ECMI belies media reports of expulsion
of Filipinos in Italy and Israel
The CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
(ECMI) sought to clarify media reports early this month of the possible repatriation of some 200,000 undocumented Filipino workers in Italy and Israel. The reports came on the heels of actual expulsion
over the past few weeks of Filipinos illegally working in Malaysia, and who were subjected to human rights violations and other atrocities while in detention.
A statement issued by Bishop
Ramon C. Arguelles, ECMI chairman, said the Commission had verified the news with its counterpart in Italy, and received a response in Italian, signed by Fr. Albert Guevara and Fr. Danilo Flores, Filipino
Chaplaincy in Rome; and Fr, Bruno Mioli, Mig-rantes, Migrants Department (Catholic Bishops' Confer-ence of Italy). The translation of their message reads:
"The Pontifical Council For the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (Vatican) has trans-mitted to Migrantes (ECMI counterpart in Italy) your alarming message; other news agencies repeat the
same alarming news that has basis only in the mind and irresponsibility of those spreading this kind of news. They are damaging state-ments and not confirmed news.
"It is true that in Italy and in
Europe (the authorities) are becoming tougher against undocumented migrants and it is true that the trend is to expel; however, this number will be very limited. To the 200.000 (cited by Manila news) we
must take away not only one zero, but probably many (zeros)! Definitely some hundreds only will be repatriated.
"How can you talk about 130.000 undocumented Fili-pino migrants in Italy? The documented
Filipino mig-rants are around 65,000-70,000. The undocumented should be double (to reach the 130,000). On the occasion of the last amnesty (1999-2000) availed of by 250,000 migrants in Italy, the number
of Filipinos who applied for the amnesty were only 6,500. How is it possible that within two years 130,000 (Filipinos) entered (or remained) in Italy irregularly?
"Bear in mind that the majority of
the undocumented migrants, especially those working as householder helpers, from September 10, will have the opportunity to apply for regularization and permanent residence permit.
"(Please) do all you can to extinguish this kind of voices (news) damaging like an uncontrollable fire. We suggest you make the Italian Embassy in the Philippines aware of it. We will do the same in