Category: BAYAN USA

Duterte: Demilitarize Your Cabinet! Justice for Melissa Roxas & All Victims of State Repression!

Duterte: Demilitarize Your Cabinet!

Justice for Melissa Roxas & All Victims of State Repression!

 

May 19, 2017 marks the eighth anniversary of the abduction and disappearance of Melissa Roxas, a founding member of BAYAN USA, who was abducted on May 19,  and surfaced on May 25, 2009 after international outcry.  

Melissa’s case made headlines as the first case of such a human rights violation committed against a US citizen in the Philippines under President Obama’s term.  As one of the few survivors of abduction by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Melissa courageously went public with her story, seeking justice not only for herself, but for all victims of human rights violations.  Melissa filed her case in the Philippine courts, testified in various venues, and fully cooperated with the investigation undertaken by the Commission on Human Rights.  Eight years after her abduction, we are still fighting for justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, recent moves by President Rodrigo Duterte appear to embolden the hard-core militarist faction in his administration which has denied justice for Melissa all these years. President Duterte recently announced that current chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Eduardo Año will be appointed to head the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the end of his term with the AFP in October. Año is notorious for orchestrating human rights violations as the chief of the AFP, continuously overseeing the rampant extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances such as Melissa’s case, torture, harassment and intimidation of activists and communities fighting for genuine land reform and national industrialization. Año is most known as one of the perpetrators of the abduction of Jonas Burgos a youth activist abducted 10 years ago on April 28, 2007 under the infamous counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya II.

President Duterte and Gen. Año’s dubiously named counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan (Operation Peace) is simply a continuation of all of the previous counter-insurgency programs. Oplan Kapayapaan has already resulted in the extrajudicial killings of dozens of activists, now also being committed under the guise of Duterte’s infamous drug war. From July 2016 to March 2017, at least 47 peasants and indigenous people have been killed in counter-insurgency operations. Año is just one of many former military men Duterte has appointed to key government positions, including former AFP chief Roy Cimatu, who replaces Gina Lopez as Secretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and former AFP Major General Delfin Lorenzana as Defense Secretary.

BAYAN USA demands that President Duterte step off the “trapo” path and take seriously the people’s cry for justice by demilitarizing his cabinet and not appointing Gen. Año to the DILG.  We urge him to end Oplan Kapayapaan and to focus on the real path towards peace and genuine development through continuing the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and beginning to implement reforms outlined in the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.  We also demand an end to the impunity which has reigned in the Philippines since before and after Melissa’s abduction, the thousands of extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention of innocent people, torture, violent displacement, and military occupation of schools and churches.

 

JUSTICE FOR MELISSA!

JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF STATE-SPONSORED DISAPPEARANCES AND TORTURE!

 

For more information on the Justice for Melissa campaign visit: JusticeForMelissa.org

Honor Eudocia by Fighting For Freedom For Other “Lolas”

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2017

Contact:  Jessica Antonio, secgen@bayanusa.org

Honor Eudocia by Fighting For Freedom For Other “Lolas”

A Response to “My Family’s Slave” Article

Source: Screengrab the Atlantic and www.pep.ph

This month, the Atlantic published an article, “My Family’s Slave,” written by Alex Tizon, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, that vividly describes the experiences of torment and abuse of Eudocia Tomas Pulido or “Lola,” a young Filipino woman recruited from her village in the Philippines to work for Tizon’s family in 1943 at the age of 18 and forced to migrate and work for his family in the U.S.

“Unfortunately, Eudocia’s story is a common Filipino story. There are many Eudocias and ‘Lolas’ born into poverty and forced into what is called ‘modern day slavery.’ Even though Tizon revealed his perspective of the story, there is much more to it starting in the Philippines,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN USA. “From the time Eudocia was enslaved in 1943 conditions in the Philippines have only worsened.”  More than 26 million of the population live in poverty rooted in landlessness and joblessness caused by domestic feudalism and underdevelopment, as well as widespread corruption and foreign control over the Philippine economy, military, and politics, due to imperialism, particularly US imperialism.”

“They are stuck in a vicious cycle working and tilling the land that they do not own, and having to owe debts to these landlords. They become victims of feudal and colonial practices such as families being forced to give their women and children as tribute to wealthier families,” Ellorin continued.

The Philippine government has failed to do anything substantial to solve the issues of poverty and landlessness in the Philippines. More than 6,000 filipinos leave the country each day because of the lack of jobs to sustain their families. A majority of those migrant workers are women, just like Eudocia, who are victims of human trafficking, and face many other challenges such as no compensation, low wages, unstable working conditions, contractualization, physical and sexual abuse, wage theft, and exploitation.  Many work as “katulongs”, servers or domestic workers and are forced apart from their loved ones in order to take care of the children of other families.

“In honor of Lola Eudocia, we should organize and work together to end human trafficking and the problems of landlessness, government corruption, and foreign control in the Philippines.” said Ellorin.  “Only through changing the system can we see an end to modern day slavery and create a world where other Lolas, Eudocia and other women can stay in their homeland and live full and dignified lives.”  We call upon all those interested in fighting to end modern day slavery to join BAYAN USA and our many organizations across the U.S. and help to build up the people power needed to genuinely change the system so that slavery no longer exists.

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas 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 Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

 

Resist Neoliberalism and Build International Solidarity! BAYAN-USA Honors International Workers’ Day

For Immediate Release

May 1, 2017

Reference: Jessica Antonio, Secretary General, BAYAN USA

Resist Neoliberalism and Build International Solidarity!

BAYAN-USA Honors International Workers’ Day

Today marks the 131st anniversary May Day, International Worker’s Day, and BAYAN-USA marches on the streets across the U.S. and joins the millions around the world in continuing the legacy of resistance and militant organizing of workers and immigrants. What began as the struggle for the 8 hour work day in 1886 in Chicago has continued today with workers organizing against the growing inequality between the ruling elite and the working class. Then, as now, workers face state-sponsored, violent repression for their courageous organizing. Multinational corporations continue to use neoliberal policies such as free trade agreements, contractualization, outsourcing, low wages, cuts to benefits, corporate tax breaks, and privatization of social services as schemes to squeeze more profits off the backs of workers.  

The first labor federation in the Philippines, Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas, first honored International Workers’ Day on May 1, 1903 with a protest bringing together over 100,000 workers shouting “Down with U.S. imperialism!”  Today, the message still rings true that US imperialism is at the root of what has kept the Philippine economy backwards and the majority of the population in abject poverty. Instead of creating jobs and raising the minimum wage, the Philippine government continues to capitalize on the Labor Export Policy by forcing 6,000 Filipinos to migrate abroad for work everyday and absorbing the hard-earned remittances of overseas Filipino workers forced to fend for themselves.

The US government continues to exploit public tax dollars to further militarize and repress working class communities in the U.S. and abroad in an attempt to crush the growing resistance against imperialism.  The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is proof that the US has no intentions of letting the Philippines go as it uses the country as its own military base, a dumping ground for overproduction, and as a strategic location to intensify its hegemony over the region.

Despite these circumstances, we are inspired by the growing resistance of #OccupyLuisita farmers, who recently tore down walls barricading them from land rightfully theirs for collective farming, as well as the #OccupyBulacan campaign which included thousands of urban poor communities seizing public housing that had sat idle for years.  We salute the courageous water protectors who continue resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline, the youth and families combating mass incarceration and police brutality, and undocumented immigrants pushing back against a xenophobic and racist administration headed by Trump.  We remember our vibrant history of militant worker organizing, and we call on all member organizations to continue the struggle through educating, organizing, and mobilizing our communities to defend workers rights and build international solidarity.

End Forced Migration & the Labor Export Policy in the Philippines!

Unite to Fight Fascism! People Power vs. Trump!

Build the Movement of Migrants & Workers!

Stop Neoliberal Attacks on Workers & Migrants!

Resist US-led Militarism, War, and Neofascism!

Fight for Self-Determination!

Long Live International Solidarity!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas 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 Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

 

US War Machine is the Biggest Threat! US Troops Out of the Philippines & Asia Pacific!

For Immediate Release

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

 

US War Machine is the Biggest Threat

US Troops Out of the Philippines & Asia Pacific! Down with the US War Machine!

 

 

On the third anniversary of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allows for the building of US military bases in the Philippines, BAYAN-USA continues its call for Philippine sovereignty and demands the removal of all US troops from the country.

Although EDCA was enacted by their predecessors Benigno Aquino and Barack Obama, President Duterte and President Trump perpetuate this long standing semi-colonial relationship between the Philippines and the United States.

Despite Duterte’s statements last October speaking out against the presence of foreign troops, as well as a declaration that he’s not a “lapdog of the US,” he and his administration have gone back on their word, confirming that EDCA is “still on” and that the building of US facilities can start at any time. However, as history has shown, the continued US military presence and joint training exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) results in increased human rights violations against the Filipino people.

In the US, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal calls for a $58 billion increase for the Defense Department, bringing the total to $639 billion. While over half of the federal budget is dedicated to military spending, crucial cuts are being made to housing, education, healthcare, and other much needed social services. Trump and his administration are sending a clear message that his promise to “make America great again” does not apply to the majority of people living in the US, but rather the wealthy elite and weapons manufacturing corporations.

The US war machine is the biggest threat to the rest of the world. With the recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan and the warmongering against countries like North Korea, we can only expect these attacks to intensify. Now more than ever we must continue the fight against all imperialist wars of aggression. We invite all those against US-led war, militarism, and neo-fascism to join us in Toronto from August 5-7 at a conference hosted by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and the International Women’s Alliance. Let us continue to strengthen our international solidarity and build the anti-imperialist mass movement!

TAKE A POLL: Where do you want your tax dollars to go instead of funding US militarization and wars of aggression?

 

Uphold Philippine sovereignty!

Junk EDCA! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!

Cut US military spending!

Long Live International Solidarity!

 

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