Migrant voices against the WTO!
By NONOI HACBANG, CFMW
December 28, 2005
HONG KONG – A major
feature of the Hong Kong People’s Action Week against WTO was the
participation of migrants and their organisations, carrying banners in
different languages but with one message: “Migrants say NO to WTO, Migrants
are not for SALE! Migrants are not Commodities! No Deal is better than a bad
Co-ordinated by Migrant
Forum Asia (MFA) and the Asian Migrant Center (AMC), migrant organizations
of different nationalities based in
Hong Kong as well as migrant delegations from several countries in
Asia took to the
streets of Hong Kong. Migrant Rights International (MRI) and the Commission
for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW) from Europe also joined in the week long
Migrants joined their voices
with other people’s movements, including fisherfolks, farmers, women, youth,
workers, urban poor, seafarers against the corporate-driven neoliberal
agenda of the WTO that is anti-people and anti-poor.
A particular focus for the
migrant protest was the WTO/General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
The liberalization of services (e.g the commodification of water, energy,
health and education) is one of the most contested issues in the WTO.
GATS/Mode 4 refers to the temporary migration of specifically skilled
professional workers (e.g. Information Technology, company managers), to
provide services or fulfill a service contract. This is highly divisive and
excludes other categories of migrants such as domestic workers, construction
workers and workers in the tourism and entertainment industries. In fact
GATS/MODE 4 is basically introducing a global migration regime without human
Mode 4 is being pushed by
the governments of the North, the US and the EU to arm twist the governments
of the South to make other major concession in the WTO negotiations.
However, it is the Transnational Corporations and not the peoples of the
South who will benefit from the WTO/GATS.
Migrants were in Hong Kong
not only to protest but also to celebrate the gains made in migrant
struggles for human rights in different parts of the world. On December 18,
all sectors joined in the march celebrating International Migrants Day which
culminated in the Rock against the Round Concert.
Recognising and asserting
that migration and labor mobility are critical issues of human rights,
migrants collectively prepared a quilt tapestry reiterating our calls for -
the promotion of the human rights of all migrants, equal pay for equal work
and an end to discrimination and racism.
These migrant rallies and
activities took place as an integral part of the overall People’s Action
Week which combined strategies within the WTO Convention Center as well as
the street rallies, fluvial parade, protest swim in Causeway Bay,
candlelight vigils, seminars and workshops.
The Hong Kong and
international media gave wide and mainly sympathetic coverage to this
parliament of the streets - highlighting in particular the creative and
sustained protest actions of the Korean farmers and La Via Campesina, the
global movement of small farmers.
However on December 17th,
when the protesters marched to the Convention Center, the access road was
blocked by Hong Kong police and the rally attacked by pepper spray, water
cannon and tear gas. About 1,000 protesters were arrested and detained and
remained ‘incomunicado’ without access to lawyers and interpreters. Most
were again released the following day but 14 were charged with unlawful
assembly and refused bail. Many reports of abuse and violation of human
rights while in custody are emerging.
On December 18, the WTO
Ministerial Conference ended in a deal brokered in the final hours. This was
a raw deal, extracting substantial concessions from the South.
In the face of this raw
deal, the People’s Action Week in
Hong Kong has strengthened the determination to continue the struggle
against WTO. As the Korean delegation expressed in their press statement:
“Through the struggles in Hong Kong, our struggles and the struggles of all
the people around the world against neoliberal globalization and the poverty
and violence it brings, will become all the more stronger”.
Migrant Domestic Workers visible and making a
Press Release by
Commission for Filipino
December 8, 2005
Migrant Domestic Workers, women and men work in the Netherlands in
conditions where their human rights are unprotected and violated. This was
revealed in 'Migrant Domestic Workers Visible & Making a Difference' - a
Research Report on the living and working conditions of Migrant Domestic
Workers (MDWs) launched on December 2 by the Commission for Filipino Migrant
Workers (CFMW) in Amsterdam. The Report documents a situation where no
contracts are available to workers and when they are undocumented, MDWs are
additionally vulnerable to abuse and denial of their rights.
Currently in the Netherlands
and in some other countries in Europe, domestic work in the private
household is not recognised as proper work nor as a category for
immigration. At the same time, the demand for migrant workers in the
private household has increased significantly in the past decade due to
changes impacting on the labour force resulting in many more women working
outside the home.
The Research involved
interviews with a 182 MDWs – 116 Filipinos, 28 Ghanaians, 29 Nigerians
and 9 from other nationalities working in the private household in
Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Among those interviewed, 144 were women
and 38 were men.
It is widely accepted that
domestic work which takes place in the private home is invisible and
isolating, and is not easily accessible to the public domain. Workers in
this sector are frequently not protected and trade unions do not have access
to the private household.
of labour rights and human rights
Besides the lack of written
contracts between family employers and workers, this Report also documents
that MDWs work without any social benefits; do not have access to health
care or education opportunities; work multiple part-time jobs when
'live-out', including weekends; are on 'total availability' when 'live-in';
are subjected to 'no work - no pay' i.e. when employer is on holiday, or
worker is ill; experience constant job insecurity and are afraid to protest
experiences, since they fear losing their job. Besides, many MDWs do not
have a contract for their accommodation and therefore their tenure is very
insecure and can be terminated at the whim of the owner or sub-renter. The
Report also identified the difficulties of accessing doctors and medical
care. Most MDWs do not have any preventative health check-ups - for blood
pressure, heart condition, reproductive health or early cancer detection.
Besides, African MDWs reported how racism effected work availability and
rates of payment made as compared to other MDWs.
power relations & being undocumented
The Report identifies two
key issues which underlie these working and living conditions of MDWs: the
issue of the unequal power relations between the employers and the workers
and being undocumented. According to Fe Jusay, CFMW's Women's Programme co-ordinator,
"the major issue here is not the personal qualities of the employer. MDWs
interviewed also record fair treatment from employers but the issue is the
overwhelming sense of complete dependency on the good will of employers".
Allan, an MDW described it
like this "it is as if our human rights are being 'privatised' and depending
on the good will of our employer". The other issue, which lies at the
center of this unequal power relation with the employer is the fact that
many MDWs are undocumented. Many employers value the work of MDWs and admit
that they perform a very important function towards Dutch family and social
However, since domestic work
is not currently recognised as a category for immigration, this creates a
situation where MDWs become undocumented when their original visa expires.
As MDWs express it: "circumstances force us to become undocumented – we have
to address the situation of MDWs
The Report calls on the
Dutch government and Dutch policy makers to give urgent attention to the
vulnerable situation of MDWs and to:
· Recognise work in the
private household as proper work
· Ensure the protection of
the rights of MDWs as workers
· To put in place an
immigration status related to their work as migrant domestic workers
The Report was presented by
Fe Jusay during a Round Table discussion followed by a moving performance of
Forum Theatre directed by Claire Fossey and presented by MDWs who engaged
the audience in lively spect-actor exchanges. This programme was co-organised
by CFMW, TNI, Trusted Migrants and Respect NL.
The Round Table discussants,
chaired by Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute) included Amsterdam City
Council member Jupin Haffmans (Amsterdam Anders-De Groenen); Charlotte van
Baren - ABVAKABO Trade Union; Evelyn Schwarz - Diakonie; Bob ter Haar –
Pastoral Programme Rotterdam; Lourdes Gordolan, Compas Research Center-
Oxford; Margaret Healy, KALAYAAN-UK & RESPECT-Europe; Wytze de Lange, X min
Y Solidariteit Fonds and Petra Snelders Migration policy expert.
At the conclusion of the
programme, which also marked the celebration of December 10, Human Rights
Day and December 18, Migrant Rights Day, the panelists expressed their
responses by committing their co-operation and participation in further
developing the campaign for the rights of MDWs in the Netherlands.
A Tribute for our
By LtC. MANUEL FELINO V. RAMOS, GSC (CAV) PA
December 3, 2005
LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – In celebration of the Andres Bonifacio Day,
the 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division, Philippine Army commemorated the
heroism and indomitable spirit of the Filipino heroes. November 30, 2005,
marks a significant date in the history of the Province of Samar as the
Provincial Peace and Development Forum was conducted here at the Camp Lukban
grandstand with the theme “Patriotism for Peace and Progress”. Among the
special guests who graced the occasion were Secretary Norberto Gonzales,
National Security Adviser, Honorable Governor Milagrosa Tan and the
Municipal Mayors of Samar Province, along with the Most Reverend Jose Palma,
Bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog. An estimated 8,000 delegates from the
Barangays of the different Municipalities of Samar participated in this
The symbolic day started
with a Wreath Laying Ceremony which immediately followed upon the arrival of
the invited guests and visitors at 8ID Heroes Memorial. A solemn ceremony of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines to honor the fallen heroes, this
activity gave special honor to both officers and enlisted personnel of the
8th Infantry Division who sacrificed their lives in service to the people
and in the preservation of peace and democracy of the country. Secretary
Norberto Gonzales and Gov Tan led the wreath laying ceremony. A fitting
recognition for the unsung heroes for their unselfish service, heroism and
indomitable spirit that serve as a guiding light to all Filipinos in the
quest for a peaceful and progressive country.
The “Mass for Peace” was
officiated by Bishop Jose Palma of the Diocese of Calbayog. In his homily
the good Bishop thanked the Lord for His blessings even as he urged his
flocks to seek the guidance of the Lord for unity and peace. He gave tribute
to the martyrdom of the Apostles and Andres Bonifacio as well as the modern
day heroism of the Overseas Filipino Workers and the soldiers who have
sacrificed a lot for the sake of peace.
Peace and Development Forum Highlights
Stressing to the Samareños
the importance of Peace to attain development, Mr. Pastor “Jun” Alcover,
Chairman of the ANAD Partly-list gave his vivid testimony how the CPP/NPA/NDF
employ the “Art of Deception”. The efforts of Legal Front Organizations to
deliberately deceive, organize and mobilize the people in the countryside to
fight and topple the democratic government in order to grab political power.
Likewise, Alcover expressed his dilemma and ordeal while in the communist
organization before and explained briefly to the audience the methodology of
agitation and propaganda being waged by them.
LtGen. Emmanuel Teodosio,
Commander of Central Command on his part stressed that he was overwhelmed by
the Samareños in their response in the fight against terrorism and
insurgency in Samar. He challenged everyone to continually unite and support
On the other hand, Secretary
Norberto Gonzales, in his message before thousands of Samarnons he lauded
the efforts of the Command for initiating the Peace and Development Forum.
He urged the 8ID to synergistically work with the Local Government Units and
the people in its efforts to totally eradicate the menace of CPP/NPA/NDF and
in order to attain peace and development of the province. “We can’t attain
development if the problem of insurgency exists in the area” he said. He
challenged the legal front organizations like BAYAN MUNA, ANAKPAWIS,
GABRIELA, SUARA BANGSAMORO, MIGRANTE, and ANAKBAYAN not to cloak their
communist ideology and to stop fooling the people of their real intentions
of sowing terror and grab power.
Giving inspiration to the
youth, two (2) students from
namely: Jocelle Gaviola and Rosalinda Olinar were given Plaques of
Appreciation by the Command and cash prizes for their simple yet meaningful
contribution of their Winning Poem Entries which depict the Evils of
Communism that affect the youth today. Adding memorable insights to the
celebration was a testimony given by a former NPA Commander, Ms Helen
Acebedo Alias “Lyka” formerly operating in the Eastern Samar areas. She
emotionally shared to the audience her ordeals while in the communist
organization. She was so thankful for her capture because the government
gave her another chance to live a new life.
Milagrosa Tan led the mass Affirmation of Support expressing full support to
the government for the attainment of peace and development and never again
support the CPP/NPA/NDF whose aim is to destroy freedom and democracy. The
Governor gave very impressive closing remarks as she captured the audience
in praise. She expressed her thanks for those who continually trust and
support her leadership in the province. She declared on the spot Educational
Fund Support to the attendees of the said forum to be released upon request
from the Local Chief Executives and likewise promised a Livelihood Fund
Support to be released next year.
Gov. Tan and MGen. Ramos led
the provincial and municipal officials in the burning of effigies that
symbolized the complete denouncing of the CPP/NPA/NDF from their lives while
altogether singing the song “AN PAGKAURUSA”.
decades of fear, threats and manipulation by the CPP/NPA/NDF, an estimated
8,000 people coming from the different barangays and municipalities of the
Province of Samar and Calbayog City, headed by Gov. Milagrosa Tan of Samar,
Municipals Mayors, Vice-Mayors, councilors and Barangay Captains, Civilian
Volunteer Organizations (CVO), religious organizations, students,
Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), People’s Organizations (POs), military
officers and personnel enthusiastically joined the “March for Peace”
that started from Olay Filed, Camp Lukban and ended at Provincial Capitol
and Pier area.
This noble endeavor was the
longest and largest march for peace that ever happened in Samar. The
Samarnos publicly denounced communism and the violence and atrocities being
perpetrated by the CPP/NPA/NDF and their allied legal front organizations in
their respective localities. They explicitly expressed wholehearted support
to development programs of the Armed Forces of the
and the government.
Land tilling: An act inciting to rebellion?- SAGUPA
Press Release by
November 29, 2005
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
- Perpetrators involving elements of the 19th Infantry Batallion under the
command of Lt. Adrian Luel Benedicto asserted that those innocent-civillian
farmers who were unconstitutionally arrested in the bloody incident in Brgy.
San Agustin, Palo, Leyte would face criminal charges before the provincial
prosecutor’s office for illegal assembly and inciting to rebellion. Isn’t it
illogical to file charges against these legitimate farmers when their
weapons only include “bolos” and agricultural/farm implements like hand
Samahan han Gudti nga
Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB), the regional alliance for
peasants strongly condemn the brutal killings of nine farmers and seriously
wounding five others, and further denounce the criminal case filed against
the 16 farmers involving some Bayan Muna members.
“The 19th IB headed by Maj.
Louie Dagoy should be the one to be prosecuted for illegally “planting”
evidence which includes different firearms and ammunitions which they
claimed they have recovered from these innocent civilians and most
especially for harboring terror and the sadistic killing of the innocent
farmers”, lashed Diana Ragub, Campaign and Advocacy officer of the peasant
Based on a fact finding
mission conducted by human rights advocates, church people, militant groups,
mediamen with Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño on November 22, 2005,
exactly a day after the massacre happened, evidence showed that
bullets were sprayed only in one direction using high powered guns like M-16
Roots of the massacre was a
land dispute between the four farmer-beneficiaries and Pedro Margallo. The
latter claimed that the 12 hectares of land occupied by these farmers is
part of the property which his family owns. The said farmers had been
declared as legitimate beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP) of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RA 6652). The
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) reiterated its decision that Brgy. San
Agustin area is covered by CARP with their organization as San Agustin
Farmer Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative.
“Land dispute have triggered
the November 21 Palo massacre. The presence of the military elements in the
area is even questionable as they have no jurisdiction to settle agrarian
disputes”, stressed Ragub. She further lamented that the idea that Pedro
Margallo may have contacted the soldiers and attracted their attention by
explicitly saying there are ‘armed’ groups in the vicinity of the barangay
is not a remote possibility.
According to the reports
gathered by Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas, Executive
Order 448 which dates back from the time of former president Corazon Aquino
paved the way for the inclusion of all lands in Leyte Sab- a Basin
Development Authority (LSBDA) to be included in the CARP- covered areas,
including 24 hectares of land in Brgy. San Agustin, Palo,
Leyte declared as public lands. Under the CAR Program, the
declared and identified agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) are Renato
Dizon, tilling an area of 2.8 hectares, Rene Margallo has one hectare, Ariel
Santizo has 2 hectares and Francisco Cobacha has 2.4 hectares with Bernabe
Burra as his (Cobacha) successor. These farmers have served as share-tenants
to Gorgonio Margallo, Cresencio Pardilla and Pedro Margallo since 1970’s and
they claimed that they are giving regular rentals/shares both to Gorgonio
and Pedro Margallo.
“When the lands were
declared as public and disposable through the CARP, the tenants have openly
expressed their desire to own the lots they have been tilling for many years
now, something which Pedro and Gorgonio Margallo vehemently opposes”, said
Maritess Macabuhay, Research Officer of SAGUPA-SB.
Based on records of the
DARAB Case No. R- 0801- 431- 98 of “Maintenance of Peaceful Possession and/
or Reinstatement, the Dizons, the Margallos, Santizo and Cobacha have
complained that their rice seedlings amounting to P10,000.00 were destroyed
by Cresencio Pardilla and the sons of Pedro Margallo; that they have
apparently lost 260 cavans of palay and that most of their produce were
destroyed by hand tractors operated by Pardilla and the sons of Pedro
“Thus, these farmers sought
the help of Bayan Muna and other farmers to organize a ‘tiklos’ in order to
abate resistance from Pedro Margallo and his sons”, said Macabuhay.
“How could tilling the land
appropriated to these farmer- beneficiaries be anywhere near rebellion? How
could ‘tiklos’ be an illegal assembly when it is the collective farming
practice done by farmers for many years now?” lamented Macabuhay, who is
part of the SAGUPA-SB team researching on the land dispute.
SAGUPA-SB, along with the
survivors and the families of those killed, is demanding justice and an end
to killings done by criminals clad in military uniforms.
Get together of Rebel
Returnees in 43IB Camp
LORIELYN P. CASEM (SC) PA
November 21, 2005
SOGOD, Southern Leyte
– The press conference held at the 43rd Infantry Battalion camp on November
18, had been more of a reunion for the former members of the NPA who
surrendered and are now living a new life with their loved ones. LtC Raul M.
Farnacio, Commanding Officer, 43rd Infantry Battalion, said that this was
also a chance for the rebel returnees to see how the others are doing after
surrendering and compare their lives just before they returned to the
mainstream and now that they are living freely.
LtC Farnacio stressed that
the first surrenderees from the Evelyn Dublin Command (EDC) are the couple
from Bgy. Maligaya, Mahaplag, Leyte namely Alejandro Sepada Y Torion alias
Edmond/Joe and Erlinda Daniel Y Saga alias Lean/Nancy who surrendered last
July this year, and are now living together with their family. This was
followed by Marcelo Montilla Y Pacombaba from Bgy.
Hilongos, Leyte, next was former CTM Raul Mejia Y Barcos alias Bayani/Rara
of Bgy San Juan, Mahaplag, Leyte who was apprehended and eventually
A few days after, Rodolfo
Cagadas Y Ecat alias Nelson/Satur of Bgy San Antonio, Hilongos, Leyte was
surrendered by the Mayor of his town. Subsequently, from the All Soul’s day
encounter of the 43IB with the NPA, two of their members were captured
namely - Eddie Opo Y Lor alias Meyong/Tekloy and Roberto Montilla Y
Pacombaba who ended up cooperating with the army upon learning that they
could also be given a second chance to start anew.
LtC. Farnacio revealed that
there were other captured and surrendered Communist Terrorists (CTs) who
chose not to be identified due to pending operations and for security
purposes. There are several CT members who lay low and still hiding because
of fear and threat from their own organization.
He added that these
surrenderees are not anymore treated as former CTs or captured, in fact, he
said, these CTs were instrumental in the latest encounter and recovery of 16
assorted firearms. In an interaction with the surrenderees and captured, it
appeared that they have the same sentiments to the CT armed group. They said
that since there is no mass support now from the barangay folks, they often
resorted to stealing root crops or anything that can somehow satisfy their
hunger and at times they think that they could no longer go on with their
sufferings. They said that what took them so long to surrender was the fear
that they will be killed by the army if they surrender, which is a popular
propaganda and deception of their leaders. Worst is that these CT
surrenderees are longing for the promises of a better life but it was
entirely the other way- the hardest.
The surrenderees even
convinced the armed group of EDC to lay down their arms and join them in
living a new life, no more hiding and killing. They are appealing to
Glecerio Roluna alias Ka Jay R, their leader and commander and to the other
members of the EDC to give peace a chance and return to the government’s
fold for good.
Ex-NPA commander “leaks” how
village officials support NPA rebels
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
– A 22-year-old former commander of the Communist’s armed wing,
the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) operating in the municipalities of Eastern
Samar divulged on Sunday the “ways” how village officials support the
Yelen Acebedo, alias “Ka
Lyka” or “Ka Silay” exposed the manner of some of the village and big
government working politicians extend support to the underground movement,
prior and after they were elected into office.
Ka Lyka, who formerly leads
a unit with 15-20 full time members, revealed these “top secrets” before
MajGen. Bonifacio B. Ramos, Commanding General of the Army’s 8th Infantry
Division, LGU officials and some 800 residents attending the 3-day Peace and
Development Forum which ended last October 23, 2005 in Motiong, Samar.
The former rebel said
village officials contribute 10% of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)
without being detected by the government’s Commission on Audit (COA).
“These village officials and
my (former) comrades accomplished that the 10% share be chargeable to the
village’s affairs such as official travels, community labors to avoid
detection in terms of audit,” Ka Lyka said in vernacular.
She said those villages that
sliced 10% from their IRA are considered as “organized” communities. Those
villages that have small IRA “gave” only 5-8% share to the movement.
Other village officials, Ka
Lyka said, who are afraid to slice amount from their village IRA were search
out the amount from their pockets “out of fear” of possible retaliation from
“Aside from cash donations,
village officials and barrio folks supported the movement by also giving
foods and protection,” the former rebel leader revealed.
This information leaked by
Ka Lyka confirmed earlier military reports that most, if not all, villages
in the island are NPA infested and controlled areas. But when MajGen. Jovito
Palparan assumed as 8ID top post last February, these were reportedly
minimized and “controlled.”
On one hand, the lady added
that some prominent politicians in the regions also supported her comrades
by giving weapons, cash and food supply.
“(Especially), in the
election time, we usually bargain for them (election candidates) their
“sure-winning” in the remote, upland and mountainous villages,” she said in
her 45-minute testimony.
The NPA collected millions
in every elections and additional high-powered firearms from the
politicians. Thus, according to her, the “support” was extended even after
the election lapsed by providing or lending government vehicles to rallies,
hiring of a full time NPA members to local government units.
The former rebel, however,
failed to identify any of those village officials, government personalities
and particulars LGU’s supporting the rebels.
In an interview, Ka Lyka
told media how she was recruited and her “sad plight” while inside the
underground movement. Along with other minors, she was recruited through the
movement’s Social Investigation and Class Analysis (SICA) in Samar’s
According to her, she was
recruited when she was still 16 years old in Maslog, Eastern Samar. Her
“friend” and one of her close relative made her decide to join the movement
sometime on 1998.
Inside the movement, she was
assigned as “youth organizer and recruiter” and later on elevated to a
higher rank, as commander of the 15-man unit of the North-East Guerilla
Front of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee of the New People’s
But contrary to what
promised to her, “the movement didn’t fulfill their promise to send me in
school, instead they forced me to marry a full-time NPA member, whom I do
not like,” she said.
“My life in the mountains
was miserable, it’s like hell. We ran almost all of the day. We have no
peace in mind, thinking that a platoon of Army might find out our camp,” she
In her almost 7 years in the
movement, Ka Lyka said she never been engaged into firefight with government
soldiers but only once served as “blocking force” when they attacked police
and army detachments.
Until one day, a trusted man
approached her and arranged her return to the folds of law. She said she hid
her M16-armalite rifle before she surrendered but later on recovered it
along with the army.
A skinny girl Ka Lyka, who
once quits schooling because of her joining the underground movement now
lives inside the Camp Fatima village, inside the 803rd Infantry Brigade in
Taft, Eastern Samar awaiting the government’s promise to send her school
again in due time.
This former rebel, dreams to
become a successful teacher someday, it was learned.