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Statement of BAYAN USA on the 33rd Anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines: US must withdraw all support for Arroyo’s ongoing bloodbath of Philippine activists and undeclared martial law!

On this 33rd Anniversary of one of the darkest periods in Philippine history, BAYAN USA and allied Filipinos in the United States cry outrage and condemn the number one violator of human rights who has single-handedly brought an even bloodier martial law back to brutalize the Filipino people—Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Furthermore, as workers and residents of the United States, we actively call for an all-out withdrawal of US financial, moral, political, and military support for the Arroyo regime. Under Arroyo, the Philippines is the number one recipient of US military aid in the Asia-Pacific region, and number four in the world. $80 billion US tax dollars has been allotted towards the building the US-Arroyo regime’s machinery of state terror that attacks the daily lives of innocent civilians in the Philippines.

Undeclared Martial Law

Unlike the martial law of Marcos which was used to quell the then- anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, and anti-war clamor in the Philippines, today’s martial law under Arroyo is undeclared and disguised as a so-called “war on terror”. Arroyo’s early embracing of Bush’s total war policy in the Philippines has sown a four-year old bloodbath of activists, progressive party list leaders, lawyers, journalists, priests, and human rights advocates whose only common denominator has been their cry for justice in the midst of an anti-people government. Blessed with the backing of US government, the Arroyo regime has exploited the jargon of anti-terrorism to justify a witch-hunt targeting both high-profile and low-profile voices of opposition.

In fact, no other government in recent times, including that of Marcos’ internationally-recognized dictatorship, has tracked the highest record of human rights violations (HRV’s) than that of Arroyo. A total of 4,207 cases of human rights violations committed by the Arroyo administration from January 2001 to June 2005 were presented have been documented by the human rights organization Karapatan. The cases affected 232,796 individuals, 24,299 families and 237 communities. At least 400 were victims of summary execution; 110 were victims of forced disappearances. Twenty of those killed were human rights volunteers.

Arroyo’s systematic approach to politically-motivated assassinations and mass murders since her ascendance to office in 2001 has reached a unprecedented daily frequency during the first half of 2005. Over 105 activists and leaders of progressive party-lists such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela Women’s Party have been murdered under Arroyo’s military command. The massacre of seven striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac on November 16, 2004 signified a heightened a wave of killings, violent attacks and vilification campaigns more widespread than from the past three years.

The most recent assassinations of Pastor Raul Domingo, a human rights worker with KARAPATAN, and BAYAN leader Norman Bocar are the latest in an intricate pattern of extra-judicial killings of Anti-Arroyo forces, while summary executions, torture, and forced disappearances have also been consistent and are on the rise.

Rewards for the Butchers, Death for Civilians

As reward for their blind loyalty, officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), most notably General Jovito Palaparan, are promoted into higher, more influential positions. Palparan earned the title of “the butcher Mindoro” when he masterminded wide-scale execution tactics against legal mass organizations that nearly annihilated genuinely progressive people’s organizations in Mindoro, Southern Tagalog. This can be most brutally seen with the murders of internationally-renown human rights worker Eden Marcellana, Secretary-General of KARAPATAN Southern Tagalog, and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy, chair of KASAMA Southern Tagalog. Since then, the vilification campaign against legal activists falsely branded as elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) or legal people’s organizations falsely branded as Communist fronts has blown up to a nationwide scale. Arroyo has since deployed Palparan to imploy that same terror campaigns in the Eastern Visayas and now Nueva Ecija.

The recently quelled impeachment charges thrown out the window by the pro-administration House majority earlier in September not only included the more publicly-digested charges of bribery, graft and corruption, but rampant and heinous human rights atrocities committed by Arroyo’s military. In an internationally-coordinated solidarity mission held in late August of the year, over 100 international delegates traveled to five areas in the country to investigate cases of human rights violation. What resulted was an International People’s Tribunal where the likes of international human rights lawyers such as Lennox Hinds and endorsers such as former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke found both Arroyo and Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

State Terror in the Philippines Equals State Terror for Americans

The yearly multi-billion dollar allowance sucked in from the US government has made possible a well-developed and institutionalized martial law in the Philippines. This is not only at the bloody expense of Filipinos, but of Americans as well.

The criminal neglect and under-prioritization of genuine social services, education, healthcare, democratic reforms, and social alleviations of the American people in favor of the expansion of terrorist warfare abroad has left the overwhelming majority of Americans and Filipinos in America in oppressive and desperate situations. The widening disparity between the privileged few and the exploited majority is the result of the perverse outlook of the Bush administration and its mishandling of our money. This is most clearly illustrated by the suffering Black communities of Louisiana who bore the brunt of the Katrina catastrophe, but received zero to little government relief. Instead, their struggle for survival was met with criminalization and enforced US militarization as the Katrina disaster, has been conveniently exploited as a pretext to advance a martial law against poor Black communities in the US.

This is also illustrated by the ongoing criminalization suffered by Filipino immigrants in the US in the form of unjust deportations, detainments, racial-profiling, and immigrant- scapegoating. While migrant Filipinos pay taxes to the US government as a social obligation, they shoulder the added burden of supporting loved ones back home. While their tax dollars beef up the war budget, their remittances back the Philippines are plundered by the Arroyo administration by way of rampant corruption. Arroyo not only illustrated this through her plundering of federal funds to advance her campaign machinery in 2004, but even the loyalties of her co-horts abroad, such as Philippine Consulate General Cecilia Rebong, stationed in New York, are bought with Arroyo-sanctioned lifestyles of lavish spending with government allowances.

Common Foe, One Struggle

Our cry for justice for the Filipino victims of the US-Arroyo regime is in solidarity with the struggles of immigrants, people of color, and working-class people in the United States who themselves must face martial law-like conditions with respect to Post-9/11 backlash and now the Katrina disaster. The tenants of the current US domestic warfare that strips Americans of their civil liberties and criminalizes these communities can be seen with the implementation of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act. In fact, Arroyo’s support for the passing of an Anti-Terrorism Bill and National ID System brings the US blueprint for domestic warfare to Philippine shores.

In this regard, the struggles of Filipinos against Arroyo’s martial law cannot be separated from the struggles of the American majority against US war of aggression both within and outside of the borders of the United States. This makes it critical for the victims US war and US puppets such as Arroyo to unite in a cohesive analysis and movement that can connect what only seems like disparate oppressions into one global epidemic. A broad united front of Filipinos and Americans offers viable and concrete leverage when strategizing for the liberation from such oppressions.

Oust the Fascist Arroyo Dictatorship

Arroyo has proven her incompetence and insincerity as head of the Philippine state. Her resort to the violent fist of martial law to quell a legitimate people’s movement against dire poverty and grave injustice is the mark of true tyranny and fascist dictatorship.

The myth of a People Power fatigue is the rhetoric touted by the US-Arroyo regime to desperately stunt what is an unstoppable and insurmountable hunger by the Filipino people for social and economic justice.

In Arroyo’s place, we support the establishment of a national transition council, comprised of multi-sectoral representation of the democratic majority of Filipinos, to best guide our homeland to a better tomorrow.

We continue to ask for an all-out isolation of Arroyo, by demanding US war funds be given back to the people and not to the US-Arroyo killing machines.

Oust The US-Arroyo Regime! Yes to the Establishment of a Democratic
Transition Council! Justice for the Victims of Arroyo’s Undeclared Martial
Law! Stop the Killing of Activists and Political Repression in the
Philippines! No to the National ID System and Anti-Terrorism Bill! US Troops
Out of the Philippines! Resume NDFP-GRP Peace Talks!

Peoples evidence and testimonials proof enough to find Bush/GMA guilty of crimes against humanity and violating human rights with impunity: Evidence turned over for GMA impeachment proceedings

Quezon City, Philippines–Just days after returning from a five region fact-finding stage of the International Solidarity Mission, more than 85 delegates from16 countries are taking full advantage of the current crisis facing President Gloria Macapagl Arroyo by turning over vast amounts of critical testimonies and human rights violation fact findings to be used by Minority Leader Francis Escudera in building the case for her impeachment. The centerpiece of the findings is a GUILTY verdict for U.S President George W. Bush and Gloria Arroyo for Crimes Against Humanity as declared by the International Peoples Tribunal (IPT) on August 19, 2005.

Three boxes of key evidence were the result of human rights documenation teams led by the human rights alliance Karapatan during four brutal years of GMA’s rule which revealed total disregard for international human rights laws and conventions such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Along with testimonies of 10 victims and horrifying reports from international delegates brought forward in the International People’s Tribunal, the ISM hopes that this extensive legal documentation will play a vital role in putting an end to record human violations and state sponsored terror.

“The timing of the ISM and International People’s Tribunal (planned before Gloriagate and alleged family jueteng crimes exploded into calls for resignation and ouster) allowed us to put forward larger concerns and accountability for thousands of proven human rights violations and abuses outlined by a verdict and judgement from the IPT,” said Kawal Ulanday, Chairperson of BAYAN USA and one of 40 delegates from the U.S.A. “International delegates included several human rights and public interest attorneys and social justice advocates who will now go back to their countries to build international pressure against Bush and GMA by demanding our governments to withdraw any support for what is clearly an illegitimate, inhumane regime that acts with impunity within the framework of George Bush’s so-called war on terrorism.”

According to Ulanday, U.S. ISM delegates will conduct educations and sharings nationwide as part of a strategy building towards U.S. Congressional meetings with target bodies such as the International Relations Commitee. Overall, support and funding through congressional appropriations committees will be challenged since U.S. tax dollars are supplying troops, arms and training to the Armed Forces of the Philippines who have demonstrated to be the main perpetrators of human rights violations.

International delegates to the ISM formed five fact finding teams assigned to regions where civilians have been massacred and terrorized by rampant human rights violations: Mindoro Island in the Southern Tagalog region, Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Central Luzon, Samar Island in Eastern Visayas, and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao. The teams are shocked to learn that since they left these regions, another peasant leader has been stabbed in Basey, Western Samar and a beloved local organizer recieved a death threat text on his own cellphone. A vocal human rights priest was also nearly killed in Palawan ST.

These type of shocking reports were presented at the International People’s Tribunal headed by Vice Chairperson of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Lennox Hinds and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez. The ISM was endorsed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and former Justice of the Supreme Court of India Jittendra Sharma, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dolores Huerta, Jackie Goldberg, Amiri Baraka, and Noam Chomsky along with more than a hundred international personalities and institutions.

From Jan. 21, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) has documented 4,207 cases of human rights violations affecting 232,795 individuals or 24,299 families in 237 communities. These included 102 victims of frustrated murders and 130 victims of involuntary disappearances. The 411 documented summary executions included 51 leaders and members of the progressive political party-list Bayan Muna (People First), 20 human rights workers, and four lawyers and two judges in 2004 and 2005.

Below is the Jurors Verdict and subsequent Judgement form the International People’s Tribunal and International Solidarity Mission In Defense of a People Fighting Repression

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL Manila, Philippines, 19 August 2005

JURORS’ VERDICT

We the COLLEGE OF JURORS of the International Peoples’ Tribunal, after considering the evidence presented by the People, find the DEFENDANTS, GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, GEORGE WALKER BUSH et al. on the charges of HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS which also constitute as CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, as proven by ample testimonial and documentary evidence adduced during the trial and shown specifically by the following illustrative cases, GUILTY AS CHARGED..

A. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of Extrajudicial Killings as proven by the cases of Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the Albarillo and Marcellana-Gumanoy cases in Mindoro and the Padiwan
Massacre in Sulu in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on
the Rights of the Child; and International Labor Standard.

B. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of Torture as proven by the cases of the Calubid Case in Samar and the Cata Case in Surigao in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture, including its
provision on sexual violence and the aggravation of violence against women

Due to the particular heinousness of his offenses, we particularly make a specific finding of guilt against Gen Jovito Palparan, one of the conspirators of the defendants, for his involvement in the Marcellana-Gumanoy, Calubid and many other cases.

C. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of forced disappearance as proven in the Cata case in Surigao, and the Marcellana-Gumanoy case, in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

D. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of other human rights violations, including from the evidence heard, forced confessions, forced displacement of communities, violence against women and systematic persecution of people and their representatives, as proven in the documents submitted by the International Solidarity Mission, findings of Karapatan and other peoples’ organizations in violation of the Bill of
Rights and Article XIII provisions on social justice of the Philippine Constitution, international human rights law and generally accepted principles of international law.

THE MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE OF JURORS REITERATE OUR VERDICT FINDING DEFENDANTS GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO AND GEORGE W. BUSH et al: GUILTY AS CHARGED.

International Solidarity Mission: In Defense of a People Fighting Repression
INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL, Manila, Philippines – 19 August 2005

JUDGMENT

WE, the JUDGES OF THE INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL, considering the GUILTY VERDICT handed by the Panel Of Jurors, noting that the evidence demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that these human rights abuses are widespread, systematic and were done with impunity, WE hereby PROMULGATE the following JUDGMENT and CALL TO ACTION:

1. The Defendants are hereby adjudged to have forfeited any right or authority to occupy their current political positions and hereby ordered removed from positions of power and perpetually and absolutely disqualified from holding any public office;

2. The international community is urged to support the Filipino people’s struggle to oust Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her government from power through a broad united front, so that immediate
measures beneficial to the Filipino people be implemented including purging the military and police of human rights violators, giving justice to victims of human rights violations and eradicating corruption in government;

3. The Defendants are sentenced to pay compensation and indemnification for the victims’ rehabilitation, restitute their material and moral damages, and issue a sincere public apology to the Filipino people
and that all prisoners incarcerated because of political repression be released;

4. The international community is urged to withdraw aid and recognition from the Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, and allow selective repudiation of foreign debt and moratorium on debt payments by the Philippine government;

5. The international community is urged to exert pressure on the Defendant George W. Bush to desist from interfering in the affairs of and committing acts of aggression and infringement of sovereignty against the
Filipino people and other freedom-loving peoples worldwide; and that the international community oppose the presence of US troops in the Philippines;

6. The Filipino people is urged to file complaints with the United Nations and its pertinent committees and Special Rapporteurs, the International Criminal Court (ICC) under the Rome Statute as soon as it is
ratified by the Philippine Senate, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) against the Defendants;

7. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is urged to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and to comply with all agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, including the Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL);

8. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is admonished to renounce its “total war” and other militarist policies, withdraw its support for the US “War on Terror”, repeal all repressive laws and decrees,
dismantle all paramilitary units and private armies, desist from passing repressive laws including, but not limited to the National ID System and the Anti-Terrorist Bills; and

9. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is STRONGLY ADVISED to uphold the rule of law, respect the civil, political, economic, social and human rights of its citizens, which are protected and guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and by the international human rights and humanitarian law and desist from adopting policies or measures that restrict, infringe upon or impair such rights.

***

Related Information:
ISM Introduction
ISM Background

Historic International Solidarity Mission in the Philippines kicks off

Manila, Philippines–On August 14th, 2005, human rights advocates and families of the victims convened with 85 foreign delegates from 16 countries, to kick off the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) 2005.

Delegates to the ISM 2005 will divide up in smaller groups and visit the places where the grossest human rights violations (HRVs) have taken place: Mindoro Island in the Southern Tagalog region, Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Central Luzon, Samar Island in Eastern Visayas, and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, to meet with the victims first-hand and gain a deeper understanding of the human rights situation in the country.

The ISM 2005’s findings will be submitted for trial at the International People’s Tribunal, set on Aug. 19, at the University of the Philippines Film Center in Quezon City. The International People’s Tribunal will be headed Vice Chairperson of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Lennox Hinds and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez. The ISM has been endorsed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and former Justice of the Supreme Court of India Jittendra Sharma, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dolores Huerta, Jackie Goldberg, Amiri Baraka, and Noam Chomsky along with more than a hundred international personalities and institutions.

From Jan. 21, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) has documented 4,207 cases of human rights violations affecting 232,795 individuals or 24,299 families in 237 communities. These included 102 victims of frustrated murders and 130 victims of involuntary disappearances. The 411 documented summary executions included 51 leaders and members of the progressive political party-list Bayan Muna (People First), 20 human rights workers, and four lawyers and two judges in 2004 and 2005.

Australian human rights lawyer Peter Broch cited the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report on the Philippines as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. Broch stressed that the violations incurred under Arroyo’s term is possibly “worse than what happened since the Marcos years.”

Kawal Ulanday, BAYAN USA Chairperson leads a delegation of over 2 dozen journalists, educators, and human rights activists from the U.S. “The ISM is part of our effort to expose the role of the U.S. and the Philippine government in the human rights violations, and to redirect millions in U.S. tax payer dollars from military aid to humane forms of international assistance,” says Ulanday.

Filipinos in the U.S. rally for Preseident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s resignation or ouster

Broad Alliance Calls for an Immediate End to the Illegitimate Presidency

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–Filipinos across the U.S. joined the largest mass action in the Philippines calling for the immediate resignation of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on an international day of action on July 13 which brought 50,000 protestors to Makati. Macapagal Arroyo has been implicated in a massive electoral fraud scandal resulting from the discovery of taped conversations of Arroyo with Commissioner of Elections Virgilio Garcilliano. The tapes are just the latest in a long list of grievances against the Macapagal Arroyo administration, including entrenched nationwide poverty, violations of the constitution, neglecting the safety of over one million Filipinos working in the Middle East, spiraling debt, refusal to increase the minimum wage, and the record-setting number of state-sanctioned human rights violations against political opponents and civilians.

In New York, a lifesize Gloria cellphone with its popular ringtone met a picket of protestors at Filipino owned strorefronts in Woodside Queens. Dozens of protestors chanted and waved rows of BAYAN USA (New Patriotic Alliance) flags and colorful “GMA OUT” placards at the entrance of the Philippine Consulate in downtown San Francisco. Seattle’s Filipino Cultural Center was another venue for a community rally where a new hip hop piece was introduced by local artists dedicated to the crisis ridden president.

“GMA’s human rights record makes the late dictator Marcos look like a saint,” said Kawal Ulanday, chair of BAYAN-USA. “The number of recorded human rights violations committed under her watch—including killings of clergy, electoral candidates, and activists—has surpassed those committed under Marcos. Cheating to get elected is just one more violation of human rights—the right of the Filipino people to a truly representative, democratic government.”

Discontent with the Arroyo administration is a broad sentiment felt among the general public in the Philippines. According to a poll conducted by Pulse Asia, 72 percent of Metro Manilans surveyed in June 2005 distrusted Macapagal Arroyo and 68 percent disapproved of her presidential performance. These figures are the President’s highest distrust and disapproval rating in Metro Manila since she came to power in January 2001.

“The numbers speak for themselves: the people have no confidence in GMA, and she has no grounds to justify staying in power,” said Rachel Redondiez, secretary general of BAYAN-USA. “The U.S. government should stop coddling this bankrupt president and instead bow to the popular will of the Filipino people for genuine change.”

BAYAN-USA is calling for an interim transitional council representing democratic organizations and the most oppressed sectors of Filipino society, to ensure that whoever replaces Arroyo will have a plan for government reform and begin a new era of pro-people policies.

“Two million Filipinos live in the U.S. , and we are closely watching the current situation in the Philippines. As one of largest immigrant populations in America, we condemn any use of our taxpayer dollars for U.S.-Bush covert operations, political maneuvering or military intervention to influence any outcome in favor of U.S. capitalist interests or imperialist global aggression,” said Ulanday.

The protest was organized by BAYAN-USA and the U.S. Alliance 4 GMA Resignation.