For Immediate Release
June 17th, 2016
Daniel Santiago, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey
Devyn Manibo, Finance Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey
Janisha Rodriguez, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anakbayan New Jersey continues to condemn the government neglect in the case of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, a domestic worker who remains on Indonesia’s death row. Within the framework of the current Labor Export Policy (LEP) we have seen multiple human rights violations that have gone unmonitored, unchecked, and allowed these abuses to continue. This is just one case of so many where workers, including migrant youth on the search for work has found herself exploited and misguided and left at the hands of a corrupt and unjust government.
April 28th, 2016 marks six years since Veloso was jailed in Wirogunan Penitentiary, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In April 2015, just hours before her scheduled execution, Veloso was given a temporary reprieve from execution, which only left her to live a life of uncertainty, away from her loved ones, and in constant threat of death. With an international audience demanding for the Indonesian government to spare the life of Mary Jane, Veloso was excluded from the execution list, but not excluded from injustice. Since her execution was halted, her recruiters Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao have since been arrested under charges of illegal recruitment, qualified human trafficking, and estafa. On June 14, 2016, Veloso took the witness stand at a hearing against her recruiters at the Sto. Domingo Regional Trial Court in Nueva Ecija. Sergio and Lacanilao’s arrest and hearing, however, is only one step toward ending the forced migration of Filipinos.
Like Veloso, many youth and students in the Philippines find themselves outside of their home, looking for work, only to be trapped in human trafficking schemes. It is the responsibility of the Philippine government to support the needs of its people, and the case of Mary Jane Veloso only serves to highlight the priorities of the anti-people and anti-migrant Philippine government.
We continue to support Mary Jane Veloso’s innocence and demand the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise all that they can towards expediting the process of her freedom from execution and imprisonment, and we also call on the Indonesian government to stop all unjust executions. Veloso herself has hope that Duterte will be more willing to help than Aquino. Moreover, we demand the Labor Export Policy to be junked for its failure to provide the Philippine people with adequate jobs as well as forcing migration of our people to work jobs where many have little to no protections opening up risk of being exploited. Furthermore, we demand President Joko Widodo to stop the unjust killings and allow for the expedient release of Mary Jane Veloso.
Anakbayan New Jersey, we will not falter in our solidarity with Mary Jane Veloso and all OFWs like her. We will continue to fight for her genuine freedom and justice and for her to be reunited with her family and loved ones. We urge Duterte to bring truth to his words, to make OFWs his top priority, that during his state trip to Indonesia he will push for clemency and reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso as requested and fought for by her family, to fight for the people most silenced and forgotten, to bring her home!
Finally, we must remember that it was through the massive international pressure that Filipinos and the pro-migrant organizations Migrante International and Migrante Partylist that Mary Jane Veloso’s execution was suspended. With the recent formation of Migrante New York and Migrante New Jersey, we as youth and students must support Filipino immigrants and workers to organize and defend their rights and dignity against all forms of discrimination, exploitation, and abuse in the workplace and in the community.
We urge you to join us with the NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) contingent at the PAFCOM (Philippine American Friends Committee) parade on June 26th, 2016 in Jersey City to continue to show solidarity and to raise awareness of the conditions of Overseas Filipino Workers and to celebrate their resistance and strength
CELEBRATE UNITY, SOLIDARITY, & RESISTANCE FOR ALL OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS!
JUSTICE FOR MARY JANE VELOSO! JUSTICE FOR ALL OFWs!
END THE LABOR EXPORT PROGRAM OF THE PHILIPPINES!