January 11, 2009
Reference: Christina Hilo, Northeast Coordinator, BAYAN USA, email:
Week 2: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine;
Condemn Corporate Media's Distortion of Gaza Situation
New York-- For the second weekend in a row, Filipinos from New York City
and neighboring Jersey City, under the alliance of BAYAN USA, marched with
thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Times Square to the New York
offices of CNN and Time Warner to protest the continuing Israeli military
invasion of the city of Gaza. BAYAN USA members organizations Anakbayan
New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and NY
Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), comprised a strong
and indignant Filipino contingent amidst a sea of Arab and non-Arab
supporters for the Palestinian people of Gaza and the cause of the
Palestinian people to end the Zionist occupation of their homeland.
News reports from various media outlets tally the Palestinian casualties
to more than 800 dead and 3000 wounded in Gaza City, but pro-Palestinian
protesters remain critical that facts reported in mainstream news are
heavily distorted, and Palestinian victims, including women and children,
are possibly under-counted. Pro-Palestinian activists marched from Times
Square to the offices of media giants CNN and Time Warner near Central
Park to denounce strong pro-Israel bias in mainstream news coverage of the
"Today, we are all Palestinians!," shouted 20-year old Anakbayan member
Yves Nibungco for BAYAN USA from the rally main stage, met with thunderous
applause. "We condemn the corporate media for their distortion of the
facts in Gaza and puppetry to US interests. They continue to demonize the
victims and praise the murderers..... We know the violence in Gaza is not
escalating because of Hamas, the violence in Gaza is escalating because of
Zionism!" Nibungco stated.
According to most news reports, Hamas' so-called "terrorist activities"
are projected as the main cause of the conflict, while Israel's invasion
is justified as a matter of self-defense. But BAYAN USA and the other
protesters in New York, see the conflict within the historical context of
the ongoing Palestinian resistance to the violent 60+ year old Zionist
occupation of their ancestral lands assisted by financial support from the
As the largest recipient of US economic aid in the world, Israel enjoys a
pork barrel of $15 million a day, or an annual average of $6 billion, from
US tax dollars. Nibungco further stated that the US government's large
financial investment in Israel ensures US government control over the vast
deposits of oil and natural gas in the region.
Last week in Washington DC, both houses of US Congress unanimously passed
resolutions in full support of Israel's continued military offensive of
Gaza. As stated in Senate Resolution 10 (S.R. 10), US lawmakers united
under the framework that Israel has every right to exercise "non-restraint
from targeting civilians."
"Filipinos are concerned about Gaza and the liberation of Palestine
because there are similarities in Philippine history and current affairs,"
stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin. "US tax dollars fund and
enable the Israeli military offensive in Gaza and violent occupation
Palestinian soil, just as US tax dollars fund and enable the Philippine
military to commit gross human rights violations against the Filipino
people at an alarming rate."
As a former direct colony of the US, the Philippines suffered a bloody
colonization from the US military that led to the massacre of millions of
Filipinos at a time when the US government was a fledgling superpower at
the turn of the 20th century. Today, more subtle forms of US economic and
political plunder still lord over Philippine national affairs, including a
push from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for dangerous
provisions to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that would allow 100%
foreign ownership of the country's vast natural resources, including oil,
gold, and natural gas. Opposition to Arroyo's Charter Change, or Cha-Cha,
is another campaign of BAYAN USA.
While none from the BAYAN USA contingent was arrested, police officers
brutalized protesters and arrested at least 10 from the march and rally.
BAYAN USA, an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines and member of the
International League of People's Struggle (ILPS), marched closely with
allies from Nodutdol, a progressive Korean community organization based in
For more information on BAYAN USA, visit www.bayanusa.org, or email