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Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email: secgen@bayanusa.org

No later than a few days after progressive partylists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and Kabataan claim victory in the polls, concerned Fil-Am communities are indignant over news of two Filipino youth poll-watchers abducted and slain.

Two poll watchers of the Kabataan (Youth) party-list group were abducted and murdered in Capalonga, Camarines Norte, the group said Friday.

A Kabataan statement said Jun Bagasbas, 20 years old, and Ronilo Vallevare, both Kabataan organizers and poll watchers, were allegedly seized by soldiers on May 15 and were found dead the next day between Barangay (village) Mataque and Catabaguangan.

“The hard-one victories of the truly progressive partylists we here in the US supported tirelessly all the way should never come at the expense of the lives of our Filipino youth,” states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano, also a former national student leader with the League of Filipino Students.

“It is with grave sadness that we ask what kind of administration seeks to kill it own youth to stay in power? We are indignant. This only exposes why we must not only to fight for these parylists to win seats, but fight to protect from election violence, abductions, and killings as well,” Quijano added.

The US Chapter of BAYAN (or BAYAN USA) launched and participated in several initiatives to promote the Kabataan Partylist and others, including launching a nationwide text brigade called TEXT BACK (TEXT Brigade Against Cheating and Killings) that eventually picked up in other global regions such as Europe and Australia.

In it’s broader awareness campaign against election fraud and violence in the Philippines, the alliance joined the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON in a nationally-coordinated “Pagsambang Bayan” (People’s Prayer Service) uniting Filipino immigrants and US-born/raised Filipinos in prayer on Mother’s Day in defense of their common motherland. Services were held in New York, San Bernardino, and Chicago.

Qujano added that while the alliance remains happy with the seats won by the progressive partylists, it vows to step up its vigilance against intensified violence and expose the election fraud that was surely committed.

“We want our kababayan (compatriots) to know that although we are outside the country, our concern over the election season and the ramifications of election fraud and violence have not dwindled,” Quijano ended. ###