Month: December 2016

Free All Political Prisoners! End Impunity in the Philippines!

For Immediate Release
December 10, 2016
Reference: Jessica Antonio, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, secgen@bayanusa.org

On International Human Rights Day, BAYAN USA joins the millions of people across the globe in fighting for human rights! We must always remember that in the midst of great political darkness in the United States and in the Philippines, it is the power of the people who stand up against the tyranny and injustice that holds the light directed towards genuine change. We must speak out for those who can no longer speak, because their voices were taken from them by state forces, or their civil rights snatched away from them because they stand behind bars.

Philippine State Impunity Continues
President Duterte is beginning to show his true colors as his actions speak much louder than words. President Duterte continues to deny the freedom of the more than 400 political prisoners, even when he has stated numerous times that he will free them. The Armed Forces of the Philippines continue to harass, detain, occupy schools, and violently disperse protests when he once welcomed activists into Malacanang. And the number of killings related to his “War on Drugs” continues to grow with impunity. The secret burial of former Dictator Ferdinand Marcos was an added slap in the face to the Filipino people.

Duterte won his Presidency by winning over the populace as a different type of politician. BAYAN USA supported the appointment of known progressives into his cabinet and had hope in his administration with the immediate resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). However, the mounting human rights violations under Duterte’s watch must be stopped. President Duterte has the responsibility to serve the people of the Philippines. He must listen to the people and carry out their will, not “serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class” as he mentioned in his inauguration speech. Not the Marcos’, or big business, or military interests, or US influence.

Free All Political Prisoners Now!

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Over 150 political prisoners in the Philippines began a hunger strike on International Solidarity with Political Prisoners Day on Dec. 3rd and ended on the 8th day to press President Duterte to free all political prisoners and to shed more light on their stories and fight for freedom! He had promised to release the elderly and sick; however it was too late for Bernabe Ocasla, who died of cardiac arrest on November 28th. The continued detention of the political prisoners makes the Philippines government in violation of the agreements signed during peace negotiations with the NDFP, since both parties had committed to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL).

Join BAYAN USA events across the nation to stand up for human rights and to promote genuine just and lasting peace in the Philippines! Sign the online Petition! We are also collecting letters of support to political prisoners, please see the template and directions on our BAYAN USA FB page.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.

BAYAN-USA Salutes the Indigenous Peoples’ Victory in Battle Against DAPL Filipino Americans Vow to Continue the Resistance for Water, Land and Self-Determination

December 5, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Antonio, Secretary General, BAYAN USA, secgen@bayanusa.org

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Photo Caption: BAYAN USA members and delegates recently traveled to Standing Rock this
past November to express solidarity and support for the water protectors.

BAYAN USA, an anti-imperialist alliance composed of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists and youth, applauds the water protectors of Standing Rock in their struggle against corporate plunder and greed. From September-December 2016, BAYAN-USA members from Southern California, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and Chicago traveled to North Dakota to take action in solidarity with the water defenders at Standing Rock. The unrelenting fight of the Standing Rock Sioux, along with other indigenous nations and their allies, to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is a testament to the collective power of the people to resist and beat back corporate plunder and greed. BAYAN-USA salutes the historic gathering of over 600 indigenous nations and their supporters: as many as 10,000 people at a time camped in prayer and action in arduous struggle against the pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, is a $3.7 billion pipeline project that aims to transport crude oil from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa to Illinois. The pipeline, which travels through approximately 50 counties, was originally planned to go through the capital of North Dakota, Bismarck, which is north of the Standing Rock reservation. The pipeline was rerouted after the community voiced concern regarding its threat to the water supply. However, when the Sioux Tribe objected this rerouting to the boundary of the Standing Rock reservation, their petitioned was ignored. The pipeline will threaten the main water supply of the reservation and ancestral land.

This unjust trend of trampling indigenous peoples rights – particularly the right to free prior and informed consent – by military and corporate interests is something that the Filipino people know all too well. The Lumad people of the southern Philippines have been engaged in many parallel struggles to the Standing Rock Sioux for their rights to ancestral land and clean water. They face paramilitary death squads and the Philippines military, who act as the servants of multinational mining and logging corporations much like the Morton County Sheriff Department and the armed security of DAPL in North Dakota. Also like the indigenous people of North America, they stand united and refuse to be intimidated by state and corporate violence in their undying determination to liberate their land and their people from the forces of capitalist exploitation.

On Thanksgiving Day November 24, 2016, a day when the United States celebrated a contrived story of friendship between Native Americans and the Pilgrims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the water protectors that they were to evacuate the camps by December 5. However, on December 4, the Army Corps of Engineers released the decision to deny DAPL the easement needed to legally drill under lake Missouri River and complete the pipeline, temporarily halting the project. This decision is a result of the people’s collective action!

However, the fight is not yet won. Despite the denial of the easement to continue drilling, DAPL has announced that they will proceed as planned and pay a daily fine. The water protectors will remain camped at Standing Rock to resist DAPL until its final defeat, and BAYAN USA will continue standing in solidarity with them until victory and beyond. From the Philippines to Standing Rock: Water is Life, Land is Life, Fight for Self-Determination!

#MniWiconi #TubigAyBuhay #WaterIsLife #LandIsLife
#FightForSelfDetermination #NoDAPL #LongLiveInternationalSolidarity

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Resources:

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https://www.facebook.com/Indigenousrisingmedia/
http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/latest-news
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161204005090/en/Energy-Transfer-Partners-Sunoco-Logistics-Partners-Respond