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MFMW marks 41st year with plaudits for helping needy workers amid surge in Covid cases

05 June 2022


The Mission's 41st anniversary celebration was held online via Zoom.

The Mission for Migrant Workers celebrated its 41st anniversary today, having been tested by a deluge of workers thrown out of jobs by the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an online anniversary celebration via Zoom, speakers paid tribute to MFMW, and its partners, donors and volunteers for their efforts in serving the migrant workers in need.

“The Mission never left us during the pandemic while other service providers limited their services. You made Covid-19 protection paraphernalia and necessary information always available to us. Most importantly, you opened your shelters for infected migrant workers,” said Dolores Balladares, who spoke for the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, which has member organizations from Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand.


“We are grateful for your counseling services as we face the difficulties with our employers. We thank you for the paralegal and legal assistance you have provided whenever and wherever we need you,” she added.

Explained the Mission's general manager, Cynthia Tellez: “Our service during the pandemic, especially during the fifth wave, tested the mettle of the MFMW. New crisis situations, new and effective responses to abandoned workers, stranded workers at the airport, support to those who were quarantined in dormitories and those who were still employed but were infected.”

MFMW general manager Cynthia Tellez

She said they were faced with the problem of how to best serve when they were themselves infected.

“We were lucky to have set up quick response teams with our partners Bethune House, the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and the grassroots, that is, the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body. We coordinated with different coalitions of service providers, mobilized a pool of migrants whose employers were happy that they delivered food packs to their co-migrants in different areas up to 12 midnight. We were also lucky to have mobilized more than 50 non-migrant workers who drove their own cars to deliver care packs to several areas in their districts. Lest we forget, our donors in cash and in kind. And last, but not least, was our emergency response online that ran 24 hours non-stop,” she added.


Rocky, who was fired after Covid-19 cases soared in February, said in her testimony: “Masakit pong isipin kung saan kami mag-uumpisa ulit kasi nawalan kami ng trabaho. Pero dahil sa Mission nakita namin ang pagkakaroon ng second chance sa aming buhay. (It hurts to think where we could start again after losing our jobs. But because of the Mission, we saw a second chance in our lives.)”

 She added; “Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi namin alam kung saan kami pupunta, kung ano ang gagawin namin. (If not for them, we wouldn’t know where we would go, what we would do.)”

Daniel Feldman, chairman of MFMW’s advisory board, said: “Although we successfully operated the MFMW for 41 years, the first half of 2022 overshadowed by the terrifying impact of Covid-19 has one more time proven the vulnerability of the society.”

But with generous donors, he added, the Mission was able to offer shelter, food, as well as financial and medical support for those in need.

He praised the staff and staff and volunteers: “Each and every one of you is adding tremendous amount of social work and it makes the society a better place in this world.”


Philip Wickery, a member of the MFMW board of directors, said: “The MFMW and the sister organizations and the people who come to work with us as volunteers, the people that we serve, the people at St. John’s Cathedral who host the MFMW -- all of you ought to be thanked but also congratulated that we can still continue and that we are still continuing with the commitment to serve migrants, something that we may have to do for a long time to come.”

He said that in MFMW’s fifth anniversary, “our dear director Cynthia (Tellez) said, ‘Well, I would like to say that we’ll be back here for the 10th anniversary but maybe the problem we are facing will be solved by then. And so we won’t have to have the MFMW.’

“Well,” Wickery added, “these 41 years have shown us that the problems have not been solved  and given the nature of our capitalist society, they are unlikely to be solved anywhere in the near future. So for that reason, the work of the MFMW will continue, maybe  another 41 years.”

The mission has launched a fund-raising campaign, where scanning a QR code brings donors to a webpage where they can pledge amounts they can afford. The website address is:

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