Migrante Canada joins other Migrante chapters of the global alliance of Migrante International and other progressive people’s organizations to demand an immediate stop to the state-funded red-tagging meant to discredit and intimidate Filipino migrant leaders overseas.
Migrante International has been a defender of migrants rights globally for 24 years. The organization has handled and assisted thousands of cases including cases of stranded and detained migrants, victims of rape and sex trafficking, struggled to save lives of migrants including the high profile case of Angelo Dela Cruz. Migrante International along with its over 200 member organizations has remained steadfast and has earned the trust and respect of thousands and thousands of OFWs and their families as well as fellow advocates worldwide.
Migrante International and its chapters, like the other progressive organizations who have been vilified through government black propaganda, have relentlessly provided crucial and essential services, especially to Filipino migrant workers. COVID-19 has not stopped us in our work. We also continue to provide education and public information about the problems and issues of our migration and the roots of our problems in the Philippines. We continue to respond to the disasters in the Philippines through our Sagip Migrante, Migrante’s disaster response arm, and we are able to mobilize our members and our resources to provide needed aid.
Meanwhile, government agencies such as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) are aggressively utilizing social media such as “For the Global Public” Facebook page and using taxpayers money to spread disinformation, fake news, and lies. The end game is to coerce and intimidate critics into silence, create hysteria and terror among the public, violate the basic rights and liberties of the Filipino people and of the Philippine Constitution, and legitimize the use of repression and fascism in stopping legitimate dissent and criticism. It is the green light to various state agents in the military and police to arrest on suspicion and detain using trumped up charges, to torture, and to kill.This culture of impunity has already resulted in arrests, detentions, and extrajudicial killings. For overseas Filipinos, there is the threat of deportations, continuing malicious cyber-bullying and the use of fake Facebook accounts and online pages as platforms of attack.
Caught in the crosshairs are leaders and members of overseas progressive people’s organizations such as Migrante, AnakBayan, and GABRIELA. These legitimate people’s organizations are in the forefront of, not only exposing the fascist dictatorial regime of Duterte particularly its passage and implementation of “Terror Law” and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, but also of condemning the Philippine state’s abandonment of millions of overseas Filipino workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and hitting them with state exactions like the forced membership of overseas Filipinos in PhilHealth. The NTF-ELCAC would do well instead to re-channel its budget to the social services like disaster relief to the victims and communities severely affected by Typhoon Goni/Rolly.
Migrante Canada, its member organizations and its activist organizers have a proud and long history of promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants and immigrants. The organization has achieved gains and victories in their activist work. This is a proven track record that Migrante Canada firmly stands on. From Marcos’ Martial Law and post-Marcos governments, we have spoken out against social injustice, human rights violations and fascism in the Philippines. And we continue to do so.
Migrante Canada is proud to call itself an activist organization that works with and for our kababayan. We exercise our rights to speech, to organize, to dissent, and the right to association.
The Duterte regime continues to bring misery, death, and destruction to the Filipino people. We also feel this as Filipino migrant workers and immigrants in Canada and for decades, we have been demanding better services and protection from the Philippine consulates and embassies -- from COVID-related support, repatriation, labour assistance, etc. Also, Migrante Canada’s work in advancing human rights in the Philippines has resulted in unwavering support from the host people in Canada. Because of this, the Canadian public is much more aware and ready to take action in holding the Duterte government accountable for its gross human rights violations.
The spectre of the “Terror” Law and the Implementing Rules and Regulations, unless exposed, opposed and stopped, will mean ongoing systematic attacks against activists in the Philippines and overseas. We see the fascist arm of the Duterte regime at home and abroad but this will not stop us. We will not be cowed, intimidated and silenced. Our resolve is strong and our commitment is solid in continuing our work here in Canada and towards a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
No to red-tagging! Activism is not terrorism! Abolish the NTF-ELCAC! Rechannel the PhP19B budget to social services!
Migrante Canada November 2, 2020 For reference: Maria Sol Pajadura Chairperson, Migrante Canada