February 26, 2009
Reference: Gary Labao, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines,
Filipinos-Young and Old-Gather in New York City to Commemorate People
Power of 1986 and Anti-Martial Law Movement
New York-- Days before the 23rd anniversary of the so-called "People Power
Revolution" of 1986, that saw the unseating of the 21-year dictatorship of
Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Filipinos in New York City gathered
to pay tribute to the legacy of the anti-Martial Law and anti-Marcos
movement both in the Philippines and in New York City. PAGPUPUGAY, as the
gathering was called, featured a lineup of song, poetry, video, and
theatrical performances that united both older and younger Filipinos in
tribute to a shared history.
The event was organized by the New York Committee for Human Rights in the
Philippines (NYCHRP), and Anakbayan New York/New Jersey. It took place at
Gallery 1199, or the Bread and Roses Cultural Project Gallery, at the
headquarters of Local 1199 United Healthworkers East at the Martin Luther
King Labor Center in Times Square.
The event opened with a prayer-reflection offered by Bea Sabino, a 17-year
old member of Anakabayan NY/NJ, who also served as co-emcee for the
program with Rico Foz of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
University of the Philippines Professor Bienvenido Lumbera, National
Artist for Literature and a former political prisoner under Marcos,
delivered the keynote message via video.
“The First Quarter Storm [FQS] dealt a stunning blow to the US Marcos
regime in 1970. It was also a wake up call to all patriotic Filipinos.”
Lumbrera said in his message.
The FQS was three straight months starting on January 1970 of daily
protests of Filipino youth and students mainly against the Vietnam War and
intensifying US intervention in the Asia-Pacific region. It defied the
subservient stand of the Marcos regime to US government dictates.
With the student protest movement at the forefront, the FQS proved so
successful in stirring up the fighting spirit of Filipinos across the
country that Marcos had to declare martial law on September 21, 1972,
forcing student organizations such as the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), or
Patriotic Youth, to go underground. Community organizing in the
Philippines was outlawed and the country entered a very dark period in its
“Today the struggle continues” Lumbrera said as he urged for Filipinos in
the US to remain steadfast and critical of the current Arroyo regime. He
closed his message with a the famous battlecry of the FQS--- “Makibaka,
A Vibrant Movement Continues Underground
"But fascism did not stop us from organizing a vibrant movement
nonetheless," stated Ramon Mappala of the NYCHRP, in a testimony to the
Mappala, then a member of KM, spoke of how the movement for social and
economic justice in the country adjusted to the conditions by going
underground, and how many paid the price under a US-backed fascist
dictatorship. Mappala, like many of his contemporaries who continued on
with their activism at that time, was captured and jailed.
Another big highlight of the evening was the testimony of Balthazar
Pinguel, the last open national spokesperson of KM before the organization
True to form, Pinguel roused the audience with his brand of fiery
agitation and tribute to KM that easily moved hundreds of thousands of
Filipino students during the FQS in the late 60's thru early 70's to
confidently take to the streets in protest.
"Marcos was shaking in fear of the strong and militant youth and students
movement!" Pinguel said as he narrated his very own experience as a
student leader in various rallies, protests and demonstrations. He also
provided a glimpse of what was the U.P. Diliman Commune.
Pinguel was a victim of torture while in detention for almost a decade. He
traveled with his wife Chato all the way from Philadelphia to speak at the
Youth of Yesterday Meet Youth of Today
Contemporary youth voices urging for the continuation of the FQS's legacy
were also represented in performances by members of Anakbayan NY/NJ.
Members of Anakbayan performed a “Kilos-Awit” (interpretative movement) of
a well-known FQS era song called "Martsa Ng Bayan" (The Peoples’ March).
“Kilos-Awit" is an artform developed and made popular by KM activists back
in the 60’s that continues to be a staple among rallies and protests
today. The performance spoke of the broad alliance-building among the
various social sectors of Filipino society during the Marcos dictatorship.
Another classic, "Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa", a poem by Andres Bonifacio
and that was made into a song by political prisoners in the 70s was sung
by Taospuso of SANDIWA National Filipino Youth Alliance and Tutz Saulon of
Kabalikat Domestic Workers Group. Peewee Recaido of the Kappa Pi
Fraternity played the guitar accompaniment.
The active role of Filipino women against the anti-dictatorship movement
such as the MAKIBAKA was also acknowledged. A witty but meaningful poem by
Gabriela-USA member Melanie Dulfo of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment
was delivered. Donnie Manuel, singer and songwriter, offered an acoustic
performance of “Kababaihan”, one of his compositions.
Martial Law Under Arroyo
After an emotional video documenting the EDSA Uprising of 1986 that
brought some audience members to tears, Anakbayan member Yves Nibungco and
NYCHRP members Gary Labao and Lolan Sevilla each spoke of the need to
continue the legacy of the FQS and EDSA 1 because martial law is still
present under the current regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"The Philippine movement still needs you, and younger generation of
activists need your wisdom and lessons learned from that time, because
there is still martial law in the Philippines today under Arroyo," stated
Community members were given the opportunity to share their own
experiences. Bebot Galvan of KABALIKAT Filipino Domestic Workers Support
Group delivered a testimony of her experiences as a teenager during the
martial law era. A Maranao, Potri Ranka Manis, spoke of her experiences
and treatment by the Philippine military while in detention. Clemencia
Wong, Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Philippine Nurses
Association of America (PNAA) also spoke of her experiences during the
1986 EDSA uprising even though she was already in the US. NY cardiologist
Dr. Orlando Apiado of the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP) spoke of
vibrant active anti-Marcos movement amongst Filipinos in New York City,
particularly when the late Senators Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Raul Manglapuz
and human rights lawyer Romeo Capulong all lived here. Another MFP member
New Jersey based Atty. Emerito Salud closed the event with another poem.
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
PAGBATI SA MGA KASAMA SA
by National Artists Prof.
Maalab na pagbati sa mga
beterano ng First Quarter Storm at sa mga kasama na nakabase sa Estados
It always warms the heart and
stirs dormant militancy when former comrades and new forces band together
to renew old ties and memories of struggle waged together.
The First Quarter Storm dealt
a stunning blow to the US-Marcos regime in 1970. It was at the same time
a wake-up call to all patriotic Filipinos to ra;;y around the red flag of
tbe National Democratic revolution.
Your reunion today is an
aauspicious occasion to recharge flagging spirits with the fervor that
made Mendiola a burning symbol of the Filipino masses’ march toward
In the years that followed
FQS, fascist repression and massive corruption that came with Martial Law
tested the courage, integrity and resolve of FQS veterans. Today, the
struggle continues, the utter ruthlessness and barefaced greed of the
us-Macapagal Arroyo regime challenging us to remain steadfast as
revolutionaries dedicated to the task of bringing national freedom and
democracy to our land.
hibang na pangako si Gloria Macapagal Arroyo sa naghaharing uri ng
Filipinas. Lilipulin daw niya ang armadong pakikibaka ng Kilusang
Pambansa Demokrasya bago matapos ang kanyang termino bilang Presidente.
Pinatindi ang malagim na panunupil ng AFP na nagpairal ng masaker,
pag-rereyd, at sapilitang pagdukot upang matupad ang kahibangang
ipinangako ng kanilang Commander in Chief.
Subalit malinaw na hindi mangyayari ang kahibangan ni
Gloria. At bibiguin natin ang mga pasista at bulok na burokrata, at sa
tulong ng mga makabayang Filipino sa U.S., kaya nating lansagin ang hibang
na diktadurang Macapagal-Arroyo. Makibaka, huwag matakot!