Friday, November 13, 2009

Migrante to Comelec:

Respect due process, respect migrant’s representation, release decision now!

12 November 2009

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families today held a protest action in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, to demand that the electoral body immediately release its decision on Migrante Party-list’s petition to remove its name from party-lists disqualified to run in the 2010 elections.

“The Comelec must not keep more than 10 million OFWs waiting. It has now said that it will print and release 100,000 ballots for its voter’s education campaign. We deserve to know: is our name in these ballots?” demanded Connie Bragas-Regalado, chairperson of Migrante Party-list.

Denied of due process before the Comelec En Banc released its resolution to de-list Migrante last October 13, the party-list group said that the electoral body should hold a hearing in order to prove that the de-listing was not “politically motivated.”

“Everyday, Comelec’s silence on the issue angers OFWs all over the world, who has kept sending e-mails and text messages to assert their right to representation. They deserve a chance to be heard, as well as an explanation as to why they have been denied due process for so long,” said Bragas-Regalado.

The protesters hung a giant “Respect Due Process! Respect Migrant Representation!” streamer at Comelec’s gate, to pressure the commissioners to act on its verified opposition, submitted last October 26.

They also insisted that the commissioners, who are meeting in En Banc, face them and directly answer their long-standing questions, “what are their solid grounds for de-listing and why are they not following due process?”

Yesterday, Migrante Party-list held its national convention where its chapters from Metro Manila and several regions resolved to continue the fight for representation and for the rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero also expressed solidarity with the group. “Hindi tamang itinutulak papalayo ang sinumang grupo. Dapat hilahing papasok sa larangan ng pakikibaka patungkol sa ating demokrasya sa pamamagitan ng balota,” (No group should be pushed away, but should be encouraged to engage in the struggle for democracy through the ballot) he said in a video message.

Elected as Migrante Party-list’s first three nominees were Bragas-Regalado, Emmanuel Villanueva (secretary general, United Filipinos in Hong Kong), and John Leonard Monterona (coordinator, Migrante International-Middle East), all current or former OFWs.

“Our gathering is a political message: We are worth more than the dollars we send home. We are worth being listened to,” said Bragas-Regalado. ###

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