Dominic Gutoman
3 min readMar 14, 2024

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Int’l rights groups condemn detention, deportation of Dutch-Filipino activist

Marikit Saturay in her music video “What Did I Do Wrong”

by DOMINIC GUTOMAN
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Marikit Saturay, a Dutch-Filipino activist and musician, was detained, red-tagged, and deported after trying to visit her family and friends in the Philippines.

International Filipino rights groups Migrante-Netherlands, Linangan-Willem Geertman Art and Culture Network, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Europe condemned the recent attacks against Saturay, stressing that it is not the first time that this happened.

Saturay arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on the evening of March 7. She was supposed to visit her relatives and friends, especially her grandmother who will be celebrating her 100th birthday on March 10.

However, a Filipino immigration officer accused her of engaging in “anti-government activities.” She said that she is part of Migrante-Netherlands, an organization of Filipino migrant workers, families, and refugees.

Despite this, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) continued to disregard her concern and included her in the blacklist order.

“At that point, she was not allowed to exit beyond the Immigration checkpoint. She has been detained at the airport’s immigration holding area since then,” Migrante Netherlands said in a statement, adding that she was detained for three nights without proper sleeping arrangement.

Saturay was also denied access to legal services before she was deported back to the Netherlands.

“She was not allowed to talk to her lawyers, nor was she allowed to receive any family members who wanted to see her to make sure that she was alright. A uniformed agent was also assigned to guard her during the entire detention period,” Migrante — Netherlands said.

A similar incident happened in December 2023 where Anakbayan — Switzerland Chairperson Edna Becher was detained and deported after she arrived in Manila. She was also accused of engaging in “anti-government activities.”

“This pattern of political repression is akin to the Marcos regime’s fascist campaign to criminalize dissent and deserves the condemnation of the international community. Further, this targeted campaign against Filipino migrant activists exposes the Marcos regime’s hypocrisy in milking profit from OFW remittances while at the same time barring migrants from returning to their homeland,” Bayan-Europe said.

Saturay came to the Netherlands in 2006 with her mother, sisters, and brother to join their father who had sought asylum in the country in 2003. This is because of the terror campaign led by Col. Jovito Palparan in the Mindoro region, where her father was based as an environmental activist and human rights worker.

Praised for her sharp and critical lyrics, Saturay used music and songwriting to advocate for the rights of Filipino migrant workers, immigrants, and refugees. She was known for songs “What Did I Do Wrong?” and “Geboren Om Te Strijden” (Born to Struggle).

“Filipino migrant workers will not be cowed into fear by these coercive attacks. We have endured wars, natural disasters, economic hardship, and discrimination of all forms. Wherever we are, we continue to fight for the genuine interests of the Filipino people, even in the face of political repression,” Migrante Netherlands said.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in Europe. His schedule includes a visit to Germany on March 12 and 13. He is expected to go to Prague, Czech Republic for a state visit until March 15. The agenda includes maritime security agreements, bilateral trade, and economic ties.

“This would already be Marcos’ 6th international trip just in 2024, revealing his utter disregard for using taxpayer’s money to finance his junket trips abroad. Instead of deporting and prohibiting the entry of activists and government critics to Manila, Marcos himself should be declared persona non-grata in Europe!” Bayan-Europe said. (RTS, DAA)

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Dominic Gutoman

Covers human rights, environment, grassroots initiatives, and accountability mechanisms at bulatlat.com.