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!