Contact: Jonna Baldres
Secretary-General, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey
New York – Amidst the noise of the subway train and cold winter night, members of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey marched alongside other member organizations of BAYAN USA and NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) on February 24 in the center of the Filipino community in Woodside Queens commemorating the EDSA People Power of 1986. Calls for the ouster of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo boomed across the block where most of the Filipino stores, businesses and restaurants are located.
With the Philippines again in the hands of a corrupt, anti-people, and fascist president and leading puppet of US imperialist, thousands of Filipinos unite once again in calling for the end of this oppressive regime. While tons of corruption charges against the present administration have been unresolved and continuously piling up, the ZTE-NBN Broadband deal exposing yet another form of rampant corruption in Philippine government sparked once more the outrage of the Filipino nation. And while calls for Arroyo’s ouster escalates in the Philippines, it also resonates abroad.
“The corruption of the Arroyo government can never be justified. The government has money for ‘war’, ‘debt servicing’ and other anomalous government deals but not for education of the youth and basic social services for its people. In turn, prices of basic services go up which leaves majority of the Filipino families scrambling in poverty. That is the reason why many Filipinos opt to migrate to other countries, either leaving their children behind or bringing them to be raised up in racially sensitive environments abroad,” Anakbayan New York/New Jersey Vice President, Yancy Gandionco said.
Anakbayan New YorkNew Jersey has been one of the most vocal Filipino-American youth organizations in the United States to express anti-US-Arroyo sentiments, taking off from its principle of struggling for a nationalist and truly democratic society. With its mother chapter in the Philippines, Anakbayan has been in the forefront of calling for systemic change in the social order of the nation since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took office in 2001.
“What we need is genuine leadership and a truly democratic government that will address the basic needs of the youth and other basic sectors of Philippine society. With leaders from the ranks of the youth being critical of the Arroyo government, some of them have been either silenced or hounded by suspected elements from the Philippine military under the chain of command of the President. Under this political climate wherein young people who had chosen to expose the truth about the government were not spared, we, the Filipino-American youth in New York/New Jersey, even if thousands of miles away, will continue to voice out our disgust and criticisms and not be cowered by this hungry-power regime,” Gandionco added.
The protest action ended with the lighting of red and white candles and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem and “Bayan Ko” in the corner of Roosevelt and 69th Street. It was followed by a solidarity night at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center sponsored by BAYAN USA Northeast, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). The event was held in commemoration of the Philippine-American War of 1899 and a public orientation by International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) Chairperson Prof. Jose Maria Sison via videoconference on the upcoming Third International Assembly of the ILPS on June in Hongkong.
Another mass action will take place on February 28 as we observe the international day against corruption in the Philippines. Everyone is encouraged to wear white shirts or pin white ribbons on their right chest pocket on that day. Anakbayan New York/New Jersey will be setting up information desk on days leading to February 28 in Jersey City & Roosevelt Queens. For more information, email at anakbayan_ny@ yahoo.com.