Overseas Filipinos hold protests ahead of Duterte’s #SONA2018

Overseas Filipinos led by Migrante International held protest actions across the globe in solidarity with the United Peoples SONA which will be held just before President Duterte delivers his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon. Demonstrating their resistance against Duterte’s “plunder and tyranny,” various events are being held simultaneously in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Belgium and UK.

Among the prominent issues highlighted in the pre-SONA events is the opposition of OFWs to the TRAIN Law which they say “weighs heavily on their struggling families back home.”

Rod Pasion of Migrante-Bologna in Italy said that due to the price increases in the Philippines, OFWs in Italy are compelled to make additional cutbacks in their spending and work even more so they can set aside more money for remittances to their families.

The group Nagkakaisang Pilipino sa Pransya also manifested their strong opposition to the TRAIN Law. In a statement, they clarified: “Hindi nangangahulugan na ayaw namin sa pagkakaroon ng maunlad na imprastruktura. Ang malinaw nating tinututulan ay ang pagdaragdag ng buwis sa malaking bilang ng mga naghihirap na mamamayan. Naninindigan tayo na ang dapat buwisan ay ang may kakayanan magbayad — ang malalaking negosyo at dayuhang korporasyon.”

Down under, Filipinos in New South Wales in Australia held a forum where they raised calls to stop the deportation of an elderly Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox. Her case has sparked public outcry after the Bureau of Immigration moved to expel her following Duterte’s order for an investigation concerning the nun’s missionary activities with poor farmers and Lumads.

Meanwhile, Migrante New Zealand blasted the Duterte regime for its failure to scrap excessive fees charged on OFWs including the Overseas Employment Certificate.

On Saturday, 21st of July, Migrante and other organizations under BAYAN Canada convened for SONA NG BAYAN. Canada-based Filipinos and local supporters hit Duterte’s Charter Change drive.

In a statement, BAYAN-Canada said,”the proposed shift in the draft constitution towards federalism is designed to give dictatorial powers to the president, extend the terms of elected officials, weaken the rights of the people, remove prohibitions to foreign military bases, and sell out the Philippines’ national economy and patrimony to foreigners.”

Also on the same day, Migrante and Gabriela in Washington DC, USA gathered together for their Family Day to discuss the worsening economic crisis and the relentless killings in the Philippines. They are set to mobilize for tomorrow’s United People’s SONA in front of the Philippine Embassy.

In Riyadh, members of Migrante-KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) held an indoor gathering to raise their concerns on the failure of the Duterte government to adress the main problems of the workers hit by the mass retrenchments due to the oil crisis and Saudization policy.

In Hongkong, Filipino workers are conducting their #StopTRAIN petition drive which they will submit to the Philippine Consulate General on Monday morning. They will also hold the “HK Migrants’ SONA 2018′ on July 29 at Chater Road.

Ugnayang Pilipino sa Belgium (UPB) persuaded Filipinos to oppose the regime’s emergent authoritarianism. In a statement, the group remarked: “Walang matatamong pagbabago at pag-unlad sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Duterte. Walang mapagpipilian ang sambayanang Pilipino kundi ang umasa sa sariling lakas para baguhin ang kanilang kalagayan. Mas lalo ang pangangailangan sa ngayon, higit kailanman ang kumilos para sa tunay na kapayapaan at pag-unlad. Higit na isulong at igiit ang mga hakbangin para wakasan ang ugat ng kahirapan at kaguluhan. Manawagan para sa pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon. Sukdulang tumugon sa panawagang patalsikin sa pwesto ang pasistang rehimeng ito kung kinakailangan.

According to Migrante Philippines Chairperson Arman Hernando, bigger protest actions are expected to be conducted tomorrow by Filipinos overseas while their families in the Philippines march with the rest of the Filipino people in the historic #UnitedPeoplesSONA. ###