Thursday, April 05, 2007
IN A press statement released March 23, New York-based DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association expressed the group's "deepest condolences to the children and family members of Felisa "Fely" Sales Garcia."
Garcia is a middle-aged Filipina migrant worker working as a caregiver for an elderly couple in the Bronx. She was found dead in the morning of March 14 in her Bronx residence where she was renting a room.
DAMAYAN dismissed allegations that Garcia committed suicide. Instead the organization is calling attention to the case by encouraging authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of Garcia's death.
"As fellow Filipina domestic workers, we express our outrage over her death and call for a thorough investigation of the conditions leading to her alleged suicide," DAMAYAN said.
DAMAYAN shares in the grief of Garcia's family as they pointed out that the group's members is composed mainly of women who are in the same situation as Garcia - Filipina "domestic workers who have families to support in the Philippines."
Garcia's children, still living in their hometown of Barangay Dacanlao in Calaca town, Batangas province, expressed disbelief that their mother will commit suicide, DAMAYAN said.
"As per reports from our membership, Fely's children do not believe that their mother could have committed suicide. DAMAYAN echoes the cry of the children and express full support in exposing the truth," the group's press release further stated.
DAMAYAN is hard pressed to believe the suicide allegations because of Garcia's primary role as family breadwinner. "What would drive a loving mother to take her own life and forsake the future of her children?" DAMAYAN noted.
"We grief for the loss of Fely as we grief for those whom have endure similar conditions of sacrifice, hardship and abuse. We are calling for a full and speedy investigation to ascertain the facts surrounding her death," the group added.
The group is particularly calling on the help of the Philippine Consulate in New York to ensure a thorough investigation of Garcia's death.
"We call on the Philippine Consulate to give full support to a modern hero who has supported her family and has helped prop up the Philippine economy with dollar remittances. We call on the Philippine Consulate to facilitate the reunification of Fely's body with her children in the Philippines," the group urged.
DAMAYAN is also seeking the help of the Filipino community, especially domestic workers, "to help not just by giving financial contribution to the family but to support our call for truth and justice over Fely's death."
"Fely's death provides a glimpse into the vulnerable experiences of Filipino domestic workers in the US. She was a widow who was forced to make a courageous decision, be uprooted from her homeland and risk living and working abroad in isolating, dehumanizing and abusive conditions," DAMAYAN further said.
"DAMAYAN members understand the hardship Fely experienced as a migrant domestic worker. Domestic workers lack protection by the US government and are often overwhelmed with working long hours, low wages, lack of benefits, racism and outright disrespect," it added.
If you have any information related to her death, her employment and her family here and in Batangas, please contact DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association at 212 546 6057 or contact@DAMAYANmigrants.org.
The organization has also organized an online petition for the Philippine government to assist in Fely Garcia's case. To sign the petition, visit http://www.petitiononline.com/tj4dwfg/petition.html.