Philippines: Petition Launched for Dead OFW

Apr. 04, 2007

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings form DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association! We are contacting you in hopes that you will help in advancing our current and urgent campaign, Truth & Justice for Domestic Worker Fely Garcia!

Please take a moment of your time to sign a very important petition for support and action. The details of the case are below. We hope that you will sign the online petition and circulate it among your contacts and network. The campaign is very time sensitive as Fely Garcia’s body remains in the custody of the medical examiner’s office. Her children are in the Philippines and we were able to contact them last night, March 30. We will keep you informed about upcoming actions.

Yours truly,
Ana Liza Caballes

—- apologies for the cross-postings —-
—- please circulate widely —-

We, the community of Filipino domestic workers, Filipino Americans and supporters in the US, express our outrage over the death of Felisa “Fely” Sales Garcia, 58, a Filipina migrant domestic worker. Fely was found dead on Wednesday, March 14 2007 in a Bronx, New York residence where she rented a room. Fely wrote in her suicide letter that she was harassed and abused by her employer while working as a caregiver for an elderly woman at the Bronx.

We share in the grief of Fely’s children in Barangay Dacanlao, Calaca, Batangas and the cry of the Filipino migrant domestic workers in New York for truth and justice.

Fely’s death shows the vulnerability of Filipino domestic workers overseas. She is one of the thirty thousand Filipino domestic workers in New York who like our fellow domestics in Hong Kong and the Middle East are also forced to work in abusive, dangerous and dehumanizing conditions, without legal protections by both the Philippine and US governments. Even in the US, migrant domestic workers, who are 95% women, are overwhelmed with problems resulting from family separation, long hours of work, low wages, no overtime pay and lack of benefits, and bare the brunt of systemic racism and devaluation of women’s labor in the domestic sphere.

Fely is a sister among the millions of Filipina domestic workers who were uprooted from our homeland because of the economic crisis in the Philippines. Everyday, there are over 3,000 Filipinos who leave the Philippines. They will migrate to more than 186 different countries, including the US. Of the almost one million who migrate every year, three out of four are women.

We Filipino overseas workers have remitted more than $12.5 billion dollars in 2006, sustaining our families directly affected by the economic and social crisis. We are fully aware that our hard earned dollars are the single most important resource that keep the Philippine economy afloat.

Our Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo calls us modern heroes. This is the time to show us your recognition and respect — by honoring and helping Fely, who is one of us — the migrant domestic workers in the US.

We demand the Philippine Consulate General in New York and the Philippine Government to:

1. Pay the full cost of the repatriation of Fely’s body to the Philippines.

2. Pay for Fely’s decent burial in her hometown in Batangas.

3. Ensure that the 50th precinct of the New York Police Department makes a thorough, impartial and speedy investigation.

4. Investigate the employer cited on Fely’s suicide letter and prosecute the employer if found guilty.

5. Fully disclose the results of the investigation around her death to the Filipino community in New York.

We call on all Filipino domestic workers, the whole Filipino community in the US and our supporters to unite and show solidarity by coming to community actions and contributing towards fighting for truth and justice for Fely and her family.

Ana Liza Caballes
Overall Coordinator
DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association
406 West 40th Street, 3rd Floor
New York City, NY 10018
Office Telephone: (212) 564-6057

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