MIGRANTE-Europe Holy Week Statement
7 April 2020
Holy Week is the time when Christians around the world remember and celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This year, the commemoration of Holy Week is made more purposeful and real with the reality of pain, suffering and death as the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many Filipino migrants, the effects of COVID-19 is felt on two fronts: the loss of income in the host country and the hunger being faced by their families in the Philippines.
Here in Europe, many Filipinos have lost their jobs because of the lockdown imposed in various countries. The financial support they receive, if any, is enough only to meet their daily needs and nothing is left for support to their family in the Philippines. Families of Filipinos working oversees, like most Filipino families, also suffer neglect and deprivation of Philippine government support and social services. The government promise of a $200.00 cash support for unemployed overseas Filipino workers has remained a promise.
Despite the “modern-heroes” tag, because of their significant contribution to the economic and social development of their host country and to the movement of goods around the world, and their remittances to their families in the Philippines that fuels the economy, Filipino overseas workers regularly encounter and suffer discrimination, physical, mental and sexual abuse, breach of contract by their employers, human trafficking, and even death. Apart from this reality is the COVID-19 pandemic scenario that almost a million Filipino overseas workers would return to the country as they have lost their jobs and join the millions of unemployed Filipinos.
But the story of pain, suffering and death of Jesus Christ did not end on the cross. For Christians, the cross is not a symbol of death but a sign of victory over pain and death, a symbol of new life, of resurrection.
The Duterte regime is a scourge, an affliction to the Filipino people. It has crucified the poor majority of the Filipino people composed of workers, peasants, and the urban poor at the calvary of landlessness, unemployment, hunger, suffering and death.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become an excuse for Duterte to further implement draconian measures to grab more power, and preserve the unjust status quo and the privileges of a few.
The continued restriction on people to stay in their homes has not resulted in anything substantial to even curve the spread of the Covid-19 in the absence of sufficient means to conduct mass testing, effective quarantine protocols, massive government support to boost capacities of all hospitals to cope with the pandemic, exceptional support for the welfare of doctors, nurses and all other health workers, and effective and swift financial aid to the most vulnerable sections of the population particularly the peasants, workers and urban poor.
As the government of Duterte announced the extension of the enhanced community quarantine measures to April 30, 2020, that would mean more days without enough food on the table and uncertainty for many Filipino families including families of Filipino overseas workers.
Now is the right time, more than ever, to organize and struggle against the fascist and brutal Duterte government! Now is the right time to let the people realize that even if they have lost hope in the Duterte government to address their basic needs in this time of crisis, they should not lose hope in the collective power of the people to change things, overcome this pandemic and continue the pursuit for social change in the Philippines!
The release from detention of the arrested 21 hungry protesters from Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City is a symbol of new life dawning upon the struggling Filipino people. Many people’s organizations and compassionate individuals contributed to their bail.
The genuine bayanihan spirit and compassion towards the poor, deprived and oppressed being shown by people’s organizations, well-meaning individuals and groups and “good Samaritans” are hopeful signs that even in midst of COVID-19 pandemic and the contempt for the life, liberty and welfare of the people by the coldblooded President of the Philippines, the unity of the broadest Filipino people and its tireless determination to sustain the struggle for life, food and freedom shall always prevail.
Migrante-Europe appeals to all Filipino overseas workers and their families to show our unity and our strong resolve to journey with the rest of the struggling Filipino people.
We encourage everyone to join the online Noise Barrages on Saturday, April 11, 2020, at 12:00 noon (Barcelona, Spain Time), 6:00PM Philippine time and on Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 12:00 noon CET and 6:00PM (Philippine Time) to show our solidarity with the people of Spain and with the rest of the people the whole world fighting Covid-19.
¡Evita el COVID-19, echa a Duterte! ¡FueraDuterte! ¡AYUDA, no DICTADURA!
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