Tag: Noy Noy Aquino

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA

Press Release
August 22, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN-USA, chair@bayanusa.org

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA
Filipino-Americans Criticize Aquino Regime’s Insufficient Disaster Relief Effort and Anti-Poor Rhetoric

The aftermath of Typhoon Gener and a Southwest Monsoon (Habagat) that ravaged the Philippines in early August has left many Filipinos reminiscent of the disaster of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Relief operations led by grassroots people’s organizations, including BAYAN-USA, have been activated and are underway around the world. Monetary donations have been sent directly to affiliated organizations in the Philippines that serve urban and rural poor communities, the most affected by the disaster, whose homes and crops have been damaged or lost in major floods. However, instead of also assisting these communities in rebuilding their lives, the Philippine government has targeted them in a blame game accusing them of being the root causes of the flooding disaster.

Aquino’s Anti-Poor Relief Strategy

The almost week-long rainfall from the typhoon and monsoon surpassed that of Typhoon Ondoy, leading to floods just as dangerous as in 2009. Kalikasan Green Partylist, a progressive environmental concerns partylist in the Philippines, explains that floods are solely caused by the amount of rainfall an area receives at any given time. Because rain fell steadily for several consecutive days, water basins were oversaturated, leading to major floods in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces in Luzon.

Despite this scientific explanation, President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino III made statements that mistakenly accused urban poor shanties built near waterways of being the major cause for floods. He reportedly ordered Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson to address the issue of informal settlers through any means, even if he must “blast” the urban poor out of such areas.

“The floods would have occurred just as they did whether or not informal settlers crowd near waterways,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN-USA. “Aquino is pointing the finger at the victims of the flood, while he should be taking responsibility for their conditions. His administration has only neglected the basic needs of the majority of the people. It is joblessness, poverty, a lack of sustainable housing projects, and shoddy urban planning that makes people desperately build homes wherever possible, even in the path of dangerous floods.”

Aquino has ordered Singson to relocate 125,000 families along Metro Manila waterways and an additional 700,000 around Laguna Bay. However, the president has not expressed any intention to relocate wealthy private entities, such as large malls, that also surround Metro Manila waterways.

“It is clear that the Aquino regime is framing the issue this way in order to justify making way for the implementation of privatization projects,” says Ellorin. “Just as the flooding has swept away thousands of homes, Aquino plans to do the same to the poor majority.”

Filipino organizers in BAYAN-USA are skeptical of how much relief this relocation plan will actually provide as the housing budget set aside for 2013 is insufficient to fund decent housing for the 195,000 families Aquino is targeting. Instead, more funds are allocated to paying back foreign debt and promoting failed poverty alleviation programs, such as Public Private Partnership Programs (PPP) and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).

Prioritizing Sustainable Programs for the Poor

People’s organizations around the world, including BAYAN-USA, are exposing the Philippine government’s deceptive and destructive rhetoric, which ultimately blames the victims and wipes away any accountability from the government’s ineffectiveness. “At this point, the government should have learned their lesson,” exclaims Ellorin. “The only way to prevent disasters like this from repeating is by allocating sufficient funding into basic social services, such as housing, jobs, health, education, and disaster preparedness.”

BAYAN USA is calling upon anyone interested in donating directly  to the numerous victims of the massive flooding in the Philippines by making a donation to BALSA today: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanreliefThe only way to achieve complete relief of the massive flooding is to activate our bayanihan-community effort- and giving spirit as the Philippines has been hit once again with the worst flooding since 2009.

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PNoy’s “More of the Same” Means More Hostility, Poverty, Human Rights Violations

Press Release
March 26, 2012
Contact: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General, secgen@bayanusa.org

PNoy’s “More of the Same” Means More Global Hostility, Poverty, Human Rights Violations in the Philippines

“Spain sold the Philippines to the US for $20 million, but PNoy is selling the Philippines to the US for some used F-16s. Simply put: he’s a sell-out.”

This was the reaction of the Filipino-American alliance BAYAN-USA to Philippines President Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncement that more US troops would be welcome in the Philippines and that he was “hoping” the US would grant his request for excess F-16 fighter jets.

A Sell-Out to the Interests of the 1%
BAYAN-USA criticized Aquino’s continuing efforts to accommodate the 2012 US defense strategy that entails a so-called “rebalance to Asia,” including an increase in US military presence in the Philippines. The Secretaries of State and Defense of the US and Philippines are set to negotiate terms of the increased military deployment on April 30 in Washington DC. “Instead of protecting the nation’s sovereignty and the Filipino people, PNoy says he wants ‘more of the same’ when it comes to US troop deployment and port calls of US vessels to the Philippines.  If Aquino promotes this ‘more of the same’ position in the negotiations with the US, it will mean more instability, more human rights violations and more regional insecurity,” stated Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN-USA chair.

“F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin raked in $464,990,000,000 last year—obviously the big winners of ‘more of the same’ are the corporate military titans and the other members of the 1% that they are protecting, such as oil and mining multi-nationals with major economic investments in the region,” continued Ellorin. “Neither Americans nor Filipinos benefit from the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent each year on war mongering, since those are funds that are being diverted away from education, healthcare, housing and employment that the 99% need the most.”

Cop-Outs to Justify US Intervention
Preceding the negotiations, from April 16-27 the military exercises called Balikatan (“shoulder-to-shoulder”) will be held in the Philippines; for the first time, the exercises will be multilateral involving Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well as the Philippines and over 4,000 US troops.  BAYAN-USA looks with suspicion on the multilateral exercises, especially in light of the secrecy cloaking the US-Philippine military negotiations, Aquino’s allowance of the American military’s storage of nuclear weapons on Philippine soil and use of drones in Philippine airspace, the US’ posturing against rising economic power China, and provocative statements against North Korea.

“For Aquino to say that the purpose of the Balikatan exercises is to increase disaster preparedness, strengthen the Philippine military against possible aggression by China or fallout from North Korea’s rocket tests, and foster regional cooperation is a cop-out,” said Ellorin. “The exercises are obviously being used to consolidate American military power and its alliances with countries in the Asia Pacific who will allow the US to usher in new bases and thousands of foreign troops in addition to the 660 US troops already operating in Mindanao. The US has made no secret of its plans to station and rotate thousands of US troops in Asia to put China and North Korea in check, so Aquino should stop trying to hide his acquiescence to US intervention.”

BAYAN-USA also pointed out that the notoriously one-sided Visiting Forces Agreement, which currently governs the terms of the presence of US military personnel in the Philippines, has done nothing to protect Filipinos or Philippine sovereignty.  In an address to the Philippines House of Representatives on Feb. 8 this year, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Illagan stated, “Since the VFA was approved in 1999, several violations of US soldiers have been reported. These include the shooting of Buyong-buyong Isnijal by American soldier Reggie Lane in Basilan in 2002, the closing of the Panamao District Hospital in Sulu allegedly ordered by US soldiers led by a Master Sergeant Ron Berg in 2007. We have witnessed injustice with the acquittal of the [rapist] Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith after an obvious manipulation between the Philippine and US governments. Yet again in 2009, a 21-year old Filipina came forward after having been raped by a US military personnel from Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG)/ Balikatan. These are just the reported cases and probably many more remain hidden from public’s knowledge.”

“What makes Aquino’s excuses even worse is that US troops are already getting away with these transgressions even under the few restrictions presently contained in the Visiting Forces Agreement.  We can predict that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will try to gain even more concessions when they negotiate new terms of agreement with the Philippines next month.  Aquino’s current statements are foreshadowing what will be negotiated during these talks—an eradication of any protections whatsoever for Philippine sovereignty,” said Ellorin.

All-Out for Days of Action Against US Intervention
As Filipinos in the US, BAYAN-USA members experience everyday how both the Aquino and Obama governments– guardians of financial oligarchy– are acting in betrayal of the broad interest of the Filipino and American peoples. We are among the poor who were driven out of the Philippines under Aquino’s and his predecessors’ failed economic policies and forced to move abroad.  We are among the working people in the US forced to carry the heavy burden of paying for a trillion dollar debt crisis we did not create.  And we are part of the peoples resistance to these intolerable conditions, forging solidarity among people in the US struggling against the US military-industrial complex and for economic justice, the Filipino people’s ongoing struggle for genuine national independence and democracy, and people worldwide advancing movements for self-determination. BAYAN-USA calls on all people who believe in peace and justice to participate in the International Day of Action Against US Intervention on April 16 and protests against the high-level Philippines-US talks on April 30. Peoples resistance and firm solidarity are the key to frustrate US interventionism in the region!

US OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES! – US OUT OF ASIA! – JUNK THE US-RP MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY! – JUNK THE US-RP VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT! –
UPHOLD PHILIPPINE NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY! – LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY! – ALL OUT ON APRIL 16 AND APRIL 30!

Filipinos Across the United States to Protest Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General, BAYAN-USA
secgen@bayanusa.org

Filipinos Across the United States to Protest Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address

WHAT:

Nationwide Protest Demonstrations

WHERE and WHEN:

Queens, New York
Sunday, July 24, 2011
12 noon
Corner of 69th St. & Roosevelt
Woodside, Queens

Los Angeles, California
Monday, July 25, 2011
5:30 PM
Philippine Consulate
3600 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010

San Francisco, California
Monday, July 25, 2011
5:30 PM
Corner of Powell & Market St. Downtown San Francisco
March to Philippine Consulate
447 Sutter Street, San Francisco

Coinciding with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s second annual “State of the Nation Address,” Filipino communities in New York, Southern California, and Northern California will conduct protest actions on July 24-25 to denounce the administration’s failure to change the course of the Philippines’ downward spiral despite Aquino’s lofty campaign promises and bragging that “dreaming is possible again.”

Concerned Filipino Americans in the cities with the largest populations of Filipinos in the U.S. will conduct demonstrations calling attention to the worsening human rights crisis and dismal economic situation in the Philippines under Aquino’s tenure. Since Aquino was sworn in as president just one year ago, 45 activists have been slain in politically-motivated killings, 5 have been victims of forced disappearance and over 300 political prisoners remain behind bars. The perpetrators of the 1,206 extra-judicial killings, more than 300 forced disappearance, and over 1,000 cases of torture committed under the previous administration of President Gloria Arroyo remain at-large, including those guilty of abducting and torturing renowned Filipina American poet, artist and human rights advocate Melissa Roxas. Aquino’s failure to prosecute anyone for these human rights violations coupled with his implementation of the sugar-coated counter-insurgency program “Operation Plan Bayanihan” sustains the culture of impunity within the Philippine armed forces and allows widespread human rights abuses to continue.

Protestors cite Aquino’s losing combination of dependence on foreign investment and loans and export-oriented/import-dependent economy as the source of the country’s inevitable economic slide, which has resulted in a total of 11.3 million unemployed workers this year and over 4 million families suffering from hunger. Massive unemployment and zero job growth have fueled mass migration of Filipinos abroad, to destinations including the United States where the job market is equally grim and the few available jobs are in the most underpaid, overworked and dangerous fields. Stories of human trafficking, indentured servitude, and wage theft of Filipino migrants have been coming to light more frequently in recent weeks, including cases like the “Florida 15” who were trafficked by their Filipino employer Jose Villanueva who owns recruitment and employment company San Villa Ship Management Co., forced to pay exorbitant recruitment fees, given jobs they did not sign up for, and paid late or not at all.

Protest actions are being organized by BAYAN-USA in partnership with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and local allies in each city.

Aquino: Drop GMA’s baggage! Adopt the 4Ks!

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary General, BAYAN-USA
secgen@bayanusa.org

Weight Loss Plan for Aquino: Drop Arroyo’s Baggage and Adopt the 4K Program
Filipinos in the U.S. Urge Philippine President Aquino to Present Plan to Address the People’s Needs at This Year’s State of the Nation Address

BAYAN-USA will conduct actions in four cities across the United States on Monday, July 26, to mark the first annual State of the Nation Address delivered by Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. President Aquino’s term began ominously this month with the killing of five activists in less than two weeks, a troubling sign in the wake of the violence-ridden presidency of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“We want action, not excuses, from President Aquino,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of BAYAN-USA. “If President Aquino feels weighed down by the mess left by Arroyo, he can shed the former president’s legacy by abandoning Arroyo’s failed policies and implementing programs that provide decent jobs, redistribute land, safeguard national sovereignty, and end state-sponsored terror by the armed forces and paramilitary.”

The demonstrations in the U.S. will coincide with actions conducted by BAYAN in the Philippines as well as in Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia where millions of overseas Filipino workers reside. Demonstrators will express their concern about the continuing human rights violations targeting activists, as well as present the “People’s Agenda for National Survival.” The Agenda includes specific recommendations to increase the “4K’s”:

  • Katarungan [Justice] – investigate and prosecute Gloria Arroyo and all perpetrators of human rights violations; free the Morong 43 and all political prisoners; justice for victims of human rights violations
  • Kalayaan [Sovereignty] – terminate the U.S.-R.P. Visiting Forces Agreement; eject all foreign military personnel from the Philippines; repeal the Mining Act of 1995
  • Karapatan [Rights] – end state-sponsored violence; stop the killings of activists; terminate Operation Plan Bantay Laya and all counter-insurgency programs; advocate for the rights of Filipino migrants abroad including comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.
  • Kabuhayan [Livelihood] – institute a living wage increase; end the Value Added Tax on basic commodities; implement a genuine agrarian reform program; scrap the unfair stock distribution option

“The Filipino people suffered far too long under the deepening crisis of poverty and rampant state-sponsored violence perpetrated by the US-backed Arroyo regime. We need immediate relief, and President Aquino has the power to deliver it, if he so chooses,” stated Ellorin. “Aquino needs to stop the killings, prosecute GMA, and end the culture of impunity by conducting thorough investigations of past human rights abuses and prosecuting the abusers now.”
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