Category: BAYAN USA

US Arms Sale to the Duterte Regime Despite High Record of Human Rights Violations

 

Despite the dire conditions of the COVID19 global pandemic, the U.S. war machine is multiplying its profit through massive arms deals to the Philippines, Egypt, India, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates, totalling billions of U.S. dollars. The Philippines sale alone would cost the Philippine government from ₱22.7 billion to ₱75.8 billion. It is clear that the priorities of both the U.S. and the Philippines are to continue its militarist approach to the pandemic, with the Duterte regime spending funds on U.S. weapons rather than the massive healthcare needs of the people. The reprehensible actions on the part of the U.S. in selling these weapons to a known violent and fascist government with a horrible human rights record shows that the U.S. will continue to give support the dictator Duterte, as long as he remains subservient to U.S. interests. 

BAYAN USA, a multisectoral alliance of 30 organizations across the United States staged actions in different cities calling to “Stop the Arms Sale to the Duterte” and for the Philippines to prioritize “Healthcare Not Warfare!” We joined efforts with our allies to write our representatives to join Rep. Ilhan Omar’s “Dear Colleague Letter” to urge U.S. Congress to halt the arms sales to countries internationally recognized to have violated international human rights and international humanitarian law. However, despite our various efforts, the U.S. Department of Defense will continue with the arms deals in order to maintain U.S. hegemony and control over world resources through warfare, in line with U.S.  imperialist policies. 

The U.S. has already provided the Duterte regime with millions of U.S. tax dollars to fund his death squads, namely, the Philippine National Police(PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP). The weapons sold by the U.S. will exponentially increase the human rights violations under Duterte, which has surpassed that of the infamous Marcos dictatorship–reaching nearly 30,000 killings under the guise of the drug war. 

Duterte continues down the path towards full dictatorship, especially with his iron fist approach to COVID19, reminiscent of martial law with Duterte’s granted emergency powers and military lockdown on Luzon. Duterte’s Oplan Kapanatagan (Philippines counterinsurgency program) and Executive Order 70 (whole of nation approach) have already resulted in mass arrests of human rights defenders and everyday people who are delivering food and supplies to communities in need and ignored by the Philippine government. The House of Representatives and Senate have both approved the new anti-terrorism law, which will only further the violent crackdown on activists and progressive organizations. 

 

“We have already seen what happens when state security forces are given more power. Ordinary citizens criticizing the president and his anti-people policies have been served subpoenas or have been put under surveillance, harassed, and arrested, even for satirical posts. The bill’s overbroad definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terroristic acts’ along with the removal of penalties for law enforcement effectively criminalizes any and all forms of dissent and opposition to anti-people policies and acts of government as a form of ‘terrorism’ and will make it highly prone to abuse,” stated Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.

 

There is no justification for the Philippine government to spend billions of pesos on an expensive and unnecessary U.S. arms deals for weaponry such as attack helicopters, missiles, and rockets, when the crisis at the forefront in the Philippines right now is the lack of healthcare and the general welfare of the Filipino people who lack proper shelter and food, jobs and education, because of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal conditions that leave the country in a state of poverty. The Filipino people need a government that responds responsibly to their immediate needs and address the long standing problems of feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism, and U.S. imperialism in order for the Philippines to truly be an independent nation. 

 

No Arms Sale to Duterte! 

Stop the US War Machine!

Healthcare, Not Warfare!

 

Sign Petitions Here: https://linktr.ee/BAYANUSA

Justice for George Floyd and All Victims of Police Brutality! #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLiberationMatters

 

We as BAYAN USA, a member organization of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), express our solidarity with the Black community under attack by police violence and with the righteous protests that have erupted across the country. We call on our member organizations and the Filipino community at large to protest, organize, and demand justice for the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and all victims of racist police repression and state fascism.

Uprisings and protests have erupted in over 26 major cities across the United State in righteous outrage, demanding justice for those brutally executed by the state and its white supremacist agents. George Floyd, 46 years old, was a beloved security guard who was choked to death with a knee to his neck for nine minutes. Breonna Taylor, 26 years old, was a daughter, frontline worker and emergency medical technician (EMT) shot eight times in her own apartment. Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, was a son, aspiring electrician, and athlete lynched by racist vigilantes while jogging. Tony McDade, 38 years old, a transgender man and victim of a hate crime was killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida.

The escalating militancy of the masses must be recognized as a just response to the warfare being waged on them by the oppressive ruling class, whose icons are rapidly being set ablaze: police cars, precincts, corporate retail stores, and gentrifying luxury condominiums. As a result of these protests, Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who lethally choked George Floyd, was arrested, though he was only charged with murder and manslaughter. These protests will only grow as they reflect deep contradictions in class society, where the rich—protected by the fascist police, National Guard, and other state security forces—keep getting richer as the poor suffer and are killed in hospitals, workplaces, and in the streets.

Decades of outright police brutality and murder of Black people compounded with mass unemployment, inadequate health care, workplace protection and social supports are precipitating this wildfire of revolts in the new decade. Even long before the pandemic, Black working-class people have borne the brunt of state violence in this country, not only dying in droves at the hands of an anti-people healthcare system but being murdered and terrorized in the streets by the racist fascist state. 

As the state continues to expose its rotten core, we call on the Filipino community to rise up for Black liberation. Filipinos both at home in the Philippines and here in the United States are oppressed and murdered by the same imperialist system, and racially discriminated against in the U.S. Our struggles are distinct but share a common enemy and aspiration for change. 

To fight for Black lives means to fight against a system that prioritizes profit over people, to overturn a fascist state that will not hesitate to terrorize working-class communities in order to protect private property and the interests of the ruling class. We must educate, organize and mobilize to dismantle this unjust capitalist, racist system. Let us build a truly pro-people socialist society that protects the rights and dignity of Black and oppressed communities. 

Black Lives Matter! Filipinos for Black Power!  Filipinos for Black Liberation!
End Police Brutality, State Repression & White Supremacist Terror!
Down with Fascism and U.S. Imperialism!

72+ Years of Resistance: Filipinos Stand with Palestine

Today the world commemorates International al-Quds (Jersuralem Day), the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, on which hundreds of cities around the world condemn and protest the ongoing occupation of Palestine by the Zionist state of Israel. This past week also remembers the Nakba or “Catastrophe” which marks the theft of Palestinian land and the dispossession of the Palestinian people. BAYAN USA stands with Palestinians both in Palestine and in diaspora to commemorate over 72 years of Palestinian resistance for liberation and return. We wholeheartedly affirm our commitment and support for the national liberation of Palestine and right of return of all Palestinians.

The Nakba marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people with the establishment of the settler colonial Zionist state of Israel in 1948.  Today, over seven million Palestinian refugees and over 13 million Palestinians live in exile and diaspora. As Israel and the United States attempt to entrench and normalize the illegal occupation of Palestine with policies like the Deal of the Century, the spirit of the Palestinian people remain undeterred. As the Nakba continues, the resistance grows even stronger!

As Filipinos, we understand that our liberation is intertwined with that of Palestine. Over 12 million Filipinos live outside the Philippines, forced to migrate out of their home country due to root causes of landlessness, lack of national industries and rampant poverty and unemployment. While Filipinos are exported as cheap labor to other nations, our resource-rich country of the Philippines is plundered for the imperialist interests of countries like the United States and China. In the face of this mass exploitation and oppression, the mass movement and revolution in the Philippines continues to grow, giving voice to the aspirations of the masses.

In step with all oppressed and colonized peoples around the world, we link arms in solidarity with Palestinians, who deserve the right to determine their own fate as a people, the right to return and reclaim their homelands. Together, we fan the flames for liberation and proclaim: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free! Long live international solidarity!”

#FreePalestine #FreeThemAll #WeShallReturn #alQudsDay #Nakba72 #KeyToJustice #DownWithUSImperialism

Duterte Destroying Press Freedom = Steps toward Full Dictatorship

As BAYAN USA, we stand together with 11,000 ABS-CBN workers to condemn President Duterte’s attacks on press freedom.  What does the shutdown of ABS-CBN mean for the Filipino community?  Duterte has a long track record of silencing media in the form of mass arrests, harassment, killings, and full-blown shutdown, which has led to the massive displacement and unemployment of  11,000 workers.  As early as December, Duterte already made threats to stop the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise given that Duterte was upset the network didn’t air his campaign ads, and aired news exposing his murderous Drug War. The US-Duterte regime is swiftly moving towards a full fledged dictatorship, and controlling the media is key in controlling the narrative. 

Duterte is sending a message to anyone critical of his regime, even ABS-CBN, the largest news broadcasting center in the Philippines and popular news outlet for overseas Filipinos in the U.S.  Duterte’s battle with the media isn’t the first time he has tried to silence journalists. Student journalists have been repressed and arrested, like Frenchie Mae of the University of the Philippine Tacloban last February, and even our own Los Angeles-based Altermidya journalists Eric Tandoc and Hiyasmin Saturay in 2018 during a NutriAsia strike.    

There have been more arrests than mass testing. The Philippines has now become the leading country in the number of arrested and detained people for alleged quarantine violations during the pandemic, with 120,000 arrests in just one month in the Philippines. Instead of targeting popular media, Duterte should focus on combating the COVID-19 pandemic with 10,000 cases and rising in the Philippines.

“Is Duterte afraid that ABS-CBN will expose his utter failures in keeping our families safe in the Philippines? Does he truly care about the Filipino people when he abandons overseas Filipino workers to fend for themselves?  Duterte has no real interest in improving the lives of the vast majority facing poverty, job insecurity, and a public health crisis.” said Nikole Cababa, Secretary General of BAYAN USA. 

She continued, “Almost 4 years of the rotten Duterte government have proven in practice that he is incapable of leading the Philippines to progress and of serving the basic needs of the people. Over 4 million Filipinos live here in the U.S., and we depend on consistent and reliable news and media to stay connected and informed about our motherland, to our families, and loved ones.”

Without ABS-CBN, Duterte will be able to spread more misinformation, unleash paid Duterte trolls, and deprive the public of much needed news coverage.  The one that must be put to a stop is not ABS-CBN, but the Duterte regime itself. When power is monopolized by a single person, fascism rears its ugly head. But the Filipino people are committed to fighting for genuine freedom and a country that promotes progressive and pro-people culture.

“We must work together to shutdown Duterte’s corrupt government, hold him accountable for the criminal neglect of the public health and safety of our families that are facing unemployment, hunger, and militarized violence,” continued Cababa.  BAYAN USA and all its member organizations call for the end of state fascism in the Philippines and martial law tactics!  We cannot allow Duterte to attack the people’s right to free speech and press freedom.  We will continue to fight to defend the rights of every Filipino in the Philippines and overseas.  History reminds us that dictators will not willingly step down, but that they must be brought down by unleashing the truth, by mobilizing people power, and gathering strength in unity.

Let us continue to build a people’s movement that will end Duterte’s dictatorship and instead build a people’s democratic government that is not afraid of the truth, one that takes care of the needs and the health of the people over profit.

 

#DefendPressFreedom

#NoToABSCBNShutdown 

#OustDuterteNow