Category: Advocacies

There several advocacies that I actively engage and supports. I’m an active board member of Babaylan Denmark, KULU and ENOMW for women’s right and the Filipino Association of Denmark (FAD) and ENFID EU for the advocating Filipino Migrant in Europe.
As a mother and a citizen of the earth I very passionate about child welfare, breastfeeding and my deep concern about our environment.

Buhay Aupair – Radio Program

Year 2014, I’m not only a blogger but a radio personality,  which I think it suits me better because I like to talk and I talk a lot.  I started to host the Radio program called “BUHAY AUPAIR” meaning Au Pair’s Life.  Every week my co- host Emely Manus and I interview present and former au pairs about their life as aupairs and their adventures in their host country. The guest talks about their experiences like how they applied and the challenges of living with their host with different culture and language, how they learned to become independent and appreciate the freedom in European countries, and how to cope out with homesickness being away from their family and a lot more.  This a good way to reach out to the au pairs to learn from the guest experiences and of course I see to it to talk about the rules, rights nad obligations of the aupairs.  The language we use in the program is Filipino or tagalog .

Buhay Aupair is  aired every Sunday 12.00-13.00 CET (Central European Time) at www.pinoyradionordic.com and www.pinoyradiobenelux.com or you can download the apps in any Android devices.

This is made possible by the Philippine Channel Network (CPN) whose advocacy is to reach out to the Filipino migrants living in Europe.

buhay-aupair-poster-500px

How we celebrate the Philippine Independence Day in Denmark?

How we celebrate the Philippine Independence Day in Denmark?

The Babaylanes after decorating the stage for the Independence Day in .Group picture during the well attended Independence Day in Odense last JUne 2, 2012

Every year during the month of June Filipinos around the world gather together and celebrate the Philippine Independence Day. When I was in the Philippines we don’t really celebrate it locally but in the cities and in the capital region there are programs commemorating this special day. It is by the way a non working holiday so people go to the mall or plaza to watch the programs usually which usually starts with flag ceremony with the attendance of government officials and parade in the morning and in the afternoon there are programs consisting of different cultural show with special guests consisting of celebrities – politicians,actors, actresses and singers.

I was once asked what so interesting about and why we celebrate it? Is it just our excuse to party? My answer was it is important for us Filipinos because we were colonized more than 300 years from 1521 -1898 by Spain it is just right to commemorate our freedom every year.

Party? yes of course we love to party. It is in our culture even before the Spanish time I further explain to that danish guy that the Filipinos by nature are used to gather around and celebrate any events by singing, dancing, joking around, sharing food etc. We always want to share joy or even grief together with friends and guests. We love funfare, fiestas or festivities from month of May almost all towns have their fiesta honoring their patron Saints and to add culminating the May Flower Festival is the the Santacruzan parade.  My theory is this our way to cope with the long years of oppression during the old times and the poverty in the modern times. The Filipinos also are very hospitable people always want to please the visitors and the colonizers so they always present fantastic show to entertain guests and enjoy the moment and forget about their problems. This is why we don’t get pleasure in just eating in some parties there should be entertainment, that’s why the Magic Karaoke becomes popular but that’s another story.

 

Group picture during the well attended Independence Day in Odense.

Just to give a little background, thePhilippine Declaration of Independence Day occurred 114 years ago on june 12, 1898 to be exact in the Philippines by General Emilio Aguinaldo who wast he first Republican President. But the declaration was short-lived as Spain ceded the Philippines to the Americans through the Treaty of Paris by accepting 20 million US dollar. The Americans did not recognize the Philippine Republic until after the world War 2 when they declared the Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 but it was later changed by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal on August 4, 1968 through signing a new law called Republic Act No.4166I . Since then the 4th of July became FIL-AM friendship Day.

 

The establishement of FILCOM DENMARK

I don’t know how the Filipinos celebrate the Independence Day before I came here but during the past 10 years it just few Filipino organization who organized the event. I think 2009 they were different celebrations in Denmark in different places but not as grand as in Norway or Holland but it was limited since it is always in a 4 star Hotel.

The year 2010 the then Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso asked for a meeting  asking the different organizations to join forces in celebrating the Independence Day  and that was the year the FILCOM DK was born. The first united Independence Day in Copenhagen was a succesful event where Filipinos and Danish friends from all walks of life came, joined the parade in the streets of Copenhagen and watched the fantastic show. Unfortunately I was in the Philippines on vacation and was also amazed how they became nationalistic as most establishment display the Phi. Flag. It was later that I found out that from 28th of May to June 30 were designated as flay days. Another reason of “proud to be Pinoy attitude “was that hope and gratitude President  Benigno “PNOY” Aquino won the presidential Election that year. Here is a short video of the 2010 Filcom Denmark’s Independence Day.

As I live in Denmark I became aware of my Filipino roots and I long to join the Independence Day celebration but the problem is it is always in the hotel and not all can afford to join. Whenever I see how the Filipino community in the Netherlands, London and Oslo where they do it in a big park I wonder if we can do it here in Denmark? I longed for an event without the fancy gowns, stars, important people and beauty contest and which focus away the real motive of celebrating the Independence Day. I dreamed that every guests especially 2nd generation Filipinos will learn more about the Philippines road to Freedom and become proud of their heritage .

Like our road to freedom from the colonizer, uniting the different organizations might take longer time but I believe as a Filipino even we’re donning different nationalities, we have the obligation to celebrate this special day to give thanks to our forefathers who fought and sacrifice their lives to achieve the freedom we have the privilege to enjoy right now. We don’t need any famous stars, beauty queens, world-class entertainers to come and be proud to be Filipinos. We should impart to our children our roots and  our culture that makes as unique and be proud as Filipino no matter what your status. But of course I always encourage Filipinos to attend such gatherings no matter what organizations and groups they belong as it is only done  once a year to. Party and disco is only a plus but the feeling of together as Filipinos is the most important especially when you are away from home, the Philippines.

 

Posing with Babaylan Dancers during Filcom DK Independedence Day 2011

I support FILCOM DK and salute all the active committee members cause they sacrifice their precious time to bring the Independence Day every year for 3 years to every Filipino with no entrance. I also salute the sponsors,contributors, the performers who do it for free and for our mother land. It might not be grand as the other celebrations in other parts of the world but having and event where Filipinos in Denmark old and new, residents and aupairs meet is a privilege.

I only started to join the celebration last year. The venue was not that big so it was a 2 day event but still lots of people came and watched the cultural show. I even did present the evolution of the Philippine Flag and the protocol in displaying it which is always not in the right way. The Philippine flag is unique cause it can indicate indicate if the Philippines is in state of war when the red field is displayed above the blue, or on the observer’s left when the flag is displayed vertically. We should always remember this as we display the flag during special events especially during the Independence Day celebration.

Proper display of PHL flag

Here is an announcement from FILCOM DENMARK

INVITATION TO ATTEND THE 114TH INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION IN COPENHAGEN

FILCOM Denmark will celebrate the Philippines 114th Independence Day in Copenhagen on
Saturday, 9 June 2012.
11:00-18:00 Fiesta 19:00-01:00 Free Disco
 Skottegårdsskolen, Saltværksvej 63
FREE ENTRANCE

We encourage Filipinos and Danes to come and join us wearing Filipino attire and bring Filipino Flag and your Filipino Spirit in remembering our 114th Independence Day as we will have a parade in the streets near the venue. Parade will start at 12.30.

There is no entrance fee but we encourage all to buy a raffle ticket for 25 dkk to win Ipad 2 with 16 GB, basket of goods, dinner for two and a lots of consolication prizes. You can buy raffle tickets at the entrance.

FILCOM DK has prepared exciting program: Parade, Film Showing, Parlor games for children, Cultural Show, singing, dancing, live band, FILCOM DK logo competition, kids game and raffle drawing.

Food court with tasty Filipino Culinary Delights,Tiangge (Dry Good stalls) and Softdrinks/Bar at reasonable prices.

DISCO! DISCO! DISCO! from KL.19

PLUS+++++

To those who watch the EURO 2012 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

you can watch LIVE in a big screen the Football match between

DENMARK Vs. HOLLAND

FILCOM DK (Filipino Community in Denmark) was established 3 years ago with the main objective is to unite Filipinos who belong to different organizations, religous group, political parties or Filipinos from different regions in the Philippines to celebrate the Philippines Independence Day and Christmas every year. It is a Non profit Organization and everybody is welcome to join even as individual. There is no leader or chairperson in Filcom DK but all organization or individual are represented in the working committe.

Mabuhay ang FILCOM Denmark

Gala Night and Fiesta to celebrate 114th Philippine Independece in Odense Denmark

WHAT: Philippine Independence Day Event in Odense,
WHEN: June 2
WHERE: Marienlystcenter
Windelsvej 138
5000 Odense C

Raffle ticket for adults — 200kr (inclusive food and raffle tickets ):
1st prize 1 Apple Ipad worth 3k
2nd prize worth 2k
3rd worth 1k

Best in costume:
1st 1k
2nd 500kr
3rd 300 kr

Children’s ticket — 100 kr (foods and raffle ticket)
1st prize 500kr
2nd 300kr
3rd 200kr

Asian Dishes, lechon baboy and stege mad (drink for sale at the venue for a reasonable prices)
A lot of consolation prizes, Cultural show (singing , folk dancing hiphop and modern dance numbers)
If you don’t have a ticket yet please contact: Miss Araceli Andersen 40480096

Invitation for Babaylan Denmark's114th Gala Night & Fiesta

Menu for the buffet style dining on June 2, 2012

WORLDWIDE PROTEST AGAINST CHINA OVER INTRUSIONS IN PHILIPPINE WATERS

I’m worried if the tension between China and the Philippines will not solved diplomatically and you can see from the map below that the disputed Scarborough Shoal the one which the red S is very near to my Province around 300 km only. While by just looking that it is so far form the nearest Chinese land. We know China has a mighty military capability compared to the Philippines. As I read different articles there is rich source of natural gas beside abundant source of fish. I grew up near the sea which used the call the South China Sea and so I’m not so sure if the Philippine goverment renamed it as Western Philippines Sea. I can understand the reason or else they will claim that it’s theirs.

I received an email circulating to Filipinos worldwide to protest against China over the latest intrusion and it’s looks like David and Goliath if you compare the two countries. It’s intention was to show the world or let the world know what China is doing to my dear native land.
I did not hear any protest or demonstration of Filipinos here in Denmark but in my own little way I am reposting this here in my blog.

WORLDWIDE PROTEST AGAINST CHINA OVER INTRUSIONS IN PHILIPPINE WATERS

WHAT: Mass demonstrations will be held by Filipinos at all China consular offices in the United States (Washington DC, NY, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco), in Canada (Vancouver and Toronto) and in at least 20 other cities around the world. The largest protest will be held in Makati in the Philippines where former Philippine Pres. Fidel V. Ramos will join Broadway star Lea Salonga in speaking out against China’s “creeping invasion” of the Philippines.

WHEN: 12 noon, Friday, May 11, 2012

WHERE: China Consulate 1450 Laguna Street (corner Geary Blvd.) in San Francisco Meeting time: 11:00 AM in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Blvd.

WHO: At least 500 Filipino-Americans including WW II veteran survivors of the Bataan Death March, seniors, students, religious groups, professionals, youth, Democrats, Republicans, Independents

Background: Ownership of the Scarborough Shoal, (which China calls “Huangyan Island”) located 124 miles from the Philippines, is disputed by China which is more than 500 miles away from the Shoal. The dispute came to a head on April 8, 2012 when eight Chinese fishing vessels set anchor in Scarborough Shoal After their presence was discovered by a Philippine Air Force surveillance plane, a Philippine Navy frigate went to the Shoal and boarded the trespassing vessels and discovered large quantities of illegally collected corals, giant clams, and live sharks. This incident was just the latest in a series of developments that had occurred in the past six months including: – Chinese ships firing on and harassing Philippine fishing boats and exploration and mapping vessels in the vicinity of the shoal, forcing them to withdraw – Chinese ships dropping steel posts and navigation buoys with Chinese markings in the waters around Scarborough Shoal – Chinese ships blocking the Philippine navy vessel, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which sought to apprehend Chinese boats loaded with corals, rare fish and live baby sharks which were illegally caught and are prohibited under Philippine laws – Chinese planes buzzing Philippine Coast Guard vessels and fishing boats in the shoal. On April 10, 2012 Chinese government vessels were then dispatched to the scene where they were able to rescue the Chinese fishermen and their illegal catch. Since then, China has increased the number of its vessels in the area to 32 compared to just 2 vessels on the Philippine side. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/36035/32-chinese-ships-in-shoal-bar-filipino-fishers Major-Gen. Luo Yuan of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) declared that “it is the Philippines that violated China’s sovereignty over Huangyan Island by forcing an inspection of a Chinese fishing vessel. Therefore, action was required in order to respond to this unnecessary provocation to let both the Philippines and any potential future provocateur know that such actions will not be tolerated.” In its April 25 editorial, the Global Times, published by China’s official People’s Daily, warned that “China should select the most arrogant provocateur, conduct comprehensive strikes, and exert pressure economically, politically and militarily. If the water overwhelms China’s knees, other countries will find their necks in the water.” On May 7, 2012, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying summoned the Philippine Charge d’Affairs in Beijing to demand that the Philippines “withdraw its vessels in the sea area around Huangyan Island, and to never again impede the operations of Chinese fishing vessels or Chinese government vessels performing their duties in accordance with Chinese law,” Fu said. The People’s Liberation Army Daily declared that Beijing will not flinch from a military response if the conflict escalates. “What we want to say is that anyone who tries in vain to seize sovereignty of Huangyan Island will be rebuffed by the Chinese government, Chinese people, and even more the Chinese military,” a commentary in the military paper said. http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/news/national/3281-china-in-tough-talk http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/257760/news/nation/china-issues-warnings-on-phl-state-media-says-ready-for-war

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario outlined the country’s “three-track approach” to resolve its dispute with China: a political track focused on seeking the support of ASEAN member nations; a legal track based on filing a dispute settlement case before the United Nations and United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Seas (UNCLOS); and a diplomatic track of engaging in regular consultations with China to defuse the tensions. To support the Philippines in its dispute with China, Filipinos in America, numbering more than 4 million, organized a global protest against China’s consular offices in the US, Canada and cities all over the world, on Friday, May 11, at 12 noon in whatever time zone. “The global protest seeks to mobilize world public opinion, especially in the US, to oppose China’s hegemonic ambitions in the Philippines,” Rodel Rodis, president of the main sponsor of the rally, US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG). “We also want China to know that the 12 million Filipinos in the Diaspora will support the Philippines on this issue. In retaliation for the planned May 11 global protest, China has suspended all Chinese travel tours to the Philippines and all agricultural products from the Philippines. Military action has also bee threatened. Assessing China’s threats against the Philippines, one analyst noted: “I think this is happening because the Philippines is so weak. The Chinese government can beat the war drums all they want, and as loud as they want, and no war is going to happen. It’s akin to bullying someone in a wheelchair that you know can’t punch back.” But the bully should know that the man in the wheelchair has relatives abroad.

MANIFESTO ON MAY 11, 2012 On this day, Filipinos spread out all over the world are holding peaceful demonstrations to protest the continuing acts of aggression by China in Scarborough Shoal that is part of Philippine territory. Since the stand-off at Scarborough Shoal began over a month ago, the Chinese government has kept insisting on its “historic rights” to Scarborough and other areas that are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, while refusing the Philippine government’s offer to raise the issue for mediation in the proper international tribunals, as provided for by several global conventions and agreements, mainly, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. At the same time, China has repeatedly warned the Philippine government against moves that could “escalate” the tension or “internationalize” the conflict—a classic case of speaking from both sides of the mouth because it has no qualms about flaunting its military superiority and has, of last count, kept maritime surveillance vessels CMS 75 and 81, and the fisheries patrol vessel FLEC 310, alongside 30 Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough. China takes offense that, while hapless Filipino fishermen venture out to sea once more, the Philippine Coast Guard maintains one boat in the area along with a Bureau of Fisheries vessel. China has signalled a readiness to harass and shoo away Filipino fishermen, who for centuries have drawn life from the bounty of the seas off Masinloc province in Zambales. We cannot let pass this series of objectionable actions by China, a supposedly law-abiding member of the community of nations, or risk validating our giant Asian neighbor’s misplaced proprietary sense and embolden it to take further aggressive action—not only against the Philippines, but also against other small neighbors as well. Let it be clear to all that the Filipino people have no quarrel with their Chinese brothers and sisters, with whom they share centuries of good relations. Many Filipinos of Chinese descent have helped build, and continue to build, our nation. Our protest is directed at the overbearing actions and stance of the government in Beijing, which behaves like an arrogant overlord, even in the homes of its neighbors. The bounty of the seas—be it in Zambales, or in Recto Bank, or the small islands in the West Philippine Sea where Filipino communities have been growing—is not only for people to benefit from, but also to conserve. And the community of nations, mainly through the UN, have laid down clear guidelines for the conduct of all peoples seeking to harness economic wealth from nature. That is why all must live by set codes, in a rules-based setting at all times. All we ask is for the Chinese government to respect the rights of its neighbors, even while it needs to assert its national interest. If it continues on this path of obstinate bullying, it will only have itself to blame for the consequences of its folly. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-18016901 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18015538 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/257760/news/nation/china-issues-warnings-on-phl-state-media-says-ready-for-war http://globalnation.inquirer.net/35543/scarborough-will-not-be-mischief-reef-redux http://globalnation.inquirer.net/36003/scarborough-shoal-standoff-a-historicaltimeline

 

Invitation to : A Glimpse of Filipino Culture! An afternoon of sharing Filipino Culture and Traditions

A Glimpse of Filipino Culture! An afternoon of sharing Filipino Culture and Traditions

Babaylan-Denmark is inviting Filipino Au Pairs, Host Families and Friends to an afternoon of sharing Filipino culture, values and traditions, “A Glimpse of Filipino Culture!

Through the years, Babaylan has been conducting Cross Cultural Orientations for Filipino Au Pairs to provide them with important information about their legal rights, and better understanding of the Danish Culture and Society.

“A Glimpse of Filipino Culture”, is, however, an event  that will focus more on the Host Families and Friends of Au Pairs.  This event will serve as an opportunity to introduce some of our Filipino traditions and values to host families, and help them understand and appreciate better the presence of an “additional” member of the family.

March 3: A Glimpse of Filipino CultureClick on photo to enlarge

A Glimpse of Filipino Culture!
An afternoon of sharing Filipino culture, values & traditions with Host Families, Au Pairs & Friends.

(Food, booth, songs, dances, games & cultural shows)
March 3, 2012
Kl. 12 – 17

Munkegårdsskolen
Vangedevej 178, 2820 Dyssegård, Gentofte

Please call or SMS to confirm participation.
Tel. no.+45 5034 8835  or email: babaylandk@babaylan.dk/>

The majority of Filipinas living in Denmark find their place in Danish society through the home: as wives/girlfriends, mothers, or au pairs. In building cross-cultural relationships, many questions arise. Some of these are:
• What is the Filipina attitude towards work and family?
• Why are holidays like Christmas so important?
• In what ways are Danes and Filipinas similar/different?
• Why are songs and dances so important for Filipinos?
• Why do working Filipinas send a good portion of their income home?

We will discuss these questions and many more about Filipino culture. The goal is to create opportunities for better understanding of each other’s culture in a fun and exciting way, to foster closer relations/partnerships between Filipinas and their host families

We encourage you to come and join us for a memorable afternoon. (Children are of course welcome.)

We hope to see you soon!

Greetings from
Babaylan Denmark

Et indblik I den Filippinske kultur

Så er muligheden der endelig for en hyggelig eftermiddag for au pairs og deres værts familier. Kom og deltag i en kulturel udveksling for at få en bedre forståelse for den Filippinske kultur.

Dette vil foregå via præsentationer, mulighed for at stille spørgsmål til et panel, mad, boder, sang, dans og andre aktiviteter.

Størstedelen af Filippinske kvinder i Danmark finder deres plads i samfundet som, koner/kærester, mødre eller au pairs. Når vi skal bygge broer imellem vores forskellige kulturer danner der sig ofte nogle spørgsmål. Nogle af disse kunne lyde:
• Hvordan er Filippinsk attitude i forhold til arbejde og familie?
• Hvorfor er helligdage så som jul så vigtige?
• På hvilke måder er Danskere og Filippinere ens/forskellige?
• Hvorfor er sang og dans så vigtig for Filippinere?
• Hvorfor sender arbejdende Filippinere en god portion af deres indkomst hjem til deres familier?
Dette og meget mere vil der være mulighed for at få et større indblik i. Formålet er at skabe en større forståelse for hinanden og gøre det på en sjov og spændende måde, for dermed at skabe tættere relationer/sammenarbejde imellem Filippinere og deres værtsfamilier.

Invitation to Babaylan Denmark/ Odense Summer Party 2011

Calling all Filipinos their families and friends in Odense and nearby areas in Fyn you are all invited to attend the first Su mmer Party of Babaylan Denmark/Odense.

Invitation-to-Babaylan-Odense-Summer-Party-odense-2011

Pista sa Mayo 2011 & Babaylan Denmark’s 14th Anniversary

Please join the Pista sa Mayo 2011 at the St. Anne’s Church Main Hall, Dronning Elizabeth Alle 3, 2300 KBH. S from 10.30-20.00 .

International Women’s Day and Migrant Women’s Rights

International Women’s Day and Migrant Women’s Rights

by Filomenita Mongaya Høgsholm

History Entwined
If it were not for immigrant women, we might not be celebrating the 8th of March as International Women’s Day (IWD) today, where we honour and recognize women’s contributions, and also protect their rights. Although IWD has been observed since the early 1900’s when the world then, cataclysmic owing to industrial expansion and booming population growth, witnessed impassioned women campaigning for change. It made headlines when15 000 women, probably immigrant women among them, marched in 1908 through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

The Past….
At the 1910 International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin, working for the Social Democratic Party in her native Germany, tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day before more than 100 women from 17 countries, among them members of political parties and working women’s clubs, including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. Zetkin’s suggestion was unanimously approved at the meeting.Thus was IWD celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March 1911 with more than one million women and men attending.
But less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City occurred, taking the lives of 146 garment workers, mostly Italian and Eastern European -Jewish- women immigrants. The tragedy underscored the dangerous working conditions of immigrant women workers in New York’s sweatshops. It was a turning point for women workers and hence became instrumental in changing American labour laws.
From then on, the meaning of the tragic event would later be incorporated into the empowerment thrust commemmorated on March 8th, now known as International Women’s Day, IWD, with special stress on women workers. That was exactly a century ago on March 8 this year in 2011..
The present…
A whole century of struggle for rights has certainly brought significant changes to women workers lives but in many parts of the world, women’s work continues to be undervalued, underpaid, or unremunerated and every single day in the calendar, women and girls in the Global South, following their dreams of a better life, leave home to find jobs to secure their future by moving to the developed world of the North/West. They migrate to continents and cultures so far from their own.

Feminisation of Migration
According to I.O.M (International Office for Migration)’s bi-annual World Migration Report in 2010, 3% of the world’s population or 214 million people were on the move, and 49% of these international migrants were women or girls, the portion of females reaching 51% in more developed regions. Constituting 50% or more of the migrant workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now women heads of households among these, who see it as their duty to go abroad and earn so as to support their families’ well being, eg. the education of their children. Yet there is no indication that guarantees exist so more women can migrate in safety and protection. On the contrary, the area of protection has been marginalised, women migrants are still subjected to multiple discrimination, and the incidence of irregularity and of trafficking is rising..
But even without this criminal twist to female migration, women workers still pay the social costs of migration since they suffer psychologically and emotionally from the separation from their children which take a toll on their health and quality of life.

Gendered Trends
According to the same report, the trend of female migration will continue owing to the demographic factor of an ageing population in the developed world requiring the extra hands of female immigrants to provide care. Yet employers, governments and society in receiving countries fail to value women’s work which is considered of low status. Care, esp, when it is expended within the domestic sphere is invisible. And not valued.
Additionally, women workers are denied their right to fair wages and humane working conditions. When they come into contact with the law, they are deprived of their right to due process, the right to be protected against inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to be heard and air grievances, including the right to complain without the threat of verbal abuse or withholding of salary. These are everyday happenings for migrant women in certain parts of the world.. aside, from these, they often have noaccess to counselling, legal and social services. More so than other workers, domestic workers including the new arrivlas, the au pairs found in iincreasing numbers in norther Europe, are vulnerable to deprivation oe abuse of their rights, and maybe be exposed to physical violence, including sexual harassment and rape.

Trafficking and smuggling for labour and the sex industry mainly involving women and children is a more lucrative business than the drug trade. With the financial crisis still unresolved, unscrupulous elements in this nexus of migration and criminality will ply their trade more vigorously to bring in their ill-gotten incomes.
MDGs and Migrant Women:“Empowering Women to End Poverty by 2015”
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs were set by the world’s leaders who agreed on a global cooperation to fight poverty by formulating 8 specific goals. Not one of the 8 however was on international migration, inspite of the role of remittances and diaspora communities as agents of change in home countries. Indeed, it is a crosscutting phenomenon, rather like gender equality which is one of the MDGs, ie./Goal 3.

Inspite there being one specific goal on gender equality, without progress towards the empowerment of women, including migrant women, none of the other goals will be achieved. Women disproportionately experience the burden of poverty as victims of discrimination, and yet they put their lives at risk every time they become pregnant because more often than not, they have no access to basic health services nor reproductive rights orientation, showing an interplay of several unfulfilled MDGs.
Last year’s UN MDG Summit in New York in September 2010 concluded with the adoption of a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by their 2015 target date and the announcement of major new commitments for women’s and children’s health and other initiatives against poverty, hunger and disease.

The UN Migrant Workers Convention and International Migrants Day
20 years has passed since the UN attempted in 1990 to enshrine migrant workers rights in a Convention adequately entitled the UN Convention for Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, UNMWC for short. It first entered into force in 2003 but already in 1997, Filipino migrants began to celebrate the 18th of December to commemorate international migrants solidarity day. And finally on Dec.4th 2000, it was decided by the UN that there ought to be an International Migrants Day to remind member states, intergovernmental actors as well as NGOs of their obligations to ratify the Convention as well as to disseminate information on the human rights of migrants, recognizing their contributions to the well being of host societies.

The UNMWC is the only Human Rights instrument that specifically addressesthe rights of migrants but unfortunately it is also the least ratified…Not one European or North American state has come forward to lead the way. There is a long way to go, in fact, it has almost not started .As of last count there were only 44 nations who have ratified the Convention, and all of them from the Global South. There are further some 15 signatories to the Convention, again none from the so-called developed nations.

The ILO Domestic Workers Convention

The ILO has a number of Conventions thru the 1980s and ’90s, all of them having to do with questions relevant to migrant workers but none seem to cater directly to women migrants. In 2011, a new Convention will likely be passed and this will be about domestic workers rights. Considering that domestic workers are predominantly women, and the demographic deficit will require more and more care from the Global South, and with a fast ageing population in the developed nations, such a Convention will secure aspects to this grey and unprotected labour area but will not necessarily address ALL migrant women’s rights.

The new convention was passed at the ILO’s June 2-18 2010 meeting in Geneva, attended by more than 2,500 delegates from member countries, trade unions and employer’s confederations. This new DWC provides for freedom of association, fair terms of employment and decent working and living conditions, easy access to dispute settlement procedures, regulation of employment agencies and protection of migrant domestic workers. This part will require hard bargaining since it is about substantive provisions to include protection from abuse, wage regulation, fair and decent conditions of work and social security for domestic workers — migrant, live-in and other categories of this extremely vast, unregulated and unprotected workforce. The ILO also called for state parties to hold consultations with stakeholders and provide comments on the proposed convention to set fair labour standards in domestic work.

This year 2011, it is expected,that we will see both international and domestic law on this important subject in place. The fact that the work site for domestic work is often the home of the employer, not a public place, is considered problematic because the right to privacy of employers is put forward as contradictory to the rights of the domestic worker supposedly in regulated employment. Also, the aforementioned rapid rise in crossborder trafficking calls for special protection for migrant domestic workers, many of whom cross international borders without proper documentation. The Convention must also address the important issue of reintegration and/or return after end of contract, a time when the women workers are particularly at risk. It is also established that domestic workers are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexual assault, and often find it impossible to access the criminal justice system. Protection must be offered to domestic workers against sexual harassment, especially more relevant to certain areas in the world than others.
ILO in the Middle East
The ILO is also encouraging the drafting of labour legislation to provide foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in the Middle East with legal protection.Arab trade unions agreed on a statement of principles, including the right to decent wages and union representation for FDWs, after a workshop in Beirut, Lebanon, earlier in November 2010. The phenomenon [FDW] has taken off in recent years as family networks are taking on workers to help with social care, such as caring for elderly parents, people with disabilities and children.Only Jordan has comprehensive labour legislation covering FDWs in a region that employs 22 million domestics, a third of whom are women, mainly from Asian and African countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

Domestic labour is used worldwide but is especially widespread in the Middle East and where according to Human Rights Watch (April 2010), FDWs face a wide range of abuses and poor working conditions, such as needing permission to leave the house, a lack of leave days, having their passports taken away and, in some cases, physical and emotional abuse. The report also noted that access to justice was limited. Experts say the recruitment system – kafala – in which an employing family sponsors the domestic worker, is the first issue to tackle. Also advocacy for the rights of domestic workers is weak and language is a barrier.

The ILO is also working with governments on other initiatives, including awareness literature, hotlines for FDWs, communal housing that would offer domestic workers an alternative to living in the employer’s home, and government bodies rather than private agencies to manage recruitment.
Governments, trade unions, and other civil society organizations in both the countries of origin and destination need to be more engaged. Private employment agencies are making a profit out of workers who are coming to the region to take care of the social care needs of households here. These needs should be a part of social policies and programmes of the countries’ governments, rather than being left to private households.

Conventions aimed specifically at Women
We work with women before they depart to train them in their rights as workers, employment responsibilities and basic information about contracts. We work with women once they arrive in the country to ensure they have safe housing, legitimate contracts and workplace rights. We also work with women who are returning to their families after periods away and supporting them to re-enter their family life. (UNIFEM)

CEDAW, Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
CEDAW is an international treaty that can also be invoked to address women migrants’ issues. With 178 ratifications by countries of origin, transit and destination, CEDAW is one of the most widely ratified of conventions, ranking second only to the Convention on the rights of the Child
This Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and is one of the most comprehensive international human rights treaties for the promotion of women’s rights. It looks at women’s civil rights, their legal status, reproductive rights, but also cultural factors influencing women’s position in society and the enjoyment of their rights.

At some point, the UN Cedaw Committee, affirming that migrant women, like all women, should not be discriminated against in any sphere of their life, decided to issue a General Recommendation on some categories of women migrant workers in these words:

Recognizing that migrant women may be classified into various categories and that these categories remain fluid and overlapping, the scope of the general recommendation is limited to addressing the situations of migrant women who, as workers, are in low-paid jobs, may be at high risk of abuse and discrimination and who may never acquire eligibility for permanent stay or citizenship, unlike professional migrant workers in the country of employment. These categories of migrant women are: (a) women migrant workers who migrate independently; (b) women migrant workers who join their spouses or other members of their families who are also workers; and undocumented women migrant workers who may fall into any of the above categories.

The General Recommendation 27, also known as GR 27, issued at its 32nd Session in January 2005 aims to elaborate the circumstances that contribute to the specific vulnerability of many women migrant workers and their experiences of sex- and gender-based discrimination as a cause and consequence of the violations of their human rights.
The full text is available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/comments.htm..

CEDAW: the view from Europe
Together with a couple of other related organizations,UNIFEM organised a Roundtable on the CEDAW and Migrant Women during its 30th anniversary in Geneva in November 2009, two migrant women were invited from Europe (one from WIDE/KULU/Babaylan and another from the European Netowrk of Migrant Women) to share their experience from the ground regarding human rights challenges for women migrant workers in Europe and the forms of multiple discrimination they are facing.
Bilateral agreements between countries to protect migrant workers are generally lacking, and that many migrant women do not have papers or contracts, as a result of trafficking or their illegal status, and therefore have no place to go for protection, nor for services such as health care.

Migrant women in Europe also often lack access to social benefits (e.g. pensions), and might therefore face poverty at old age. A further complication is that many migrant women that do domestic work are not protected, for example regarding domestic violence, as the ‘home’ by law is not seen as an official workplace, but as a private area.

One of the difficulties to protect migrant workers arises from the fact that the women leave on their own initiative and do not go through official organizations or networks, nor do they seek advice with State institutions. This makes it very difficult for States to provide these migrant workers with support.
Other issues raised during the discussion ranged from good practice examples in training and education of migrant workers, which nowadays is primarily a task taken up by civil society and which many said should also become the responsibility of States, so is protection of families, domestic migration and national streamlining of migration policy among various ministries.

Concluding words
IWD is a global celebration to focus on the economic, political and social achievements of all women without regard for differences among them. Maybe with the newly established United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — or UN Women — now fully functioning, the UN can help member states to “accelerate progress towards their goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.” And put power and meaning into the celebration of International Women’s Day hopefully for generations to come.


International Women’s Day Centenary sees largest ever activity


International Women’s Day Centenary sees largest ever activity

London, March 2, 2011: March 8 sees the highest level of global women’s activity ever witnessed as groups celebrate the International Women’s Day centenary.

The first International Women’s Day events were run in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911 and attended by over one million people. 100 years on, International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a global mainstream phenomena celebrated across many countries and is an official holiday in approximately 25 countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.

8 March sees extensive global women’s activity. Performer and social activist, Annie Lennox, will lead a mass march across London’s Millennium Bridge for charity. In Washington D.C. over a thousand people will descend on Capitol Hill demanding a better world for millions of marginalized women and girls around the globe. A major international businesswomen’s conference will be hosted in Sydney, Australia. Schools and governments around the world are participating in the day. Trade Unions and charities are campaigning. Global corporations are hosting conferences and distributing extensive resource packs. The United Nations Secretary-General delivers a formal message. The United States even designates the whole month of March as Women’s History Month as officially proclaimed by President Obama on February 28, 2011.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. However, activity has not always been on the increase. Australian entrepreneur and women’s campaigner Glenda Stone, who founded the www.internationalwomensday.com website, a global hub of events and information, said:
“A decade ago International Women’s Day was disappearing. Activity in Europe, where International Women’s Day actually began, was very low. Providing a global online platform helped sustain and accelerate momentum for this important day. Holding only a handful of events ten years ago, the United Kingdom has now become the global leader for International Women’s Day activity, followed sharply by Canada, United States and Australia. 2011 will see thousands of events globally for the first time.”

More recently, social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have also helped fuel International Women’s Day activity. Generally the day has moved away from its socialist Suffragette beginnings to become more mainstream in celebrating women’s achievements. Women’s rights campaigners, however, continue to remind that vigilance rather than complacency is essential in striving for women’s equality.

Source: www.internationalwomensday.com

Filcom Denmark- Pasko

Filcom DK - the United organizations in Denmark joined Christmas Party in Copenhagen

After the succesful Independence Day this year the FILCOM- DK which consists of various organizations, church groups and other groups in Denmark will be having another joined events this Christmas called Paskøbenhavn. I’m one of the active organizer of this event and I’m very amazed how these Filipinos in Denmark sacrificed their precious time for the community. All FILCOM events are non profit and any proceeds will be used for common Filipino Activity in Denmark like the on going Consular Outreach and Mobile Passporting at the St. Anne Church big hall December 10-11 from 9-18, the Independence Event and this coming Christmas party.

Please contact any member of FILCOM-DK or you can email: babaylanDK (at) babaylan.dk if you want to reserved a ticket or check the Facebook group of FILCOM-DK here

This event is sponsored by