On 4 August 2017, the Bayanihan ng Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon ng Qatar (BMKQ) – a Qatar-based organization of Filipino migrant workers – held it's 2017 General Assembly. The event was attended by more than a hundred BMKQ members and leaders of allied organizations.
BMKQ is a Qatar branch of one the BWI’s Philippine affiliates, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW). Formally established in 2015, BMKQ was immediately given accreditation by the Philippine Embassy in Doha as a Filipino community association to represent the interests of the three hundred thousand Filipinos in in Qatar.
BWI Asia-Pacific Regional Representative Apolinar Tolentino gave solidarity greetings at the General Assembly. “Amidst growing instability in the Gulf region, we are emboldened to see BMKQ affirm their commitments to defending the rights of Filipino migrants in Qatar’s construction sector. We wish them great success in building working class power at this critical moment.”
The event also served as the venue for the showcase BWI's Global Sports Manual entitled, “Labour is Part of the Team: A manual in campaigning in mega-sporting events.” Tolentino noted that, "the manual is a milestone in BWI’s work for the protection and promotion of human and workers’ rights in mega-sporting events, and we look forward to expanding our presence on future events".
The assembly ratified the Report of BMKQ’s outgoing President on future priorities and elected new officers for 2017 - 2018, including Ressie S. Fos as new President. An elated Ressie said it excited him to see new members lining up to pay their membership dues. “Our members are mostly from low-income level jobs. Every cent counts for them and their families back home, but because of their commitment to the principles and programs of the organization, they are willing to shell out hard-earned money."
Outgoing President Ka Alan Bulan emphasized that they strived for "quality as much as quantity. We want members that are fully committed to the vision and mission of the BMKQ. Such commitment is translated to active participation in our activities and payment of membership dues. These for me are the hallmark of genuine camaraderie and organization."
Among those that delivered messages of solidarity during the assembly is the leader-representative of Bayanihan, a newly formed alliance of more than 18 organizations of Filipino migrant communities in Qatar, comprising grassroots membership from sectors like construction and home service workers. The BMKQ has been instrumental in the formation of this broad, community alliance.