ANAKBAYAN NEW YORK DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF MARY JANE VELOSO FROM HER EXECUTION SENTENCE IN INDONESIA

ANAKBAYAN NEW YORK DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF MARY JANE VELOSO

FROM HER EXECUTION SENTENCE IN INDONESIA

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Joshel Melgarejo, Finance Officer of Anakbayan New York, speaking at the Save Mary Jane Veloso Rally outside the Indonesian Consulate on April 8.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2015

Reference: Janella Lopez, Deputy Secretary of Education, Anakbayan New York

646.469.4608, anakbayanny@gmail.com

ANAKBAYAN NEW YORK DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF MARY JANE VELOSO FROM HER EXECUTION SENTENCE IN INDONESIA!

On April 8, 2015, Anakbayan New York joined the rest of the Filipino community in demanding the release of Filipina domestic worker Mary Jane Veloso from death row in Indonesia.  Mary Jane is a 30-year old migrant Filipina domestic worker who was accused of trafficking drugs to Indonesia in 2010.

She was formerly a contractual worker in Dubai in 2009 until she returned to the Philippines when her employer attempted to rape her.  Seeking more opportunities to support her children, she was then illegally recruited by another Filipino for a job in Malaysia.  However, when she arrived in Malaysia, the job was no longer available and she was told that she would be transferred to Indonesia to be a domestic worker.  Before setting foot outside the airport of Indonesia, the security discovered $500,000 worth of heroin behind the lining of her suitcase.

While being interrogated in Indonesia, Mary Jane was not provided a lawyer or a translator, a right she did not understand she had.  In addition, during her trial, she was provided with an unlicensed interpreter who only translated proceedings into English, a language Mary Jane was not fluent in.  When she was finally provided with a lawyer, the lawyer turned out to be a public defender provided by the police.

Based on the testimonies of Mary Jane Veloso, she was a victim of labor trafficking and was unknowingly used to smuggle drugs into the country.  Despite her testimonies, the Philippine government waited until her death sentence to take any proper  action to support her.

It is important for us to put into context this outrageous situation. The conditions of poverty, landlessness and corruption are the reasons why Filipinos are unable to find work in the Philippines.  Instead of producing more jobs at home, the Philippine government continues to follow Labor Export Policy forcing approximately 6000 Filipinos like Mary Jane Veloso out of the Philippines to find work in other countries every day.  This desperate situation makes migrant workers like Mary Jane vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Anakbayan New York does not see this as an isolated case of a Filipina migrant worker, but just another one too many.  While hailing migrant workers as modern day heroes for their contribution to the Philippine economy through their remittances, the Philippine government does not provide enough support for migrant workers, especially during times of distress.  Another example was Flor Contemplacion. She was another Filipina domestic worker who was accused of murder, despite the lack of evidence of her guilt. She was executed in Singapore.  The Philippine government did not act on her case until it was too late.  

In the United States, the Florida 15, a group of trafficked Filipino workers, and the Washington DC trafficked teachers are still seeking justice with little to no help from the Philippine government in prosecuting their employers.  

As sons and daughters of migrants, we understand that Mary Jane Veloso migrated for work in order to feed her two children.  We understand that forced migration is the reason why we exist as Filipino Americans. We understand this because our own families were forced to migrate here to find the better lives they did not have in the Philippines.

March 17 of this year marked the 20th anniversary of the execution of Flor Contemplacion.  We as Anakbayan New York refuse to see another migrant worker be trafficked, exploited and abused.  We refuse to see another Flor Contemplacion be murdered in her attempts to make her family live.  Anakbayan New York demands that the Indonesian government spare the life of Mary Jane Veloso.  We demand that the Philippine government be held accountable for the inhumane treatment of Filipino migrant workers abroad and provide support for migrants in distress. Save Mary Jane Veloso! Justice for all migrant workers!

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