Tag: Obama


Press Release

July 9, 2012

Reference:  Theresa Jaranilla, BAYAN-USA Southern California Regional Coordinator,

On July 2-10, leaders of the Pacific Rim hold 13th round of negotiations for the secret US-led free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

“Obama’s push for the TPPA is a sign of desperation of the 1%, they are scared of the working people, they are scared of our solidarity!” proclaimed Ivan Penetrante, chairperson of Anakbayan San Diego, on the first day of the 13th Round of TPPA talks.  “While the TPPA and the oncoming military pivot are geopolitical moves of the US to contain its rival China, the US ultimately needs to exploit the Asia-Pacific region for cheap labor and raw materials to survive the economic crisis.”

On behalf of BAYAN USA,  Anakbayan San Diego joined the July 2 rally and press conference organized by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel on while the secret negotiations took place inside.  The event was the first of week-long actions that member organizations of BAYAN-USA took part to expose and oppose the TPPA.

A People’s Conference:  A Better World is Possible
The rally also kicked-off a series of roundtable discussions and panels about the effects on the TPPA on the rights of workers, women, intellectual property, food sovereignty and the environment.  On July 5, BAYAN USA joined panelists from the San Diego Maquiladores Worker’s Solidarity Network, the International League of People’s Struggle, and indigenous people’s organizations for a panel on Geopolitics and Empire followed by a discussion on Indigenous People’s Rights.

Country co-coordinator of the International League of People’s Struggle-US (ILPS-US) Kuusela Hilo highlighted the need to stand in solidarity against neoliberal policies such as the TPPA. “Neoliberalism is the tomb that is putting workers, indigenous people, and people around the world in the grave,” said Hilo.  On the indigenous people’s panel, Southern California Coordinator for BAYAN-USA, Theresa Jaranilla, emphasized that “the effects of the TPPA would be distressing for indigenous communities in the Philippines who already experience wide-spread displacement, environmental destruction, increased militarization,  and gross human rights violations as a result of large-scale mining by foreign mining companies.”

A Call to Stop TPPA
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, member organizations of BAYAN USA joined allies and friends donning aprons and banging on pots and pans as they marched through the streets of downtown San Diego to the Bayfront Hilton Hotel calling to stop the TPPA.  Allies, including members of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), marched with the BAYAN USA contingent.  Speakers from around the US condemned the TPPA, stating lessons we should have learned from NAFTA which led to massive migration of US industries for countries with less regulation and cheaper labor.

Speaking on behalf of BAYAN USA, Ivan Penetrante denounced the TPPA and stressed the need for solidarity. Connecting the Obama administration’s public announcement to shift the US military to the Asia-Pacific region and the need to protect its economic interests, Penetrante highlighted the covert counter-insurgency tactics, including politically-motivated killings and abductions under the watch of the US-backed Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.  “The Philippines is key to the TPPA and the US military pivot to the Pacific.  The US already has the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and are looking to re-open bases in the Philippines.  Moreover, the US also funds, arms, and creates strategy for the human rights violating Philippine military.  The US will need to enforce the TPPA with military might because the people will fight against it.  People stood up against NAFTA, and they are standing up against the TPPA,” said Penetrante.

BAYAN USA continues to call on greater international solidarity between the American people and people of Asia-Pacific region against all forms of US intervention, including economic intervention through the TPPA.

BAYANUSA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYANUSAserves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a  center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org


For Immediate Release
June 7, 2012

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, Deputy Secretary General, BAYAN-USA, bayandepsec@gmail.com, 347.669.0661

Filipino Americans Decry Aquino and Binay U.S. Visits as Business Deals to Further Trample on Philippine Sovereignty, Increase US Military Presence in Country

BAYAN-USA, a national alliance of progressive Filipino organizations, commenced the month of June by mobilizing the Filipino community to voice their outrage and concern to the Philippine President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay on their respective visits to the United States.  BAYAN-USA condemns the Aquino administration for pushing policies that have prioritized opening up the Philippine economy to mainly cater to foreign economic and U.S. military interests, as well as the interests of the ruling classes in the Philippines at the expense of the rights and dignity of the majority of poor Filipinos. Binay visited Los Angeles this past June 2nd, while Aquino is slated to meet with US President Obama this Friday, June 8.

Binay declared his visit to the U.S. was to meet with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to ask for help in defending the rights of trafficked Filipino teachers in Maryland. However, protesters from BAYAN-USA doubt Binay’s interest in workers’ rights due to the very fact that he was staying at the Hilton LA Airport, a boycotted hotel by a hotel workers union, which includes Filipino members. The union called for a boycott to ensure that the workers’ rights to unionize be upheld as well as the fair treatment of workers across the board.

President Aquino, on the other hand, will be meeting Obama at the White House to discuss increasing U.S. military presence in the Philippines.  Aquino may discuss the Philippines signing onto Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a U.S.-led neoliberal free-trade agreement – often referred to as the NAFTA of Asia – which will further liberalize Philippine markets to deregulate foreign business ownership, clearly violating Philippine sovereignty and self-determination. Many economists have pointed to the TPPA’s design to secure US economic dominance in the Asia-Pacific region, while isolating super rival China’s emerging economic influence.

With every US military shift dictated by a US economic agenda, BAYAN-USA recognizes these meetings as Aquino’s subservience to U.S. economic and military interests, as he allows the increase of U.S. military presence in the Philippines in exchange for the tripling of U.S. military aid to the Philippines.  His visit is in line with the Pentagon’s recent announcement of a  60% strategic shift to the Asia Pacific region set to be completed by 2020. As the Obama administration uses military bullying to dictate and project its economic power in the Asia-Pacific region, it continues to justify its actions by sowing an anti-China scare campaign reminiscent of Cold War-era messaging.

Filipinos in the U.S. and in the Philippines declare, “The Philippines is NOT for sale!” and will conduct protest actions in both countries to condemn the U.S.-Philippine military alliance, which will only perpetuate more human rights violations against the Filipino people and aggravate the threat of war, putting the Philippine nation in direct danger of unwarranted military action.

Join BAYAN-USA in nationally-coordinated protest actions to demand that President Aquino uphold Philippine sovereignty and protect the rights and welfare of the Filipino people!

Friday, June 8, 2:00PM EST
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Sidewalks between East & West Executive Avenues
Washington, D.C.
Contact: Jackelyn Mariano, Deputy Secretary General, BAYAN-USA, 347.669.0661

Friday, June 8, 5:30PM PST
Hilton LAX
Los Angeles, California
Contact: Theresa Jaranilla, Southwest Coordinator, BAYAN-USA, 213.373.5154

Sat, June 9 & Sun, June 10, 12pm-5pm PST
Seattle Center, Pagdiriwang Festival commemorating Philippine Independence
Seattle, Washington
Contact: Chel Cendana, Pacific Northwest Coordinator, BAYAN-USA, 360.990.9424



US-backed P-Noy is No Champion of Human Rights

News Statement
December 10, 2010

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA
Email: chair@bayanusa.org

Aquino’s Non-Resolution of Philippines’ Human Rights Crisis Serves US Foreign Policy

In commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA would like to call international attention to their disappointment in Philippine President Benigno “P-Noy” Simeon Aquino III for his failure to act decisively towards resolving the ongoing human rights crisis in the Philippines.

Rather than working to fulfill his campaign promises to the Filipino people, Aquino has spent the past 5 months prioritizing the fulfillment of his promises made to the US government and to multi-national corporate investors to further liberalize the Philippine national economy and territory to accommodate their interests.

If the first 160 days of the Aquino administration are any indicator, the Filipino people can be certain the campaign of unabated extra-judicial killings, abductions, illegal detentions, and torture of civilians throughout the country by its security forces unleashed by the previous Arroyo administration will continue under the current presidency.

Like Barack Obama, the romanticized hype over Aquino’s candidacy and electoral win are slowly being replaced by a steady flow of political doublespeak on critical issues. One of the vilest examples of this can be seen with the case of the Morong 43 healthworkers, who are now in their 10th month of illegal detention under the Philippine military’s custody. After publicly acknowledging irregularities with the raid, arrest warrant, and even so-called “evidence” gathered against the 43 last February by the Philippine National Police and Philippine military, Aquino not only essentially washed his hands of the case by leaving it to the courts to decide on their fate, he beefed up the country’s military budget by an unprecedented 81%.

Unprecedented Military Spending for Counter-Insurgency Operations

The P1.64 trillion military budget proposal of the Aquino government for 2011 is a staggeringly massive amount inclusive of $434 million granted by the US State Department via the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Per the US military’s new Counter-Insurgency (COIN) guide, this amount will be dedicated to strengthening the very structural framework responsible for country’s continuing human right crisis– the national counter-insurgency plan known as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).

Though touted as a campaign to end the armed rebellion in the countryside, OBL has earned the scrutiny of international human rights monitoring groups for its baseless directive of targeting progressive and outspoken people’s organizations, party-lists, advocates, institutions and even social service providers such as the Morong 43 for being so-called “communist fronts.”

Under Aquino, 22 assassinations of civilians have been added to the piling list of extra-judicial killings and there remains 393 political prisoners throughout the country. Over 300 days have passed since Aquino promised to redistribute his family’s Hacienda Luisita to its tillers. Not a single arrest has been made to answer for the thousands of documented cases of killings and abductions under the Arroyo government, including Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre, as well as the abduction and torture of Filipina-American human rights advocate Melissa Roxas by military elements.

Aquino’s decision to extend and enforce OBL, despite its many critics, aims to choke off the strong nationalist movement in the Philippines that frustrates US foreign policy interests in the region. With Aquino’s help, the US government is working towards an official re-establishment of a permanent US military presence in the country. Like Arroyo, Aquino is committed to ensuring the terrorizing Bush Doctrine principles are applied to the Philippines in order to advance US geopolitical interests in the Asia-Pacific region, key to which is an all-out war campaign to bail-out the world’s wealthiest countries and financial oligarchs from the worst economic crisis in history.

Already the US government’s hand in the military provocation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and rivaling superpower China spells plans for a US war offensive in the region that would not only bully and advance US trade interests in the region, but necessitate a large, permanent and reliable US military station in the Philippines.

Human Rights & People’s Solidarity

With the burden of the global economic crisis breaking the backs of people both in the US and the Philippines, international solidarity between movements to hold governments accountable for increased public spending towards war and human rights violations rather than for jobs, education, healthcare, and other social services must be forged.

Since 2005, BAYAN USA has been campaigning with allies in the US to cut US military spending in the Philippines and for the withdrawal of US troops in from the region. These efforts in the US are in solidarity with those in the Philippines risking their lives everyday at the frontlines of a growing democratic movement to alleviate the Filipino people from their daily agony of poverty, landlessness, joblessness, and hunger amidst US-funded counter-insurgency and political repression.

BAYAN USA firmly believes that communities in the US play a role in the struggle for human rights in the Philippines by holding the Obama administration accountable for its actions in the Philippines, just as the Filipino people must hold the Aquino administration accountable for its broken promises and subservience to foreign dictates. The ongoing culture of impunity in the Philippines beckons the international community to support the Filipino people’s fight for justice for the victims of human rights abuses and the punishment of human rights violators unleashed by the state.

Free the Morong 43 & all Political Prisoners!
Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya!
End Impunity, Prosecute Arroyo!
US Out of the Philippines!