By CES RODRIGUEZ
MANILA--THEY were just a bunch of moms and their kids going through the perky but amateur motions of a performance typical of school programs. They flailed, they warbled, they minced through skits brick-heavy with slogans and lessons and meaning.
They could have been treated to indulgent applause but instead, an audience composed of embassy officials and legislators, journalists and development sector workers struggled to hold back their tears. The performers, after all, were former migrant women from Japan and their Japanese-Filipino children.
Called Teatro Akebono, they embodied the grim—and hopeful—purpose of the day: marking the tenth anniversary of the Development Action for Women Network or DAWN through a conference aimed at shining a brighter light on the issues of migration and trafficking.DAWN is an NGO that focuses on assisting returning distressed migrant women from Japan and their Japanese-Filipino children who “need to regain and strengthen their sense of dignity and self-worth and reclaim their wholeness,” according to executive director Carmelita Nuqui.
Nuqui’s presentation cited that for a decade, DAWN has handled about 350 cases involving women and 440 involving Japanese-Filipino children.These cases, she said, include work contract violations, abuse and harassment in the work place, abandonment of Japanese husband and other marital concerns, children’s right to paternal recognition and support, as well as the citizenship of the children.
“The number of women and children seeking assistance from DAWN increases everyday,” Nuqui added.
The increase comes from referrals from the Embassy of Japan in Manila, Philippine government agencies, “as well as those who have read about us in the papers and heard about DAWN from radio and television programs that have featured the organization,” Nuqui said.With Japan’s imposition of stricter immigration laws last year, DAWN could expect a further rise in these cases. (http://www.ofwjournalism.net)