On the occasion of the 10th Asia-Europe Peoples Forum ”Towards a Just and inclusive Asia and Europe-Building States of Citizens for Citizens” in Milan, Italy 10-12 October 2014, Filipino migrant representatives from Europe and Asia, organized a special caucus to discuss the Filipino migrant agenda.
Absentee Voting (OAV) was particularly taken up and made a strong appeal to Congress to restore the OAV budget of 89.6 million Pesos. Besides the OAV agenda, participating organisations raised the Joint Police Operation of the Council of European Union “Mos Maiorum” (involving all Member States and Schengen Associated Countries (SAC) the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX)) in a massive roundup of migrants from 13th till 26th of October, 2014.
These same Filipino organisations have earlier expressed serious concern on the budget cut. The caucus also discussed and suggested amendments to improve the OAV law to ensure its effective implementation towards better enfranchisement.
Representative Walden Bello updated the Filipino Migrant community from Europe and Asia on legislative initiatives being taken up by the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, of which he is currently the Chair.
Representative Walden Bello informed officially the participants that Isidro Ungab, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, reassured the Filipino Migrant community that the budget of OAV will be restored. The caucus participants welcomed the favourable action to include the OAV budget in the amendments of the General Appropriations Bill.
The meeting ended with a resolve from different Filipino migrant organisations in Europe and Asia to actively participate in the education campaign for OAV to ensure the higher level of participation in the electoral exercise. This will require a joint effort of Migrant and initiative of communities, Philippine Embassies and Philippine Government.
List of participating organisations:
Edwin Bustillos – Alliance of Progressive Labour (APL) Sentro- Philippines
Rex Verona – Migrant Forum Asia and APL Sentro -Hongkong/Philippines
Rene Raya – Centre for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) -Philippines
Romeo Sangcap – Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)-Italy
Sylvia Roxas – Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)-Italy
Jille Belisario – Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)-International Office
Charito Basa – Philipino Women’s Council – Italy
Nonoi Hacbang – Platform of Filipino Migrant Organisations in Europe
Rosalie Castro – Babaylan- France