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!

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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Join GABRIELA in Demanding Justice for Filipina Trans-woman Jennifer Laude and Sign Online Petition!

FLYER for Oct 24 Day of ActionWATCH GABRIELA USA’S CALL FOR THE GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION:

http://youtu.be/-5OeIiWsgrg

GABRIELA USA received news this week that U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton accused of killing 26-year old Filipina transgender woman, Jennifer Laude in the Philippines, is now detained in Camp Aguinaldo under the “joint-custody” of both U.S. and Philippine authorities. We believe that both governments are making it appear that Pemberton is under Philippine authority because of the overwhelming pressure from the people. The U.S. still is not fully surrendering jurisdiction to the Philippine government and proper detention, investigation and justice has yet to be served.

Please join GABRIELA USA in sending a strong demand for justice for Jennifer, by signing the petition and encouraging others to support on this Global Day of Action.

SIGN ONLINE PETITION: http://wwwipetitions.com/petition/justice-for-filipina-trans-woman-jennifer-laude 

To: Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, US President Barack Obama, Senator John Kerry (U.S. Secretary of State), Secretary Albert Ferreros del Rosario (Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs), Secretary Leila De Lima (Philippine Department of Justice), Representative Adam Smith (House of Armed Services Committee), Senator Robert Mendez (Chair, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Harold Rogers (Chair, U.S. Committee on Appropriations), Philip Goldberg (U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines)

We are deeply saddened by the murder of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old transgender woman from the Philippines, and express our deepest condolences to Jennifer’s family and friends.  On October 11, Jennifer was found strangled to death in a hotel room in Olongapo City, Philippines.  An autopsy report has shown the cause of death as “asphyxia by drowning.”  The suspected murderer, U.S. Marine Corp PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, is currently being held in detention aboard the USS Peleliu warship in Subic Bay.  Her death, clearly the result of a violent hate crime towards transgender people, also underscores the ongoing inequality of joint US-RP agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which give US military personnel impunity, as such was the case with Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.

 Trans Lives Matter

Systemic violence and aggressive hate is a reality for LGBT people. Transgender people are treated as second-class citizens and their lives are systemically devalued and marginalized in economic, political, social, and cultural spheres of society. Transgender people such as Jennifer suffer from unspeakable violent acts and human rights abuses on everyday.

VFA is an Obstruction to Justice, Enforces Unequal Relations

At the same time, justice for Jennifer Laude hinges upon the treatment of the murder suspect in question, and under whose custody he will be placed and tried. The 2006 trial of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith underscored the special treatment of US military personnel who commit crimes on Philippine soil under the auspices of the VFA. Smith was charged and convicted of rape of a Filipina by the Makati City Regional Trial Court, was held at the US Embassy rather than a Philippine jail, and later acquitted and released by the Court of Appeals in 2009.

In Jennifer’s case, the VFA again poses as an obstruction to justice, with Pemberton still in the custody of the US military.

The tragic death comes just six months after President Obama visited Manila to sign a new agreement that expands the VFA and US military presence in the Philippines– the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

This observation of one-sidedness is reinforced by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says treaties entered into by the U.S. are not enforceable in the U.S. unless there is an implementing law or if the treaty is self-executing. The VFA, which was not even ratified as a treaty by the U.S. Senate, has neither an implementing law nor is self-executing. It is inequality, and an affront to sovereignty, when the VFA becomes enforceable in the Philippines but not in the U.S.

The Smith and Pemberton cases are just two of the many problems that have arisen from the VFA, a military pact that governs the entry and presence of American troops in Philippine territory. The VFA provides for, among others, the deployment and stationing of U.S. troops and the holding of joint military operations in the Philippines. Unknown to many, U.S. troops have been stationed in the Philippines since 2002 up to the present. The extent of U.S. deployment in the Philippines increased during George Bush’s discredited “war on terror.”

Funding Human Rights Violations Instead of Saving Jobs and Homes in the U.S.

The holding of U.S. military exercises is tied with providing military aid to the Philippines, with an annual $30 million allotted by the U.S. Congress and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in other assistance. The accumulated U.S. military funding for the Philippines from 2001 to the present may have already reached $1 billion.

Such a practice, however, becomes unconscionable when U.S. funding is used by a regime that – to borrow words from President Barack Obama- “clings to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent.” A 2008 US Senate Hearing led to cuts in US military funding to the Philippine government per documentary evidence involvement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in extrajudicial-killings, enforced disappearances, forced evacuation of rural communities, illegal detentions, and torture.

The VFA, despite the military exercises and aid, provides absolutely no short-term nor long-term benefits to the people of either the U.S. or the Philippines. Filipino citizens have staged an escalating number of protests to voice their opposition to the Agreement and its violation of Philippine sovereignty. Several Philippine senators have also filed a resolution calling for its abrogation.

The Obama administration has vowed a departure from the Bush foreign policies. Terminating the VFA and removing U.S. troops from the Philippines would be a step in that direction.

We demand:

  • That the Aquino government assert jurisdiction over the murder of transwoman Jennifer Laude by US Marine PFC Pemberton
  • That the Obama government immediately waive custody of US Marine PFC Pemberton to the Philippine authorities
  • That the lives of Transgender People be protected and valued, including the passing of Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination legislation that protects Transgender People in the Philippines and the US.
  • The termination of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement for being an unequal pact saddled with legal problems

JUSTICE FOR JENNIFER LAUDE!

STOP ANTI-LGBT VIOLENCE! TRANS-LIVES MATTER!

TERMINATE THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT!

END UNEQUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE U.S.!

END ALL HATE CRIMES AGAINST TRANSGENDER PEOPLE!

U.S. Marine Murders Filipino Trans Woman in the Philippines and Filipina-Americans Demand Justice!

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2014

Reference: Irma Bajar, Vice Chair of International Relations, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

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Filipina-American women under GABRIELA USA are outraged by the news of the murder of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old transgender woman from the Philippines. The suspected murderer, U.S. Marine Corp PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, was last seen checking into a hotel with Jennifer in Olongapo City, Philippines. Jennifer was later found strangled to death with her head plunged in a toilet bowl. Reminiscent of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith and the historic 2005 rape case of Nicole, Pemberton, suspected of murdering Jennifer, is currently being held in detention aboard a U.S. Navy ship instead of being turned over to Philippine authorities for proper investigation. GABRIELA USA demands accountability and justice for Jennifer’s life, as a trans woman who has fallen victim to U.S. militarization!

“Jennifer’s death is not only a direct impact of U.S. military presence in the Philippines, but her brutal murder further exposes the daily vulnerability of trans women who regularly suffer systemic violence and hate crimes in a patriarchal-imperialist system,” says Pia Cortez, Co-Chairperson of GABRIELA’s San Francisco chapter.

Despite the long history of Filipinos opposing U.S. military occupation in the Philippines and the ever-increasing number of state-sponsored human rights abuses tied to U.S. military occupation, President Aquino continues to hand over Philippine sovereignty by allowing more U.S. troops to occupy Philippine soil through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the recent Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). At a time when the Obama administration is heightening its position over the Asia Pacific region, more U.S. troops can only mean more cases of violence against women and children.

“Trans women like Jennifer are at a higher risk for violence because we live in a system that delegitimizes their lives,” says Irma Bajar of GABRIELA USA. “Just this summer in the U.S., 8 trans women of color fell victim to hate crimes and murders. Although there is an increase in violence towards trans people worldwide, little is ever done to protect their lives and hold perpetrators accountable. The murder of Jennifer is clearly a hate crime committed by U.S. military personnel, and he must be held accountable by the Philippine justice system!”

GABRIELA USA extends its sympathies to Jennifer’s family, and honors 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 be holding an action in New York and a vigil in San Francisco this Wednesday, October 15th to condemn the murder of Jennifer Laude, and demand for the swift turnover of the U.S. Marine to Philippine authorities.

Justice for Jennifer Laude!

Trans Lives Matter!

US Troops OUT of the Philippines!

JUNK THE VFA!

Scrap EDCA!

Join us to Demand Justice for Jennifer in New York and San Francisco:

NEW YORK

Contact: Irma Bajar, irmabajar@gmail.com, 206-321-2931

Wednesday, October 15th, 5 PM

Action and Rally in front of the Philippine Embassy

556 Fifth Avenue, New York

Organized by: BAYAN Queer Caucus, GABRIELA New York, and Barangay New York- LGBTQ Pin@ys

SAN FRANCISCO

Contact: Pia Cortez, priscilla.crtz@gmail.com, 650-296-3518

Wednesday, October 15th, 6 PM

Community Vigil at Union Square (at Dewey Monument)

333 Post Street, San Francisco

Organized by: GABRIELA San Francisco and BAYAN Bay Area Regional Caucus

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