Migrante Europe held its fourth congress last 30-31 March in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With the theme “Filipino Migrants Unite: Jobs at Home, Not Abroad,” more than 60 participants representing 18 affiliate organizations and Migrante chapters across 13 countries in the region gathered to discuss Marcos Jr’s charter change and its impacts on migrants and the Filipino people.

Delegates looked at how economic amendments to the 1987 constitution can potentially further worsen joblessness in the Philippines and push more Filipinos to seek opportunities abroad.

“Despite the claims of cha-cha proponents that opening the economy will ‘create more jobs’ for Filipinos back home, the truth is that Marcos’ push for cha-cha is meant to pave the way for more foreign monopolies to plunder our natural resources,” said Gary Martinez, the newly elected Chairperson of Migrante Europe.
“It is only through genuine land reform and the development of domestic industries that sufficient jobs can be created. With ample job opportunities, land for farmers and living wages, Filipinos would not be forced to leave the motherland just to survive,” added Martinez.

This was followed by an input from IBON Foundation Executive Director Sonny Africa who presented the national socio-economic and political situation in the Philippines. Africa stressed the need for migrants to take part in opposing Marcos Jr’s cha-cha and argued that the so-called ‘economic amendments’ are a mere façade for the extension of the president’s term limits.

Meanwhile, Mercedita de Jesus, member of Migrante Italy, called on the Marcos Jr. regime to surface her son, Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” De Jesus who went missing last April 28, 2023 in Taytay, Rizal together with companion Dexter Capuyan. De Jesus is a staff of the Philippine Task Force on Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP), while Capuyan was a former Cordillera-based activist.

The congress reviewed major campaigns carried out by various chapters of Migrante Europe including the rescue of trafficked pipefitters in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2023, and Covid response for distressed migrants from 2020 to 2021, as well as the ongoing campaign to regularize the status of undocumented Filipinos.

The assembly concluded with the election of new officers and reaffirmed the organization’s general call to end the Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy.