Oakland, CA, USA–The East Bay Pilipino Organizing Project (EBPOP) stands in solidarity with BAYAN, BAYAN-USA, and the International League of People’s Struggles in condemning political killings in the Philippines. We join our brothers and sisters from all across the globe in exposing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s (GMA’s) puppet regime in the issues of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings.
On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, plunging the former colony of the U.S. into 14 years of totalitarian reign. Two whole decades of U.S. presidents, including Ronald Reagan, openly supported and spent millions of dollars to prop up the dictator. With his reign backed by U.S. tax dollars and military personnel, Marcos ordered the arrest of over 120,000 people without charges, the assassination of 1,500 activists, and the abduction of 769 individuals for merely fighting for human rights.
Even after People Power I and the ouster of the puppet dictator Marcos, a state of de-facto martial law exists in the Philippines. Today, under another U.S.-backed regime, GMA has the Philippines experiencing dejavu. Like Marcos, GMA has declared an “all out war” against her opposition. Since January 2001, 752 political activists and innocent civilians have been murdered by highly-trained, well equipped death squads, while 184 individuals have been abducted. Even after the creation of Task Force Usig and the Melo Commission, investigative bodies formed by GMA to solve cases of human rights violations, rarely have arrests been made, hundreds of cases remain to be solved, and no prosecutions have been made.
If GMA continues to allow her forces to kill activists, whose only crimes are advocating for social change and demanding that the president do something to improve conditions in the country, at the rate of one every three days she will undoubtedly surpass Marcos’ record. With the majority of the victims being unarmed civilians with no political affiliation, it seems no one is safe from Arroyo’s reign of terror. GMA’s “all out war” is indiscriminant as it includes the lives of over 57 youth. While many of the youth have been dubbed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as “collateral damage,” there are youth that have been specifically targeted for making demands of the current regime.
The murders of youth like Cris Hugo and Rie Mon Guran are examples of a puppet president trying to hold on to power. Youth leaders like Hugo and Guran who dare to express their dissent are labeled “enemies of the state.” Instead of prioritizing the budget on addressing the Philippines’ educational system’s lack of resources and deteriorating facilities, GMA first turned to her problem with the young, so-called “enemies” and allocated 1 billion pesos to increasing her military force to have the “enemies” dealt with.
In addition to the 1 billion pesos, the Armed Forces of the Philippines also receives tens of millions of dollars a year from President George W. Bush to fight the “War on Terror” in what he calls the war’s “Second Front.” The U.S. also spends hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars on sending military personnel and weaponry to aid the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Arroyo has proudly pledged her support to this war, even if it means literally killing off her opposition. She has sacrificed the lives of hundreds of Filipino people to perpetuate an already-poor economy with her subservience to American economic and military policy. We must put an end to this.
We call out to peace-loving peoples of the United States to stand with the world today and protest the U.S.-backed Arroyo regime and the political killings in the Philippines. We cannot allow our tax dollars to continue to fund this “War of Terror” and support regimes that kill democratic rights along with the youth that try to practice them. We must encourage our communities in the U.S. to pressure Bush and Congress to stop all financial and military aid to the Philippines. We need the funding to serve and provide for our youth here in the United States, not to kill their fellow students overseas.
STOP THE POLITICAL KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES NOW!
STOP U.S. FINANCIAL AND MILITARY AID TO THE PHILIPPINES!
OUST THE FAKE, FASCIST PUPPET PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO!!!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!!!
EBPOP seeks to build a progressive organization that engages, organizes, and mobilizes Filipino youth and students around the collective interests of poor and working-class Filipino communities in the East Bay while linking their particular struggles to the movement for National Democracy in the Philippines.