OFWs rally in front of US Embassy, seek protection for Pinoy ‘TNTs’

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Published February 10, 2017 3:44pm

By RIE TAKUMI, GMA News

US President Donald Trump’s threat to deport illegal immigrants has driven pro-migrants’ rights advocates to rally in front of the US Embassy in Manila on Friday to seek protection for undocumented Filipinos in the US.

Led by Migrante, the rallyists urged President Rodrigo Duterte to aid some 310,000 undocumented Filipino immigrants who may be affected by Trump’s controversial immigration policies.

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Interviewed by GMA News Online, Migrante Secretary General Mig Catuiran said Duterte should hold on to his promise to protect OFWs regardless of their status.

“Ang gusto ho namin, manindigan ho si Pangulong Duterte. Panindigan niya ho yung obligasyon niya na dapat po ang interes ng mga mamamayan kung sila man ay dokumentado, undokumentado,” he said.

“Mamamayang Pilipino pa rin niya po yan at obligasyon niya po na ipaglaban, ipagtanggol yung ating mga mamamayan,” Catuiran added.

Catuiran said it was hypocritical of Duterte to welcome to the Philippines refugees affected by Trump’s ban on individuals from nine Muslim countries, while at the same time saying that he will not “lift a finger” to aid Filipinos who may get affected by Trump’s other immigration reforms.

“‘Di ba napakalaking kabalintunahan yan sa mga pangako niya sa OFWs? Ang inaasahan namin ay kakalingahin niya kami. Pero pag dating pala dito sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, bigla na lang siyang tumitiklop,” Catuiran said.

Migrante’s representative said focusing on the status of Filipinos ignores why undocumented workers chose to gamble with their life to work abroad.

Furthermore, Catuiran said Filipinos must be reached before they are subjected to the increased xenophobic and racially-charged attacks by groups and individuals emboldened by Trump’s statements.

“Nangangamba po sila dahil alam po nila na kahit anong oras, pwede silang i-deport. Nasa panganib din po sila na atakihin po sila, pisikal, ng mga racist elements na binigyan po ng lakas ng loob ng bagong administrasyon sa US,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there were 310,000 undocumented Filipinos in the US as of 2012. —KBK, GMA News

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