Category: babae

Filipina women say: Justice for Nicole!

Contact: Marisa Mariano
Secretary General, babae San Francisco

babae stands in support of Nicole as she and her family await the verdict against four United States Marines who gang raped her last November 1, 2005 in what is known as the Subic Bay Rape Trial. On this one year anniversary of the incident, babae demands that both the US and Philippine governments seek justice and accountability with a guilty verdict on NOVEMBER 27, 2006.

Needless to say, the case itself—a painstaking four months of hearings—has unfolded into a sloppy and untrustworthy situation. Nicole has since complained about the inadequate cross-examination efforts by the prosecution. She has demanded a new set of lawyers as a result of the prosecution’s decision to not proceed with the necessary rebuttal of case witnesses, a direction they chose to do without consulting Nicole. Nicole’s mom has admitted repeatedly that the lead prosecutor approached her three times to settle the case, offering such settlement provisions as money, open visas to the US for everyone in their family, and permanent residence in the US for Nicole. The 4-month legal scuffle was elevated when Nicole and her mom walked out the courtroom on September 14 to protest the prosecution’s weak efforts, even expressing her fear that she would lose the case due to their incompetence.

babae remains committed to educating our community on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), ratified in 1999, that has allowed American troops to hold joint military exercises with Filipino troops in the Philippines on a temporary basis. It is within these “temporary periods” that an increased number of cases of American soldiers committing sexual assault against women and children in areas near the stationed troops have been reported. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers have not been punished for these human rights violations. babae has joined the ranks of women and human rights groups, in the Philippines and internationally, demanding an end to this horrid situation and justice for all victims of violence. The VFA stipulates that Philippine courts have jurisdiction on crimes committed on local soil and that proceedings should be concluded within one year, otherwise the accused Americans are free to leave the country unpunished. This should not be allowed to happen.

babae also recognizes the link between violence impacting women as a result of militarization and the violence we experience through domestic violence. Both stem from systems that create an unequal power dynamic for women. When we are not afforded a sense of autonomy over our bodies and laws are created to weaken our sense of safety, we must then question the systems that allow for these conditions to happen. Why is it that a partner thinks they can control their partner through violence? Why can four military men rape a woman without consequence? Now is the time to stand in solidarity. Support Nicole and demand for justice in her name as well as the countless other women globally who face violence on a daily basis.

Please join babae on November 27th for an action the day the verdict is given. We’ll be convening in front of the San Francisco Federal Building (450 Golden Gate Ave, cross Street is Polk) at 4:30pm

Justice for Nicole!
Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!
End all violence against women!
Stop U.S. military aid to the Philippines!

Filipina women say: Never again to martial law!

Reference: Marisa Mariano
Secretary General, babae San Francisco

babae joins the League of Filipino Students and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan USA) in a candlelit vigil commemorating the 34th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines on Thursday, September 21st. This event will coincide with an international action co-sponsored by the International League of People’s Struggle denouncing current human rights violations under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) government, similar to the brutal tactics utilized under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos to terrorize the Filipino people. As we commemorate the vibrancy of the people’s movement that toppled the Marcos Regime, we cannot help but recognize the irony of the current undeclared Martial Law instigated by the United States-supported GMA government.

babae is alarmed by the growing political repression in the Philippines and calls for an end to the killings and abductions of community members simply working towards better working and living conditions for themselves and their families. As of today, September 21st, the death count has risen to 755 while the numbers of people that have disappeared is now at 184. With the numbers growing at a weekly, sometimes daily rate, many Filipinos in the homeland as well as in the United States are outraged by the GMA government’s lack of action in investigating these cases. As of September 21st, no arrests or prosecutions have been made.

babae is deeply concerned by the atrocity of these assassinations. Of the 755 murders, 78 were women and 58 were children. These women all ranged from students, peasants, workers, teachers, doctors, and to mothers and teens — all committed to ensuring livable conditions for their communities. According to a recently released report by the human rights group, Amnesty International, it points directly to the negligence of the Arroyo government to adequately address or solve any of the killings.

babae stresses the importance of learning the historical lessons from our collective memory so as not to repeat the greed and corruption that have plagued the very government meant to serve and protect its people. How do these issues impact Filipinos in the United States? First and foremost, our tax dollars are being spent to sponsor Arroyo’s corrupt and repressive government – $38 million in US military aid to the Philippines this year alone. Furthermore, many of our educational, health and social services are being cut in order to fund the Philippines’ state-sanctioned murders. We must ask ourselves what our responsibility must be in order to address the suffering and repression that our people are experiencing in the Philippines.


babae (translates to “woman”) is an organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of multi-generational Filipino women in the United States. We strive to connect concrete material conditions here in the United States and the Homeland through deepening our understanding of our history and culture by applying theory with practice. We seek to mobilize and organize with Filipino women in the San Francisco/Bay Area community by engaging in our collective struggles and promoting holistic well-being in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women’s emancipation.

Statement and urgent call to action: Justice for our sister Inday Estorba!

Contact: Marisa Mariano, Secretary General, babae San Francisco
Email:, 415-412-8915,

babae condemns the murder of Gabriela party member, Inday Estorba. On April 3, 2006 at 3:00 am in her home, Inday Estorba was shot in close range and died shortly after. She leaves behind 2 children and a husband in critical condition. Estorba’s active history in GABRIELA women’s organizing and women’s rights advocacy in Bohol made her a clear target for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s minions. Essentially, however, Estorba was murdered under the watchful eyes of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Inday Estorba, for being an active Gabriela member and an advocate of women’s rights, has been identified as a target of Arroyo’s military,” said Lisa Maza, a similarly politically persecuted Gabriela partylist member.

Last week alongside our comrades, we celebrated the life of Cris Hugo, slain LFS national member and contributor to the youth and students movement in the Philippines. And within a short week, we are again in utter disbelief and now, in absolute rage with the unjust murder of Inday Estorba.

GMA has made an example out of Inday Estorba. She is announcing to the whole world that her fascist administration will stop at nothing to extinguish to growing movement of opposition towards her rotten and corrupt regime. GMA in her cowardly silence has proven to everyone around the globe that her dictatorship will not discriminate against mothers and women. Inday Estorba is the 68th woman killed under her regime. Although herself a Filipino woman, GMA will allow for the brutal massacre of Filipino women, who without complain, are the “mules” of the Philippine economy. These women are offered up in this capitalist machine as sex slaves, cheap factory labor, exploited farmers and simultaneously our mothers, sisters, daughters, bearers of our Philippine culture.

They too will be sacrificed in the name of the fascist control tactics “Anti-Terrorism Bill” up for deliberations this week. The “Anti-Terrorism Bill” seeks to mute the emerging National Democratic movement by giving GMA’s regime authoritarian rule, allowing her to continue the mass murders she’s sustained in her term as puppet president. Inday Estorba’s death demonstrates the failure of the Philippine administration, GMA’s regime, to protect and care for its people.

Inday Estorba was a servant of the people. She offered the life and the energy that she could to forward the rights and welfare of her Filipino sisters. Challenging the biggest terrorist in the Philippines, the heinous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Estorba was an example of the resilience of Filipino women and the strength of Filipino mothers. She understood that her contributions to this bigger movement were not just for her and her immediate family, but for her posterity and the future of the Philippine people.

Inday Estorba will not be forgotten! Her life will be a catalyst for Filipino women in the Philippines and worldwide to intensify our fight for women’s rights and human rights. Inday Estorba will live on in our voices. We will remember her while we match her intensity and dedication to her women’s work. Her life and death is not in vain, for our spirits are not broken because of her absence rather we are fueled by her presence in this movement.

We demand justice for Inday Estorba’s death! Convict the assailant responsible for her death! Convict GMA for her outright attacks of Filipino organizers and activists! Mabuhay si Inday!


babae (Tagalog for “woman”) is an organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of multi-generational Filipino women in the United States. We strive to connect concrete material conditions here in the United States and the Homeland through deepening our understanding of our history and culture by applying theory with practice.

We seek to mobilize and organize with Filipino women in the San Francisco/Bay Area community by engaging in our collective struggles and promoting holistic well-being in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women’s emancipation.

[babae] Filipina Women say NO to HR 4437!

Marisa Mariano, Secretary General, babae San Francisco
Email:, 925-726-5768,

babae joins millions of people across the U.S. in denouncing the Sensenbrenner Bill (HR 4437) and additional legislation proposed by Senators Arlen Specter and Bill Frist that threaten civil liberties and human rights. These anti-immigrant legislations not only intensify the criminalization of immigrants but of immigration activists, advocates, and all those who support the rights and welfare of immigrants, particularly immigrant women.

Among the major provisions of the HR 4437 bill are how the “unlawful presence” of undocumented immigrants becomes a crime where the person may be imprisoned, barred from obtaining legal status and re-entry to the U.S. At the same time, anyone (including family members) or any organization (such as domestic violence shelters and churches) that “assist” immigrants will also face penalties including 5 years imprisonment. The property used in this act will be subject to seizure and forfeiture.

babae is particularly concerned with a provision of the Sensenbrenner Bill that would detain and deport victims of human trafficking, victims of domestic abuse, and children who are apprehended along an international border or port-of-entry. 15,000-18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, 70% of whom are women and children. Victims of domestic abuse are principally vulnerable to this anti-woman and anti-children legislation in that it will allow for women and children to continue to be victims of domestic abuse for fear of being deported if they sought for aid or refused shelter because of their undocumented status.

“Filipinos will be among the hardest hit groups if HR 4437 is enacted into law,” says Marisa Mariano, Secretary General of babae. The Filipino community in the U.S. is one of the largest immigrant groups ““ numbering an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million Filipinos, including at least 1 million who are undocumented, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

babae condemns the gross negligence of the Philippine government, under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for its continued silence on this issue. The Philippines is currently the third highest labor-sending country with the largest percentage of its nationals, over 10%, living abroad. This 10% generates the $10.7 billion in annual dollar remittances. The Philippine economy is extremely dependent on these remittances provided by overseas Filipinos. The largest population of overseas Filipinos are in the U.S., yet the Philippine government continues to neglect the immigrant rights of its overseas Filipinos – of whom it is so dependent on to sustain the Philippine economy.

HR 4437, if approved by the Senate and signed into law by President George W. Bush, would present a grave danger to all immigrants, both documented and undocumented. It is for this reason that babae stands in solidarity with women and children, and all people to uphold human rights and say NO to HR 4437!