For Immediate Release
June 11, 2008
Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN-USA, e-mail: email@example.com
Justice for Paraders Harassed at PIDC!
Protesters Storm Philippine
Consulate Demanding Apology
NEW YORK-- In a show of solidarity, members of the Filipino community
rallied in indignation for two of its members, last Friday, June 6,
2008, outside of the Philippine Consulate in New York City. Rallying
behind Rusty Fabunan and Wilfred Recaido, members of Kapatirang Pilipino
or Kappa Pi (Filipino Brotherhood), a community-based Filipino
fraternity, the community protested outside of the Consulate, demanding
an apology for the NYPD's treatment of the two at the Philippine
Independence Day Celebration. Also being called for was the dismissal of
all charges brought against the two.
With representatives from groups under BAYAN USA, NAFCON and the
Philippine Forum, it was the youth of Kappa Pi who made up the bulk of
the protest. After being harassed by the NYPD while marching down the
Madison Avenue parade route on June 1st, Fabunan and Recaido were
detained by the NYPD for launching a drum circle at the fair. Protesters
believe the NYPD acted on the Philippine Independence Day Committee's (PIDC)
"[PIDC President] Raul Estrellado claims we were 'out of place' at the
parade and fair because we were using the event to protest," claims
Matthew Cheirs of Kappa Pi, "but how can we be deemed out of place when
the PIDC awarded the NAFCON contingent 'Most Meaningful Group that Best
Depicts Our Theme 2008: Tribute to Filipino Excellence- Innate Knowledge,
Capability and Talent'"?
"In honoring the theme of the celebration this year, we decided to
question the decision to raise the price of a rental booth at the fair
as high as $1700.00, a stark contrast from the days of $50-$70 during
the 70's. The Filipino community, for the most part, was in support of
our signs," Cheirs added. "Perhaps that is the real reason the PIDC
called the cops on us--censorship?"
Protesters chanted loudly throughout but grew louder when Philippine
Consul General Cecilia Rebong and Vice-Consul Leandro Lachica passed by
them, entering the Consulate uncomfortably. Lachica later approached
members of the rally, attempting to shift responsibility from the
Consulate, claiming that the actions of the police were at the request
of the PIDC alone.
"But the PIDC is heavily-influenced by the Philippine Consulate. In
fact, all meetings of the PIDC are held in the Philippine Consulate. It
is hard to swallow that the Consulate's interests aren't being upheld by
the PIDC, and this Consulate has a clear history of censoring our
group," Cheirs ended.
Among the demands of the community campaign are an official apology from
the PIDC and Philippine Consulate, a dropping of all charges against
Fabunan and Recaido, an investigation to who from the PIDC ordered for the
NYPD to approach the NAFCON/BAYAN parade contingent, and an audit of all
funds collected from the PIDC. ###