Migrante International – Europe Chapter (OC)
15 July 2016
The global network Migrante International (MI) is spearheading a series of consultations with its chapters and other migrants groups in various cities in Europe since the election victory of President Rodrigo Duterte, collecting the sector’s demands and policy proposals for the new government.
Starting in mid-June and still going on, the Chapter Organising Committee of Migrante International Europe (MIE-COC) has been reaching out to Filipino communities in Rome and Milan in Italy, Gent in Belgium, Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands, Paris in France, London in the United Kingdom, and Vienna in Austria. A number of consultations are still planned for cities in Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
“We fully endorse and support the initiative of Migrante International in consulting with Filipino communities in Europe and in presenting a Migrants’ Agenda to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,” said Ann Brusola, of Umangat-Rome in Italy, a chapter organisation of MI.
Thus far, MIE-COC has begun to consolidate the consultations that have been taking place. A few policy proposals have been suggested such as having “uniform fees for uniform services” in regards Philippine consular services; opening of consular posts in places where there is a considerable concentration of Filipinos; establishing a dedicated “complaints hotline” for Overseas Filipinos, among others.
“Our compatriots in Europe have specific issues and demands we would also like to raise to the President. Like our counterparts in other parts of the world, we would also like to have a dialogue with the President to present and discuss the urgent concerns and demands of OFWs in Europe,” she added.
In commemoration of Filipino Migrant Workers’ Day on 7 June 2016, Migrante International presented a 10-point proposal for then incoming Duterte government. Included in the proposals were the immediate release of funds under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to rightful claimants; re-opening of the Philippine foreign posts closed down by the government; and the scrapping of policies, fees and other exactions which are additional burdens to OFWs all over the world.
“We look forward to President Duterte delivering on his promises to prioritise the issues and concerns of Filipino migrant workers in Europe and other regions,” Brusola added. “We encourage him to visit Europe as well, in order to see first-hand the plight of our kababayans this side of the world.”
The demands and policy proposals from the Europe-wide consultations will be collated into a Migrants’ Manifesto and presented to the President.
In a related development, Brusola announced plans for the Founding Assembly of the Migrante International Europe Chapter. She said that the Chapter Organising Committee has been formed from existing Migrante Chapters in Europe, and they are already hard at work preparing for the Assembly which will be held in Rome, 9-12 December 2016. The MIE-COC is calling on other Filipino migrant organisations in Europe to join them in establishing the Migrante International alliance in Europe.###
Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam
NB: For schedules of upcoming summits and consultations in other European cities, please check www.migrante.eu
Ann Brusola, Umangat-Migrante Rome – +39 327 8825544
Rafael Joseph Maramag, Kanlungan UK – +44 795 848 2753