April 14, 2012
Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairwoman, GABRIELA-USA, email@example.com
San Francisco, CA – U.S. based Filipino women’s rights groups are outraged over a recent article published by Marine Corps Times, a print and online publication that caters to the Marine Corps community.
According to its online website, Marine Corps Times claims to be an independent source for information on news affecting the Marines, and provides “quality, unbiased reporting on the important issues for the military community.” But an April 8 article written by staff writer Gidget Fuentes declaring that the Philippines is “known for their raunchy party atmosphere,” and “feature notorious red-light districts where alcohol and scantily clad women have attracted many Marines and sailors over the years” has offended Filipinos, especially women and children’s advocates. The article reports on the upcoming plans of the U.S. to deploy more troops to the Philippines over the coming the years, starting with 4,600 this Monday, April 16.
“Filipino women and children are the first to suffer anytime U.S. troops arrive in the Philippines,” says Raquel Redondiez, Chairwoman of GABRIELA-USA. “For generations Filipino women like Nicole have never seen justice against their American rapists, and orphaned Amerasian children have continually been abandoned by their American fathers.” Nicole was raped by U.S. marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith in 2005, but did not serve time because of U.S. intervention despite being convicted by Philippine courts.
Irma Bajar, Chairwoman of New York-based Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment says “It is disgusting that P-noy’s administration would roll out the red carpet for thousands of U.S. military troops knowing full-well the commodification and abuse that Filipino women and children will suffer.”
Member organizations of GABRIELA-USA in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle will be participating in a national day of action against U.S. military presence in the Philippines on April 16, 2012, when the Balikatan U.S. Philippine military exercises will begin.
GABRIELA, a Philippine based alliance of hundreds of Filipino women’s organizations have long protested against the Visiting Forces Agreement which have allowed for return of U.S. troops to the Philippines despite constitutional provisions banning foreign military bases in the Philippines.