By Rachelle Cruz, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Nov. 7, 2014
CANADA – Cause-oriented groups mobilized Filipinos to demand justice for the recent deaths of a caregiver in Mississauga and a Pinay transgender in the Philippines.
Led by Bayan Canada, the groups held a vigil at the heart of the Filipino community in Bathurst and Wilson to protest the deaths of 43-year-old caregiver Evelyn Bumatay Castillo in Mississauga and 26-year-old transgender Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City.
Both died on October 11. The groups believe that while the two deaths are not related, their cry for justice is the same.
“Ang panawagan namin regarding the live-in caregiver program, in relation to Evelyn Bumatay Castillo has also been consistent, and we say, with Migrante Canada, along with the other progressive orgs, we demand permanent status upon arrival for a lot of the live-in caregivers,” said Jesson Reyes of Anakbayan Toronto.
With the permanent status upon arrival, Reyes said it will make a lot of things easier for caregivers “such as there’s no more family separation, and the pressure of making money just to send it back home will be lessened.”
Regarding Laude’s case in the Philippines, Reyes said transgenders should be given equal rights.
“We see people equal. Women’s rights, transgender rights, these are all human rights,” he said.
Police believe Castillo was engaged in the sex trade, in addition to her work as a caregiver.
The exact cause of her death is still unknown but police have arrested suspect “Nick” Vade Murray of Toronto and charged him with first-degree murder.
“When we responded to the fire on Britannia Rd we did locate the victim and at the point her vital signs were absent. She was then transported to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries as a result of the fire. And at that point, our homicide investigators started their investigation and as a result of the investigation, we ended up arresting a suspect who was responsible, that we believe is responsible, for her death,” said Constable George Tudos of the Peel Regional Police.
Laude, meantime, was found unconscious in a motel room, her head submerged in a toilet bowl.
U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, allegedly killed Laude. Eyewitnesses say the two met at a nightclub. He is currently being held at the Philippine military’s main camp in Quezon City.
Both deaths sparked widespread criticism and outrage abroad and at home
“These people are victims. Our women are being victimized, but rather than seeing justice done to them, they’re even accused of other further wrongdoings. We demand that the Philippine government protect and show respect for human rights, inside and outside of the Philippines, most especially the migrant workers who have been remitting billions of dollars, we demand respect and services for everyone,” said Christopher Sorio, vice chair of Migrante Canada.
Sorio further stressed that Castillo was not a sex worker but a caregiver.
“Meron siyang legitimate na employers who are also grieving at the moment. At isa siyang responsible mother and daughter, at katulad siya nang karamihang nandito sa Canada na nagtratrabaho as caregiver, working so hard para lang may maipadalang suporta sa kanilang mga pamilya sa Pilipinas,” Sorio said.