Archive for September, 2009

Fil-Am Groups Spearhead Relief Drive for Typhoon Victims

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

27 September 2009

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General, Sandiwa National Alliance of Filipino American Youth, sandiwa.national@gmail.com

Fil-Am Groups Spearhead Relief Drive for Typhoon Victims

SanDiwa National Alliance of Filipino American Youth and its mother alliance, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), with member organizations in over 13 major states in the United States of America, are spearheading a nationwide campaign “Bayanihan for Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief” to help our Kababayans who were struck by the typhoon Ondoy (also known internationally as Ketsena).

Ondoy, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), surpassed the highest 24-hour rainfall in June 1967 in Metro Manila. This historic typhoon placed 26 provinces, including the National Capital Region, under the state of calamity and sent thousands of Filipino families onto their rooftops to seek safety from flash floods in only a matter of 6 hours.

“More or less 280,000 people were reportedly affected and were left hungry, sick, wet and cold by Ondoy,” said Anne Beryl Corotan, National Chairperson of SanDiwa.

As news, photos and videos of this epic tragedy reached the US, Filipino im/migrants could not help but express their concerns towards their families and friends back home who were devastated by the calamity.

“So as a quick response and as part of the alliances’ disaster relief program, SanDiwa and NAFCON will be accepting donations, specifically in forms of monetary support, medical supplies, clothes and blankets, starting today, September 27,” added Corotan.

Drop off center for the North East region will be at NAFCON and SanDiwa’s National Office, the BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center, 40-21 69th Street, Woodside NY 11377. Locations of other regional drop-off centers are still being determined and will be announced immediately.

For the first wave of collection, donors are requested to send in monetary support on or before October 3 to be sent to the Philippines for immediate assistance. Tax-exempt donations can be made payable to Philippine Forum, a non-profit member organization of NAFCON based in New York. Material support will follow mid-October and will continue until such time that the motherland has recovered from the damages caused by typhoon Ondoy.

“In this time of tragedy, we call on all our fellow Fil-Ams and im/migrants to extend a helping hand to our Kababayans. Let us do whatever we can — whether it be a fundraising concert, mass offering, or just simply donate your extra jacket or blanket to a fellow Filipino affected by Ondoy,” ends Corotan.

“Bayanihan for Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief” will be facilitated with partner organizations in the Philippines, while at the same time, encouraging other organizations and individuals in the US to send back to the Inang Bayan. Collections and other related events will be monitored and updated at http://bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com. For more information and updates on regional drop-off centers, please call (516) 9011832 or email at sandiwa.national@gmail.com.

ON THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES, FILIPINA/O YOUTH & STUDENTS ARE VOCAL AS EVER AGAINST OPPRESSION.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General, SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth
Contact: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

ON THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES, FILIPINA/O YOUTH & STUDENTS ARE VOCAL AS EVER AGAINST OPPRESSION.

September 21, 1972, is a day that the Filipina/o people bitterly remember as the day their freedom was suppressed by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos declared the Philippines placed under martial law, an abuse of power he exercised to silence his critics and suppress the opposition. Marcos ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for the subsequent years until his downfall in 1986, when the people rose up against his brutal dictatorship and ousted him from office. The years during his rule are remembered a dark period in Philippine history, when human rights violations ran rampant, which included, but limited to, enforced disappearances, arrests based on trumped up charges, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

In the years leading up to the declaration of martial law, Marcos was facing a growing opposition for a failing Philippine economy, riddled with government graft and corruption. Among the many criticisms of his administration was also a failing education system, during which the Philippine youth and student population grew restless and began massive organizing to demand education reforms. Youth and students held massive rallies, some having up to 50,000 participants. The youth and students were among those in the forefront of this opposition, during a period of time known as the First Quarter Storm. Massive oppositions from the youth and students, as well as the poor and working class, are what led Marcos to violently retaliate by declaring martial law, fearful that his power over the people was waning.

37 years later, we are seeing striking similarities. Current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is also facing massive opposition from the Philippine people. Her administration has also faced several charges of graft and corruption, as well as over 1,000 cases of human rights violations, the same brutal power tactics of Marcos that the GMA administration is seemingly trying to emulate. Again, the youth and students are among the forefront of the opposition, this time against GMA.

In May 2009, Melissa Roxas, a Filipina American student and human rights activist, was abducted along with two companions while doing volunteer medical work in the Philippines by elements believed to be the Philippine military. After being brutally tortured for five days, she resurfaced and returned to the safety of her family in the United States. However, instead of quietly accepting this injustice, she courageously returned to the Philippines to speak out and seek justice for these atrocities, not just for her, but for all victims of human rights violations under GMA. In August 2009, about 200 youth and students conducted a rally in front of Malacañang Palace to express their outrage and disgust over the expensive international trips of Arroyo and her large entourage, prime examples of the President’s insensitivity towards the majority of Philippines who live in immense hunger and poverty. This raises the question of how much of the people’s money is being used to fund these excesses. The youth and student rallyists were met with indiscriminant and arbitrary arrests, as well as brutal physical injuries at the hands of the Philippine police.

The SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am youth joins with their fellow youth and student kababayans in the Philippines and Filipina/os worldwide in remembering the dark and brutal days of martial law, and the conditions of today that are strikingly similar. We recognize that it is because of oppressive regimes like those of Marcos and GMA that thousands of Filipina/os were and are forced to make the choice to leave the Philippines. Because of massive unemployment and poverty in the Philippines, many Filipina/os immigrated to other countries like the United States, which has the largest Filipina/o population outside of the Philippines. It is also because of oppression that a massive resistance was fomented, which ousted the Marcos dictatorship in the People Power uprising in 1986. And with the current state of “undeclared martial law” in the Philippines under the GMA administration, the youth and student opposition is as strong as ever. We will never forget the dark days of martial law and the many Filipina/os who suffered and died during this period. We will never forget the victims of the current brutal regime of GMA. And with the power of our youth voice, we will continue fighting until declared and “undeclared” martial law is “never again.”

SanDiwa, the youth and students arm of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), is a national alliance of youth, students, and community youth organizations, united to (re)educate, celebrate, and advocate for issues that affect our Filipino communities in the United States and in the Philippines. As an alliance, we seek to work cross-culturally in reclaiming our humanity and to work collaboratively with “other” minority groups to protect the rights and welfare of young Filipinos all over the United States.

Statement on the Killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

Quo usque tandem abutere, Gloria, patientia nostra?

(How long will you, Gloria, abuse our patience?)

Statement on the Killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero

By the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns

We, of the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON), an alliance of Church-based individuals and groups in the United States of America, condemn the killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero as an evil deed by an evil regime in the Philippines. With our fraternal organization in the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in the US (NAFCON), the SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth, we express our vehement moral indignation at the murder of Fr. Lucero.

What has Fr. Lucero done so as to provoke the vile regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to aim its guns, reportedly held by some thirty people in ambush, on an early Sunday morning, against a priest-minister of God and servant-minister of the people?

Fr. Cecilio Lucero was a Roman Catholic priest, and pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish of Catubig, Samar in Eastern Visayas. His life and work mirrored his deep convictions as Minister of God, disciple of Jesus and servant of the people! As a justice and peace and human rights advocate, he headed the Catarman Diocesan Human Rights and Social Action Desk, chaired the Committee on Human Rights and the Task Force Peace and Order of the Diocese of Catarman. Fr. Lucero was also an outstanding member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), an ecumenical national organization of church people dedicated to the promotion and defense of justice, peace, human rights and integrity of creation. PCPR itself is listed as a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Trinity of War, Book III, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as “one of the enemies of the State” in the Order of Battle of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its Oplan Bantay Laya II counter-insurgency campaigns.

According to reports, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself was engaged in anti-communist witch-hunting when she labeled Fr. Lucero as ‘that communist priest’ before a civilian crowd and in front of her military officers at the inauguration of the Catubig Bridge last June 16, 2009. By that act, the so-called President of the Philippines and Commander In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines sealed the death sentence of Fr. Lucero.

The brutal ambush of Fr. Lucero once again speaks of the wanton violations of human rights committed with impunity in the Philippines. Backed by the record of more than 1,100 under the GMA regime, Fr. Lucero’s killing should by now convince the Bishops and the Christian churches in the Philippines to openly withdraw their support to the GMA regime. Fr. Lucero’s inhuman death should by now prick the conscience of this priest-ideologue and his partner in the defense department of the GMA regime that their moral interpretation to justify GMA’s anti-communist war has shed the blood of a civilian fellow-priest.

We of NEFFCON and SanDiwa, with our fraternal organizations in NAFCON, remember the heroism of Fr. Lucero and his dedicated service to the poor and the victims of human rights abuses. His martyrdom adds one more candle to the Light that is guiding the struggle of the Filipino people for Jobs and Justice, Food and Freedom, Land and Liberation. With Fr. Lucero’s interment on September 14, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in the Catholic Tradition, we celebrate his 22nd sacerdotal anniversary and his share of Christ’s gift of the Resurrection. We pledge to carry on his cause and the struggle of the Filipino people by urging the US government to withhold military aid to the Philippines until the GMA regime prosecute these human rights violators, indemnify their victims, and create a climate for genuine peace talks that shall usher in a transformed society of justice and peace. We exhort the Filipino Youth in the Philippines, and the FilAm Youth in the United States of America to take inspiration from the life and death of Fr. Lucero in the vigorous defense of human rights. We call on the Filipino and the American peoples to withdraw their recognition of the GMA regime, for we cannot tolerate its abuses anymore.

Fr. Cecilio Lucero’s blood cries out from the depth of the earth: How long will you, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, abuse our patience?

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the Reign of Heaven!” (Matt 5, 10).

Signed:

For the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON)

Bishop Val Lorejo, IFI

Pastor Roy Padilla, United Methodist Church

For the SanDiwa National Alliance of FilAm Youth

Ryan Leano, SanDiwa Secretary General and Northern California Regional Coordinator

For the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, MSC