Press Statement
18 December 2023

Migrants’ day: Pinoy migrants face govt neglect amid labor export

Today, International Migrants’ Day (IMD), Migrante-International joins the migrants and peoples of the Philippines and the world in fighting for migrants’ rights and welfare and for social change that will end forced labor migration. 

Migrante-International marks this year’s IMD fresh from its 9th Congress, in which our members and member-organizations deepened our unity in advancing Filipino migrants’ rights, welfare and interests amidst the worsening global and domestic crisis.

We condemn the Bongbong Marcos regime for its neglect of the pressing issues faced by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino migrants even as it continues to intensify the implementation of the government’s labor export program. 

(1) The Marcos Jr regime continues to turn a blind eye to OFWs’ demands for justice against former Cebu City councilor Prisca Nina Mabatid, CEO of PCVC Opportunities Abroad, Pinoy Care Visa Center, and PCVC-Opportunities Abroad who face human trafficking charges filed by OFWs in Hong Kong and Canada in July 2023.

(2) The Marcos Jr regime has failed to deliver on its promise of giving the more than 10,000 Filipino construction workers who worked in Saudi Arabia and were laid off in 2015-2016 their unpaid wages and benefits despite the Saudi prince’s promise that he will help expedite the payment.

(3) The Marcos Jr regime has failed to attain justice for the 25 Filipino domestic workers who worked in Syria and sought refuge in the Philippine Embassy in 2018 but were detained there for two years instead of being repatriated, and were subjected to harassment, sexual abuse, lack of communication with their families, and an attempt to sell them back to their abusive employers for US$4000 per person. 

(4) The Marcos Jr regime has failed to bring drug trafficking victim and OFW Mary Jane Veloso home, and she remains in jail in Yogyakarta, Indonesia after being imprisoned there since 2010 and despite the stay of execution granted to her in 2015. 

(5) The Marcos Jr regime refuses to remove the much-hated escrow or bond provision from the proposed Magna Carta for Seafarers, and insists that seafarers who have won cases will not receive their money claims until a higher court affirms the lower court’s decision.

(6) The Marcos Jr regime continues to neglect the rights and welfare of both OFWs who were repatriated from Gaza and Palestinian refugees in the Philippines, as they are denied any government support to restart their lives and find decent jobs in the Philippines.

(7) The Marcos Jr regime continues to target Filipino migrant organizations with disinformation, demonization and repression, and even implements Rodrigo Duterte’s order of creating Philippine National Police attaches in various countries.  

(8) The Marcos regime’s Bureau of Immigration deported progressive Filipino youth leader and Swiss passport holder Edna Becher on December 7 on the dictatorial basis that, as a leader of Anakbayan-Europe, she is involved in anti-government activities. 

(9) Despite the government neglect of the rights and welfare of OFWs and Filipino migrants, the Marcos Jr regime has sought to intensify the government’s labor export program through the Department of Migrant Workers, which negotiates with various countries in order to increase the number of Filipino migrants that they import.

We mark this year’s IMD amidst a jeepney transport strike in the Philippines. Jeepneys are a symptom of the country’s lack of a mass public transport system and industrialization. People choose to work as jeepney drivers because of the lack of decent jobs. Instead of supporting them, the Marcos Jr government wants to deny them their source of livelihood through its corporatization scheme. We express our solidarity with the jeepney drivers and our opposition to the Marcos Jr regime’s corporatization scheme.

We mark this year’s IMD amidst Israel’s continuing US-backed genocide against the Palestinian people. The mass displacement of the Palestinian people is a stark illustration of US imperialism’s role in the mass migration of peoples around the world. We call for an end to the genocide, liberation for the people of Palestine, and greater international solidarity against US imperialism.###