Category: Anakbayan

FILIPINO AMERICANS PARTICIPATE IN WEEK OF ACTIONS AGAINST US-LED TPPA

Press Release

July 9, 2012

Reference:  Theresa Jaranilla, BAYAN-USA Southern California Regional Coordinator,
sc@bayanusa.org

FILIPINO AMERICANS PARTICIPATE IN WEEK OF ACTIONS AGAINST US-LED TPPA
On July 2-10, leaders of the Pacific Rim hold 13th round of negotiations for the secret US-led free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

“Obama’s push for the TPPA is a sign of desperation of the 1%, they are scared of the working people, they are scared of our solidarity!” proclaimed Ivan Penetrante, chairperson of Anakbayan San Diego, on the first day of the 13th Round of TPPA talks.  “While the TPPA and the oncoming military pivot are geopolitical moves of the US to contain its rival China, the US ultimately needs to exploit the Asia-Pacific region for cheap labor and raw materials to survive the economic crisis.”

On behalf of BAYAN USA,  Anakbayan San Diego joined the July 2 rally and press conference organized by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel on while the secret negotiations took place inside.  The event was the first of week-long actions that member organizations of BAYAN-USA took part to expose and oppose the TPPA.

A People’s Conference:  A Better World is Possible
The rally also kicked-off a series of roundtable discussions and panels about the effects on the TPPA on the rights of workers, women, intellectual property, food sovereignty and the environment.  On July 5, BAYAN USA joined panelists from the San Diego Maquiladores Worker’s Solidarity Network, the International League of People’s Struggle, and indigenous people’s organizations for a panel on Geopolitics and Empire followed by a discussion on Indigenous People’s Rights.

Country co-coordinator of the International League of People’s Struggle-US (ILPS-US) Kuusela Hilo highlighted the need to stand in solidarity against neoliberal policies such as the TPPA. “Neoliberalism is the tomb that is putting workers, indigenous people, and people around the world in the grave,” said Hilo.  On the indigenous people’s panel, Southern California Coordinator for BAYAN-USA, Theresa Jaranilla, emphasized that “the effects of the TPPA would be distressing for indigenous communities in the Philippines who already experience wide-spread displacement, environmental destruction, increased militarization,  and gross human rights violations as a result of large-scale mining by foreign mining companies.”

A Call to Stop TPPA
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, member organizations of BAYAN USA joined allies and friends donning aprons and banging on pots and pans as they marched through the streets of downtown San Diego to the Bayfront Hilton Hotel calling to stop the TPPA.  Allies, including members of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), marched with the BAYAN USA contingent.  Speakers from around the US condemned the TPPA, stating lessons we should have learned from NAFTA which led to massive migration of US industries for countries with less regulation and cheaper labor.

Speaking on behalf of BAYAN USA, Ivan Penetrante denounced the TPPA and stressed the need for solidarity. Connecting the Obama administration’s public announcement to shift the US military to the Asia-Pacific region and the need to protect its economic interests, Penetrante highlighted the covert counter-insurgency tactics, including politically-motivated killings and abductions under the watch of the US-backed Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.  “The Philippines is key to the TPPA and the US military pivot to the Pacific.  The US already has the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and are looking to re-open bases in the Philippines.  Moreover, the US also funds, arms, and creates strategy for the human rights violating Philippine military.  The US will need to enforce the TPPA with military might because the people will fight against it.  People stood up against NAFTA, and they are standing up against the TPPA,” said Penetrante.

BAYAN USA continues to call on greater international solidarity between the American people and people of Asia-Pacific region against all forms of US intervention, including economic intervention through the TPPA.

BAYANUSA is an alliance of 18 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), BAYANUSAserves 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

Filipino-Americans in NYC Join Unions in Largest “Occupy Wall Street” Demo to Date


Members of BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA at Occupy Wall Street NYC

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator
Email: bayanusa.ne@gmail.com

FILIPINO-AMERICANS IN NYC JOIN UNIONS IN LARGEST OCCUPY WALL ST. DEMO TO DATE

NEW YORK, NY– Filipino-Americans, under the banner of BAYAN USA, joined approximately 80,000 protesters in New York City last Wednesday in the largest support demonstration for Occupy Wall St. since it began 3 weeks ago. The rally in nearby Foley Square and march to Liberty Park, site of Occupy Wall St., was largely called for by organized labor such as the United Federation of Teachers. Other union forces present at the demonstration also included the Transit Workers Union Local 100, and the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY).

Donning bright red headbands, member of BAYAN USA, an alliance of 15 Filipino organizations in the US, marched into the evening with the New York Community Contingent, alongside low-income, grassroots, mainly immigrant and people of color-based organizations such as Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Picture the Homeless, FIERCE, and the Audre Lorde Project. BAYAN USA members carried signs reading “Filipino-Americans Support Occupy Wall St.”.

Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna Partylist, in New York City for a visit, joined BAYAN USA marchers and urged for more support for Occupy Wall St. from the Filipino community.

“Poverty in the Philippines is brought about by trans-national corporations and American control of our economy and political lives, so these protests of the American people to stop these policies should have the support of other countries like the Philippines,” Colmenares told a reporter before marching.

Protest actions in support of Occupy Wall St. have also unfolded in other US cities including Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

“Occupy Wall St. has grown into a worldwide movement for economic justice and equality,” stated Gary Labao of BAYAN USA. “As immigrants from poor countries, like the Philippines, we understand the desperation wrought by poverty and joblessness. That and the growing social unrest here in the US because of rising unemployement, foreclosures, and budget cuts are all tied to the same root cause– the hoarding of the world’s wealth by a very small financial oligarchy of banks and firms– represented here in Wall St.– whose interests are put above the needs of the 99% by governments put in power by the 99%.

BAYAN USA and marchers from the International Action Center (IAC), each also carried the yellow flag of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), a global formation of peoples organizations around the world, of which BAYAN USA and the IAC are members of. ###

BAYAN USA Statement of Solidarity with the Egyptian People’s Struggle

News Statement
January 31, 2011

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA
email: chair@bayanusa.org


Katie Joaquin of Anakbayan East Bay at the SF Rally in Solidarity with the Protests in Egypt and Tunisia, 1/29/11 (Photo by Sunshine Velasco)

Filipino-Americans Stand with the Egyptian People in Calling for Mubarak to Step Down

Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA are joining rallies across the United States in support of the Egyptian people’s courageous resistance and calling for an end to the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. BAYAN USA is equally inspired by the national protest movements unfolding across North Africa and the Middle East, beginning with Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, and now Egypt.

Despite mainstream media’s attempts to distort the protesters as Islamic extremists, the protests in Egypt clearly represent a broad, united front of various classes and sectors of Egyptian society that have grown sick and tired over deep, longstanding socio-economic problems including rising unemployment, food prices, widespread poverty, and government corruption. These are all exacerbated under the current global economic crisis coupled with over 30 years of Mubarak’s allegiance to US foreign policy–which stresses economic liberalization and privatization in the region– over the Egyptian people’s national interests.

The Filipino people are all too familiar with how the US hegemonic hand at the root of the Egyptian people’s misery is able to be sustained through puppet leaders such as Mubarak treating government as a private business rather than as a public service, otherwise known as bureaucrat capitalism. This was the case with the former US-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, whose Iron Fist regime was no match for the popular people’s uprising known as People Power that ousted him from office in 1986. Unfortunately, this has also been the case with all the succeeding regimes in the Philippines.

The valuable lesson the Filipino people have learned from ousting two US puppet presidents through popular upsurge is that a change in leadership does not eradicate bureaucrat capitalism, domestic feudalism, nor foreign dictates. This must come from continuous struggle for structural change by way of a revolutionary mass movement.


Darah Macaraeg of League of Filipino Students-SFSU speaks at the SF Rally in Solidarity with the Protests in Egypt and Tunisia, 1/29/11 (Photo by Sunshine Velasco)

We are endlessly inspired by the Egyptian people’s fighting spirit and self-determination, and we demand the US government to withdraw all forms of support for Hosni Mubarak, who is now heavily-isolated. This especially includes all forms of US economic and military aid to Egypt. Considered one of the closes allies to the US government in the Middle East, Mubarak’s Egypt has enjoyed being the second largest beneficiary of US military aid in the world, receiving $1.3 billion in US tax dollars annually. We also call on the US government to respect and recognize Egyptian sovereignty by not interfering with Egyptian domestic affairs.

Lastly, we call on the people in the US to show their solidarity with the Egyptian people’s struggle by holding the Obama government and US ruling elite accountable for the burdensome economic crisis they have passed on to our backs, in forms such as skyrocketing unemployment and homelessness, critical cuts to education and health care, overbearing privatization of the social services, the prison industrial complex, and the rising costs of consumer goods. We call on the people in the US to strengthen and expand our unity against the US war machine waging costly imperialist wars of aggression abroad in the bogus name of democracy and freedom. This is amongst our best acts of solidarity for the Egyptian people and all other oppressed peoples of the world.

LONG LIVE THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE!
MUBARAK STEP DOWN NOW!
US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!
US OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

Filipino-American youth celebrate EDSA People Power anniversary with another ouster call

Contact: Jonna Baldres
Secretary-General, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey
(646) 578-7390
anakbayan_ny@ yahoo.com

New York – Amidst the noise of the subway train and cold winter night, members of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey marched alongside other member organizations of BAYAN USA and NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) on February 24 in the center of the Filipino community in Woodside Queens commemorating the EDSA People Power of 1986. Calls for the ouster of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo boomed across the block where most of the Filipino stores, businesses and restaurants are located.

With the Philippines again in the hands of a corrupt, anti-people, and fascist president and leading puppet of US imperialist, thousands of Filipinos unite once again in calling for the end of this oppressive regime. While tons of corruption charges against the present administration have been unresolved and continuously piling up, the ZTE-NBN Broadband deal exposing yet another form of rampant corruption in Philippine government sparked once more the outrage of the Filipino nation. And while calls for Arroyo’s ouster escalates in the Philippines, it also resonates abroad.

“The corruption of the Arroyo government can never be justified. The government has money for ‘war’, ‘debt servicing’ and other anomalous government deals but not for education of the youth and basic social services for its people. In turn, prices of basic services go up which leaves majority of the Filipino families scrambling in poverty. That is the reason why many Filipinos opt to migrate to other countries, either leaving their children behind or bringing them to be raised up in racially sensitive environments abroad,” Anakbayan New York/New Jersey Vice President, Yancy Gandionco said.

Anakbayan New YorkNew Jersey has been one of the most vocal Filipino-American youth organizations in the United States to express anti-US-Arroyo sentiments, taking off from its principle of struggling for a nationalist and truly democratic society. With its mother chapter in the Philippines, Anakbayan has been in the forefront of calling for systemic change in the social order of the nation since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took office in 2001.

“What we need is genuine leadership and a truly democratic government that will address the basic needs of the youth and other basic sectors of Philippine society. With leaders from the ranks of the youth being critical of the Arroyo government, some of them have been either silenced or hounded by suspected elements from the Philippine military under the chain of command of the President. Under this political climate wherein young people who had chosen to expose the truth about the government were not spared, we, the Filipino-American youth in New York/New Jersey, even if thousands of miles away, will continue to voice out our disgust and criticisms and not be cowered by this hungry-power regime,” Gandionco added.

The protest action ended with the lighting of red and white candles and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem and “Bayan Ko” in the corner of Roosevelt and 69th Street. It was followed by a solidarity night at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center sponsored by BAYAN USA Northeast, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). The event was held in commemoration of the Philippine-American War of 1899 and a public orientation by International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) Chairperson Prof. Jose Maria Sison via videoconference on the upcoming Third International Assembly of the ILPS on June in Hongkong.

Another mass action will take place on February 28 as we observe the international day against corruption in the Philippines. Everyone is encouraged to wear white shirts or pin white ribbons on their right chest pocket on that day. Anakbayan New York/New Jersey will be setting up information desk on days leading to February 28 in Jersey City & Roosevelt Queens. For more information, email at anakbayan_ny@ yahoo.com.