Filipino migrants in NL demand equal rights, regularization

Hundreds joined the national protest MOVE demo on Dam Square in Amsterdam last 18 June to draw attention to human rights violations within Europe’s borders and the difficulties faced by asylum seekers who enter Eorope. Migrante Netherlands, an association of Filipino migrants and refugees, called for equal treatment of Filipino asylum seekers as well as the regularization and protection for all migrants living in the Netherlands.

Speaking to the Dutch audience, Migrante Netherlands-Amsterdam Chairperson Eunice de Asis said: “We have fled economically devastated countries where it is difficult to put food on the table. We are not here to take advantage of your benefits or steal your employment.”

“We are the people working as your cleaners, nannies, cooks, and caretakers…However, we continue to be without permits to stay and without any access to the fundamental rights you enjoy,” she added.

De Asis stressed how existing Dutch immigration laws such as the Benefit Entitlement Act of 1998 (Koppelingswet) denies migrants of their rights to social benefits such as health care, housing, and employment.

“We are left in a desperate situation due to the Koppelingswet and immigration regulations which make us vulnerable to exploitation by our employers, landlords and organized criminals,” de Asis said.

“We are access denied to housing, access denied to healthcare, access denied to banking, we are access denied to public transportation, supermarkets and everyday needs of life,”

The demonstration – organized by MiGreat, a project focused on changing narratives around migration across Europe – was attended by members of the public as well as activists from diverse ethnic backgrounds and communities, highlighting the message that ‘refuge is a human right.’

The demonstrators also called for an end to wars, which cause forced migration, paying tribute to the migrants who lost their lives, especially in the migrant boat that sank earlier this month off the coast of Greece leaving at least 79 dead and many more missing.

It rained lies inside congress during BBM’s SONA

BAYAN reaction to Sona 2024

It may be raining hard in the streets but it was raining lies inside the Batasang Pambansa during the State of the Nation Address of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. After two years in power, he keeps on saying the lives of ordinary Filipinos have improved. He failed to mention his epic failure to bring down the prices of basic goods, particularly rice; and the refusal of his government to support a substantial wage hike for workers. He mentions extending support to our people through crop insurance, medical assistance, and technology-driven education reforms which are at best palliative compared to what we have been demanding: genuine land reform and production subsidy for farmers, bona fide universal health care, and higher state subsidy for the education sector. He also would take away Philhealth funds for his administration’s pork barrel expenditures. He claimed to be a “proactive advocate for heightened climate responsibility and justice” but contradicted himself by mentioning the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project, a large-scale construction that threatens to destroy the environment and displace Tumandok Indigenous Peoples. He cited the “KALINISAN sa Bagong Pilipinas” and the “Bigyang Buhay Muli ang Ilog Pasig” yet his government has approved destructive projects like PAREX, reclamation, and mining. He also didn’t speak about the dirty impact of foreign military basing and frequent military exercises on our shores and inside our territories. He was silent about several controversial initiatives like the Maharlika Investment Fund, expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, intensified military exercises with foreign troops, the signing of the Reciprocal Access Agreement with Japan – all of which are costly programs that allow foreigners to undermine our sovereignty and exploit our resources. He has the temerity to brag about the “bloodless war on dangerous drugs” even if a considerable number of drug-related killings have been documented over the past two years. He said that the 8 E’s of his government’s anti-drug campaign does not include “Extermination”. On the contrary, cases of Extrajudicial killings and Enforced Disappearances have continued to persist under his presidency. His “peace program” has resulted in numerous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Red-tagging remains the de facto response of state forces to dissent and activism; trumped-up cases are filed against critics and human rights defenders; and militarization in rural communities involve the use of aerial bombs. Marcos Jr. once again was ominously silent about peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. He is clearly one with the militarist mindset that denies legitimate and deeply rooted reasons for armed conflict; considers the violations of human rights and IHL as acceptable “collateral damage” in its counterinsurgency program; and the bloated and graft-ridden NTF-ELCAC “baranggay development funds” as the answer to socioeconomic injustice. History has proven such all-out war policy is doomed to fail. He bragged about new jobs created under his watch, but have hardly made a dent on chronic unemployment and underemployment. Not to mention are these decent, stable, and high quality jobs? He enumerated several infrastructure projects but are they accessible to the poor and the PWD? Have they made a difference to the harried commuter making do with a broken transportation system? Or are they similar to the PWD footbridge ramp of the MMDA that looks more like a slide in an amusement park? He talked about “railway renaissance” even if most of the projects are focused in Metro Manila and what’s more the prospect that these are tainted with corruption with only favored cronies benefitting from these investments. He identified smugglers, hoarders, companies who overcharged consumers, and POGO operators yet he didn’t mention the actions taken by the government against these unscrupulous groups and their powerful benefactors in government. Despite the applause of his select audience at the Batasan, there is the question whether only certain POGOs will be shut down while those given a new name — internet gaming licensees — will continue. Lastly, the hardline stance of the Marcos Jr government and its intolerance to dissent is proven once more in the announcement of the police to file charges against SONA protesters. We condemn the continued use of Martial Law tactics and ML laws like BP 880 in undermining the people’s freedom of expression and assembly. We will continue to defy unjust restrictions as we call on authorities to stop weaponizing the laws and judicial process to stifle legitimate criticism and dissent. Marcos Jr’s SONA once again confirms our assertion that his regime is insincere and resorting to lies about bringing real change in Philippine society. He is obsessed with rebranding, self-assured in his empty rhetoric and treasonously embracing the agenda of foreign powers like the US. It is up to our people to continue the struggle for real freedom, justice, and democracy in our country. #SONA2024 #PEOPLESSONA2024 #PEOPLESSONA See less

Condemn the unjust detention and deportation of Dutch-Filipino activist Marikit Saturay! Marcos should instead be declared persona non-grata in Europe!


Statement of BAYAN Europe on the arbitrary detention of Dutch-Filipino activist Marikit Saturay
10 March 2024

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Europe (BAYAN Europe) condemns the arbitrary and unjust detention of Dutch-Filipino activist Marikit Saturay by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the evening of 7 March. Marikit arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on 7 March to visit family and friends. She was denied entry to Manila upon landing and was questioned by an immigration officer about her supposed involvement in “anti-government activities” leading to her inclusion in the BI’s blacklist order. She was detained for three nights without proper sleeping arrangements by Philippine immigration officers in NAIA before being deported back to the Netherlands. During her detention, Marikit was even denied access to legal services. 

Marikit is a long-time member of Migrante-Netherlands and has been active in organizing the Filipino migrant youth in Europe. She is an accomplished singer and songwriter and is well known in the local hip-hop scene in the Netherlands for her songs “Tell Me What Did I Do Wrong” and “Geboren Om Te Strijden” (Born to Struggle). 

Last December, Anakbayan Switzerland Chairperson Edna Becher was also detained and deported upon arriving in Manila. The BI similarly questioned Becher of her involvement in so-called “anti-government activities.” This pattern of political repression is akin to the Marcos regime’s fascist campaign to criminalize dissent and deserves the condemnation of the international community. Further, this targeted campaign against Filipino migrant activists exposes the Marcos regime’s hypocrisy in milking profit from OFW remittances while at the same time barring migrants from returning to their homeland.

On the other hand, the unjust detention and deportation of Marikit comes a few days before Marcos Jr arrives in Europe to sign maritime security agreements with Germany and the Czech Republic. This would already be Marcos’ 6th international trip just in 2024, revealing his utter disregard for using taxpayer’s money to finance his junket trips abroad. Instead of deporting and prohibiting the entry of activists and government critics to Manila, Marcos himself should be declared persona non-grata in Europe! 

Marcos can expect a slew of protests as he lands in Berlin on March 11. BAYAN Europe together with its member organizations and allies will welcome Marcos with protests of condemnation for his regime’s fascist campaign of repression and human rights abuses.  


#HandsOffMarikit, #StopRedTagging, #ActivistsNotTerrorists, #NoToCrackdown



MIGRANTE-Netherlands and the Linangan-Willem Geertman Art and Culture Network condemn the unjust detention, red-tagging, blacklisting, and deportation of musician-artist and youth activist Marikit Saturay. This comes three months after Anakbayan Switzerland Chairperson Edna Becher was deported under similar circumstances. Like Marikit, Becher arrived in Manila to visit her relatives and friends. Becher was detained and deported after being accused of involvement in “anti-government activities.”

Marikit arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on the evening of March 7. She had planned to visit her relatives and friends, especially her grandmother who will be celebrating her 100th birthday on March 10. An immigration officer asked if she associates with activists and communists. Then she was accused of engaging in “anti-government activities.” Marikit replied that she was an active member of MIGRANTE-NETHERLANDS.  At that point she was not allowed to exit beyond the Immigration checkpoint. She has been detained at the airport’s immigration holding area since then . She was not allowed to talk to her lawyers, nor was she allowed to receive any family members who wanted to see her to make sure that she was alright. A uniformed agent was also assigned to guard her during the entire detention period. She was also ordered to leave on the next available flight back to The Netherlands.

Marikit came to The Netherlands in 2006 with her mother, sisters and brother to join her father who had sought asylum in The Netherlands in 2003. Her father had been an environmental activist and human rights worker in Mindoro when the notorious Col. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan was assigned to lead military counter insurgency operations in the island.

Aside from advocating for the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers as part of Migrante-Netherlands, Marikit is also an accomplished musician and songwriter. Among her songs are “Tell Me What Did I Do Wrong” and “Geboren Om Te Strijden” (Born to Struggle). Local hiphop personalities often praise Marikit for her sharp, socially critical lyrics.

MIGRANTE- Netherlands warns that this pattern of blacklisting and deporting by the immigration authorities are dangerous, baseless and repressive. They are deliberate and malicious acts aimed at criminalizing dissent. This is becoming a common practice under the Marcos fascist regime.

Filipino migrant workers will not be cowed into fear by these coercive attacks. We have endured wars, natural disasters, economic hardship, and discrimination of all forms. Wherever we are, we continue to fight for the genuine interests of the Filipino people, even in the face of political repression. We affirm that the Filipino diaspora remains a part of the struggling Filipino society.

MIGRANTE-NETHERLANDS and the Linangan-Willem Geertman Art and Culture Network call on all our compatriots, friends and allies to condemn and hold the Marcos-Duterte regime accountable for this continuing crackdown on the youth, artists, activists, and human rights defenders.


#HandsOffMarikit, #StopRedTagging, #ActivistsNotTerrorists, #NoToCrackdown

Migrante-Den Haag celebrates 13th founding year, vows to fight modern-day slavery

The Den Haag chapter of Migrante-Netherlands held its second general assembly and celebrated its 13th founding anniversary last 20 August in The Hague, The Netherlands. With the theme ‘Migrant workers resist trafficking, abuse, discrimination and all forms of oppression!’ Filipino migrants gathered at the Kurdish Cultural Center in The Hague to look back at more than a decade of struggle for the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and undocumented migrants.

“They took our passports. We were like their prisoners. I just sleep, wake up, work and then wake up, and work again,” said Corazon Espanto, outgoing chairperson of Migrante Den Haag when she recounted her experience as a victim of human trafficking between 2003 to 2008. In 2004, Cora was joined by her son and daughter working in a Saudi diplomat’s residential house in the Netherlands.

“I thought I was so lucky that I had my children with me. Working together, helping each other. But it’s not, because we worked so hard. I start work at 5:30 in the morning and would stop working at 2:30 the next morning,” Espanto recalled.

Espanto, together with her son and daughter escaped in July 2008 with the help of other Filipino migrants. Soon after, the Den Haag chapter of Migrante Netherlands was established with Espanto being elected as its founding chairperson.

“After we escaped, I was hiding because I was afraid if my former employer found out. Migrante was the one who helped me tell my story. I appreciate what they did to my family. So now, I am doing it for other victims of human trafficking,” she added.

The chapter reviewed major campaigns it has worked on in the past including the rescue of Filipina human trafficking victims, au pairs, and other undocumented Filipinos as well as the campaign against the Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy and urgent relief operations during the pandemic.

The assembly also reaffirmed the unity of members to fight modern-day slavery and elected a new set of officers.

Never Again to Martial Law: Fight for Genuine Democracy in the Philippines!


Fifty years ago on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law. Following his declaration, the Marcos fascist dictatorship wasted no time arresting activists and shutting down hundreds of institutions deemed critical of the government. Hundreds of media outlets were shut down and Marcos assumed both legislative and executive powers overnight. Contrary to the delusional claims of the Marcoses, it was during their period that the country saw the bloodiest period in history as thousands were forced into poverty and the economy left in shambles.

Overseas Filipinos in the Netherlands join millions of Filipinos worldwide in remembering and resisting the continuing horrors of Martial Law. Thousands of activists who fought against the dictatorship fifty years ago were either killed, tortured or kidnapped by police and military forces never to be found again. Some of those who survived had no choice but to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere including in the Netherlands. Despite living overseas, martial law survivors who have become refugees in the Netherlands have consistently fought against deliberate attempts to distort the truth and erase their experiences from history.

Life during the Marcos period was far from being a ‘golden age’ as the Marcoses would often claim. In fact, it was during this period that Filipinos first saw themselves peddled as cheap commodities through the systematization of the government’s Labor Export Program. Instead of prioritizing the development of local industries and providing jobs for all, every post-Marcos administration has consistently supported the systematic export of Filipino labor abroad. This policy continues even today with more than 5,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) leaving their families and their homeland on a daily basis in search of greener pasture elsewhere.

In the Philippines, the horrors of the fascist dictatorship loom relentlessly and continue to be felt in many parts of the country. With the late dictator’s son fraudulently elected as President, Filipinos face the continuation of the previous administration’s policy of brutal repression akin to the fascist reign of his father five decades ago. While the Filipino people suffer from widespread unemployment, low wages, landlessness and land grabbing, the Marcoses and their minions, continue to accumulate wealth and power, buttressed by the same political structures that enabled the dictatorship.

For more than a decade, Migrante Netherlands has upheld the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and their families. It has served to amplify the voices of OFWs in distress left and neglected by a government reeked by greed and corruption. We will not stand idly as the current Marcos II regime intensifies its brutal repression of dissent to prevent us from raising the legitimate concerns of Filipino migrants.

Especially at this time that the Filipino people remember the declaration of martial law 50 years ago, Filipino migrants vigorously reject and denounce the abuses of political, economic and military power that continue to this day.

Never again! Never forget!
Fight for genuine democracy in the Philippines!