Category: BAYAN Philippines

Statement on the international day of protest against the US occupation of Iraq

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) joins the people of the world in commemorating the seventh anniversary of the United States-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. We join the thousands protesting worldwide in calling for an end to the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite being more than in year in office, the Obama administration has not shown any substantial departure from the imperialist agenda that was laid down by George W. Bush when he led the invasion and occupation of Iraq. There are indications that despite Obama’s pledge to end US combat operations in Iraq, the US forces intend to stay, set up bases and continue their direct and indirect control of the Iraqi puppet government.

Despite the debilitating financial and economic crisis that has hit the US economy, the Obama administration has allotted some $708.2 billion for war spending.

The Obama has administration has also advanced the same imperialist agenda in other parts of the world such as Afghanistan. The US government has sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and has escalated cross-border attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

More than a year into the Obama administration, the people of the world have yet to see the changes in America’s foreign policy. The developments in Iraq and Afghanistan do not show the “change” that was promised in 2008. What we see are more of the same imperialists wars of aggression.

Meanwhile, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has shown unabashed puppetry to the US by supporting the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, sending troops to Iraq, and allowing US combat troops to be based in the Philippines. At the tail-end of her term, Arroyo secretly hopes for the backing of the US government for her bid to prolong her stay in power.

US intervention in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the US government has reinforced its permanent and continuing military presence by indefinitely station 600 Special Forces troops under the US Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTFP) based in Zamboanga. Using the vague and unconstitutional provisions of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), US troops enter and leave the Philippines on a rotational but continuing basis. Their presence in Mindanao has become permanent since 2002.

At any given time, there are US troops stationed in the country. Their activities in the country remain questionable and there have been many allegations that they are engaged in actual combat operations. Previous US commanders have admitted that they are indeed engaged in combat but disguised as military exercises. These acts all violate Philippine sovereignty and the Constitution. The Philippines is the only other active combat area in the ‘war on terror’, after Iraq and Afghanistan.

The annual Balikatan war games was recently held for the first time in the Ilocos region, which is the northern part of the Philippines. The US said it will conduct humanitarian missions in the area. We believe that the so called humanitarian exercises in Ilocos is part of the US power projection against China. This type of military buildup can be expected to escalate as it did in Mindanao where humanitarian missions were also used as a pretext for permanent US positioning.

Obama continues to give importance to the lame-duck president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the hopes of securing more concessions from the Philippine government. In a span of six months in 2009, the Philippines was visited by the US Defense Secretary , the CIA director, and the US Secretary of State. The unusual flurry of visits came just a year before Arroyo’s term was to end on June 30, 2010. Military aid to the Philippines has also increased this year, despite continuing allegations of human rights abuses under the Arroyo government.

Problems with the VFA

Even if the Philippine Supreme Court has ruled with finality on the legality of the VFA, the controversies surrounding this agreement will not simply go away. So long as US troops remain permanently stationed in the country and so long as they engage in various questionable activities that violate our Constitution, there will always be legal challenges to the VFA.

The mysterious death of Gregan Cardeno is another case in point. Cardeno was an interpreter hired by the private military contractor Dyn Corporation which builds US military facilities in the Philippines. He was deployed last February 1 by Dyn to a Philippine military camp in Marawi which was hosting US troops. He was found dead inside the military camp on February 3, two days after he arrived in Marawi.

Cardeno’s death was ruled a suicide, but his injuries are not consistent with this finding. There were also indications of an attempt to cover up the cause of death and tamper with evidence. Before he died, Cardeno communicated to his wife that what he got into with the US troops was not what he signed up for.

What was really Cardeno’s job then? What was the nature of the engagement of Dyn Corporation and the US forces? What was the real cause of death and why were there indications of a cover up? Why are US forces now operating in Marawi, unknown to most.

End US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, End US military intervention in the Philippines

It is necessary for the people of the world to expose the continuing imperialist agenda of the US under the Obama administration. The US must pull out immediately from Iraq and Afghanistan. It must devote its resources to addressing the urgent needs of the people of its own country. The US must also end all forms of military intervention in the Philippines.  It must pull out its permanently stationed troops in Mindanao and other parts of the country where they are possibly operating.

The Filipino people will continue to assert their sovereignty against foreign military intervention. We will also continue to express our solidarity with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan who are struggling to end foreign occupation in their lands.

Gov’t policies worsen “natural” disaster: BAYAN USA statement on Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana and Arroyo’s response

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA
secgen@bayanusa.org

The worldwide outpouring of aid and support for the over 1.8 million victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) in the Philippines this week leaves Filipinos in the United States reeling with anger in response to the Arroyo government’s utter ineptitude in providing adequate disaster relief.

This anger towards the Arroyo administration is justifiable for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which are the Philippine government’s evident corruption of billions in national disaster funds in order to fatten up the Presidential international travel budget and subsequent insistence that donations coming from abroad be channeled through government agencies.

But in the case of Ondoy, the Arroyo government’s hands have extended past the budget purse-strings and into crafting disaster-prone policies as well.

Not Just a Natural Disaster

The vast, heavy floods that swept through Metro-Manila devastating over 319,811 families and killing at least 240 people slammed tons of pressure that left properties in ruins. But contrary to claims of Malacanang, these killer floods did not come solely from unpredictable heavy rainfall and winds, but from deadly landslides originating from the neighboring provinces.

For years, the Philippine government has denied links between mining and logging activity and landslides in order to protect the investments of multi-national corporations (MNC) in the Philippines. But other mining authorities, such as the British Columbia Geological Survey Branch, admit to a direct link between heavy mechanical activity launched by foreign corporations in resource-rich countries like the Philippines and the weakening of bedrock along slopes that can result to slope failure and eventually a fatal landslide.

In addition to ensuring nothing less than maximum devastation when disasters like Ondoy strike, irregular warming of the Earth’s surface caused by greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from dense MNC activity also contribute to the altering of regional climate patterns, such as the generation of typhoons.

Charter Change

While illegal mining and logging continue throughout the Philippines under the Arroyo administration, the Arroyo clique relentlessly campaigns for changes to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that would allow 100% foreign ownership of Philippine territory. Intensified foreign mining, logging, deforestation, land conversion and marine fishing throughout the Philippines coupled with poor infrastructure will only leave Filipinos vulnerable to more calamities such as Ondoy.

Support People’s Needs, Not Corruption

In this time of urgent need for the vast majority of Filipinos impacted by Ondoy, BAYAN USA appeals to supporters around the world to think twice before donating financial support to Philippine government-led initiatives such as those spearheaded by consular offices around the world.

The reason why overseas Filipinos are choosing NOT to remit through government channels is because of the Philippine government’s proven and historical track record of taking advantage of monetary donation drives in response to calamities as ample opportunities for graft. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo is one glaring example of this. In fact, to this day, more than Pph 7 billion (USD $280 million) in public funds allocated for post-eruption disaster relief remains unaccounted for.

The Philippine government makes billions in US dollars every year from the remittances of overseas Filipinos. Let’s not give them a chance to make more money off the victims of Ondoy. There are more reliable and credible people organizations both in the United States and in the Philippines, who not only organize communities for social reforms, but are now working tirelessly to divert donations from the government’s corrupt hands and bring direct relief to the most impacted areas without any discrimination or bias. Visit www.bayanusa.org or www.bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com to learn more about them. ###

Relief efforts continuing for Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) victims

Thank you all for your generous contributions to support the victims of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). We are working around the clock in coordination with BAYAN-Philippines and the BALSA Relief Operation to ensure that support is being directed where it is needed the most. We will keep you updated as things develop.

Where do our donations go? These donations go directly to BAYAN Philippines and the BALSA Relief Operation. BAYAN Philippines is an alliance of grassroots organizations all over the Philippines that represent the most marginalized and impoverished communities in the country. These are the communities that have been most impacted by the Typhoon. The BALSA Relief Operation will be providing medical, financial and clean-up aid, especially in the urban poor areas, where people have literally lost everything. This will NOT include the bureaucracy and red tape that happens with third-party groups like the Red Cross or the Philippine Consulate.

Please cut and paste the image below onto your facebook/myspace/blogs/etc. Thanks again for your support!

Financial support for Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) victims in the Philippines

Hello friends and supporters of the Philippines,

On Saturday September 26th, Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) struck the Philippines with the heaviest rainfall recorded followed by the worst flooding in 40 years.

BAYAN-Philippines’ “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan, or “People’s Cooperation for the People”), is calling upon compatriots and sympathizers to gather financial donations for the victims of the Big Flood.

As of this writing, there are at least 100 dead or missing and 435,000 victims who are homeless, injured or have lost all of their belongings. There are still as least 1 million people without electricity. Scenes are eerily similar to “Hurricane Katrina” and President Bush’s response in 2005 (or lack thereof).

President Arroyo’s lack of preparation and priority to acquire hundreds of big rubber boats (officials admitted they only had 13 rubber boats), amphibian vehicles, dump trucks, thousands of life vests and food/medicine kit for our compatriots who are trapped in rooftops has led to a humanitarian crisis.

We are making this appeal for financial support as the current administration is woefully unprepared and unable to help the hundreds of thousands of our compatriots and friends. BALSA will be coordinating efforts to distribute food, medicines, clothing and other basic necessities to help the people through this crisis. Because BALSA is firmly linked with the masses, aid will directly go towards the basic sectors of society – the workers, peasants and the urban poor who make up the majority of the victims (despite media attention that “the poor and rich are equally impacted”).

Please make a donation through BAYAN-USA or a local member organization of BAYAN-USA (see links on sidebar).


Donate Online via Paypal:






Or, donations can be directly deposited into the following account:

Bank: Chase
Account Name: BAYAN-USA
Account Number: 340-209749-3


Thank you for your support.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA at secgen@bayanussa.org, or Jeff Rice, Finance Officer of BAYAN-USA at finance@bayanusa.org.