Filipino-American Youth Calls Arroyo

Biggest Disaster to the Philippines

 

Jersey City

June 29, 2008

 

 

 

 

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Photos courtesy of Anakbayan NY/NJ
           

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Reference; Dani Galan and Yves Nibungco, Anakbayan NY/NJ
Email: Anakbayan.nynj @ gmail.com, Phone: 201 218 1193

Filipino-American Youth Calls Gloria Biggest Disaster to the Philippines
Anakbayan youth bings homefront issues to Filipino community in Jersey City .

Jersey City , New Jersey- Anakbayan NY/NJ joined the Philippine American Friendship Committee Inc.'s street fair last Sunday, June 29, 2008. Members of the organization presented various issues to the Filipino-American community in Jersey City ; such as the Arroyo regime's rampant corruption, and the politically-motivated killings in the Philippines .

One of the many colorful displays on the organization's table was a scoreboard with the number 903 prominently shown as it is the current number of victims of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines . Also, a collage of pictures of victims of these killings and their families and factoids where exhibited beside the scoreboard.

A life-like dummy, painstakingly made by the members of Anakbayan from scratch, was laid in front of the booth. Dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt, olive green cargo pants, black shoes with its hands tied in the back and a white garbage bag over its head as it laid face down on the pavement a few feet from the booth. A sign signifying that it is a victim of politically-motivated killing in the Philippines was propped up next to the dummy.

"Various International Human Rights organization already published statement and reports implicating the Philippine military in over 1000 atrocities ranging from the murders to forced disappearances of members and supporters of progressive groups like ours. We also hold accountable Gloria Macapagal Arroyo being the head of state and commander of chief for allowing, if not masterminding, these human rights violations." Yves Nibungco of Anakbayan NY/NJ said.

The youth also carried banners criticizing President Arroyo's recent visit to New York City . Citing that at a time when the nation is in great distress after going through typhoon Frank and while still coping with rice crisis, Mrs. Arroyo still pursued her extravagant trip to the US .

"Our country has been going through one disaster after another ever since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cheated her way into presidency. Her most recent trip just shows how apathetic she is to the needs of the Filipino people. She is spending our hard earned tax pesos and dollar remittances on lavish dinners and trips while our people are starving and dying back home." stated Dani Galan, Anakbayan NY/NJ Chairperson.

Aside from banners and props, the Filipino Youth Organization also offered merchandise handcrafted from the cordillera and proudly Filipino made as part of the income generating project of not-for-profit organization.

"Our merchandise was made by hand from our sister organization in the Philippines , Cordillera People's Alliance and various supporters both back home and here in the US . We promote the ingenuity of Filipino." Ms. Galan added.

The Filipino-American Friendship day celebration was cut short due to weather as strong winds pounded the street vendors and visitors of the fair.

"It (weather) reminds us of the harsh conditions the Filipino people have to endure back home. It also reaffirms our commitment to serve the people. We vow not to stop exposing and opposing the anti-people and fascist policies of Arroyo's Government. So far she is the biggest disaster to have ever hit the Philippines. We join the majority of FIlipinos in saying enough is enough! Oust Gloria! " Mr. Nibungco stated. ###
 

     
     
           


For Immediate Release
July 1, 2008
Reference: Katrina Abarcar, National Coordinator, GMA Watch, gmawatch@yahoo.com

Philippine Government's "Election" as Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Irrelevant
GRP's Actions Speak Loudest About Commitment to Human Rights

Despite the Philippine Government's claims that its being "elected" as the Vice-President of the UNHRC represents the "confidence" of the international community, its election, according to human rights advocates in the US, is irrelevant, especially to the victims of human rights violations in the country and their families.

"It's similar to when President Arroyo commended General Jovito Palparan also known as 'the Butcher' for his service . For victims of human rights violations and their advocates, Arroyo's praise does not disguise the fact that he remains a butcher," said Katrina Abarcar, National Coordinator of GMA Watch, a US-based national grassroots advocacy network monitoring the human rights abuses of the Arroyo administration. "And for the growing number in the US who know about the human rights crimes committed under Arroyo's leadership, no position can white-wash that,"

In fact, the "election" of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) as VP of the UNHRC may not be as significant as the GRP claims. According to the Philippine UPR Watch, a network of human rights victims and advocates that sent a delegation to the UN's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines in April and June, the VP position of the UNHRC is filled on a rotation basis within regional/continental groups. They say, "…the Asian countries merely appointed one of its members to be vice president for a year. This year is the Philippines turn. That is why a country with a bloodstained human rights record can be accorded such administrative position on the rights body."

According to Ms. Abarcar, the real measure of the GRP's commitment to human rights are its actions. "If the Arroyo administration is a truly a committed and active member in the human rights council, why has it failed to implement the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston?" she asks. "Why have there, to date, been zero convictions of military personnel who have been linked to the hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings, abductions, and illegal arrests?"

"Instead, the Philippine government has resorted to calling Professor Alston insulting names and repeatedly denied the validity of his conclusions and observations," said Ms. Abarcar.

Among other things, Professor Alston accused the Philippine military of being in a "state of denial" about the extrajudicial killings in which the military has been implicated. According to Philippine UPR Watch, the Philippines is also among a handful of states that seeks to "unseat mandate holders like Professor Alston" in an effort to "get back at people who speak the truth.

"These actions show utmost disrespect for the UN as an institution and speak volumes about the Arroyo administrations true willingness to abide by its human rights obligations," ended Ms. Abarcar. ##
 

 

News Release
July 3, 2008
Reference: BAYAN USA Executive Committee, email: info@bayanusa.org

US Gov't Should Follow Suit From Mandela by Removing Sison, CPP, NPA Off Terrorist List As Well

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, a national alliance of Filipino organizations in the United States expresses heartfelt congratulations to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela over his recent dropping from the a dated US immigration watchlist of possible terrorists. The US State Department has also dropped Mandela's organization, the African National Congress (ANC) from the same list after more than decades of being tagged. This precedes the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list developed by the US State Department after September 11, 2001. BAYAN USA also calls on the US government to follow suit with this momentous victory by dropping Professor Jose Maria Sison, another freedom-fighter and political refugee in the Netherlands, as well as his former organizations the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), off the FTO listing as well.

Effective last Tuesday, President George W. Bush signed off on a bill that would allow Mandela to travel to the United States without having to get certification from the US Secretary of State that he's not a terrorist. "Today the United States finally has removed from its legal code a vestige of that time of collective insults against human dignity," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, one of the bill's supporters.

"Categorizing someone as admired as Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists is an indication that US government labels are ridiculous and not indicative of the truth. Nelson Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his activism while the US government listed him as a terrorist. Meanwhile, Jose Maria Sison is still demonized by the US and Philippine governments and European Union, and is still in exile. The reality is that what Sison symbolizes to the marginalized and impoverished Filipino majority and others around the world is also deserving of worldwide admiration, not condemnation," states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano.

As for the CPP-NPA listing, the alliance stood firm that although they themselves do no endorse or engage in armed struggle, they assert the listing of these organizations as terrorists are unfounded and unjust.

"Just like the US State Department retracted its listing of the ANC as a terrorist organization, they should also retract such labels on the CPP-NPA. If we are to qualify terrorist organizations as those who inflict unnecessary harm and sow fear among the people, the Philippine military under the command of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime is more of the real terrorist, not the CPP-NPA. They are waging a principled struggle in the countryside based on legitimate demands of the majority of the Filipino people who are fed up with a rotten and abusive system. We may have no link to them, but we do recognize the legitimacy of their fight as a popular one, " Quijano added.

"If Mandela and the ANC can be hastily labeled as terrorists by the US government then be dropped decades later out of acknowledged error in judgement, surely we can deduce that the US government was just as hasty and erroneous when they labeled Sison, the CPP, and the NPA as terrorist organizations as well. We hope the US government will also acknowledge their error as they did with Mandela and the ANC," Quijano ended.

The FTO labels on the CPP-NPA were a strong contributing factor to declaring the Philippines as the so-called Second Front to the War on Terror by the Bush administration in 2002. This led to the massive deployment of US troops to the Philippines to conduct joint military exercises under the auspices of anti-terrorism.

Professor Jose Maria Sison has been the target of several assassination attempts, including an illegal arrest and raid last year in Utrecht. Although a recognized political refugee in the Netherlands, Sison's democratic right to travel and to work were stripped due to the FTO listings of the US government and EU. His office in Utrecht remains a popular hangout for peace and anti-war advocates visiting the Netherlands. ###

 

 

 

 
 

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