Making Leaps and Bounds Towards a Just and Genuine Settlement and Integration of Filipino-Canadians in 2010
January 30, 2010
The progressive Filipino-Canadian community organizations of the Magkaisa Centre greet this New Year with courage and determination as we advance the struggle for the just and genuine settlement and integration of Filipino-Canadians. Through our efforts in educating, organizing and mobilizing the Filipino-Canadian community, including advocacy work, policy engagements, political campaigns and more, we remain steadfast in addressing the needs of our community as we continue to face ongoing forms of oppression and marginalization in Canada.
Filipino workers, women and youth all across Canada are awakening to the challenges of community-building, and are prepared to confront all the barriers we face, whether in the form of racist and anti-woman policies such as the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) or in its direct effects on our daily realities as an economically marginalized peoples. In this new year of 2010, the Filipino-Canadian community still refuses to remain silent.
We recognize that while the Filipino community has been present in Canada for 50 years, we still continue to face barriers that impede our settlement and integration. Despite the growing presence of a large Filipino population, currently numbering well over 500,000, we are rendered invisible by ongoing forms of racism, gender oppression, economic marginalization and social exclusion.
We are asserting that Filipino-Canadians are far more than just economic units who contribute to Canada’s labour needs. We are makers and doers of our own history as a peoples in Canada. The Magkaisa Centre’s organizations, with the cooperation and support of organizations in Kalayaan Centre in Vancouver and and the Kapit Bisig Centre in Montreal, are strongly united in actively challenging the systemic barriers that dehumanize the Filipino community.
The ongoing expansion of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), under the guise of legislative reforms by the Conservative minority government, keep us locked in economic shackles as we work in conditions that are akin to modern day slavery. As the shock of the current economic crisis deepens and permeates in the form of massive layoffs, cuts to the welfare system and the rise of regressive and divisive politics in all levels of government, those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, especially immigrants and working women, are the hardest hit.
With 65% of our community largely represented by women, we feel the immediate impacts of the economic crisis through lower wages, increasingly dangerous and casualized jobs, unemployment and worsening living conditions. The Filipino-Canadian community is not waiting for a bail-out package, nor are we likely to receive hand-outs from the government. The need for our just and genuine settlement and integration in Canada is ever pressing and always growing.
Central to this year is the celebration of the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario’s 10th year anniversary. As women, we are proud to celebrate a decade in the ongoing legacy of Filipino women’s organizing and resistance in Ontario. For over a decade, Filipino women across Canada have been struggling for genuine equality and liberation. This struggle has been marked with many challenges, as well as many gains, many of which have shaped the face of Filipino women’s organizing today. It is with the awareness of this history that we can empower Filipino women to take the necessary actions towards our emancipation and social liberation.
2010 will also see the launching of the Maleta Project in Toronto, a community-based arts project that aims to portray the story of our migration through the form of art. The Maleta Project focuses on creating art that is not only grounded in the community, but also aims to challenge our reality through collective and creative ways.
Building on the success of the launching of Roots, Rhymes and Resistance in Toronto, last December 12, 2009, Filipino youth will gather and collaborate with other Filipino-Canadian groups to celebrate our rich culture of resistance at the first ever national Roots, Rhymes and Resistance. Youth all across Canada are ready to address our issues through empowering and innovative ways. Armed with the culture of resistance, we are responding to the challenges of facing systemic barriers on a national level.
With even greater determination and fervor as community organizers, we are committed to carrying the struggle of our community forward in this New Year and onwards. We will not simply wait for piecemeal changes while the community continues to face systemic barriers in their daily lives. This new year, the Filipino-Canadian community will be relentless in bringing about the much needed change that we have always longed for.
With strong determination and unity, we will move forward to a bright and prosperous new year!
Magkaisa tayo, towards a just and genuine settlement and integration!
Magkaisa Centre Organizations:
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
SIKLAB Ontario (Sulong, Itaguyod ang mga Karapatan ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino sa Labas ng Bansa/Advance the Struggle of Filipino Workers)
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance–Ontario
For more information, please contact: