STATEMENT ON FLOR CONTEMPLACION’S 27TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY
Today, we commemorate the life and death of migrant worker Flor Contemplacion, whose unjust execution by hanging 27 years ago in Singapore enraged and rallied the Filipino people, both in the Philippines and overseas, because of the failure of the Ramos administration to protect her.
We honor and remember Flor at a time when thousands of Filipinos are still forced to leave the country each day in order to provide for their families but are subjected to inhumane working conditions, discrimination, labor exploitation and abuse, unjust detention and deportation, human trafficking, and illegal recruitment.
Almost three decades later, hundreds of Filipinos have suffered the same harrowing fate. Her death continue to serve as a glaring reminder of the harsh realities and vulnerabilities that face our women migrant workers, majority of whom are deployed to work as domestic helpers throughout the world and have become victims of the worst cases of rights abuses and violations.
Flor remains the symbol of government neglect among our overseas Filipino migrant workers. Despite the passage of the Migrant Workers Act in 1995, which was hastily signed into law by the Ramos Administration soon after Flow’s death as an attempt to appease the people’s widespread anger, countless of our migrant workers who are victims of exploitation and abuse are still left to fend for themselves.
Today, we march and resist the worsening plight of our migrant workers exacerbated by utter government negligence and incompetence. Under the Duterte regime, the numbers of migrant deaths, abuses, jailed migrants and in death row, victims of human trafficking and labor rights violations have only increased. Many of them have been denied of immediate and comprehensive welfare and legal assistance, and full protection of their rights from the government. Even worse, they are further stripped off their dignity and respect as government officials mandated to protect them, show lack of compassion, accuse them of lying or diminish their conditions, tell them to bear with or blame them for their conditions when they try to seek assistance. Many cases of migrant deaths and extreme abuses could have been prevented if the government acted swiftly with the political determination to defend their rights.
Furthermore, the Duterte administration has failed to support thousands of stranded and repatriated OFWs displaced and affected by the COVID19 pandemic, many of whom continue to clamor for much needed financial aid, urgent medical attention, repatriation assistance, food supplies, and temporary shelters.
With the historic oil price hikes and rise in the prices of basic goods in the past two weeks, the hardships that millions of Filipino families are already facing as a result of the pandemic will further intensify and cause conditions for Filipinos to leave the country en masse.
Duterte should heed the urgent call of the Filipino people to suspend all VAT and excise taxes on oil, junk the oppressive Oil Deregulation Law, provide aid and fuel subsidies for all workers in the transport sector, our farmers, and fisherfolks, and increase the national minimum wage.
Oppressive government policies such as the almost five-decades long Labor Export Program that perpetuate the systematic forced migration and separation of millions of Filipino families must end. Economic development based on national industrialization and genuine agrarian land reform, and not labor export must be prioritized to create long-term jobs and secure livelihood for our people.
The impassioned movement to save Flor Contemplacion’s life brought together the Filipino nation, and it birthed a global movement that inspired and empowered Filipino migrants all over the world to unite and form Migrante International, the largest grassroots global alliance to strengthen our collective voices and demands, and to organize to fight for our rights and dignity.
We honor Flor Contemplacion by advancing the struggle of migrants for rights, livelihood, dignity, services and protection. We carry the torch of justice for Jakatia Pawa, Constancia Dayag, Joanna Demafelis, Mary Jean Alberto, Jeannelyn Villavende, Grace Santos and all migrant victims of exploitation who have lost their lives under the Duterte regime. We fight for a future where their dreams, hopes and aspirations for a better future their families will be realized.##