Contact: Jack DeJesus
Deputy Secretary General, BAYAN-USA
The usual calm of Foster City’s waterfront neighborhood was interrupted momentarily by the sounds of local activists chanting, “Mike Arroyo, you can’t hide! We can see your big bahay! You’re busted!”
Dozens of Filipinos representing different organizations convened in the early morning at the famed Beach Park Boulevard home of Philippine Congressman Mikey Arroyo. Their objective: to show that Bay Area Filipinos oppose the lavish lifestyles of Philippine elected officials and think that they should spend their time and money addressing poverty and human rights instead.
“We are disgusted the Congressman Arroyo bought a $1.32 million dollar home here in the U.S while over 11 million Filipinos are living on less than a dollar a day,” stated GABRIELA USA Chairperson Raquel Redondiez.
The protesters demanded that the Arroyos come clean about the source of their wealth. “Since Gloria and the rest of the Arroyos came to power, their family’s wealth has multiplied, while the Philippine economy has plummeted,” added Terry Valen of NAFCON (National Alliance of Filipino Concerns).
In addition to banners and signs, two protesters dressed as Mikey Arroyo and and his famed Presidential mother carrying giant “credit-cards” of the “Bank of the Philippine People.” Gloria’s “visa” has “20,000 stolen by GMA “Takaw sa Kapangyarihan”, and Mikey’s “Mastercard” has “$1.32 million stolen by Mikey “Kurakot” Arroyo.
The Philippines’ economic ties to Washington was also a point of concern, especially related to the ongoing issue of political killings and enforced disappearances, brought to light by the recent abduction and torture of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas. BAYAN-USA Deputy Secretary Jack DeJesus said, “We are in the middle of an economic crisis. Instead of funding politicians’ luxury homes and Philippine death squads, our US tax dollars should be used to provide social services, health care, and education for people here in America.”