Filipinos and Solidarity Network in Europe welcome Otto de Vries, a genuine friend of the Filipino people


Dutch pastoral worker in the Philippines and labor rights defender Otto de Vries has arrived safely in the Netherlands on Tuesday noon.

It was a strange combination of tears and excitement as the de Vries family, friends of the Filipino migrants community and Filipinos in the Netherlands and Europe warmly welcomed de Vries as a genuine friend of the Filipino people.

De Vries had found a home in the Philippines where he committed 30 years of his life in serving the poor and the marginalized sectors. He would have chosen to commit more years if not for the controversial red-tagging of the Duterte administration to him as a researcher of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).

The Filipino community in Europe and the international solidarity network stood for de Vries and EILER and lobbied to grant him permanent residency in the Philippines. Actions and online rallies were also organized to expose and oppose the Duterte administration’s political vilification of church workers, labor rights defenders and people’s organizations among others.

According to Theo Droog, spokesperson of the Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging (Dutch-Filipino Solidarity Movement), the case of Otto de Vries confirms what human rights organizations say about the Philippines: that the Duterte government falsely accuses those who serve the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized as communists and calls them terrorists.

De Vries had unselfishly lived the life of service to the church of the poor. His life with the workers was the source of his motivation. For years, he became a worker himself and experienced the harshness of a worker’s life in the Philippines. When he was no longer able to do physical labor, he started working for EILER.

Honorary membership to Migrante Netherlands

Migrants rights and democracy organization Migrante Netherlands granted de Vries on the same day an honorary membership.

In a letter, Migrante Netherlands spokesperson Jun Saturay stated: “To our dear compatriot Otto, in behalf of Migrante Netherlands and all its chapters, we declare our solidarity with you in your steadfast commitment for the rights and welfare of Filipino workers through the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research. This is impressive and inspiring for other rights defenders of the Filipino people. Compatriot Otto, in recognition of your full service to the Filipino labor movement, we hereby confer upon you an honorary membership to Migrante Netherlands. The Philippine Government may have considered you as an “undesirable alien” but for us, you possess all the qualifications of a Filipino compatriot who truly loves and serves the people. By awarding you an honorary membership to Migrante Netherlands, we want to let you know and make you feel that from the bottom of the heart of the Filipino community here in the Netherlands and Europe, we view your service to the Philippine labor movement with high esteem. To you, our high respect and salute.”

The struggle continues

Below are excerpts of quotes from the welcome texts of other organizations and individuals in the Netherlands and Europe including those working in the fields of development work, human rights, peace & justice, solidarity with the Philippines, church work, and interest groups working with migrants, women and young people.

 “Anyone can imagine how painful it must be to fall victim to red-tagging and to be forced to leave the country which has been his home for so long, where he had so many friends and where he did very valuable work for the most vulnerable for the past 30 years of his life. ”

 “Otto is a person with a pure heart and a great compassion for the poor and workers in the cities. Labeling Otto and the institution he works for as terrorists is a desperate act of a government that is slowly becoming isolated from its people.”

 “You have fought a great fight! You have been effective otherwise the dictator would not have thrown you out. ”

 “Everyone sincerely hopes that the day will soon come when it will be possible for you to return to the Philippines to be reunited so you can be reunited with all your friends and you can continue your work in solidarity with the poor communities that you served for so long. ”

 “How can evil target you when all you wanted was to be honest and sincere. Continue to trust in your mission of Peace and Justice. You don’t know what the future will bring you, but keep believing in the good because that is your destiny.”

Stop Asian hate, racism is rooted in imperialism


Migrante Netherlands, an organization of Filipinos in the Netherlands stand in solidarity with Asian Raisins and Pan Asian Collective and the global movement against racism and all forms of discrimination and exploitation.

Lockdown in the Philippines and Holy Week Crackdown

Holy Week crackdowns during the lockdown reflect Duterte’s insincerity to address pandemic. Filipino migrants reaffirm commitment to oust Duterte!

Migrante International condemns the vicious crackdowns on leaders of workers’ unions, farmers’ organizations, women groups and other legal democratic organizations while enforcing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in designated provinces including NCR. Instead of providing much needed health services and addressing the alarming rise of COVID cases during this period, the Duterte government turned Holy Week into “Huli” week.

Duterte’s “kill all” order does not spare even sacred days when Kilusang Mayo Uno national vice chairperson Dandy Miguel, a staunch defender of unionists, was killed in a street in Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna. Early morning on Holy Monday, police mounted simultaneous raids on regional leaders of farmers’ organizations in Central Luzon and arrested KMP Vice Chairperson Joseph “JC” Canlas, also a leader of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) in Sapang Maisac, Mexico, Pampanga. On the same day, BAYAN-Central Luzon and Workers Alliance of Region III (WAR-3) leader Pol Viuya was arrested in a private residence in Bamban, Tarlac. He was reportedly brought to Camp Olivas in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Overseas Filipinos fear for the safety and security of their families in the Philippines as they hear stories of rights defenders being subjected to extrajudicial killings, illegal searches and arrests, interrogations all while in the midst of alarming and unprecedented rise in COVID cases in the country and no clear plan and direction developed by the Duterte regime to address the serious health crisis.

While these human rights violations are being carried out, overseas Filipinos and their families are suffering from the calvary imposed by the Duterte regime during this pandemic. Filipino migrants abroad are experiencing grave government abandonment and criminal neglect as they experience lack of livelihood, hunger, lack of temporary shelter, abuse and discrimination with little to no assistance from the government. Hundreds of land and sea-based migrant workers continue to be stranded in their host countries and at sea with their health deterioriating because of the slow repatriation assistance, while human trafficking and illegal recruitment victims like those in Syria have yet to see justice in their cases.

Instead of providing much needed financial, food and other forms of assistance and support to secure the health, safety and livelihood of our overseas Filipinos, the government is occupied and wasting the people’s resources on hosting seminars conducted by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in order to demonize and spread lies against progressive and democratic organizations that legitimately serve and respond to the needs of our fellow kababayans in distress.

Despite the difficulties and dangers, thousands of Filipinos are forced to continue to seek employment abroad and leave their families behind because of the lack of economic and livelihood support and sustainable jobs in the country. And despite their ongoing agony, the Duterte regime continues to rake in profits from overseas Filipinos through mandatory government fees from PhilHealth, SSS, Pag-ibig, OWWA membership while no one is still being held accountable for corrupting the 15 billion-peso funds committed by Duterte’s PhilHealth minions.

Filipino migrants say enough is enough! It is time to end Duterte’s ineptitude, greed, fascism and quest to perpetuate power together with his relatives or chosen ones. It is clear that the Duterte regime does not give a damn if our people die from his war on drugs, extra judicial killings, hunger and poverty.

Duterte has clearly failed to protect the Filipino people from the pandemic through increased mass testing and contact tracing, support for our health care frontline workers and hospitals, accelerating the roll out of the national vaccine program and procurement of more vaccine supplies, and providing consistent economic aid and livelihood support for all.

Therefore, Filipinos overseas reaffirm our commitment to join all sectors of Philippine society in the movement to oust Duterte!

Housing Action Day 2021


Shelter is a basic right.

Migrante Netherlands stands in solidarity with housing movements in over 60 cities across Europe during the South Holland DSC Rentvolution demonstration on 27 March Housing Action Day 2021 held in Den Haag. The call is for the European Parliament to develop policies and act to regulate housing rent, make unused & empty houses available to the homeless and ensure that all citizens have an access to a safe and healthy home.

Watch the demonstration snippet here.

Statement on International Women’s Day 2021

As we salute the working women all over the world on International Women’s Day, Filipino women migrants reaffirm their stand for the ouster of the tyrannical, militarist and corrupt regime of Duterte!

Years have passed since Duterte assumed office in Malacanang but women migrants continued to suffer from various forms of exploitation and continuously treated as commodities for export. Like the majority of the working and peasant women, Filipino women migrants are denied their rights to a just wage, right to land, right to a secure and decent livelihood and right to access free social services such as healthcare and education. Filipino women migrants had spoken – enough is enough! Duterte must be out of Malacanang!

Government neglect persists among Filipinos overseas especially for thousands displaced, stranded or died because of the pandemic. Notwithstanding, Filipinos are forced to risk their lives and leave their families through the Duterte government’s Labor Export Program which plunges them into deeper economic crisis as they undergo training and pay exorbitant fees required by unscrupulous employment agencies on top of other fees exacted by Philhealth, POEA, OWWA, DFA, NSO, NBI and other agencies created to extort from the poor Filipinos. Economic heroes indeed!

In Hong Kong, an increasing number of Filipino women migrants are being terminated from work and suffered not just for losing employment but even in returning home. Their flights are cancelled and have no place to stay while waiting for the next available flight schedule. They became stranded migrants in need of temporary accommodation but the Philippine government remain silent about their plight.

In the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, cases of Filipina migrants who run away from their employers because of maltreatment, non-payment of salary and different forms of abuses, among others are being reported on an almost daily basis. It’s been happening since the labor export program of the government started and it continues to happen despite Philippine government promotions of unified contracts among others. In 2020, the situation of Filipina migrants in the Middle East worsened as the COVID 19 pandemic spread throughout the region and worldwide.

Young Filipina women who were first brought to UAE end up being trafficked in Syria. It took them years before their voices were heard. Last year, MIGRANTE International together with UMC Philippines held a press conference to expose and demand for their repatriation. We learned that aside from being trafficked, their handlers in Syria, even staff of the Philippine Embassy, are reportedly extorting money from them with the promise of repatriation. These are trafficked women and they were victimized not just once but several times.

Despite the reported cases of increasing job terminations and different forms of work schemes as a result of the global crisis and widespread pandemic, government cash relief efforts end up in empty promises to many who were not able to receive the first trance of DOLE-AKAP.

A study conducted last year by IBON revealed that cash assistance has dwindled to almost nothing compared to the magnitude of needs. Only Php239.3 billion in cash assistance was disbursed under Bayanihan 1 and dwindled to just Php13 billion under Bayanihan 2 as of December 2020. “There does not seem to be any other allocation for COVID-related cash assistance anywhere in the Php4.5 trillion budget. Nor is there any mention of additional cash assistance in the 340 pages of the supposedly post-pandemic updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 released in early February 2021.

”What is more distressing though for women migrants is the unforeseen danger behind the evils of trafficking such as the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who for ten years now continue to languish in a jail in Indonesia. Despite strong indications that Mary Jane is innocent, President Duterte’s administration did not actively pursue and exhaust all efforts to protect and defend the rights of Mary Jane as a victim of human trafficking. Additionally, President Duterte has not appealed Mary Jane’s case to the Indonesian authorities for pardon or clemency. Mary Jane’s case exemplifies the grave government neglect experienced by Filipino human trafficking victims, and the long, arduous journey victims have to undergo to achieve justice.

On February 7 this year, Jerlyn Isah Quisumbing, 24-year old woman seafarer, fell overboard in a vessel while preparing a gangway for MB Santa Clara, Flagship Denmark and has gone missing until now. Her mother, Rossana Lozada Quisumbing, is appealing for help to investigate the case of her missing daughter but her call for help seems to fall on deaf ears.

Yesterday, several activists including women were murdered and arrested in different places in Southern Tagalog. According to reports, 9 activists were murdered and 6 were illegally arrested at the crack of dawn by combined forces of PNP and CIDG. MIGRANTE International condemns these lawless actions by those in authority which only show who are the real terrorists in this country. Furthermore, we are one with the families of the victims and other progressive organizations demanding justice and calling for immediate and unconditional release of those arrested.

MIGRANTE International believes that as long as the regime of Duterte stays in power, Filipino women including migrants will continue to suffer from state terrorism, government neglect, discrimination and various forms of abuses. Indeed, the struggle of the working class women in 1909 to fight against oppression and inequality and other conditions in the form of feudal and capitalist exploitation hold true today. We need to strengthen women and peoples movements along with international solidarity in order to survive and win the struggle.

Migrant Women, Unite!

End Tyranny!

Oust US-Duterte Regime!

Long live International Solidarity!