GABRIELA USA Remembers Jennifer Laude and Demand Justice

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

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

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

Video:GABRIELA USA Remembers Jennifer Laude

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

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

For Immediate Release
September 29, 2016
Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

Stop NBC’s “Mail Order Family” Comedy!

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

GABRIELA USA Stands with Davao City Bombing Victims and Opposes US Intervention

For Immediate Release
September 6, 2016
Contact: Irma Bajar, Chairperson,

Members of GABRIELA USA express our deepest sympathy for the victims of the September 2 bombing at a night market in Davao City. We condemn the heinous terror attack that killed fourteen people and injured 67 others.

GABRIELA USA calls on President Rodrigo Duterte to stand with Davaoenos and the rest of the Filipino people in seeking justice for the victims. While the perpetrators of the terror attack should be brought to justice, we find it alarming that President Duterte has declared a “state of lawlessness”

in the country. His declaration should have clearly defined parameters, otherwise state forces such as the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines will have carte blanche to arrest innocent civilians and commit other human rights violations against the people, under the guise of countering terrorism.

Past puppet Philippine presidents and their regimes have allowed the US to deploy troops to the Philippines, in their support of the US so-called War on Terror. But the presence of US troops in the Philippines puts the US in a favorable position to carry out military intervention in the country and push forward its economic and political agendas. The US is once again attempting to assert their presence in the country, as US National Security Council spokesperson, Ned Price, recently stated that the US is ready to provide assistance in the investigation of the bombing.

“We oppose any moves by the US government to use the recent bombing in Davao as justification for US intervention and to further militarize the Philippines,” stated Irma Bajar, national Chairperson of GABRIELA USA. “There is a strong possibility that the recent bombing in Mindanao may be an attempt to create chaos and destabilize the country and we oppose all efforts to increase deployment of US troops to the country, as well as sending of additional war equipment via anti-terror aid from the US.”

GABRIELA USA also opposes any attempts to use the Davao bombing incident to sabotage the Peace Talks that have recently resumed between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The next round of the Peace Talks, set to take place in October 2016, will address comprehensive socio-economic reforms such as agrarian reform, national industrialization, rights of working people and social services, and environmental protection.

“As we remember the victims of the Davao bombing, the best way we can achieve a just and lasting peace in Davao and in the entire country is by supporting the continuation of the Peace Talks and opposing all forms of US intervention in the process. We call on all GABRIELA members and supporters to learn more about the Peace Talks and the fundamental changes it will bring that will benefit women, children, and their families,” stated Bajar.

Justice for Victims of Davao Bombing!
Stop US Intervention in the Philippines!


For Immediate Release
July 21, 2016
Contact: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

On Tuesday, July 19, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ordered the “immediate release from detention” of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), dismissing a plunder case against the former Philippine President. The Supreme Court voted 11-4 to dismiss the case based on presentation of “insufficiency of evidence” from prosecution. GMA has been under hospital arrest since 2012.

Although GMA had been detained based on charges against her in a plunder case, these charges do not encompass the totality of the human rights abuses and crimes against the Filipino people committed during GMA’s presidency from 2001 to 2010. The GMA regime has a history of using force and state terror against the people and those whom her armed forces perceived to be enemies of the state. General Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan was indicted for two counts of kidnapping and serious detention but never prosecuted, which includes the disappearance of women student leaders Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006 under GMA’s presidency. Despite the 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances of activists, human rights workers, and peasants, there have been zero convictions of military personnel.

We must not forget the Ampatuan Massacre, which occurred under GMA’s presidency on November 23, 2009, when 58 people including 32 journalists were killed. The Ampatuan Massacre is considered the single most violent incident in the history of Philippine media. Since the massacre, no one has been held accountable for the murders in a case that clearly perpetuates the culture of impunity and the prolonging of justice for the families of the Ampatuan Massacre victims.

It is evident that GMA’s economic policies have worsened the living conditions of the majority of the Filipino people, including unequal trade agreements with the United States. GABRIELA USA demands the supreme court hold Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for her crimes that have greatly contributed and exacerbated the suffering of the Filipino people, especially women and children.


For Immediate Release
July 9, 2016
Contact: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

GABRIELA USA mourns with the black community over the continued killings of black men, black women, and black queer and trans people whose lives have been taken by police brutality. We mourn and express our deepest condolences to the the loved ones, communities, and families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

“We are in solidarity with your grief and with your rage. We will stand together and help each other turn our anger into action. We will continue to organize and demand justice against police brutality, impunity, and white supremacy upheld by the system of imperialism of which the United States continues to thrive on,” said Irma Bajar, GABRIELA USA Chairperson.

GABRIELA USA recognizes the state violence and repression used against our black brothers, sisters is the same state violence and repression used against our filipino brothers and sisters. It is the same state violence and repression used against our palestinian brothers and sisters. It is the same state violence and repression used against our indigenous brothers and sisters. Freedom and liberation are not conditional. They are our basic human rights. The brutal murder of innocent black people by the police must stop NOW.

We must resist state repression and fight for the lives of black and brown people in the US and worldwide. We demand the police state in the US and the imperialist forces around the world who seek to protect only the interests of the wealthy and maintain anti-black racism be held accountable.


Filipino American Women Welcome President Duterte, Calling for Genuine Change! Liza Maza, former Chairperson of GABRIELA and Congressional Representative of Gabriela Women’s Party, appointed as Lead Convenor for the National Anti-Poverty Commission

For Immediate Release
July 3, 2016
Contact: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

GABRIELA USA welcomes Rodrigo Duterte as the newly inaugurated 16th President of the Philippines, and joins millions of women in calling for CHANGE.

“Women in the Philippines suffered unemployment, landlessness, violence and state sponsored repression for six long years under the previous Aquino administration and we are hopeful that President Duterte will address the concerns of women and their communities,” stated GABRIELA USA Chairperson Irma Bajar.

GABRIELA defined the key concerns of the women’s sector upon conclusion of its National Women’s Summit in Davao City, Mindanao. The summit brought together 250 women from across the Philippines, representing such sectors as peasants, workers, urban poor, professionals, and indigenous women. Attendees of the summit drew up a Women’s Agenda to reflect the calls that the women’s sector urges President Duterte to take up in his first 100 days of administration and beyond. The Women’s Agenda for CHANGE outlines six key points: C in CHANGE stands for [C] Comprehensive social services, [H] Human Rights and social justice, [A] Anti-discrimination and anti-violence on women and children, [N] National Sovereignty, [G] Genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization and [E] Environmental protection.

GABRIELA USA applauds Duterte’s willingness to dialogue with people’s organizations to bring about change and his appointment of progressive leaders to several positions within his administration. The recent appointment of Liza Maza, the former Chairperson of GABRIELA and Congressional Representative of Gabriela Women’s Party, as Lead Convenor for the National Anti-Poverty Commission, will serve as an important voice in government to defend and uphold the interests of women and of the Filipino people in general.

“This is an exciting time for our kababayan–not only because there are progressives serving in important roles in the new administration but because of the resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” stated Bajar. “We must continue to support the peace negotiations because through those talks, the roots of our people’s suffering can be addressed and we can build a truly independent Philippines where people can have decent livelihood and where the rights of the people are upheld.”


GABRIELA USA condemns in strongest possible terms the massacre of farmers and Lumad (indigenous people from southern Philippines) in North Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines which has killed three people, wounded at least 116, and has left 88 persons missing, including women and children.

For Immediate Release
April 2, 2016
Reference: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

After experiencing hunger and crop failure caused by a seven month long drought from El Niño, 6,000 farmers and Lumad travelled to Kidapawan City, blocked the Kidapawan National Highway, and barricaded the National Food Authority to demand the distribution of 15,000 sacks of rice as food aid. They also demanded farm subsidies and that the government intervene and raise the prices of their produce.

Despite peacefully picketing for four days, combined forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) unleashed violence on the farmers and Lumad on April 1. The violent dispersal began when fire trucks water hosed the protesting farmers and Lumad. The PNP soon afterward shot indiscriminately into the unarmed crowd, even using high-powered M-16 rifles. Bai Ali Indayla, GABRIELA Women’s Partylist nominee and keynote speaker at GABRIELA USA’s National Congress this past March 2016, was amongst the victims fired upon.

After the shooting, 5,000 of the farmers and Lumad fled to Spottswood Methodist Center but faced further human rights violations. 200 PNP surrounded the church center and illegally detained those who sought refuge in the building. The PNP cut off electricity to the building, forbade the media from entering, and blocked access to medical care by not allowing wounded farmers and Lumad from leaving the building to go to the hospital.

“The actions of the Philippine government are utterly despicable. Instead of looking after the well-being of women, children, and their communities, President Aquino and his administration first showed their criminal neglect of the farmers and Lumad affected by the severe drought, and then they violently attacked them for simply asking for food and assistance to survive,” stated GABRIELA USA Chairperson Irma Bajar. “This tragedy exposes the state repression, fascism and violence that our kababayan face under US-backed President Aquino.”

GABRIELA USA demands that the Aquino government immediately release calamity funds and all El Niño rice subsidies. GABRIELA USA also recognizes the role the US government has played in the Kidapawan massacre; through the economic, political, and military support it has given over the years to Aquino’s fascist regime. We demand the US government stop its military aid and training with the AFP, including ending military agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. GABRIELA USA urges community members to support long-term solutions that would solve the crisis of hunger and poverty of the farmers and Lumad via genuine land reform and national industrialization. Only then will the farmers and Lumad have dignity and the necessary livelihood to meet their basic needs, and only then will we see justice.

Bigas Hindi Bala! Rice Not Bullets!
Justice for the Victims of Kidapawan Massacre!
Assistance to Peasants and Lumad affected by drought and El Nino!
Genuine Land Reform and National Industrialization Now!

GABRIELA USA Continues Revolutionary Spirit of Working Women’s Day through National Gathering in SF

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2016
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, (925) 726-5768

International Working Women’s Day was established to commemorate the struggle and resistance of working women in their workplaces and in this spirit, GABRIELA USA, a US-based national alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations fighting for genuine liberation of the Philippines, begins the countdown to its 3rd National Congress, to be held on March 19-20 in San Francisco. The general assembly will include all chapter organizations, women’s desks and chapter organizing committees from regions across the US, including New York, DC, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Over 200 participants, allies, supporters, members, and their families, are expected to gather in celebration of the last 4 years of their work and look ahead to unite on a general plan of action carrying the theme, “Abante! (Advance): Women Defend the People’s Democratic Rights for Our Dignity and Self-Determination”.

The two day event will begin with Congress proper on Saturday March 19, where invited keynote speakers Bai Ali Indayla and Cat Brooks will address the general assembly. Bai Ali Indayla is a Bangsomoro activist from the Maguindanaon region of Mindanao Philippines and 3rd nominee of Gabriela Women’s Partylist. Indayla is outspoken on issues of militarization, peacebuilding, and human rights violations in Bangsamoro communities. Cat Brooks is the founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, member of Black Lives Matter Bay Area and one of the Black Friday 14. Brooks has organized several BLM and other protests in Oakland and has emerged as one of the most prominent organizers in the Black Lives Matter movement. We are honored to have the presence of these very powerful women to draw on the connections of state sponsored repression from the US to the Philippines and its impact to women across the globe.

On Sunday, March 20, GABRIELA USA collaborates with the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns to hold an ecumenical service honoring migrant women in light of International Working Women’s Day. During this Palm Sunday Service, we will be greeted with a message of solidarity from Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a Black transgender elder and veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. She is a mother, father, grandmother and grandfather to family both blood and chosen, and an icon in the struggle for transgender civil rights.

The weekend will culminate with an indignation rally outside the Philippine consulate, on Monday March 21, to condemn the recent fire at the Haran evacuation center in the Philippines, which injured 5 people, and at least 2 lumad children. GABRIELA USA members will highlight the heightening aggression of exploitative forces that continue to oppress our people and the state repression that hinders our right to self-determination.

On this International Working Women’s Day, members of GABRIELA USA unites to end all forms of violence including state repression, fascism, militarization and wars of aggression. Just as we are taking part in struggles to defend our land, our jobs, our livelihood and our rights, we must join in the struggle for a just and lasting peace in our homeland and around the globe. This is the legacy of International Working Women’s Day. We should affirm our commitment to build a strong women’s movement towards people’s emancipation. Women will never be free in a capitalist economy where crisis plagues us all and where imperialist wars of aggression are inevitable. We must continue to defend our countries from foreign aggression, defend our sovereignty toward national and social liberation. Let us continue to uphold the militant tradition of March 8 International Working Women’s Day!

Sulong Gabriela! Lumaban Makibaka!

Filipinos Celebrate Marriage Equality Supreme Court Decision and Continue the Fight Towards Genuine Victory

June 26, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

GABRIELA USA joins LGBTQ rights defenders and advocates in celebrating the announcement of the Supreme Court decision to uphold marriage equality, ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to legally marry in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. This landmark victory would not have been possible without the decades long struggle of LGBTQ people, advocates, and supporters. While the Supreme Court decision is a major step forward in LGBTQ rights, we are a long way from genuine equality and justice.

Recently, trans Latina woman and transgender rights advocate Jennicet Gutiérrez made national headlines for interrupting President Barack Obama during the White House Pride reception. Obama’s swift silencing of Gutiérrez’s cries to release all transgender immigrants from detention and to stop all deportations highlights the glaring contradiction that while the Obama administration celebrates “LGBTQ rights” it continues to implement the systematic incarceration, detention, and violence against transgender immigrant people of color. Seventy five trans people are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) daily, 90% being trans women and 10% being trans men (Source: Approximation based on ICE estimates and demographic analysis from the Williams Institute at UCLA). Obama’s silencing of Gutiérrez highlights the historic silencing and erasure of trans women of color, their lives, their issues, and their struggles.

In early March of this year, GABRIELA Los Angeles marched together with Gutiérrez and FAMILIA: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (TQLM) in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center to demand the release of Nicoll Polanco, a 24-year old Guatemalan transgender woman being detained by ICE in an all-male facility Florence, AZ. Polanco has suffered nearly a decade of transphobic hate crimes in Guatemala and the U.S., including sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination. We applaud Gutiérrez and FAMILIA for their continuous activism for trans immigrants like Nicoll who have been denied their freedom, dignity, and human rights. We affirm the urgency and truth behind Gutiérrez words crying out for justice from Obama who has deported over 2 million immigrants since 2008 and continues to detain immigrants in deplorable and inhumane conditions in for-profit facilities.

GABRIELA USA continues to stand with the LGBTQ community in the struggle for democratic rights. While the achievement of marriage equality is a historic victory, the fight against transphobia, hate crimes, bullying, and systemic violence must fiercely continue. We especially recognize and will continue to join the necessary struggle alongside our trans communities for basic human rights including housing, jobs, health care, genuine safety within our community and most especially liberation from state repression and violence.

During this Pride month, GABRIELA USA lifts up and celebrates the lives of all trans women who have been unjustly murdered, including the life of Jennifer Laude, a trans Filipina woman beaten and strangled by U.S. Marine Private First Class Joseph Pemberton. The trial for Laude’s murder is still ongoing in the Philippines.

We call on our communities and supporters to join us in Trans Day of Actions all across the country in celebration of trans power, trans resistance, and trans lives! We recognize and salute the Trans women of color, including Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, who fought back against police and led the Stonewall Riots in 1969. We will continue to fight for Trans Justice and for Trans Liberation!