Category: GMA Watch

Fil-Ams commemorate People Power by calling for a “new brand” of People Power: GMA Watch and BAYAN USA calls for increased action in the US against Arroyo

Rob McCauley
(206) 383-7209

Jeff Rice
BAYAN USA National Officer
(206) 291-8078

Joanne Alcantara
(206) 427-2994

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, will join its mother alliance’s call for commemorative week long actions surrounding the anniversary of People Power 1. On Monday February 25th, the umbrella group BAYAN Philippines will be joining a broader call of church leaders, civil libertarians, and business leaders for the immediate resignation of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, following a high-end dialogue of various Philippine sectors in the Makati Business Club last Tuesday.

The Arroyo clan has recently been exposed of high dealings in graft and corruption as ZTE-NBN Broadband scandal star witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada testified last week to the Philippine Congress.

“We agree that Gloria will be facing a ‘new brand’ of people power, certainly one where more Filipino-Americans will take a stand, make more noise, and contribute to the anti-corruption, pro-democracy movement in the Philippines,” states BAYAN USA Finance Officer Jeff Rice. “We are calling on all patriotic Filipinos in the Seattle area who are concerned with the state of the Motherland to join together in this time of crisis.”

BAYAN Philippines Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. noted, “Perhaps the difference with people power today is that its seeds are emerging from various sectors of society despite there being no Cardinal Sin to call for it. People power is springing forth from the grassroots, the schools, factories, communities, businesses, with various political formations are coming together. It is spreading despite the limitations of the church hierarchy.”

“Now more than ever, we need to recall the lessons of people power and so we can come up with an improved version for our times. The new people power will not simply be led by any religious leader a la Cardinal Sin. Nor will it just seek to replace one regime with a worse one. We have certainly learned lessons from EDSA 1 and EDSA 2,” Reyes added.

The theme of the BAYAN protest actions will be People Power Pa Rin! (People Power Still!), a call that is growing popular even among overseas Filipinos in various countries. BAYAN USA has a considerable number of second and third generation Filipino members in the US who fully unite with the call and understand its relevance.

“Nothing is impossible. After 20 years of living under the iron fist of Marcos, the Filipino people made the so-called ‘impossible’ happen with People Power 1, and again with Estrada with People Power 2. These experiences prove that the Filipino people can make this new brand of People Power possible– one that will reject the corruption and moral bankruptcy of Trapo (traditional politician) politics, and one that will not allow another Trapo to simply replace Gloria. Even second-generation Fil-Ams can smell what is rotten about Arroyo from 30,000 miles away and know that the Philippine system needs to change,” states BAYAN USA Chair, Chito Quijano.

BAYAN USA hopes to mounts actions with allies and friends in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities in the US calling for the resignation or ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo next week. BAYAN USA also calls on all sympathetic forces in the United States to mount creative actions calling for the immediate removal of Arroyo.

In Seattle, a series of actions will take place calling for the ouster of the Philippine President. All events are sponsored by GMA Watch, Bayan USA and GABRIELA USA. The week of March 10th, Edith Burgos, mother of missing farmer and activist Jonas Burgos, will travel across the nation in a national speaking tour to raise the level of awareness on the ongoing forced disappearances of activists in the Philippines. She has presented her case to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights and has garnered the attention of the international community on the state of human rights abuses under the hands of the Philippine government.

THURSDAY, February 28, 8pm.

Nationwide Candlelight Vigil for Victims of the Arroyo Regime

University of Washington Red Square in front of Suzallo Library

FRIDAY, February 29.

5:30pm Rally at Komo News 4
6:30pm Vigil at Seattle Center Fountain

MONDAY, March 3rd, 6-8pm

Potluck Dinner and Community Teach In

Gran Oriente (117 – 15th Avenue South, Seattle)

SATURDAY, March 8th, 12noon.

International Women’s Day Rally to Oust GMA

Featuring First Quarter Storm

Jose Rizal Park (1008-12th Avenue South, Seattle)

TUESDAY, March 11, 6:30pm

Edith Burgos, mother of human rights victim

Speaking Event at Bethany UCC

6230 Beacon Avenue South

We call on all Filipino people, friends and allies to stand against a corrupt government and say “Enough is enough! People Power Pa Rin! We demand an accountable government in the Philippines! Oust Gloria Now!

Action: Call for volunteers: National tour for the disappeared in the Philippines

Dear GMA Watch Members and Supporters,

Starting March 1, 2008, Edith Burgos, a the mother of missing Filipino farmer activist Jonas Burgos, will be the United States for a multi-city national speaking tour on the state of human rights in the Philippines. Sponsored by GMA WATCH, the tour’s main objective will be to raise the level of human rights advocacy for the Philippines from the United States, from the telling words of the families of the victims themselves.

GMA WATCH is appealing to you and other supporters in the U.S. for help in making this tour a success. You can help by publicizing the tour especially if you are in a city where Edith will be stopping. If you have media experience, you can help us to get coverage in local, national, and international media for events and for the human rights issues projected. You can volunteer to lend administrative support. Or you can make a donation to help us cover the costs of the tour.

Please find the schedule below. To offer your help or to ask about events in a specific city, please reply to this e-mail.

Edith Burgos National Tour Schedule
March 1-3 New York City, NY/NJ
March 4-5 Minneapolis, MN
March 6-9 Washington, DC/VA
March 10-12 Seattle,WA
March 13-16 Bay Area/Sacramento, CA
March 17 Los Angeles, CA
March 18 New York, NY

Short description of Jonas Burgos’ Case

Jonas Burgos, 36, is also an agriculturist who advocated for farmers’ rights in the Philippines and is affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement in the Philippines). He is the son of the late press freedom fighter and staunch anti-Martial Law advocate Jose Burgos, founder of the popular We Forum and Malaya newspapers in the Philippines.

Jonas was reportedly abducted by elements of the Philippine military in April 2007 in Quezon City. His case has become one of the highest profile politically motivated abduction cases in the Philippines today. Military authorities have been directed by the Court of Appeals, through the writ of amparo, to disclose the whereabouts of the missing agriculturist. To date, however, his entire family continues to be politically harassed for their advocacy efforts, while Edith has gone to the UNHRC in Geneva and other institutions appealing for international support and intervention on behalf of victims of forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations.