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Home Community Statement of Migrante Canada International Day of Remembrance for Fidel Agcaoili

Statement of Migrante Canada International Day of Remembrance for Fidel Agcaoili

Statement of Migrante Canada International Day of Remembrance for Fidel Agcaoili

August 8, 2023

In the history of migrant organizing in Canada, Fidel V. Agcaoili holds an important and revered space.

Ka Fidel, as he was affectionately and respectfully called, was the keynote speaker at the National Consultative Forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 25-27, 2000. This was the first ever consultative forum of Filipino Canadians and Filipino workers, described as a “groundbreaking initiative” and a “historic event” where the “historic point of unity” in the Filipino community was forged. 

Ka Fidel was then the Chairperson for the Committee on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and a member of the NDFP panel at the peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

More than 150 delegates made up of workers, women, and youth from the cities of Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa, including guests from the Philippines, Europe, Hong Kong, and the US were at this national gathering. After intense discussions, debate, and deliberation, they forged their unity in the history and comprehensive understanding of their roots of migration to Canada, in their current situation and struggles, and in their commitment to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants in Canada and link their struggles as overseas Filipinos to that of their home country.

Ka Fidel, who also was a migrant himself, set the comprehensive context and tone of the event, and provided the perspective and prospects of Filipino migration. He said that “The issue of Filipino migration abroad to work or seek a better life is inextricably linked to the Filipino’s struggle for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.”

“What you are doing now is arousing, organizing, and mobilizing your ranks, and in fighting for your rights and welfare is the only correct road for you to take in overcoming your problems…by linking your struggle to the overall struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation, you have shown a keen understanding of your problems and how these would eventually be solved.”

Ka Fidel firmly underscored that the struggle for a just and lasting peace is along the line of the struggle for the national and democratic rights of the Filipino people. “This is the same line for resolving the problems of modern-day Filipino migration abroad.”

We remember Ka Fidel in our work as migrant organizers and migrant rights defenders here in Canada.

We remember Ka Fidel as we do our work to ensure our ties to the Filipino people’s struggle remain strong, and to make our “dream of a society that will never be torn apart just for the need to survive” a reality for everyone. ###