The 9th Congress of Migrante-International was held from Andres Bonifacio Day, November 30 to December 2, 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. It was attended by 118 delegates from 18 countries and territories, and carried the theme “Unite, uphold new lessons and lead the struggle for the rights of Filipino migrants and their families! Reject the fake, pro-US imperialist and fascist Marcos-Duterte regime! Fight for national democracy!”
The first day of the Congress opened with Ms. Joanna Concepcion, Migrante-International chairperson, giving the welcoming remarks. She recognized that the Congress is attended by Migrante-International’s new blood and thanked the country chapters for the success of the Congress. She reviewed the major national and international events since Migrante-International’s last congress in 2018 and introduced the Congress theme and objectives.
Ms. Liza Maza, secretary-general of the International League of People’s Struggle or ILPS, discussed the national situation in the Philippines and the global situation. She described how the majority of Filipinos face worsening poverty while a handful of elites increase their wealth, and how the Bongbong Marcos regime has continued neoliberal and authoritarian policies, even as cracks with its coalition with the Rodrigo Duterte faction of the ruling classes are becoming apparent. She also demonstrated how the Marcos regime continues to be a loyal puppet of US imperialism, which is facing more conflicts and greater resistance the world over.
After the national and global situationer, Mr. Jun Tellez, member of the Global Council of Migrante-International, discussed the situation of overseas Filipinos and the tasks that the situation demands. He started by discussing the basic principles and history of the founding of Migrante-International. He then presented the situation of overseas Filipinos. Afterwards, he enumerated the various tasks to advance the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and strengthen Migrante-International. In his conclusion, he reviewed the major lessons imparted by keynote speakers in previous Migrante-International congresses.
A video message of Ms. Julieta de Lima-Sison, chairperson of the peace panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines or NDFP and member of Migrante-Europe, was played. She said that the Congress theme is timely and appropriate and that she is optimistic that the Congress will result in Migrante-International’s expansion and consolidation.
After the lunch break, panel discussions on various areas of Migrante-International’s work were held, which were followed by an open forum, or a question-and-answer portion.
Panel Discussion 1: lessons from and experiences with, rights and welfare, and campaign and propaganda work. Speakers from Migrante-International’s chapters in Canada, Asia-Pacific and Middle East all discussed the necessity and importance of addressing the rights and welfare issues as major components & requirements in organizing, mobilizing and raising the migrant Filipinos’ awareness and consciousness.
Panel Discussion 2: lessons in building alliances. Speakers from Migrante-Internationals’ chapters in Asia-Pacific, USA and the Philippines stressed the necessity of seizing various issues and opportunities to build different kinds of alliances with existing organizations and broadening our ranks and reach.
Panel Discussion 3: lessons on solidarity work and building the broad anti-imperialist united front. Speakers from Migrante-International’s chapters in Europe, USA and Canada emphasized the necessity of using immediate issues to forge solidarity work and build alliances with anti-imperialist, progressive and liked minded organizations among fellow migrants and the local people in the receiving countries.
The second day of Migrante-International’s 9th Congress started with solidarity messages from Hon. Arlene Brosas of partylist group Gabriela Women’s Party, and Ms. Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of human-rights organization Karapatan.
The messages were followed by reports from Migrante-International’s regional and country chapters from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Philippines, USA, Canada, and Europe. The reports tackled mass campaigns and struggles, organizational expansion and consolidation, and various aspects of Migrante-International’s work. Each report was followed by an open forum, where delegates were able to ask questions and provide contributions to the discussion.
After the lunch break and a cultural presentation, Mr. Marco Luciano, member of the Global Council of Migrante-International together with members of the Executive Committee, led the Congress in accepting new members to the alliance, recognizing the official voting delegates, and approving the rules of participation.
Ms. Joanna Concepcion then presented the Executive Committee Report for 2019-2023. She first discussed the national and international context of the previous five years, then went on to tackle Migrante-International’s work on mass campaigns and struggles, propaganda and education, alliance and solidarity building, and organization. She presented the lessons learned from the past five years, and the organizations’ financial report. The Executive Committee Report was unanimously approved by the body.
The third day of Migrante-International’s 9th Congress started by discussing proposed amendments to the organization’s Constitution, which were mostly about organizational matters. The Congress then tackled Migrante-International’s Orientation Paper, particularly the sections on the Duterte and Marcos Jr regimes, US imperialism, and the international situation.
After the lunch break, the Congress discussed and approved Migrante-International’s General Plan of Action for 2024-2026. It then tabled and approved the following resolutions:
- Reviving the Balik-Ugat Program
- Financial Support for Home Office
- Establishing Himigrante and Other Cultural Organizations in Different Countries and Regions
- Campaign on the 50th Anniversary of the Labor Export Program
- Support for the Palestinian People’s Struggle for Self-Determination
- Campaign against Hate Crimes
- Support for Justice for Jollibee Workers Campaign
- Campaign against Rim of the Pacific Exercise or RIMPAC
The Congress afterwards elected members of Migrante-International’s Global Council, composed of representatives from Asia-Pacific, USA, Canada, Africa & Middle East, Europe and the Philippines.
Finally, the Congress elected members of Migrante-International’s Executive Committee:
Chairperson: Ms. Joanna Concepcion
Vice Chairperson: Mr. Arman Hernando
General Secretary: Mr. Ramon Bultron
Deputy Secretary General: Ms. Josie Pingkihan
Treasurer: Ms. Dolores Balladares