HANDS OFF MARIKIT! HANDS OFF WOMEN’S RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

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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.

HANDS OFF MARIKIT! HANDS OFF WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

#HandsOffMarikit, #StopRedTagging, #ActivistsNotTerrorists, #NoToCrackdown