Bay Area Organizations Urge Philippine Government to Strengthen Relief Effort by Acquiring Temporary Protected Status for Filipinos
For Immediate Release
December 9, 2013
CONTACT: Jun Cruz, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
Bay Area Organizations Urge Philippine Government to Strengthen Relief Effort by Acquiring Temporary Protected Status for Filipinos
Joining the National Day of Action for TPS, Filipinos and their supporters meet with Philippine Deputy Consulate General pushing for the government to take immediate action.
San Francisco, CA – On Wednesday, December 4th eleven organizations met with Deputy Consulate General Ascalon to urge the Philippine government to push for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Filipinos in the U.S. TPS, if granted, would offer protection from deportation, authorization to work, and the possibility of overseas travel.
Migrante Northern California – San Francisco member Harold Butanas explained, “Talagang importante para sa akin ang magkaraoon ng TPS. Kung hindi ito maaprubahan mawawalan ako ng trabaho. Ang effecto nito, hindi ako makakapagpadala ng pera sa pamilya ko sa Pilipinas at tsaka nahihirapan kami dito sa U.S. na maghanap ng trabaho kung hindi ipagkakaloob ang TPS. (Getting TPS is very important to me. If TPS doesn’t come, I will lose my job. If this happens I won’t be able to send money to the Philippines, I won’t be able to send money to my family, and it will make it harder for me to find work if TPS isn’t granted.)
Butanas’ wife and kids live in northern-Cebu where the typhoon wiped out their home and much of the surrounding area. He currently has a job but his employer will let him go by the end of the month if Butanas does not get work authorization.
“TPS is an important form of relief for the Philippines. It increases the ability of tens of thousands of undocumented Filipinos here in the U.S. to contribute to the rebuilding of the Philippines,” said Terrence Valen, President of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
Fiona Cruz, a staff of Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) and a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), spoke as an undocumented woman who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA offers similar benefits as TPS and is also implemented within the administrative power of President Obama. Both DACA and TPS do not require congressional approval.
Cruz shared, “Since I received DACA I’ve been able to work and help my family support my sister through school. Having this relief has not only allowed me to live without fear of deportation but has enabled me to give back to the people I love. TPS isn’t a permanent fix but it’s an important step for recovery. It’s important to bring undocumented people out of the shadows so that they can support their family withbetter working conditions and with the dignity and respect that they deserve, if President Aquino can ask for TPS that would be great.”
Cruz is referring to the normal procedure for a country to acquire TPS. Traditionally, the Philippine government would make the request upon the U.S. government. Then, the Obama administration would decide on granting it or not through the Department of Homeland Security.
Deputy Consulate General Ascalon affirmed that the Philippine government was considering to request for TPS from the U.S. government, however, had various concerns including a possible effect on tourism. Ascalon posed one challenge – that the granting of TPS would possibly convey the message that the country was not ready to accept tourists.
The organizations at the meeting were shocked at this concern given the extreme need for relief and rehabilitation at this time. Valen contended, “The indisputable priority of the government should be on meeting the needs of its people who are suffering from disaster and acquiring TPS status from the U.S. government would help greatly in that cause.”
However, Valen, who is from New Orleans, also discredited the concern for negative effect on tourism citing his own personal experience, “After Katrina, people were not deterred from coming to New Orleans, it was the exact opposite. Many more came because they wanted to contribute to the rebuilding of the city and its communities.”
Closing the meeting, the Deputy Consulate General ensured the organizations present that he would take up the concern for requesting TPS with both Philippine Ambassor Cuisia and the government in Manila and give an update within a week or so.
All the organization present including Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s office, Migrante-Northern California, Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants, NAFCON, FAJ, ASPIRE, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, National Domestic Worker Coaltion, Mujeras Unidas, La Collectiva, and the Filipino Community Center support the effort to gain TPS for Filipinos and encourage the wholecommunity to urge the Philippine government to make the request upon the U.S. to grant it.
For those who wanting to join the effort, you can call the Philippine Embassy in the U.S. demanding President Aquino and Ambassador Cuisia to make the request at 202-467-9300, then immediately dial 3, and then 0 to leave a message. You can also email the embassy by clicking here. ###
(Bay Area, CA) Joining world-wide actions, more than fifty Filipinos protested in front of the Philippine consulate, September 19th, in San Francisco chanting, “Tama na, sobra na! Pork Barrel, i-abolish na!” (That’s enough it’s too much Pork Barrel must be abolished now!).
The action, led by Migrante Northern California and joined by dozens from many other organizations, conveyed the outrage that millions of Filipinos throughout the world are feeling in response to the abuse of Public Funds by the highest officials in the Philippines including President Benigno Aquino III and his personal allies.
According to Edwin Herrera, a member of Migrante-Nor Cal, “Government officials don’t have a plan to uplift the poor and are only thinking of how they can fill their pockets with the funds that are intended for the people. Politicians are using the system to protect their vested interests and those of their partners and close associates. That is an example of why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in the Philippines.
As a part of their action, the protesters joined in Migrante International’s world-wide call to halt all remittances to the Philippines for one day. “Every month migrant workers send their hard earned income to support their families back home in the Philippines and it is shameful for these politicians to get away with stealing funds from the poor. We want all remittances to stop on this day to show Aquino that migrants are united against Pork Barrel.”
Members from other Filipino organizations that joined the protest such as Babae San Francisco and the League of Filipino Students San Francisco State held placards saying “Zero Remittance Day for Zero Pork” and “Gobyernong Korap, Mamamayang Naghirhirap”, (The government is corrupt the people always struggle!)
Migrante Nor-Cal highlighted in their program filled with speakers and cultural performances that Pork Barrel is only one example of a much deeper problem in the Philippines. Migrante connects this pork barrel scandal to an over-dependence of the Philippines on migrant labor. Remittances, which in 2012, totaled 22 billion dollars annually is widely understood as one of the main contributions which keep the country afloat despite widespread political and economic corruption.
“Political corruption is one of the root causes that keep Philippine society dwarfed and depressed. These conditions force millions of our “kababayans” to find work abroad, separating us from our loved ones and families. The sacrifice of OFW should not go unrecognized. Migrante-Nor Cal urge our “kababayans” to unite and call for the Abolition of the Pork Barrel and to re-channel such Public Funds to social services, including repatriation and assistance to all distressed OFWs around the world”, Bernadette Herrera, another member of Migrante Nor-cal concluded.
Migrante Nor-cal is a grassroots organization of Filipino workers that fights for the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants and Over Seas Workers, in the Bay Area. It is also a chapter of Migrante International which promotes migrants’ rights and dignity against all forms of discrimination, exploitation and abuse in the work place and in the community and resist all anti-migrant policies For more information on Migrante Nor Cal and Migrante International email email@example.com ###
Statement – 15 July 2013
“Migration is a product of underdevelopment”
IMA: Development for the people, not for profit
The International Migrants’ Alliance, a global alliance of grassroots migrants organizations, will hand in a submission to the UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD).
Gathering endorsement and support from almost a hundred organizations and counting, this submission reflects the IMA’s position on the current global discussion on migration being deemed as a tool for development.
In the submission that will be handed over by IMA members participating in the HLD Interactive Hearing in New York this July 15, the IMA challenges the leaders of the U.N. to rethink the framework by which they look at migration vis-à-vis its links to development.
IMA contends that the current trend of migration is a product of underdevelopment. Many people are driven by sheer poverty, unemployment and hopelessness in their home countries to find work abroad. Instead of addressing these issues, governments manage and facilitate labor migration without the assurance of human rights protection for their nationals working abroad.
Management of migration is more profit-driven than it is rights-based. This is very clear in how the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has put premium on remittances as a byproduct of migration that can be utilized for development but not discussing the worsening conditions that migrants, refugees and displaced peoples around the world face.
This is also seen in the growing number of cases of abuse, exploitation, discrimination, trafficking and other forms of violations committed against migrant workers that has never been in the center of the global migration discourse.
In Hong Kong, for example, foreign domestic workers are learning to collectively expose and fight illegal practices and abuses by recruitment agencies both from Hong Kong and from their respective home countries. The proliferation of these cases of illegal collection, overcharging, harassment and intimidation can be attributed to the inaction from respective governments whom the migrant workers first turn to for protection.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, thousands of undocumented Filipino migrant workers had to set up camp and protest in front of the Jeddah and Riyadh offices of the Philippine Embassy before the Philippine government heeds their demand for repatriation.
In the submission, the IMA demands the global leaders the following actions: (a) instituting an international mechanism like a Universal Periodic Review for migrant workers that will aim to review how states follow instruments in the protection of migrants and refugees; (b) promoting dialogues between countries of origins and destination to discuss attention for migrants in distress; (c) regulating private recruitment and financing agencies providing loans to migrants and prosecuting erring agencies; (d) adopting and implementing policies to protect migrants in vulnerable conditions; (e) reforming the framework of migrant-receiving countries that migrants are threats to national security; and (f) creating and amending laws to be consistent with relevant international conventions.
As the submission continues to gather endorsements, the IMA encourages the many civil society organizations to support this submission and carry the best interests of the migrant workers and refugees in their dealings inside the HLD.
Furthermore, the IMA will hold together with other organizations the 4th International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) in October, which will be parallel to the HLD. The IAMR is the parallel forum of the grassroots migrants that consistently challenges the GFMD and its neoliberal framework while exposing the conditions of migrants all over the world and advancing their causes.
This 4th installment of the IAMR aim to further raise the demands of migrants and challenge the global leaders in the U.N. to listen to them, involve them in the process and take these issues at hand. Some of the issues that will be focused on are Obama’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
In conclusion, IMA strongly believes that migration based on necessity should stop. The root causes of this form of migration should be addressed and resolved in the HLD while immediate concrete measures such as protecting rights of migrants should be developed.
Migrant workers, refugees, displaced peoples should take center stage in the upcoming HLD. For in all these discussions, they will be the ones most affected and they should be ones the leaders should listen to.
Eni Lestari, chairperson (+852-96081475)
Ramon Bultron, member of IMA International Coordinating Body (+852-27287536)
The U.S. government is working on comprehensive immigration reform that will affect the future of every person in America and millions around the world. On this early evening, we will learn about how the proposed law effects our communities and then we will CHA CHA CHA for Genuine Immigration Reform!
Hosted by the SF Filipino Immigrant Rights Task Force and
the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns – Northern California
For more information contact:
Jun Cruz NAFCON Staff person at 415.333.6267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Ano ang nangyayari sa kasalukuyan sa reporma sa imigrasyon, at bakit ito ay importante sa mga Pilipino?
Kasalukuyang pinaguusapan ng goberyo ng Estados Unidos kung paano ayusin ang imigrasyon sa bansa. Nakasalang ngayon ang isang panukalang batas, S.744, upang ipatupad ang comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) o komprehensibong reporma sa imigrasyon. Maapektuhan ng S.744 ang buhay ng bawat tao sa Estados Unidos at ang mga milyon na tao sa buong mundo sa mga darating na dekada.
2. Ano nga ba ang S.744, ang saligang batas ng Senado para sa Comprehensive Immigration Reform o ang Komprehensibong Reporma sa Imigrasyon?
Marami ang naniniwala at nangangarap na ang S.744 ay magbibigay ng agarang lunas sa 11 milyon na imigrante na walang papel sa Estados Unidos kung saan 1 milyon ay mga Pilipino at upang makasama nila ang kanilang mga pamilya. Ngunit sa kasalukuyan, ito ay isang panukala na magpapahigpit sa pagpapatupad ng mga batas sa imigrasyon, maglilikha ng paraan upang maging citizen ng Estados Unidos ang mga iilang mga imigrante na walang papel, at nagbabanta na pawalang bisa ang pagpepetisyon ng mga kapatid.
3. Paano maaapektuhan ng S.744 ang mga imigrante?
Sa mga imigrante na walang papel, ang S.744 ay lilikha ng masalimuot na paraan para maging citizen ang mga imigrante na walang papel. Ang ilang probisyon ng S.744 ay ang pagbabayad ng $2,000 at lahat ng mga buwis na hindi pa nabayaran, at ang pagtratrabaho ng tuloy-tuloy sa 6 anim na taon. Ang mga hindi na makakagawa ng mga ito ay sasailalim sa paglilitis na may kaparusahan na deportasyon. Tatanggalin rin ng S.744 ang kakayahan ng mga citizen na petisyunin ang kanilang mga kapatid pagkatapos ng 18 buwan mula sa pag-aaproba ng S.744. Ipagpapatuloy rin nito ang hindi pantaong pagtrato sa mga imigrante bilang mga kriminal, mga imigrante na ang gusto lamang ay suportahan ang kanilang mga sarili at kanilang mga pamilya.
4. Kailangan ko bang mabahala kung ako ay isang citizen?
Oo, lahat tayo ay maapektuhan ng S.744. Kung ito ay mapasa, lilikha ang gobyerno ng Estados Unidos ng isang pambansang sistema na magbibigay ng “biometric ID” sa lahat nga mga tao sa bansa. 46 bilyon ng ating mga buwis na dolyar ay gagamitin sa pagpapatupad ng mga batas sa imigrasyon. Ito ay pera na dapat sana ay gamitin ng gobyerno para sa edukasyon, trabaho, kalusugan, serbisyo at iba pa nating pangangailangan.
5. Mayroon bang anumang bagay na maganda sa S.744?
Dahil sa mga taon-taon na edukasyon at pag-oorganisa, ang S.744 ay mayroong mga probisyon na ang huwarin ay pabutihin ang mga buhay nga mga imigrante at kanilang mga pamilya. Ang mga probisyon na ito ay ang pagsama ng DREAM Act, ang pag-clear ng visa backlog, at ng paglilikha ng paraan upang maging mga citizen ang mga iilang imigrante na walang papel.
6. Ano ang timeline para sa S.744?
Noong Hunyo, pinasa ng Senado ng Estados Unidos ang kanyang bersyon ng S.744. Hinihintay natin ngayon na pag-usapan at aprobahan ng mga kongresista ang S.744. Ito ay maari mangyari anumang araw mula Setyembre (lahat ng mga probisyon ay kailangan aprobahan ng mga senador at kongresista ng Estados Unidos bago ito ipasa sa Presidente para pirmahan). Ang buwan ng Agosto ay napakaimportanteng buwan dahil ito ay buwan bago magdesisyun ang mga kongresista sa S.744. Sa buwan na ito rin ay pupunta ang mga kongresista sa kanilang mga lokalidad; magkakaroon tayo ng pagkakataon na bisitahin sila!
7. Anong kailangan gawin ng ating komunidad para protektahan ang ating mga sarili?
Ang pinakaimportanteng bagay na dapat gawin ng ating komunidad ay ang magbigay edukasyon, magsama-sama, at ang mag-organisa. Kung papasa ang S.744, ang mga tao na kwalipikado para sa mga benepisyo at sa mga tao na hindi rin ay mangangailangan ng isang komunidad na may sapat na kaalaman upang magbigay suporta at proteksyon. Kung hindi papasa ang S.744 sa taong ito, ang ating komunidad ay kailangan mas maging matibay at mas mag-organisa para maipagpatuloy natin ang pagtutulak ng mga bagay na makakabuti para sa atin. Hindi dapat tayo mabahala kung dapat ba natin suportahan ang S.744 o hindi; magiging dahilan lang nito ang hindi pagkakaintindihan at pagkawatak-watak ng ating komunidad. Lahat ng mga saligang batas na may pagkakataon na makapasa ay mayroong mga probisyon na hindi katanggap-tanggap. Kaya naman ang ating komunidad ay kailangan maging mas matibay upang lumaban para sa pagkakaroon ng mas magandang batas.
8. Ano ang dapat kong gawin?
Para sa mga imigrante na mga legal at mga walang papel, importante na ibahagi natin ang ating mga istorya para ipakita na ang lahat ng mga imigrante ay dapat pahalagahan, at karapat-dapat igalang at ipagtanggol.
Dapat tayo sumali sa mga organisasyon sa ilalim ng NAFCON at iba pang mga organisasyon mula sa mga komunidad ng imigrante sa buong bansa upang tulungan mag-aral at mag-organisa ang ating mga komunidad. Dapat rin tayong makipag-ugnay sa ating mga kongresista at humingi ng isang tunay na komprehensibong reporma sa imigrasyon na inuuna ang mga manggagawa at pagpapanatili ng mga pamilya, at hindi ang mga malalaking negosyo.
9. Ano pa ba ang dapat kong malaman?
Ang reporma sa imigrasyon ay isang parte lamang ng mas malaking pagbabago na kinakailangan mangyari. Ang kahirapan sa Pilipinas at sa buong mundo ay nagpwepwersa sa mga tao na umalis na kanilang mga bansa at makaranas ng hindi magandang mga kondisyon sa trabaho. Tayo ay kailangan magtulungan para masolusyonan ang mga ugat ng kahirapan at ng sapilitang migrasyon ng mga tao.
10. Saan ako pwede kumuha ng mga karagdagang impormasyon?
Maraming mga videos, mga larawan at iba pa na matatagpuan sa nafconusa.tumblr.com at sa www.nafconusa.org. Pwede mo rin kontakin si Jun Cruz, NAFCON Public Information Officer. Tawagan siya sa 415.33.6267 o email sa email@example.com. Pwedeng sagutin ni Jun ang iyong mga katanungan at ipasa kayo sa mga kinatawan ng NAFCON sa inyong mga lugar.