Migrante International, together with Saudi OFWs and families, and DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello III, August 11,2016, DOLE Office, Manila


Migrante International held a dialogue with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III last August 11, together with 30 representatives and family members of stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia.

In the dialogue, the OFWs and their families thanked Sec. Bello and the Duterte administration for acknowledging that there indeed is an ongoing crisis affecting at least 50,000 Filipino migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. This is a far cry from the previous Aquino administration’s outright denial of the crisis, resulting in inaction and the aggravation of the sorry conditions of the affected OFWs and their families. They also acknowledged the decisive actions instigated by the Duterte government, based on the seven (7) demands presented by Migrante International and Migrante-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to Sec. Bello before his first visit to the Kingdom last August 22-23, 2016.

They, however, raised the following concerns with regard the government’s initial responses to the ongoing crisis, to wit:


At the tailend of the dialogue, OWWA officials arrived at the venue. Sec. Bello ordered them to immediately accompany all OFWs and families present at the dialogue to the OWWA Main Office to claim their money. The officials, however, did not accompany the OFWs and families and instead merely instructed them to proceed to the OWWA and look for OWWA Welfare Officer Connie Marquez.

Upon arrival at the OWWA office, only 9 out of the more than 30 OFWs and families present were able to claim “because only the nine (9) are included in their masterlist”. OWWA Admin Rebecca Calzado REFUSED to grant them financial assistance, despite and in spite of direct orders from the DOLE Secretary.

“While we believe that Sec. Bello is sincere in his promise of improved assistance and services to the affected OFWs and families, OWWA’s non-compliance is putting the good secretary in a bad light. As of this posting, we have been receiving more complaints from OFWs and families, on-site and off-site, nationwide and abroad, of the OWWA’s continuous refusal to follow Sec. Bello’s direct orders,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

OWWA is an attached agency of the DOLE. The DOLE Chief is also the Chairman of the OWWA Board. “OWWA Admin. Calzado’s refusal to comply is outright insubordination and complete disregard of the rights and welfare of distressed OFWs and their families. We believe this is not what Pres. Duterte had in mind when he ordered Sec. Bello to attend to the plight of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Martinez said that Migrante-KSA is also now preparing for Sec. Bello’s planned return to Saudi Arabia on August 15, as well as the arrival of the government’s one-month humanitarian relief mission within August. ###

#SONA2016 What OFWs need to hear in Duterte’s 1st SONA

#SONA2016 What OFWs need to hear in Duterte’s 1st SONA
by admin
July 25, 2016

On Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families need to hear the administration’s concrete plans on its thrust of making overseas employment “optional and not a necessity”, as well as on its promise to place OFWs as a top priority in its labor agenda. Read more

Filipino migrant groups hold Europe-wide consultations Filipinos in Europe to present Migrants’ Agenda to Duterte government

Filipino migrant groups hold Europe-wide consultations Filipinos in Europe to present Migrants’ Agenda to Duterte government
plaridel | July 17, 2016 | press release | No Comments

Migrante International – Europe Chapter (OC)
15 July 2016

Migrant Summit 2016

Migrant Summit 2016

The global network Migrante International (MI) is spearheading a series of consultations with its chapters and other migrants groups in various cities in Europe since the election victory of President Rodrigo Duterte, collecting the sector’s demands and policy proposals for the new government.

Starting in mid-June and still going on, the Chapter Organising Committee of Migrante International Europe (MIE-COC) has been reaching out to Filipino communities in Rome and Milan in Italy, Gent in Belgium, Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands, Paris in France, London in the United Kingdom, and Vienna in Austria. A number of consultations are still planned for cities in Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

“We fully endorse and support the initiative of Migrante International in consulting with Filipino communities in Europe and in presenting a Migrants’ Agenda to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,” said Ann Brusola, of Umangat-Rome in Italy, a chapter organisation of MI.

Thus far, MIE-COC has begun to consolidate the consultations that have been taking place. A few policy proposals have been suggested such as having “uniform fees for uniform services” in regards Philippine consular services; opening of consular posts in places where there is a considerable concentration of Filipinos; establishing a dedicated “complaints hotline” for Overseas Filipinos, among others.

“Our compatriots in Europe have specific issues and demands we would also like to raise to the President. Like our counterparts in other parts of the world, we would also like to have a dialogue with the President to present and discuss the urgent concerns and demands of OFWs in Europe,” she added.

In commemoration of Filipino Migrant Workers’ Day on 7 June 2016, Migrante International presented a 10-point proposal for then incoming Duterte government. Included in the proposals were the immediate release of funds under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to rightful claimants; re-opening of the Philippine foreign posts closed down by the government; and the scrapping of policies, fees and other exactions which are additional burdens to OFWs all over the world.

“We look forward to President Duterte delivering on his promises to prioritise the issues and concerns of Filipino migrant workers in Europe and other regions,” Brusola added. “We encourage him to visit Europe as well, in order to see first-hand the plight of our kababayans this side of the world.”

The demands and policy proposals from the Europe-wide consultations will be collated into a Migrants’ Manifesto and presented to the President.

In a related development, Brusola announced plans for the Founding Assembly of the Migrante International Europe Chapter. She said that the Chapter Organising Committee has been formed from existing Migrante Chapters in Europe, and they are already hard at work preparing for the Assembly which will be held in Rome, 9-12 December 2016. The MIE-COC is calling on other Filipino migrant organisations in Europe to join them in establishing the Migrante International alliance in Europe.###

Contact details:
Migrante Europe
Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam
NB: For schedules of upcoming summits and consultations in other European cities, please check www.migrante.eu

For references:
Ann Brusola, Umangat-Migrante Rome – +39 327 8825544
Rafael Joseph Maramag, Kanlungan UK – +44 795 848 2753

Health Care as Human Rights For Migrants in the Netherlands

As part of Migrante Netherland Den Haag’s advocacy to promote migrants’ rights and dignity against all forms of discrimination, exploitation and abuse, and to build solidarity with other organizations with similar vision. Read more

Migrante welcomes Duterte admin’s thrust of making overseas employment “optional and not a necessity”

Migrante International
30 Jun 2016

One of the main reasons of Filipino families being torn apart is the phenomenon of forced migration. There are currently 15 million overseas Filipinos and at least 6,000 leave the country daily to work abroad. Filipino people are being forced to migrate and be separated from their families because of desperation and the need to survive. The economy’s lack of development resulting in job loss at home, poverty, landlessness and poor social services continue to drive them away. Read more

On the death of 700 migrants in Mediterranean sinkings

May 31, 2016

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 0939-3914418

On the death of 700 migrants in Mediterranean sinkings

Migrante International grieves with migrants and refugees of the world after the United Nations has confirmed that at least 700 are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean last week in three separate incidents.

The casualties were Italy-bound migrants and refugees from a 13,000 contingent who set sail from Libya on an eight-day period. The death toll is the highest since the European refugee crisis started last year, when 1,300 died, and bringing the casualties for this year to more than 2,000.

The deaths also once again underline the lack of solutions to the present migrant crisis, which has been aggravated by the ongoing conflicts in Libya and Syria. Europe, whose governments are being censured by their own peoples and peoples of the world for refusing to give protection and urgent sanctuary to migrants and refugees, most of them victims of smugglers and traffickers, is once again in the spotlight.

Since last year, refuges who come mostly from war-torn and crisis-ridden Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, sail by the thousands in dangerous vessels to pass through transit points in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Hungary, hoping to enter Italy, the United Kingdom Germany, Austria, France, Greece and Sweden. They cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, desperately taking the two choices left to them: death at sea or the uncertain future they will have to face in the country they are hoping to seek refuge in.

The migrant crisis, however, is not a European problem alone. Last year, the world also watched in horror as thousands of trafficked Rohingyas stranded at sea were left to die, without proper food, shelter and protection, as ASEAN states refused them entry into their borders.

The EU should be taken to task for the positions it had taken in the Middle East and North Africa civil strifes and their repercussions. The US, likewise, should be held accountable for its decades-long interventionist wars and wars of agression to secure economic and military positioning. Asian states should also be liable for toeing the the anti-refugee and anti-migrant posturing of the US and EU under the guise of so-called war on terror and war on trafficking, resulting in the criminalization of migrants and refugees, restriction of borders and a global humanitarian crisis that has long gone out of hand.

Migrante International stands in solidarity with our brother and sister refugees and asylum-seekers. Migrants, particularly Filipino migrant workers, are not oblivious to the horrors, hardships and harshness of being turned away, rejected, prosecuted, criminalized and spurned. Where there are conflicts and wars, so Filipino migrants are. Where there are restrictions and stringent immigration measures, so Filipino migrants are. Where there are uncertainties and threats of imminent death, so Filipino migrants are.

Filipino migrant workers are also no stranger to civil strife in their homeland.

In the Philippines, thousands of Lumad communities have been displaced due to militarization in Mindanao. Heightened attacks on indigenous communities, especially on Lumad schools, have caused thousands upon thousands to flee their ancestral lands in search for protection and in fear of their lives.

The bigger tragedy is that these attacks are perpetrated by the Philippine government through the military, given license by a counter-insurgency program patterned after the US Counter-Insurgency Guide on “war on terror” – the very same policy that has caused millions of migrants and refugees to flee their lands, by the same proponents that uphold labor export and other neoliberal policies that drive peoples to forced migration in search of so-called greener pastures at the risk of danger or even death.

Migrante International calls on all Filipino compatriots and fellow migrants around the world to stand in solidarity with refugees in Europe. Migrante International calls on all Filipino compatriots and fellow migrants to oppose imposed borders and merciless immigration and refugee policies that trample on the fundemental rights of refugees and migrants of the world.

No to borders. Humanity and compassion should know no barriers. ###

Urgently investigate alleged LP-backed electoral fraud – Migrante

Urgently investigate alleged LP-backed electoral fraud – Migrante

Urgently investigate alleged LP-backed electoral fraud – Migrante

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today called for an urgent investigation of serious of electoral fraud allegedly operated by the Liberal Party.

The migrant group made the call as three whistleblowers recently came out as witnesses of vote-shaving in the transmission of votes of some candidates in certain provinces to allegedly pad votes of certain LP candidates.

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, following earlier reports of anomalies and inconsistencies between the transparency server and Comelec-canvassed results, the ‘Comeleaks’, reports of ‘abandoned’ SD cards and the lack of a mechanism to verify whether the vote counting machines (VCMs) have accurately read, recorded and transmitted votes, the allegations of the whistle-blowers should be taken seriously.

“It can be quite possible that certain candidates have garnered more votes than were canvassed to increase the votes of those who would stand to benefit from vote-padding. We support all calls for an official electoral protest to be filed before the Electoral Tribunal at the Supreme Court. Our electoral system has always been and remains very vulnerable to fraud. Any and all allegations should not be dismissed just because candidates have already been proclaimed,” said Martinez.

Martinez added that should the whistleblowers present sufficient evidence of fraud that benefitted some LP candidates, its main operators should be immediately investigated, and no less than Pres. Aquino should be made to explain.

“So long as the Philippine electoral system remains influenced and manipulated by the ruling elite, our elections can never be truly reflective of the true will of the people. That is not real democracy. No amount of automation can correct this, especially if the automated elections has lacked necessary safeguards and suffers from lack of transparency.” ###

Forum: Exploitation in the Workplace; Know Your Rights

Den Haag, Netherlands
20 April 2016

5:30 Arrival/Snacks
6:00 Start

  1. Welcome Remarks by Cora Espanto
  2. Brief Introduction of Migrante by Marlon Lacsamana
  3. Introduction of Guest Speaker Eline Willemsen

6:15 Lecture of Eline Willemsen

  1. Explanation FairWork organisation
  2. What are your rights (at the workplace) as an undocumented worker
  3. How to report a crime when you are undocumented?
  4. What to do in case of exploitation?
  5. When do bad labour conditions turn out in trafficking in human beings?
  6. Special position for workers for diplomats
  7. Q&A

7:30 Break
8:00 Video and update on Kidapawan massacre
8:30 Philippine Election matters

  1. Announcement of Comelec authorized Migrante Partylist representative and
  2. pollwatchers

Migrante Partylist nominees
8:50 Solidarity with Mitko photo-ops
9:00 Closing
Clean-up after the program



Asserting National Sovereignty

Asserting National Sovereignty

Migrante Den Haag in an early morning picket on 28 April 2016 at the Vredespaleis in Den Haag ahead of a decision of the Permanent Court for Arbitration on China´s intrussion in the West Philippine Sea. The picket also condemns any US intervention in the Philippines. It also condemns the double standard of the BS Aquino regime in asserting its sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea while allowing China to mine the country´s nickel and mineral resources (http://globalnation.inquirer.net/59379/chinas-mining-occupation-of-the-philippines) which are being opposed by progressive environmentalist groups (http://www.moveon.ph/environmental-degradation-chinese-firms-and-black-sand-mining-in-cagayan/), indigenous peoples, peasants and mine workers. Instead of imposing economic sanctions against China´s aggression, the BS Aquino regime prefers the assistance of another imperialist plunderer, the US, for protection.