Category: Anakbayan

Filipinos, allies condemn political killings in the Philippines

References: Daya Mortel
Anakbayan Honolulu
email: hawaii @ bayanusa.org

Honolulu–Filipinos and their allies in Honolulu participated in an internationally-coordinated global day of action today condemning the political killings in the Philippines under the current administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Philippine Consulate.

A vigil hosted by members of the Filipino youth group, Anakbayan Honolulu, was held in remembrance of the near daily killings of those critical of President Arroyo. Included in those killings are journalists, church workers, students, trade unionists, human rights workers, and others. September 21 is also the 34th anniversary of the US-Marcos administration’s declaration of Martial Law in 1972.

“We remember the victims and the justice long past due to them and their families who are left to suffer. We thought the days of Martial Law were over, but here we are, once again, reliving a history that should never be repeated,” states Daya Mortel, chairperson of Anakbayan Honolulu and a student at the University of Hawaii. “We will stand in protest with the international community to call for an end to the killings.”

International human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Watch, and the World Council of Churches have given statements and reports condemning the killings. To date, over 750 Filipinos have been killed under Arroyo’s administration.

President Arroyo had visited Hawaii last Saturday to unveil a sakada statue and was met with protest as well.

Internationally-coordinated actions were organized by the US Chapter of BAYAN (BAYAN-USA) and the International League of People’s Struggle. Same-day actions also took place in 14 different countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy, England and the United States.

Hawaii visit unveils more than Arroyo expects–protests and condemnation

References: Daya Mortel, Anakbayan Honolulu, email: anakbayan_honolulu@yahoo.com
Chito Quijano, Vice-Chair, BAYAN-USA, email: vc@bayanusa.org

Honolulu, Hawaii–Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was met with protest today outside the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, where she attended the unveiling ceremony of a sakada statute commemorating the centennial anniversary of the first Filipino migrants to Hawaii.

Members of the Filipino youth group, Anakbayan, and others were outside condemning the Mrs. Arroyo for her hand in the escalation of political killings, forced disappearances, and other human rights violations across the country.

The president is visiting Hawaii as a cap-off to her recent European tour visiting international leaders, including a tense face-off with Amnesty International secretary general Irene Khan in London last week. Amnesty International recently released a report on over 750 cases of political killings of youth, students, trade unionists, journalists, priests, and others under the Arroyo regime.

“[Arroyo] comes to Hawaii in a superficial gesture to honor migrant workers, but today’s unveiling of the statue is being conducted by hands stained with the blood of our countrymen,” stated Anakbayan member Daya Mortel, also a student at the University of Hawaii. “The Arroyo administration’s inability to address and stop the killings is rooted in its role as the ultimate perpetrators of the killings.”

Hawaii has one of the largest concentrations of Filipino immigrants in North America, and over 5,000 enter the state every year. Anakbayan also lambasted the Arroyo administration for failing to address the dire economic and political repression that drives so many Filipinos to leave.

Anakbayan is a member of BAYAN, an alliance of Filipino organizations from which the greatest number of political killings are from.

For more information, email anakbayan_honolulu@yahoo.com.

No Hawaiian vacation for Arroyo; protest actions to hound GMA’s visit to Honolulu

References: Daya Mortel, Anakbayan Honolulu, hawaii@bayanusa.org
Chito Quijano, Vice-Chair, BAYAN-USA, vc@bayanusa.org

Honolulu, Hawaii–Protest actions are set to confront the visit of Philippine Head of State Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her visit to Honolulu this September 16th. Filipinos and allies are set to highlight President’s ingenuine actions on the rabid escalation and onslaught of politically-motivated killings in the Philippines.

There are currently over 748 victims of political killings and over 184 cases of forced disappearances since Arroyo took office in 2001. The frequency of killings is now near-daily. Most victims have been members of the national alliance BAYAN and members of progressive partylists such as Bayan Muna. All have been open critics of the administration, and members of people’s organizations demanding reforms.

The Filipino group Anakbayan at the University of Hawaii and the overseas chapter of BAYAN based in the United States will initiate the protest actions outside of the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu. There, Arroyo is scheduled to unveil a sakada statue celebrating 100 years of Filipino migration to Hawaii at 5:30pm. Prior to that, she will also visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, where she will dedicate a marker commemorating 60 years of friendship between the United States and the Philippines at 4pm.

Arroyo is also scheduled to stay at the Hilton Waikiki, where heated contract negotiations with the hotel management could very well drive the hotel workers, the many of whom are Filipino, to strike.

“It is a disgrace to the century of hardworking Filipino migrants, beginning with the sakadas (farm workers) to today’s Filipino immigrants, who came precisely to flee economic and political turmoil back home to celebrate our centennial of struggle by glorifying a US-funded dictatorship that is quickly growing more isolated from the Filipino and international community,” states Daya Mortel of Anakbayan and a member of BAYAN-USA.

Arroyo’s alarming human rights record has already sparked an international deluge of reports and statements of condemnation from Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Watch, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and the World Council of Churches.

“The most patriotic act all Filipinos can do, wherever they are, is to denounce the Arroyo regime for its crimes against the Filipino people. The killings of our compatriots must stop, and Arroyo must be held accountable,” Mortel added.

Arroyo has been consistently greeted with protests in her visits to the US over the last several years. During her last visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York to preside of over the UN Security Council last September, fierce protest actions hounded her all the way to the Philippine Consulate in Manhattan.

Arroyo was among the first international leaders to offer total support to the Bush administration’s expansion of the War on Terror overseas. The ongoing war compact between the Bush and Arroyo regimes has included the massive re-entry of US troops throughout the archipelago, and an exponential boost in US military aid and weaponry to the Philippines. The now US-trained Philippine military is the most-cited perpetrator of political killings, marking a resurgence of US-funded “death squads”.

BAYAN-USA will also initiate various candlelight vigils in several US cities in coordination with several other countries in commemoration of the 34th anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines. Protest actions are set across the Philippines on that day.

Stop the killing of Filipino youth!

Anakbayan Seattle condemns the brutal killing of a student activist leader in Bicol and the illegal abduction and warrantless interrogation of a youth activist leader in Davao City this weekend by suspected military forces.

Cris Hugo, a National Council Member and regional coordinator of the League of Filipino Students in Bicol, was shot dead around 10:30pm yesterday in Legazpi City by unidentified armed men. Instead of investigating the role of the military in this death, the Police Chief Narciso Guarin said they were looking at a possible feud between fraternities at Bicol University as the cause.

Meanwhile, Raunil Mortejo, Anakbayan-Davao City chairperson, was abducted last Friday night, March 17, near the BAYAN office in Davao by suspected military elements. Mortejo was released an hour later. According to his account, he was interrogated and harrassed for almost an hour. He was unhurt but was visibly traumatized by the illegal abduction.

The killings and abductions of progressives are being justified by the military by accusing victims of being “communists” or “terrorists.” However, this is without evidence, trial or witnesses presented before the military summarily executes civilians in the countryside. Any opposition to the current Administration is met with harassment or death.

Progressive activists are being executed outside the law by suspected military and police in an effort to silence dissent and opposition to the attack on democracy. The government is using extrajudicial killings to scare the population into submission. The military crackdown has created the equivalent of ‘killing fields’ in the Philippines with the unchecked murders and harassment of civilians under the guise of the war on terror.

In the past five years, hundreds of women, priests, human rights investigators, journalists, peasants and workers have all been slain or tortured under President GMA. This latest situation shows that the military is now shifting its focus to youth and students in its relentless rampage for control.

Here in the US we feel the loss of another young kasama who dedicated his life towards genuine liberation of the Philippines , killed because he wanted a systemic change to make the lives of Filipinos better. As youth, we are the future and we have a stake into shaping that future. We stand in solidarity with progressive youth in the Philippines risking their lives while organizing for jobs, housing, education, civil rights and social services.

The youth cannot be subdued into obedience while we organize for our basic needs and rights. We must now, more than ever, be inspired to fight for our communities’ needs while working for genuine National Democracy in the Philippines.

JUSTICE FOR CRIS HUGO! NO TO RETURN OF MARTIAL LAW! TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL NOW! STOP THE KILLING FIELDS IN THE PHILIPPINES! UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS! FREE KA BEL AND THE BATASAN FIVE! DEFEND FILIPINO IMMIGRANTS! JUNK THE RACIST HR4437!

– Anakbayan Seattle
“Serve the People”