#SONA2017: OFWs protest Duterte’s fascism and ‘broken vows’ in People’s SONA

On Pres. Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International led protests worldwide condemning the regime’s martial law and empty promises.

“Today’s protests are happening at a time when the nation is once again engulfed in a new dark era, that of the US-Duterte regime’s militarist authoritarian rule amid worsening social injustices. We are gathered here today with other sectors because OFWs and families stand against Duterte’s martial law and all-out war against the people. We lend our voices against the government’s political suppression and repression of its critics and perceived enemies. We vow to fight any and all forms of curtailment of our hard-fought freedoms and civil liberties,” said Arman Hernando, Migrante International spokesperson.

Hernando said that martial law in Mindanao has resulted in countless deaths, destruction and numerous human rights abuses brought on by the military’s indiscriminate bombings and air strikes.  It has also been used by state forces to carry out harassment, extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and the filing of trumped-up charges against activists, progressives and civil libertarians, not only in Mindanao but in Visayas and Luzon.

“The extension of martial law in Mindanao represents a clear and present threat of an expansion of military rule not only in Mindanao but a military takeover of the government. Such a move has paved the way for a possible declaration of martial law nationwide,” he said.

“History has proven that martial law cannot and will not pave the way to peace and stability. Instead, most vulnerable to human rights and violations are the Filipino people — unionists who strike for better wages, farmers and national minorities who struggle for land, the poor who fight for better services and against state repression. The extension of martial law in Mindanao has set the stage for the large-scale violation of human rights by the AFP and other state forces.”

Hernando said that today’s SONA protests around the world is also testament to overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs’) continuing clamor for genuine change.

Joining the Migrante contingent in the People’s SONA in Manila are returned OFWs and families of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia; the family of Mary Jane Veloso; and, the family of Teresa Quedding, an OFW victim of mysterious death whose remains arrived from Kuwait without internal organs and with apparent signs of torture and maltreatment.

Migrante also raised OFWs’ strong opposition to fees and tax impositions brought on by the new OFW ID, or the iDOLE, and the Bureau of Customs’ Memorandum Order 04-2017 on balikbayan boxes which will be effective on August 1.

“After a year of Duterte’s presidency, it has become evident that no genuine change awaits OFWs and their families. Duterte vowed to end forced migration and the policy of labor export but continues to cater only to the ruling elite, big business and foreign interests. Joblessness, contractualization, landlessness, lack of basic social services and other social injustices are not being addressed. These are the root causes of forced migration, the reasons why millions of our OFWs are compelled to leave their families just to survive. These are also the root causes of the ongoing armed conflict, that only fundamental societal change can resolve,” Hernando said.

Like in the Marcos era, he said, Duterte’s martial law and all-out war against the people will only further force Filipinos to seek security and refuge abroad.

“History has also proven that martial law failed to address the root causes of the CPP-NPA-NDF armed rebellion as well as the Moro people’s struggle for the right to self-determination. Martial law extension in Mindanao, and its possible expansion nationwide, is a momentous stumbling block to the Filipino people’s aspiration and commitment to a just and lasting peace,” Hernando said.

Migrante also condemned the apparent US-hand not only in the Marawi conflict but in moves to extend martial law in Mindanao and expand it nationwide.

“Filipinos here and abroad resist and reject the US’ involvement in the Marawi conflict and in Philippine affairs. Our nation should not fall prey to the US ploy of wreaking terror and division to advance their economic and political interests in the country and in the region, similar to what they are waging in Syria, Venezuela and other countries where people are asserting their independence,” Hernando said.

“Nothing good ever comes out of US interventionist wars. The Filipino people will not allow Pres. Duterte to fall into the same trap that happened in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. In line with the US pivot to Asia, the US-hand in the Marawi conflict and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, enabled by US puppets in the Duterte government, has already been exposed. Migrante International calls for the lifting of martial law and the immediate pull out of US troops from Philippine soil.”

“We call on all Filipinos around the world to rise against state fascism. Only through collective action and struggle can the Filipino people ultimately topple the rotten, corrupt system that has produced one tyrant leader after another,” Hernando said. ###

#SaveMaryJane update: Migrante welcomes DOJ resolution on cases vs. Sergio etal


image courtesy of ANC

image courtesy of ANC

The wait was tedious but this certainly is a positive development for the campaign to #SaveMaryJane.

This was the reaction of Migrante International to the Department of Justice resolution which found probable cause to indict before a trial court Mary Jane’s traffickers Kristina “Tintin” Sergio and Julius Lacanilao on criminal charges of illegal recruitment, estafa and human trafficking.

“We have maintained at the onset that the charges against Sergio etal are solid. We celebrate this good news with Mary Jane, the Velosos, and all supporters of the #SaveMaryJane campaign around the world. We vow to remain vigilant as we await the trials and the possibility of Mary Jane herself testifying as a witness. The fight continues until Mary Jane is permanently removed from the death row,” said Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general. ###

#SaveMaryJane update: Pacquiao set to visit Mary Jane tomorrow morning


image from latimes.com

image from latimes.com

People’s champ Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to visit Mary Jane Veloso in prison tomorrow morning, according to Indonesian migrant group Jaringan Buruh Migran Indonesia (JBMI). JBMI is an affiliate organization of Migrante International.

Pacquiao and his wife Jinkee arrived in Yogjakarta, Indonesia last July 7. Because of his advocacy for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and against trafficking, Pacquiao has also been dubbed as “Migrants’ Champ” by migrant advocates and organizations.

According to JBMI, Pacquiao’s letter-request to visit Mary Jane is still being processed but he is scheduled to meet with her at 8:00am tomorrow, July 10, Indonesia time. JBMI also said that Pacquiao’s will be a short visit because he is scheduled to go back to Jakarta at 10:00am.

JBMI and Mary Jane’s supporters in Indonesia are preparing to give “batiks” to Pacquiao and Jinkee as “pasalubong” and as a “thank you gift” for continuing to support the #SaveMaryJane campaign.

Meanwhile, also tomorrow in Manila, the #SaveMaryJane Alliance and Mary Jane’s parents are set to hold a dialogue with Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima to talk about updates on the criminal cases filed against Kristina “Tintin” Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.

The DOJ resolution on the said cases are still pending, more than two months after Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve. Supporters will also be holding a “Liturgical Gathering” outside the DOJ to be led by the Church Task Force to Save Mary Jane.

Also tomorrow, supporters will gather at the Nueva Ecija RTC to laud the court’s decision to junk the motion filed by Sergio and Lacanilao’s lawyers to quash (dismiss) the large-scale illegal recruitment case filed by other witnesses. Supporters will also hold a “candle-lighting” in Cabanatuan City afterwards with Maritess, Mary Jane’s sister. ###

#SaveMaryJane supporters to DOJ: No more delays, please


Cabanatuan City - Last June 29, community and provincial leaders, representatives of local government units and church groups and supporters joined the Veloso family in a day-long gathering to mark the 2nd month of Mary Jane's temporary reprieve.

Cabanatuan City – Last June 29, community and provincial leaders, representatives of local government units and church groups and supporters joined the Veloso family in a day-long gathering to mark the 2nd month of Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve.

Last June 29 marked the second month since the Indonesian government granted Mary Jane Veloso a temporary reprieve and it has been the longest two months for her family and supporters from all around the globe.

The basis for the temporary reprieve was to give way to legal proceedings in the Philippines after her alleged traffickers, Kristina Sergio etal, were charged with illegal recruitment, human trafficking and estafa by the Department of Justice. The cases against Sergio etal were filed last April 21 on the basis of complaints filed by Mary Jane, her parents, Celia and Cesar, and sister Maritess, and other witnesses and victims who recently surfaced.

The preliminary investigations on the cases ended last June 1. Unfortunately, no DOJ resolution appears to be forthcoming.

Supporters and members of the #SaveMaryJane alliance called on the DOJ and the Philippine government to ensure that the legal proceedings are being done without delay, especially in light of recent news that the appeal for clemency for French death convict Serge Atlaoui has been rejected by the Indonesian government.

The Frenchman, like Mary Jane, was given a temporary reprieve by the Indonesian government and saved from the April 29 executions that killed eight others via firing squad.

“We appeal to the DOJ, no more delays, please. Release the resolution now. Mary Jane remains on the brink of death for as long as the death sentence is not lifted. Two months has been way too long. The evidence against Sergio etal are solid,” said Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general.

Pillas said that they are also gravely concerned by news reports that Atlaoui is set to be executed after the end of Ramadan, along with other death convicts whose names are yet to be announced.

“The latest information that we got from our Indonesian colleagues is that the Attorney General has reiterated that Mary Jane’s reprieve is but temporary and they are still waiting for developments on the legal case here in the Philippines. They are still waiting for Mary Jane to testify as a witness against her traffickers. Please, let us not abuse the Indonesian government’s patience and tolerance. Every minute still counts,” Pillas said.

Pillas emphasized, “The ball is now in the PH government’s court. Sana naman ay hindi sila nagdi-dribble-dribble muna at saka na lang ulit gagalaw kapag last-two-minutes na.”

Migrante and the #SaveMaryJane alliance called on more supporters to sign the online petition at change.org/savemaryjane. The petition has already gathered 429,367 supporters as of this posting. ###

Appeal for Continued Unity and Action to #FreeMaryJane

thank you card(1)On behalf of the Veloso family and the Filipino nation, we thank all supporters of the #SaveMaryJane campaign. We express our most heartfelt solidarity with all peoples of the world who worked vigorously and unrelentingly to save Mary Jane Veloso’s life until the last minute.

We especially convey our highest salute and camaraderie with our fellow Indonesian migrant workers who led the #SaveMaryJane campaign in their homeland. Truly they have shown admirable internationalism that Filipino migrant workers around the world vow to emulate. We recognize that their appeal to Pres. Widodo was a crucial factor in the suspension of Mary Jane’s execution. Terima kasih! We are one with you. We fight the same fight against forced migration and labor export that have long exploited our migrant workers and put them in grave danger.

We did not waiver. We said that only the people can save Mary Jane, and the people have prevailed.

The Indonesian government has suspended the implementation of the death sentence on Mary Jane until all proceedings in the Philippines are finished. This means that we must now focus our efforts and exert pressure on the Philippine government to bring justice for Mary Jane as a victim of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and drug trafficking.

Last May 6, Philippine authorities have finally arrested Ma. Kristina “Tintin” Sergio and her live-in partner, Mary Jane’s god-brother Julius Lacanilao. They have been charged with estafa, illegal recruitment and human trafficking by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the basis of complaints filed by Mary Jane’s parents, Celia and Cesar, and sister Maritess, and other witnesses/victims who recently surfaced.

We welcome this very positive development. Mary Jane’s case is finally on the right track. Sergio etal’s arrest will boost calls to #FreeMaryJane and bring her home to her family and her two little boys. The case is now in the stages of preliminary investigation. Mary Jane and the Veloso family’s retained private Philippine lawyers, led by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), and supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), have expressed willingness to work with Philippines authorities to bring Mary Jane’s traffickers behind bars.

We welcome this development but we remain vigilant. Let us all continue to work together to bring Mary Jane home to her family. With our continuous collective prayer, actions and solidarity, with renewed commitment and resolve, we shall #FreeMaryJane.

Recommended Actions:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on Philippine authorities to fast-track the prosecution and ensure the conviction of Sergio etal.      


You may send you communications to:


H.E. President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III

Office: JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph


Hon. Alberto del Rosario

Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Phils

Phone: (+632) 834-7374

Fax: (+632) 832-1597

Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph 


Hon. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Office: Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 521-1908 / 526-5462
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email Address: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / lmdelima.doj@gmail.com


Atty. Virgilio Mendez

Director, National Bureau of Investigation

Office: NBI Building. Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 524-5084/ 524-0407/ 521-2402

Fax: (+632) 525-6895

Email: director@nbi.gov.ph


Chief State Counsel Ricardo V. Paras III

Officer-in-Charge, Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking

Office: c/o Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila 1000

Telephone: (+632) 523-8481 loc. 216

Fax:  (+632) 526-2748

Email: contactus@iacat.net, rvparas@doj.gov.ph


Usec. Arturo G. Cacdac Jr.

Director General, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

Office: NIA Northside Road, National Government Center, Pinyahan, Quezon City

Telephone: (+632) 927-9702


  1. Continue to disseminate and sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/indonesian-pres-joko-widodo-jokowi-do2-save-the-life-of-human-trafficking-victim-mary-jane-veloso  
  2. Like and circulate to all networks the Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso Facebook page: http://www.fb.com/SaveMJVeloso


Please send a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:



45 Cambridge St., Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines

Telefax: (+632) 9114910

Email: migrante2007@yahoo.com.ph

Facebook: fb.com/SaveMJVeloso, fb.com/migranteinternational

Twitter: @migrante_intl

#SaveMaryJaneVeloso Update on Mary Jane Veloso case

save mj tarp(1)News Release

16 April 2015


Update on Mary Jane Veloso case:


Mary Jane Veloso family still awaiting Ph gov’t action to provide complete information & transparent update, copies of crucial court files, & link to embassy-appointed lawyer retained only after her conviction. 


Ph rights lawyers of Mary Jane family have linked up with Indonesian & foreign lawyers, support groups to cooperate & collaborate with all moves to stop or stay her execution. 


Her family lawyers & supporters are additionally appealing to UN Human Rights Council to exercise moral suasion & ask Indonesia to stop the impending execution. 


Family lawyers are asking gov’t agencies to immediately investigate her godsister for drug & human trafficking, illegal recruitment and other crimes. #




Edre U. Olalia

NUPL Secretary General