Category: BAYAN USA

Filipinos, allies across the US gear up for Sept. 21 protest actions condemning political killings in the Philippines

References: Rachel Redondiez, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:; Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN USA, email:

Filipinos and their allies in the US will participate in an internationally-coordinated global day of action on Thursday, September 21 condemning daily political killings in the Philippines under the questionable administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Vigils are scheduled to take place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, Honolulu, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. Most will take place in front of Philippine consulates and embassies to call attention to the Philippine government’s role in perpetrating the near-daily killings of Arroyo critics, including journalists, lawyers, church workers, students, trade unionists, human rights workers, and others.

The coordinated actions are being organized by the US Chapter of BAYAN (BAYAN USA) and the International League of People’s Struggle. September 21 also marks the 34th anniversary of the US-Marcos administration’s declaration of Martial Law back in 1972. BAYAN USA asserts that there is currently an undeclared martial law in the Philippines under the regime of US-Arroyo.

“Many of us came here precisely because the conditions in our beloved homeland were too unbearable and unsurvivable. Many fled to escape the tyranny of Marcos and US-instigated martial rule. Now Arroyo has resurrected the darkest days in our nation’s history and made it our reality once again. She has also been able to do so with the sponsorship of US military aid and weaponry,” states Chito Quijano, Vice-Chair of BAYAN USA and a labor organizer in Los Angeles. “The world will not stay silent as the killings continue in the Philippines, especially those of us taxpayers in the US whose dollars are funding such day-to-day atrocities.”

Same-day actions will also take place in Canada, the Netherlands, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and Brussels. An Arroyo visit to Hawaii last week already unfurled the first of a domino-effect of US protests that will take place next week.

International human rights watchdogs such as Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Watch, and the World Council of Churches have passed reports and statements condemning the killings. To date, over 754 Filipinos have fallen victim to these hits under the Arroyo administration.

For more information on Sept. 21 International Protest Actions, visit

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

References: Daya Mortel, Anakbayan Honolulu,
Chito Quijano, Vice-Chair, BAYAN-USA,

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.

Advocates storm inside Philippine Consulate in NYC to protest political killings


Berna Ellorin, BAYAN USA, email: ny @
Larry Holmes, Troops Out Now Coalition, email: larry @

New York– Four individual members of the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC), a national anti-war formation in the United States, stormed the Philippine Consulate in Manhattan today to confront Consul General Cecilia Rebong and Permanent Philippine Representative to the United Nations Laurel Baja with protest over, among other things, the significant escalation of political killings in the Philippines.

As they did so, members and allies of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) staged a protest action in front of the Consulate building denouncing the rise in death squads targeting Arroyo critics, reminiscent of the bloody Marcos era under Martial Law.

The most recent killings include Manny De Los Santos, a BAYAN peasant leader from Nueva Ecija, last June 11th, by two unidentified armed assailants riding a motorcycle. BAYAN MUNA representatives Noli Capulong and Sotero Llamas were also assassinated over the past week and a half. A recent report generated by BAYAN tallies over 70 killings in 2006 alone.

“BAYAN is a member of the Troops Out Now Coalition. We understand that over 680 of our allies under Bayan in the Philippines have been targeted and assassinated under the Arroyo regime. We are here to express our anger, our protest, and to demand a concrete response from the Arroyo regime. Her continuing silence and inaction with the obvious bloodshed is unconscionable and equal to condonment,” stated Sara Flounders, national co-director of the International Action Center, a member of Troops Out Now.

Together with fellow TONC organizers Arturo Perez-Saad, Sharon Black, and Dr. Ed Lewinson, Flounders entered the Consulate with letters of protest to deliver to Consul Rebong. The encounter stretched to an anxiety-filled three hour meeting with Rebong and Consul Ed Badajos that escalated in tension as the four protestors also put forth other demands such as the withdrawal of US troops in the Philippines, the withdrawal of the multi-million dollar US military aid package funding the Arroyo regime, and the release of Philippine Congressman Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis, an outspoken Arroyo critic, from illegal detainment.

Protestors also recalled fierce remarks from Consul Badajos defending the Department of Justice’s issuance of rebellion charges against 51 BAYAN members and allies.

“We are working with the United States. We have the right to go after them [rebels],” Badajos explained.

Flounders countered Badajos’ comments, stating the trumped-up rebellion charges are not only untrue, but concocted to specifically set a pretext for government suppression tactics going after the broad opposition movement.

“What a disappointment. What we demanded was a commitment from the Consulate to relay our messages and concerns to the Arroyo herself in Malacanag. What we got was three hours of lip service. Like Arroyo, the extent of the regime overseas is completely insincere in matters of basic human rights,” stated Sharon Black also of the Million Worker March, a national labor rights formation and member of TONC.

The protestors also acutely criticized UN representative Baja”s appointment in the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.

“It remains glaringly revolting to us from the international community that a representative from a country whose government continues to commit the most heinous human rights violations against its people could hold such a position. Baja must resign. For as long as the killings ensue, the death squads act with complete impunity, and the silent Arroyo government clings to power, no Philippine diplomat deserves any seat in that council,” Flounders stated.

Pictures of slain BAYAN leaders and a miniature black coffin blocked the Consulate window display.

The protestors left with a pledge to Rebong to return in the coming weeks.

“This is not the end. We will continue to return and protest in front of the Consulate as long as the killings continue,” stated BAYAN representative Berna Ellorin.

BAYAN and TONC were joined by members of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), and the Million Worker March in front of the Consulate in New York.

Fil-Ams say regime change, not charter change, is a cause worth fighting for

Reference: Rachel Redondiez, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

On the occasion of the traditionally-recognized Philippine Independence Day, Filipinos in the US slammed Malacanang’s intensified maneuvers towards so-called Charter Change [Cha-Cha] to the Philippine constitution as “a shameless act of US subservience to the degree of the era of direct colonial rule in the Philippines.”

“Nominal independence is but a 60-year old lie concocted by those inside Malacanang walls. But perhaps more so than all those who came before her, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo takes home the prize in her all-out efforts to crush the sovereign will of the Filipino people, including orchestrating the rise in political killings, much to the direct interest of US foreign policy and multinational corporations,” stated BAYAN USA secretary-general Rachel Redondiez.

Redondiez pointed the importance of generating overseas condemnation of Arroyo’s “Cha-Cha Express” even from the belly of the world’s number one superpower.

“Oceans will not prevent Filipinos in the US from feeling the impact of the Cha-Cha provisions, including the official re-establishment of the US bases, the sell-out of Philippine soil, assets and national resources, the prolongation of the Arroyo regime’s fascist dictatorship, and the erosion of basic democratic practices, like people’s elections,” Redondiez explained.

BAYAN USA, a chapter of the national alliance in the Philippines, crowned the troubled Arroyo administration as a “traitor regime” that knows no bounds in its anti-patriotic endeavors, as exemplified by those whose interests the Cha-Cha truly serves.

“As Filipinos econmically forced to migrate to the US, we see how the historically unequal relations between the US government and the Philippines has played out serve the interests of big business in the United States,” Redondiez added.

Integral to Arroyo’s Cha-Cha would be increased economic liberalization of the country’s resources, in line with the dictates of US-led agencies such as as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Redondiez equates such moves to the prevention of economic progress for the Philippines and the deepened impoverishment of the Filipino people.

“Arroyo is also manuevering her way through the Cha-Cha to cling on to what little illegitmate power she has amidst a popular movement for ouster,” Redondiez added.

BAYAN USA appealed to all Filipinos in the US to harness their social and economic power to oppose charter change and demand regime change instead. In 2005, remittances from Filipinos in the US totaled to $6 billion, the highest from any other country abroad.

“Unlike Arroyo, the Filipino people, even those of us here in the US, have not abandoned the struggle for genuine national independence. Defying Cha-Cha, hand-in-hand with broadening the movement to oust Arroyo in favor of a transition council, are patriotic causes worth fighting for,” Redondiez ended.

A national protest against Cha-Cha led by BAYAN marked June 12th in Manila.