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BAYANI NG MGA MIGRANTENG MANGGAGAWA: PARANGAL KAY KA SOL PILLAS

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Ni Prop. Jose Maria Sison
Tagapangulo, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Abril 26, 2016

Kami sa International League of Peoples’ Struggle ay nakikidalamhati sa pamilya at mga malapit na kasama ni Ka Sol Pillas, secretary general ng Migrante International. Nalulungkot tayo lahat sa kanyang pagpanaw subalit maipagbubunyi natin ang kanyang mga pagsisikap, mga sakripisyo at mga tagumpay sa pagtataguyod, pagtatanggol at pagsusulong ng mga karapatan at kabutihan ng mga overseas Filipino workers.

Kapuri-puri na naglingkod si Ka Sol sa mga OFW hanggang sa kanyang huling hininga. Alam niya kung ano ang mga kahirapan, mga suliranin, pangangailangan at damdamin ng mga OFW dahil siya mismo ay naging domestic helper nang 25 taon sa Hongkong.

Alam niya ang mga isyu at hinaing ng mga migranteng Pilipino dahil siya mismo ay isa sa mga naging unang residente ng Bethune House nang magkaroon siya ng problema sa kanyang employer na nagresulta sa pagka-terminate ng kanyang kontrata. Dito siya unang nagkaroon ng edukasyon hinggil sa tunay na kalagayan ng Pilipinas na nagtutulak sa mga kababayan para maghanap ng trabaho sa labas ng bansa. Mula noon, naging tuluy-tuloy na ang pagkilos niya sa organisasyon.

Para makatulong sa mga kapwa OFW, nag-volunteer siya bilang counselor at case officer ng Mission for Migrant Workers at naging lider ng Association of Concerned Filipinos. Dito sumidhi ang kanyang aktibismo.

Bilang matagalang opsiyal ng militanteng alyansa ng mga migrante – ang United Filipinos in Hongkong, namuno siya sa maraming mga kampanya at pakikibaka ng mga OFWs kabilang na ang pagsisikap na isalba ang buhay ni Flor Contemplacion, at paglaban sa patong-patong na singilin at anomalya sa OWWA membership. Dahil isa rin siya sa naging convenor ng Asian Migrants Coordinating Body – ang koalisyon ng mga migrante ng iba’t ibang lahi – naging bahagi siya ng mga malalakihang pakikibaka tulad ng 12,000 martsa ng mga migrante sa HK laban sa malaking kaltas-sahod noong 2002. Mahusay niyang itinaguyod ang kapatiran at pagkakaisa sa hanay ng mga migrante ng iba’t-ibang lahi.

Umuwi siya sa Pilipinas noong 2014. Bahagi ng desisyon niyang bumalik sa Pilipinas ay ang pagharap sa tunggalian sa sarili kaugnay ng kahirapan ng pagkilos bilang full-time organizer rito. Kasama ng kanyang kapatid, pareho nilang sinikap pangibabawan ang mga hamon nito. Hindi siya nagpagapi sa hatak ng paghahanap-buhay at nagpatuloy ang pagkilos niya ng buong panahon dahil pinanghawakan niya ang wastong pagsusuri sa ugat ng kahirapang kanyang nasaksihan, mismong pinagdaanan at naranasan.

Sa Disyembre ng taong ding ito, inihalal siyang Secretary-General ng Migrante International bilang pagkilala sa matagal niyang serbisyo sa mga migranteng manggagawa at sa maningning dahil matatag, militante at mabisang pamumuno niya sa iba’t ibang anyo ng pakikibaka para sa mga karapatan at kabutihan ng mga migranteng manggagawa.

Hanggang Setyembre 2015 masigasig siyang kumilos bilang lider at tagapaglingkod sa mga OFW. Nang siya’y na-stroke, nasa congressional inquiry siya tungkol sa isyu ng laglag-bala, kaso ni Mary Jane Veloso at mga biktima ng trafficking sa US. Naging huling kampanya niya ang pagsisikap na iligtas ang buhay ni Mary Jane at paghahabol ng hustisya at kanyang paglaya.

Nagpupugay tayong lahat kay Ka Sol Pillas bilang tunay na bayani ng mga migranteng manggagawa at sambayanang Pilipino. Tampok na huwaran siya ng matapat, masinop at masigasig na paglilingkod at pamumuno sa kapwa niyang mga manggagawa. Inspirasyon siya sa kasalukuyang salinglahi at sa mga sususunod pa. Sa gayon, mananatili siyang buhay sa ating isip at damdamin.

Dahil sa mga lider at kasapi na katulad ni Ka Sol Pillas, ang Migrante International ay nanatiling pinakamalaki, pinakamatatatag, pinakamabisa at pinakamapagtitiwalaang organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong migranteng manggagawa. Ito na rin ang buhay na monumentong magpapanatili sa ala-ala ni Ka Sol Pillas. Mapalad ang ILPS na kasaping myembro nito ang Migrante International.

Mabuhay ang diwa’t gawa ni Ka Sol Pillas!
Mabuhay ang Migrante International!
Mabuhay ang mga manggagawang migrante at sambayanang Pilipino!

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HERO OF MIGRANT WORKERS:
TRIBUTE TO KA SOL PILLAS
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
April 26, 2016

We in the International League of Peoples’ Struggle condole with the family and close associates Ka Sol Pillas, secretary general of Migrante International. We all grieve her passing but we celebrate her efforts, sacrifices and achievements in promoting, defending and advancing the rights and welfare of Filipino overseas workers.

Ka Sol is praiseworthy for having served the OFWs until her last breath. She knew the difficulties, problems, needs and feelings of OFWs because she herself was a domestic helper in Hong Kong for 25 years.

She knew the issues and concerns of migrant workers because she herself was one of the first residents of Bethune House when she had problems with her employer who terminated her contract. Here she had her first education on the actual situation of the Philippines that drove people to seek work outside the country. From then on, she worked continuously in the organization.

To help fellow workers, she volunteered as a counselor and case officer of the Mission for Migrant Workers and became the leader of the Association of Concerned Filipinos. This intensified her activism.

As a long-term officials of the militant migrants alliance – the United Filipinos in Hong Kong, she led many OFW campaigns and struggles, including the effort to save the life of Flor Contemplacion and opposition to the layers of charges and fees and anomaly in OWWA membership. Because she was also convenor of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body – the coalition of migrants of different races – she was participated in large-scale struggles, such as the march of 12,000 migrants in HK against huge wage reductions in 2002. She ably advocated solidarity and unity among the migrants of different races.

She returned to the Philippines in 2014. Her decision to return to the Philippines was partly driven by personal difficulties to work as a full-time organizer in Hongkong. Along with her sister, she sought to overcome the challenges here. She overcame the pull of working for a living and she continued to work full time activist because she held on to the correct analysis of the roots of poverty she witnessed and experienced.

In December of this same year, she was elected Secretary-General of Migrante International in recognition of her long service to migrant workers and her splendid—because persistent, militant and effective leadership in various forms of struggle for the rights and welfare migrant workers.

Until September 2015 she worked diligently leading and serving OFWs. When she had a stroke, she was at congressional inquiry on the issue of laglag-bala (planted-bullet), Mary Jane Veloso and seeking justice for victims of trafficking in the US. Her last campaign was to save the life of Mary Jane, and seek justice and her release.

We all salute Ka Sol Pillas as a true hero of migrant workers and the Filipino people. She is an outstanding example of honest, prudent and diligent service and leadership to her fellow workers. She inspires the current generation and those yet to come. She thus remains alive in our minds and hearts.

Because of leaders and members like Ka Sol Pillas, Migrante International remains the largest, most steadfast, most reliable and most effective organization of Filipino migrant workers. It is also the living monument that will perpetuate the memory of Ka Sol Pillas. The ILPS is fortunate to have Migrante International as its member-organization.

Long live the spirit and work of Ka Sol Pillas!
Long live Migrante International!
Long live the migrant workers and the Filipino people!

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