Date: 30 November 2012
Source: Migrante International
Type: Media Release
Keyword/s: migration, Andres Bonifacio, modern-day slavery, migrant workers, labor, joblessness, social services
“If Andres Bonifacio were alive, he would be marching with us today.”
This was the statement of Migrante International as it led migrants from all over the world in the big rally today commemorating the 149th birth anniversary of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio.
Migrante International, together with delegates of the recently-concluded International Migrants’ Tribunal, assembled at the University of the Philippines in Diliman before heading to Liwasang Bonifacio to join other sectors in the big rally. The Tribunal found 37 migrant-sending and -receiving States, including the Philippines, guilty of perpetuating modern-day slavery on migrant workers. The Tribunal was attended by at least 300 delegates from the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Australia, Latin America and United States.
“If Bonifacio were alive today, he would surely be at the forefront of the struggle against imperialist exploitation and the present Aquino administration’s puppetry and betrayal of the Filipino people,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
He said that Filipino migrants and migrants of different nationalities honor Bonifacio because, like him, they also mostly come from the sector of the working class. “We are workers and farmers who were forced to migrate and leave the country out of desperation and poverty, because of joblessness, landlessness, measly wages and lack of social services, because of the growing divide between the rich and the poor.”
There are currently 240 million migrants all over the world, 15 million of which are Filipinos.
Like Bonifacio, Martinez said, migrants are fully aware of foreign exploitation of cheap labor and the effects of the present global economic crisis on workers of the world. “We feel the effects of the global crisis locally, through its effect on our families, and abroad where our migrant workers are located. Because of the crisis, migrant workers are victims vulnerable to all sorts of abuses and violations, such as racism, discrimination and xenophobia at work and in society.”
Martinez said that migrant workers emulate Bonifacio’s internationalism. “If Bonifacio was inspired by the French revolution, so are Filipino migrants encouraged and motivated by the growing migrants’ movement around the world. We are in strong solidarity with other sectors and migrants of different nationalities.”
He called on overseas Filipino workers and migrants all over the world to continue Bonifacio’s revolution. “Today, we are here not only to commemorate history but to affirm our commitment to carry on Bonifacio’s struggle for nationalism and democracy. Like Bonifacio, Filipino migrants all over the world are organized. We realize that the labor export policy is not a tool for development but the manifestation of lack of development in countries where migrants workers hail from. We recognize the importance of collective action and unity of migrants of the world.”
“We remain firm that for as long as the root causes of forced migration are not addressed, migrants and their families will not be emancipated.” ###