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U.S. tax dollars FULL EQUITY for Filipino veterans, not to fund martial law

Every Veterans Day is a reminder that Filipino World War II Veterans are still denied justice. For over ten years now the U.S. Congress has failed to pass legislation that amends Title 38 of the 1946 Rescission Act–the act that denies Filipino Veterans equal recognition and compensation for their sacrifice during World War II.

Many of these Veterans, walking the downtown streets of America, are separated from their families, and often live with 4-5 others in cramped single occupancy rooms or small apartments. Reaching their twilight years, thousands subsist off of supplemental social security income or welfare and live very difficult lives. These men came to the U.S. after George Bush Sr. signed the 1990 Immigration Act giving Filipino Veterans the right to naturalization but not Full Equity. This law which gives Filipino Veterans citizenship without the right to equal recognition and compensation demonstrates the long standing problem of American public policy. How can it be appropriate to say Filipino WWII Veterans are U.S. citizens but cannot be given equal treatment? It is because of this clear contradiction so many Filipino Veterans demand the U.S. government make amends and pass HR 302 and S146, the current Filipino Veterans Equity Act in the House and Senate.

However, the national defense budget projected at $402.6 billion consumes an overwhelming portion of the U.S. tax base.[1] Some believe that the Bush administration’s exorbitant defense spending stands in the way of Filipino Veterans Equity. Many representatives in Congress claim there is not enough money to give Filipino Veterans the justice they have deserved for over 59 years.

BAYAN USA asserts that there is more than enough money to pay for Full Equity. Just this year alone, the U.S. government has projected giving $71,770,000 in military aid to a regime and armed forces that is responsible for a record number of human rights abuses. [2] The Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime has lost the mandate of the Filipino people and they are demanding an end to her presidency. She is spending the Philippine defense budget and the millions in military aid received from the U.S. on suppressing the will of the Filipino people and to brutally repress the national democratic movement. As of July 2005, Karapatan, a human rights group has documented 4207 cases of human rights violations which included killings, summary executions, unlawful detention and force disappearances.[3] American tax dollars should be used for Full Equity for Filipino Veterans and not to fund martial law.

It is important to note that there is a historical difference between the service of Filipinos Veterans during WWII and the role the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plays today. In WWII, when the Philippines was still a colony, the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), the guerilla units and the New Philippine Scouts served as inducted soldiers in the American military for the purpose of defending the Philippines against Japanese imperialism. Today the AFP is the military arm of the repressive Macapagal-Arroyo regime that performs weekly assassinations of anti-Arroyo leaders and human rights defenders violently suppressing the people’s rights to dissent by beating protestors on the streets in enforcement of the current de facto martial law. The U.S. government is spending American tax dollars to draw blood from the Filipino people instead of allocating the appropriate means to fund justice for the surviving tens of thousands of Filipino Veterans who are still denied Full Equity.

The demand for FULL EQUITY for Filipino WWII Veterans is similar to the demands of our compatriots back home that are also fighting for the right to dignity, basic social services and a decent livelihood. Additionally, BAYAN USA recognizes the Filipino WWII Veterans struggle for full recognition is connected to the national democratic struggle for genuine sovereignty and independence. The Rescission Act continues to be a reminder of the institutional racism and lack of respect the U.S. government has against our people. It is an example of the unequal relations and neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. No Philippine president, since the Rescission Act, has ever demanded and stipulated that the U.S. reverse this most disgraceful legislation. Yet each one of them allowed for continued U.S. exploitation of our homeland such as President Arroyo’s complete support for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

From the Rescission Act to funding de facto Martial Law, BAYAN USA is committed to challenging U.S. policies in the quarters of Congress. BAYAN USA member organizations such as The League of Filipino Students (LFS SFSU) along with Anakbayan (AB) Honolulu and Seattle have been working to build youth and community support for FULL EQUITY. At the BAYAN Founding Congress in January 2005, the full assembly voted to support FULL EQUITY for Filipino Veterans through the passage of HR302 and S146 in the 109th Congress.

BAYAN USA calls on the people of the world to stand in solidarity with the struggle for Filipino Veterans Equity and Justice. Filipino Veterans fought under the American flag so that all people could be free from foreign domination, and military repression. They fought so that the landlessness, poverty and corruption that have plagued the Philippines for centuries could be addressed by the Filipino people themselves. Instead they were coerced to serve a country that would deny them equal treatment and continue the legacy of imperialism that they were fighting against.

BAYAN USA recognizes the hundreds of thousands of Filipino Veterans who have already died without equal recognition or just compensation, and the millions of innocent people who still face oppression under U.S. imperialism and neo-colonial domination. BAYAN USA supports the passage HR302 and S146 so that the tens of thousands of Veterans still surviving may receive just compensation and that all Filipino WWII Veterans and their families can finally get the recognition for their service and sacrifice. We demand that the U.S. use American tax dollars for FULL EQUITY for Filipino WWII Veterans instead of funding de facto Martial Law in the Philippines.

Pass HR302 and S146!

Justice for Filipino WWII Veterans!

Full Equity Now!

Stop US Military Aid to the Philippines!

Money for WWII Veterans, Not for Dictators!

[1] National Defense Budget – Long Range Forecast (Table 1-2) http://www.defenselink.mil/comptroller/defbudget/fy2005/fy2005_greenbook.pdf

[2] USG Assistance and Payments to the Philippines and its Citizens by Sector for FY 04-05

[3] KARAPATAN. The Human Rights Record of the Arroyo Administration: Four and a Half Years of State Terror. Available at www.bayanusa.org.

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.

Lupa ay laya/Land is freedom: A community commemoration of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre of 2004

* Film Screening– Sa Ngalan Ng Tubo/ In the Name of Sugar

* Film Screening– Blood and Tears

* Testimonials from those who have visited Hacienda Luisita since the massacre

Sat, Nov. 17th, 2007, 3-6pm
@ the CAAAV/Nodutdol Office
53-22 Roosevelt Ave.
Second Floor.
Woodside, New York 11377

On November 16, 2004, the thousands-strong striking farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, after days of halting production at the Cojuangco-owned sugar-processing zone in Luzon, were met with bullets by the brutal Philippine military. The shocking incident occured under the regime Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and goes uninvestigated and unresolved by the Philippine government.

The fight for fair and even land distribution is still at the center of the human rights crisis in the Philippines. Join us for a night of remembrance of the martyrs of Luisita and all farmers in the Philippines who continue to struggle for land to call their own.

Organized by the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, a member group of BAYAN USA

and join us for the launch of….

TULONG SA BAYAN
Direct Relief Support Project for Peasant/Farming Communities & other victims of human rights violations in the Philippines

wanted: canned goods, clothes, toys, documentation equipment, and many many more
download flier now

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.