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A tribute to a beloved comrade and friend Danny


									             Page 1
             ISSUE 10: November-December 2007

                                                                             ISSUE 10

                                             News, Views and Analysis from Migrante Melbourne

BATINGAW; BELL; HERALD; The Voice of Progressive Filipino Migrants in Australia

    In this Edition                          ISSUE      10     November-December‘07
                      Lafayette link to Rapu-Rapu fish kills
                      OFWs in Perth form union
                      Open letter to the Australian Labour Unions
                      ILPS: On the Emergency Rule in Pakistan
                      Helpful Tips for a Debt Free Christmas
                 A tribute to a beloved comrade and friend Danny
                                                                                           Page 2
                                                  ISSUE 10: November-December 2007

A Time for Every Season
         e mourn the passing of our dear friend and           This is also the year when we finally saw the end of 11 year
         comrade Danny Fernandez. Throughout the              conservative era of the Liberal government in Australia un-
         history of Migrante Melbourne, Danny has been        der rule of John Howard. The Australian people have clearly
instrumental and a key player in building and strengthen-     spoken - they want to institute genuine CHANGE. We in
ing the group as its Deputy Chairperson. We will truly        Migrante Melbourne are optimistic yet vigilant of the elec-
miss Danny - his memory will remain with us and we pledge     tion promises made by the Australian Labor Party to abolish
in our hearts to continue on with his work in bringing a      the unjust policy of WorkChoices, the signing of Kyoto Pro-
better and just life for humankind.                           tocol, the withdrawal of Australian troops in Iraq and finally
                                                              their pledge to recognise and reverse the injustices inflicted
This issue of Batingaw is our tribute to our beloved com-     upon the aboriginal people - the most oppressed people of
rade Danny. See more about his life and our joys of being     this land.
with him at Migrante Melbourne on page 10.
                                                              There’s a time for every season –a time to dance and a time
December is the month when we commemorate the In-             to mourn, a time to reap and a time to sow. Patience is the
ternational Human Rights day. Year after year, we have        key to a fruitful harvest.
been reminding ourselves of the sanctity of human life
and rights on every tenth day of the month. We do this        We look forward to more meaningful changes in the coming
alongside with our joint gathering with fraternal and soli-   year - we will continue on with our fight for a just and lasting
darity groups, Gabriela Australia and the Philippines Aus-    peace for oppressed people all over the world.
tralia Solidarity Association (PASA). We also welcome the
newly formed chapter of International League of People’s
Struggle-Australia (ILPS Australia); an alliance of anti-
imperialist organisations in Australia. Migrante Melbourne
is one of the founding organisations of the alliance.

During these celebratory times, we also herald the com-
ing holidays and share the blessings and the joy of the
festive seasons.

End of year is also the time to reflect on the happenings
of the past and look forward to the future of what has
become one of the most challenging years in the life of
our political history in Australia and in the Philippines.

On the sanctity of human rights, one of the most striking
development that have occurred recently is about the
formal report of Philip Alston - the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on extra judicial killings in the Philippines -
clearly pinpointing the bloody role of state apparatus and
the Philippine military as the primary masterminds be-
hind the many political killings and murders that occurred
in the country. More than 800 lives taken and 200 disap-
peared - every one of them counts, every single one of
them we mourn in our hearts and we clamour for justice
- just how we know the feeling of losing a beloved friend
and comrade Danny.

This barbaric regime will sooner or later have to pay - the
time for reckoning is getting near - as the surge and
strength of Filipino people’s resistance is gathering in
pace and momentum.
                         Page 3
                         ISSUE 10: November-December 2007

                          Lafayette link to Rapu-Rapu fish kills,
                            cyanide presence should be probed
                                                                                                    By Trixie Concepcion

      efend Patrimony, an alliance against mining               Antonio Casitas, Spokesperson of SISK noted that the heavy
      liberalization in the Philippines, urged                  waves hitting Poblacion’s shores during the time of the
      government officials and independent groups alike         fish kills came from the direction of Pagcolbon. “Mula Brgy.
to examine if Australian-owned mining firm Lafayette            Pagcolbon ang malalakas na alon na papuntang Brgy.
was the cause of cyanide found by the Bureau of                 Poblacion (The heavy waves moving towards Brgy. Poblacion
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in waters                come from Brgy. Pagcolbon),” Casitas said.
affected by fish kills in Rapu-Rapu island, Albay last
October 26 to 28.                                               As for the presence of cyanide observed by the BFAR,
                                                                Lafayette’s Agabin denied that the mine was the cyanide
“An independent and credible probe tracing the path ways        source, saying that naturally occurring cyanide can also
of the fish kills must be conducted. All angles as to the       happen.
causes of the fish kill must be pursued, including the pos-
sibility that the fish kills may be related to Lafayette’s      “It’s very improbable that naturally-occurring cyanide could
mining operations in Rapu-Rapu,” said Trixie Concepcion,        cause the fish kills of these proportions. A look at Rapu-
Spokesperson for Defend Patrimony alliance.                     Rapu island’s geophysical profile and ecological history
                                                                has never noted any particular build-up of naturally-oc-
Lafayette Spokesperson Bayani H. Agabin yesterday               curring cyanide that caused fish kills,” Concepcion said.
claimed that cyanide could not have come from them since
their plant is 10 kilometers away from where the fish kills     “The probability that cyanide naturally occurs in the area
took place. Agabin was quoted in media reports as saying        is almost nil, so most likely the cyanide would have to
there were no dead fish in the shoreline close to Lafayette’s   come from outside sources. This includes nearby mining
mine.                                                           operations. Take note that the Lafayette mine has also
                                                                incurred cyanide spills that caused fish kills, it’s the only
However, Lafayette’s claim is inconsistent with earlier re-     entity with a recent history of cyanide use that we are
ports of fish kills in the villages of Pagcolbon, which is      aware of. On October 11, 2005, about 20 tons of tailings
located within a one kilometer radius of the mining site,       that overflowed from Lafayette’s processing plant were
said Concepcion.                                                discharged, contaminating the Alma and Pagcolbon creeks
                                                                with cyanide and probably other heavy metals,”
Officials of Sagip Isla Sagip Kapwa (SISK) and the Save         Concepcion said.
Rapu-Rapu Alliance (SARA) received field reports of fish
kills from villages directly affected by the mining opera-      The US$42-million (P2.2. billion) Rapu- Rapu Polymetallic
tions, such as Pagcolbon and Malobago, on October 28.           Mining Project owned by Lafayette is intended to produce
Fish kills were later on sighted in other farther barangays     gold, silver, copper and zinc. Its operation will last six to
such as Poblacion.                                              seven years, from 2005 to 2011/2012.
                                                                                          Page 4
                                                ISSUE 10: November-December 2007

OFWs in Perth form union                                                                            By Anibeth Disierto

The establishment of the Filipino
Metalworkers within the Australian
Manufacturing Workers Unions
(AMWU) in WA which is giving a voice
to workers on temporary visas within
the union is the first of its kind in
Australian unionism.

OFW members of the AMWU in the Fili-
pino Metalworkers intend to run for
positions in the union’s State Council
and State Conference which gives
OFWs a temporary visa holder voice
in the union’s decision-making bodies.

Of 700 OFW metal tradesmen in Perth,
the AMWU (WA) has recruited 218 in
only 10 months in 31 enterprises in-            Filipino metal workers in Perth with Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
cluding those within fabrication, heavy
engineering, plastic manufacturing,
shipbuilding and factory maintenance.

“Instead of a workplace approach during which we visit         and believed employers could deport S457 visa workers
worksites to address workers’ grievances, we’ve taken a        whenever they wished to.
more community-oriented approach, literally living with the
community – visiting houses and their social events, even      The US State Department has said the Australian govern-
playing basketball with them,” AMWU organizer Joel Asphar      ment’s S457 visa scheme has led to sex trafficking, debt
says.                                                          bondage and slavery of migrants in Australia – in its ‘2007
                                                               Trafficking in Person Report’.
“We’ve been agitating around one issue only which has
been the deportation threats against the S457s/OFWs and        Many of the OFWs ‘ grievances have been successfully
because we’ve been able to stop these deportations and         resolved by the AMWU, winning disputes with employers
the guys now know what their rights are, our campaign          and finding jobs for sacked OFWs.
focus has now changed to the issue of residency for our
OFW members.”                                                  “Australia has a proud tradition of migration and it is
                                                               only this generation that has had to go through this tem-
On investigation of complaints received from their Aus-        porary visa arrangement but despite this, our members
tralian members and from some Filipino workers, the AMWU       will continue in their campaign to obtain permanent resi-
found out that OFWs thought they had no rights at all,         dency and continue this proud Australian tradition of mi-
could not question their working conditions nor join a union   gration,” Ashpar says. #

                                 MORE NEWS AND INFORMATION FROM MIGRANTE

                                  Visit us on the web at
                          Page 5
                          ISSUE 10: November-December 2007


     Open letter to the Australian Labour Unions
Dear Comrades,                                                      refugees, migrants, those of Middle Eastern origins, or
                                                                    unions as in this year’s elections– a tactic which many say
The last 11 years has seen the massive erosion of not only          helped it to win in previous elections – have failed to fool
the working rights of average Australians but also the fright-      the workers of Australia.
ening loss of the most basic of our human rights tradition-
ally entrenched in the Constitution and our judicial system         Labour’s decisive and historic win in these elections rode
with the almost unobstructed passage of new laws in a               on the back of the massive effort of Australian unions to
Coalition-dominated Senate.                                         inform the public and confirm to them what they are al-
                                                                    ready experiencing on the ground – the true effects of the
This demise of civil society and democracy has been ac-             government’s draconian Workchoices laws. The unions
companied with the squeezing of average workers from                have also assisted many guest workers suffering abuses
Workchoices, inflation and the GST. It has become diffi-            by employers and agents under the S457 visa scheme.
cult for many to afford reasonable housing, education and
health care.                                                        We thank you for this great effort and the efforts of those
                                                                    who work with us in solidarity– which have given Austral-
The costs to the economy, the environment and society of            ians and all of us a measure of democratic space to con-
the war in Iraq, global warming and in future, Australia’s          tinue to fight for an Australia that is ruled on principles of
participation in the WTO pro-multinational provisions –             justice, fairness and true democracy.
arguably mostly ignored by government – are only now be-
ginning to be felt and acknowledged.                                We continue to campaign for the abolition of Workchoices,
                                                                    the abusive practices under the S457 visa scheme and
The lack of avenue for the real public and workers to ex-           continue to join with you in your struggle for the workers
press what they truly feel on these issues have hardly been         of Australia.
heard via a media generally sympathetic to government
and big business views.                                             From all of us at Migrante Australia, the warmest con-
The landslide electoral swing against the Liberal-National
Coalition which has overseen these 11 years of regime as            Long live all fighters for justice and democracy!
above confirms that the democratic and social justice heart         Long live unions of Australia!
of Australians still beats, and that workers know the reality       Long live workers of Australia!
on the ground against the government and media rhetoric.
                                                                    Migrante Perth
 $65billion of electoral pledges for example by the Coali-          Migrante Melbourne
tion and its usual fear campaign of scapegoating either             Migrante Sydney

                                                                 Migrante Melbourne is a voluntary community organisation of

  Get Involved!                                                  Filipino and Filipino-Australian migrants and workers promoting
                                                                 and upholding their welfare, human rights and workers’ rights. It
                                                                 also deepens members’ awareness of the root reasons of the
                                                                 Filipino hegira to over 180 countries and settlement issues in their
Name:                                                            adopted homelands.
                                                                 Visit us on the web at
Email:                                                           SEND TO PO BOX 606, LAVERTON VIC 3028 or
                                                                 CALL US on 1300 3666 74
I would like to:
                                                                 Migrante Melbourne, Eastern Ricky Salamanes – 0401 315305
   become a member of Migrante Melbourne                         Migrante Melbourne, Western Reyvi Marinas - 0421 119776
   be updated with information from Migrante Melbourne           Migrante Perth: Mel Baltazar 0414 247154 Anibeth Desierto 0402 941935
                                                                 Lingap Migrante, Sydney: Edwin Subijano – 0409 461600
   donate to Migrante Melbourne                                                            Bong Andres – 0410 632707
                                                                                    Page 6
                                               ISSUE 10: November-December 2007
                     ON PAKISTAN

        ILPS condemns
Musharraf’s declaration
    of emergency rule
  and supports the just
struggle of the people
            of Pakistan
                                                                                             Thousands Protest in Pakistan

                          By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
                                                               akistan’s 610,000-member military is the eighth largest
                   International League of Peoples’
                                                               in the world. It has an annual expenditure of $2.435
                        Struggle 20 November 2007
                                                               billion, nearly 3% of Pakistan’s GDP. In the three years
                                                         after 9/11, US military aid to Pakistan soared to $4.2 billion,
                                                         compared to $9.1 million in the three years before the
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)     attacks. The total value of all American aid, including
                                                         military, economic, and development assistance, to Pakistan
condemns the declaration of emergency rule by
                                                         since 9/11 is estimated at more than $10 billion. Pakistan
Pakistan’s military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf and      now ranks third after Israel and Egypt among the biggest
the further entrenchment of barefaced fascist            recipients of US aid.
dictatorship on the people of Pakistan. We support
                                                         The Bush-Musharraf tandem has meant the malicious use
the just struggle of the people of Pakistan for
                                                         of the anti-terrorism slogan in order to justify the worst
national and social liberation against the Musharraf     kinds of terrorism: the US-NATO war of aggression in
fascist regime and its US imperialist master.            Afghanistan and substantial parts of Pakistan and the state
                                                         terrorism of the Musharraf regime against the Pakistani
Gen. Musharraf has faced strong opposition the past
months with a broad array of forces ranged against       Gen. Musharraf has allowed the U.S. to use Pakistan’s bases
him. He has been able to weather past challenges to      in anti-terrorism operations and to attack Pakistani
his rule only because of his control over the military   communities, shared intelligence, helped identify and
                                                         arrest suspected terrorists, and tightened the border
and because of US support.
                                                         between Pakistan and Afghanistan by deploying up to 80,000
George W. Bush considers                                 Pakistani troops.
Musharraf a key ally in the US
global “war on terror” and contin-                       Among the broad masses of the people, there is widespread
                                                         sentiment against and opposition to Musharraf’s puppetry
ues to praise him as his partner in
                                                         to US imperialism particularly in connection with the US
spreading “freedom”.                                     “war on terror”. This has served to stimulate the rise of a
                                                         broad range of opposition forces, including the Islamic,
                                                         the bourgeois democratic and the revolutionary.

                                                         Since the 1999 coup that put him in power, Musharraf has
                                                         ruled with an iron fist. He has constantly tormented the
                                                         bourgeois opposition. He has put many of them behind
                                                         bars without charges where they are maltreated and
                                                         tortured. Journalists critical of the government have been
                                                         harassed, threatened, arrested and detained. The
                                                         government has banned and disrupted anti-government
                                                         rallies and demonstrations since October 2000.
                           Page 7
                           ISSUE 10: November-December 2007
                                                                                                         ON PAKISTAN

ILPS condemns Musharraf’s declaration of emergency rule... (continued...)

More than one-third of the Pakistani population of 160 mil-     puppet like him. It is all a matter of hypocrisy for the US
lion live below the poverty line —13 percent survive on less    government to pretend being for a democratic Pakistan while
than $1 a day. Many people in the rural areas are impover-      in fact the US needs state terrorism in Pakistan to support
ished peasants living in mud houses. Because of their dire      the US war of aggression, especially in Afghanistan and parts
economic situation and the political repression, the masses     of Pakistan.
have grown very restive. The social unrest has emboldened
the broad range of opposition to challenge his authoritarian    The declaration of emergency rule shows Musharraf’s deter-
rule.                                                           mination to keep his despotic power at all costs. The illusion
                                                                of democracy that the US wishes to conjure in Pakistan is
In March 2007, Musharraf removed chief justice Iftakar Mo-      dispelled by continuing martial rule, the suspension of the
hammed Chaudhry from office. He took punitive action            constitution and the replacement of the Supreme Court by a
against Chaudhry for deciding to hear cases involving disap-    set of Musharaff appointees. These aggravate the political
pearances of people detained by the notorious intelligence      oppression and economic exploitation of the broad masses
agencies, as well as constitutional challenges to Musharraf’s   of the people. But these also result in favorable conditions
rule. Street demonstrations protesting Chaudry’s ouster led     for the people’s struggle for national and social revolution
to Chaudhry’s reinstatement in July.                            and the rise of revolutionary forces against US imperialism
                                                                and the local reactionary forces.
Wishing to reverse the ever worsening internal political tur-
moil in the whole of Pakistan, coincident with the resurgence   All freedom-loving peoples of the world must condemn the
of the Taliban and the anti-imperialist forces in the Afghan-   unbridled state terrorism and barefaced fascist dictatorship
Pakistani border areas, the US has pushed the formula of        of Musharraf as well as the continuing policy of the US to
keeping Musharraf as “civilian” president, making him re-       prop up the widely detested Musharraf regime and condone
sign from the position of chief of staff of the armed forces,   all its fascist crimes in line with the overriding US policy of
holding parliamentary elections in January next year and        aggression and plunder in South Asia, Central Asia and the
making Benazir Bhutto his prime minister.                       Middle East.

But like any puppet Musharraf has relative autonomy from        The people of Pakistan deserve all possible moral and politi-
his imperialist master and wants to secure his autocratic       cal support for their just revolutionary resistance for national
power against his actual and potential rivals and uses to his   liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the
advantage the increasingly difficult position of the US in      Musharraf fascist regime.###
Iraq and Afghanistan and its desperate need for a brutal

                                               STOP THE KILLINGS
                                               IN THE PHILIPPINES
  ST                        P
       From 2001 when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the Philippine presidency, Karapatan (Alliance for the
        Advancement of People’s Rights) has documented more than 858 political killings and 198 disappeared.

                                       Join Us in Demanding
     Justice for the victims and the end of killings, abduction and harassment of
               human rights and community activists in the Philippines
                                                                                      Page 8
                                             ISSUE 10: November-December 2007


Christmas Carols to raise fund for Shelter

                                               Migrante Melbourne will continuously run fundraising
                                               events to support the maintenance of Migrante Shelter
                                               in the Philippines for the distressed OFWs.

Migrante Cultural Group will hold its Christmas Carolling 2007 in December. The carolling is a fund raising project of
Migrante Melbourne for the maintenance of Migrante Shelter for distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and
their families in the Philippines and also aims to share the spirit of yuletide season.

The group will sing Filipino and non-Filipino Christmas songs to the household of family members, friends and supporters
of the organisations. This will provide a good opportunity for the families to enjoy the long-held Filipino tradition.

Migrante International, the peak body of Migrante organisation, acknowledged on its letter to Migrante Melbourne on
29 August 2007, the group’s “continuous financial support and its growing commitment in arousing, organising and
mobilising their compatriots in Melbourne towards national democratic struggle”.

The maintenance of Migrante Shelter gives hope to distressed migrant workers and their families as it provides crisis
intervention, awareness building, legal support, temporary accommodation and advocacy for migrant worker’s and well

Migrante Melbourne can share and discuss many issues and cases of abuses met by the OFW’s. These unsung and
modern day heroes received poor assistance from the Philippine government to address the various abuses and difficulties
they have encountered overseas despite of their contribution to keep the Philippine economy afloat.

There are an estimated ten 10 million Filipinos working and living in more than 180 countries around the world. Almost
3,000 Filipinos are leaving the country each day to seek greener pasture due to lack of job opportunities in the country,
unemployment and underemployment, lack of basic social services, and so on that would sustain the basic needs of the
family. This condition shows that Philippine government itself forces Filipino people to leave the country to be its
milking cow for the ailing economy of the country.

Migrante Melbourne will continuously run fundraising events to support the maintenance of Migrante Shelter in the
Philippines for the distressed OFWs.
                                Page 9
                                ISSUE 10: November-December 2007


Helpful Tips for a Debt Free Christmas                                                                                         by Reyvi Mariñas

      hristmas is right around the corner and everyone is                   education. Think of the children’s future, education is a far
      itching to get to the malls and spend every penny                     better cause to spend your money on.
      earned this year plus more. Most people even if they
are not compulsive buyers will fall into this trap.                         4.     Keep the credit cards under lock and key this holi-
                                                                            day season. Going back to the budget, if you must use your
Here are some helpful tips to stay away from extravagant                    credit cards, stick within your financial plans. Many people
Christmas spendings that remove us from the real essence                    fall behind on their credit card payments not because they
of “Christmas spirit”:                                                      are bad people, but usually an event in their life changes the
                                                                            way they pay.
1.     “Give love on Christmas day”. I know this may sound
corny, but it will keep you from having to seek debt relief in              Save your money, in case something happens you always have
2008. Most people make mistake by trying to please every-                   something to fall back on.
one they know. Christmas is not about how expensive the
gifts you give are.                                                         5.     In the event you overspend this year and something
                                                                            does happen to change your life, what’s next? Debt relief -
Christmas is about spending time with family members you                    that is next. Many Australians overspend every holiday sea-
have not seen or talked to in quite some time. Why not give                 son without giving it a single thought. If you believe you fall
the best gift of all, give everyone you care about your love or             on this situation, seek immediate help.
simply give Christmas card. It is the thought that counts.
                                                                            There are financial counsellors and agencies that are avail-
2.      Think of ways to give inexpensive, but meaningful                   able in Melbourne that provides legal and financial advice
gifts. If you are good with your hands and have a skill, why                such as Financial and Consumer Rights Council, Victoria
not put it to good use, like create your own Christmas card or              Legal Aid, Federation of Community Legal Centres.
prepare nice Filipino delicacies (eg puto, biko or leche flan)?
Trust me, you will be remembered for your efforts.                          Remember this holiday season could be a reason to celebrate.
                                                                            Celebrate a debt-free Christmas by starting-out not spend-
3.     Create a budget. Your children (or your friends’ child               ing the money you do not have. Do not fall into the trap. Your
or children if you do not have one yet) do not need toys or                 family will still love you and, most of all, you do not have to
games that are going to end up in the closet as soon as the                 go out of your way to get yourself into credit debt simply
holidays are over. Better yet, why not invest in their future               because you want to save face.
and buy some savings bonds for them or children’s books at
the simplest. In this way, you get a head-on start on their                 Have a wonderful and safe Christmas!

                                                                                                A member of Migrante International
     Migrante Melbourne Inc                                                                     PO Box 606, Laverton, VIC 3028
     Publisher of                                                                               Local Call: 1300 3666 74
     ABN: 77 394 429 368                                                                        Email:

     About Batingaw
     Batingaw is a bi-monthly newsletter expressing views, news and analysis from Migrante Melbourne. An important aspect of developing
     this newsletter is an intimate knowledge of and close involvement in all aspects of the Philippine and Australian struggles for justice,
     democracy and fair-go.

     Contributing to Batingaw:
     Articles, photographs, cartoons, clippings, comments or a few lines are all very welcome. All material should be sent
     electronically to: Readers are encouraged to contribute whatever they can by sending
     donations to the above address.

     Editorial Team: George Kotsakis, Labrador Cojuanco, Dinggin Dalisay, Reyvi Marinas Contributors: Charo Pompa
     Stephanie Rabusa, Shiela Galacio, Katrina Kotsakis, Dinggin Dalisay, Malen Ang, Malou Logan, Gino Lopez, Fe Nina
     Reyes, Anibeth Disierto, Caesar Barona, A. Reyes
     Circulation and Advertising: Jun Cabanos and Ricky Salamanes. For membership, advertising and subscription
     please call Migrante Melbourne on 1300 3666 74
                                                                                               Page 10
                                                     ISSUE 10: November-December 2007


A tribute to a beloved comrade and friend                                                                          By May Kotsakis

      anilo Fernandez is one of the founding members of              of an activity. He would suggest that we include a karaoke
      Migrante Melbourne. From its inception, Danny as we            session in “Tipanan” and when nobody had the courage to
      fondly call him has been involved with Migrante and            start the singing, Danny would start the fun with his beautiful
he never resiled from the nitty-gritty of interminable               husky voice. We will remember his creativity, always picking
discussions, plans and actions for the organisation.                 up the popular trend of the day, like designing the flyer for
                                                                     Migrante’s Tipanan with his picture wearing a Guy Sebastian
Danny had many incisive questions then, questions like what          wig. This was just after the very first Australian Idol declared
will happen if the US relinquished its control over the              Guy Sebastian the winner. Or, a flyer with dancing penguin,
Philippines? Or, why does the government of the Philippines          he labeled “Migrante’s happy feet – come and join us have
willingly allow itself to be a puppet? Or how do many                fun, bring your happy feet and dancing shoes”. His initiative
Filipinos live with income far less than half the cost to            to join the lantern contest at the Philippine Fiesta and helped
decently sustain their families? Then he would be so amazed          construct the lanterns was a winner. This enthusiastic
to learn that there are 3,000 Filipinos leaving daily to work        initiative of Danny won the hearts of the members of Gabriela
overseas. Or that there are 35 overseas Filipino workers             and delighted them because the lantern won first prize.
(OFW) in death row and over 2,000 OFW’s languishing in
jails in other countries.

Danny would crinkle his nose and more creases would
                                                                     D    anny would always offer to be the documentor of our
                                                                          activities, be it a rally, a march, a forum, a party, a fun
                                                                     night or an education session. He would always have his
appear on his forehead as the enormity of such injustices            camera with him and capture many happy moments. One
dawned on him. We sometimes would tease him and said                 time we were studying the history of the Philippine economy
that we can no longer see our reflection on his shiny                and politics. It happened to be the birthday of Migrante’s
forehead as his worry wrinkles have taken over.                      secretary, Reyvi so we organized a small cake and during the
                                                                     break, we had some fun. We were mocking around and Butch
But in time, after many fulfilling discussions and education         was teasing Reyvi and trying to beat him in blowing the candle
sessions and with Danny’s enthusiasm to learn, Danny began           first. Danny captured that very moment with his camera when
to fully comprehend the situation in the Philippines and in          Butch and Reyvi were like children with their mouth pointed
Australia.                                                           towards the cake and pushing each other. Danny circulated
                                                                     this picture of 2 big boys and a small cake to Migrante
Danny, along with other members of Migrante Melbourne,               members with a caption saying “me first” and made everyone
vigorously acted on his growing understanding of why many            laugh.
Filipinos are poor and suffering; why many Filipinos opt to
work overseas despite numerous tales of abuses and                   Many of our solidarity friends will also remember Danny.
hardships OFW’s met and bearing the painful separation               When we celebrated the International Human Rights day
from their family and friends.                                       in Dec 2003 Danny entertained the participants by singing
                                                                     and impersonating Elvis Presley. That surprised some of
This understanding boosted Danny’s resolve to do                     our Australian friends. They question us for singing an Elvis
something, to help raise the many issues affecting the lives         Presley song in a political event, missing the logic of Filipino
of our kababayans, to help in our campaigns and advocacy             humor then personified by Danny and our capacity to still
work. He did this while ignoring the pains of his debilitating       have fun in the midst of hardship and poverty. After that
illness and the daily inconvenience of sessions with his             though they would always invite Migrante and Gabriela to
diabetic tests and dialysis.                                         perform at their activities and one of the regular activities
                                                                     is the yearly Mayday multi-cultural event and they would
Danny would sigh in frustration when he missed a meeting             tease us “not Elvis song please”. Danny was always one of
or an activity because he was in the hospital or he has to           our main performers on these activities.
see the doctor. For as long as his health permits, he would
always be there. If he cannot drive especially at the time           At the assessment meetings after each event, Danny would
that his eyesight was affected by his illness, he would asked        sometimes be so frustrated that none of the people he
to be picked-up just to be present and participate in the            invited turned up. Especially on our forums, he would
lively deliberations during Migrante meetings and activities.        complain and say, how will they understand, if they do not
                                                                     attend this kind of activity? Why can’t Filipinos here in
We will always remember Danny. I will miss his calls following       Melbourne spare even just 2 to 3 hours to discuss and raise
up the details for a flyer or a ticket that he would be designing    issues affecting their families and friends in the Philippines
for Migrante, Gabriela or PASA’s activity. I will miss him calling   or affecting them here in Australia? Then his forehead will
me “bosschief” every time he answered the phone and                  be pale again with the wrinkles we lovingly called Danny’s
recognized my voice. We will miss him arguing on the format          pleats.
                           Page 11
                           ISSUE 10: November-December 2007


                      Isang mainit at mayamang pagdakila mula sa mga kaibigan at kasama sa Perth

                                                                              Kasamang Danny…
                                                              Patuloy ka sa aming diwa.
                                         Kasamang Danny… Patuloy                       Mahal at yakap
                                             ka sa aming diwa.                      Mga ngiti mo at yapak

                                            Maaga at maliwanag                         Kasama sa piling
                                             sa dako pa duon                        Liban ka man sa amin.

                                           Sa mga sanga at dahon                At sa mundong sinilangan at
                                            may malayang ibon.                 sa kilos – bayan na tinampukan

                                             Paghanga at tiwala                   Kung saan ang pakikibaka
                                            Tatag ng loob at diwa                 sa kalayaan at katarungan
                                                                                      ay walang humpay!
                                                 Kasama ….                          ‘kamtin ang tagumpay!
                                               Ikaw ay bihira.
                                                                                      Kasamang Danny…
                                            Paglilingkod sa bayan
                                              Iyong ginampanan                         Dakilang Danny….

                                             Ito ay pamamarisan                   Patuloy ka sa aming diwa.
                                               Lalagi sa isipan.

A tribute to a beloved comrade and friend (continued...)
Danny’s life and contribution to the community, his cheerful spirit in serving the masses of Filipino migrants and workers,
his selfless sacrifices in advancing the cause of our hapless kababayans overseas and the people of the world will always
be valued and emulated by many Filipinos and Australians whose lives he touched and enriched. Just like the song “Awit
kay Bambi” that was read last Thursday at his tribute, let me just read to you a few lines of that song.

                    Huwag mag-alala mahal na kasama                   Ay aming susundan
                     Sa iyong pagkawala makakaasa ka             Buong tatag kaming babangon
                  Hindi masasayang alay naming bulaklak              Sa iyong kinabuwalan
                  Hindi masasayang mga luhang pumatak            Pagka’t bakas na iyong naiwan
                   Hindi masasayang aming awit at tula                Ay aming susundan
                         Ng paghanga at pagdakila                  Libo-libo kaming susulong
                       Pagka’t bakas na iyong naiwan             Para sa kinabukasan ng bayan

Memories of Danny will inspire many to thread the path he took – that of selflessly devoting one’s self to the service of
exploited and oppressed Filipinos and the global communities and of tirelessly working to realize a genuinely free and
democratic Philippines and to create a society where families are not torn apart and needlessly thrown to the four
corners of the world by the need to survive.

We love you Danny, a loving husband, father, brother and uncle, a true friend, and a committed comrade, and we will
never forget you. #####
                                                                                     Page 12
                                             ISSUE 10: November-December 2007

Events Calendar - Mark your Diary
9 December 2007, Sunday – International Human Rights Day Commemoration & Christmas Party

The Church Hall, Hyde Street, Footscray (beside the Maribyrnong Council Building)
Organised by Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA); Migrante Melbourne & Gabriela Australia
For more information contact May at 0411 406700; Reyvi at 0421 119776 or Malou at 0433 216548

10 December – International Human Rights Day

18 December – International Migrants Day

26 January 2008, Saturday – Migrante Melbourne’s Tipanan

6.00 p.m., Laverton Civic Centre, Cor Railway Ave & Crown St, Laverton
A celebration and a venue for the whole family to dance, eat, perform, watch and enjoy together.
A fundraising activity for Migrante Shelter Philippines.
For further information and tickets contact Danny at 93693158, Reyvi at 0421119776
or Migrante Melbourne at 1300366674.

08 March – International Women’s Day

Gabriela Australia’s International Women’s Day and Anniversary Celebration
Details will be announced later

                                                                                                   Affix Stamp


                                                            Migrante Melbourne : : PO Box 606, Laverton, VIC 3028

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