Press Statement
17 March 2023

Today, we migrant Filipinos mark the 28th anniversary of the execution by hanging of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and domestic worker Flor Contemplacion in Singapore in 1995. We recall the national outrage over the injustice committed against our kababayan which we embraced as an injustice to all of us Filipino migrants and Filipinos. We recall the nationwide anger over the Philippine government’s denial of prompt assistance and action to a Filipina who badly needed that help.

This year, we commemorate Flor’s death under a new president, the son of the dictator that started the country’s labor export program and is now making a renewed push for labor export. We are also remembering this injustice amidst many cases of abuse and government neglect suffered by migrant Filipinos, especially women migrants and those who are victims of exploitation and human trafficking. 

>> Mary Jane Veloso, an OFW who was a victim of drug traffickers and was sentenced to death in 2010 but was granted a stay of execution in 2015, continues to be in jail in Indonesia. After Rodrigo Duterte authorized the Indonesian president to go ahead with Mary Jane’s execution, Bongbong Marcos has not publicly made a statement and stance on Mary Jane’s case and is not proactively pushing for her immediate freedom so that she can finally go home to her family. 

>> The 52 Filipina women and girls who were trafficked to Syria as domestic workers and sought assistance from the Philippine Embassy in 2020 but were maltreated and denied their right to protection and welfare services continue to demand justice, financial, livelihood and medical assistance from the Philippine government as victims of human trafficking. 

>> There are 83 Filipinos who are presently in jail and on death row, while thousands are in detention in various countries, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Most of them have been denied the right to equal protection of the law and to full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. In most cases, the Philippine State has failed to provide full and comprehensive protection or assistance to them, especially those who could be victims of exploitation, abuse, human trafficking and discrimination, which is tantamount to consigning them to death penalties. 

>> In Kuwait, four Filipina OFWs have been brutally killed in the last five years, and distressed OFWs, mainly women have reached more than 400 at some point early this year, stranded in cramped temporary shelters. The current Marcos regime continues in its failure to protect and uphold the rights of OFWs, especially among women domestic workers. 

At the same time, we recall that Flor’s death sparked the rebirth of Filipino migrant activism and spurred the creation of Migrante International — the biggest movement of migrant Filipinos who are fighting for migrants’ rights and social change in the Philippines. 

On the 28th death anniversary of Flor, we vow to advance the struggle for our rights amidst the continuing sorry plight of migrant Filipinos and the government’s intensified promotion of labor export. We demand for President Marcos Jr. to publicly state his commitment to push for the immediate freedom of Mary Jane Veloso and ensure full protection and justice for all victims of all forms of human trafficking, including victims of drug syndicates.###