Bay Area Pinoys rally for TPS, workers' rights during Obama’s San Jose visit

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

May 9, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – President Barrack Obama landed in the San Francisco Bay Area Thursday afternoon for a two-day trip for fundraising and to discuss energy efficiency.

Some activists saw the President’s visit as an opportunity to remind him of the dire need to address issues that affect the Filipino community such as the delay in the passage of the Philippines’ request for temporary protected status and better working conditions and wages for immigrant workers.

Dozens of them gathered yesterday at the Cesar Chavez Plaza located directly across the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose – the hotel where the President spent the night.

The President has not made any advances towards TPS but they say it’s still an issue worth fighting for.

“We also shouldn’t forget about the fact that people are forced to migrate here. They’re exploited and then they’re illegalized and criminalized for being here working for their families to provide support in the Philippines. So we should still continue to fight for TPS. It’s still very relevant and more importantly we should continue to question policies like the Transpacific Partnership Agreement,” Michael Tayag of PAWIS said.

They say the U.S. owes it to the Philippines to grant this immigration relief following Typhoon Yolanda.

“We’re here to highlight those things that the administration has done in the Philippines that resulted in the depletion of natural resources and destruction,” Adrian Bonifacio of Anakbayan of Silicon Valley said.

“Because of the damage that companies like money corporations have done in the Philippines have really worsened the impact of this disaster,” Julian Jaravata, also of Anakbayan, said.

Despite his visit being marred by protests, President Obama pushed through with one of his agenda items on Friday morning. He spoke about energy efficiency at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif.

But protestors outside the venue are angered at Obama’s visit to Walmart because of the low wages Walmart reportedly pays its employers.

Obama has also made pay equity a central issue of his presidency.

Filipino protestors also found out that this particular Walmart’s workforce comprise mostly of Filipinos.

“We are here in solidarity with Walmart workers and after talking to some of them we found out that at this particular Walmart up to 80 percent of the workers are Filipino. The workers have talked about arbitrary terminations. They weren’t informed of their labor rights. We are here today to support them and to stand with them to continue to fight for worker’s right, for immigrant rights, and the sovereignty of the Filipino people,” Tayag said.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at for more information.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    9 May 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Quit the Drama TPS seekers … DHS priority is to deport more illegals.By 2018 US will be free of illegal alien….., caregivers, housekeepers , ground keepers… Bye ..BYE …Adios..sayonara Aloha

  • Haha
    12 May 2014 at 12:15 am - Reply

    US will be free of illegals by 2014 not 2018 because Congress will finally pass immigration reform. 🙂

  • JRB
    12 May 2014 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    @Haha your “NUTS” the real Americans don’t like what you said? We the real Americans say NO to all illegals, and the Congress hate the immigration reform it’s a pain in the butt. Hey Haha sounds like you are Illegal in America?

  • Haha
    12 May 2014 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    @JRB I honestly don’t care what you think of illegals. Congress is just pretending that they hate reform but will pass it after the primaries. For the mean time, you can enjoy your advantages of being a US citizen.