Category: BAYAN USA

Fil-Ams condemn intensification of political killings; movement to oust Arroyo is justified by rise in death squad hits

Reference: Berna Ellorin, BAYAN USA,

New York– Filipinos in the US lambasted the Arroyo regime for sanctioning the the recent killing spree of at least five activists this past week in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. All five were active representatives of Bayan, a national alliance of peoples organizations in the Philippines active in the movement to oust Arroyo, with a chapter in the US.

Among the recent victims is Jose Doton, age 70, a Bayan leader in province of Pangasinan, who was gunned down earlier this week by two unidentified motorcycle-riding men.

A total of 69 activists and leaders from cause-oriented, anti-Arroyo groups have been killed this year alone. 585 have been target deaths from military hits since 2001. The nationwide scope of the killings show the systemic targetting of progressive party-lists such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and member organizations of Bayan.

“As Filipinos in the US, we realize that the killing spree of journalists,church and union leaders, and human rights activists in the Philippines is a direct result of the Arroyo regime’s agenda to silence genuine patriots and nationalists that aim to counter her subservience to the dictates of US political, economic, and military intervention–which directly undermine the people’s centuries-long interests for a sovereign Philippines,” stated Rachel Redondiez, Secretary-General of Bayan USA.

Redondiez stated social discontent for the Arroyo regime has considerably risen with the regime’s push for charter changes to the Philippine Constitution, popularly referred to as “cha-cha”, that would erode basic patrimonial rights by opening natural resources in the Philippines to 100% foreign ownership as well as allow for the re-establishment of the US military bases on Philippine soil. These and many other cha-cha provisions, touted by the Arroyo regime and authored under mandate of the US government itself, have affirmed the people’s resolve to push Arroyo out of office. It is estimated that more than 80% of Filipinos want Arroyo out.

But as the calls for ouster become more visible and vocal, Arroyo’s political killings also rise.

“Millions of Filipinos like those of us here have been pushed to migrate because of the economic and political crisis brought on by U.S.-supported regimes like the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Now, Arroyo’s appetitite for bloodshed is surpassing even the infamy of Martial Law under Marcos,” Redondiez continued.

Bayan pointed fingers at the government-sponsored death squads that have traversed the Philippines, targetting Bayan and Bayan-affiliated leaders for over 5 years, since Arroyo’s first ascendance to office. The frequency of extra-judicial killings skyrocketed in 2005 alongside public denouncement of electoral fraud and corruption that has pushed for an ongoing national campaign for regime change in Malacanang.

Earlier, members of Bayan USA accompanied national human rights leaders and advocates from Karapatan, the alliance for the advancement of human rights in the Philippines, in filing official complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Council in New York. All claims filed were on behalf of victims targetted for human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.

Bayan USA also pointed out the usage of US tax dollars to fund death squad weapons, training, and machineries in the Philippines. An Arroyo-Bush military pact sealed in 2001 has secured millions in US military aid to the Arroyo dictatorship, the largest recipient of US aid in the Asia-Pacific region. There are currently thousands of US military in the Philippines training Philippine forces in suppression tactics that include large-scale political persecution, under the auspices of so-called anti-terrorism measures.

A number of national leaders in the anti-war movement, namely former US attorney general Ramsey Clarke and writer Noam Chomsky, have openly supported calls for an Arroyo ouster and denounced human rights violations in the Philippines. Bayan USA is also actively campaigning for the total withdrawal of US monetary and military support to the Arroyo regime.

“Unfortunately for Arroyo, the killings won’t silence the popular call for presidential ouster. The intensification of state terror under her watch will not withstand the people’s movement, as Marcos experienced in 1986, and Estrada in 2001,” Redondiez ended.

Bayan USA, a chapter of Bayan Philippines with member organizations spread across the US, vowed to continue its appeal to the international community for support in the campaign to oust Arroyo and demand justice for the victims of state-sponsored terror.

“Rampage of Death” has claimed 585 Lives

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ rampage of death has claimed 585 lives since 2001 when Arroyo assumed the presidency. Of this, 221 have known political affiliation. The figures have been compiled by the human rights group Karapatan and have been submitted in part to the United Nations last April.

“This is the single worst man-made disaster that has spanned five years and continues even to this day. The extent and magnitude of the killings show that there is a systematic national campaign to annihilate and decapitate legal organizations of national democratic mass movement,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“It is incredibly idiotic and malicious to blame so-called CPP purges for these deaths. It is patently ridiculous to deny the pattern in the killings of activists,” Reyes said.

Bayan stands by its earlier pronouncement that the killings were the work of government-sponsored death squads.

Reyes said that the victims of extra-judicial killings have claimed not just members of partylist organizations but also members of militant peasant groups, trade unions, political alliances, human rights workers, lawyers and church workers. Many are known leaders of Bayan, KMU, KMP, Karapatan, PCPR and other cause-oriented formations. A great number of those killed are also affiliated with partylist groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party.

“The administration’s refusal to admit that there is indeed a pattern in the extra-judicial killings of activists points out either to their incompetence or their tacit approval for these actions,” Reyes said.

Bayan also expressed outrage that the Philippines, a newly elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, has only given a token response to the killings. Last week the PNP formed a task force to look into “unsolved killings” of activists.

“The rampage of death must be condemned by all freedom-loving Filipinos. This is not just an attack of “˜leftists’ but an assault on the lives and liberties of our people. We ask the CBCP, the international human rights watchdogs and all concerned individuals and groups to rise and condemn these atrocities,” Reyes said.

Filipino-Americans support call for the Great American Boycott 2006, rally for immigrant rights on May 1st

Kawal Ulanday, Chair, BAYAN USA, chair @
Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN USA, mc @

Filipinos across the US, under the banner of BAYAN USA and allied organizations, are supporting the national call for a one-day boycott of consumerism on Monday, May 1st, to drive forward the point that immigrant workers make significant contributions to, and therefore can impact, the US economy.

Dubbed “The Great American Boycott of 2006” the national call would entail no work, no school, no buying, and no selling for one day. BAYAN USA member organizations from New York to Los Angeles have picked up on this call and will mobilize widespread Filipino support when immigrant rights groups take their actions to the streets in massive rallies.

“As Filipino workers and working families, we support this call because this is one dramatic way of proving how essential we are to the US economy, and the economic power immigrant workers truly have. We see this as part of our ongoing call to demand respect, justice, and dignity from the broken US immigration system that is working against the people’s interests,” stated Kawal Ulanday of BAYAN USA.

In a press conference yesterday in New York City, immigrant leaders Javier Rodriguez and Jesse Diaz, the organizers responsible for the March 25th “Mega-March” that drew in over 1.5 million in Los Angeles, joined Filipino, South Asian, Latino, and Caribbean community members in announcing a May 1st immigrant rights demonstration in New York City’s Union Square starting at 4pm.

Even New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s recent remarks questioning the point of a national boycott could not withstand the outpouring of support from immigrant groups, workers, business-owners, and even some politicians in support of it.

“It is understandable that there are those in power who would like to avoid such an impact a one-day boycott could potentially have on the US economy, but the truth is whatever impact we make cannot be compared to the devastating impact US foreign policies have on our home countries that cripple and ravage our economies so much so that they cannot sustain us, and we are forced to migrate to survive,” Ulanday continued.

Worker organizations are also citing the significance of May 1st, celebrated around the world as International Workers Day, is historically not celebrated in the US.

“Immigrants will be rallying side-by-side on this day with the broader worker’s struggle to reclaim May Day,” Ulanday ended.

Among the basic demands of the Filipino alliance are unconditional legalization for all, a restructuring of the tedious family visa backlog system that has kept many Filipino families apart, and full worker rights and protection for undocumented workers.

BAYAN USA member organizations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle will be joining others in organizing Filipino contingents to participate in scheduled May 1st rallies. General information on actions across the country can by found by visiting For more information on Filipino contingents, contact the nearest BAYAN USA representative near you:

San Francisco/Bay Area: norcal @ Los Angeles: socal @ Seattle: pacificnorthwest @ New York City: ny @

Filipino-Americans join solidarity pact with African-American trade unionists in support of immigrant rights; call for May 1st rally in Union Square

New York– In a press conference held on the steps of New York City Hall yesterday, the militant Filipino-American alliance known as BAYAN USA joined over 30 African-American trade unionists, New York City Councilman Charles Barron, and immigrant leaders in expressing firm worker solidarity with the massive tide of immigrants rights demonstrations demanding comprehensive immigration reforms from the US Congress.

“We workers, particularly black workers and trade unionists fighting a racist and exploitative system against all working people in the US, are in full solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers who are actively steering what is evidently a new civil rights movement,” stated Larry Holmes of the International Action Center.

“We fully understand and embrace that the struggle of our immigrant sisters and brothers is not separate from the struggle of all working people, and we will not let ourselves be divided, by those in power who will opportunistically use the power of the immigrant rights movement to pit black worker against brown worker. Immigrant rights are worker rights.” Holmes continued.

NY City Councilman and black nationalist activist Charles Barron also acknowledged that the American working people understand that it is the onerous economic policies of the US government with other countries such as the Philippines that causes forced migration of peoples in the first place.

Speaking from the Filipino community, BAYAN USA representative Berna Ellorin affirmed Barron’s statement by pointing out that the Arroyo government’s subservience to US economic dictates over the Filipino people’s interests sets the condition that pushes at least 3000 Filipinos abroad to find work abroad because of rampant joblessness and non-industrialization in the Philippines.

“For most immigrants it was never a matter of choice to migrate. It is a matter of survival. Now that we are here, and sustaining the Philippine economy with our remittances, our struggle as immigrants to reform the racist and anti-migrant US immigration system cannot be separated from the struggle of all working people of color. As immigrants, we are also fighting for what Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X were fighting for– basic civil rights,” Ellorin stated.

Among the demands supported by speakers were legalization, not criminalization of undocumented workers, swift family reunification for immigrant families, full workers rights and protection for immigrants, and no to enforcement-type immigration legislation.

The Congressional debate on immigration reform is currently ongoing amidst pressure from immigrant groups in massive outpouring on the streets. A nationally-coordinated immigrant rights rally last April 10th gathered over 250,000 alone in Manhattan and millions more in other US cities. Immigrant groups have signified the demonstrations will only escalate.

Other speakers included black labor unionists Brenda Stokely and Chris Silvera of the Million Worker March.

BAYAN USA and the Million Worker March also openly supported the call for an immigrant and worker rights demonstration on Monday, May 1st, 4pm at Union Square Park, as an extension of the storm of protests that has erupted across US cities.

“In countries around the world, May 1 is traditionally a day of action as international workers day. This May 1st, immigrants and workers will affirm this tradition in New York City,” Ellorin ended.

As a member of the NY May 1 Coalition Steering Committee, BAYAN USA and other Filipino organizations are organizing a Filipino contingent. For more information, send an email to the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines at nychrp @ ###

Images of the press conference available at

Kawal Ulanday, Chair, BAYAN USA, email: chair @;
Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN USA, email: mc @