Migrante Canada successfully held its Fourth Congress in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland last February 10th with over 60 delegates from its 21 member chapters from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba.
They were joined by observers and guests from migrant workers, unions, faith-based groups, youth and students, women’s groups, migrants’ and people’s organizations, and the academic community, including a delegation from Seattle.
Migrante Canada, established in 2010, is a proud chapter of Migrante International, the biggest global alliance of over 200 member organizations of overseas Filipinos in more than 23 countries.
The Fourth Congress of the Canada-wide alliance of Filipino migrant and immigrant organizations began with a moving tribute to Migrante member Petronila Cleto who passed away on January 11, 2018. Tess Agustin, the outgoing Chair of Migrante, presented the gains and challenges of Migrante Canada’s member organizations from 2015-2017.
Social activist and Ibon International’s former Executive Director Mr. Antonio Tujan delivered the keynote speech which focused on migrants’ struggles in the context of the Philippine national situation and the global imperialist crisis. Solidarity greetings came from the International Migrants Alliance, many Migrante chapters from the different global regions, the East Indian Defense League, Rev. Stu Lyster of Churches Witnessing Migrants, Mable Elmore MLA of Vancouver-Kensington, and from Ms. Consuelo Ledesma, a member of the National Democratic Front Panel in the Peace Negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
Migrante Congress delegates collectively worked together and passed a three-year General Program of Action that reflected the theme of the conference to consolidate and strengthen Migrante Canada. They also passed several resolutions, and one of them was to support and promote a social media platform called Compass to safeguard help migrants to network and communicate with other migrants.
Carrying the General Program of Action forward is the new set of elected officers of Migrante Canada: Maria Sol Prieto (Chair), Aimee Beboso (Vice-Chair), Joselito Calugay (General Secretary), Jane Ordinario (Treasurer), and Marco Luciano (Solidarity Officer).
Newly-elected Chair Maria Sol Prieto said, “Overseas Filipinos continue to leave the Philippines under the labour export policy, driven by many social and political problems such as poverty, lack of jobs, landlessness, the lack of health care and other social benefits. Current figures estimate that 6,000 Filipino men and women leave for jobs overseas every day.” She continued, “One of the important tasks that we need to do in order to meet our overall objectives is to work hard to increase the number of member organizations in the Alliance. So go forth and multiply and advance our militant struggle against tyranny and fascism and towards genuine economic development and peace in the Philippines.”
The Fourth Congress ended on a high note with a Cultural and Solidarity Night with performances from Migrante Canada organizations and Professor and poet Nora Angeles, classically trained tenor Jeremiah Carag, the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, and songwriter and cultural worker Levy Abad.
Migrante Canada and the local host committee Migrante BC acknowledged the many volunteers and supporters for their time and resources in making the Fourth Congress a success, specifically the Gold sponsors MLA Mable Elmore of Vancouver-Kensington, Unifor and LiUNA!; Silver sponsors Kairos Canada and Joyce Lovitos; and Bronze Sponsors Oxfam and Desi Louvris.
Thank you to the Migrante BC family and friends especially to:
Drivers: Carl | Trevor | Albert | Ed | Jon | Chong | Lakbir | Nieanne | Helen | Alda | Vivien
Home Hosts: Ed & Beth | Yeng | Hessed | Perry & Ann | Inday & Trevor | Gail | Martha & Aiyanas | Tessie | Alda | Ana & Jomay | Juliet |Genevieve | Vivien | BM Jhing & Marj | Jane | Hessed | Home Hosts on standby: Delia | Nora
Kitchen Crew: Jane | Siony | Joiden | Alda | Boying | Vivien | Nanay Elsa |
Others: Michelle | Luis and Rhea | Sam | Russell | Lauren | Steffi | Maita
And many more