Category: BAYAN USA

BAYAN-USA Continues to Demand Justice for Jerome Aba National Alliance Calls for Escalating Actions to Stop Attacks on Human Rights Defenders

BAYAN-USA Continues to Demand Justice for Jerome Aba

National Alliance Calls for Escalating Actions to Stop Attacks on Human Rights Defenders

On the 1-year anniversary of Jerome Aba’s detainment and torture on U.S. soil, BAYAN-USA continues to call for his justice and for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte for his worsening fascism and terror upon the Filipino people.

On April 18 2018, peace advocate Jerome Aba was traveling from the Philippines to the U.S. to participate in a speaking tour about the human rights situation in the Philippines. While on a stopover at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), he was held incommunicado by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency at SFO for 28 hours, where he endured various forms of psychological and physical torture. This all occurred despite Aba having been granted a 10-year multiple entry visa to the United States.  

During Jerome’s detainment, BAYAN-USA members and allies staged an action at SFO while others around the country called the CBP to demand Aba’s release. Despite hours of community pressure, Aba was denied entry and sent back to the Philippines. He spoke publicly at a press conference just hours after landing in Manila, Philippines. Aba revealed that the CBP called him a terrorist, forced him to undress while interrogating him, and put him in front of an industrial-electric fan. After he shared that he was cold, they threatened to shoot him and left him in a room with a gun and grenade on a table. It was no surprise that Aba was targeted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection due to his outspokenness towards ending martial law in Mindanao, criticism of Duterte’s fascist repression backed by U.S. militarization in the Philippines, and his Moro (Muslim) background.  

 

“Psychological and physical torture is a despicable tactic being used to terrorize activists and migrants. However, we have come to expect nothing less from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose track record shows that they have ripped apart families, detained and abused children and elders, with innocent people dying in their custody. U.S. imperialism and all of its agencies are the real terrorists, not innocent people speaking up for human rights or migrating as a means of survival,” said Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Chair.

 

Equally appalling is the handling of the Philippine government in regards to Aba’s experience. When the Consulate in San Francisco was alerted to Jerome being in custody of Customs and Border Protection, their initial response was that CBP holding and deporting Filipino travelers was a routine occurrence that they could do nothing about. Upon returning to the Philippines, Jerome subsequently submitted a letter to the Philippine government asking for an investigation into his treatment to be undertaken, but that request was met with silence.

 

“When community members met with the Philippine Consul General after Jerome’s press conference, the Philippine Consul General said that he thought Jerome made up the whole story about what happened to him. It is clear to us that the Philippine government is more interested in protecting its relationship with the U.S. than with standing up for the rights of its own citizens, especially those who are critical of the Duterte regime,” said Ramiro.

With U.S. funding and support, Duterte continues to vilify and launch smear campaigns through red-tagging and terrorist-labelling against human rights defenders and organizations, such as Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Ibon Foundation, under his dubiously named counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan (Operational Plan Peace). Like Aba, no one is safe from being targeted for speaking out against the egregious human rights violations, forced evacuations, and state-sponsored killings of everyday Filipinos and indigenous peoples.

BAYAN-USA highlights the collusion between the U.S. and Philippine governments in the detainment and deportation of Jerome Aba and continues the call for accountability and justice for Aba. It is a fact that millions of our U.S. tax dollars are funding torture and human rights violations in Duterte’s drug war and U.S.-designed counterinsurgency programs. We call on our members and allies to take part in escalating actions to further expose the corrupt, violent fascist U.S.-Duterte regime and to join the call to oust him from presidency.  Join the action at San Francisco International Airport April 19th 6pm.

 

STOP THE ATTACKS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

LIFT MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO!

 

#JusticeforJerome

#FightFascism

#OustDuterte

 

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References

ICHRP US video about Jerome

Live Stream of Jerome’s press conference // Translation

 

Join upcoming events in the Makibaka U.S. Speaking Tour on the Filipino People’s Resistance Against Duterte’s Dictatorship:

BAYAN-USA Demands Justice for 14 Farmers Massacred by Philippine Police and Military in Negros Oriental

BAYAN-USA Demands Justice for 14 Farmers Massacred by Philippine Police and Military in Negros Oriental

The massacre of 14 peasants in Canlaon City, Majuyod, and Sta. Catalina by the joint operation of Philippine National Police (PNP)- Special Action Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last night exemplifies the worsening fascism of the US-Duterte regime in its attempt to silence the opposition with an iron fist.  BAYAN-USA condemns the killings and holds the US-Duterte regime responsible for their deaths, which has now added to the 180 farmers that have been killed under his administration, 40 of whom were from Negros island.

“Our hearts pour out to the victims and their families, while our anger takes aim at the U.S.-Duterte regime. This cowardly regime has launched a campaign of terror against peasants and farmers of Negros, who dare to stand up for their rights. The Negros 14 were courageous peasants activists like the Sagay 9, who were farmers engaged in a collective farming project and gunned down in their sleep by the military-backed private army of a wealthy landlord family in Sagay City, Negros, last year. Clearly, Duterte and his minions are trying to permanently silence people who challenge Duterte’s  starvation policies,” said Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Chair.

“It is shameful that the United States is feeding this killing spree by providing unrestricted aid to the Philippine government, military and police, to the tune of $184.5 million dollars in military aid in 2018. Despite the mushrooming human rights violations and fascism under Duterte, the U.S. has now promised at least $108 million for 2019.  If the U.S. maintains this level of support for Duterte, impunity will continue to flourish and the U.S. government must also be held accountable for each person killed by the PNP and AFP,” ended Ramiro.

BAYAN USA calls on its members, allies and friends to condemn and fight against Duterte’s violent attacks on peasants, journalists, farmers, lawyers, people of faith, activists and all those who are taking a stand against his fascist regime.  The US-Duterte regime must be held accountable. People in the United States must demand an end to U.S. support for the Duterte regime and a stop to the funding of the murderous Philippine police and military! Take action by signing the petition for a Senate hearing and attend the National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines this April 6-8, 2019 in Washington D.C.

 

#JusticeforNegros14

#StopthekillingsPH

#EndStateFascism

Pompeo’s Visit Signals Unwanted U.S. Intervention, Undermining Philippine Sovereignty

Pompeo’s Visit Signals Unwanted U.S. Intervention

Undermining Philippine Sovereignty

Photo: Pia Ranada, Rappler

 

The people want real diplomacy, not a master and puppet show.

BAYAN-USA views U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Philippines as nothing more than a check up on Trump’s “prime piece of real estate” and to ensure that imperialism’s chief puppet President Rodrigo Duterte is continuing to do its bidding.

After President Trump’s meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-Un in Vietnam, Pompeo made a stopover in the Philippines to remind Duterte to continue serving as a loyal ally to U.S. imperialism. In return, the U.S. promises to intervene if the Philippines is attacked, referring to the land disputes with China. It is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. to profess in words its desire for peace in Korea when it continues to act with impunity when it comes to global militarization, and in this case, would utilize the Philippines as a central battleground in a war between the U.S. and China. Pompeo and former U.S. Defense Secretaries have incessantly cited the US-PH Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Act (EDCA) as proof of the long history of so-called “friendship” with the Philippines, even though these agreements form the military bedrock for the master-servant relationship between the two countries. With the passage of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act in December–which will dedicate $1.5 billion to advance Trump’s vision for national security and defense in the region–it is clear that U.S. imperialism is committed to investing as much as it can to cement its military stronghold in the Pacific. With this new Act, the U.S. will have additional fuel to continue to trample on the sovereignty of the Philippines as well as potentially siphon even more funding to the murderous Philippine military and police, despite widespread demands by people of the U.S. to cut off all support to the Duterte regime.

 

Pompeo’s state visit to the Philippines comes on the heels of his visits with other fascist world leaders: Bolsonaro in Brazil and Marquez in Colombia. Pompeo’s visit also follows a recent meeting of Duterte with the U.S.-Philippines Society, during which U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines reportedly expressed support for Duterte’s drug war. Pompeo’s promises to Duterte underscore U.S. imperialism’s commitment to backing fascist leaders who tow the interests of the ruling elite. It follows closely in the footsteps of Donald Trump’s visit to the Philippines in 2017, which left in its wake the intensification of U.S. military presence, announcement of U.S. Operation Pacific Eagle, the expansion of U.S. participation in Philippine counterinsurgency operations, and talks of a new bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines which would further increase Philippine economic dependence on the U.S. while draining the Philippines of its human and natural resources.  

BAYAN-USA calls for the termination of the Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act.  These agreements and acts violate the sovereignty of the Philippines and treat the Philippines and other sovereign nations as pawns in U.S. imperialism’s power plays. We join the call to end U.S. support for the Duterte regime and stop funding the murderous Philippine police and military! Take action by signing the petition for a Senate hearing and attend the National Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines this April 6-8 in Washington D.C.

Unite to Resist Fascism #OustDuterte

Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising, when millions of people took to the streets in the Philippines and toppled the Marcos dictatorship. Under the Duterte regime, we see many of the same oppressive conditions: politically motivated killings and arrests, attacks on the freedom of the press, aerial bombings of Moro and indigenous communities, martial law in Mindanao, land theft for foreign interests, government corruption, and occupation of Philippine land and seas by the U.S. and China.

But just as we did in 1986, the Filipino people are standing up, fighting back, and ready to take down this dictatorship in 2019!
#BAYANUSA #OustDuterte

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