Author: admin

No to national ID system and other anti-democratic measures! GMA, don’t use bombings as an excuse to inflict more terror on Filipinos!

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA chapter vehemently condemns the recent series of bombings that terrorized the people in Davao, General Santos City and Makati in the past weeks.

As peace-loving Filipinos in the U.S., we condemn the perpetrators who have recklessly taken and wounded the lives of innocent Filipino compatriots back home. Those responsible must be brought to justice immediately after a full investigation and not unproven accusations and rumors which conveniently fall in line with presidential plans to implement a national ID system and other forms of state repression. Otherwise, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will once again undoubtedly follow the lead of the Bush administration, which has conveniently exploited the 9/11 bombings as a pretext for U.S. military intervention and expansionism in the middle east as well as more than 50 U.S./R.P. war exercises set to take place this year throughout the Philippines.

Philippine history has shown how similar bombings like that of Plaza Miranda and more recent ones in Mindanao have been used to justify martial law in the 70s and to usher back in the country U.S. special operations forces, troops and military arsenal, which have assisted in claiming the lives of countless innocent mothers, fathers and children. The stunning 2002 account of American James Mehring’s suitcase explosion in his Davao hotel room sheds much light to the real purpose of these bombings. After the explosion, Mehring was swiftly taken out of the country by U.S. CIA agents, escaping questioning by local authorities regarding the bombs in possession and any connection to pentagon covert operations. In fact, he was recently spotted walking freely in Houston, Texas

One thing we know, if Mehring’s mission unfolded as planned–those blamed would not have been Mehring or the CIA but most likely another U.S. trained extremist group such as the Abu Sayyaf who play the role of justifying U.S. military intervention and so-called “joint, mutual” agreements that benefit the ruling GMA puppet regimes and U.S. political and economical interests over the needs of the masses of starving people. Let us also not forget the recent mutiny of rank and file soldiers of Armed Forces of the Philippines who also took hostages in Makati in protest of GMA’s corrupt army generals who are known to have coordinated the delivery of weapons to Abu Sayaf extremists.

So these recent bombings must not be used as a pretext to secure an equally terrorizing internal “security” agenda that will impose fascist, anti-democratic policies against the basic civil rights and liberties of Filipinos, such as the proposed national ID system which would be in blatant disregard of the Philippine Supreme Court’s ruling that such a policy would be out-right unconstitutional.

The reasoning touted by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye on the benefits of a national ID system for the Philippines echoes the bogus logic force-fed to Americans by the imperialist strategist team of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Powell in promoting a special registration policy for immigrants of target origins. Bunye insists that national ID system is a noteworthy solution to expose individuals “with something to hide,” when in essence it provides the smoke cloud for real terrorists to hide under while inflicting daily terror of war and militarization that have displaced over 13,000 people in Sulu alone in the name of anti-terrorism.

Furthermore, at a time when a great percentage of Filipinos live below the poverty line because of the chronic and deepening economic crisis, spending P1.6 billion to provide every Filipino with an ID card is absurd, when there is already a great shortage of resources going towards basic necessities and social services. In fact, hundreds of thousands of ID cards would have no address since homelessness is more rampant than ever.

Some of the most horrendous human costs of this racist war can be found right here in our own backyards. In line with these so-called anti-terror measures, Filipinos in the U.S. have been included in a massive wave of immigrant scapegoating that terrorizes our lives daily in the form of rampant detention and deportation, racial profiling, forced family separation, and massive job lay-offs. This includes hundreds of ex-airport screeners in the Bay Area displaced from their jobs and thousands of Filipinos in the process of legalizing their status and living in fear of being picked up, interrogated, detained and deported at any point. The tragic deportation of the Manalastas and Cuevas family and the case of Donita Ganzon, a transexual Filipina, who is being denied the right to petition her husband Jiffy Javellana to legally take residence in the U.S.

These recent attacks under the name of “national security” are some most recent examples of the attacks against our families. While the face of this terror does not make the evening news broadcast, terror campaigns such as the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act wage daily war against the civil liberties of immigrants and people of color here in the United States.

We stand firmly in solidarity with the Filipino people in pursuing genuine and lasting peace in the Philippines and with all peoples of the world who have fallen victim to machineries of state terror under the perverted name of anti-terrorism.


Action: Call for volunteers: National tour for the disappeared in the Philippines

Dear GMA Watch Members and Supporters,

Starting March 1, 2008, Edith Burgos, a the mother of missing Filipino farmer activist Jonas Burgos, will be the United States for a multi-city national speaking tour on the state of human rights in the Philippines. Sponsored by GMA WATCH, the tour’s main objective will be to raise the level of human rights advocacy for the Philippines from the United States, from the telling words of the families of the victims themselves.

GMA WATCH is appealing to you and other supporters in the U.S. for help in making this tour a success. You can help by publicizing the tour especially if you are in a city where Edith will be stopping. If you have media experience, you can help us to get coverage in local, national, and international media for events and for the human rights issues projected. You can volunteer to lend administrative support. Or you can make a donation to help us cover the costs of the tour.

Please find the schedule below. To offer your help or to ask about events in a specific city, please reply to this e-mail.

Edith Burgos National Tour Schedule
March 1-3 New York City, NY/NJ
March 4-5 Minneapolis, MN
March 6-9 Washington, DC/VA
March 10-12 Seattle,WA
March 13-16 Bay Area/Sacramento, CA
March 17 Los Angeles, CA
March 18 New York, NY

Short description of Jonas Burgos’ Case

Jonas Burgos, 36, is also an agriculturist who advocated for farmers’ rights in the Philippines and is affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement in the Philippines). He is the son of the late press freedom fighter and staunch anti-Martial Law advocate Jose Burgos, founder of the popular We Forum and Malaya newspapers in the Philippines.

Jonas was reportedly abducted by elements of the Philippine military in April 2007 in Quezon City. His case has become one of the highest profile politically motivated abduction cases in the Philippines today. Military authorities have been directed by the Court of Appeals, through the writ of amparo, to disclose the whereabouts of the missing agriculturist. To date, however, his entire family continues to be politically harassed for their advocacy efforts, while Edith has gone to the UNHRC in Geneva and other institutions appealing for international support and intervention on behalf of victims of forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations.