GABRIELA USA Commemorates Jennifer Laude’s Death Anniversary With Nationwide Screenings of “Call Her Ganda,” Calls On Filipino Americans to Resist Duterte and U.S. Military Occupation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

 

GABRIELA USA Commemorates Jennifer Laude’s Death Anniversary With Nationwide Screenings of “Call Her Ganda,” Calls On Filipino Americans to Resist Duterte and U.S. Military Occupation

Community Screening in Los Angeles, California

 

U.S.A. — On October 11th, the four year anniversary of Jennifer Laude’s death, GABRIELA USA held screenings and discussions of PJ Raval’s documentary, Call Her Ganda, in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Seattle. The screenings were part of GABRIELA USA’s larger campaign: RISE Against Fascism, RESIST Militarization, UNITE for Self-Determination!

 

Jennifer Laude, 26-year-old Filipina trans woman murdered by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in Olongapo, Philippines, drew international attention to the unpopular occupation of the United States military and the epidemic of violence against women in the Philippines.

 

In the ensuing fight for justice for Jennifer Laude, GABRIELA USA exposes and condemns the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military pact that governs the entry and presence of American troops in Philippine territory. As seen in the case of Laude, the VFA works to grant US troops immunity from prosecution under Philippine law, enforce unequal relations between the US and Philippines, trample on Philippine sovereignty, and expand militarization to the detriment of human rights.

 

“We must rise against fascism, resist militarization, and unite for self-determination, especially in the face of deepening dictatorship under Duterte, whose fascist rule is funded directly by Trump’s pro-war, pro-occupation administration and $184.5 million in U.S. tax dollars,” says Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA. “The mass protests following Jennifer Laude’s brutal death and the high profile attempts by the United States military to circumvent the Philippine legal infrastructure on behalf of her murderer, Pemberton, are a reminder that the Filipino people, including Filipinos in the United States, must continue to fight tyranny, its foreign backers, and vile policies that allow for US occupation like the VFA.”

 

During the screenings, GABRIELA USA chapters held panel discussions to reflect on the film, Jennifer’s life, and justice for her murder as it relates to the roles the US government and Duterte’s dictatorship play in perpetuating violence in the Philippines.

Community Screening in New York City followed by panel discussion with director, PJ Raval
“It hurts still to think about Jennifer Laude, the rage and thought that she and many other Jennifers aren’t coming back to us,” said Jill Mangaliman, Gabriela Seattle member, after watching Call Her Ganda at the GABRIELA USA community screening. “We remember her murder at the hands of U.S corporal Scott Pemberton, her death which galvanized a movement for justice, for Trans rights, and to end the VFA and all forms of US imperialism in the Philippines. My heart breaks every time i see your face, sister Jennifer, but I remain determined.”
Community Screening in San Francisco

GABRIELA USA will continue to sponsor Call Her Ganda screenings and community forums nationwide to commemorate Jennifer Laude and demand for her justice. We invite our community to join us in fighting for Jennifer.

Upcoming screening includes:

October 17, Washington D.C. with Director, PJ Raval

November 20, Portland, Oregon on Trans Day of Resilience/Remembrance

GABRIELA USA says #BelieveSurvivors and RISE, RESIST and UNITE against Macho-Fascists Duterte, Trump, and Kavanaugh!

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2018
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA says #BelieveSurvivors and RISE, RESIST and UNITE against Macho-Fascists Duterte, Trump, and Kavanaugh!

 

GABRIELA USA is in solidarity with survivors speaking out against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. This week Dr. Christine Blasey Ford faces the accused Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee of the United States. Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct including accusations of attempted rape and repeated sexual assault. As Filipino women with the most anti-women and macho-fascist president in Philippine History, we unite against macho-fascism through the #BabaeAko #LalabanAko (tagalog for I Am Woman, I Will Fight) campaign. We support all oppressed women and their communities who resist the continuing macho-fascist regimes of Duterte and Trump, which includes their cronies who allow their anti-people, anti-women, and fascist policies to continue. We urge women and all people to RISE, RESIST, and UNITE against macho-fascists Duterte and Trump, and against those like Kavanaugh who serve to uphold the macho-fascists in power.  

 

GABRIELA Washington, D.C. Resists Duterte’s Machismo-Fascist Dictatorship! Never Again, Never Again, Never Again to Martial Law!

For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2018
GABRIELA Washington, D.C. Resists Duterte’s Machismo-Fascist Dictatorship! Never Again, Never Again, Never Again to Martial Law!
Contact: Ayah Manalastas, General-Secretary, ayah@gabrieladc.org

In remembering Martial Law under Marcos’ regime, GABRIELA Washington, D.C. remembers the role of women in the struggle for national democracy. During Marcos’ regime, women were arrested, tortured, and killed, especially student activists, peasant women, urban poor women, and women who chose to rise against fascism and tyranny. Today women in the Philippines and in the U.S. continue to rise, resist, and unite against Duterte’s fascist dictatorship.

Under his current regime women’s political, social, economic, and cultural rights have consistently been violated and women remain under attack. In the countryside women farmers and their families fear losing their lands, which are being threatened by state military that are supported by U.S. military assistance to the Philippines. In the urban area, women workers with the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Nutriasia Marilao experienced violent dispersals as the company’s management is backed by Philippine National police (PNP). Women have also lost their children and spouses in the Duterte’s War on Drugs, or Oplan Tokhang. Additionally, with the high inflation in the economy and the increase of prices of basic commodities, women and families are feeling the burden of the tax reform, or TRAIN, laws being implemented under Duterte. These are some of the overall impacts of Duterte’s repressive regime on women.

Duterte’s ongoing remarks regarding women, especially his recent jokes about rape, continue to dehumanize women. As quoted in the recent New York Time article he stated, “They said there are many rape cases in Davao,” the president said. “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.” These remarks are blatant attacks on our women, and further create a culture of impunity and excuse perpetrators committing such crimes, and only to encourage violence against women. Duterte has only put more women in danger with his remarks and attitude, because they further reinforce a feudal-patriarchal culture in Philippine society. When attacks on women become part of mainstream life, it affirms systemic oppression of women and children, making us and our communities more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in our home country and abroad.

With these conditions and attacks and as GABRIELA women, we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We stand with MALAYA Movement and our communities represented here today in Washington, D.C. to resist and bring down this repressive, macho-fascist regime! We affirm our commitment to organize and mobilize for national democracy, and true liberation of our women, of all Filipinos, and our motherland.

GABRIELA USA Calls for Urgent Relief Aid for Survivors of Typhoon Mangkhut

GABRIELA USA calls on community support and stands ready to coordinate relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) in the Philippines. Super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall as a super typhoon in the Philippines on September 15, drenching the country’s main northern island of Luzon.

 

At least 95 people have died and more than 4 million Filipinos have been affected, half of whom are children. Many are still missing from a devastating landslide, and the death toll will only continue to rise.

 

GABRIELA-USA turns to our community members and organizations in the U.S. for support in providing relief to displaced families in the Philippines. Our reliable and reputable partner organizations have long-standing history in serving the communities mostly affected by disasters, both natural and those aggravated by government plunder. During this heightened macho-fascist regime of Duterte, we rely on our networks of community health workers, social workers, organizers and volunteers to provide swift response to the needs of Filipinos in the Northern Philippines.   

 

How to Donate:

To ensure aid reaches the Philippines as fast as possible, GABRIELA USA is collecting and remitting monetary donations in partnership with Lingap GABRIELA, the relief project of GABRIELA Philippines. Your donations will go quickly and directly to the communities adversely affected by the typhoon.  

 

You can send monetary donations to GABRIELA USA the following ways (with note, “Typhoon Mangkhut Relief donation”):

  • Venmo @gabrielausa
  • To your local GABRIELA organization and chapter organizing committees
  • By check, payable to GABRIELA USA, mail to Precious Arney, 1033 S. 112th Street, Burien, WA 98168

 

Maraming Salamat in your continued support and rebuilding of Filipino Communities in Northern Luzon.

Filipino American Women Outraged by the Removal of ‘ Comfort Women’ Statue in the Philippines

For Immediate Release

April 30, 2018

Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

 

Filipino American Women Outraged by the Removal of ‘ Comfort Women’ Statue in the Philippines

 

Like a thief in the night, the Philippine government insidiously dismantled and covertly removed a bronze statue facing Manila Bay on Roxas Boulevard, effectively removing one of the rare monuments that symbolized and honored the Filipino WWII “Comfort Women,” affectionately called “Lolas.” More than 400,000 women and girls across the Pacific, from Korea, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines, were forced into sex camps and violently made to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII.

 

GABRIELA USA strongly condemns the removal of the “Comfort Woman” statue, a memorial that was established due to the hard-fought struggle of women’s rights advocates, historians, and activists. The Philippine government workers claimed in Kyodo News that the memorial was removed so that pipes could be laid underground and claimed that they would return the monument afterward, which is dubious considering the government did not inform any of the stakeholders of the statue’s removal. And yet, according to the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the Philippine government had notified the embassy of its intention to remove the statue that was erected in December 2017. The embassy had protested the statue and demanded it be taken down since its erection, and Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alan Cayetano, said in The Japan Times: “The Philippines cannot strengthen its relationship with Japan if it keeps inflaming a matter that is considered ‘settled.'” This response from Cayetano is factually false and incorrect on all accounts: to this day, the Japanese government has not sincerely or legally issued an official apology to the “Comfort Women,” and the Lolas of the Philippines never received official reparations for their suffering during WWII.

 

Below is a testament from a GABRIELA Oakland member, Melissa R. Sipin:

 

When I visited the moving monument last month in March, I was taken by the statue’s representation of Filipina strength and resilience. The seven-feet bronze sculpture depicted a blindfolded woman in Maria Clara traditional Filipiniana gown in mourning. And yet, standing against the Manila Bay with her head held high, facing the city toward the Japanese Embassy down the road, her strength and resilience was embodied in her fierce stance.

 

The inscription beneath her read: “This monument is a reminder of the Filipino women who were victims of abuses during the occupation of the Japanese forces from 1942-1945. It took a while before they came out into the open to tell their stories.”

 

One of those women, the wife of Major Diego Sipin of the joint Philippine-American army in Northern Luzon, was my own paternal grandmother, my adoptive mother. My grandmother and her sister were held against their own wills in a garrison in Agoo, La Union, where the war first broke out in the Philippines on the Lingayen Gulf. My grandmother was held over six months and gave birth in captivity. She unfortunately died with this secret, and I did not learn of her suffering until her funeral, when my grand aunts came forward during the processional and professed what happened to her and their other sister, who also passed away without ever receiving compensation from the Japanese government.

 

The Philippine government’s removal of the Comfort Woman statue without informing any of the the human rights groups who have fought valiantly to defend the Lolas’ dignity and right to justice, reiterates their complete erasure of what happened to the “Comfort Women” and what happens to countless women during times of war and conflict. Members of GABRIELA USA condemn this violent erasure and constant attack against women and our human rights.

 

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FILIPINO WOMEN RISE, RESIST, and UNITE IN HONOR OF WORKING WOMEN

For Immediate Release

March 8, 2018

Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

 

FILIPINO WOMEN RISE, RESIST, and UNITE IN HONOR OF WORKING WOMEN

On the 110th Anniversary of International Working Women’s Day, GABRIELA USA honors the working women of the world. We recognize the impact and effort of working women who sacrifice daily for their families, their children, and for themselves to survive in a system that continually exploits and oppresses working women of color and TGNC people. In the Philippines’ semi-feudal and semi-colonial society and culture that inherits these ideals, Filipino women are made to exist as secondary. Filipino women are bound twice in a nation struggling for freedom, from the cities to the countryside in the Philippines and abroad, Filipino women are unbound as they commit themselves to the struggle and RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization and UNITE for self-determination.

 It is clear the U.S.-Duterte regime is the enemy of the people, as it upholds the system that continues to deepen the suffering of the Filipino people, women and children. It is macho-fascist President Duterte and imperialist puppeteer U.S. President Trump, whose orders and actions have revealed their insidious anti-women, anti-people policies. We cannot accept a future dictated by the U.S.-Duterte regime and must resist their macho-fascist attacks on the people.

GABRIELA USA recognizes the Amazonas, women freedom fighters, who have rejected the system given and who sacrifice their lives daily to fight and build a society of a new-type. We recognize the OFWs, Overseas Filipino Workers, a majority of whom are Filipino women who sacrifice seeing their families and children grow because they are pushed overseas to survive. We recognize the Filipino women, TGNC people, and those in solidarity who have decided to be on the people’s side of history and answer the call to RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization and UNITE for self-determination.

MAPAGPALAYANG PANDAIGDIGANG ARAW NG MGA KABABAIHAN!


RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization, UNITE for self-determination

Abante, Babae! Palaban Militante!

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Filipino Women RISE, RESIST, and UNITE Against Fascism on Trump’s Inaugural Anniversary

For Immediate Release

January 22, 2017

Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

 

Filipino Women RISE, RESIST, and UNITE
Against Fascism on Trump’s Inaugural Anniversary

 

On January 20, 2018 GABRIELA USA, member organization of the International Women’s alliance, and their members joined hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S who took to the streets in protest of U.S. President Trump’s first year in office. In contingents representing working women of color joined by their children, families  and allies marched under the banner “RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization, UNITE for self-determination.”

Newly established chapter GABRIELA Oakland and allies at Women’s March Oakland  

GABRIELA USA and our allies united to fight against Trump and his monopoly capitalist administration that has implemented neoliberal policies this past year that have gravely impacted  the working class. We have witnessed attacks and scapegoating of immigrants, Muslims, Black and brown people, women and children. From the U.S. to the Philippines to Palestine and throughout the globe, we are witnessing the ever-worsening crisis of a global imperialist system. Post Trump’s visit in Asia, it is clear that the U.S- Duterte regime is a fascist regime that is attempting to crush the people’s movement, but the People’s resistance is growing and strong despite the repression and many women are rising up!

 

GABRIELALos Angeles at Women’s March Los Angeles

 

GABRIELA New York at J20 Rally in Grand Central Station

“We must be in solidarity for justice for working women, trans-women, and families of color who are constantly being attacked, harassed, and displaced from their homes in cities across the U.S., for the indigenous women and families being violently pushed off their land in the U.S., in the Philippines, in occupied Palestine and around the globe due to war and militarization. We must uproot the system that oppresses and exploits us. We must build a  women’s movement that fights for the genuine liberation of all oppressed people.” Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA.

GABRIELA Portland with International League of People’s Struggle at March for Impeachment

As imperialist interests are increasing in its aggression, working-class women and their families have to bear the costs and impacts of a system that profits from the exploitation of the majority. It is our duty to raise the analysis on the issue of violence against women, expanding it beyond a gender issue, and highlighting the economic, political, and cultural aspects by connecting how imperialism perpetuates and worsens violence against women in all its forms.

GABRIELA New Jersey with Anakbayan NJ and International Migrants’ Alliance hold Labor Export Policy Educational Discussion

GABRIELA USA urges all people to join us for One Billion Rising as we continue to carry out our  RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization, UNITE for self-determination campaign on February 14th and on March 8th, International Working Women’s Day.

 

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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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