Anakbayan NY/NJ reaffirms commitment

commitment to serve the Filipino youth and the motherland


Jersey City


November 29, 2008




Photos courtesy of John Paul Miranda


Press Release
December 2, 2008
Reference: Yancy Gandionco, Vice-President, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey

Photo Courtesy by John Paul Miranda

Reaffirm: Filipino-American and Im/migrant Youth Carry On with the Fight

Jersey City, NJ Old and new members of the comprehensive youth organization, Anakbayan, reaffirmed their commitment to serve the Filipino youth and the motherland in a momentous occasion held at Mayon Grill on Westside Avenue last November 29, 2008 (a day ahead of the actual date to coincide with the November 30 celebration in the Philippines). Aside from celebrating the 145th birthday of the revolutionary hero, Andres Bonifacio, the event also celebrated Anakbayan Philippines' tenth year anniversary and Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey chapter's fourth year as a bastion of Filipino youth's rights and welfare all over the globe.

The anniversary celebration was entitled "REAFFIRM," taking off from this year's theme by Anakbayan Philippines: "A Decade of relentless struggle for jobs, land, education, rights and social services! Continue to enlighten, organize, and mobilize towards the path of the national democratic struggle! Live up to the revolutionary challenge and tradition of the Filipino youth!" (Ipagbunyi ang isang dekada ng militanteng paglaban para sa trabaho, lupa, edukasyon, karapatan at serbisyo! Ibayong magmulat, mag-organisa at mag-mobilisa tungo sa landas ng pambansa-demokratikong pakikibaka! Puspusin ang rebolusyonaryong hamon at tradisyon ng kabataang Pilipino!)

"It is not entirely true that the Youth is the hope and future of the nation. The youth, together with the different sectors of society -- such as the peasants, workers and women --- fighting for a corrupt-free, genuinely democratic nation, is the true hope for a better future," Rico Foz, Vice-President of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), said as he opened the event.

"In this time of great global financial crisis, the Filipino youth today are plagued by unemployment, non-existent social services, deteriorating public education system, landlessness and escalating human rights violations, we need to look back on the revolutionary history of the Filipino youth and live up to it more than ever to change this worsening situation," Yves Nibungco, Deputy Secretary General of Anakbayan NY/NJ expressed.

"As victims of the Philippine Government's corrupt and exploitative labor export policy, we, Filipino-American and Filipino im/migrant youth have the responsibility to expose and change the wrongs -- like the continued US military-aid to the Philippines with which our tax dollars are being used to fund the Arroyo administration's crimes against the Filipino people," Nibungco added.

The affair was highlighted by the oath taking of old and new members led by Gary Labao, one of the founders of the Anakbayan NY/NJ chapter and who had also related the history of Anakbayan in the New York/New Jersey area earlier in the program.

Messages of continued support were also shared throughout the night from representatives of national alliances such as National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), SANDIWA National Fil-Am Youth Alliance, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA (BAYAN-USA), and members of allied organizations such as Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Lakas Diwa, Kabalikat Domestic Workers and Philippine Forum.

"This coming January, Barrack Obama will be inaugurated as the new US president. The youth had been a part of this, of the mass movement that worked towards a hopeful change. We believe that the Filipino youth will continue to participate, prosper and progress even beyond the Philippine soil, and we, in BAYAN-USA, are confident that Anakbayan chapters in the US will be with us at the forefront of the fight," Berna Ellorin, Secretary General of BAYAN-USA, stated in her solidarity message.

Jonna Baldres, Secretary General of Anakbayan NY/NJ, who had just returned from a 4-month immersion with Anakbayan Philippines, said, "From what I have witnessed back in the homeland, I am even more determined to organize more Filipino youth abroad and share with them what I have learned, and hopefully, encourage more of them to come home to the motherland and experience the strength, not just that of the Filipino youth's, but more so, that of the Filipino people's collective action and bring it back with them here in the US. In the meantime, we will continue the struggle, no matter how far."

Songs and poetry of love for the motherland, experiences and realizations as Filipino-American and im/migrant youth in the US, and service to the people were also presented by Taos Puso, Babz Manuel and Gary Labao of Kadena, Philippe Garcesto Javier, Yves Nibungco and the Anakbayan Choir.

"The whole celebration from tonight's speeches to the oath taking and cultural presentations galvanized my duty to serve not only my fellow youth but the Filipino people as a whole. It may not seem much because I am just one person, but together with my new found brothers and sisters in Anakbayan, as one, we become a great catalyst for change," Bea Sabino, one of Anakbayan NY/NJ's members who took the oath for the first time, commented.

Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey is one of the US chapters of Anakbayan Philippines, a comprehensive national democratic mass organization fighting for the rights, welfare and basic needs of the Filipino youth all over the world. Other US chapters include Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas and East Bay. ###