PREVENT THE EXECUTION OF MARY JANE VELOSO! NO TO ANOTHER FLOR CONTEMPLACION!
ANAKBAYAN SILICON VALLEY demands justice for Mary Jane Veloso, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and 30-year-old mother of two, sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia in April 2010. Veloso fell prey to an international crime syndicate that deceived her into unknowingly transporting drugs from Malaysia to Indonesia. Indonesian authorities convicted Veloso for drug trafficking following an extremely unjust trial, in which Indonesian authorities withheld adequate legal services and legal representation from Veloso and other accused victims. Veloso was only given a student translator and consequently did not understand the legal proceedings that sentenced her to death. Furthermore, the Indonesian Supreme Court rejected an appeal to review Veloso’s case on March 26, 2014, despite reports from the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights that suggested Veloso was unfairly tried in court. Above all, the Philippine government was slow to act and acted minimally throughout Veloso’s ordeal to protect her life. Veloso was only assigned a lawyer at the minute, and the Philippine government only acted after international criticism of the unfair trial gained popular attention.
Sadly, Veloso’s case is not the first time the Filipino people have witnessed the exploitation and plight of their kababayans abroad due to failed government action and systematized forced migration. In 1995, Flor Contemplacion, an OFW in Singapore, was executed under similar conditions to Veloso; Contemplacion could not understand court proceedings and was forced to plead guilty for a murder she did not commit. 20 years later, millions of Filipinos still face extreme poverty, joblessness, and rampant government corruption that forces them to leave the country to find better jobs and provide for their families.
Veloso was once a student in high school, but the lack of funds in her own home forced Veloso to drop out of her first year in high school in order to support her family by working abroad. Unfortunately, her first job working at the United Arab Emirates did not secure her safety when her employer attempted to rape her. This isn’t the first time that cases like this have occurred. According to Migrante International, a grassroots coalition of Filipino migrant workers and their families, there are at least 50 cases of Filipinas working abroad that were victims of sexual assault and abuse. What does this mean for other Filipina women who want to get out of the cycle of poverty and decide to work overseas? In these cases, migrant, female workers are more likely to be trafficked in their workplace as Veloso was.
Though OFWs contribute $25 billion to the Philippine economy, the Philippine government does little to advocate for the rights and welfare of over 10 million Filipinos abroad. Specifically, the current Philippine government, headed by President Noynoy Aquino, has shown little concern for the security and protection of Filipinos abroad. In Aquino’s presidency alone, seven Filipinos abroad have been executed – the most in one president’s term since the 1970s. Given that there are at least 125 OFWs currently on death row, Aquino’s track record and performance as a leader does not grant the Filipino people any promise or optimism. Aquino’s egregious lack of concern for the Filipino people warrants his resignation due to his regime’s costly failures!
As the children of migrant workers and immigrants, Filipino youth in the United States demand that host country and the Philippine governments provide the best support and services for migrant Filipinos!
STOP THE EXECUTION OF MARY JANE VELOSO!
JUSTICE FOR MARY JANE VELOSO!
END LABOR EXPORT POLICY AND FORCED MIGRATION!
HOLD AQUINO ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS FAILURES!
1. Attend the mobilization at the Indonesian Consulate in SF on Thursday, April 23 @ 12:00PM, 1111 Columbus Ave., SF 94133
2. Sign and share the petition to stop the execution of Mary Jane: http://tinyurl.com/l3bw7w4