Category: BAYAN USA

BAYAN-USA to Duterte: “Stop the Killings! Tackle the Drug Menace by Tackling Poverty! Advance the Peace Process!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2016

Reference: Romeo Hebron, BAYAN-USA Finance Officer, finance@bayanusa.org

BAYAN-USA strongly condemns the over 3,000 drug related extrajudicial killings that have taken place within the first two months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. The President must put a stop to these killings. In the course of holding accountable those accused of drug-related crimes, he must uphold due process and abide by the rule of law.

Our criticism of the drug-related killings under the Duterte administration is based out of our genuine concern for people’s rights, including socio-economic rights, and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. It must not be confused nor is it aligned with the US imperialist agenda, with the help of the media and US-backed institutions, and factions within the Philippine government that are disingenuous in their so-called concern for human rights and are merely using the issue opportunistically to destabilize the current Philippine Head of State for his strong opposition to traditional Philippine politics.

Address Poverty

Without properly addressing the socioeconomic conditions that lead to the sale and use of drugs, President Duterte’s drug war not only fails to solve the problem, but will be reduced to an attack on the poor and working class, those driven by poverty and hardship to sell drugs. Tackling poverty means developing the country’s backward, pre-industrial economy that currently provides for foreign corporations and interests rather than for domestic needs.  To do this, we call on President Duterte to adopt the People’s Agenda for Change, a 15-Point Program covering five major areas of concern: Economy, Social Policy, Governance, Peace & Human Rights, and National Sovereignty/Foreign Policy.

If President Duterte wants to fix the drug problem in the Philippines, he should avoid going the route of the discredited drug war waged by the U.S. in the 1980s, which poured hundreds of millions of dollars into military-style law enforcement sweeps that deliberately criminalized, imprisoned, and disenfranchised African Americans. Decades later, we still see the devastating impacts of the War on Drugs on black and brown communities, through the separated families, poverty, and mass incarcerations as a result of an unjust court system. Any approach that prioritizes law enforcement operations over comprehensive health and social services, prevention programs, and rehabilitation programs will result in more violence and killings rather than resolution of the problem.  

Advance the Peace Process

In addition to adopting the People’s Agenda, the Duterte administration is now set to embark on the second round of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines this October 8 in Oslo, Norway. The said round of the peace process will now tackle actual roots of the armed conflict in the country– impoverishment, landlessness, and joblessness born from foreign economic intervention and lack of national sovereignty– and aims to achieve an agreement on basic social and economic reforms. BAYAN-USA believes the advancement of the peace process is not only key towards resolving the 47 year old civil war, but can address the structural roots of the drug problem in the country through identifying progressive reforms and policies.

While the Western media chooses to focus on the drug war versus continuing wars of aggression and violent acts of intervention led by US imperialism in all parts of the globe, the significance of the peace process in contributing to the alleviation of the Filipino people’s suffering through negotiated reforms is underappreciated at best, derailed at worst. We call on President Duterte, now as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to ensure the safeguarding of the peace process, to work for economic sovereignty in order to pave the way for national industrialization and land reform, which are the basic changes needed to resolve the drug problem.

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S.  For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

 

Human Rights Groups Urge Duterte to Denounce Marcos’ Crimes and Push Forward Peace Talks

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2016

Contact: Nikole Cababa, Deputy Secretary General, BAYAN USA, sc@bayanusa.org

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Photo Caption (Above):: Nap Pempeña of Anakbayan USA honors the martyrs and victims of Martial Law and calls on youth to continue the fight for a just and lasting peace in  the Philippines.

LOS ANGELES, CA – On September 21, Filipino American human rights advocates and American supporters rallied in front of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles to mark the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and called on the Duterte administration to denounce the crimes of the Marcos’ dictatorship.

Led by BAYAN USA and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) Southern California Network, the participants called for justice for victims of the Marcos dictatorship and condemn the continuing human rights violations in the Philippines.

“Extrajudicial killings and arrests were an abominable hallmark of Marcos’ 21 year rule, which was propped up by the U.S. government,” Nikole Cababa, Deputy Secretary General of Bayan USA. “In order to set himself apart from all previous puppet presidents, Duterte should immediately put a stop to all extrajudicial killings in the country and end the illegal arrests of activists under the Philippine military’s U.S.-directed counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan.”

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Photo Caption (Left): Nikole Cababa, Deputy Secretary General of BAYAN USA addresses the crowd to share the history of Martial Law under the Marcos administration.

The groups strongly oppose the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). “We resist the erasure of our people’s history. When we bury a convicted plunderer who was dishonorably dismissed by its own people and by its own military, what message does it send to the youth and to the people? It means that the most corrupt and despotic tyrants in our country can be hailed as heroes; that the burial of Marcos in the National Heroes’ Cemetery signals the burial of justice for the victims of Martial Law.” said Nap Pempeña, Vice Chairperson of the nationwide youth group Anakbayan-USA.

The groups also pressed for the Duterte administration to continue making progress in the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “Duterte can make unprecedented and lasting changes that will benefit the Filipino people for generations to come if he continues to sincerely pursue peace negotiations with the NDFP,” said Joy Prim of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Southern California Network.

14344304_1149668318432416_4424647141232541544_nPhoto Caption (Right):  Pastor Ruth of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and member of the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON) Southern California highlights the poor who suffered under martial law.

“He must follow through on the GRP’s commitment during the recent Oslo peace talks to declare amnesty and release the 525 political prisoners that remain unjustly detained in prisons across the country. While we support Duterte in the process of the peace talks, we continue to be alarmed by the human rights situation in the country, the killings, and the further arrests of political prisoners without any cause.” Since August, five peasant leaders have been assassinated and more activists have been arrested despite the existence of unilateral ceasefires in the country’s 47 year civil war.

Cababa added, “For the peace talks to succeed, Duterte must follow through on his recent statements asserting an independent foreign policy not dominated by U.S. interests. His words must be proven in action by terminating all unequal military and economic agreements with the United States, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Only then will the Philippines be free to enact social and economic reforms that can create liveable jobs for Filipinos through land reform and building national industries.”
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Photo Caption (Above): Janelle Viray of Gabriela Los Angeles highlights the stories of Filipina women brutally raped, tortured, and murdered during the Marcos’ Martial Law era.

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Photo Caption (Above): Local artists Menchie Caliboso of Habi Arts and Hiyasmin Saturay of Migrante Southern California perform “Bayan Ko” in honor of the victims and martyrs of martial law.

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Photo Caption (Above):  Lealani Manuta of Anakbayan Long Beach joined the protest to urge President Duterte to keep his commitment to advancing the peace talks in the Philippines by granting general amnesty to all political prisoners in the Philippines.

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Photo Caption (Above): BAYAN USA Southern California, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON) hold a rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, CA.

 

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On the 25th Anniversary of the Termination of the US-Philippines Military Bases Agreement: Stand with Duterte for Genuine Philippine Sovereignty

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On the 25th anniversary of the historic Philippine Senate decision to shut down former US military bases Subic Naval and Clark Air Force, BAYAN USA calls on people who believe in a just and lasting peace to support President Duterte’s assertion of national sovereignty and the interests of the Filipino people in opposition to increasingly aggressive U.S. destabilization and intervention.

US imperialism continues to dominate the economic, political and military direction of the Philippines. This dominance has been maintained and advanced by the total subservience of the family dynasties which have ruled the Philippines since 1946, at the expense of the Filipino people’s lives, livelihood, and national sovereignty—until now.

President Duterte’s demands for U.S. troops to leave Mindanao and for the U.S. to make reparations for massacring over one million Filipinos during the Philippine-American War, his rejection of joint US-Philippine patrols of the West Philippine Sea, and his earnest resumption of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines despite the U.S. blacklisting of NDFP members as “terrorists” are a bold departure from the puppet politics of the past 70 years.

We urge President Duterte to continue charting a course in the opposite direction of his predecessors, by abrogating the unequal military agreements with the U.S. which keep the Philippines beholden to the whims of U.S. imperialism: the Mutual Defense Treaty, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, Visiting Forces Agreement, and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. He should suspend the populating of Philippine bases with U.S. troops and the building of any new bases for American forces and war materiel. Hailing from Mindanao, President Duterte knows better than any previous Philippine president that U.S. military presence in the country facilitates land-grabbing and extraction of our natural wealth by big foreign multinational corporations, and the violent repression of Lumad and poor rural communities in Mindanao by the US-funded Philippine military and paramilitary acting on behalf of large multinational corporations targeting indigenous land for mining and corporate agribusiness.

We also urge President Duterte to resist the pressure to continue the neoliberal economic policies which have only stunted the development of local agriculture and national industries for decades, resulting in abject poverty and hunger for the majority of Filipino people. He must also resist the pressure to change the Philippine constitution so that the country may join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), especially with the renewed full court press of President Obama to increase buy-in among Southeast Asian nations and to ram its approval through the U.S. Congress during his final months in office.

This September 16, BAYAN and other pro-sovereignty Filipinos will be rallying in Manila to defend Philippine sovereignty from ALL foreign incursions. The call for sovereignty must include the call to develop Philippine economic capacity and productivity through genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, and an independent foreign policy with other nations based on mutual respect and benefit.

DEFEND PH SOVEREIGNTY!
US and CHINA: HANDS OFF THE PHILIPPINES!
US OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES & ASIA!
NATIONAL INDUSTRIALIZATION NOW!
GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM NOW!
ADVANCE THE NDFP-GRP PEACE TALKS!

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Radio Interview | Rising Up With Sonali! feat. BAYAN USA, Nikole Cababa

Rising Up With Sonali! 

Download: mp3 (Duration: 12:52 — 11.8MB)

Video Link:https://vimeo.com/181855762

FEATURING NIKOLE CABABA – The Philippines’ new President Rodrigo “The Punisher” Duterte, has come under fire internationally for publicly referring to US president Obama as a “son of a whore.” Duterte, who was elected in June, campaigned on a platform of cleaning up the country’s drug problem. Before being elected President, he was mayor of Davao city for decades and linked to a death squad responsible for murdering drug users and sellers.

Now under his presidency, in the past two months alone, at least 1,300 people have been found dead, many with their heads covered with signs identifying them as drug users or pushers. It was over this killing spree that Duterte defensively lashed out at Obama. The US canceled President Obama’s visit with Duterte in the wake of the controversial statements.