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Fil-Am partylist supporters decry killings of two Filipino youth poll-watchers: Fil-Am alliance pledges vigilance against election fraud, intensified violence

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Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email: secgen@bayanusa.org

No later than a few days after progressive partylists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and Kabataan claim victory in the polls, concerned Fil-Am communities are indignant over news of two Filipino youth poll-watchers abducted and slain.

Two poll watchers of the Kabataan (Youth) party-list group were abducted and murdered in Capalonga, Camarines Norte, the group said Friday.

A Kabataan statement said Jun Bagasbas, 20 years old, and Ronilo Vallevare, both Kabataan organizers and poll watchers, were allegedly seized by soldiers on May 15 and were found dead the next day between Barangay (village) Mataque and Catabaguangan.

“The hard-one victories of the truly progressive partylists we here in the US supported tirelessly all the way should never come at the expense of the lives of our Filipino youth,” states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano, also a former national student leader with the League of Filipino Students.

“It is with grave sadness that we ask what kind of administration seeks to kill it own youth to stay in power? We are indignant. This only exposes why we must not only to fight for these parylists to win seats, but fight to protect from election violence, abductions, and killings as well,” Quijano added.

The US Chapter of BAYAN (or BAYAN USA) launched and participated in several initiatives to promote the Kabataan Partylist and others, including launching a nationwide text brigade called TEXT BACK (TEXT Brigade Against Cheating and Killings) that eventually picked up in other global regions such as Europe and Australia.

In it’s broader awareness campaign against election fraud and violence in the Philippines, the alliance joined the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON in a nationally-coordinated “Pagsambang Bayan” (People’s Prayer Service) uniting Filipino immigrants and US-born/raised Filipinos in prayer on Mother’s Day in defense of their common motherland. Services were held in New York, San Bernardino, and Chicago.

Qujano added that while the alliance remains happy with the seats won by the progressive partylists, it vows to step up its vigilance against intensified violence and expose the election fraud that was surely committed.

“We want our kababayan (compatriots) to know that although we are outside the country, our concern over the election season and the ramifications of election fraud and violence have not dwindled,” Quijano ended. ###

BAYAN USA statement supporting the fast by peasant leaders for justice and peace; it calls for end to state-coordinated killings of Filipino activists

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MANILA–BAYAN USA was present and supports the recent 3-day hunger strike led by Anakpawis partylist representatives Rafael Mariano, Crispin Beltran, as well as several prominent peasant leaders held outside the House of Representatives during a special session held by Congress in Manila.

The urgent action, spearheaded by Anakpawis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya, and the peasant women group Amihan, was held in condemnation of state-directed killings of leaders and members of progressive parties and legitimate people’s organizations pressuring for social change.

The group fast commenced early Wednesday, March 30 and lasted until the evening of Friday, April 1 outside the gates of the Batasan complex, site of congressional buildings during a Congressional special session over the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) hike bill.

“We are here parked outside the Batasan gates to draw the attention of the leadership of the House of Representatives to act immediately on the series of political assasinations of leaders identified with militant partylist groups such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and left-leaning organizations like KMP, Pamalakaya, Bayan, and Gabriela,” stated in a statement released by KMP.

Since the start of the year, 32 members and leaders of progressive parties and people’s groups have fallen victim to extra-judicial killings and another 5 victims to involuntary disappearances.

In light of the state terror campaign against these leaders to suppress a growing mass movement fighting a legitimate struggle against social ails, what is intolerable is the telling silence from the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“GMA’s mute stance on the ongoing killings of her fellow countrymen is in line with her administration’s mastermind role in imposing an undeclared Martial Law upon the Filipino people,” states Berna Ellorin of BAYAN USA, who was also present at the hunger strike. “After speaking with the strikers at this action, what is alarming to note is that this second go-around incites more terror as now leaders of progressive groups are simply sought out and killed by Malacanang-AFP death squads, rather than detained, as was practiced during Marcos’ Martial Law.”

“Filipinos all over the world, especially in the U.S., are deeply concerned over the gross state of human rights violations at the hands of the Philippine government at this time,” states Kawal Ulanday, chair of BAYAN USA. “It is a known fact that many of us and our families sought refuge abroad precisely because of the ensuing terror against the Filipino people during the time of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship for many years. BAYAN USA joins the call of hunger-striking peasant leaders of Anakpawis, KMP, Pamalakaya, and Amihan in condemnation of the state-coordinated killings, disappearances, and attacks of leaders such as Abel Ladera, Fr.William Tadena, Marcelino Beltran, Victor Concepcion, Justice Romeo Capulong, Atty. Charles Juloya, Atty. Felidito Dacut, Joel Baclao, Ernesto Bang, and Danilo Macapagal.”

“Furthermore, we point fingers of condemnation at our own government, the Bush administration, for its continued involvement and aid to state machineries of terror all over the world and especially in the Philippines that operate under the bogus tag-line of anti-terrorism,” Ulanday continued. “We support the joint call of KMP and Pamalakaya to investigate these killings and remove from public office the barbaric perpetrators from the cabinet and AFP whose hands are freshly stained with the blood of our beloved leaders.”

The hunger strike was joined by a contingent traveling from Hacienda Luisita by the end of the program.

BAYAN USA will also sponsor the official delegation to the International Solidary Mission in the Philippines, scheduled for August 12, 2005, as an internationally-coordinated fact-finding mission drawing attention to the rampant killings and other human rights atrocities ensuing in various regions of the Philippines under the US puppet Arroyo regime.

Contact:
Kawal Ulanday, Chair
BAYAN USA
chair@bayanusa.org

Author Walden Bello avoids talking about Philippines and personal U.S. corporate funding sources at book launch: Writer denounced for condoning increased killings of community leaders

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Contact: Kawal Ulanday
Chair, BAYAN USA
chair@bayanusa.org

As the news and media propaganda war rages with floods of government and corporate slanted views promoting war and “national security” in one contradictory breathe, the Filipino community is becoming more sharp on truth and lies.

Author Walden Bello discovered how the community will hold you accountable to the truth last week during a book launching in New York promoting his latest publication “Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire” at the Brecht Forum in Lower Manhattan. Bello spoke at length on how the civil society movement of corporate and government funded NGO’s (non-profit entities) will ultimately lead to the demise of capitalist society.

What seemed more interesting to the 50 people in attendance was the ensuing discussion which generated many pressing questions not so much related to Bello’s speech. Members of New York Committee for Human Rights (NYCHRP), and other members and friends of the local Filipino community demanded an explanation for Bello’s recent false accusations that endanger community based progressive Filipino organizations and specific BAYAN affiliated groups by recklessly grouping them with organizations placed on the U.S. international terrorist list. Several human rights advocates cited a revealing connection between Bello’s accusations which basically condone the ongoing murders of community leaders in the Philippines.

“In March alone, Victor Concepction, Abelardo Ladera, Mer Dizon, Rev. Fr. Willam Tadena and Romeo Sanchez were viciously murdered by paramilitary and other direct agents of the U.S.-Arroyo regime using U.S. paid weaponry and training,” said Berna Ellorin of NYCHRP. “He has also falsely accused Professor Jose Maria Sison of authoring a so-called ‘hit list’ which threatens his life. This blatant misinformation basically advances the Bush-GMA regime’s campaign to criminalize and label as ‘terrorists,’ those dedicated to fighting for justice and exposing corrupt government.”

“It is shameful that Bello trots around the globe claiming that his own life is in danger while he approves of the killings of courageous mothers and fathers who have decided to stand up for a dignified life instead of joblessness, slave wages or no pay, landlessness, and hunger,” said BAYAN USA Chairperson Kawal Ulanday. This is only a preview of more to come if Bello tours other cities with BAYAN USA organizations like NYCHRP. As a people’s alliance, BAYAN USA will not allow the minds of interested folks in our community to be monopolized with the ideas of “elite intellectuals” who deny the real problems of our country and make money from their own self-serving promotions and publications.

According to BAYAN USA, progressive Filipinos recognize that Bello’s attacks against the genuine people’s movement for true independence and national democracy serve the Bush/GMA regime which is responsible for the political upheavals and social crisis in the Philippines.

During the discussion, Bello could not answer specific questions about his own big money funding sources such as the Ford Foundation and Akbayan’s (Bello’s political formation) active collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

This moved the audience to reveal Bello as “a pseudo-progressive and a U.S. paid charlatan who would not admit whose agenda he truly serves,” added Ellorin of NYCHRP.

Filipino women advance the struggle against U.S. imperialism and war!

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Filipino women advance the struggle against U.S. imperialism and war!

On this International Working Women’s Day, March 8, 2005, BAYAN-USA joins women all over the world in commemorating the courageous and epic struggles of women against oppression throughout history and at present. We do so remembering a century of militant actions of women throughout the world as makers of history–fighting for equality and justice and an end to oppression and exploitation. In this respect, BAYAN-USA honors and recognizes the countless Filipino women who have built one of the largest and most militant women’s liberation movements in the world, one that has played an integral role in the advancement of our people’s movement for national democracy and against U.S. imperialism.

The Filipino women’s movement has been a leader in inspiring all sectors of Philippine society to dare to dream of a Philippine nation unleashed from the shackles of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. The Filipino women’s movement is a significant pillar in our people’s broad, multi-sectoral struggle towards a common vision for genuine freedom and democracy. The painstaking and daily task of educating, organizing, and mobilizing the struggling Filipino people towards this vision are taken up by more and more women, young and old, every day. Filipino women not only advance their struggles as women, but advance the collective struggle of our nation and of the world against U.S. imperialism in all its forms.

At present, the deepening world crisis of U.S. imperialism continues to place the Philippines in a state of chronic fiscal crisis, with backward agrarian practices and a pathetic national industrial base. This has left the overwhelming majority of our Filipino women workers, farmers, peasants and their families to live under conditions of abject poverty. Working hand in hand with imperialist institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, U.S. puppet governments and plunderers such as the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) regime ensure the continued maldevelopment of the Philippine economy from which their bulging pockets can benefit from. Now, with billions of the people’s funds plundered for her re-election campaign alone, GMA has taken it upon herself to “rebuild” the economy by further whipping the backs of starving Filipinos and imposing socially unjust measures such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) which will surely intensify the burden on Filipino women to stretch their families’ meager resources even further.

As U.S. imperialist wars of aggression guised as anti-terror crusades take and devastate the lives of millions more women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and elsewhere, so too they ravage the lives of our women and children in the Philippines. Continuing joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises waged against the sovereignty of our country threaten the lives of Filipino women and will undoubtedly bring back the days when Filipino women and girls were prostituted and victimized by U.S. soldiers with impunity. Under these conditions where women’s lives, bodies, and rights are trampled on in favor of U.S. imperial interests, and with a puppet government who refuses to provide for the basic needs of their families, Filipino women make up more than 60% of one of the world’s largest migrant labor forces that find no other recourse than to exit the Philippines as a means of basic survival. With the hand of the Philippine government guiding them on their way out, Filipino women are carelessly pimped into some of the most dangerous and demeaning jobs overseas.

Here in the United States, Filipino women are more than half of an immigrant community whose human rights and civil liberties are in a state of constant attack. U.S. imperialism, in expanding itself violently through wars of aggression overseas, is also waging a domestic war of aggression against Filipinos and other immigrants and oppressed here in its home court. The USA Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act are examples of supposed anti-terrorism measures that in fact only serve to curtail the social and economic rights and welfare of immigrants–to further advance the U.S. imperialist agenda.

Billions of our tax-paying dollars sucked from federal agencies to fund the U.S. government’s racist and unjust war in all its forms have forcefully kept Filipino women and their families in the low-income bracket, devoid of basic social services, healthcare, and decent jobs. Yet Filipino women here in the United States are among the hardest working contributors to society. Every year, hundreds of well-trained Filipino nurses are systematically recruited to work in U.S. hospitals, tending to the sick, the elderly, the young. Waves of Filipinas serve as domestic workers, nannies, care-takers, and in many other underpaid professions. Yet in return for the blood and sweat, working Filipinas in the U.S. and all over the world face continued maltreatment, exploitation, and abuse and oppression.

Furthermore, Filipino women working for economic justice and fundamental social change through progressive organizations are systematically vilified branded as “communists” and ultimately as “terrorists.” Fascist and anti-people measures such as the National ID System and Anti-Terrorism Bill will put struggling Filipino masses under greater attack. The basic masses of Filipino women, workers and peasants, face confrontational violence when fighting for better working conditions, as seen with the recent massacre of sugarcane workers at the hands of the Philippine National Police in Hacienda Luisita. Sadly, when confronting the face of their enemy, Filipino women see other women’s faces, such as Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This should serve, as a reminder that advances for women of the ruling class, does not necessarily translate to progress for working women.

However, despite escalating fascism from the U.S.-Arroyo regime, countless Filipino women still brave state terror in forms of character assassination, violence, and murder to advance the people’s struggle. The Filipino women’s movement as part of the Philippine national democratic struggle is unshakable and unstoppable. It is in this regard that the long tradition of militant struggle of Filipino women against U.S. imperialism and its many faces must continue.

This struggle will continue in the United States as well, as Filipino women join their communities on March 19th to register their collective opposition to the U.S. war machine’s continuous expansion to Iraq and the Philippines. Filipino women here in the U.S.–from Seattle, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to New York, and to Washington DC–will educate and mobilize our communities for the plight of the Iraqi and Filipino people–two struggles intertwined in herstory and united against a common enemy.

BAYAN-USA salutes the Filipino women at the forefront of our nation’s struggle. We salute GABRIELA, the largest and most militant alliance of hundreds of grassroots women’s organizations advancing the Filipino people’s national democratic struggle against imperialism, landlessness, bureaucrat capitalism, and patriarchal rule.

It is imperative that for the Filipino people’s growing mass movement to survive and succeed, young Filipino women around the world must play an integral part and carry the torch passed on to them by Gabriela Silang, by Melchora Aquino, by Lorena Barros, by Teresa Magbanua, by Eden Marcellena, and by millions of Filipino women workers and peasants who have dedicated their lives to the cause of freedom, justice, and democracy for all Filipinos. May the fire of their heroism burn brightly in our hearts, as we advance our struggle against U.S. imperialism and all its agents.

LONG LIVE THE FILIPINO WOMEN’S STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY! OUST THE U.S.-GMA REGIME! U.S. TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES, IRAQ, PALESTINE, KOREA AND HAITI!

Contact:
Rachel R. Redondiez, Secretary General
BAYAN USA
secgen@bayanusa.org