(PHOTOS AND VIDEO) OFWs around the world in welcome, gratitude to Pope Francis

10931696_10153083794889742_3394012186574934826_oFilipino migrants around the world held simultaneous activities in their respective host countries to welcome and thank Pope Francis for speaking out on the neglect of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during his recently-concluded Papal Visit to the Philippines.







In the United States:


In Canada:

10352320_358399307673062_7733872700772003130_n 10690170_358399261006400_5046961810238093858_n 10931270_358399244339735_4253610875339502847_n

10857765_10204538146628155_240138898658083249_n 10922843_10204538141708032_8313374485870254030_n 10923457_10204538141188019_9168669957028545576_n 10931404_10204538141428025_1253539617906531807_n 10931722_10204538141828035_7290548700729081195_n 10940489_10204538141268021_2226073462074367572_n(1)


In the United Kingdom:

1907382_798688106845396_2467193320261911970_n 10014888_798687993512074_3310221504480740661_n 10553588_798688036845403_4420468791321200684_n 10916373_798688160178724_3316076980908979511_o 10917934_798688126845394_8233127123862855477_o 10923457_798687976845409_8559822389431486491_n 10926383_798688193512054_5519995956816785999_n

In Saudi Arabia:

IMG_0272 IMG_0307

And in Hong Kong:

603826_336087723255483_473473303053140366_n 10170944_336086969922225_759794840516937682_n 10369970_336090403255215_9213856868526765740_n 10917851_336089323255323_2005410597799141627_n 10923318_336088619922060_4312950807003053325_n 10933741_336111233253132_1520470290820993301_n 10940545_336092203255035_5786001621249547655_n

Pope of the Poor, Fight for Us: Open Letter of Filipino Migrants to Pope Francis

pope of the poorPope of the poor, fight for us.

We are Filipino migrants, immigrants, refugees from all over the world who, together with our families, call upon Your Eminence, to bear witness to our struggle. We call on you to speak in behalf of overseas Filipinos in our quest for a better life. We have experienced first-hand human and labor rights abuses and exploitation. Hear our stories and join us in our fight against modern-day slavery.

Of present, an estimated 15 million overseas Filipinos are found in over 230 countries. Massive unempoyment, landlessness, poverty and globalization have been forcing our countrymen to migrate. There exists a widespread desolation, hopelessness and desperation that have caused the Filipino people’s diaspora.

Pope of the poor, fight for us. In your tenet to build “A Church without frontiers, mother to all”, we likewise reach out to you with open arms and hearts for our common objective to open the doors of Your Church worldwide in the spirit of genuine service to the people.

Like you, we stand firm that forced migration is an anomaly and a matter of deep concern involving the lives and dignity of our migrant workers. Ours is now an era of modern-day slavery wherein our migrant workers and their families are subjected to most cruel conditions in favor of greed for remittances and the desecration of human rights.

Pope of the poor, fight for us. We have seen the absence of legal frameworks that genuinely promote and protect the rights and welfare of our OFWs and their families. We have dissected and evaluated the efficiency or lack thereof of existing government programs and discussed ways to bring these to the concern of our authorities. We realize that the Philippines has many policies and laws on migration that need to be translated into concrete action.

We have seen that the continuation and intensification of the government’s labor export policy would only add more to the sufferings of our people, making them more vulnerable to human and labor rights abuses. We ask of you to speak out against this policy. We need to address the fundamental conditions of our society, especially the unequal distribution of wealth and work among nations which drives our people to forced migration.

Pope of the poor, fight for us. We agree with you that human trafficking is indeed “a crime against humanity”. It is a violation of our fundamental rights. It breeds the evils of discrimination, criminalization of undocumented migrants and all forms of violence, oppression and enslavement.

We are also greatly disturbed and moved by the tragedy of the separation of families. We cry for the sufferings and pains of children left behind and growing up without proper guidance, parents and couples estranged from each other, and the resulting economic, emotional and psychological implications of loved ones being uprooted from their families.

We call on you to work hand in hand with migrants’ organizations and advocates in support of the plight of our Filipino migrants. There are still many things that need to be done. Pope of the poor, fight for us.

We call on Your Eminence, that through Your Office, you can help us in organizing and broadening our reach and making our voices resound. There is a dire need to consolidate our efforts in various parts of the world. Together, let us face the challenge of holding the cause of Filipino migrants and their families.

Pope of the Poor, fight for us. In the spirit of service to the people, together, let our aspirations and advocacies be realized. ###

On Dec. 18 Int’l Migrants’ Day, OFWs from 16 countries march to Mendiola to call for Aquino’s ouster

oustFive days after the execution of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Carlito Lana in Saudi, Filipino migrants from all over the world marched to Mendiola calling for the ouster of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.

Migrante chapters in the Philippines and from 16 different countries gathered in Manila today to commemmorate International Migrants’ Day by demanding accountability from the Aquino government for the worsening conditions of Filipino migrants and their families.

The march was participated in by delegates from Migrante chapters in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Italy, Austria, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United States, Canada and Australia. Delegates from Migrante chapters in Davao, General Santos, Socsargen, Calabarzon, Tacloban, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan and the National Capital Region were also present.

“Today, we call for an end to forced migration and modern-day slavery. Today, we stand with OFWs all over the world in the continuing protest against a corrupt, anti-people and anti-migrant government that has treated OFWs as milking cows. Today, we stand with Filipinos all over the world in condemning Aquino’s corruption and subservience to foreign dictates,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez called on all Filipino migrants and their families to join the movement calling for an end to the Aquino regime. “After four years of corruption, mendacity, puppetry, oppression and human rights violations, Aquino has once again roused the Filipino people into collective action and determination to exercise their democratic power to bring about regime change as mounting calls for his ouster continue to gain strength around the country and all over the world.”

The marchers presented a chain- and whip-brandishing Aquino effigy depicting how Filipino migrants have become “modern-day slaves” because of the regime’s more aggressive and unapologetic labor export policy.

Martinez said that under the Aquino administration, OFWs have experienced unforgivable government neglect, the biggest budget cut for OFW services, more exorbitant state exactions and fee impositions, anti-migrant policies that have placed their welfare at stake and an ever-worsening domestic crisis that has aggravated forced migration.

Meanwhile, Aquino and his cohorts’ involvement in the pork barrel scam and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is yet another “unforgivable” for Filipino migrants and their families.

Martinez said that it is indefensible reprehensible and outrageous how Aquino and his cohorts have squandered billions of pesos in DAP and pork while scrimping on funds for Filipino migrants in distress and their families. “DAP is not savings. DAP is not good. DAP was not done in good faith. DAP did not produce good results. What Aquino did through DAP was to pull in billions of pesos into a huge sum of presidential pork. DAP was used for bribery, patronage politics and to consolidate Aquino’s clique in government in time for the 2016 elections. Filipinos around the world want Aquino out. We do not want him to stay until 2016,” he said. ###