Category: BAYAN USA

No immunity: Case of US troops’ gang rape of Filipina woman must surrender to Philippine jurisdiction

New York/San Francisco–The national alliance of Filipino organizations in the US known as Bayan USA and its supporters strongly condemn the recent and brutal gang rape of a 22 year-old Filipina woman by at least six US Marines stationed in Subic Bay, Olongapo City two days ago last Tuesday, November 1.

The six suspects are currently being held in the Philippines under the custody of the US Embassy in Manila.

Bayan USA spokesperson Berna Ellorin asserted, “this heinous crime against the Filipino people at the hands of the US military troops commands nothing less than comprehensive justice. This can only mean
all efforts must be exerted by both the US and Philippine authorities for a full investigation of the alleged perpetrators. Absolutely no immunity must be granted to the six suspects under US jurisdiction. They must surrender to Philippine jurisdiction be tried and held accountable to the Filipino people and its legal system. The Macapagal-Arroyo government, if it is one with its people, must facilitate such a due process. Anything else is not justice.”

According to the unidentified female victim, the group of six US marines invited her to join them in a rented van after a night out in a karaoke bar. A few hours later, as reported by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), witnesses said they saw the unconscious woman’s body being dumped from the van on a road.

SBMA Chair Feliciano Salonga confirmed that the six US servicemen–Keith Silkwood, Daniel Smith, Albert Lara, Dominic Duplantis, Corey Barris, and Chad Capent– were “identified by the driver of the van.”

Ellorin zoomed in on a vague claim by the US Embassy and US Charges D’Affairs Paul Jones that the US would “cooperate” with the Philippine authorities in an investigation of the incident.

“There is a century-long history of US military atrocities committed against Filipinos in the Philippines that were never brought to justice,” Ellorin stated, citing previous examples including the shooting of unarmed civilian Buyong-Buyong Isnijal by US Soldier Reggie Lane in Basilan back in July 2002, the shooting of Aetas (an indigenous people) near Subic back in the eighties by US troops who claimed to have mistook them as wild boar, and countless human rights violations and sexual offenses against Filipino women.

“In all cases, Philippine government surrendered its criminal jurisdiction to the US. US soldiers, as protected by provisions under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) are seldom surrendered to Philippine authorities much less tried under Philippine law. They are totally untouchable under US jurisdiction, despite crimes they can commit against Filipinos on Philippine soil. This means they can get away with anything from murder to gang rape, and not have to answer to the Philippine government,” Ellorin explained.

Ellorin cited the unconstitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the first place, stating it directly violates Philippine national sovereignty. “The VFA should be repealed at once, for the rights and
welfare of the Filipino people.”

Jones, on the other hand, refused to disclose the exact whereabouts of the six US rape suspects, who were among the 4,500 US servicemen in the Philippines for the Talon joint military exercises since several weeks
ago.

Bayan USA called for increased national action in indignation and demanding justice for the victim. It reiterated its call for the total and unconditional withdrawal of US troops and US military aid from the
Philippines.

Bayanihan alay sa sambayanan (BALSA): BAYAN relief drive for the victims of typhoon Milenyo

An appeal for help for the victims of typhoon Milenyo

Dear friends,

As damage to communities and livelihood continue to rise in the aftermath of typhoon Milenyo, we in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan are appealing to you/your organization for support during these very trying times.

In response to the needs of the victims of Milenyo, Bayan has launched the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) relief drive. The drive aims to collect food, clothing, medicine, sleeping materials (blankets, mats), financial aid as well as other materials necessary for the immediate relief of families in depressed communities in Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces.

The BALSA project is being coordinated with various people’s organizations and NGO’s as well as established disaster relief organizations. The manpower requirements and handling of the relief goods will be through the efforts of the various organizations and volunteers. The distribution of the relief goods will be done in coordination with local organizations with the help of disaster relief NGO’s.

We hope you can provide any form of help for this campaign even during this time of severe economic difficulty. You can forward your support to the Bayan office at #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Street, Bgy. Central, Quezon City. For more details, you can contact us at 435-9151 or 4356930 and look for Cha Vargas. For donations from overseas, you can direct your contributions to the Bayan office or inform us through email at bayan_national@yahoo.com.

Fil-Ams chant “Oust Gloria” in cities across the US, including the White House gates, as BAYAN USA joins hundreds of thousands in nationwide march for peace

Washington DC/ San Francisco–Calls for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ouster from the Presidential office in Malacanang joined anti-war chants across the United States as the national Filipino alliance BAYAN USA

led Filipino-Americans across the country in the September 24th National March Against War. BAYAN USA led Filipino-American contingents in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“There is no other US puppet who has been more subservient to the dictates of Bush’s war and pushed for its total expansion abroad than Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” stated BAYAN USA chair Kawal Ulanday.

“Disguised as a war on terror, Arroyo has vacuumed in $80 billion yearly in US military aid to reinstate martial law in the Philippines. This is the unseen face of war that Americans need to know about,” Ulanday continued. “Ousting Gloria is part of the comprehensive call to stop the US war machine.”

In the nation’s capitol, red and blue Bayan flags, along with flags of Filipinos Against the War, Anakbayan, Migrante, and NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines blazed across the front of the White House as these organizations led Fil-Ams and allies in lambasting the Bush administration mastermind involvement in supplanting the funds and blueprint for state terror in the Philippines under its puppet Arroyo.

Present in the 150+ BAYAN USA-led formation were allies such as the Troops Out Now Coalition, International Action Center, Katrina Solidarity Contingent, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), and many others.

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, BAYAN USA flags marched in hundreds-strong formations with the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) and alongside allies such as the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Against the War, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and La Raza. BAYAN USA organizations Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Pilipinos Organizing Workers for Empowerment and Respect (POWER), Anakbayan Los Angeles, and Habi Arts led chants calling for Arroyo’s removal and the removal of US troops from the Philippines.

In Seattle, BAYAN USA member organization Anakbayan, Philippine US-Solidarity Organization (PUSO) and delegates to the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) in the Philippines alerted marchers to the heinous human rights atrocities committed under Arroyo’s command of the military.

In a cry of indignation, ISM delegate Donnalyn Denina, chair of Gabriela Network Seattle, recalled the horrors she witness as she participated in a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations in Surigao, Northern Mindanao, last month. BAYAN USA fielded over 40 US delegates to the ISM.

“There are over 4200 documented cases of human rights violations under Arroyo’s four-year term, including extrajudicial killings, executions, and torture, a rate that skyrockets over Marcos’ track record. And the Bush-Arroyo blood compact has US taxpayers footing the bill for this bloodshed, ” Denina stated in front of marchers.

In a speech delivered in front of the Washington Monument, amongst a crowd of half a million, BAYAN USA representative Berna Ellorin honored the martyrdom of “those who gave their lives in struggle against the
horrors of US-sponsored state terror, including Nestle strike union leader Ding Fortuna, human rights worker Eden Marcellana, and many others. Their spirits are with us and their struggle will carry on. The US-Arroyo’s Martial Law is a system that believes that by killing our leaders, they can kill our movement. But they are dead wrong. We gain momentum from the example of those who did not flinch from the terror of the state. Gloria has secured her own imminent demise from office.”

Statement of BAYAN USA on the 33rd Anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines: US must withdraw all support for Arroyo's ongoing bloodbath of Philippine activists and undeclared martial law!

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On this 33rd Anniversary of one of the darkest periods in Philippine history, BAYAN USA and allied Filipinos in the United States cry outrage and condemn the number one violator of human rights who has single-handedly brought an even bloodier martial law back to brutalize the Filipino people—Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Furthermore, as workers and residents of the United States, we actively call for an all-out withdrawal of US financial, moral, political, and military support for the Arroyo regime. Under Arroyo, the Philippines is the number one recipient of US military aid in the Asia-Pacific region, and number four in the world. $80 billion US tax dollars has been allotted towards the building the US-Arroyo regime’s machinery of state terror that attacks the daily lives of innocent civilians in the Philippines.

Undeclared Martial Law

Unlike the martial law of Marcos which was used to quell the then- anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, and anti-war clamor in the Philippines, today’s martial law under Arroyo is undeclared and disguised as a so-called “war on terror”. Arroyo’s early embracing of Bush’s total war policy in the Philippines has sown a four-year old bloodbath of activists, progressive party list leaders, lawyers, journalists, priests, and human rights advocates whose only common denominator has been their cry for justice in the midst of an anti-people government. Blessed with the backing of US government, the Arroyo regime has exploited the jargon of anti-terrorism to justify a witch-hunt targeting both high-profile and low-profile voices of opposition.

In fact, no other government in recent times, including that of Marcos’ internationally-recognized dictatorship, has tracked the highest record of human rights violations (HRV’s) than that of Arroyo. A total of 4,207 cases of human rights violations committed by the Arroyo administration from January 2001 to June 2005 were presented have been documented by the human rights organization Karapatan. The cases affected 232,796 individuals, 24,299 families and 237 communities. At least 400 were victims of summary execution; 110 were victims of forced disappearances. Twenty of those killed were human rights volunteers.

Arroyo’s systematic approach to politically-motivated assassinations and mass murders since her ascendance to office in 2001 has reached a unprecedented daily frequency during the first half of 2005. Over 105 activists and leaders of progressive party-lists such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela Women’s Party have been murdered under Arroyo’s military command. The massacre of seven striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac on November 16, 2004 signified a heightened a wave of killings, violent attacks and vilification campaigns more widespread than from the past three years.

The most recent assassinations of Pastor Raul Domingo, a human rights worker with KARAPATAN, and BAYAN leader Norman Bocar are the latest in an intricate pattern of extra-judicial killings of Anti-Arroyo forces, while summary executions, torture, and forced disappearances have also been consistent and are on the rise.

Rewards for the Butchers, Death for Civilians

As reward for their blind loyalty, officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), most notably General Jovito Palaparan, are promoted into higher, more influential positions. Palparan earned the title of “the butcher Mindoro” when he masterminded wide-scale execution tactics against legal mass organizations that nearly annihilated genuinely progressive people’s organizations in Mindoro, Southern Tagalog. This can be most brutally seen with the murders of internationally-renown human rights worker Eden Marcellana, Secretary-General of KARAPATAN Southern Tagalog, and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy, chair of KASAMA Southern Tagalog. Since then, the vilification campaign against legal activists falsely branded as elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) or legal people’s organizations falsely branded as Communist fronts has blown up to a nationwide scale. Arroyo has since deployed Palparan to imploy that same terror campaigns in the Eastern Visayas and now Nueva Ecija.

The recently quelled impeachment charges thrown out the window by the pro-administration House majority earlier in September not only included the more publicly-digested charges of bribery, graft and corruption, but rampant and heinous human rights atrocities committed by Arroyo’s military. In an internationally-coordinated solidarity mission held in late August of the year, over 100 international delegates traveled to five areas in the country to investigate cases of human rights violation. What resulted was an International People’s Tribunal where the likes of international human rights lawyers such as Lennox Hinds and endorsers such as former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke found both Arroyo and Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

State Terror in the Philippines Equals State Terror for Americans

The yearly multi-billion dollar allowance sucked in from the US government has made possible a well-developed and institutionalized martial law in the Philippines. This is not only at the bloody expense of Filipinos, but of Americans as well.

The criminal neglect and under-prioritization of genuine social services, education, healthcare, democratic reforms, and social alleviations of the American people in favor of the expansion of terrorist warfare abroad has left the overwhelming majority of Americans and Filipinos in America in oppressive and desperate situations. The widening disparity between the privileged few and the exploited majority is the result of the perverse outlook of the Bush administration and its mishandling of our money. This is most clearly illustrated by the suffering Black communities of Louisiana who bore the brunt of the Katrina catastrophe, but received zero to little government relief. Instead, their struggle for survival was met with criminalization and enforced US militarization as the Katrina disaster, has been conveniently exploited as a pretext to advance a martial law against poor Black communities in the US.

This is also illustrated by the ongoing criminalization suffered by Filipino immigrants in the US in the form of unjust deportations, detainments, racial-profiling, and immigrant- scapegoating. While migrant Filipinos pay taxes to the US government as a social obligation, they shoulder the added burden of supporting loved ones back home. While their tax dollars beef up the war budget, their remittances back the Philippines are plundered by the Arroyo administration by way of rampant corruption. Arroyo not only illustrated this through her plundering of federal funds to advance her campaign machinery in 2004, but even the loyalties of her co-horts abroad, such as Philippine Consulate General Cecilia Rebong, stationed in New York, are bought with Arroyo-sanctioned lifestyles of lavish spending with government allowances.

Common Foe, One Struggle

Our cry for justice for the Filipino victims of the US-Arroyo regime is in solidarity with the struggles of immigrants, people of color, and working-class people in the United States who themselves must face martial law-like conditions with respect to Post-9/11 backlash and now the Katrina disaster. The tenants of the current US domestic warfare that strips Americans of their civil liberties and criminalizes these communities can be seen with the implementation of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act. In fact, Arroyo’s support for the passing of an Anti-Terrorism Bill and National ID System brings the US blueprint for domestic warfare to Philippine shores.

In this regard, the struggles of Filipinos against Arroyo’s martial law cannot be separated from the struggles of the American majority against US war of aggression both within and outside of the borders of the United States. This makes it critical for the victims US war and US puppets such as Arroyo to unite in a cohesive analysis and movement that can connect what only seems like disparate oppressions into one global epidemic. A broad united front of Filipinos and Americans offers viable and concrete leverage when strategizing for the liberation from such oppressions.

Oust the Fascist Arroyo Dictatorship

Arroyo has proven her incompetence and insincerity as head of the Philippine state. Her resort to the violent fist of martial law to quell a legitimate people’s movement against dire poverty and grave injustice is the mark of true tyranny and fascist dictatorship.

The myth of a People Power fatigue is the rhetoric touted by the US-Arroyo regime to desperately stunt what is an unstoppable and insurmountable hunger by the Filipino people for social and economic justice.

In Arroyo’s place, we support the establishment of a national transition council, comprised of multi-sectoral representation of the democratic majority of Filipinos, to best guide our homeland to a better tomorrow.

We continue to ask for an all-out isolation of Arroyo, by demanding US war funds be given back to the people and not to the US-Arroyo killing machines.

Oust The US-Arroyo Regime! Yes to the Establishment of a Democratic
Transition Council! Justice for the Victims of Arroyo’s Undeclared Martial
Law! Stop the Killing of Activists and Political Repression in the
Philippines! No to the National ID System and Anti-Terrorism Bill! US Troops
Out of the Philippines! Resume NDFP-GRP Peace Talks!