Migrante International welcomes travel ban exemption for OFWs returning to safe places in Mainland China

Migrante International welcomes the approval of the travel ban exemption for OFWs returning to Mainland China (except to Hubei Province). We ascribe this to the collective action of OFWs, their families and their supporters who never wavered in raising their demand to get back to their normal lives and carry out their occupations. Aside from the petition initiated by affected OFWs from Mainland China, the group held rounds of consultations with Migrante International which from then on led to the OFWs working relentlessly with us to reach out and lobby for their cause in the media, in different government agencies and in the House of Representatives. We were heard because we never kept silent. 

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PHOTO: From Majo Reyes

The OFWs did not hesitate to voice their frustration on the meager financial assistance provided to them by OWWA and in expounding on the dire impacts of their prolonged stay in the Philippines. Through the help of Gabriela Partylist and Bayan Muna, the OFWs were able to forward their petition and appeal letters to government agencies during the House Committee meeting on Health. 

We call on the Duterte government to continue providing assistance to our dear OFWs even after their return to Mainland China. Migrante International expresses its commendation to our OFWs from Mainland China for their strong resolve to fight for their rights and we vow to ever more strengthen our solidarity with them in the struggle to ensure their health and welfare as they work overseas for the sustenance of their loved ones back home. 

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PHOTO: From Majo Reyes

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“Duterte regime’s planned militarized lockdown, fatal to poor and working class Filipinos!” — Migrante International

As the Duterte regime scrambles to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, Fascist vipers from AFP and PNP are capitalizing on this emergency public health situation to push for a militarized lockdown in NCR. With the Duterte regime’s obsession for tyrannical violence and repression, Migrante International strongly opposes this draconian measure given that it is anti-poor and unnecessary.  This lockdown will only bring death and misery to millions of poor and struggling Filipinos who will be prevented from pursuing their livelihood. 

Severed from their jobs and itinerant trades, or from any other source of the little income they have, how will they survive? How will they bring food to the table? The poor are more likely to die from starvation than from the COVID-19 outbreak itself. Instead of a militarized lockdown, the Duterte regime needs to provide a more comprehensive response to effectively control the outbreak. 

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PHOTO: CNN Philippines

President Duterte only has to look at South Korea on how it managed to steadily decrease new COVID-19 cases without resorting to lockdowns. The country employed mass testing, medical technology, and effective public communication to reverse the upward trend of the epidemic. The fundamental health principle of prevention through voluntary public participation, multi-sectoral collaboration and free flow of helpful information will forestall panic and misinformation among the Filipino public. 

For all the braggadocio on the “Universal Health Care” that the Duterte regime blustered, the COVID-19 outbreak exposed it as a pure sham and that it has only been used as a vehicle for corruption. It is not universal and there is no quality health care. Other medical services outside of the COVID-19 diagnostic tests are not covered and patients would still have to pay out of their own pockets. A genuine universal health care at this period of public health emergency should include free testing, PUI monitoring and free treatment for infected persons. This is what the Filipino public wants to see and experience. 

We demand that the Duterte regime’s enormous amount of intel funds and pork barrel be rechanneled to subsidize and bring medical intervention to infected individuals and families. Immediate response must likewise be prioritized for the urban poor, contractual workers and frontline healthcare workers. For the long term, the health budget and allocations for social services must be significantly increased for the sake of the health and welfare of the Filipino people. 

Migrante International warns the Duterte regime to never exploit the ongoing public health crisis to crack down on legitimate dissent and the democratic exercise of peaceful assemblies. We will not stand idle if cutthroats from AFP and PNP will take advantage of the impending lockdown imposition to carry out illegal raids, killings, warrantless arrests and other terrorist acts to suppress the Filipino public. 

No to militarized lockdown!

Resist tyranny!

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“Duterte regime’s threat against NDFP Chief Consultant Prof. Joma Sison, a violation of international law!” – Migrante international

Migrante International is extremely troubled by the reported threats against NDFP Chief Consultant Prof. Jose Ma. ‘Joma’ Sison. Threats against his personal safety are being taken seriously by Dutch authorities and he has already received instructions from Utrecht police to take precautionary measures. The Dutch police have also uncovered plans by war hawks to conduct a rally at The Hague against Prof. Joma Sison. 

Murderous plots against peace consultants by the US-Duterte regime are really nothing new. Just yesterday, 9 March, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. was locked out from his twitter account for posting violent threats against activists whom he branded as Communists deserving to be shot. Meanwhile, Duterte’s legion of bootlickers led by Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar are squandering taxpayers’ money for their fancy junket in Europe. They have been spouting lies in their frantic attempt to cover up the Duterte regime’s detestable human rights record. 

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PHOTO: Manila Today

The Duterte regime is only articulate in pronouncing profanity-laden death threats against critics and even against ordinary Filipinos but whenever he gets to be asked about how his government is dealing with the public health emergency and other ongoing people’s issues, Duterte’s tongue gets twisted with muddled speech. He is devoid of any interest to pursue the welfare of the Filipino people in this time of crisis. Turning the Philippines into a massive killing field is the only thing that preoccupies Duterte’s mind. It is therefore about time that President Duterte be brought to the International Criminal Court to pay for his crimes. 

If the downtrodden Filipino people are to rise above the socio-economic ills plaguing Philippine society, the attainment of just and lasting peace is imperative. Bearing this in mind, progressive Filipino migrant communities have always been fully supportive of the resumption of peace talks between GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Ensuring the revival of the peace process will pave the way for hammering out resolutions to the roots of the armed conflict through genuine social, economic and political reforms. However, with all the killings and violent threats, the Duterte regime is hell-bent on inflicting more terror upon the downtrodden Filipino people. This is completely opposite of his previous expressions to get back to peace negotiations. 

Threats against the safety and security of NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Joma Sison will only derail the resumption of the peace talks. As a recognized political refugee, Prof. Joma Sison is protected by existing mandates under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Refugee Convention. Migrante International denounces all these threats against his personal safety and calls on peace-loving Filipinos to stop the US-Duterte regime from committing another terrorist violation of international law and from further destroying efforts to revive the peace process. 

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“Filipino migrant women rise and unite with the oppressed Filipino masses against Duterte’s tyranny!” — Migrante International on International Women’s Day

For their invaluable contribution to the global struggle against oppression and inequality, Migrante International salutes all Filipino migrant women who continue to take bold actions for justice and national democracy. We honour them along with all women from the peasant and working class for their unrelenting resistance against modern-day slavery, and all forms of violence being perpetuated under the US-Duterte regime. 

At this time of great anguish and tribulation, the US-Duterte regime is playing deaf and blind to the troubles afflicting the FIlipino masses. President Duterte’s mad circle of lap dogs extol his repulsive regime for all its perversions and self-serving lies. Their flowery deceits can never conceal the tragedies that continue to hound Filipino migrant women as in the cases of Mary Jean Alberto and Mary Jane Veloso. Filipinos in ever-increasing numbers are leaving the country to escape poverty and unemployment. The glaring crisis grips millions of Filipino workers, thousands of whom from companies like Honda, Nokia, Wells Fargo and Philippine Airlines are losing their jobs due to closure and illegal termination. 

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Photo: onebillingrising.org

Even amidst the global COVID-19 epidemic and the threats of war hoving in the Middle East, Filipinos relentlessly flock in large numbers abroad as the Duterte regime refuses to address the demands of Filipino workers affronted by contractualization and slave wages. With the onslaught of this public health threat, OFWs are experiencing discrimination and slave like treatment overseas. An increasing number of them are unjustly being terminated. If they return back to the Philippines, nothing awaits them except impoverishment. 

Moreover, the Duterte regime’s ill-preparedness to handle the COVID-19 outbreak is exposed by the inadequacy of public health infrastructure and safety nets which health officials have sought to deny. Feudal oppression in the countryside through massive land grabbing by big private developers and foreign-controlled mining is aggravated by Duterte’s stubborn adherence to neoliberal economic policies as exhibited through his approbation of land conversions and the grievous Rice Liberalization Law. 

The stench of corruption reeks with the massive inflow of dirty money escorted by AFP and PNP officials to cater to the criminal demands of gambling lords, traffickers and brothel operators feasting in POGO enclaves. Rescued POGO worker Lai Yu Cian, a Taiwanese victim of illegal recruitment, trafficking and sexual exploitation revealed that whenever she attempts to escape, her captors would always drop Michael Yang’s name who happens to be Duterte’s very close friend. Yang has also been linked to illegal drug trade. 

Violence against women is rife in a country under a macho-Fascist president who has admitted before public television that he sexually abused their maid. Her violent misogyny and contempt for women is being emulated by uniformed personnel of AFP and PNP. We see this everyday as in the recent case of Argao Police Chief Ildefonso Miranda Jr., who sexually exploited female detainees in his station. Last month, PNP’s Oplan X-Men in Makati sparked anger for profiling and conducting warrantless arrests of transwomen. This points to the violence and persecution that LGBTIs face everyday for their sexual orientation, gender identity and social class. 

Depravity has long been typical in AFP and PNP, institutions generated by a criminal elitist system. In the service of the ruling class made up of big landlords and big compradors, mercenaries from these criminal groups wage brutal wars against the masses and their defenders. Without hesitation, they illegally arrested Cora Agovida of Gabriela and Tacloban 5 which includes Marissa Cabaljao who was still nursing her one-year old baby. These are human rights workers who face persecution from Duterte’s Fascist regime.

To bolster state terror and violence, the US-Duterte regime is pushing for amendments in the Human Security Act to justify warrantless arrests, illegal detention, wiretapping, surveillance and the filing of trumped-up charges to violate our most cherished democratic rights. Migrante International vehemently condemns these atrocious Machiavellian maneuvers. 

Today on International Women’s Day, Filipino migrant women will march forward with the oppressed masses to champion our national democratic struggles to bring down the tyrannical reign of the US-Duterte regime. Migrante International rises and unites with all militant and progressive women around the world to wage global resistance against Fascism, Neoliberalism and Imperialism. 

Migrant women unite!

End tyranny!

Oust the US-Duterte regime! 

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“Terror bill adds more fuel to state terror and impunity ” — Migrante International

Migrante International condemns in the strongest terms the passage of the Senate’s Terror Bill on Wednesday. Gravely infringing on the right to due process and other civil liberties, it will only embolden lawbreakers in the Duterte regime’s “security” and “law enforcement” agencies to escalate acts of terror against the Filipino people. Under this monstrous bill, anyone can be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention on the basis of mere suspicion. 

It has not only blurred and broadened the already vague state-definition of terrorism but it has likewise granted more immunity to the police and the military in their atrocious drive to suppress free speech and legitimate dissent. For exposing the Duterte regime’s gross negligence and cruelties, advocacy groups and research institutions are being branded as terrorists by Duterte’s stooges. A few weeks ago, AFP Solcom Chief Major General Antonio Parlade vilified Migrante International and other progressive groups in a red-tagging junket in Australia. Meanwhile, surveillance and harassment continue to hound members, volunteers and coordinators of Migrante Philippines including a member of the executive committee of Migrante International in the home front. 

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PHOTO: Philippine Star

AFP and PNP have long been the breeding grounds of the goriest of despicable criminals like Jovito Palparan, guilty of terrorizing and murdering civilians. Just this week, Bacolod’s CIDG Chief Melvin Madrona was caught in the act of extorting a business owner after illegally arresting his employees. Recently, the NCRPO division of the Philippine National Police drew nationwide ire after profiling transwomen and Muslim students in Metro Manila. 

Lest we also forget that South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo was kidnapped and set aflame by a ruthless gang of policemen right inside Camp Crame. His ashes were flushed down the toilet. Based on mere suspicion, OFW-cancer patient Allan Rafael was illegally arrested and died from torture under police custody after being robbed by PNP personnel in Recto, Manila. These are some of the countless terror stories that ordinary civilians recount in their everyday lives under the bloody reign of the US-Duterte regime. Justice continues to be denied from the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings and state terror under the US-Duterte regime. The Terror Bill will only worsen the prevalent culture of impunity in the Philippines. 

We demand the immediate junking of the Terror Bill and we call on the Filipino people to vigorously oppose the US-Duterte regime’s Fascist efforts to trample on the rights and freedom of the Filipino people. Duterte’s tyrannical regime is the real terrorist!

Junk Terror Bill!

Resist tyranny!

Stop the attacks!

 

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“With the power and collective struggle of the Filipino people, the Duterte Fascist regime will be brought down in shame!” – Migrante International on the 34th EDSA People Power Anniversary

25 February 2020

Marking the 34th anniversary of the People Power Uprising, we were roused up today with the news that three (3) killings occurred within a 4-hour period in Cebu City. The rise of bloodshed in the Philippines which has claimed thousands of lives in the last 4 years can only be attributed to the sheer tyranny of the US-Duterte regime. This is indeed  a harrowing reminder that the evil days of dictatorship continue to cast the dark clouds of terror over the Filipino people. 

As it was during the time of Ferdinand Marcos, the objectives of the Duterte regime’s dictatorship remain parallel but to a greater extent, the perpetuation of corruption, culture of impunity, elitist rule and further aggravation of foreign domination fire up our severest contempt. 

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The Duterte regime’s depravity impels it to commit atrocities of the worst kind, neither seen nor heard even in the bloodiest junctures of the Marcos dictatorship. To this moment, justice is elusive for Jay-Ar Mercado who was killed by elements of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Battalion just after his arrest on 25 January in Mindoro Oriental. The Tacloban 5 composed of human rights workers, a journalist and a climate activist wrongfully languish in prison. 

Recently, the Philippine National Police provoked nationwide fury for profiling transgender women and Muslim students. In the guise of crime-prevention and counter-terrorism, the armed mercenaries of this despotic regime have gone to the extent of criminalizing normalcy. The abuse of power by PNP and AFP inflicts terror even against common people who are simply trying their best to lead ordinary lives in this period of great tribulation. 

Instead of presiding over the stern damnation of the most vicious criminals contrived by an unjust political and economic system – the big drug lords, mining lords, big landlords, international traffickers and Fascist murderers, the Duterte regime itself has become the number one criminal threat to public security. Professing love for hardened scoundrels, Duterte has likewise set out on a personal vendetta against his perceived enemies at the cost of thousands of jobs in ABS-CBN. It is no secret that the closure of the media network will not only stifle press freedom but will afford lavish favour to Dennis Uy, President Duterte’s most beloved crony. 

Beyond our shores, Duterte’s Fascist avarice pesters Filipino communities in different parts of the world. Using public money and resources which should have been used to improve social services to OFWs and other marginalized sectors in the Philippines, Duterte dispatched Maj. General Antonio Parlade with a pack of other officials just weeks ago for their red-tagging junket in Australia. 

Projecting the facade of conducting a “Peace Briefing,” this brood of vipers spinned ridiculous tales to vilify Migrante International and other progressive organizations that uphold the rights and welfare of the Filipino people. If the Duterte terrorist regime believes that Filipino migrants and the entire Filipino people will be cowed by deception and persecution, he is grossly mistaken. Instead of pursuing peace and economic stability to bring back millions of overseas Filipinos from their banishment, the Duterte regime resorts to red-tagging and persecuting grassroots organizations that serve the marginalized Filipino masses. 

In the same manner as his predecessor Marcos, the US-Duterte regime has exacerbated its Labour Export Programme as part of its Neoliberal and Fascist agenda to dampen people’s unrest and preserve the semi-colonial and semi-feudal bondage of the Filipino society tormented by chronic crisis. 

Even in all its Machiavellian ferocity, the Duterte regime will never succeed in stamping out the upsurge of the Filipino people’s resistance.  Oppressed and forsaken, we as a people will rise above all our adversities to once again wield the power of our collective struggle. Like the reprobate Marcos dictator, the Fascist Duterte regime will inevitably go down in shame in the annals of history as a despicable tyrant hated and condemned by the Filipino people and the entire world. 

Encouraging the weary, freeing the captives and relieving the oppressed,  let us march forward with strength and revolutionary fervour to realize our national democratic aspirations. No matter how long and perilous the journey, we shall overcome in the strength of our collective struggle and unity. May we draw inspiration from those who have come before us. Those who fought and brought down dictators in the hope that we will live in just and lasting peace. 

Oust the US-Duterte regime! 

Fight tyranny!

 

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Duterte government to send back 10,000 OFWS to Hong Kong and Macau with waived rights — Migrante International

On Tuesday, 18 February, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease has mandated that returning OFWs need to sign a “written declaration” to state that “they know the risk of going back to their places of work”. Reports cite that 10,000 OFWs have been waiting for the resumption of flights back to Hong Kong. Just exactly as we feared, the government really wants to browbeat OFWs into relinquishing their right to claim government assistance in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. This “written declaration” is nothing but the government’s euphemism for its issuance of waiver forms intended to transgress the rights and welfare of OFWs needing government protection. 

It is actually in times like these when government assistance and assurances are needed the most by OFWs. Instead, the government intends to abdicate its responsibility towards Filipino migrants. The Duterte government wants thousands of OFWs to leave with waived rights. If there’s an entity that needs to issue a “written declaration” to pledge assistance to OFWs, it should be no other than the Duterte government. From the outset, its corrupt labour export programme has been placing OFWs at risk. Migrante International reiterates its position that this waiver policy sets a dangerous precedent for the government to justify its neglect of OFWs in times of crisis or threats and to pass the blame on migrants for getting on with their deployment despite the risks.

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PHOTO: AFP / Anthony Wallace / File

This waiver is contradictory to what Malacañang said that “the government will always protect and provide support and assistance to all Filipinos whether here or abroad.” OFWs do not feel protected and supported that is why they are willing to leave. If the government is recognizing its responsibility, why require a waiver? Why not provide info kits on COVID-19 with emergency hotlines they can call? The government should also negotiate with airlines so that OFWs will no longer be required to pay additional fees for rebooking. 

OFWs are torn with the dilemma of either being stranded in Philippine poverty and unemployment or expose themselves to viral outbreaks just to bring food to the table for their families. The Duterte government should be ashamed of itself for all its failures to the Filipino people which force them to risk life and limb overseas just to escape the distressing conditions in Philippine society. Filipino migrants are willing to take the rist not only to get back to their work and other affairs but because they also believe that they will get better medical care and attention in Hong Kong and Macau as compared to the poor state of public health system in the Philippines. They do not feel safe here in the Philippines with the absence of advanced health care facilities to handle the emergence of infectious diseases. 

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