Category: BAYAN Philippines

Eleven countries, 15 cities worldwide to join Sept.21 global day of action vs. Philippine killings

International pressure on the Arroyo administration over human rights issues is expected to intensify next week as nine countries and 15 cities worldwide are expected to join the September 21 Global Day of Action Against Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines, according to the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

The Global Day of Action is spearheaded by the International League of Peoples Struggle, human rights group Karapatan and Bayan.

Rita Baua, international relations officer of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said, “International condemnation has been effective in exposing and putting on the defensive the Arroyo regime in the issue of extrajudicial killings. We expect this to intensify as many groups worldwide have already taken up the human rights issues in the Philippines. September 21 will be a global day of protest that will reverberate from Asia to the American Continent,” Baua said.

The International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) — United States International Coordinating Committee members and the U.S. chapter of BAYAN are all set for mass actions on Sept. 21. The ILPS and BAYAN member organizations across the U.S. will hold protests and activities in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Hawaii, North Carolina and Massachusetts. The protest in New York will start with a prayer service and then a procession to the Philippine Consulate at 5th Ave. between 45tha and 46th St.

In Canada, a weekly vigil of Filipino communities and sympathetic Canadians in front of the Philippine Consulate has been launched since Sept. 8 and they plan to continue this every Friday until Oct. 27. Filipino community members in Toronto and Montreal are also holding protest actions, information drives, and petition signing as build-up action for the internationally coordinated protests.

Filipinos, Dutch and Belgian citizens in the Netherlands will also be conducting a picket rally in front of the Philippine Embassy in Hague at 12 noon and in Amsterdam Square at around 6pm.

Filipinos in Hong Kong, Japan and Australia will also be holding protest activities on September 21. A solidarity action is also set in Indonesia as part of the international day of protest.

In Korea, Minbyun, a lawyers’ association in Korea, together with Filipino migrant organization KASAMMAKo will be gathering in front of the Philippine embassy on the 21st to join the protest actions.

In Taiwan, members of Labor Rights Association, Human Rights Program and the students of Soochow University will be gathering in front of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei at around 2pm for their demonstration on the 21st. The different groups will also be calling their host governments to end their support of the Marcos-reincarnated Arroyo regime.

15 years after bases treaty rejection, RP not completely free of US dictates

On the eve of the anniversary of the historic rejection of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) held a protest action near the US embassy in Manila. The militant group also slammed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for attending the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Cuba in what the group described as the “ultimate display of hypocrisy for a puppet president.”

In September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate junked a new bases treaty following years of relentless campaigning and mass actions.

“It has been 15 years since the bases treaty was rejected, yet we continue to see our country under the heels of the world’s number superpower. The Arroyo regime has in fact sought to reverse all the gains of the bases rejection, all in the name of the US war on terror,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Before, the argument for retaining the bases was the Cold War. Now, the argument for continued US military presence is the so-called “war on terror”. We may not have bases, but we do have the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, which when combined, is the same as having virtual bases in the country,” Reyes said.

Reyes said that the Philippines continued support for the US war on terror, its deployment of RP troops to Iraq as part of the coalition of the willing, and its continued hosting of US troops engaged in military “exercises” and operations, is enough basis to say that the Philippine government is not non-aligned and thus has no business attending the NAM.

“Only a hypocritical regime would claim to be non-aligned after it has allowed itself to be used by the US in its war in Iraq and in the borderless “war on terror.” Reyes said.

Bayan also criticized the Arroyo administration for backtracking on the signing of the Rome Statutes creating the International Criminal Court. It was reported that the Philippine government was worried about losing US military and economic aid. The US government has opposed the formation of the ICC because this would expose US troops operating in foreign countries to a system of accountability.

“The Philippines is the fourth largest recipient of US military aid in the world, according to the US Library of Congress. Military aid rose from $38 million in 2001 to $114 million in 2003, around the time the Mrs. Arroyo expressed unqualified support for the US war on terror,” Reyes said.

Historic International Solidarity Mission in the Philippines kicks off

Manila, Philippines–On August 14th, 2005, human rights advocates and families of the victims convened with 85 foreign delegates from 16 countries, to kick off the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) 2005.

Delegates to the ISM 2005 will divide up in smaller groups and visit the places where the grossest human rights violations (HRVs) have taken place: Mindoro Island in the Southern Tagalog region, Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Central Luzon, Samar Island in Eastern Visayas, and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, to meet with the victims first-hand and gain a deeper understanding of the human rights situation in the country.

The ISM 2005’s findings will be submitted for trial at the International People’s Tribunal, set on Aug. 19, at the University of the Philippines Film Center in Quezon City. The International People’s Tribunal will be headed Vice Chairperson of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Lennox Hinds and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez. The ISM has been endorsed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and former Justice of the Supreme Court of India Jittendra Sharma, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dolores Huerta, Jackie Goldberg, Amiri Baraka, and Noam Chomsky along with more than a hundred international personalities and institutions.

From Jan. 21, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) has documented 4,207 cases of human rights violations affecting 232,795 individuals or 24,299 families in 237 communities. These included 102 victims of frustrated murders and 130 victims of involuntary disappearances. The 411 documented summary executions included 51 leaders and members of the progressive political party-list Bayan Muna (People First), 20 human rights workers, and four lawyers and two judges in 2004 and 2005.

Australian human rights lawyer Peter Broch cited the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report on the Philippines as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. Broch stressed that the violations incurred under Arroyo’s term is possibly “worse than what happened since the Marcos years.”

Kawal Ulanday, BAYAN USA Chairperson leads a delegation of over 2 dozen journalists, educators, and human rights activists from the U.S. “The ISM is part of our effort to expose the role of the U.S. and the Philippine government in the human rights violations, and to redirect millions in U.S. tax payer dollars from military aid to humane forms of international assistance,” says Ulanday.