Pinoy activists in US join clamor to probe martial law imposition

GMANews.TV


Pinoy activists in US join clamor to probe martial law imposition

MARCONI CALINDAS, GMANews.TV
Article posted December 16, 2009 – 09:32 PM
Calls to investigate the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao have spread among overseas Filipinos even days after the edict was lifted.

Human rights activists in the US have joined the growing clamor to hold President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for placing the southern Philippine province under military rule in response to the gruesome November 23 massacre, which left at least 57 people, including 30 journalists, dead.

At least eight major Filipino-American groups recently staged a protest action in California in front of a US Federal building in downtown San Francisco, shouting slogans and carrying posters that said, “Never again to Martial Law.”

Members and supporters of the League of Filipino Students, Babae-San Francisco, Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Anakbayan-Eastbay, GABRIELA-USA, and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, attended the two-hour rally.

Ivy Climacosa of BABAE-USA said their group is denouncing Arroyo’s declaration of martial law and called on the US Congress to cut its financial aid, which she said “bankrolls the Arroyo regime’s atrocities.”

GABRIELA-USA chair Raquel Redondiez added, “We’re in the middle of an economic crisis in the US. Instead of funding the Philippine Death Squads, our hard-earned tax dollars should be used to provide much needed jobs and social services to communities in the US.”

Anakbayan’s Katie Joaquin also said that the declaration of martial law was Arroyo’s ploy to stay in power and cover up her administration’s role in the massacre in Maguindanao.

The primary suspects in the massacre include leading members of the Ampatuan clan who also hold key government positions in the province and are known to be close allies of Arroyo.

BAYAN USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro believes that the imposition of martial rule was meant to effectively block any investigation and prosecution of the massacre, as it placed the Philippine military and police in charge.

“(The Philippine military and police) are the very same people who have been accused of collaborating with the perpetrators and with committing thousands of killings, abductions, torture and rape of innocent people,” Ramiro said.

Redondiez said the US-based groups would continue to pressure the US Congress and the Obama administration to end political and military support to Arroyo and what they consider as her “cronies.”

Arroyo placed Maguindanao under martial rule on December 4 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1959. She subsequently lifted the order after one week, at the height of a joint Congressional session and seven petitions pending in the Supreme Court to declare PP 1959 unconstitutional.

The groups, which formed the US-based coalition Never Again to Martial Law (NAML), have called the lifting of PP 1959 a victory even as they vowed no letup on calling for international pressure to ensure full restoration of civilian rule in Maguindanao.

Dr. Dante Simbulan, an NAML convenor and former political prisoner, said the lifting of martial law was a way for Arroyo to save face. “International awareness about Arroyo’s arming of her warlord allies and the illegality of her declaration of martial law is growing. She may have lifted Martial Law to avoid embarrassment and questions at the upcoming Copenhagen conference and other international fora.”

Arnedo Valera, an international human rights lawyer, added: “We believe GMA may have declared martial law to ‘test the tolerance’ of the Filipino people and the international community for it. For all we know, we could see it re-emerge in another form in the future.”

Professor Ligaya McGovern of Indiana University also said people around the world must remember that with or without martial law, there exists a climate of repression and impunity in the Philippines, which allows for gruesome acts like the Maguindanao massacre to occur.

“We will continue to do what is needed to stop human rights violations and to achieve justice for the victims of the massacre and all other victims of human rights in the Philippines,” McGovern said. – JMA, JV, GMANews.TV

GABRIELA celebrated silver anniversary with 10th congress and grand reunion

News Release

30 November 2009

Reference: Lana Linaban, Secretary General, 371-2302 /

GABRIELA celebrated silver anniversary with 10th congress

and grand reunion

GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines celebrated their 25th anniversary with a national congress, a women’s protest action and a grand reunion.

Last October 26 to 27, more than 200 members of GABRIELA representing regional and provincial chapters and sectoral organizations from all over the country attended their 10th congress held in Antipolo City. The congress also approved the addition of two overseas chapters from the United States and Hong Kong.

The assembly affirmed the gains of the militant women’s organization in the last 25 years and accepted the challenge to further its struggle for the rights and interests of Filipino women and children in the midst of worsening imperialist attacks on the lives of the Filipino people. This was reflected in the group’s ten-point program of action for 2010 to 2012.

GABRIELA’s 10th congress elected its new set of officers: Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Liza Maza as national chairperson, Emmi de Jesus as vice-chair, Lana Linaban as secretary general, Joms Salvador and Gert Ranjo-Libang as deputy secretaries general for external and internal affairs, respectively, Obeth Mataro-Montes as treasurer and Emily Cahilog as international relations officer. Mother Mary John Mananzan now serves as chair emeritus of GABRIELA after being its national chair for more than a decade.

The day after the assembly, delegates of the congress commemorated October 28 National Women’s Day of Protest with an all-women action in Mendiola to demand accountability from government for inefficiency in the face of disasters. They were joined by members of GABRIELA within Metro Manila and victims of government’s inefficiency during and after the typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

The commemoration of the group’s 25th anniversary culminated in a Grand Reunion held at the Amoranto Theater in Quezon City. The reunion opened with a ritual lead by GABRIELA’s cultural group, Sining Lila, while Joey Ayala sang live on stage his song”Lumiyab Ka.”

Senator Jamby Madrigal and Congresswoman Cynthia Villar attended the event as well as actress Katrina Halili. Senator Chiz Escudero and television personality Boy Abunda also sent their greetings via video. Bayang Barrios and Cynthia Alexander also performed during the program as their show of support to the group’s advocacy.

GABRIELA’s ad for its iVow to Fight Violence Against Women campaign was also launched during the celebration. The audio-visual and print ad were made by the prestigious advertising group DM9JaymeSyfu lead by long-time GABRIELA supporter Ms. Merlee Jayme.

The highlight of the event was the awarding of recognition and tribute to notable women leaders through the years including Rep. Maza, de Jesus, GWP Rep. Luz Ilagan, Nanay Mameng Deunida of KADAMAY, Ka Lita Mariano of AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women, Ka Nitz Gonzaga of Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan, Dr. Carol Araullo of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and human rights activist Ms. Tita Lubi.

Popular actress Angela Locsin, who attended the celebration and Ms. Bibeth Orteza, who directed the event, were also given Gawad Gabriela recognition for their consistent support to the group’s advocacies. ###

GABRIELA USA Raises Funds, Awareness, and Solidarity for Women and Children Victims of Ondoy and the Philippine Government’s Neglect

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2009

Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chair, GABRIELA USA (415) 244-9734, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

“While the loss in lives and homes brought about by Typhoon Ondoy were overwhelming, the outpouring of support and solidarity for the people of the Philippines, has been equally tremendous” says Raquel Redondiez, chair of GABRIELA USA .  The Filipino women’s alliance has been able to raise $5000 in just one weeks time through a grassroots fundraising effort.  But unlike most other relief efforts, the women of GABRIELA USA is also committed to conduct education on the causes of the devastation.

Typhoon Ondoy hit without warning and while it was the most rainfall in 4 decades, the damage to lives and homes it caused was exacerbated by environmental degradation, development aggression in surrounding areas around Manila, and lack of public infrastructure and preparedness due to government neglect and corruption.  A month before the typhoon, it was exposed that the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo diverted 800 million Philippine pesos of calamity funds to use for her expensive foreign travels.

“As a result of her administrations ineptitude and corruption, over 300 people, many women and children, have perished and millions displaced.” said Joanna Maderazo, Chair of BABAE in San Francisco.  “It specially hits home when just among GABRIELA organizers, 12 have lost their children to the floods.”

The GMA administration has also received millions of international aid that is supposed to be used towards calamity relief and preparedness and yet when the floods came, there were only 13 rubber boats available in the whole country for emergency response.

“Unfortunately, we cannot trust the Philippine government to protect its people.  Given our own experience watching the devastation caused by Katrina a few years ago, and the similar government neglect, incompetence and corruption experienced by families in the South, support and solidarity between the American and Filipino people is vital to the relief and rehabilitation work”  said Jackelyn Mariano of FIRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment) in New York.

Next week, five members of GABRIELA USA, will travel to the Philippines to deliver the donations, and participate in rehabilitation work.  The Filipino women’s organization is enraged that Arroyo’s administration is trying to tax donations and place bureaucratic obstacles to grassroots relief efforts. “Its just another example of how cold and corrupt her regime is.  We want to make sure that the donations we raise will go directly to the victims of the typhoon, and not to enrich some government official.” said Claudia Alexandra Paras, Chair of PINAY, the Seattle-based member organization of GABRIELA USA.

“GABRIELA, which is composed of over 200 Filipino women’s organizations has the genuine commitment, track-record, and grassroots organization to ensure that donations reach those most in need.”  said Terrie Cervas of SIGAW (Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken) in Los Angeles.  “Contributions to GABRIELA will not only go towards the repairing of homes, but also the building of self-reliant  and empowered families and communities that can protect themselves in future calamities.”

__________

To donate to GABRIELA’s relief efforts, please visit: bayanusa.org and email gabrielawomen@gmail.com to inform us of your donation. Thank you!

Typhoon Ondoy Donation Drop Off Centers

OFFICIAL DROP OFF SITES and CONTACT INFORMATION:

NAFCON (Nat’l Alliance for Filipino Concerns)/SANDIWA Nat’l Alliance of Fil-Am Youth are now receiving relief donations (clothes, blankets, medical supplies, monetary). For general questions please call Anne Beryl (516)9011832.

Official Webpage: www.bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com

New York

NY drop-off @ BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center, 40-21 69th St. Woodside, NY 11377. Open Hours: Monday –Friday 11 AM – 8 PM and Saturday & Sunday 12-6 PM. Please Contact; Yancy Mark (347)8670330 or Jonna (646)5787390 or email filipinocenter@gmail.com if you would like to help.

Stony Brook University, please contact Jun Rose (646)7503489.

FIND District III college organizations: Please Contact Patricia Dayleg (patricia.dayleg@gmail.com) and Isabel Marie Gomez (isabelmariegomez@gmail.com).

BKPNewYork are also specifically collecting children’s books to the Philippines: Please contact Frederick (646)6417183 or email Frederick@bkpny.org

New Jersey

For donations in New Jersey please contact: (201)621-3156-Yves Nibungco or (917)476-7855- Nick Cordero

Sinugba Cafe: 561 Westside Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07304
Casa Victoria: 691 Newark Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07306-2803.
Kalusugan Coalition: Call 2016534600 for office hours. 591 Summit Avenue Suite 412 Jersey City, 07306. Corner Summit & Newark Ave.

NAFCON Midwest

Fellowship for Filipino Migrants-FFM
PO Box 901 Glenview, IL 60025-9998
ffm4outreach@gmail.com Nerissa (224)3816888

Los Angeles

Los Angeles BALSA Relief Coordinators:

E-mail: sc@bayanusa.org

Phone: Fernando Fernando 323-854-4478 (Central LA)
Kuusela Hilo 818-395-9207 (LA)
Daya Mortel 206-355-0256 (West LA)
Victor Romero 424-225-0322 (South Bay)

Checks can be made out to Tulong Sa Bayan. (Tax-deductible) Online donations via paypal can be made at http://www.bayanusa.org.

Money, clothes, blankets, non-perishable food, medicines, toiletries and other basic necessities can be dropped off at designated BALSA locations in Southern California.

Drop-Off Location: 519 S. Spring (between 5th and 6th) LA, CA 90013. (323-854-4478, Fernando Fernando)

More drop-off locations will be volunteered in the coming days.

San Diego

BALSA efforts in SD – Eugene Gambol – egambol@gmail.com

General information on typhoon relief efforts in SD: Patricia Guevarra: 858 692 0785, patricia.guevarra@gmail.com

San Francisco/Bay Area

For donations in San Francisco/Bay Area, Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Monetary donations can also be dropped off at these sites. Checks can be made out to “Lakasdiwa,” a non-profit organization that will send the funds directly to MIGRANTE International in the Philippines, a workers’ organization directly helping the victims in the disaster relief efforts. Please put “Typhoon Ondoy Relief” on the check’s note.

Filipino Community Center
4681 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94112

Liwanag Kultural Center
Hillside Park Clubhouse
222 Lausanne Ave. Daly City‎, CA‎ 94014
Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30-6:00 and Wednesdays 3:30-8:00

Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership
Attn: Armael Malinis, AnakBayan-East Bay
310 8th Street, Suite 215
Oakland, CA 94710
Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm

Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) is also collecting donations to be sent to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana). If you would like to make a donation, please contact AV David at avhdavid@stanford.edu or (650) 491-4561.

Vallejo

Contact: 707 342 7352 (for both)
10am-5:30pm

Creative Events
1111 Maple Avenue
Vallejo, CA 94591

Andrea’s Restaurant
1109 Maple Avenue
Vallejo, CA 94591

San Jose/South Bay

For donations in San Jose/South Bay, please contact Melissa Nievera of Filipino Community Support (FOCUS) at focus.balita@gmail.com.

Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC) & Filipino Community Support (FOCUS) drop-off sites:

Welch Park Community Building
Located at corner of Kenesta Way and Clarice Dr
San Jose, CA 95122
(open everyday from 2pm to 5pm to receive donations)

Valley Faith United Methodist Church
1251 Sandia Avenue
Sunnyvale, California 94089

De Anza College
Beginning October 8, 2009, ISANG PUSO will have donation bins set up on campus for donations drop off.
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014

San Jose State University
Akbayan Filipino Student Club Table – In front of Student Union
1 Washington Sq
San Jose, CA 95192
Hours are: M-Th 11-3:30pm

Seattle

Please contact Jeff Rice at 2062918078 or email edjop82@gmail.com to donate to BAYAN’s “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan).

Portland, Oregon

Contact Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines through Claire Oliveros portlandchrp@gmail.com. You can send CASH through Metro Bank acct. 3 189 14540 1 For BAYAN’s “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan).

Please contact Consuelo Rivera at welorivera@yahoo.com or call at (503)7299449.

Fundraising for Victims of Typhoon Ondoy

240 Dead
280,000 Displaced and homeless
$50,000 U.S. response to Philippine Aid
$30 million U.S. military Aid to Philippines
$20,000 GMA’s Dinner bill at NYC’s Le Cirque restaurant in August 2009
P800 million Amount GMA drained from Philippine Emergency Relief Funds and spent on her Foreign Trips

ondoy1ondoy2ondoy3

Dear Friends,

This past weekend, tropical typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) ravaged northern Philippines, causing epic flooding to metropolitan Manila. At least 240 people have died, with dozens of others still missing, and nearly 300,000 people are displaced, unable to return to what, if any, is left of their homes. A majority of those affected are the women and children of the communities GABRIELA serves.

Natural disasters like this often have a more devastating effect in the Philippines because of a number of factors, including deforestation and poor public infrastructure resulting from government neglect and corruption. Many of the communities and chapters we, as members of Gabriela USA, work closely with- Tatalon, Bagong Silangan and Commonwealth in Quezon City- are devastated. Families were forced to climb up to their roofs for safety and rescue, not unlike the experience of Katrina victims here in the U.S. a few years ago. In Bagong Silangan, four houses, with whole families still inside, were swept away by the raging waters of the river.

Here is just a small glimpse of the calamity:

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y9OZrlaATY

We have always been proud to serve these communities, and now they need our help more than ever. We humbly ask for your assistance, in any way you can to help these affected communities rebuild their lives. Please view the Ondoy Report on GABRIELA’s efforts to document the effects of the calamity. Babae is undertaking a fundraising drive and our goal is to raise a minimum of $2,000 to send directly to GABRIELA Philippines by this Sunday, October 4. We strongly encourage you to make donations through local grassroots organizations that will directly help affected communities they work with, and not the corrupt Philippine government or Philippine Consulate. For more information on why, logon to: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=496123

If you can spare $5, $10, $20 or more, we would be eternally grateful. You can make a donation by any of the following:

1. Donations can be given to any GABRIELA-USA member. Please make checks payable to BAYAN-USA.

2. To mail your donation, please send to:

Filipino Community Center
Attn: Babae, GAB-USA
4681 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94112

3. If you would like to make an online donation, please logon to BAYAN-USA’s PayPal account at http://bayanusa.org or to GABRIELA’USA’s PayPal account at http://bit.ly/ornJy. If you make an online donation, please let us know how much you donated at info@gabusa.org, so that we are able to track our fundraising efforts.

Thank you so much for your time, and in advance for your compassion.

Sincerely,

GABRIELA-USA

Celebrating 25 Years of the Philippine Women’s Movement!

Greetings from GABRIELA National Alliance of Women!

GABRIELA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a series of activities to commemorate its 25 years of empowering women.  GABRIELA, since its establishment in 1984, consistently fought to advance women’s rights and eliminate  all forms of violence against women (VAW) by launching  campaigns on VAW.  Gabriela had also advocated for legislative reforms, especially with the entry of its political party, Gabriela Women’s Party, in Congress.  Gabriela’s campaigns are always complemented by direct-service work including counseling and training on paracounseling and paralegal work for women’s organizations.

GABRIELA is dedicated  to fight poverty, injustice and violence against women.  From counseling to organizing, from advocacy to campaigns, GABRIELA aims to put marginalized women at the helm of their lives and livelihoods. Women power is our only tool.

The celebration of our  silver anniversary kicked off with the commemoration of International Women’s Day last March 8 and participated in by 10,000 women all over the Philippines.  This was followed by Pagdiriwang at Pasasalamat last March 11, 2009, an ecumenical service celebrating the GABRIELA foundation day and honoring our founding chairperson Mita Pardo de Tavera and the women before us who offered their lives for the cause of women’s rights and welfare.  In April, we  also launched the i-Vow Campaign, our anniversary campaign  and commitment to fight for women’s rights.

Still part of our celebration, GABRIELA will hold its 10th Congress on October 25-27 to celebrate our anniversary year with the women of GABRIELA from all over the Philippines and also from our overseas chapters.  The assembly will highlight  our triumphs and  tackle responses to challenges posed by the current economic and political crisis in the country.

GABRIELA will also host the 25th Anniversary Grand Reunion on October 28, the National Filipino Women’s Day of Protest. October 28, 1983 saw the first biggest rally of ten thousand women that challenged the Marcos dictatorship and led to the founding of GABRIELA. This year, 2009, we are reminded of the spirit of the first People Power with the death of President Corazon C. Aquino who herself was an important figure in the Filipino people’s fight against the Marcos dictatorship.

In this light we seek your help to raise funds in support of GABRIELA’s National Congress on October 25-27  and the GABRIELA 25th Anniversary Grand Reunion.  We hope to gather 50 delegates from Luzon, 50 delegates from the Visayas, 50 delegates from Mindanao,and 150 delegates from various districts in major cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region.

We hope you can help us further our cause toward more years of empowering women. You can be sure the resources you donate will make a difference not only to GABRIELA but more so to women whom we seek to serve.  By supporting these activities, you will definitely be of great help to GABRIELA and to the Filipino women whom we continuosly vow to serve and fight for.

You can help send:

A delegate from Mindanao for PhP10,000.00 (US$200)

A delegate from the Visayas and the Bicol region  for PhP7,500.00 (US$ 150)

A delegate from other provinces in Luzon  for PhP5,000.00 (US$100)

A delegate from the National Capital Region (NCR) for PhP2,500.00 (US$50)

If you are able to donate any amount, please email gabrielawomen@gmail.com Thank you very much!

Remembering Martial Law, GABRIELA USA Reaffirms their Commitment to Resist Gloria’s Marcos-like Reign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 21, 2009

Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chair, GABRIELA USA (415) 244-9734, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

“On September 21, we remember the thousands victims killed and disappeared under Marcos’ Martial Law,” says Raquel Redondiez, chair of GABRIELA USA and member of BABAE in San Francisco. “And more importantly, we reaffirm our commitment to seek justice for the victims of Martial Law, as well as those who have perished under Gloria’s Marcos-like reign.

Thirty- seven years after the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Filipino American women in the US, members of GABRIELA USA, stand vigilant against the return of the dark days of the Marcos regime.

“The parallels between the Marcos and the Arroyo regimes are alarming. Like the Marcoses’, the Arroyo’s have stolen hundreds of lives and taken millions of public funds from our people. Following Marco’s footsteps, GMA has also used Filipino migrant workers, mostly women, to keep the economy afloat.” said Valerie Francisco, Vice-Chair of GABRIELA USA and member of FIRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment) in New York.

Filipino women in the U.S. also remember that the bleak years of Martial Law gave rise to a powerful people’s movement. Filipinos, including women and youth, refused to kneel to Marcos’ tyranny.

Building strength from the resistance of Filipino women against Marcos’ corruption and tyranny, GABRIELA, a national women’s alliance was founded in 1985 at the height of the people’s opposition to Martial Law. Today, GABRIELA, which has expanded globally wherever Filipinas can be found, still answers the call for change and justice for the Filipino people.

“As GABRIELA members in the U.S., the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law is an important reminder of the resilience of our people” , said Claudia Alexandra Paras, Chair of PINAY, the Seattle-based member organization of GABRIELA USA.

“We will continue to fight for justice for our sisters like Melissa Roxas and Rebelyn Pitao, the most recent women victims of enforced disappearances and political killings under the Arroyo regime.” said Terrie Cervas of SIGAW (Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken) in Los Angeles.

Upcoming Events: National Commemoration of Martial Law

Friday, Sept 18 – Seattle, WA

Learn about the Philippines during a time of declared Martial Law… over 20 years of a repressive regime and it’s lasting effects on a nation.

Pinay member Katrina Pestano, aka Rogue Pinay, will be sharing about her recent experiences traveling back to the country and the current conditions.

Enjoy free food and performances by local Filipino artists!

Friday – September 18, 2009
6:30-9:00pm (Free Event)
5740 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Seattle, WA 98118-2622
Childcare will be provided.

For more information, please contact pnc@bayanusa.org or (206) 859-7525.

Sunday, Sept 20 – Los Angeles

LA martial law

Dekada ’70: Film Screening Observing the Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines

Sunday, September 20, 2009 – 2pm

Manila Terrace Community Hall in Historic Filipinotown

2328 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026

$5 donation but no one turned away for lack of funds

Monday, Sept 21 – New York

Join member organizations of Bayan USA (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, AnakBayan NY/NJ, and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) for a short film and discussion about life during Martial Law in the Philippines. Guest speaker, Bebot Galvan from KABALIKAT Domestic Workers Support Network will be sharing her life stories during Martia lLaw.  The discussion will be followed by a tribute to the late Ninoy and Cory Aquino and all victims of Martial Law in the Philippines.Please come if you’ve ever been curious about life for Filipinos during this era, and meet other community workers in the local New York City area.

Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St. New York, NY 10002
Monday, September 21, 2009
7:00pm-9:00pm
$5 suggestion donation

Monday, Sept 21 – San Francisco

“Remembering the Victims, Honoring the Martyrs”
with Rex Fernandez, Human Rights Lawyer
and legal consultant for Melissa Roxas

September 21th 2009
San Francisco State University
7-9pm
ROOM: Burk Hall 252


Join us for a night of songs, stories and movies to remember the victims and never forget the era of Martial Law that led many families to flee the Philippines and the many martyrs who sacrificed their lives so others can have a better future.

Sponsored by Bayan USA (AnakBayan East Bay, Babae San Francisco, Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines-SF, and The League of Filipino Students)

Protesters surround Mikey Arroyo’s U.S. house

By Henni Espinosa, North America News Bureau

http://abs-cbnnews.com/pinoy-migration/balitang-america/09/05/09/protesters-surround-mikey-arroyos-us-house

Mikey Foster City ProtestFOSTER CITY, CA—Philippine Congressman Mikey Arroyo’s house had some very angry visitors this morning.

Filipino-American activists, chanting “Shame on you, you got caught!” staged a protest outside the home that is situated in the upscale planned community.  They say they are disgusted that Arroyo, son of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, bought the $1.3 million home and failed to declare it as part of his real estate assets.

“Of course there should be a clear investigation of how he got his wealth, where he is investing it,” said Terry Valen, chair of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.  “It’s clear that this is not coming from his salary as a Philippine congressman.”

The protesters say they are not surprised that another Arroyo property in the Bay Area has been exposed.

“In the past, we’ve heard of allegations of the Arroyos trying to hide other million-dollar homes in San Francisco.  We know that this is a pattern of the Arroyos, hiding their ill-gotten wealth,” said Racquel Redondiez, chair of Gabriela USA.

What is more disturbing for the protesters is that Arroyo insists the Foster City house is owned by a company, when county records show that his wife is listed as the house’s only owner.

“It just further exposes the pattern of cover-up.  If you’re not hiding anything, why would you have to cover it up and deny?” Redondiez said.

The protesters say Arroyo should come clean about the source of his ballooned wealth.  Arroyo’s net worth jumped from 5 million pesos in 2002, to 99 million pesos in 2008.

“We’re just here to express our outrage that Congressman Arroyo has all the money to spend on a million-dollar home in Foster City while our people in the Philippines only live on less than a dollar a day,” said Jack de Jesus, Deputy Secretary of Bayan USA.

The protesters call on the Philippine and U.S. government to investigate the source of Arroyo’s wealth before this Foster City house is sold.

“If they (the Arroyos) get paid for the house, then the money goes back into their accounts and they can do whatever they want with it.  Who knows what they’re going to do next?  But this could be the money of taxpayers not just in the Philippines, but also for us here in the U.S.,” said Valen.

The protesters made efforts to deter potential buyers by putting up warning signs on the sidewalks.

Neighbors have mixed reactions.  A Filipino neighbor who refused to be identified said the Arroyos don’t bother him, because they are never around.  Allen Leader, another neighbor of the house, wants the Arroyo family to come clean about the home to the Filipino people so the protests will end in Foster City.

SONA 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2009
Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chair,GABRIELA USA, (415) 244-9734, chair@gabusa.org

GABRIELA-USA DEMANDS REAL CHANGE NOT “CHARTER CHANGE” IN US-PHILIPPINE RELATIONS & JUSTICE FOR FILIPINA TORTURE VICTIM MELISSA ROXAS

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) will deliver what should finally be her last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27th. Like all of GMA’s 8 previous SONA speeches, it guaranteed that this one will also be full of wholesale lies regarding the economic, social, and military situations in the Philippines.

Days after GMA delivers her SONA speech, she will fly off  to Washington DC to meet with President Barack Obama on July 30, 2009. Since President Obama’s election, GMA has been desperate to capitalize on Obama’s popularity to raise her all-time low approval ratings, and push for Charter Change (Cha-Cha) of the Philippine constitution allowing her to stay in power indefinitely.

Simultaneous to SONA and the Obama/GMA meeting, GABRIELA-USA and other Filipino organizations will conduct People’s State of the Nation activities throughout the U.S., demanding justice for the Filipino American torture victim, Melissa Roxas, and speak out against the Cha-Cha.

Charter Change, which is pushed by U.S. corporate interests, seeks the protections of the 1986 Constitution; allowing foreign ownership of land and public utilities, foreign plunder of natural resources, and the stationing of more foreign military troops .  It will also allow GMA to stay in power beyond her current term limit as president, which ends May 2010.

President Obama was elected based on the message of “hope” and “change,” however, his administration has not so far moved away from the neo-colonial and Bush- era relations with the Philippines.  He recently applauded the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows U.S. military troops to occupy all parts of the Philippine archipelago. The VFA also provides impunity to American military personnel for rape and other crimes committed while on Philippine soil, such as  U.S. Lieutenant Corporal Daniel Smith, who has since returned to the U.S as a free man, without serving a day in the Philippine prison system, though he was convicted of raping “Nicole” in 2005.

The Philippines is one of the top three recipients of US military aid, despite international condemnation against the rampant human rights violations resulting in the death and disappearances of hundreds of activists, community workers, and other civillians.

The most recent case that came to international attention is that of Melissa Roxas, the 31-year old Filipino American who was volunteering as a community health worker in the Philippines, who was abducted and brutally tortured between May 19-25, 2009.  It is believed that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were responsible for this atrocity, and Melissa is currently back in the Philippines to testifying at a hearing for the Petition for Writ of Amparo and Habeus Data against the Philippine military.

GABRIELA – USA, comprised of Sisters of Gabriela Awaken (SiGaW), Babae in San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York City, calls on President Obama to ensure that U.S. tax dollars are NOT used to further human rights violations in the Philippines and to demand the impartial investigation and prosecution of those responsible for Melissa’s abduction and torture.

Instead of giving millions of dollars to a corrupt and murderous regime, our tax dollars are better spent on improving health care access, education, and employment opportunities to millions of women, children, and youth who are suffering the brunt of the economic crisis.

JUSTICE FOR MELISSA ROXAS and ALL VICTIMS OF STATE-SPONSORED REPRESSION!

NO U.S. TAX DOLLARS FOR TORTURE & KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES!

FUNDING FOR HEALTH CARE & JOBS & EDUCATION!