Tuesday, March 16, 2010

15 Years since Flor Contemplacion’s Death

OFWs plight worsened under Arroyo regime

Joint Statement of Migrante Chapters in the Middle East
March 16, 2010

Migrante, OFWs and their families will be commemorating the 15th year death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion, with much vigor and persistence defending OFWs well-being, rights and welfare.

March 17 is considered by many OFWs and their organizations a significant historical event depicting the real plight of overseas Filipino workers that undeniably becomes worst under the Arroyo administration due to its continued neglect and unparalleled disservice to OFWs despite being hailed as ‘Modern Heroes’.

Migrant workers’ contribution in keeping the local economy afloat can’t be denied as their remittances keep on hitting new record of US$ 17.3-B last year that greatly contributed to our country’s dollar reserves -that makes OFWs ‘Modern Heroes’ unto the eyes and minds of the past administrations including the present most anti-OFW Arroyo administration.

Calling OFWs as “Modern Heroes” does not make sense to OFWs and families where the present Arroyo administration continuously neglecting and committing disservice to OFWs by failing to implement genuine policies and programs that would advance and protect OFWs well-being, rights and welfare.

What OFWs and their families got from the Arroyo administration are anti-OFW policies such as the implementation of a codified OWWA Omnibus policies that phased out almost all welfare programs previously availed by OFWs and families including the Family loan assistance; the POEA Memorandum Circular 04 prescribing rules on direct hiring that was challenged by Migrante, OFWs and families; the guidelines on Land-based recruitment and Household service Workers (HSWs) placing OFWs and aspiring alike at the hands of unscrupulous recruitment agencies collecting from OFWs higher fees amounting to P35thousand – P45 thousand each and other additional payments.”

The Arroyo administration failed to develop our local economy that would absorb the increasing numbers of unemployed whose only option now is to find work abroad; it has intensified its labor export program sending some 3,300 daily Filipino workers abroad and is targeting to send 2-M OFWs yearly; and to ensure intensified labor export, it issued Administrative Order No. 247 ordering POEA to focus on marketing and finding markets for

OFWs and have allotted an increased budget of nearly P500,000 for its marketing activities in its effort to boost exporting cheap labor abroad.

Intensified Labor Export at OFWs Expense

So long as this present administration remains to be subservient to the US-dictated policies of globalization (liberalization, deregulation, and privatization) as opposed to nationalization of basic Industries and implementation of genuine agrarian reform, it will miserably fail to develop our local economy and can’t get out of this vicious cycle of economic reliance on foreign loans and labor export at the expense of our Overseas Filipino Workers.

We kept on saying that migrant workers are not commodities but humans whose rights and well-being should be respected and guarded; their welfare should be given foremost importance and consideration by our own government first, setting an example to the host receiving governments.

But the numerous cases of distressed OFWs due to maltreatment, unfair labor practices, and sexual abuses; the recorded 8 mysterious deaths of OFWs in the Middle East early this year, the increasing numbers of runaways at Khandera Bridge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and various Filipino Workers Resource Centers (FWRCs) in the Middle East run and managed by different RP post now numbering to about 3,000; the increasing numbers of jailed OFWs and the 26 OFWs facing death in the Middle East; all these tell us one thing: Arroyo administration’s gross disregard to protect OFWs tantamount to criminal neglect!

Misuse of OWWA Fund

OWWA fund is a trust fund pooled from OFWs US$25 membership fee. The Arroyo administration has attempted and it succeeded to a few to divert the use of these funds in a form of investments and creation of task forces presumably to help distressed OFWs abroad during emergency situations and war for OFWs immediate evacuations.

Migrante’s records revealed some of the alleged anomalous investments and misuse of OFW funds under Arroyo administration:
· Transfer of P4B OFW Medicare Fund from OWWA to Philippine Health and Insurance Corporation by virtue of a secret issuance of Executive Order 182 devoid of consultations from OFWs as stakeholders of these funds
· The P260M bogus claims exposed by then OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo himself just to justify OWWA Medicare fund transfer to Philhealth under the present Arroyo Administration
· The un-audited US$293,500 for the Middle East Preparedness Team headed by General Roy Cimatu during the US war of aggression to Iraq where repatriation of OFWs never took placed anyway under the present Arroyo administration.
· POEA’s alleged illegally granting of P40 million incentives and allowances to its officials and employees for the past three years since 2002 and allowing its Executives and employees who were issued mobile phones to download about P796,000.00 worth of games, tones and picture messages and other unauthorized items.
· Misallocation of P1-B OWWA funds to its bogus Filipino Expatriate livelihood support program through the issuance of Administrative Order No. 248

OFWs and families at the forefront of defending their rights and welfare

Migrante’s file of the Arroyo administration ‘sins’ to OFWs and families are becoming populated; but OFWs and families will not allow this regime to inflict more injustice and disservice to them.

We will also intensify our campaign urging fellow OFWs to join us in various forms of protests to show our disgusts and discontent to the most anti-OFW Arroyo regime.

Today, we have urged our families and relatives to join the march protest tomorrow, March 17, headed by Migrante International and allied organizations.

As we commemorate the 15th year death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion which symbolizes OFWs persistent struggle advancing its welfare and protect OFWs rights, Migrante chapters and member-organizations in the Middle East vow to reach out more OFWs and families for them to be organized and closely join with the other sectors-- farmers, workers, professionals, government employees, students, laymen and Church workers, and all together will be persistent, once more, in frustrating the Arroyo administration’s evil plans to stay in power beyond her term.

Uphold and defend Migrant rights!

Migrante, OFWs and families keep on struggling for national independence and democracy so that we could live and work decently at home.

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Saturday, March 13, 2010

OWWA: no ‘word of honor’

OWWA does not have ‘word of honor,’ says Annasban workers

12 March 2010

One week after ending their camp-out in front of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers from the Annasban Group of Companies today trooped back to picket at the agency’s doorsteps, after the OWWA yet again reneged on most of its promises to the migrant workers.

Of the five demands that were granted by OWWA officials led by administrator Carmelita Dimzon in a negotiation with the Annasban workers and Migrante International last March 5, only the P10,000 financial assistance have been given to the OFWs. From Monday to Wednesday this week, the OFWs tried to claim the promised transportation fare back to the provinces, but they were told by Ms. Cynthia Lamban, head of the Repatriation Assistance Department, that they were not to be given cash (which was requested by the OFWs so that they can schedule their own trips) and that a priority list still had to be drawn up. They also tried to claim the promised free medical assistance, espcially for OFW Florabel Blanca, who fell extremely sick that week. However, OWWA Dir. Saul De Vries said that there are still no guidelines on how to implement the rest of the agreement, and merely advised Blanca to pay for the laboratory tests and medicines out of her own pocket.

“We are fuming mad. We are going back to protest the OWWA because it does not have palabra de honor (word of honor). It is not merely inept; it is deliberately making a fool out of us OFWs. They refused to protect us when we were nearly dying abroad. It seems like they want us to die at the doorsteps of this inutile government agency,” said Joy Flancia, one of the Annasban workers. The OFWs, victims of contract substitution, staged a series of hunger strikes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from August last year until February this year.

Other OFWs neglected by OWWA, some of which have several years worth of pending claims, afterwards joined the Annasban workers in their protest. “In the course of our struggle, we met so many OFWs who are like us, and their stories broke our hearts. It made us ever more convinced that this OWWA is an agency merely for the collection of our money, and not for the protection of our welfare. Give us our money back!!!” said Flancia.

The Annasban workers and Migrante International also submitted a letter of complaint to Labor Secretary and OWWA Board of Trustees chairperson Marianito Roque. “We hope that this letter is sufficient enough to the realization of the agreement. Let us settle this in the most diplomatic way or else the OFWs will be again forced to resort to extra-legal means to claim their rightful demands,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante chairperson, in the letter to Roque.

“The case of the Annasban workers has opened a can of worms. More and more victims of OWWA neglect will beseige the agency until the government scraps the OWWA Omnibus Policies. These policies, which since 2003 has severely restricted the assistance the agency gives to OFWs, have been a convenient excuse for OWWA to turn its back on our workers. It is about time to address this problem squarely: scrap the OWWA Omnibus Policies!!!” said Martinez.###

Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Morong 43:

Migrant workers group assails CA ruling on 43 health workers, says the victims should be freed

Press Release
10 March 2010

An alliance of Migrant workers group in the Middle East today assails the unfavorable ruling rendered by the Court of Appeals on the habeas corpus petition filed by the 43 health workers and their relatives.

“It seems that even the Court of Appeals is now also afflicted by the prevailing culture of impunity fostered by the Arroyo regime which cited a martial law-old Supreme Court doctrine in justifying its ruling junking the habeas corpus petition filed by the 43 illegally arrested and detained health workers and their relatives,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said many legal experts are one in saying that the manner of arrest and continued detention of the 43 health workers is patently illegal and constitute violations on the Constitutional provisions in effecting arrest and detention in respect to the supreme law of the land’s Bill of Rights.

“The junking of the habeas corpus petition is a big blow to the justice system especially in times when the Court’s impartial ruling is needed most, in time where the civil rights and freedom of the people is under attacked by the most anti-people, brutal, and fascist regime,” Monterona added.

“The grim face of the 1972 martial law imposition could easily depicted from the case of the 43 health workers aside from the fact the political repression and persecution among social and political activists unabatedly continues,” Monterona observed.

Monterona said Migrante chapters and other OFW groups and Filipino communities sympathetic to the plight of the 43 health workers are closely watching on the development of their case and their continued illegal detention.

“We are preparing for a massive campaign to get help from the different Filipino communities to demand the release of the 43 health workers and call upon the international community to press hard the Arroyo administration to release the 43 health workers,” Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

GMA solidifies political infrastructure

Gloria solidifies political infrastructure base with the appointment of new AFP Chief, says Migrant group

Press Release
10 March 2010

An alliance of overseas Filipino migrant workers group in the Middle East today said Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who will be ending her 9-year term in the Presidency on July 2010, is observe to be solidifying, in a slowly-but-surely manner, a political infrastructure base that would eventually favor her continued stay in power.

“Because she is the de facto and incumbent President, Mrs. Arroyo with the help of her political spin-doctors, is strengthening the needed political infrastructure base in order to remain in power even beyond her term,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said by cleverly exercising her presidential power to appoint, she is now putting in-place officials that are loyal to her, such is the recent appointment of one of her most trusted military officials as AFP Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit.

“She has to take continued control of the AFP, her administration is also seen to be very eager to appoint the next Chief Justice to replace the current and retiring Chief Justice Puno, she is also running in Congress along with other Arroyos, her former Cabinet members are also vying seat in Congress that even the party-lists system they now consider a playing field. This is directed for a single vicious scheme -to take control of the entire government’s bureaucracy,” Monterona observed.

Monterona added this is something our people must be worried about.

“Even peace-loving and patriotic OWFs working abroad seems to notice the ‘ugly’ political developments back home which would turn to be nasty that would lead to political uncertainties and instability especially that the election time comes closer. This scenario would favor Mrs. Arroyo to remain in power,” Monterona added.

Monterona said only a vigilant and well-informed citizenry could avert the vicious scheme of the present administration.

“But how vigilant and informed our people for them to be ready and collectively act to prevent and eventually avert an evil scheme being crafted by the ruling administration? Everyone should take the responsibility of informing others,” Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Support for Annasban Workers Struggle!

6 March 2010

Government failure to permanently ban abusive recruitment agencies means that many more OFWs will suffer what the Annasban caregivers went through.

As fellow OFWs celebrate the victory gained by Annasban OFWs who staged a three-day protest camp-out in front of the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Manila this week, Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand joined their calls for the Philippine government to permanently blacklist their recruitment agencies for their track record of labor contract violations.

While we rejoice that their camp-out forced OWWA to heed some of their demands for compensation, we support their demand for the government to permanently blacklist their recruitment agencies from deploying Filipinos abroad. It must exert all efforts to repatriate the 5 women caregivers who are still in Saudi Arabia .

Migrante Aotearoa also calls to task the Philippine government to strictly monitor and blacklist all other recruitment agencies that collect exorbitant fees and engage in contract substitution. Some nurses who came to work as caregivers in New Zealand complained of such schemes of recruitment agencies that placed them in resthomes with difficult conditions.

Low wages, 12-hour working day, child labor and inhuman working conditions — these were the main reasons why millions of women around the world held protests and why International Women’s Day is officially commemorated every March 8. The plight of the 67 female caregivers who had no days off and were made to work for 12 hours or more daily in Saudi Arabia is a grim testament that under the Philippine government’s labor export thrust, migrant workers especially women are very vulnerable to exploitative working conditions. Their recruitment agencies left them broke as they suffered contract substitution, delayed salaries, illegal deductions and non-payment of overtime pay and other benefits stipulated in their contracts.

We further demand government to scrap the OWWA Omnibus Policies that limit government assistance. Instead of assisting ALL OFWs in need, government agencies neglect those who could not afford to pay OWWA dues. Even for OWWA members, it is deplorable that OFWs hardly get support such as the Annasban OFWs who almost starved to death before they were repatriated. They paid OWWA dues and were qualified for assistance, yet they were forced to stage hunger strike abroad to call government attention.

OFWs around the world who became flat broke after losing jobs have the same tales of government neglect. Those who cannot claim OWWA assistance desperately find ways to afford a plane ticket back home. Isn’t it enough that OFWs and their families have been paying taxes to the government all these years? Why can’t the government at least ensure free air tickets for all distressed OFWs wanting to go home? There are thousands of undocumented non-OWWA members needing urgent assistance, will the government wait for them to be dead before they get any support?

We challenge the next administration ensure decent jobs at home and provide immediate assistance and compensation for distressed OFWs. This March 8, let the voices of Annasban OFWs and all exploited migrants be heard: Proteksyon, hindi koleksyon! Serbisyo, hindi negosyo! Scrap OWWA Omnibus Policies!

Dennis Maga
National Coordinator, Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand
Migrante Aotearoa | 34 Titirangi Rd, New Lynn , Auckland 1007
+64 9 8276059 |migrante@xtra.co.nz | http://migrante-aotearoa.org.nz/
"Advancing the rights and welfare of Filipinos and other migrants in Aotearoa"

Monday, March 8, 2010

IMA Statement on IWD Centenary

Further Advance the Rights, Lives and Freedoms of Women Migrants, Immigrants and Refugees!
Let Us Strengthen the Global Movement of Resistance against Imperialism!

Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the
100th Year of the International Working Women’s Day

The International Migrants Alliance celebrates the 100th year of the International Working Women’s Day by further advancing the causes of our struggling women migrants, immigrants and refugees and joining the growing international people’s movement against imperialist war and plunder, exploitation and oppression.

As we speak, thousands, nay millions, of women migrants, immigrants and refugees the world over are suffering. As abject poverty and the need to survive push them out of their countries and find work abroad, they are further subjected to the most despicable forms of abuse, maltreatment and violence.

Foreign domestic workers, mostly women, continue to be denied of their rights and freedoms. They work more than eight hours a day but are receiving subhuman wages. Days off and rest days are unheard of in many countries with the likes of Malaysia instituting this right only last year. At the receiving end of racial slurs, physical and even sexual abuse, they are the epitome of modern-day slavery as domestic work remains to be unrecognized as work.

Owning half the sky yet receiving the utmost abuse, women migrant workers are most vulnerable. In Central America, women migrants, whether young or old, are raped while they are in transit. They become vulnerable to HIV, like the Bangladeshi women in Arab states. They become easy prey for human trafficking and smuggling.

Women refugees are stripped off their health rights as they are forced to pay high fees to enjoy medical attention. Many of the children they bear are not recognized by the state and henceforth rendered stateless. Most of them even continue to be persecuted not only by governments of their mother countries but of their host countries as well. The planned crackdown in Thailand, for example, aims to target Burmese women refugees as well.

The continued existence of the Global Forum on Migration and Development does not only ignore this abject state of women migrants, immigrants and refugees but justifies it. Ever since its inception in 2007, the GFMD placed labor migration at the center of the neoliberal globalization agenda which only meant one thing: workers are to be exported at the cheapest rate yet without even an iota of rights.

International conventions protecting the rights of women migrants, immigrants and refugees are like dust to continued blows of host governments imposing virulent and oppressive border control policies like that of Fortress Europe. Racial discrimination is being fanned frantically as like those in Italy become easy targets for race-related crimes.

Such conditions strengthen the foundation of why we struggle, of why we need to organize, of why we have the International Migrants Alliance.

There is greater urgency to build organizations for and by women migrants, immigrants and refugees on the ground. With a calibrated attack on our rights, lives and freedoms, we can confront such with collective strength. Victories in the past struggles of women migrants, immigrants and refugees have proven that by collectively asserting our rights and demands, we can prevail.

As the attacks become global, let us strengthen the movement of resistance at the international level. Let the women members of the IMA contribute greatly to the formation of the International Women’s Assembly that shall happen August this year.

The 100th year of the International Working Women’s Day is a reminder that the struggle continues and will be pursued until all structures that oppress and exploit women being perpetrated by imperialism are dismantled.


CARAM Asia Statement:

100 years old women’s day: migrant women robbed off rights
CARAM Asia’s Statement on International Women's Day

KUALA LUMPUR 8 March, 2010: 100 years after the world recognized the role of women in society, women are still robbed off their rights.

On the occasion of the 100th year anniversary of International Women's Day, CARAM Asia calls upon governments in both sending and receiving countries to protect the rights of migrant women who constitute more than half of the migrant population in the world today. CARAM Asia also urges States to invest in the health -including sexual, reproductive and HIV programmes and services - and education of women to ensure that migration becomes a choice rather than a necessity for survival.

In an increasingly globalised world, female migrant workers face intersectional discrimination of class, race, religion, and gender due to statelessness or their irregular status. Neo-liberal strategies have caused the commodification of women’s labour whereby profits rest on women’s labour and sexuality. Influenced by market fundamentalism and pro-capitalism, the business sector prey on women’s labour as a means to gain from a workforce which is unskilled, cheap and deemed as easily subjugated by state and employers. Governments must ensure women are protected against scrupulous agents who sell women’s labour and employers who exploit them.

Women’s labour are either not accorded value or given low value as their labour continues to be viewed as a natural extension of women’s traditional, unpaid role as mothers and care providers contributing solely to social reproduction. Local domestic workers are forced to become part-timers or informal workers without any labour rights, meanwhile their foreign counterparts are hired as live in “maids” which makes them easily controlled by employers. With the advent of globalisation, poverty and the collapse of the rural economy, more women have been pushed out to work mostly in the domestic work sector, either at home or crossing boundaries to take on employment as foreign domestic workers (FDWs). These FDWs are today akin to modern day slaves.

Despite a spate of FDW reported abuse in the media, both Malaysian and Indonesian government have not agreed on ways to improve the working conditions for Indonesian domestic workers.

Negotiations for the new MOU have been going on for over half a year now, but with little transparency and consultation between civil society of both countries. The news that trickles out suggests a lack of reforms and commitments in ensuring that domestic workers are recognized as full workers, with all labour rights accorded to them.

By June this year, the international community with governments, trade unions and employers associations vote for or against the setting up of an international labour standard to grant labour rights to domestic work. CARAM Asia urges states with voting power in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to cast their vote in support for a Convention supplemented by a recommendation to protect the rights of domestic workers who are predominantly migrant women.

CARAM Asia calls upon States to:

1. Amend existing local laws or enact new laws to be in line with the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (MWC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

2. Extend equal protection of the labour laws to women migrant workers in informal sectors like domestic work. Domestic workers should be granted the rights to a just wage, overtime pay, weekly rest days, benefits, and workers’ compensation.

3. Address the violation of human rights and women’s specific vulnerabilities in the process of migration by providing an empowering environment in both sending and receiving countries where women have job options to work in their country of origin.

4. Ensure migrant women’s access to gender sensitive public health and support services including sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.

5. Remove mandatory health and pregnancy testing policies and the following deportation of pregnant women migrants, migrants tested positive for HIV and other illnesses.

6. Remove requirement for migrant women to seek destination governments’ permission to marry men in destination countries.

CARAM Asia is NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is an open network of NGOs and CBOs, consisting of 38 members covering 18 countries in Asia and the Middle East. Visit www.caramasia.org for more information on CARAM Asia.


Statement of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
on the 100th year Anniversary of the International Women's Day

The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) is one with the exploited women of the world in the commemoration of the 100th year of the International Women's Day and in their continuing fight for comprehensive rights in society.

Many of such oppressed women are migrant workers and immigrants including those who are undocumented or in an irregular status. Their conditions have been exacerbated by the failure of neo-liberal globalization and have led to more discriminatory and restrictive policies imposed by governments of labour importing countries.

One such policy is the national verification scheme of Thailand which is a guise to set the stage for a massive crackdown on undocumented foreign workers and refugees which already started in March 3. This would affect a million and a half persons, most of who are from Burma.

In the Middle East and in Taiwan most of those who run away from their employers are female domestic workers who were abused. Instead of being accorded protection and assistance by government authorities, those who were accused by their employers of absconding in the Middle East end up being jailed instead.

While in South Korea, Macau, Malaysia and in many other countries there is no let up in the intensification of the crackdown on undocumented migrant workers many of whom are women. Being in an irregular status makes them criminals in the eyes of these governments. And they have no rights whatsoever and physical and sexual abuse on them is done with impunity.

Even those who offer humanitarian assistance to them like food and shelter are likewise categorized as criminals. In Macau there is a new law being discussed that would make it a criminal offense for one who rents out a flat to undocumented migrants. Ironically, there is another law set to take effect on April 26, 2010 that would push migrant workers to become undocumented. This pertains to a provision which stipulates that if a non-resident worker initiates the termination of a contract without just cause he/she would be banned to work in the territory for 6 months.

Ironically, some of the countries in the region that are some of the most vicious to attack the rights of women are also in the ASEAN formation that will soon come up with a regional instrument on the rights of women and children.

Indeed the lives of these women who toil far from their shores are almost similar to the conditions of working women in industrially developing countries 100 years ago. There is still a lot of effort needed to be done in organizing and empowering migrant women workers including those who are undocumented and in encouraging more people to advocate their cause. Examples of this include the member organizations of KASAMMAKO (a Filipino alliance) and the formation of the Migrants Trade Union (MTU) both in South Korea.

Other than this, we shall advance and continue to develop unities achieved in the formations like the AMMORE or Action Network for Marriage Migrants Rights and Empowerment, the network on undocumented migrants and the Migrants Caucus on the ASEAN

We shall also push the advocacies on domestic workers of the United for Foreign Domestic Workers’ Rights (UFDWR) and contribute to the strengthening and expansion of the International Migrants Alliance or IMA.

We enjoin all grassroots women to actively take part in the establishment of the International Women’s Alliance in August this year. The formation of the IWA shall be another important milestone in the continuing struggle of women for emancipation.

Until the cause for freedom and social justice is achieved, the fire that started in the first International Women’s Day shall continue to burn in the oppressed women of the world,

March 8, 2010

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
G/F, No.2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. no.: (852) 2723-7536
Fax no.: (852) 2735-4559
General E-mail: apmm@hknet.com
Other Email Addresses:Managing Director : director@apmigrants.org / rbultron@gmail.comAdvocacy Program : advocacy@apmigrants.org / rbultron@gmail.comResearch and Publication: publications@apmigrants.org / ahc@hknet.comWomen's Program : women@apmigrants.org / ecbuhay@gmail.com
WEBSITE: http://www.apmigrants.org/

"We dream of a society where families are not broken up by the urgent need for survival. We dream and will actively work for a homeland where there is opportunity for everyone to live a decent and humane life."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Migrante KSA to help send Satur and Liza to Senate

Press Release
6 March 2010

Most active Filipino migrants’ alliance vows to help send Ka Satur and Liza Maza in the Senate

An alliance of Filipino migrant workers based in the Middle East today vows to help bring MAKABAYAN coalition and NP guest Senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza to the Senate.

Migrante members in Saudi Arabia yesterday held an outdoor proclamation assembly in Riyadh, central capital of Saudi Arabia formally declaring its support to Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, both vying for a Senate seat on the May 10, 2010 elections.

“It is an opportune time for Filipino migrant workers and their families to elect patriotic, nationalist, and principled candidates in the Senate -the like of Ka Satur and Liza Maza should be in the Senate,” declared by Eric Jocson, Chairperson of the Riyadh-based Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), member-organization of Migrante, during yesterday’s proclamation assembly.

Jocson added that Ka Satur and Liza Maza’s proven track records in advancing the interest, rights and welfare of Filipino workers including OFWs could easily be noticed and remembered by the half a million Overseas absentee voters and their dependents in the Philippines.

“Their uncompromising stand defending the rights and welfare of the Filipino migrant workers gave them an edge and advantage compared to other candidates, thus OFWs and their families would vote for them as respected law maker of the Upper chamber of the next Congress,” Jocson added.

On his part, Rodel Makalintal, Migrante-KSA Campaign Officer said starting yesterday after the successful Senatorial proclamation of Ka Satur and Liza Maza in Riyadh; Migrante members will conduct massive electoral campaign and gather supports and votes from the most numbers of OFWs in the Kingdom.

“Since, open electoral exercise is prohibited by the host government, we will conduct discreet house-to-house, going around and visiting the accommodations of our fellow OFWs, distributing flyers and leaflets to our fellow OFWs and conduct indoor meetings amongst our fellow OFWs to discuss our MAKABAYAN platform and other OFWs issues and concerns,” Makalintal added.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator said other Migrante chapters in the Middle East will also conduct their respective proclamation assemblies in support of Ka Satur and Liza Maza in the coming days.

“Members and officers of Migrante in United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan and Libya will conduct their own electoral campaign as the overseas absentee voting will commence on April 10, 2010,” Monterona added.

“Since our own party-list, the Migrante Sectoral Party has been delisted by the COMELEC by mere technicality but obviously a political manuever to discredit the most active and most vocal anti-Arroyo OFWs group, we once again will throw our support to Gabriela Womens’ Party for the party-list,” Monterona declared.

Monterona added that they have been working with Gabriela Representative Luz Ilagan for quite sometime on issues and concerns of Filipino migrant women; “We will continue to be working with the most active Women’s partylist group in the next Congress in advancing our Migrants legislative agenda,” Monterona averred.

“In fact, we are looking forward to the formation of Gabriela chapters in Saudi Arabia that is composed of OFW-women victims, run away and distress, in the coming days to come,” Monterona added.

Monterona further said Migrante chapters in the Middle East will also be supporting the tandem of Senators Manny Villar and Loren Legarda.

“Our support to Villar-Loren tandem does not come from nowhere. It is based on principle and platform which we believed theirs is providing a concrete strategy to address the problem of forced labor migration, which is rooted in joblessness and landlessness, this we didn’t find from the other candidates. Sen. Villar has a plan of action on agrarian reform, on the development of local industries, and the protection and upliftment of the working peoples,” Monterona said.

Aside from this, Monterona quoting Migrante International, the largest alliance of OFWs and their families, said the Sen. Manny Villar and Rep. Cynthia Villar have significantly contributed to Migrante’s efforts to empower OFWs and their families through educating them of their basic rights and privileges; they have also extended tangible assistance to migrant workers in distress, giving them opportunities to rebuild their lives. “It is high time that in these elections, the people’s issues and problems including of the Filipino migrants will be the center of one’s choice in electing candidates who are capable of providing solutions to their problems and concerns,” the Saudi-based OFW leader ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012