Migrante-Japan leads picket vs GMA in Tokyo,

slams visiting president for spreading the Con-Ass virus



June 19, 2009



Filipinos in Japan under the banner of MIGRANTE-Japan picketed the Mariners Court Hotel in downtown Tokyo where President Arroyo is guest to a reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo along with select members of the Filipino community.


Photos courtesy of Migrante - Japan



Press Release
For Reference: Rosanna Tapiru (+81 08036805115)

MIGRANTE-Japan Slams President Arroyo
For Spreading the ConAss Virus

Filipinos in Japan under the banner of MIGRANTE-Japan picketed the Mariners Court Hotel in downtown Tokyo where President Arroyo is guest to a reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo along with select members of the Filipino community.

President Arroyo is on a 3-day visit to Japan to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries and to pursue more development aid and investments from Japan to shore up revenues needed to address the country’s burgeoning budget deficit.

Wearing masks bearing signs: “BEWARE of the ConAss VIRUS!” and “No, Justice, No Aid! We are NOT for SALE!”, MIGRANTE-Japan condemned the planned convening of a constituent assembly or ConAss to change the Philippine Constitution as a ploy to perpetuate President Arroyo’s hold to power. They also denounced Arroyo’s plea for more Japanese aid and investment from Japan, which the group said is being used by the Arroyo government not to spur development but to trample upon the rights of ordinary Filipinos.
Rosanna Tapiru, MIGRANTE-Japan spokesperson said that “ChaCha or charter change only serves the interest of President Arroyo and her cohorts in Congress who are all anxious to prolong their stay in power beyond 2010. It is definitely not the solution to the economic woes of the Filipino people.”

“ConAss is shortcut to changing the constitution which is clearly a dictate from the United States and other powerful countries, including Japan, that have large interests in the Philippines. They are for total and absolute control of our economy, " Tapiru added.
According to MIGRANTE-Japan, opening up the country for more foreign investment and allowing foreign ownership of properties in the Philippines will further hurt the ailing economy and would be disastrous to our people, including migrant workers numbering more than 10 million across the globe.

“This mode of development has been tried many times before but miserably failed, so why insist on the same formula? Foreign investments have failed to deliver its promise of more jobs for the people. This is the reason why 4,000 Filipinos leave the country every day to find employment overseas,” Tapiru lamented.

MIGRANTE-Japan also criticized President Arroyo for riding on the “security issue” against North Korea who has been at odds, particularly with the US and Japan, for recently conducting nuclear and missile tests.

“We understand that the Arroyo government desperately needs the $456 million loan package from Japan but it’s pathetic to patronize Japan by bashing on North Korea considering its own human rights record and unparalleled corruption,” Tapiru said.
MIGRANTE-Japan believes that Mrs. Arroyo’s constant trips abroad is well-planned to assure her allies like Japan of continued business in the Philippines ergo more profits for big investors if she remains in power beyond 2010.

MIGRANTE-Japan joins the global movement to frustrate Arroyo’s ConAss and any attempt to change the Philippine Constitution. Along with other MIGRANTE chapters around the world, it will actively campaign for “ZERO Remittance” once a ConAss convenes.###


MIGRANTE-Japan, a grassroots alliance of migrant Filipinos is one with the entire Filipino nation in resisting charter change or ChaCha. We share the belief that any change in the Constitution of the Philippines now will have drastic and far-reaching effects on the majority of our people, including millions of migrants workers overseas who are already suffering because of failed economic programs and policies by the Arroyo government.

We emphatically say that Cha-Cha is not and will not be the solution to our economic problems. On the contrary, further liberalizing the economy, which is one of the aims of few but powerful proponents of ChaCha will further hurt our ailing economy. Decades of liberalized foreign investments have failed to resolve our problems. How can it solve our problems now?
MIGRANTE-Japan believes that opening up the country to more foreign investment and capital will have disastrous effects on the Philippine economy. It will not solve the country’s perennial unemployment problem but will only worsen joblessness, impede development, and undermine Philippine sovereignty while foreign investment corporations and local big business will continue to rake in supper profits by plundering the country’s natural resources.

What is more intolerable about charter change now is clearly the ambition of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to remain in power beyond her term in 2010. President Arroyo is pushing her allies in congress to transform the legislative body into a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) to perpetuate her stay in Malacanang. Her relentless ambition makes her capable of not only lying and cheating, but also twisting the course of history to serve her selfish and evil desires at the expense of the Filipino people, including us migrants.

As concerned Filipinos, we cannot allow President Arroyo and her minions in Congress to fool us and risk our future as a nation. She has done so much crime already against migrant Filipinos and our families we cannot allow her to ruin our future as well. We love our country, and therefore, we will not be cowed to defend its interests against a lying, cheating and scheming president.
ConAss is a mutation of the Arroyo Virus that plundered our nation no end. It was a scheme designed by President Arroyo and her cohorts in Congress for their own interest why would we support such evil scheme.

As migrant Filipinos, we are bound by our duties and love of the Motherland to reject ChaCha and any attempt to convene ConAss. What we need is genuine social change that will offer jobs at home not away from home.

We had enough of the Arroyo regime. Now is the time to use our collective power as migrants to boot her out of Malacanang forever. ###




25 June 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

Migrants group assails DFA for condoning modern-day slavery in Sabah

A global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations staged a picket in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Pasay City to criticize the agency in ignoring the practice of bonded labor against Filipino nationals in Sabah, Malaysia.

According to Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, the Philippine embassy in Malaysia is planning to whisk the 15 Filipinos back to the Philippines through the ‘backdoor’ to avoid the filing of criminal and labor cases against the See Hoy Chan Plantation. The company is allegedly practicing bonded labor in its farm estate in Sabah.

“The staff from the Philippine embassy is due to arrive today at the plantation allegedly to help them, but instead of defending the aggrieved Filipinos and assisting them to get compensated by filing charges against labor violations, we expect that the15 OFWs will instead assisted to exit through the Sandakan – Zamboanga route like fugitives,” Martinez revealed.

The OFWs in distress are Joenel Caro, Roland Casis, Nelio Casquejo, Ruben Cortel, Moisis Cortel, Michael Duran, John Mark Libuna, Vicente Libuna, Rene Lim, Ariel Lorena, Ian Rey Lorena, Butch Pastolero, Quizy Pastolero, Romeo Pedregosa and Zandro Camda. They are all working in a company called See Hoy Chan Plantations in Jalan Jeroco, Sabah.

“Ambassador Victoriano Lecaros continuous to ignore the fact that modern day slavery exists in Sabah where thousands of Filipino nationals are working in palm plantations, poultry farms and construction sites. Failing to file charges against the Plantation company is tantamount to covering up the crimes they have committed. It is incumbent upon Ambassador Lecaros to expose the predicament of Filipinos suffering in Sabah,” Martinez lamented.

Migrante likewise rebuked Ambassador Lecaros for claiming that diplomatic teams were deployed to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan to provide assistance to Filipino nationals in Sabah. A fact-finding mission, in which Migrante was a part of, to investigate the conditions of OFWs in Sabah, revealed contrary facts.

“We would like to inform Ambassador Lecaros that we were able to talk to some members of the diplomatic team. An Embassy official in the diplomatic team, who requested anonymity, informed us that they were sent to Sabah only to issue passports. If they are really there to help distressed Filipinos, they could have easily gone to the plantation. Our Post in Malaysia is an Embassy of pathological liars,” exposed Martinez.

Martinez added that the said Embassy official has not been authorized to handle any legal or labor issue concerning Filipino nationals since this may cause political complications to the Philippine claim to Sabah.

“Based on the statements of the Filipinos we interviewed, the embassy’s diplomatic teams allowed the overcharging of passport fees. Issuance of passports in the Embassy at Kuala Lumpur only cost RM196 (Php2,548) while Filipinos in Sabah pay as much as RM250 (Php3,250). Embassy officials should be thoroughly investigated and, if found guilty, must be immediately prosecuted for their crimes before they victimize more Filipinos who are already suffering in Sabah,” Martinez demanded.

Migrante emphasized that overcharging OFWs who are allegedly receiving slave-level wages is inhuman and unforgiveable. The group revealed that poultry farm workers in Kota Kinabalu receives as low as Php3,900 a month without any day-off. The amount would be further cut into half due to deductions for working permit and travel expenses incurred upon their recruitment.

“Not only are Embassy officials liars, they are also callous and heartless. We can not imagine how these people can stomach to exact more money from our poor kababayans in Saba. They are thriving on the anguish of other people. We demand that Ambassador Lecaros be recalled immediately and that a thorough investigation on the Philippine embassy in Malaysia be conducted,” Martinez concluded.####


Migrante: New immigration rule in KSA puts runaway migrants in “double jeopardy”

The largest overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) alliance today urged the government to protest the latest immigration rule in the Kingdom Saudi Arabia that blacklists foreign workers who runaway from their employers.

Asserting that hundreds of migrant workers in the Kingdom are forced to runaway from their employers to escape physical/sexual abuse, maltreatment and other unspeakable forms of violence, Migrante International Chairman Garry Martinez said the new rule means “double jeopardy for runaway migrants in Saudi Arabia.”

“It is like victimizing the victims all over again,” he said.

“By putting runaway migrant workers in a blacklist, the Saudi government essentially shuts down the chances of these poor migrants’ from obtaining justice while their abusive employers go unpunished,” Martinez further explained.

“This is why we are calling on the Philippine government to take decisive action by protesting this inhumane immigration rule,” he said adding:

“With the threat of horrific deportation proceedings further aggravated by another threat this time of blacklisting among OFW runaways in the Kingdom; the Philippine government should not be contended with issuing mere warnings on the new rule just like what our Consulate General in Jeddah is doing.”

“Rather, it should intervene in behalf of our compatriots in the Kingdom and confront this draconian rule head on.” ###