall the gruesome fate of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño at the hands of military elements to boldly assert that students will never be safe in the presence of Fascist terrorists from AFP and PNP. Let us likewise remind Bato dela Rosa that he was the PNP Chief when South Korean national Jee Ick Joo was kidnapped by members of the Philippine National Police. Joo was tortured and slaughtered right within the premises of Camp Crame in October 2016. 

If there would be crooks that must be subjected to investigation and prosecution for gory crimes and violations, it should be President Rodrigo Duterte, Bato dela Rosa and all the rest of military and police officials who are responsible for inflicting death and terror on the Filipino people. 

Activism is not a crime. It is the thick volume of atrocious crimes of the tyrannical state that drive young Filipinos to stand up for their rights and wield powerful resistance against evil forces that perpetrate injustices and inequality. Rather than turn themselves into passive and apathetic zombies who wander aimlessly, young activists have instead decided to open their eyes and commit their lives in the service of the Filipino people to realize the liberation and transformation of the very society that the Duterte regime seeks to destroy. 

The State is deluding itself that it will be able to quash dissent through systematic repression of progressive youth organizations but that is far from the truth. It will only bolster our collective rage and determination to seal the doom of Duterte’s Fascist reign of terror.

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ABOLISH CONTRACTUALIZATION ALONG WITH THE DECEITFUL DUTERTE REGIME! – Migrante International

In his last year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA 2018), President Rodrigo Duterte came out with an excuse claiming that only lawmakers can end contractualization “once and for all.” It was followed by a certification issued by Malacanang marking the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill as a priority measure. 

While some labour groups were hopeful that even the watered-down version will at least assuage the labour sector from their tribulations, it did not take Duterte that long to veto the SOT bill right after his 2019 SONA. Three years on after his electoral campaign promise to abolish contractualization in just a single week, President Duterte still never runs out of excuses. As a matter of fact, Duterte has all the right to crown himself as the king of lies and master tactician of deceit and scams. 

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Like mad dogs, the veto was celebrated by big businesses and Duterte’s favour before the eyes of the greedy ruling elite grew even more. If there’s one thing that we find obvious in Duterte’s reasoning behind the veto, that is no other than his strong desire to push for the absolute legalization of contractualization.

Now serving as the chief proponent for Endo, Duterte said that job contracting should be allowed provided that the labour contractor is “well capitalized” and benefits are afforded to employees. So there you go! We’ve heard it right! Duterte is now speaking on behalf of 3rd party contractors and this will forever keep principal employers from extending full rights and benefits to their struggling employees.

Migrante International finds it moronic for anyone in government with sound mind to believe that Filipino workers will magically prosper in the absence of job security and living wages. Undoubtedly, the Duterte regime’s blueprint for development is only aimed at advancing the wealth of the top financial elite at the expense of Filipino workers. No wonder the Philippines consistently makes it to the world’s top 10 worst countries for workers (ITUC Global Rights Index).

Never in infinitude will contractualization bring forth tangible progress for ordinary Filipino workers. It is one of the major factors why thousands of Filipinos leave the country everyday in the hope that overseas employment will offer decent lives for their families. Yet in reality, only the opposite is true for many OFWs who have fallen prey to modern-day slavery. 

Only Duterte’s removal from power and the subsequent total elimination of the oppressive elitist system will reverse the troubled state of Filipino workers. Migrante International is one with all Filipino workers who are longing to break free from the chains of oppression and exploitation. 

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ESPERON’S ACTIONS ATTEST TO GRUESOME PERSECUTION FACED BY HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS — Migrante International

STATEMENT: (26 June 2019)

In defense of truth and justice, Migrante International fully affirms its steadfast support for Karapatan, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and Gabriela as they face an uphill struggle to exact accountability from state forces for the spate of killings, harassment and intimidation inflicted against human rights activists in the Philippines under the bloody Duterte regime. 

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We denounce the Duterte government’s all-out campaign to silence legitimate dissent through vilification, arrests and prosecution of rights defenders. The recent carnage that claimed the life of a human rights lawyer in Negros point to the prevalent culture of violence and impunity that is being aggravated by government instigations.

In just a matter of hours, 7 people were again slain yesterday (25 July 2019) by unidentified assailants in the same province. Instead of elevating these killings as a national security issue, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon filed perjury charges against justice advocates from Karapatan, NUPL, RMP and Gabriela. Esperon’s actions attest to the gruesome persecution faced by human rights workers and advocates. 

We earnestly appeal to the Supreme Court to turn its ears to the loud outcry from all the victims of human rights violations. This is the time to consider its position in history by siding with the embattled rights defenders. May justice prevail. 

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Arrest and detention of Filipino migrants in Israel refutes Duterte’s ‘malasakit’ and ‘serbisyo’ towards overseas Filipinos — Migrante International

Just a day after President Rodrigo Duterte relished the thundering applause from his gang of elitist supporters inside the halls of Batasan, Israeli immigration authorities swooped down on a neighborhood in Ramat Gan and arrested two Filipino female migrant workers and their Israeli-born children. Geraldine Esta, her two children and another Filipino lady with a baby were taken into an immigration detention centre. Many members of the Filipino community in Israel are gripped by fear as they anticipate more raids and arrests in the coming days.

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Photo: Meged Gozani

“Since my family received the deportation order I don’t know what my future will be. I’m afraid of the poverty in the Philippines..” These are the words of a 13-year old boy, the son of a Filipino woman who is fending off deportation orders in Israel. It is remarkable how at such a young age, this boy already has a full grasp of the harrowing poverty that traps millions of people in his mother’s country of origin. 

Going back to the Philippines for good is not an option for Filipinos who have chosen to settle permanently in Israel and in other countries. Migrante International regards this predominant view among Filipino migrants as a complete rebuttal of President Duterte’s much vaunted “malasakit” and “serbisyo” programs which according to his claim are being enjoyed by Filipinos in foreign lands. 

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No matter how bright and rosy Duterte’s depiction of the Philippines may appear, OFWs are neither inclined nor willing to be duped by the regime’s false claims regarding the true state of the nation. Poverty and the absence of adequate social services are some of the numerous reasons why Esta and millions of other OFWs chose to leave the country. 

Instead of providing immediate and on-the-ground assistance to OFWs in distress, Duterte is more hell-bent in sprucing up an over bloated bureaucracy right there at the top through his planned creation of a Department of Overseas Filipinos. We are no longer expecting anything good to come out from this plan since we already foresee that its sole aim is to further systematize the government’s corrupt labour export program.

Whatever solution deemed gainful to OFWs and their struggling families, it must start by addressing the roots of forced migration. This can be attained by addressing peasant landlessness through genuine agrarian reform and development plus the generation of secure employment for Filipinos through national industrialization. Deplorably, the Philippines is governed by a loathsome despot whose foremost intentions are only aimed at serving the predatory ruling class.

As Israeli immigration authorities still plan to deport 100 more Filipinos as part of an even wider scale of their massive crackdown on undocumented migrants, Migrante International will continue to closely monitor the situation of the Filipino community in Israel. OFWs want long-lasting solutions and not just mere stop-gap measures. Accordingly, Migrante International not only works to uphold the rights and welfare of OFWs affronted by government negligence but we likewise demand for justice and security for all Filipino workers and other basic sectors. 

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FILIPINO MIGRANTS DEMAND DOWNFALL OF US-DUTERTE REGIME’S TYRANNY, TREACHERY AND DICTATORSHIP — Migrante International on United People’s SONA 2019

Halfway through his term, President Rodrigo Duterte has consummately arrayed the most vicious state mechanism of death and destruction in which by its scale, not even the long-gone dictator Ferdinand Marcos could have ever imagined. An immense mantle of grim darkness enfolds the entire country as the evil forces of plunderers and marauders led by a maniacal tyrant, rabidly feast over their spoils. Sharply contrasting the unwarranted ease and opulence of this brood of vipers is the vast majority of the Filipino people riling in anger and discontent. 

Seeking to perpetuate itself in power, the Duterte regime systematically rigged the May 2019 midterm elections through automated cheating which has spawned a rubber-stamp congress that is now hankering to push for his anti-people policies like the death penalty and 100% foreign ownership of private and sovereign assets in the Philippines. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the insatiable greed of his lap dogs for prime positions foment internal wranglings that endanger the Duterte family’s predominant clout in the legislative body. 

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The use of the entire state-machinery to wage a black propaganda against Makabayan Partylist groups and progressive organizations like Migrante International is still at full blast through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Instead of devoting government resources to improve social services for the poor and for Filipino migrants in distress, the regime is ramming concocted lies to justify its violent instigations against rights defenders. 

Draining government resources, numerous military attaches were also deployed by the regime in Philippine embassies abroad to give NTF-ELCAC a hand in demonizing Migrante International and other progressive organizations through government-funded seminars. At this point, 40 thousand OFWs based in the border regions of Saudi Arabia are in need of immediate assistance due to the raging Saudi-Yemen war deep inside Saudi territory while Filipino seafarers in the Persian gulf are now rocked by the US-Iran conflict. However, these military attaches implanted by the Duterte regime as parasites in Philippine embassies are not even lifting a finger to help lay out concrete measures that will save OFWs from an impending full-blown crisis. 

Now ranked as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for civilians, a foreign think-tank recently verified the Philippines’ debasement as an extensive killing field where destitutes are targeted as sacrificial offerings for the blood-thirsty führer in Malacañang. Among the victims of Duterte’s fake drug war are young people from migrant families and even OFWs themselves. 

Almost a year after the killing of ex-OFW and cancer patient Allan Rafael, justice continues to elude his grieving family. Rafael was mugged and subjected to torture by Manila police officers after being suspected as an illegal drug user on the mere basis of his frail physical appearance. Rafael that time has just completed months of chemotherapy for his cancer ailment. 

Just several weeks after Allan Rafael’s murder, Duterte publicly admitted on national television that his “only sin” are the “extrajudicial killings.” This public admission made in September 2018 should give more weight to preliminary investigations conducted by the International Criminal Court last year including the recently passed UN resolution raised by Iceland to compel the UN Human Rights Council to furnish a comprehensive report on human rights violations and extrajudicial killings perpetrated under Duterte’s watch. 

Very recently, another son of an OFW was added to the death figures in Duterte’s fake war on drugs. Bryan Conje went missing on the late evening of 2 July. He was later declared dead after an alleged encounter with the Navotas police who were quick to vilify the slain victim as a robber and drug criminal. 

Duterte’s bloody war on the poor in the guise of combating drug crimes has already claimed 27,000 lives. Most of the regime’s EJK victims are from poor communities. Meanwhile, big time smugglers and big drug lords are having a heyday. Some of them were even appointed by Duterte himself in key government positions. Vener Baquiran, a former Manila International Container Port district collector who was linked to the Php13.4 Billion shabu smuggling controversy is now deputy commissioner in the Bureau of Customs. 

To the astonishment of the public, Kerwin Espinosa who is a self-confessed drug lord, Peter Lim, Peter Co and other notorious drug traders were cleared from criminal charges by the Department of Justice last year. It was only after an enormous outcry from infuriated citizens that the authorities got compelled to re-indict them. Duterte’s version of judicial process only works for wealthy criminals while the poor are sent to their graves right away without even having the chance to face the court to defend themselves from charges.

Drug criminals like Michael Yang and Allan Lim were likewise exonerated by Duterte despite incriminating intelligence reports. Yang was a former adviser to Duterte while Allan Lim was already arrested in 2003 following a raid in a Shabu laboratory in Cavite. We have all the reasons to rightfully point to President Rodrigo Duterte as the supreme drug lord and chief benefactor of big time drug criminals in the Philippines. 

In the countryside, Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and Martial Law in Mindanao led to atrocities which are now triggering a humanitarian crisis in places wrecked by militarization and aerial bombings. As of June 2019, Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32 and Oplan Sauron has already resulted to fatalities composed of 66 farmers and peasant activists in Negros alone. They were executed  in the most gruesome manner by state security forces and paramilitaries. 

Through the Whole-of-Nation-Approach, militarist stooges in the US-Duterte regime are directing all government departments and agencies to be involved in the surveillance and persecution of organized government employees, community workers and NGOs who are consistently red-tagged by Fascist thugs. 

The massive displacement of 370,000 Lanao residents brought about by the devastation in Marawi does not seem to bother the Duterte regime when it decided instead to prioritize the construction of an EDCA-compliant military camp in Kapantaran, Marawi City which was actually the main objective of the scripted war directed by the Pentagon. 

The US military, World Bank, IMF, USAID and other imperialist tools are cashing in like ravenous vultures in various rehab projects and loans as their way of maximizing profit for the global financial elite. In return, the people of Marawi and the Filipino people in general would now have to sustain added insult to injury with Duterte’s compliance to IMF in the form of reducing government spending on social services. As Marawi lies in ruins more than two years after the US-sponsored war, thousands upon thousands of our dear Maranaos continue to languish in evacuation centres and temporary shelters. 

Fearing for his political standing, Duterte has raised the salaries and benefits of AFP and PNP personnel. Hordes of Duterte’s top appointees in his cabinet and government agencies come from the military. Time and again, these pro-imperialist lackeys in the military have always worked on behalf of foreign powers primarily for US imperialist interests. 

With approval from Duterte, Retired General and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu currently presides over a colossal environmental degradation in the country at the cost of our national sovereignty. After lifting the 2-year ban on mining explorations, foreign mining corporations are devouring our land and marine resources. Tons of mined extracts end up as piles for China’s illegal reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea. Hundreds of thousands of rural villagers face forced evictions from their communities and ancestral lands to give way to destructive mining. DepEd’s closure of 55 Lumad schools in mineral-rich areas is geared for mining interest. Once mountain ranges are blown up, communities wiped out and the bodies of water have been poisoned, 97% of private profits are remitted overseas by these foreign mining firms. 

Meanwhile, the roots of forced migration are getting stretched at an unbearable magnitude. Duterte’s Rice Tariffication Law continues to drag down the price of unhusked rice as production costs shoot up. Coconut farmers are dejected by extremely low copra prices. The expansion of palm plantations and commercial development projects exacerbates the plight of landless farmers and small-sized landholders. Peasants who dared to struggle for their rights are slaughtered by state-sponsored butchers. In his speech on 28 October 2018, Duterte himself ordered PNP to shoot striking farm workers. Massacre victims in the farmfields of Negros remain deprived of justice. 

The labour situation is at its lowest point. Based on the 2019 ITUC Global Rights Index, the Philippines figured anew as one of the world’s top 10 worst countries for workers. Private corporations like PEPMACO and NutriAsia wage violent assaults on striking workers as the Duterte regime keeps itself stiff-necked in rejecting workers’ demands for a national minimum wage closer to the living wage and for the outright abolition of labour contractualization. 

With the gross amount of Philippine borrowings poised to hit Php1.4 Trillion in 2020 coupled with a staggering unemployment rate of 5.1% which remains the highest in the ASEAN region, the Duterte regime is scampering to drive out more Filipinos for overseas deployment through its aggressive Labour Export Program. Aside from the US$32.2 Billion OFW remittance flows, Duterte is itching to increase the Php36.9 Billion government collection from numerous state exactions with additional impositions through the mandatory SSS, mandatory insurance and the mandatory 1-year Philhealth premium. 

This would then boost the regime’s credit rating as it craves to win more private contracts for its Build, Build, Build (BBB) program. No other than former SSS Chairman Amado Valdez has revealed SSS’ intention to divert reserve funds as additional investments in BBB projects where profits go directly to big private contractors while OFWs would have to meet life-threatening accidents or even death before they could even get the additional insurance benefits promised to them by the government agency. 

Many OFW families are already reeling from the rising cost of living due to Duterte’s TRAIN Law. Even before deployment abroad, these OFWs are already buried in debt just to comply with horrendous state exactions imposed by the regime. Payments for these exactions serve as hurdles before OFWs can pull off with their claims. The regime’s NO PAYMENT, NO SERVICE policy is the usual excuse by government agencies in denying assistance to OFWs in distress. 

OFWs are at a loss as to how the Duterte regime is spending DFA’s Php10 Billion fund earmarked as Assistance to Nationals plus the Php400 Million Legal Assistance Fund when several dozen OFWs on death row are awaiting execution while 4,000 are left to waste away in overseas jails. The death of Constancia Dayag is a testament to the Duterte regime’s negligence of Filipino migrants and it is an unremitting outcome of the government’s corrupt labour export program.  

During a speech on 12 July, Duterte pointed to the almost “400,000” OFWs in China as his alibi for his weakling attitude on the West Philippine Sea issue. Many are puzzled as to where this fentanyl-crazed buffoon drew his estimate but it was not long ago when he threatened to wage war against Canada where half a million Filipinos reside. Just very recently, 18 countries were rebuked with “far-reaching consequences” by his minion for affirming the UN human rights resolution on the Philippines. 

President Duterte’s faulty brain waves are only capable of perceiving war as the only course for the country in the face of China’s encroachment on our sovereign rights. Conforming to his train of thought amounts to treachery and extreme foolishness. Without a single shot fired, our country’s historic and economic rights in the disputed waters have already been affirmed internationally through the Permanent Court of Arbitration. 

By entering into a verbal agreement with China over fishing rights within our territory, Duterte has committed treason, violated the constitution and betrayed public trust. Duterte has also placed the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea as a loan collateral for China worth US$62 Million. These are clear grounds for Duterte’s impeachment and removal from power. 

Millions of fisherfolks in coastal regions whose livelihoods are threatened by China’s aggressive encroachment will be left with no other option but to sign-up for overseas jobs. Moreover, Duterte has openly dared the US military to fire the first shot against China. That is akin to offering the Philippines as a major battleground between two opposing imperialist rivals. By his willingness to turn the Philippines into a desolate warzone for the sake of gratifying both the US war machine and China’s militarist bent, Duterte has already went beyond the kind of puppetry expected of him by his imperialist masters. This therefore makes President Duterte the number one threat to national security. 

All who would desire to save this country from terrifying damnation must shun the course of the US-Duterte regime’s sinister machinations. Across the globe, we Filipinos in faraway lands are waving our banners high for the triumph of the national democratic struggle in the Philippines  based on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. Our unwavering faith rests on the collective power of the masses in building a truly democratic society where every Filipino will enjoy the fruits of his own labour, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. 

Broad legions of the Filipino people have already risen from their slumber. The downtrodden masses shall cast reproach and inflict the severest verdict on the US-Duterte regime for its unspeakable Fascist crimes. The insatiable wrath of the Filipino people are ever before him. Marching forward with peasants, workers and other oppressed sectors, we will reclaim our freedom and ignite the blazing flames of national democracy and social justice.

Junk labour export!

End modern-day slavery! 

No to charter change!

Uphold Philippine sovereignty! 

Address the roots of forced migration!

Atin ang Pinas, China layas!

Proteksyon! Hindi koleksyon!

Serbisyo sa tao, huwag gawing negosyo!

Stop the killings! Stop killing farmers!

Enough of Duterte’s plunder and tyranny!

 

 

Makabayan ako! Pilipino ako! 

Ayoko sa traydor, bentador at diktador!

Tama na! Sobra na! Wakasan na! 

Patalsikin ang traydor, pahirap at diktador!

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Esperon should eye Duterte as number one threat to national security! — Migrante International on perjury case filed by Nat’l Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. against Karapatan, et al

Migrante International condemns in the strongest terms the recent filing of a perjury case by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. against Karapatan, Gabriela, and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) on 2 July 2019. This is clearly a bid by the regime to prevent its military officials from facing the court and to extricate their blood-stained hands from judicial liability for all the threats, killings and other Fascist attacks being instigated against rights defenders. 

With the recent efforts by the international community to push for a UN action against the extreme violence perpetrated by state forces, the Duterte regime is now in panic as it goes to unleash all its criminal orchestrations against progressive movements that are actively defending the people’s rights and interests. 

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Photo: Bulatlat

Reeling from the latest round of killings that claimed the lives of many Human Rights workers in the Philippines, Karapatan, et al lodged petitions for writ of amparo and habeas data at the Supreme Court. 

Duterte and Esperon would rather bolster state terror against the Filipino people and their defenders instead of spending their time and efforts to actively pursue national security in the face of China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea. In fact, millions of fisherfolks in our coastal regions are bearing the brunt of the ineptitude of Duterte’s security cluster to which Esperon belongs. As a result, many more Filipinos from these poor fishing communities would now be driven to sign up for overseas jobs in place of their besieged livelihood while Chinese-owned fishing vessels and naval ships are plundering our marine resources and defiling our national integrity. 

After daring the US to fire the first shot at China, Duterte is plainly offering the Philippines as a battleground between two rival military world powers. Esperon should have already realized at this point that the US-Duterte regime itself is the number one threat to Philippine national security. 

Pulling off their inutility, the Duterte regime’s security cluster have fielded military attaches in Philippine embassies overseas adding up to the vast number of unproductive parasites who drain government resources at the expense of Filpino communities abroad. Upon the auspices of Esperon, these military attaches are conducting government-funded seminars where progressive groups like Migrante and Gabriela are red-tagged and demonized to discredit our rights-based advocacies. 

At a time when thousands of OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in need of immediate assistance and evacuation due to the flaring war between Saudi forces and Yemeni fighters, these military attaches are not even lifting a finger to help lay out concrete measures to save OFWs from the growing threat of a full-blown crisis that will stem from the armed conflict. 

As defenders of people’s rights, Migrante International stands with Gabriela, Karapatan and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines as they seek judicial protection from harassment and state-sponsored terror. We will not watch idly as the rights of the people are violated by the blood-thirsty Duterte regime. The day of reckoning is surely at hand. Duterte and his fawning accomplice like Esperon will never escape the tremendous rage of the Filipino people. 

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Release Filipino babies and toddlers from Malaysian detention centres! — Migrante International

Migrante International is appalled at the tormenting conditions of babies and toddlers who are continually incarcerated at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. These are innocent Filipino children below the age of 2 who badly need immediate response from the Duterte government and the Department of Foreign Affairs so that they can be released immediately by Malaysian immigration authorities. 

We were informed that these little ones have been languishing in  detention since 14 June 2019 after a raid was conducted at Plaza Indah Apartment Kajang by immigration officers. It so happened that the mothers who possessed valid visas were not at home when the undocumented toddlers were seized from their relatives. 

 

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Details of the Filipino children’s plight were sourced from Tenaganita, a migrant centre based in Malaysia that is directly dealing with their case. Tenaganita has long been a partner of Migrante International in working for migrants’ rights and welfare. Like Migrante International, Tenaganita is also an active member of the International Migrants Alliance or IMA. No attention could have been drawn to the anguish of Filipino babies and toddlers who are in detention if it were not for groups or institutions like Tenaganita that work for migrants’ rights. 

Both the Philippines and Malaysia are state parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that mandates countries to protect children against all forms of punishment even on the basis of status. It is disheartening to know that the lack of communication and coordination among immigration units in Malaysia contributes further to the unbearable misery of these detained children and their distressed parents. We view this as a harsh course of criminalizing human life just because they happen to be undocumented children from migrant families. 

Scientific studies have shown that children subjected to these kinds of excruciating ordeal are certainly susceptible to psychological stress and emotional trauma which can lead to life-long behavioral consequences. In this view, we reject state policies that countenance the detention and separation of children from their parents for immigration reasons. Not only is this a manifestation of heartlessness and severe cruelty but we feel petrified that such laws even exist. 

Most of these migrant children come from families who have fled from socio-economic hardships in the Philippines and are therefore vulnerable to experience rights violations from traffickers, immigration officers and even from the state which is supposed to guard and preserve the well being of all children regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity and even immigration status or the absence thereof. 

We call on the Duterte government and the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure the prompt release of these little children from detention so that they can be reunited with their family. In the same manner, we urge the Malaysian immigration authorities to hand the children back to their parents’ custody from whom they will be assured of receiving care and fond supervision as they work on their immigration documents. 

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