Category: Anakbayan

Filipino-American youth say enough is enough, oust Gloria!

Reference: Yancy Gandionco, Anakbayan NY/NJ Vice President Email: Anakbayan_ny@yahoo.com

Oops, they did it again. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cronies have consistently managed to hog the spotlight in Philippine politics. Instead of being entertained and getting numb, the Filipino people are overwhelmed by feelings of disgust and outrage brought by the Arroyo Government’s endless cheating and blatant corruption. Now more than ever, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey reaffirms its call for the immediate ouster of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The ZTE-National Broadband Network scandal is just the latest scandal among the long lines of scandals since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cronies took power in 2001. “It is like watching one bad movie over and over again: same themes of corruption in the Arroyo family while ordinary Filipinos plunge even deeper into debt and poverty keeps popping up.” Danielle Galan, Anakbayan NY/NJ president remarked.

“We are one with the protesters who flocked into the streets of Makati City, Philippines and all over the world, where people came in the thousands, with one resounding voice, telling the world that they have had enough!” Ms. Galan added.

Anakbayan New York/New Jersey is a Filipino youth organization with its mother chapter in the Philippines. Since Arroyo took the highest seat of power in the country, Anakbayan has been critical of her Government over its blatant non-interest in the Filipino Youth. During her term, we have seen nothing but the all-out commercialization of education, the increase of bright youth falling victim to extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances.

“Under her fascist and corrupt regime, thousands of Filipino youths are forced to leave their families to struggle abroad. Most often, they are thrust into the worst working conditions and most hostile environments just to earn enough to keep their families back home alive. They send remittances, which amounts to billions of dollars, that keeps the Philippine economy afloat only to end up in the pockets of the Arroyo family and her cronies.” Anakbayan NY/NJ Secretary-General, Jonna Baldres said.

“The growing discontent of the people will not stop as well as the demonstrations that shall fill the streets, not only in the Philippines but in all places where there are Filipinos. In the spirit of People Power, the Filipino youth together with all the oppressed sectors shall fight as one and we will not stop until Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo steps down along with her corrupt cronies.” Danielle Galan further added.

Xmas party-protest: 30,000 youth, students join anti-chacha march, prayer rally

Reference:
Sarah Katrina Maramag, Vice-Chairperson, 09193486790

Despite excessive police troop deployments and exaggerated security threats, an overwhelming 30,000 youth and students participated in today’s big anti-charter change protests in Liwasang Bonifacio and Luneta.

Students from UP, PUP, Ateneo, Miram, UST, UE, St. Scholastica, St. Paul’s, Letran, PNU, PCU, Adamson, Lyceum, FEU, La Salle, PSBA, NCBA and some public high schools converged in various points along Taft Avenue, Espana and Katipunan to register students’ unity against charter change and the Arroyo administration.

The young protesters wore “Santa Claus hats’ and “Xmas socks” imprinted with anti-cha cha slogans. The march from Liwasang Bonifacio to Luneta was made festive by torotots (noise makers) and small colorful lanterns bearing the youth’s “wish” for a “chacha-free Christmas.”

“Ms. Gloria Arroyo and her allies may have backed out of charter change for now but we are not letting our guards down. We call on our fellow youth to remain vigilant and continue to unite against any moves to railroad cha-cha this Christmas season,” said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan chairperson.

For his part, Juan Paolo Alfonso, UP Diliman University Student Council Chairperson and Anakbayan Secretary-General, said, “We mark this day as students” universal Christmas party. We may hail from different schools and universities but we all came here in unity against the Arroyo administration. This is the real spirit of Christmas, one that Ms. Arroyo does not have the right to invoke.”

Pull-out troops now

Meanwhile, youths from urban poor communities, especially those from “militarized” parts of Metro Manila, also marched from Liwasang Bonifacio towards the Quirino Grandstand.

Platoons of military men in full battle gear have been sighted in some parts of Pandacan, Payatas and Caloocan this month. The military have reportedly set up camp in the said communities, conducting profiling and imposing curfews on the residents.

Residents also reported that the troops have been questioning them on the whereabouts and existence of militant and progressive groups in their communities.

On December 10, Human Rights Day, 20 Anakbayan community youth activists were illegally arrested and detained by military men in Payatas, Quezon City while conducting a “mobile campaign action” against charter change.

“We are calling on the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned sectors to launch an investigation on the unexplained deployment of heavily-armed military troops in our communities. The military has no business whatsoever to be setting camp in these areas. It is becoming more obvious that their sole purpose is to harass and scare the people into joining progressive organizations,” said de Guzman.

De Guzman added that it is possible that these communities are being set up as “test grounds” for plans to put up “counter-insurgency zones” similar to those set up in militarized Central Luzon. “We demand the military troops to pull out of our communities immediately.” The youth group announced that they are set to file a complaint at the CHR next week.

Investigate troop deployment in communities — youth group

Reference: Sarah Katrina Maramag, Vice-Chairperson, 09193486790

Militant youth group Anakbayan today called for an immediate investigation of the unexplained and suspicious presence of military troops in urban poor communities in Metro Manila.

Platoons of military men in full battle gear have been sighted in some parts of Pandacan, Payatas and Caloocan this month. The military have reportedly set up camp in the said communities, conducting profiling and imposing curfews on the residents.

Residents also reported that the troops have been questioning them on the whereabouts and existence of militant and progressive groups in their communities.

“We are calling on the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned sectors to launch an investigation on the unexplained deployment of heavily-armed military troops in our communities. The military has no business whatsoever to be setting camp in these areas. It is becoming more obvious that their sole purpose is to harass and scare the people into joining anti-chacha and anti-government actions in the days to come,” said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.

Yesterday, on Human Rights Day, 20 Anakbayan community youth activists were illegally arrested and detained by military men in Payatas, Quezon City while conducting a “mobile campaign action’ against charter change.

De Guzman added that residents fear that their communities are being set up as “test grounds’ for plans to put up “counter-insurgency zones” similar to those set up in militarized Central Luzon.

“We demand an explanation from the government and the military. We will not allow our communities to be terrorized by the military. It will take more than a platoon or two to quell the youth and the people’s outrage against charter change,” de Guzman said.

The youth group, together with other youth organizations, is set to hold a fact-finding mission in Payatas today.

Meanwhile, students are set to walk out of their classes tomorrow, December 12, to participate in the big anti-Con Ass rally.

Filipino-American students talk human rights on martial law anniversary

References:
Yancy Gandionco, Anakbayan NY/NJ, anakbayan_ny @ yahoo.com
Steve Raga, Sandiwa Fil-Am Youth, raga.steven @ gmail.com

New York– Filipino-American students of New York University and neighboring city colleges gathered one day after the 34th anniversary of Martial Law to discuss the current human rights situation in the Philippines last Friday, September 22nd.

The human rights forum was organized by the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Anakbayan NY/NJ, and Sandiwa National Fil-Am Youth Organization, and attended by Filipino-American students with the help of the International Filipino Association of New York University.

“Even with our distance from the Philippines, we have a responsibility to understand what is happening in our homeland, especially if the human rights crisis has already reached Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches,” stated Steven Raga of Sandiwa, a Fil-Am youth organization founded primarily by alumnae of a study exchange program with the University of the Philippines.

Raga spent 6 weeks this past summer on exposure to the Philippines, where he was hosted by Anakbayan, a national youth organization struggling for democratic reforms such tuition fee rollbacks. Anakbayan also actively campaigns against provisions of Arroyo’s proposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) as well as US military aid and troops flocking to the Philippines. Youth activists are among the ranks of those targeted and slain by politically-motivated killings and abductions.

“I learned first-hand that the killings are only of people who are committing themselves to positive social change for the Philippines, even college students like us. The government says it is an issue of anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency, but it is very clear that the killings are the orchestration of a dictatorship, like Marcos,” Raga expressed in his report back to the students.

Rutgers sociology professor Robyn Rodriguez delivered the human rights violations statistics to a standing room audience of Filipino college students, reporting over 750 victims in the country since 2001.

The forum was also filled with cultural performances by Kinding Sindaw, an indigenous dance and music troupe, members of the New Jersey chapter of Anakbayan who sang songs of peace and justice, as well as Filipino-American rapper Valerie Francisco who delivered a poignant and relevant lyrical performance.

“We’re for the people, yet we come up missin’,” Francisco expressed in one of her rap songs.

The organizers concluded with a call to action and challenge for Filipino-American youth to take up the issue of human rights in their respective student circles and oppose US tax dollars being funneled to the Philippine government as military aid.

“We will all work after we graduate. We will all pay taxes. We must consciously take a stand as soon-to-be working people in the US that our tax dollars be withdrawn as support to the Philippines,” Raga added.

Reference was made to Lauro Baja, the Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations headquarters in New York City who was appointed to the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.

“We seriously wonder what Mr. Baja is doing to address the situation in the Philippines, given his position at the UNHRC. It seems questionable that the Philippines can hold such a hot seat when the rest of the world’s human rights watchdogs have condemned the human rights record under Arroyo,” Raga ended.

For more information, contact anakbayan_ny@yahoo.com.