Author: National EC

BAYAN USA to Duterte: Actions Speak Louder than Words, Continue Your Pro-People Stand in Practice

BAYAN USA to Duterte: Actions Speak Louder than Words, Continue Your Pro-People Stand in Practice

Reference: Berna Ellorin, BAYAN USA, chair@bayanusa.org

BAYAN USA congratulates President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte in his landslide presidential win last May 9. We welcome Duterte’s pronouncements to fight corruption and criminality, as well as continue with his track record of recognizing and respecting the armed revolutionary movement in the country by resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We also recognize and appreciate that Duterte’s win was not only a major upset for the US-backed Liberal Party, Duterte’s win continues to leave US imperialism and foreign corporate investors in the Philippines insecure and uncertain as he was not the usual handpicked neoliberal candidate of the US like his predecessors.

Most of all, we see the winning vote for Duterte as a concrete manifestation of the Filipino people’s resolve in voting for change, as a rejection to the status quo of traditional (neoliberal) Philippine politics that has left the country in deep record impoverishment, debt, landlessness, joblessness, and in complete subordination to foreign dictates.

In this regard, we join the Filipino people in staunchly challenging Duterte to put his words into action, and to answer the cries of the poor majority in the country. We call on Duterte to immediately free the over 300 political prisoners in the country and resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, specifically resuming talks on fundamental social and economic reforms which are at the root of the armed conflict to begin with. Key to these are genuine land redistribution and national industrialization.

We call on Duterte to stand for Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity by scrapping the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and neoliberal policies such as the 1995 Philippine Mining Act.

We call on Duterte to withstand the Western media’s non-stop bashing of his character as it is a relentless tool to isolate and bully him into caving to US dictates and enacting neoliberal concessions.

While quick to bash, western media also ignores Duterte’s history as mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines, which includes taking a critical stand against US intervention in the country, such as Balikatan military exercises and covert CIA operations that undermine Philippine sovereignty. He has long been a tactical ally of the broader Filipino people’s movement against US intervention. He has also assisted in negotiating for the release of NPA captives of the Philippine military, given the ongoing reality of the 47-year civil war.

Reactionary violence and state repression are standard in US neocolonies like the Philippines. In fact, all presidents before Duterte have enacted US-designed counterinsurgency programs that produced armed death squads and allowed state forces to target civilians critical of government policies. With Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Simeon Aquino III combined there are more than 1,500 extra-judicial killings. Yet the western media selectively ignores the human rights crisis in the country created by Duterte’s predecessors who played the puppet role the US desires in order to continue its neoliberal economic and military domination.

While we also do not condone Duterte’s tendency for misogynistic and backwards comments in public, we believe we must place these in the proper socio-economic context. In a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country like the Philippines, structural patriarchy runs rampant and chronic poverty and hunger are at the root of gangsterism and warlordism. Eradicating this will require a deeper and longer process to completely change society, at the root of which is the fact that the majority of the population are landless peasants and farmers beholden to a government of landlords.  This is why there is an ongoing armed revolution for change.

In the end, BAYAN USA holds no illusion that the electoral process can be a tool for creating change. Duterte must prove his worth in practice, and we must hold him accountable every step of the way. Ultimately, it is the Filipino people, united in collective action, that will be decisive in positively changing society, not any one president or individual politician. Let us continue to hold Duterte and all the other newly-elected officials accountable to their promises. Let us continue to build a broad and united people’s movement for genuine freedom and democracy.

WORKERS RESIST! FIGHT NEOLIBERAL POLICIES THAT IMPOVERISH,  DISPLACE, AND STARVE PEOPLE AND PLANET!

workers

For Immediate Release

May 1, 2016

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN USA, vc@bayanusa.org

On International Workers Day 2016, BAYAN USA members raise our fists and march with millions of working people around the world commemorating 130 years of workers and migrant struggles and resistance! The struggles of our sisters and brothers from Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia, who came to the U.S. in hopes for a better life, but were instead forced into the shadows and subjected to indignities of an inhumane system is a common story for all migrant workers. The need to link our common struggles in our homelands against U.S. imperialism and its neoliberal economic paradigm is ever more important.

As the U.S. imperialist wars of aggression and plunder of natural resources continue, more and more U.S. bases are being built in the Asia-Pacific, trampling on national sovereignty and causing violence upon peaceful communities. We can already see the impact of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines, as more troops are being deployed to conduct “Balikatan” joint military exercises and enforce U.S.-modelled counter-insurgency programs such as Oplan Bayanihan. Propelling U.S. militarization are U.S. neoliberal economic policies, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, that operate to secure US economic hegemony and control over markets,  resources, and local economies. Combine this with drive for cheap migrant labor via the Labor Export Policy (LEP), which exports at least 6,000 Filipinos from the Philippine every day.

We connect the struggles in semi-colonies like the Philippines where the Kidapawan farmers’ peaceful protest demanding the government to release food aid was violently dispersed by the bullets and truncheons of the police, to the struggles of workers and peasants around the world including the U.S., especially the farm workers fighting for fair wages and humane working conditions in the fields of California to Washington and campaigning to Boycott Driscoll. These are shining examples of working people who remain poor, landless, and suppressed, and yet continue to resist neoliberal economic policies, despite being met with intensifying and violent state repression.

In the face of imperialist war and occupation abroad, militarized attacks on black people all across the US, state repression of workers movements across the globe, and neoliberal economic policies that impoverish and displace working people everyday, BAYAN USA will continue building the anti-imperialist movement to challenge the structures that drive forced migration and reactionary violence, and more importantly, to win our peoples’ shared struggles for self-determination and genuine sustainable development.

Build the Militant Movement of Migrants & Workers!

Block the TPPA! Resist Neoliberalism!

Long Live International Solidarity!

Justice and Dignity for All Immigrants and Workers!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international 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 and progressive Filipinos in the U.S.  For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.

BAYAN-USA Slams Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s Tax Day Gift for the Asia Pacific: $425 Million American Taxpayer Dollars for Militarization and War

War-Tax Resisters and Peace Activists Award BAYAN-USA with Grant to Fight U.S. Military Expansion in the Philippines

Traveling through what he dubbed the “single most consequential region” for America’s future, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ominously spent the days prior to “Tax Day” this year in countries in the Asia Pacific including the Philippines, where he gloated over plans to vastly expand U.S. military presence in the Philippines and spend $425 million over five years on a maritime security initiative in the region. Carter praised the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines, which opened the door for American plans to station U.S. military personnel, aircraft, ships, and potentially long-range missiles in the Philippines. He also announced plans to open up even more Philippine bases to be used for U.S. facilities in the future—beyond the five locations already announced in March in a midnight deal forged with outgoing Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino.

“How fitting that Carter chose Tax Day to flaunt U.S. imperialism’s grandiose plans to spend American taxpayer money on military expansion in the region,” said BAYAN-USA Chairperson Bernadette Ellorin. “Tax Day is a bitter reminder that a struggling U.S. worker pays 54 cents of every dollar in taxes for U.S. military spending, leaving little for education, healthcare, employment with livable wages, and safety net programs. For Filipino Americans, the pill is even tougher to swallow, knowing that a portion of those taxes funds increased human rights violations, environmental destruction, and trampling of the sovereignty of our homeland by the U.S. military.”

Carter used the specter of China to justify increased U.S. militarization in the region, stating that Americans “have helped provide the necessary security and stability for this … region to thrive with our strong defense engagements here. The United States has long provided the necessary reassurance, an attractive and appealing reassurance, and worked to keep the peace here in the Asia Pacific.” Ellorin countered: “Carter should stop pretending that U.S. involvement in the region leads to peace when the exact opposite is true. The firing of U.S. long-range missiles, patrols of American naval vessels in disputed territory, and joint military exercises between the U.S. and Philippines and neighboring South Korea have only aggravated tensions with China, heightening concerns that the Philippines will just get caught in the middle of power plays between the two giants. The Philippines needs to stand up for itself against the incursions of all foreign aggressors, be they the U.S., China, Japan or others. Since Aquino failed dismally to uphold Philippine interests, the next President must make Philippine sovereignty a priority by terminating the EDCA, industrializing the country, and developing our own capacity for defense.”

Carter’s trip also coincided with the 32nd “Balikatan” joint military exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines, which were provocatively conducted in some of the contested areas of the West Philippine Sea. Carter announced that the U.S. would leave some of its Balikatan participants in the Philippines on a rotational basis to “improve command and control with the Filipino Armed Forces.” Ellorin refuted: “The Americans come to the Philippines, play their war games, and leave U.S. military personnel, bases, and ships here like a bad hangover. Carter fails to mention that the U.S. has been providing advisors and the blueprint for counterinsurgency programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for years, during which time the AFP has had a notorious human rights record. Depositing more U.S. military personnel and arms in the Philippines will not resolve the fact that the AFP is implicated in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, and violent displacement of innocent people over the past six years under President Aquino.”

Also on Tax Day, in a show of solidarity with the Filipino people, conscientious war tax resisters in Northern California awarded BAYAN-USA with a grant to support the alliance’s work to oppose increasing U.S. militarization in the Philippines. “BAYAN-USA is grateful for the courageous action to support us taken by conscientious war tax resisters, who are individuals who choose to take all or part of the amount they would otherwise pay to the federal government in income taxes, and instead re-direct that money toward making peace,” said Ellorin. “We hope to forge solidarity with even more people in the U.S. by together building the movement against a common enemy: U.S. imperialism.”

GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION for Food and Justice! JOIN Today-24hr FASTING in Solidarity with Farmers in the Philippines!

Global Day of Action for Food and Justice for the Victims of the Kidapawan Massacre! JOIN 24hr FASTING in Solidarity with Farmers in the Philippines!

Photo by Ryan Sin

ICHRP Norcal Network Action (Photos by Ryan Sin)

Photo by Ryan Sin

ICHRP Norcal Network Action (Photos by Ryan Sin)

BAYAN USA Joins the Global Day of Action for Food and Justice on April 8, 2016 by calling on all members, allies and friends to join members of the International Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) USA Network’s call for a 24-hour Fast in solidarity with the victims of the Kidapawan Massacre. The 24-hour solidarity fast with the farmers and Lumad victims of the Kidapawan massacre will launch on April 7 at 6 PM PDT (April 8 at 9 AM in Philippines).

By joining this fast, you, your organization, and your community can stand in solidarity with the farmers and indigenous people in Cotabato and raise awareness about the issue.

For details click on the FB Event: Solidarity Fast with Victims of Kidapawan Massacre  

ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS:

  1. Take a photo or video of yourself with a sign that states: “I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the protesting farmers in Cotabato and their struggle for food & justice!”
  2. Post your photo or video on this page and your social media accounts with the official hashtags #RiceNotBullets, #BigasHindiBala, and#Fast4FilipinoFarmers
  3. Tag ICHRP on FB (International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) & ICHRPnorcal, Twitter (@ichrpnorcal), and instagram (@ichrp.norcal).

During your fast, we encourage participants to fundraise and gather donations by asking for sponsors to contribute $$ per hour, per meal or for the entire day. Donations can be made on www.tinyurl.com/kidapawandonate.

Break your fast with other #Fast4FilipinoFarmers participants, and post the photos with the official hashtags! Thank you for your support, and long live the protesting farmers of Cotabato!”

BACKGROUND: On the morning of April 1, 2016 more than 5,000 farmers and community members staged a protest in the city of Kidapawan-Cotabato, Mindanao demanding immediate relief and aid from the Philippine government due to the severe drought in the region when combined forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) opened fire into the crowd including children, killing at least two and injuring more than 116 people. The PNP and AFP continue to harass and intimidate the victims by barricading them in the Methodist Church they sought refuge in. Many supporters of the farmers have donated rice including Filipino Actor Robin Padilla, however their generosity was met with closed doors from the Provincial Government of Lala Talino-Mendoza who took it as an insult to her leadership.  

The Aquino government must also be held accountable for the overall criminal neglect of the conditions of the farmers during the time of El Nino-induced drought. The Aquino legacy is filled with massacres: the Mendiola Massacre, Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the Maguindanao Massacre, the recent increased violence against Lumad in Mindanao, and now the Kidapawan Massacre. Aquino, the PNP, the AFP, and the Provincial Government are all guilty!  

We are calling on the international community to join us in demanding justice for the Kidapawan Massacre! We DEMAND the Aquino government:

  1. Release the 74 detained protesters. It is not even clear what charges are being filed against them while they are being held.
  2. The wounded and injured should be given medical attention.
  3. The demands for rice support and release of calamity funds should be met. There is no reason to prolong the process given the gravity of the situation. There is sufficient rice supply on the part of government. It should be released to the farmers as soon as possible.
  4. Police officials involved in the dispersal and shooting of farmers should be relieved pending an impartial investigation.

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