FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
Filipino Women and Allies Join One Billion Rising for Revolution to Demand Truth and Accountability from BS Aquino and Call for His Resignation
From February 8-16th, 2015 GABRIELA-USA, along with partner organizations and individuals, in cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose, Seattle, Portland and Washington DC joined the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign to end all forms of violence against women and children, through flashmob dance, educational discussion, community forums, and cultural sharings in their local Filipino communities. This year’s OBR call “Rise for Revolution” was a global call for women, survivors of violence and their allies to demand justice and celebrate women’s determination to create a new kind of consciousness- one where violence will be resisted until its unthinkable. GABRIELA USA members across the nation also rose to resist state repression and negligence as the BS Aquino administration amplifies its attacks on the Filipino people. In urging for Aquino’s resignation, we recognize and demand the need for systematic change in the Philippines.
In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the failure of Philippine President Noynoy Aquino to come out and be held accountable for the encounter in Mamasapano where 44 Special Action Forces policemen were killed, along with members of the MILF, civilians and children. This U.S. led operation is proof that the US “war on terror” continues at the expense of Filipino lives. Precious Butiui, Chairperson of GABRIELA Seattle says, “In this third year of participation in OBR, we are demanding truth and accountability for this bloody Mamasapano encounter and demand BS Aquino to stop covering up and to tell the truth and step down from his presidency!”
Just last week, Isidro Rodriguez, an illegal recruiter from the Philippines who has committed several crimes of human trafficking was spotted in Spain. It is evident that the Philippine government has not held traffickers accountable for their crimes, even with a mounting global campaign against Rodriguez. Pia Rivera of GABRIELA DC says, “Our members who are the Filipino trafficked survivors have been separated from their families, sent to the U.S. with broken promises and still face increasing debt. Rodriguez would not have been able to commit these crimes if it weren’t for the government’s Labor Export Policy which has continued to tear families apart. It is a policy that views the Filipino people as commodities and sources of remittances to uphold the failing economy.” The Aquino administration’s negligence proves that migrants are nothing but cash cows rather than human beings deserving of dignity and respect.
In New York City, Monique Wilson, the global director of One Billion Rising joined GABRIELA New York in their Pinay HERstories: “Migration to Liberation” event that reclaimed the Filipina narrative showing the resilience of Filipino migrant women and the power of community through stories, poetry, song and dance. Candice Sering, Chairperson of GABRIELA New York said, “We are dancing and rising for revolution because the Filipino people deserve to live a dignified life with adequate jobs, livable wages, housing and rights to land ownership.” For GABRIELA members in the US and the Philippines, the government is one of the worst perpetrators of violence against the livelihood of women and the security of their families’ ability to live full lives.
Lastly, in San Francisco, Pia Cortez, Co-chairperson of GABRIELA stated, “The murder of Jennifer Laude, a trans woman by a U.S marine soldier is an example of unequal relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. Until now, justice for Jennifer has not been served. Her death would not have been possible if Noynoy did not authorize and did not allow U.S. troops in the country through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.” The presence of U.S. military in Philippine soil has put the lives of women and children in danger, and US troops also endangers the lives of transgender people, as we have witnessed with the death of Jennifer Laude, and undoubtedly countless others. Cortez continued, “This is the same climate that we’re also seeing here in the United States, with the recent deaths of trans women of color.” Cortez makes the important global connection of trans-violence but also the need for resistance.
GABRIELA-USA calls on President BS Aquino to resign immediately due to the recent Mamasapano bloodbath and his continued failures, neglecting the Filipino people at home and abroad. We call on our global community to join the movement towards genuine freedom and liberation, and a world where women are free of all forms of violence imposed by a repressive imperialist system. Join us in commemorating International Working Women’s Day on March 8th as we continue to strengthen our collective resistance and power!
Hold the US-Aquino regime accountable for the bloody incident in Mamasapano!
Justice for Filipino Teachers and all victims of human trafficking! End the Labor Export Policy!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all victims of anti-trans violence!
Aquino Resign! Oust the US-Aquino regime!
Check out GABRIELA USA’s One Billion Rising Videos: