Filipino-Americans in NYC Join Unions in Largest “Occupy Wall Street” Demo to Date

Members of BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA at Occupy Wall Street NYC

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator


NEW YORK, NY– Filipino-Americans, under the banner of BAYAN USA, joined approximately 80,000 protesters in New York City last Wednesday in the largest support demonstration for Occupy Wall St. since it began 3 weeks ago. The rally in nearby Foley Square and march to Liberty Park, site of Occupy Wall St., was largely called for by organized labor such as the United Federation of Teachers. Other union forces present at the demonstration also included the Transit Workers Union Local 100, and the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY).

Donning bright red headbands, member of BAYAN USA, an alliance of 15 Filipino organizations in the US, marched into the evening with the New York Community Contingent, alongside low-income, grassroots, mainly immigrant and people of color-based organizations such as Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Picture the Homeless, FIERCE, and the Audre Lorde Project. BAYAN USA members carried signs reading “Filipino-Americans Support Occupy Wall St.”.

Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna Partylist, in New York City for a visit, joined BAYAN USA marchers and urged for more support for Occupy Wall St. from the Filipino community.

“Poverty in the Philippines is brought about by trans-national corporations and American control of our economy and political lives, so these protests of the American people to stop these policies should have the support of other countries like the Philippines,” Colmenares told a reporter before marching.

Protest actions in support of Occupy Wall St. have also unfolded in other US cities including Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

“Occupy Wall St. has grown into a worldwide movement for economic justice and equality,” stated Gary Labao of BAYAN USA. “As immigrants from poor countries, like the Philippines, we understand the desperation wrought by poverty and joblessness. That and the growing social unrest here in the US because of rising unemployement, foreclosures, and budget cuts are all tied to the same root cause– the hoarding of the world’s wealth by a very small financial oligarchy of banks and firms– represented here in Wall St.– whose interests are put above the needs of the 99% by governments put in power by the 99%.

BAYAN USA and marchers from the International Action Center (IAC), each also carried the yellow flag of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), a global formation of peoples organizations around the world, of which BAYAN USA and the IAC are members of. ###

BAYAN USA Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the People’s Struggle

News Statement
March 8, 2011

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA

BAYAN USA Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the People’s Struggle

On this centennial anniversary of International Women’s Day, BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations in the United States, salutes all the women on the frontlines of national and social liberation struggles working to frustrate and dismantle all forms of social oppression, especially US imperialism and its agents of reaction. Women are proving that not only do they hold up half the sky, they are taking up the duty of liberating it. As women risk their lives in these heroic and emancipatory struggles, they further expose the reality that the greatest violence unleashed upon women and children comes from and is institutionalized by imperialism itself.

Now more than ever, amidst the worst economic crisis in world history, women worldwide are providing the best examples of militancy, resistance, and self-determination in the face of structural repression and reactionary violence. From People Power in Egypt’s Tahrir Square to armed struggle in the Himalayas in Nepal to labor strikes in Guangzhou, China to the occupation of Madison, Wisconsin’s State Capitol Building, to women domestic workers organizing for recognition of domestic work as formal work, women are deeply engaged in advancing peoples struggles.

Like their sisters worldwide, Filipina women are engaged in all forms of people’s resistance against oppression. The militant Filipina women’s alliance, Gabriela Philippines, is continuously raising broad social awareness of violence against women. From violence unleashed by the Philippine state’s mercenary military apparatus to the domestic violence commonly inflicted by intimate partners in the form of rape, molestation, and sexual assault, Filipina women leaders and organizers are re-shaping traditional attitudes around gender, class, sex, marriage, divorce, family, healthcare and government. At present, the Gabriela Women’s Party is at the forefront of a growing movement for the passage of its Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill as well as its Divorce Bill against a dominant, social current anchored by centuries of colonial rule of Spanish Catholicism and US imperialism.

Six years after the violent gang rape of Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas by 6 US marines stationed in Subic Bay, led by US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, in addition to countless other cases in history of sexual terrorism against Filipina women and children by US military personnel, the US and Philippine governments continue to insist on US military presence in the country under the auspices of joint military training exercises. However, numerous eye-witness accounts reveal the US military engagement in combat operations which violate the Philippine constitution.

Recognizing the role of Filipinos in the US in Philippine movement for genuine national independence and democracy, BAYAN USA helped to found the US chapter of Gabriela Philippines. Launched in 2009, Gabriela USA has worked tirelessly to organize Filipina-American women to link their rights and welfare struggles and concerns to the larger context national liberation of their homeland. Gabriela Philippines and its US Chapter also continue to play a role in clarifying that genuine Filipino women’s emancipation can only be possible upon the Filipino people’s liberation from imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.

On the centennial anniversary of International Women’s Day, BAYAN USA stands shoulder to shoulder with our sisters of Gabriela USA in advancing the iVOW to end Violence Against Women (VAW) Campaign. This on-going campaign led by Gabriela is an awareness and advocacy campaign to combat the seven forms of violence women around the world face: sex trafficking and prostitution; domestic violence; rape, incest, and sexual abuse; sexual harassment; violence as a result of political repression; sexual discrimination and exploitation; and limited access to reproductive health care.

As an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines, BAYAN USA recognizes the irrefutable role of women in all struggles for social emancipation. BAYAN USA also recognizes that the Filipino women’s movement is part of, not parallel to, the overall Filipino people’s movement for national liberation.

Long Live the Filipino Women’s Movement!
Long Live Working Women Engaged in People’s Struggle!
Resist Imperialism and All Forms of Reaction!
Strive for Women’s Liberation Through People’s Liberation!

GABRIELA USA participates in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance


Reference: Valerie Francisco, Vice Chair of Mass Campaigns, GABRIELA USA

GABRIELA USA participates in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance

Montréal, Québec, August 16, 2010 — In Montreal, women of GABRIELA USA joined over 350 participants representing 32 different countries, including Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Mali, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexicothis past weekend to actively participate in the Montreal International Women’s Conference and the founding of the International Women’s Alliance.

GABRIELA USA was joined by local allies from all across the U.S. including members of VietUnity, Tadaima, Women’s Fightback Network in Boston and New York City, Million Workers March, Picture the Homeless, the International Action Center , Latin American Workers’ Project (NYC), Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), Transit Workers’ Union,  Cihuatl Tlatocan- Maiz, and the May 1st Coalition.

From August 13 to 15, delegates participated in plenaries, workshops, and discussions surrounding a wide variety of themes, including women workers, peasant women, indigenous struggles, developmental aggression, violence against women, racism, discrimination and genocide, as well as resistance to wars and imperialist aggression.  From these workshops and plenaries, drafts of resolutions have been created to tackle these struggles on local and international levels.

During a plenary session, delegates unanimously endorsed a declaration in support of the 490 Tamils from Sri Lanka who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in Vancouver, Canada, decrying their ongoing detention while calling upon the Canadian government to accept them as refugees.  In addition, participants also affirmed their solidarity and demanded the release of the 43 health workers who were illegally detained in the Philippines in February this past year.

On August 16, delegates of the conference formalized the assembly by creating the International Women’s Alliance which will build coordination of local, regional and international campaigns, to promote mutual support and the sharing of resistance strategies, and to mobilize women around the world in the struggle against imperialism, violence and capitalist globalization. The first assembly of the International Women’s Assembly will take place in July 2011 in the Philippines.

“As Filipina  women, it is our duty as mothers,  daughters, and sisters to come together and strengthen the movement against the  exploitation and oppression of women rooted in the global imperialist system. We can no longer take the brunt of the economic crisis brought about by this system which causes so much hunger, unemployment, forced migration, and militarization all over the world.  The time is now to bridge our struggles and  strengthen the solidarity of women’s organizations worldwide.  The formation of the  International Women’s Alliance will help fortify the growing people’s movement against imperialism,” stated Raquel Redondiez, chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

GABRIELA USA is a national alliance of progressive Filipina women’s organizations including Samahan ng Kababaihan (San Francisco), babae (San Francisco), Pinay sa Seattle (Seattle), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (New York City), and Sisters of Gabriela Awaken (Los Angeles).

The initiative for the MIWC and IWA came out of a resolution of the women’s commission of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) which met during the 3rd International Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong in 2008.For more information about the conference and alliance, please visit

National Lawyers Guild delegates of the People’s International Observers Mission present eyewitness accounts of electoral fraud, military intimidation during national elections in the Philippines and a visit to the 43 detained health workers

Contact: Daya Mortel
Southern California Coordinator, BAYAN USA

Los Angeles, CA – Reporting from the UCLA Downtown Los Angeles Labor Center, delegates of the People’s International Observers Mission from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) presented eyewitness accounts from the Philippines elections. Witnessing electoral fraud and military intimidation, they concluded the Philippine national election was neither fair nor free.  NLG delegates participated in the largest People’s International Observers Mission to date, joined by church, labor and community leaders from Asia, North and South America, and Europe. NLG, BAYAN USA, and GABRIELA USA presented the latest updates regarding the 43 detained health workers and the ongoing spate of human rights violations post-inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino two weeks ago.

Attorney Radhika Sainath opened the forum declaring,“This is more than a reportback because what we found, what we witnessed, has significance outside of Philippines.” Atty. Sainath described electoral fraud that she witnessed in the forms of vote-buying and illegal vote-casting and confirmed that these were also documented in every region that NLG delegates observed elections. Military intimidation, lack of staff, defects with the electronic voting system, and a gunfight within the polling place were just some of the issues noted in their report. Lincoln Ellis, an NLG member from Los Angeles said, “Too often election observers simply base their conclusions on what they saw on the day of the election,” referring to COMELEC observers who generalize their positive individual experiences to the whole of the country.  “We looked deeper to interview candidates and human rights activists about intimidation, harassment, fraud and violence that took place months or years before the 2010 Philippines election. These problems affected everything from the names that did or did not appear on the ballot, to the make-up of the election commission (COMELEC), that eventually tabulated the results,” concluded Ellis. Ellis observed elections on the island of Panay where Fernando Baldomero of Bayan Muna party-list was assassinated last July 5, 2010.

The NLG delegation put forward several recommendations including investment in social infrastructure so that people’s basic needs are met, restructuring appointments of COMELEC, and fully investigating and prosecuting politically motivated human rights violations.

BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA addressed the latest human rights violations including the assassination of Fernando Baldomero earlier this month. “President Noynoy Aquino has just been inaugurated and already his term is marked with more extra-judicial killings under the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) counter-insurgency plan started during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime,” said Kuusela Hilo, Vice Chairperson of BAYAN USA.  “Violently dispersing farmers camping out in front of Malacanang Palace to demand land reform and expanding the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Oplan Bantay Laya will only exacerbate the problems of poverty and impunity that plague Philippine society, but these are the actions of the newly inaugurated Aquino administration. Aquino’s commitment to seek justice will hold no water if it carries on with Arroyo’s OBL,” explained Hilo.

Farnoosh Hashemian, one of the NLG delegates, was able to visit the detained 43 healthworkers who were illegally arrested, tortured and detained on February 6, 2010. “One of the women I met, Judy, is expected to give birth soon in detention if not released,” said Hashemian. “Hearing their stories and their willingness to continue their community health work once they are released is inspiring,” said Hashemian. Hashemian showed one of the necklaces beaded by the detained health workers and shared that solidarity, even in the form of sending beads, will help to raise awareness about their fight for freedom.  Terrie Cervas, Vice Chairperson of GABRIELA USA, emphasized the need for international solidarity from people in the United States. “The issue of the 43 health workers is not an isolated incident, and we must let our Congressperson, Representative Howard Berman, know that we do not want our taxpayer money funding human rights violations in the Philippines,” declared Cervas. Cervas invited the audience to sign postcards for Rep. Berman who is the current Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Riko Maniago, lead vocalist of Flattbush and member of Habi Arts, concluded the program with the song calling for the end to government corruption. The final National Lawyers Guild report on the Philippines International Observers Mission findings will be available at  To sign onto to the Free the 43 Petition, visit