Migrante welcomes int’l verdict declaring Aquino guilty of crimes against Filipino migrants

IPTGlobal alliance of overseas Filipinos welcomes the verdict handed down by the recently-concluded International Peoples’ Tribunal on Crimes of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the US government as represented by Pres. Barack Obama against the Filipino people (IPT) finding Aquino and Obama “guilty beyond doubt of rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

The IPT is an initiative of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers’ Guild and IBON International with the purpose of probing rights violations in the Aquino administration.

The Prosecution presented before the Jurors a total of 34 cases with 32 witnesses. Lead prosecutor was Ramsey Clark, an American lawyer, activist and former federal government official who occupied senior positions in the US Department of Justice.

Among the cases heard by the IPT were the cases of Mary Jane Veloso and the more than 300 Filipino teachers who were trafficked to the US. Maritess Veloso, Mary Jane’s sister, and Loel Naparato, one of the 300 teachers, acted as witnesses for the prosecution.

In the verdict, the Jurors stated as grounds therecord joblessness caused by the implementation of globalization policies has driven millions of Filipinos overseas to find work to support themselves and their families. The conditions of these Filipino migrant workers are overwhelmingly exploitative as they join hundreds of millions of other migrant workers worldwide in providing cheap labor for capitalist firms and foreign economies.”

Further, that “the Philippine has actively supported this cheap labor export policy…(Y)et it grossly fails to provide some 12 million overseas Filipinos and their families with the necessary legal protections and financial support…This has put the most desperate Filipinos into extremely dangerous situations, such as in the case of Mary Jane Veloso, and hazardous work conditions.”

“We welcome the verdict from the IPT. We have long asserted that the Aquino administration’s labor export policy highlights the worsening violations of the rights of Filipino migrants. Filipinos are being forced to migrate because of desperation borne out of the economy’s lack of development resulting in job loss, low wages and lack of livelihood at home. OFWs have borne witness to how insincere, insensitive and inept the Aquino government is in upholding and securing the protection and welfare of OFWs. Instead, what it showcased in the last five years was a more blatant and unapologetic labor export policy that continues to exploit OFWs’ cheap labor and foreign remittances in accordance to US imperialist interests and dictates,” said Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general.

Pillas said that Migrante International will take the IPT’s recommendations and pursue cases against the Aquino administration for its criminal neglect of migrants’ rights. Migrante and its chapters around the world will also join the big People’s SONA rally on July 27. ###