Filipino Women Against Modern Day Slavery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 18, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, GABRIELA USA National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Filipino Women Against Modern Day Slavery

The article written by Alex Tizon regarding the story of Eudocia Pulido and her forced migration and exploitation as a modern day slave in the United States highlights the current conditions of Filipino women. Eudocia Pulido’s story cannot be understood outside of the context of the Philippine society and history rooted in U.S. imperialism and neoliberal economic policies that have caused the systemic suffering of many underpaid domestic helpers like Lola.

The Philippines is one of the largest labor exporters in the world with 6,000 Filipinos—60% women—leaving the country every single day to work, because of rampant poverty, joblessness, and landlessness. Lured to apply for positions that do not exist, promised legal status and wages, and instead becoming undocumented, drowning in debt, and isolated in a foreign country — thousands of OFWs end up working in virtual slavery. Recruiters and employment agencies take advantage of their workers, by charging exorbitant fees and loans and threatening their workers with deportation or physical violence to the workers and their families. Living in fear and with no place to go, many OFWs endure the discrimination, abuse, and exploitation in order to survive.

It is important that we do not whitewash the writer’s parents’ and family’s crimes of slavery, imprisonment, and trafficking. Alex Tizon’s account of Eudocia Pulido’s story does not exonerate him from his family’s complicity in the abuse and exploitation of another human being. And we also must recognize this particular experience is not an isolated one, and stems from the Philippines’ feudal patriarchal and imperialist structure. The commodification and exploitation of generations of Filipina women continues to be an inherent effect of the ever worsening conditions–conditions which will persist and generate many more Eudocia’s until comprehensive and fundamental socio-economic and political changes are made to address the root causes of the country’s poverty.

Members of GABRIELA USA continue to take action and call for an end to the exploitative system in the Philippines and denounce the Philippine government for its neglect of its own people within the country and lack of protection of OFWs abroad. In addition, we uplift the voices of Filipino migrant women to tell their own stories. GABRIELA USA seeks to empower migrant women to know and understand their rights, to fight back against oppression and exploitation, and to participate in the movement for national democracy in the Philippines. If you are moved by Lola’s story we encourage you to join a chapter of GABRIELA USA and join the fight against feudal-patriarchy and the systems of power that allow women like Lola to be forced into exploitation.

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Filipinas in the U.S. March on May Day for Protection and Dignity for Immigrants and Workers

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

On May 1, 2017, GABRIELA USA chapters in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New Jersey and New York City mobilized alongside thousands of immigrants and workers to demand safety, dignity and access to basic rights under an anti-immigrant and anti-worker Trump administration. In light of increasing criminalization of immigrants, through the implementation of Trump’s fascist policies of immigration bans and building border walls, GABRIELA USA insists on upholding humane legislation such as sanctuary laws for undocumented immigrants and protection for immigrants in detention and deportation proceedings. At the same time, the alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations also upholds the rights of workers in this country and globally–for a living wage, dignity and respect in the workplace, and access to decent jobs.

Filipinas, both immigrants and children of immigrants, marched side by side with other immigrant communities to underscore the significant contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy today and historically. With placards, banners, and speeches about modern day colonialism and imperialism, members connect the violence of U.S. war and occupation abroad to the trends of migration to the U.S. Trump is calling for a $58 billion increase for the Defense Department dedicating half to military spending, while cutting his federal budget on housing, education, healthcare, women’s reproductive health, and organizations that provide support for domestic violence survivors. Trump and his administration is exposes themselves in not prioritizing low-income women of color, immigrant women workers, trans and gender nonconforming people and our children who will bear the brunt of the harm of these policies.

Filipinos make up one of the largest Asian American immigrant communities in the U.S.–they also make up a formidable number of migrant workers employed in essential industries like healthcare, domestic work, construction, and education. Filipino women are also victims of human trafficking in these industries. GABRIELA women demand and say no to war because women are the victims of crimes promoted by the U.S. wars abroad and at home including murder, rape, harassment and other sexual abuses, and human trafficking. GABRIELA USA has been at the forefront of demanding justice for Filipino immigrants who have been exploited without recourse from the U.S. and Philippine governments.


Representing Filipinos who are working in low-wage industries and also professional sectors, GABRIELA USA members marched for dignified and respectable working conditions. Nationally, members are waging and supporting campaigns on livable wages, wage theft, and an end to human trafficking and forced migration. GABRIELA USA calls our community, families, and our allies to RISE, RESIST, and UNITE: RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization, and UNITE for self-determination and liberation for all oppressed peoples. With the demand to protect and preserve the dignity of immigrants and workers, mass organizations remain committed to organizing in our communities and among the ranks of working women in order to advance the struggles of workers and all the oppressed. On May Day and everyday, GABRIELA USA stands with immigrant communities and workers whose labor, skills, and contributions advance the U.S. economy, allowing society to run and function daily.

 

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GABRIELA USA Statement on the Court of Appeals conviction of Pemberton for killing Jennifer Laude

GABRIELA USA Statement on the Court of Appeals conviction of Pemberton for killing Jennifer Laude
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA welcomes the Philippines Court of Appeals decision to uphold the conviction of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton. Jennifer Laude, a 26 year-old trans Filipina was brutally killed by Pemberton, a U.S. Marine in 2014. A victim of militarization, justice for Jennifer remained delayed as Pemberton has been given special treatment under onerous provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and remained in U.S. custody. The VFA, perpetuates a culture of violence and interferes with Philippine sovereignty by allowing special treatment for U.S. troops as well as hindering the Philippines court justice system.

Jennifer Laude’s death remains a pivotal example of the continuous atrocities inflicted on the Filipino people as their dignity remains secondary to the needs of the U.S. under unequal defense agreements such as the VFA and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).  With the decision to uphold the conviction of Pemberton, GABRIELA USA demands that more concrete be taken to uphold the national sovereignty of the Philippines as well as end the unequal defense treaties which continue the culture of violence against women and the Filipino people.

GABRIELA USA continues to extend our sympathies to Jennifer’s family, and honor the lives of all trans people who have fallen victim to a system that does not value trans lives and perpetuates a culture of violence. While state violence and repression continues in our communities, we must RISE against anti-trans violence, RESIST the militarization of our communities, and UNITE for the liberation, safety , and self-determination for all women.

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GABRIELA USA Continues Revolutionary Spirit and Uphold Legacy of International Working Women’s Day

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, GABRIELA USA Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

March 8th, 2017 marks the commemoration of 108th Anniversary of International Working Women’s Day (IWWD) around the world, and here in the US millions are striking and taking action amidst the oppressive political climate that devalues women.

This IWWD, GABRIELA USA, an overseas chapter of GABRIELA National Alliance in the Philippines, with local organizations in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, and Washington DC, will join millions nationwide to RISE against Fascism, RESIST militarization, and UNITE for Liberation.

As violence escalates against our communities, we will not stay silent or live in fear. As Filipino women we vow to rise against neoliberal and anti-people policies that pit communities against each other. We will stand with our Muslim, Black, and immigrant brothers and sisters, and all women who hold communities together and are fighting for their lives. We rise with our trans and gender nonconforming youth and communities as we see the blatant attacks.

We resist the Trump administration which caters to the rich at the expense of the majority of the people. We refuse to accept policies that further oppress women, working class families, and immigrants. Internationally, we know that our struggles are ultimately tied to one another, as is our liberation. Women will never be free until we take down the capitalist economy, which is the root of the crisis that plagues us all and which spurs imperialist wars of aggression.

GABRIELA USA affirms our commitment to build a militant women’s movement towards people’s emancipation. We must RISE to defend our countries from foreign aggression, RESIST militarization and defend our sovereignty and UNITE towards national and social liberation. Let us continue to uphold the legacy of March 8 International Working Women’s Day and build our collective resistance to end all forms of violence against the people, including state repression, fascism, militarization and wars of aggression.

GABRIELA Washington, D.C. Stands with Muslim and Immigrant Communities in Fighting U.S. Fascism and Imperialism

For Immediate Release
January 26, 2017
Reference: Sylvia Guerrero, Co-Chairperson GABRIELA D.C. info@gabrieladc.org

GABRIELA Washington, D.C. stands with Muslim, migrant and refugee communities in calling for the D.C. City Council members to support communities under attack by U.S. President Trump’s anti-people policies. In less than one week in office, President Trump has issued executive orders that essentially target vulnerable communities as the new administration aims to limit and ban entry of persons into the U.S. from countries that are predominantly Muslim, and instead invest more funding in law enforcement and military spending. The executive orders announced yesterday on January 25, 2017, include a $26 billion tax-payer dollars towards a border “wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border, a 50,000 cap on the number of refugees to be admitted into the U.S. for 2017, an increase in safe zones in the U.S., and budget cuts on Sanctuary city programs.

The new administration claims the executive orders are efforts to address the security needs of the U.S. in fear of foreign-born nationals who are presumed to be the biggest threat to the nation and have been labeled as “terrorists.” During Trump’s presidential campaign he also labeled Filipinos as “animals” from “terrorists” nations. While these blatant remarks against immigrants have stirred widespread fear and repression among communities, these executive orders only prove who the real “bully” is.

“With over 6,000 Filipinos leaving our home country every day, we as migrants are pushed out of our country, because there is poverty, landlessness, unemployment, and lack of national industrialization where we came from. Essentially we are forced to migrate and seek jobs abroad just to put food on the table and send money back to our families,” stated Janet Gardose, Vice-Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

In the Philippines, social-economic conditions are impacted by U.S. intervention and militarization. The Philippine government is a puppet regime of the U.S., implementing its own imperialist agenda in the country. Instead of focusing on pro-people policies that would promote economic and social sustainability, the Philippine administration has a history of prioritizing U.S. interests before its own people. As one of the largest recipients of U.S. military aid/funding and with thousands of U.S. troops being deployed to the Philippines (even more than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined), the Philippines is used as a base for the U.S. to protect its own gains, such as natural resources, goods, and products in our country and corporate interests in the Asia-Pacific region. “U.S. Imperialism remains the “bully” in our homelands and the number one threat to the Filipino people,” sited Jo Quiambao, Secretary-General of GABRIELA D.C.

In countries, like Syria, Iran, and Yemen, whose people now face a ban of entry in the U.S. are also countries that have experienced and suffered through wars of aggression, fully supported by the U.S. government. While Trump plans to ban people from these countries, it is important to be reminded that the U.S., with previous administrations before, has implemented airstrikes, drone attacks, and deployed thousands of military to these nations. The true threat is and has been U.S. Imperialist power advancing its global, capitalist agenda by repressing people using fascist tactics to divide and conquer, to secure its own advances by feeding the US’s war agenda here and abroad.

GABRIELA D.C., recognizes that the anti-people policies of the Trump administration will only exacerbate attacks on Muslim and immigrant communities – increasing the threat of arrests, deportation, discrimination, and violence. GABRIELA members are in solidarity with other immigrant and Muslim communities in calling for a firm commitment from the D.C. City Council and D.C. Mayor Bowser in making D.C. a Sanctuary City for all. With the strong urgency for immigrants, workers, and the most marginalized in our communities to keep organizing and be protective in the face of such attacks in Washington, D.C., the D.C.City Council must also take a stand to protect vulnerable peoples. As GABRIELA D.C. we call on local and national organizations to keep advancing social justice, people’s movement work in educating and mobilizing our people and strive to form a stronger united front with allies against U.S. Imperialism both here in the district and abroad.

Long Live International Solidarity!
Ang Tao, Ang Bayan! Ngayon Ay Lumalaban!
The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

GABRIELA USA mobilizes with millions nationwide at the Women’s March

For Immediate Release
January 23, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

On January 21st, GABRIELA USA mobilized with millions of people across the nation in the Women’s March, the biggest one-day protest in U.S. history, and raised their collective voice under the banner of RISE, RESIST, UNITE. In Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C, GABRIELA USA members alongside allies took to the streets with power and grit in protest of Trump, reminding the world that “Women Hold up Half the Sky.”

Trump’s presidency and the rise of neo-fascism in the U.S. is an effect of the crisis of the current capitalist system and neoliberal policies, which puts people’s rights and welfare secondary to what will create profit. Trump and his administration have proposed plans to cut healthcare, specifically to cut funds that go to women’s reproductive health and plans to eliminate all Department of Justice grants – amounting to nearly 500 million dollars – that support cases of violence against women. GABRIELA USA recognizes that it is low-income women of color, immigrant women workers, Trans and Gender non-conforming people and our children that will bear the brunt of the harm that these policies inflict.

Trump’s administration will continue to fuel the crisis of a global imperialist system and its effect on countries around the world — poverty, hunger, homelessness, gentrification, militarization, state-sponsored violence, unemployment, and lack of access to basic necessities such as clean water, food, shelter, education, and healthcare. Trump has already signed an executive order that reinstates a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options whose work is associated with abortion in any way.

“Unity is the only way forward and will be our protection for one another in resisting a Trump presidency. We must not be fooled and lose sight of the real enemy that wants to divide us here at home, and blind us from what it is doing to the people in other countries. We must Rise, Resist, Unite!” said Chairperson Irma Shauf-Bajar at the Women’s March in Oakland.

GABRIELA USA will continue to organize in our communities and stands in solidarity with our allies to fight against U.S. imperialism, fascism, and the current capitalist system. GABRIELA USA urges all people to join an organization and continue to take action beyond this weekend’s protests.

RISE against Fascism, RESIST Militarization, and UNITE for Liberation!

GABRIELA USA DENOUNCES VIOLENT DISPERSAL OF NATIONAL MINORITIES

GABRIELA USA denounces the violent dispersal of the protest action led by National Minorities at the US Embassy in Manila on the morning of 10/19.

SANDUGO, a newly formed alliance of National Minorities (peoples indigenous to the Philippines) fighting against militarization of their communities and foreign plunder of their resources held a peaceful protest outside of the US Embassy. At the end of their rally and as groups were preparing to leave, they were met by members of Philippine National Police (PNP) who began spraying tear gas, attacking protesters with truncheons and arresting resisting protesters, including minors. The violence continued as a police van aggressively drove into the contingent several times, running over several. At least 50 people were injured.

The violent dispersal shows the fascist and mercenary character of the PNP.

GABRIELA USA is outraged by this brazen act of violence and demands that Col. Marcelino Pedrozo and his policemen be held accountable for the violent dispersal of a peaceful assembly of national minorities calling for land, rights and just peace.

GABRIELA USA Remembers Jennifer Laude and Demand Justice

Filipina American women of GABRIELA USA remember Jennifer Laude on the 2nd anniversary of her murder by U.S. Soldier Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton. GABRIELA USA demands accountability and justice for Jennifer’s life, a trans woman who has fallen victim to U.S. militarization!

“We urge President Duterte to order the immediate transfer of Pemberton to a Philippine prison and keep his word of protecting the Filipino people. We are hopeful that the president will defend Philippine sovereignty by not allowing U.S. troops to occupy Philippine soil through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA),” states Irma Shauf-Bajar, chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

GABRIELA USA continues to extend our sympathies to Jennifer’s family, and honor the lives of all trans people who have fallen victim to a system that does not value trans lives and perpetuates a culture of violence. GABRIELA USA will continue to educate, organize, and mobilize our communities and allies to demand for the swift turnover of the U.S. Marine to Philippine authorities.

Video:GABRIELA USA Remembers Jennifer Laude

​Justice for Jennifer Laude!
Trans Lives Matter!
US Troops OUT of the Philippines!
JUNK THE VFA!
Scrap EDCA!

GABRIELA USA Says Women’s Issues Are Not a Joke!

For Immediate Release
September 29, 2016
Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

Stop NBC’s “Mail Order Family” Comedy!
SIGN PETITION NOW!

Exploitation and violence against Filipino women is not entertainment! NBC’s “Mail Order Family” is slated as a half hour “comedy” following a widower who purchased a mail order bride from the Philippines. “Mail Order Family” is the most recent example of how the exploitation and violence women face is normalized in U.S. mainstream media. The mail order bride industry in the Philippines is rooted in historical U.S. colonial occupation of the Philippines, feudal-patriarchal view of Filipinas, and current neo-colonial economic policies that have impoverished the Filipino people.

Mail order-brides are vulnerable to violence because of the fundamentally unequal nature and imbalance of power where money is exchanged for an arranged marriage. Many mail-order brides become vulnerable to violence because they may be financially dependent on their husband, are isolated in a foreign country, and husbands can easily threaten them with deportation.

We remember Susana Blackwell, a Filipina mail-order bride who was shot and killed at point blank along with two of her Filipina friends by her abusive husband at a divorce proceeding in 1995 in Seattle. Members of GABRIELA Seattle have participated in an annual vigil for the past several years, remembering the lives of Susana Blackwell and her unborn child, as well as Phoebe Dizon and Veronica Laurete Johnson–Blackwell’s two friends who were also killed. “Human trafficking of mail order brides and outright abuse and murder of Filipinas here in the U.S. must not be forgotten and must end,” stated Precious Butiu, GABRIELA Seattle member and GABRIELA USA National Executive Officer.

GABRIELA USA condemns NBC for making light of the exploitation and violence against Filipino women via the mail order bride system and calls for the immediate cancellation of “Mail Order Family.”

We acknowledge that the widespread poverty that forces Filipina women to leave their homeland and become mail order brides is rooted in the colonial history of the country and the continued domination of the Philippine economy and politics by US imperialism, which has impeded the social and economic development of the Philippines. GABRIELA USA calls for an end to the unequal and neo-colonial relationship between the Philippines and the U.S.

CANCEL NBC’S “MAIL ORDER FAMILY” NOW!
FILIPINAS ARE NOT FOR SALE!
EXPLOITATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST FILIPINAS IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT!
STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!

GABRIELA USA SAYS NO TO MARCOS HERO BURIAL

For Immediate Release
September 08, 2016
Contact: Pyxie Castillo, Dep. Secretary General, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA stands with our kababayan around the globe to tell President Duterte to steer away from Marcosian solutions in leading the nation, and that Ferdinand Marcos is the wrong person to emulate or even honor with a hero’s burial.

The Marcos dictatorship continues to impact the Philippines today. Marcos’ plunder, corruption, and countless acts of human rights violations stands as his legacy amongst the Filipino people and all who know the history of and who lived through Martial Law in the Philippines.

“There are many members of GABRIELA who were victims of Martial Law and among the countless Filipino women who were wrongly tortured and imprisoned. There were many of our family and friends who were killed because of the Marcos dictatorship. Leaving their children and families behind without apology or explanation,” said Irma Bajar, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

To give Marcos a hero’s burial tells the wrong message to our future generations. To bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) is to whitewash his crimes against the Filipino people. We must not allow his tyranny, disrespect for due process and the rule of law, torture and deaths of thousands, and corruption to be glossed over.

No to Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani!
Marcos Is No Hero!