New York Filipinos call for emergency summit as rate of human rights violations in the Philippines worsens

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NEW YORK–An unprecedented death toll of over 35 political killings of human rights activists, lawyers, priests, and members of various cause-oriented organizations in the Philippines since January 2005 has given rise to international action from compatriots abroad. In response, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), a human rights action group involved in monitoring human rights activity in the Philippines, will be sponsoring an emergency human rights summit in New York City. The event will take place Thursday, June 16th, 6pm at the United Nations Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, corner of 44th St and 1st Avenue in Manhattan.

“Filipinos in the United States need to know that there is very much an undeclared martial law in effect back home,” states Berna Ellorin of NYCHRP. “The onslaught of the Hacienda Luisita massacre this past November, where over one thousand unarmed sugarcane workers on strike were met with bullets by the Philippine National Police in Tarlac, has signified the rise of unabated state terrorism and human rights atrocities under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. Most of these HR victims are members of progressive, cause-oriented, and openly-critical groups legitimately struggling for social change, such as Bayan Muna, BAYAN, Karapatan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and Gabriela. The trend now shows that public dissenters to government are not only subject to harassment, but abduction, illegal detainment, torture, and more often than not death by gunshot in broad daylight. Such were the cases for BAYAN-Ilocos Region secretary-general Romy Sanchez, Hacienda Luisita strike supporter Fr. William Tadena, Ernesto Bang of the progressive partylist AnakPawis, and human rights lawyer Felidito Dacut to name a few.

“The human rights violations at present are graver and more frequent than that of the time of the Marcos dictatorship. We are calling this summit in light of a silent Philippine president and censored press, who are playing dumb and have kept mum despite the skyrocketing number of deaths and disappearances of their own countrymen,” adds Ramon Yusin. Yusin, a member of NYCHRP and the New York chapter of ANAKBAYAN, a national youth organization in the Philippines also added, “GMA’s administration not only takes home the prize for worst track record in securing human rights for the Filipino people since her rise to office back in 2001, but her no holds barred, open-door policy for letting more and more U.S. troops back in the Philippines under the pretext of Bush’s war against terrorism also poses a serious threat to the state of human rights for the Filipino people.”

NYCHRP, as a member organization of BAYAN-USA, a multi-sectoral alliance of Filipino organizations in the U.S., is also fielding prospective U.S. delegates for the upcoming International Solidarity Mission (ISM) this coming August 12th in the Philippines. The purpose of the ISM is to bring international attention to the Philippine human rights situation by sending fact-finding teams to five regions. The specific regions were chosen because those areas have tracked the largest number of human rights violations in recent years.

“U.S.-based Filipinos and Americans critical of this ongoing international war must begin to examine how it translates concretely into machineries of state terror in countries like the Philippines, where U.S.-backed regimes such as that of Macapagal-Arroyo enact red-baiting tactics and promote anti-terror hysteria in order to inflict terror upon and silence legitimate people’s movements. Just as the Marcos’ Martial Law provided reason for the influx of U.S. solidarity and international pressure against a fascist regime, the time has come again for a new generation of U.S. solidarity to link arms with the Filipino people against state terror under a new dictatorship,” Yusin ended.

For more information on the ISM 2005 or the upcoming summit, contact NYCHRP care of Berna Ellorin at

Berna Ellorin
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP)

Fil-Am partylist supporters decry killings of two Filipino youth poll-watchers: Fil-Am alliance pledges vigilance against election fraud, intensified violence

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Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

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. ###

BAYAN USA statement supporting the fast by peasant leaders for justice and peace; it calls for end to state-coordinated killings of Filipino activists

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MANILA–BAYAN USA was present and supports the recent 3-day hunger strike led by Anakpawis partylist representatives Rafael Mariano, Crispin Beltran, as well as several prominent peasant leaders held outside the House of Representatives during a special session held by Congress in Manila.

The urgent action, spearheaded by Anakpawis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya, and the peasant women group Amihan, was held in condemnation of state-directed killings of leaders and members of progressive parties and legitimate people’s organizations pressuring for social change.

The group fast commenced early Wednesday, March 30 and lasted until the evening of Friday, April 1 outside the gates of the Batasan complex, site of congressional buildings during a Congressional special session over the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) hike bill.

“We are here parked outside the Batasan gates to draw the attention of the leadership of the House of Representatives to act immediately on the series of political assasinations of leaders identified with militant partylist groups such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and left-leaning organizations like KMP, Pamalakaya, Bayan, and Gabriela,” stated in a statement released by KMP.

Since the start of the year, 32 members and leaders of progressive parties and people’s groups have fallen victim to extra-judicial killings and another 5 victims to involuntary disappearances.

In light of the state terror campaign against these leaders to suppress a growing mass movement fighting a legitimate struggle against social ails, what is intolerable is the telling silence from the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“GMA’s mute stance on the ongoing killings of her fellow countrymen is in line with her administration’s mastermind role in imposing an undeclared Martial Law upon the Filipino people,” states Berna Ellorin of BAYAN USA, who was also present at the hunger strike. “After speaking with the strikers at this action, what is alarming to note is that this second go-around incites more terror as now leaders of progressive groups are simply sought out and killed by Malacanang-AFP death squads, rather than detained, as was practiced during Marcos’ Martial Law.”

“Filipinos all over the world, especially in the U.S., are deeply concerned over the gross state of human rights violations at the hands of the Philippine government at this time,” states Kawal Ulanday, chair of BAYAN USA. “It is a known fact that many of us and our families sought refuge abroad precisely because of the ensuing terror against the Filipino people during the time of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship for many years. BAYAN USA joins the call of hunger-striking peasant leaders of Anakpawis, KMP, Pamalakaya, and Amihan in condemnation of the state-coordinated killings, disappearances, and attacks of leaders such as Abel Ladera, Fr.William Tadena, Marcelino Beltran, Victor Concepcion, Justice Romeo Capulong, Atty. Charles Juloya, Atty. Felidito Dacut, Joel Baclao, Ernesto Bang, and Danilo Macapagal.”

“Furthermore, we point fingers of condemnation at our own government, the Bush administration, for its continued involvement and aid to state machineries of terror all over the world and especially in the Philippines that operate under the bogus tag-line of anti-terrorism,” Ulanday continued. “We support the joint call of KMP and Pamalakaya to investigate these killings and remove from public office the barbaric perpetrators from the cabinet and AFP whose hands are freshly stained with the blood of our beloved leaders.”

The hunger strike was joined by a contingent traveling from Hacienda Luisita by the end of the program.

BAYAN USA will also sponsor the official delegation to the International Solidary Mission in the Philippines, scheduled for August 12, 2005, as an internationally-coordinated fact-finding mission drawing attention to the rampant killings and other human rights atrocities ensuing in various regions of the Philippines under the US puppet Arroyo regime.

Kawal Ulanday, Chair

Author Walden Bello avoids talking about Philippines and personal U.S. corporate funding sources at book launch: Writer denounced for condoning increased killings of community leaders

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Contact: Kawal Ulanday

As the news and media propaganda war rages with floods of government and corporate slanted views promoting war and “national security” in one contradictory breathe, the Filipino community is becoming more sharp on truth and lies.

Author Walden Bello discovered how the community will hold you accountable to the truth last week during a book launching in New York promoting his latest publication “Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire” at the Brecht Forum in Lower Manhattan. Bello spoke at length on how the civil society movement of corporate and government funded NGO’s (non-profit entities) will ultimately lead to the demise of capitalist society.

What seemed more interesting to the 50 people in attendance was the ensuing discussion which generated many pressing questions not so much related to Bello’s speech. Members of New York Committee for Human Rights (NYCHRP), and other members and friends of the local Filipino community demanded an explanation for Bello’s recent false accusations that endanger community based progressive Filipino organizations and specific BAYAN affiliated groups by recklessly grouping them with organizations placed on the U.S. international terrorist list. Several human rights advocates cited a revealing connection between Bello’s accusations which basically condone the ongoing murders of community leaders in the Philippines.

“In March alone, Victor Concepction, Abelardo Ladera, Mer Dizon, Rev. Fr. Willam Tadena and Romeo Sanchez were viciously murdered by paramilitary and other direct agents of the U.S.-Arroyo regime using U.S. paid weaponry and training,” said Berna Ellorin of NYCHRP. “He has also falsely accused Professor Jose Maria Sison of authoring a so-called ‘hit list’ which threatens his life. This blatant misinformation basically advances the Bush-GMA regime’s campaign to criminalize and label as ‘terrorists,’ those dedicated to fighting for justice and exposing corrupt government.”

“It is shameful that Bello trots around the globe claiming that his own life is in danger while he approves of the killings of courageous mothers and fathers who have decided to stand up for a dignified life instead of joblessness, slave wages or no pay, landlessness, and hunger,” said BAYAN USA Chairperson Kawal Ulanday. This is only a preview of more to come if Bello tours other cities with BAYAN USA organizations like NYCHRP. As a people’s alliance, BAYAN USA will not allow the minds of interested folks in our community to be monopolized with the ideas of “elite intellectuals” who deny the real problems of our country and make money from their own self-serving promotions and publications.

According to BAYAN USA, progressive Filipinos recognize that Bello’s attacks against the genuine people’s movement for true independence and national democracy serve the Bush/GMA regime which is responsible for the political upheavals and social crisis in the Philippines.

During the discussion, Bello could not answer specific questions about his own big money funding sources such as the Ford Foundation and Akbayan’s (Bello’s political formation) active collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

This moved the audience to reveal Bello as “a pseudo-progressive and a U.S. paid charlatan who would not admit whose agenda he truly serves,” added Ellorin of NYCHRP.