Please let us know that you have sent a fax or e-mail and if possible call the consulate/embassy to make sure they have received the letter and to ask what they are planning to do.
Consulate of the Netherlands in Montreal
fax: 514 849-8260
phone: 514 849-4247
Embassy of the Netherlands in Ottawa
fax: 613 237-6471
phone: 613 237-5030
Thank you very much for your solidarity! Free Jose Maria Sison now!
For your information, an indignation picket line was held Wednesday, August 29, 2007 by the CAP-CPC and anti-imperialist friends in front of the U.S consulate in Montreal to demand the release of Jose Maria Sison. CAP-CPC also attended an action on Friday, August 31 at noon at the Dutch consulate in Montreal. Keep tuned for the date, time and place of future actions. Please contact us at capcpc[at]web.ca if you would like to receive regular (2 per week max.) updates.
Le Centre d'appui aux Philippines (CAP-CPC) et d'autres anti-imperialistes ont fait un ligne de piquetage devant le Consulat des Etats-unis à Montréal mercredi, le 29 août 2007 pour exiger la libération du Professeur Jose Maria Sison. Ce dirigeant du mouvement national démocratique philippin, qui vit en exil aux Pays-bas, a été arrêté par la police néerlandais le 28 août sous de fausses accusations de meurtre.
Le CAP-CPC a aussi initié un appel à l'envoi massif de fax et de courriels à l'Ambassade néérlandaise à Ottawa et au Consulat néerlandaise à Montréal pour exiger la libération du Professeur Sison. Le CAP-CPC a participé à une autre action vendredi, le 31 août devant le Consulat des Pays-bas à Montréal, avec le Philippines Canada Task Force on Human Rights et d'autres groupes.
Nous avons aussi demandé la libération du militant anti-impérialiste philippin, Jose Maria Sison, arrêté par la police néérlandais le mardi 27 août 2007!
The Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns and its anti-imperialist friends held a picket line Wednesday, August 29, 2007 from 5-6 pm in front of the U.S. Consulate in Montreal to support the victims of the devastating Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. August 29 marked the second anniversary of the storms and the opening day of the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans (see www.internationaltribunal.org for more details). Event supported by the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS). Let's help build the People's Hurricane!
The demonstrators also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Philippine revolutionary leader, Jose Maria Sison, arrested by Dutch police on trumped up charges Tuesday, August 27, 2007!
Solidarity Message to the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
August 29, 2007
To the organizers of the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
To the organizers of the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
We wish to convey our warmest solidarity greetings from the Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) in Montreal. The CAP-CPC is a member organization of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), one of the endorsing organizations for this tribunal. We believe that this tribunal is an important event that will further expose the criminal culpability and neglect of the US government towards African-Americans, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, and the poor during and after Hurricane Katrina.
Even as we write this solidarity message to you, the Chairperson of the ILPS, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, has been arrested by Dutch officials. Prof. Sison who is a known political refugee in the Netherlands has been and continues to be a harsh critic of US foreign policy, especially with regards to US policy in his home country, the Philippines. Because of this, we believe that Prof. Sison is a victim of the extended racism and national oppression of US imperialism through its global war of terror.
It is not enough that US imperialism continues to oppress and exploit the people within its own borders, but it also spreads these policies of oppression and exploitation throughout the world using its puppet regimes in the third world and its rabid allies in the west.
As Prof. Sison wrote in his statement on behalf of the ILPS, "When six residents of New Orleans died from flooding in 1995 a project named Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) was started to protect the city from flooding. In 2003 the flow of dollars from the federal government dropped to a trickle due to diversion of public funds to the war in Iraq and homeland security so-called, while the Bush regime was giving big tax cuts to the big corporations."
Prof. Sison goes on to say in the statement, "We commend the organizers of the Tribunal for striving to raise public consciousness on the crimes of the Bush regime against the African-American people, fighting against injustice, upholding the rights of the victims and doing all they can to help the survivors rebuild their lives. The campaign to defend the rights of the victims and bring about the benefits that are due them can only be as successful as they can be aroused, organized and mobilized to fight for their rights and welfare."
· Hold the US government accountable for its crimes against humanity;
· Demand financial restitution and justice for the victims of Katrina and Rita;
· Advance the Katrina-Rita reconstruction movement;
· Build a global campaign against the US government’s program of ethnic cleansing;
· Demand that the US government adhere to UN guidelines on Internally Displaced Persons
The CAP-CPC, along with its friends and supporters will be answering the call of the International Tribunal and the ILPS for coordinated solidarity actions by holding a rally in front of the US consulate in Montreal on August 29, 2007.
We wish you success with the Tribunal!
That the Mountains May Chant the Truth – 30 min. Des dirigeantes autochtones défendant leurs droits ancestraux sont victimes de balles d’assassins.
Welga Kami - 20 min. Un éloge à “Ka Fort” Fortuna, président du syndicat de Nestlé aux Philippines, tué en 2005 pendant la grève qui continue.
Poverty, Power & Persuasion: 2007 Elections in the Philippines - 5 min. La militarisation dans un bidonville de Manille durant les élections en mai 2007.
Sa Ngalan ng Tubo - 30 min. Le massacre de travailleurs et travailleuses du sucre à Hacienda Luisita en 2005. Les projections seront suivies de discussions en présence de militantEs et d’observateurs-trices récemment revenues de séjours aux Philippines.
Intervenantes : Minerva Guttierez, Stefan Christoff, Freda Guttman, Fr. Art Calaycay, Sarwat Viqar.
Le même soir au FSQ, nous avons aussi présenté le film de Malcolm Guy et Eylem Kaftan, Bledi, mon pays est ici, sur la lutte contre la déportation des Algériens sans-statut.
A programme of films on the situation in the Philippines was presented at the Quebec Social Forum (QSF) on August 24, 2007. All are works by video artists in the Philippines, many of whom face beatings, abduction and other harassment because of the work they do. A presentation of the Centre for Philippine Concerns and Productions Multi-Monde.
That the Mountains May Chant the Truth – 30 min. Indigenous communities who defend their ancestral rights are targets for assassination.
Welga Kami - 20 min. A tribute to Ka Fort Fortuna, President of the Nestle Philippines union, assassinated during the strike against this Swiss transnational which is still underway.
Poverty, Power & Persuasion: 2007 Elections in the Philippines - 5 min, by Stefan Christoff and Kodao film collective. Militarization in a huge Manila slum during the May 2007 elections.
Sa Ngalan ng Tubo - 30 min. The massacre of workers at a bitterly fought strike at Hacienda Luisita, owned by the family of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, in 2005.
The screenings will be followed by discussions with activists and election observers recently back from the Philippines.
The film by Malcolm Guy and Eylem Kaftan, Bledi, this is our home, about non-status Algerians fighting against deportation was also presented the same evening at the QSF.
Site du Forum social quebecois: http://www.er.uqam.ca/nobel/social//2007/
Joey Calugay - Centre for Philippine Concerns
August 13, 2007
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
It was August 2000 when my wife, Jasmin, woke up to a phone call. I can hear a woman’s frantic voice over the phone and immediately recognized, Melca Salvador. Jasmin was the chairperson of PINAY at the time and Melca was the vice-chairperson, both were leaders of the Filipino women’s organization based here in Quebec. It was time for them to mobilize the rest of PINAY and friends. Melca had received a deportation order and was to go into hiding.
Slave worker under Canada’s Live-in Caregivers Program (LCP) and victim of Philippines Labour Export Policy (LEP)
Melca had narrowly escaped capture and detention by officials as a non-status migrant worker in Egypt through the help of a former employer who got her into the LCP in Canada. Two months after starting her job in Montreal she found out that she was pregnant and was immediately fired by her Canadian employer.
4 years later, in early 2000, she had received her "voluntary" deportation order because she was not able to fulfill the strict requirements of 2 years live-in work within 3 years time under the LCP. She was faced with complying with this order and having to drag her 3 year old Canadian-born son Richard with her to an uncertain future. They were to go back to the country that pushed her out along with millions of Filipinos to find work abroad and to send money back called remittances.
The annual remittances of overseas Filipino migrant workers amounted to $12.8 bn US in 2006 according to the Philippine Central Bank. It ranks fifth in the world for remittances according to the World Bank, just behind India, China, Mexico, and France. The forecast for 2007 is that Filipinos will remit up to $14.1bn by the end of the year. This global trade in people is the highest income generating business of the Philippine government, keeping its economy afloat and helping to pay for the more than $55bn in foreign debt.
Just this past July Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in her state of the nation address predicted that the Philippines can prosper and attain First World status in 20 years if it continues implementing neo-liberal policies prescribed to her by her imperialist masters. She also proposes to make Philippines secure for foreign investors by getting rid of the people’s movement calling for her ouster through her own brand of the "war on terror". Of course the more than 5000 Filipinos who leave the country each day and the millions more who can't leave and face unemployment, landlessness or a 2 dollar a day pay check would argue that she was insane.
But even with insurmountable odds against the people, there are small victories. With the collective efforts of PINAY, the Filipino women’s organization Melca helped lead, their persistence in gathering thousands of signatures for a petition, of leading weekly rallies in front of the immigration office, of the media blitzes, press conferences, piles of statements, speeches, speaking tours, public forums, and more, Melca’s case helped expose the LCP as part and parcel of the imperialist globalization of labour.
Also, with the pivotal roles played by the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC), the Centre for Philippine Concerns (CPC) and countless other organizations across Canada in garnering support from other communities and the general public to stay the deportation of Melca and her son Richard, the one year long campaign resulted in a victory. Melca and Richard were granted status in Canada. The deportation order was lifted.
The damage was done
The long arduous fight took its toll on Melca and Richard. The months of hiding, traveling from one place to another, long nights of meetings and assessments, the insecurity of not knowing their future, the challenges of Richard to get medical care for his asthma, to go to daycare and to play... the anxiety this caused them is imprinted in their minds and has caused trauma and exhaustion.
Richard has faced challenges in school and sometimes wakes up at night screaming. Melca cannot care for him properly as she again faces another major challenge. Melca is diagnosed with cancer and is now struggling to beat this too. Today Richard has become a part of our family and has moved into our home as Melca now fights for her life.
Still an uncertain future for the children of Filipinos living abroad
Russell, my son, was with his mother when she was up on those stages making speeches during the year long campaign to stay the deportation of Melca. As PINAY’s chairperson at the time Jasmin would lead her organization to find justice for one of their leaders, Melca Salvador. She was making a speech during a public forum just a day before she went into labour. Our son was born just in time to celebrate Melca Salvador’s victory party.
Russell is now 6 and innocent as he is, loves the fact that Melca's son, Richard, now lives with us. As Russell plays with Richard in our home, we often wonder and worry about the prosperity and security of their futures. I know when they are older they will have to face the realities of an inaccessible education while tuition fees and education costs rise under the policies of deregulation, privatization and trade liberalization. These neo-liberal policies will only continue to expand and become entrenched under more of the same trade and border security agreements between imperialist nations with their neo-colonies in tow.
Countless other Filipino migrants face insecurity and will not prosper
As Melca battles cancer she is helped and cared for by another domestic worker, Miriam. Miriam is a member of PINAY, who had to quit her job a few years ago when she found out that the basement room her employer provided her was causing her to get hives from an allergic reaction to some exposed building materials.
She complained and tried to get compensated for lost wages due to her illness through CSST – the Quebec workman’s compensation. She found out that domestic work is not considered part of the labour standards that is covered by CSST in Quebec. She along with the IWC and PINAY is fighting for the inclusion of domestic workers to be covered under the CSST. Still we are told that deregulation of labour standards is the path to prosperity for us all.
Several other domestic workers who approached either PINAY or the IWC filed cases with the Quebec labour board against their employers for unpaid wages, long hours of work, verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassments and a whole slew of other disturbing work conditions that they face outside of the public eye as they work isolated in their employer’s homes.
To make matters worse, Canada, as part of extending its temporary workers program is making deals with the Philippines to contract hundreds of Filipino migrant labourers to work in the oil sands of Alberta. Unlike the precarious, temporary status of live-in domestics under the LCP, the oil sands workers will not have a chance to apply for immigrant status in Canada. The carrot has been removed and the stick enlarged. Money to send home would be the only reason to accept whatever work conditions they will face in the isolation of the wastelands of Alberta. The prosperity and security of Canada and the US depends on this new source of oil but I now wonder about the prosperity and security of the workers who make the profit for these imperialist nations.
Some dare to struggle
The brave souls who decide to take a stand and fight with their community organizations and their support systems can now and are now put under unwarranted surveillance, put on watch lists, detained, degraded and deported. I watch in awe at some of these Filipino domestic workers with practically no status bravely take a stand even in the face of being branded “troublemakers” or worse and often threatened with deportation.
Take the case of the current vice-chairperson of PINAY, Delia. Soon her three years under the LCP will be up and Canadian immigration will find that she may be lacking some months of the 24 months of live-in work required under the LCP. This, because she decided that she would have no part of her employer’s constant and daily verbal abuse. She quit that job and it took her more than 6 months to find work and transfer her work visa to a new employer accounting for the shortfall in required time of live-in work.
Delia faces this hanging threat of deportation along with the fact that her organization, PINAY, as a member of the Migrante alliance of Filipino organizations overseas has been put on the Philippine military’s list of people’s organizations branded as “communist” fronts and thus a target for “neutralization” under their Operation Plan "Bantay Laya" or "Operation Guard Freedom". But even with these threats I still saw her out there with her organization when the Centre for Philippine Concerns and allied organizations called for mobilizations in front of the Philippine and US consulates to denounce the more than 850 political killings of activists in the Philippines. She was there again just this past July when we organized a demonstration denouncing the newly implemented Human Security Act or the Philippine anti-terror law that will try to justify these political killings under a cloud of impunity.
The struggle continues - to Montebello we go!
US president Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Harper and Mexican president Calderon are meeting in Montebello, Quebec this August to discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) for North America. The SPP will build on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1994. The SPP will ensure the security of imperialist borders and control the in and out flow of migrant labour while also ensuring the prosperity of monopoly capitalism through more of the same neo-liberal policies under imperialist globalization. For the working poor of this region it will only guarantee their insecurity and poverty for years to come.
Delia will most probably be out in Montebello protesting if she is able to take a day off from her current LCP employment and not be threatened with firing. Yes, I believe she would be out there with PINAY, the Centre for Philippine Concerns and other progressive Filipino organizations in Canada holding their banners and shouting, “Down with imperialism! Down with the SPP!”
*This speech was presented during a panel discussion on the SPP at the Community Dinner and Forum organized by the Immigrant Workers Centre, No One Is Illegal and Tadamon (Lebanese Solidarity Group). Joey Calugay is a researcher for the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Quebec and a strong supporter of the Immigrant Workers Centre.