For Immediate Release
January 31, 2017
Reference: AV David, NAFCON Secretary General, firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-491-4561
U.S. Filipinos to Duterte: It is your duty to protect Filipinos abroad!
As it continues to organize the Filipino community to combat Trump’s racist and inhumane policies on Muslims, refugees, and immigrants, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) denounces Duterte’s statement that he would “not lift a finger” to help Filipinos deported from the US by the Trump administration. NAFCON demands that Duterte follow through on the proposal for the Philippines to welcome Muslim refugees, and that the Philippine government justly support its Filipino citizens abroad.
“We would like to remind President Duterte that Filipino immigrants abroad, regardless of immigration status, must be served by the Philippine government. He himself has said before that he plans to improve the Philippines so that leaving the country would be a choice, and not a need for survival. He knows full well that Filipinos are forced to leave because of unemployment and poverty,” says AV David, NAFCON Secretary General.
Over the past weekend, thousands across the United States took it to dozens of airports across the country to protest Trump’s executive order banning immigration from 7 predominantly Muslim countries and suspending the entry of refugees. Filipinos participated in these actions, standing in solidarity will the Muslim, immigrant, and refugee communities. During his campaign, Trump included the Philippines in his “terrorist” nation list and even called Filipinos “animals”, so it would be no surprise if he also banned immigration from the Philippines.
“While we welcome Duterte’s pronouncements that he will consider offering sanctuary to refugees affected by Trump’s Muslim ban, we challenge him to see the same humanity in Filipinos abroad. Many are already sharing heightened experiences of racial discrimination, fear of deportation, and lack of support,” continues David. Out of the over 4 million Filipinos the US, 1 million are undocumented and Philippine officials in Washington DC recently reported that more than 300,000 could be facing deportation due to Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.
NAFCON has long called for Consulates in the US to provide free legal services and “Know Your Rights” trainings to the Filipino community as vital resources. The group also scores the Philippine government for failing to stop the execution of Jakatia Pawa, a Filipina domestic helper in Kuwait, last week.
Michael Tayag of Migrante Northern California also draws connection to Duterte’s strong pronouncements criticizing the unequal relations between the Philippines and the United States, as exemplified in his latest tirade stating that the Mamasapano fiasco that killed 67 Filipinos is CIA operation and sending notice to the US military not to build permanent weapon depot in the Philippines. “He knows that US big businesses and the US government have exacerbated the conditions that push Filipinos abroad in the first place. Rather than turning away Filipinos who have been victimized by these unequal relations that Duterte himself has called out in the past, he should fulfill his promises to assert Philippine national sovereignty and defend Filipino citizens abroad,” says Tayag.
“The Philippine government must provide timely and sufficient services to Filipinos abroad. Ultimately, it must create conditions in the Philippines, such as ending contractualization and creating industries, to ensure that Filipinos can find work domestically and would not need to leave the country to feed their families,” ends David.