BAYAN-Canada, a Canada-wide alliance of patriotic Filipino organizations, condemns the Philippine government's Bureau of Immigration (RPBI) for its latest threat against the Canadian and other friends of the Filipino people who are attending the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR).
These last three days, representatives of migrants organizations, migrants advocates, and pro-migrant scholars from around the world have been in Manila to participate in the IAMR to comprehensively analyze the situation of migrants and oppose the anti-migrant, and Malacañang-hosted Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
This international assembly of migrants, refugees and advocates is organized by the International Migrants Alliance Alliance (IMA), Migrante International, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, IBON Foundation, and BAYAN. IMA is the first-ever global alliance of more than a hundred grassroots associations, organizations, unions, networks and alliances of migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and displaced peoples.
The RPBI statement outrageously threatens with persecution and deportation the delegates of the IAMR from other countries against participating in rallies against the GFMD on the grounds that they are meddling in the internal affairs of the Philippines.
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) once again maliciously turns things upside down.
The GFMD is a yearly state-organized and led meeting. The Belgian government organized the first GFMD in 2007. This year's GFMD is organized by the Philippine government. The GFMD has one goal: to heighten the exploitation of migrants and their remittances for generating money for the receiving countries. It is, not surprisingly, put in the guise of development! Migration, though, is not a tool for genuine development. The Philippines needs genuine national industrialization and agrarian reform. Without these it can only have massive unemployment and poverty. Mass migration is the effect of mal-development!
The GRP continues to be the biggest promoter of imperialist policies of trade and investment liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. To postpone its day of reckoning it has turned to the trinity of incessant borrowing, a labour export policy, and internal repression. The GRP has become addicted to foreign loans, migrant remittances, and political violence! In other words, as the biggest servant of imperialism, it has become the biggest pimp of its people.
The GFMD, as a meeting between imperialist masters and neocolonial servants, cannot, therefore, promote the development of the Filipino people. The only thing it will develop is imperialist plunder and the loot bag of regimes like that of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
This is why we need international assemblies like IAMR that provide a forum for genuine migrants organizations, and genuine advocates and friends to come together to give authentic voice to the concerns of migrants.
The RPBI is being utterly duplicitous. It is the foreigners attending the GFMD that are meddling in the internal affairs of the Philippines. The foreign delegates attending the IAMR are guests of Filipino people's organizations. They are not meddling in the internal affairs of the Philippines. The foreign delegates to the IAMR are not breaking any laws but doing their internationalist duty in expressing solidarity with the Filipino people and with migrants and refugees all over the world.
The threats from the RPBI against the foreign delegates attending the IAMR are, therefore, not just threats to the freedom of expression of these foreign friends of the Filipino people, they are also an attack on the Filipino people themselves and their right to genuine development through national industrialization and agrarian reform.
Any arrest or detaining of foreign and local delegates to the IAMR can, therefore, only further blacken the reputation of the GRP.
Hands off the Canadian delegation and other foreign nationals participating in the IAMR!
Hands off the Philippine hosts of the IAMR!