International Women's Day in Hong Kong


Manila     Baguio      Calamba    Davao     Negros     Hong Kong



March 8, 2010




Photos courtesy of  Aaron Ceradoy/Facebook


Statement of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) 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.com
Advocacy Program : advocacy@apmigrants.org / rbultron@gmail.com
Research and Publication: publications@apmigrants.org / ahc@hknet.com
Women's Program : women@apmigrants.org / ecbuhay@gmail.com

WEBSITE: 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."




Migrante Canada
Statement on the Centenary of the International Women's Day
March 8, 2010

Continuing the struggles of the working class women's movement

As we observe the 100th anniversary of the birth of the militant women's movement, we pay tribute to all the courageously spirited toiling women who then fought to advance equal rights in society, better pay at work and the right to vote. Even as there have been significant changes in the status of women since then, imperialist globalization today poses new challenges and forms of exploitation.

In the Philippines like in other developing countries, women continue to be highly exploited, marginalized, and perennial victims of violence and repression. Massive poverty, unemployment, and the capitalist-inflicted economic crisis persist in plaguing the country under the US-Arroyo regime. Right now there are 10 million Filipinos looking for jobs; 2.71 million are unemployed; 7.41 million are underemployed; and 4.6 million are contractual workers. Most of them are women.

This terrible economic situation forces many Filipinos to leave the country to work abroad in temporary jobs, or to live there as permanent migrants. Around 3,400 Filipinos leave the country every day, more than half of them are women.

In Canada, tens of thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are mainly women, work as nannies, caregivers and maids. They were brought to Canada under a temporary foreign worker program called the Live-In-Caregiver Program, or LCP. They were lured by the promise of landed immigrant status, but only if they could put up with the live-in conditions for a "mere" two or three years, conditions which often turned out to be oppressive, exploitative, racist and heartless.

Temporary foreign workers, including OFWs, have been subject to arbitrary and shifting employment conditions with little ability to defend themselves or seek alternative employment. The TFW is often paid substantially less than their Canadian co-workers, the working conditions are often significantly different from those promised. For example, an administrative assistant arriving to find she was to work at a gas station; chefs from 5-star hotels spending half their time washing dishes and floors, mechanics being told their job is apprentice-mechanic with pay lowered accordingly. Housing provided is substandard, crowded and costly. Those who complain are often threatened to be deported or imprisoned.

Despite the increasing number of cases of exploitation, abuse and even mysterious deaths, the Arroyo administration continues to advertise its shameful labour export program of sending more than 1 million Filipino workers abroad every year. While dollar remittances from migrant workers are increasing, the supposed basic services from government agencies become sluggish or most of the time inaccessible when these are most needed.

Meanwhile, the attack on women and other sectors of the progressive movement goes on under the pretext of war on terror by the fascist US-Arroyo regime. The recent illegal arrest of 43 community health workers in Morong, Rizal is an indication that the ruling administration is hell-bent on continuing its anti-people policies and practice of undeclared martial law. Most of the arrested and currently detained health workers are women, some of whom complained of torture and sexual abuse while in detention.

These workers who unselfishly dedicated themselves for the good of the poor should be treated fairly rather than subjected to state-sponsored hostility. In fact, the government should be pleased with people like them for providing the health services that the State itself fails to provide its own people. On the contrary, the government has demonized them by tagging them as “enemies of the state”. Adding insult to injury, the government awarded the military men with medals. Instead of stroking the ego of its armed goons, the ruling Arroyo administration should end fascist repression. We demand the unconditional release of the Morong 43!

To continue the struggles of that women’s movement that started a century ago, we need to have the tenacity to join hands with militant women activists, trade unionists, migrant workers, and other allied forces. We need to raise our voices against any attacks to our rights and welfare. We need to raise our clenched fists against pro-imperialist economic policies and measures that displace millions of women and other working people from their jobs, their homes and their lands around the world.

As the Philippines prepares for the May 2010 national and local elections, we migrant Filipinos should push for the advancement of alternative political and economic platforms e.g., for national sovereignty, national industrialization and genuine land reform, and lend our support to those candidates and progressive party formations that sincerely have the people’s interests at heart. Even then, we are one with the millions of women and the rest of the Filipino people in the ongoing struggle for genuine national freedom, and a just and liberating peace.

Long live International Women’s Day!
Long live women migrant workers!
Working class women, unite against imperialist globalization!
Carry forward the struggle for national freedom and democracy!


Songs and campaign jingles
■    Satur Ocampo - Liza Maza Campaign Jingle ■    Satur Ocampo Jingle ■    Liza Maza Jingle
■    JIngle in Cebuano ■    Jingle in Ilongo ■    JIngle in Tagalog
■    Sasaturn na tayo