International Migrants Day 2021 Migrante Canada December 18, 2021
21 years ago, in the year 2000, the United Nations proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants Day. It offered a “rallying point for all those concerned with the protection of migrants” and a day to “celebrate the role of the migrant and the contribution that migration brings to development.” An estimated number of 12 million Filipinos live and work in over 100 countries, land-based and sea-based Filipino workers. Overseas Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers do not only confront the challenges of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and its variants, but they also suffer from the gross neglect and abandonment by the Philippine government especially under the current Duterte regime. The thousands of welfare cases in the different global regions in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America, and those stranded on board foreign ships attest to this. While we recognize the contributions of migrants in their host countries, we also expose their working and living conditions, made more dire by the continuing pandemic. We cannot discuss the situation of overseas Filipinos without including their families left in the Philippines as well. What do Overseas Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) demand? They have concretized their demands in a Ten Point Overseas Filipinos Agenda for 2022 – demands directed to those running for office in the May 2022 election and to the public. These points range from immediate aid, free repatriation, and assistance to their families to stopping illegal recruitment, increasing the budget for services to OFWs and saving the life of Mary Jane Veloso and other Filipinos on death row. Overseas Filipinos and OFWs demand a stop to red-tagging and organizing NTF-ELCAC, military and police activities in Philippine foreign missions. They call for an end to the Labour Export Policy as an economic program to solve domestic unemployment. On International Migrants Day, and every day, Filipino migrants say “Trabaho sa Pinas, Hindi sa Labas!” On International Migrants Day, we will continue to work to support our families and communities. We will persevere in our organizing, mobilizing and education work. We will march in the streets, lobby in parliament and engage our compatriots and other migrant communities in political actions to raise our just demands. Lastly, we will celebrate our day as we write our lives and struggles into our songs and stories! A Militant International Migrants Day! Mabuhay ang migranteng Pilipino! Mabuhay ang mga migrante!