Archive for December, 2009

Raise Your Voice & Raise Your Fist! Martial Law WE MUST RESIST! Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) attempts to hold on to power by declaring a State of Martial Law in Maguindanao.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release
December 7, 2009
References:
Jo Quiambao- Co-Vice Chair of SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth
Ryan Leano- Secretary General of SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth

email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

Raise Your Voice & Raise Your Fist! Martial Law WE MUST RESIST! Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) attempts to hold on to power by declaring a State of Martial Law in Maguindanao.

Filipina/o American Youth stand in solidarity with our kababayans back home in the Philippines in condemning Arroyo’s recent attempt to hold on to power by declaring a State of Martial Law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in the southern province of Maguindanao. The Philippine Congress plans to vote on Arroyo’s signing of Presidential Proclamation of 1959 on Monday. She is now using the brutal and gruesome acts of the November 23rd Maguindanao Massacre as an excuse to keep her and her administration’s control within the region. Instead of conducting fair and just investigations for the 60+ victims and their families, Arroyo’s goal is to manipulate/mask the investigations of the acts and to continue to implement the political violence and impunity within the region. As the president’s term ends soon and as Philippine elections will take place for 2010, the Pilipino people are demanding for fair election practices as well as an end to violence throughout the country. The anticipated elections are an opportunity for all Pilipinos to participate in choosing their government leaders; however, the majority fears the continued fraud and corruption within campaigns and elections.

GMA claims that the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao is needed in order to pursue peace, order, and safety within the region. This declaration poses as a grave danger for the near future, especially for our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro areas that have been struggling in warlord led villages. While arguments of armed conflict are claimed to be the causes of violence, the administration neglects to address the grassroots issues of socio-economic exploitation and political abuse in these regions, which are elements often supported by or orchestrated by the state. Peace and order cannot be created without justice, and justice cannot be served when the people mistrust police and military officials to pursue fair investigations. Meanwhile many continue to criticize the national government in maintaining a culture of impunity throughout the country.

The Philippine government has worked together with the AFP forces to embed fear in various communities in order to maintain power. The reality is that political killings, torture, disappearances and other tactics of repression have been used throughout her presidential term as strategies to keep critics and marginalized groups silent. False accusations have led to the filing of fake cases against activists, laborers/workers, students, etc., which enable the police to convict “suspected” individuals. What was their crime? There are recent discussions regarding cases of “hamletting” where communities are blocked from food and other provisions, and their families are being detained and tortured over and over again until some individuals choose to commit suicide. These types of acts neutralize others in the communities and prevent them from speaking out against the perpetrators. While victims have tried to file a number of complaints, cases are being repeatedly dismissed and criminal proceedings neglected or not implemented at all. The judges and justices are also afraid of the Philippine military and thus the president has succeeded in pursuing judicial complicity as well. The violent and horrific acts continue, because perpetrators commit such acts without consciousness – they know that they will not be caught or punished for their actions.

The declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines manifests the failure of the president and her administration in condemning political killings and violence as well as failure to uphold the rule of law in order to protect the people. It is also a possible opportunity for Arroyo to try to pursue charter change/CHA-CHA again. It is evident now more than ever that her “Excellency” and her administration remain firm in their convictions to pursue nation wide repression. While our people continue the fight to be heard and struggle to survive, it is our duty to voice demands for honest and fair investigations in such heinous cases as what was demonstrated this past November, as well as democratic and fair elections. It is critical for the Filipina(o) American communities to persist in efforts to educate others, especially our congressional representatives, on the recent events that have led to this declaration of Martial Law. We must remind the Obama administration that they are supporting a power-hungry dictatorship supported by the state military, which relies heavily on the foreign military financing provided by the U.S. to the Philippine government. The international community must put pressure on the President Arroyo to lift the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao and for the Philippine congress to repeal this effort.

RAISE YOUR VOICE & RAISE YOUR FIST, Martial Law WE MUST RESIST!

SanDiwa would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of the victims in the Maguindanao Massacre. We express our solidarity with our fellow kababayans in the motherland in our constant struggle for justice and peace.
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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.

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Power, Not Justice, is What Arroyo Seeks With Martial Law — BAYAN USA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 5, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

News Statement
December 4, 2009

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:secgen@bayanusa.org

POWER, NOT JUSTICE, IS WHAT ARROYO SEEKS WITH MARTIAL LAW
BAYAN USA Urges Phil. Congress to Revoke Proclamation 1959, Demands Obama Withdraw Support

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations across the United States is urging Filipinos in the United States and around the world to heighten their vigilance and resolve against the Arroyo government’s recent declaration of a State of Martial Law in the Southern Philippine province of Maguindanao. Following Arroyo’s signing of Presidential Proclamation 1959 last Friday, the Philippine Congress is set to resume on Monday, will review Arroyo’s action, and will vote on it.

“This is not about seeking justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. This is about taking advantage of what is perhaps the most insolent election-related act of violence in recent Philippine history to justify abuse of executive powers,” states BAYAN USA Chair Berna Ellorin. “Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does nothing but dishonor the 64+ massacred last November 23rd in Maguindanao by riding on the tragedy to serve her own narrow interest to cling to power, especially when her Presidential term must end next year.”

No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims Under Arroyo

The alliance chided the Arroyo government’s delayed handling of the Maguindanao massacre as intentional and supported growing calls for a third party to conduct an impartial, thorough investigation of the crime scene and ensure swift arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. But the lack of timely effort on the Arroyo government’s part to go after the obvious suspects– the Ampatuan family, a powerful political dynasty that has ruled Maguindanao for over a decade– clearly posed roadblocks to justice.

Nearly two weeks after the massacre, and with only one suspect in custody who voluntarily surrendered, Arroyo signed Proclamation 1959, placing Maguindanao province under a State of Martial Law, under the auspices of arresting the other members of the Ampatuan family and calling them in for questioning.

“The Arroyos and Ampatuans are close political allies, therefore the Arroyo government is in no rightful position to present itself as capable of enacting swift justice, especially in light of key witnesses coming forward confirming their long-time political patronage included the sales of arms, arms that were used to kill last week,” Ellorin added.

“Declaring martial law does not negate the Arroyo government’s policy of impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses,” Ellorin continued. “It is a means to mask the Arroyo government’s own culpability in the massacre itself and consolidate power through military rule under a military well-documented for sowing the country’s human rights crisis with the assistance of US military aid.”

Obama Standing on the Wrong Side of History?

Since it’s founding in 2005, BAYAN USA has been actively campaigning for the withdrawal of US military aid to the Philippines, which account for the training, advising, and arming of the Philippine military under Arroyo. A US Senate hearing in 2007 raised concerns that funding from the US government was directly linked to rampant pattern of state-sponsored killings and disappearances of critics
of the Arroyo government.

Referring to his now-famous inaugural words criticizing world leaders who “cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” the alliance also welcomed the Obama administration last January in Washington DC with calls to withdraw all forms of support to the Arroyo government for its proven track record in corruption, fraud, and gross human rights violations.

“If Obama stands with Arroyo’s proclamation of Martial Law, he is no different than Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan whose support for the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos fostered and enabled a dark period in Philippine history when warrantless arrests, torture, and assassinations were routine for the ruling military but terrorizing for the Filipino people,” Ellorin claimed. “The international community, especially US tax payers, play a role in pressuring both the US and Philippine governments to ensure the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao, an end to policy of impunity for human rights abusers in the Philippines, and that justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre is truly obtained void of the Arroyo government’s handling.”

Filipina/o American Youth Denounces the Arroyo Administration’s Renewed Campaign Against Activists

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release

December 1, 2009

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General of SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth

email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

Filipina/o American Youth Denounces the Arroyo Administration’s Renewed Campaign Against Activists
Scare Tactics by “Special Intelligence Group” Claims the Life of a Migrant Organizer

SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth mourns and expresses outrage over the death of Danilo Benalo, a member of the Center for Filipino Seafarers (CENTERFILS), who, after harassment by suspected state agents, died of a stroke on November 24. Benalo was an organizer for Migrante International, a worldwide alliance of grassroots organizations addressing concerns of Filipino migrants.

Members of a “special intelligence group” confronted Benalo around noon on November 23 and threatened to harm his family should he refuse to cooperate with the group. They warned him that they had information about him, including his record as an activist and the whereabouts of his family. In distress Benalo agreed to meet with the state agents again that afternoon. However, when a friend, with whom
he had shared the incident and whom he had promised to call after his meeting, tried to reach him later that day, Benalo had already been rushed to a hospital due to a stroke. Benalo died the next morning.

SanDiwa not only grieves the loss of a dedicated migrant organizer, but also condemns the Arroyo administration’s renewed campaign against activists critical of the government, under the direction of newly appointed Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzeles. The death of Mr. Benalo is an addition to the growing list of political killings, enforced disappearances and torture of activists committed by military and secret intelligence groups under the Arroyo regime. “This is no different from the abduction of student activists such as Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, the abduction and torture of Filipino American Melissa Roxas, and the violent dispersal of student rallyists at Malacanang last August. All these human rights violations were committed by state forces under the direct watch of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. All the victims were people advocating for human rights and fighting for positive and genuine change in Philippine society,” said Aurora Victoria David, officer of Stanford University’s Pilipino American Student Union, a member organization of Sandiwa.

“Because of desperation of the Arroyo government in quelling resistance, it is willing to use any strategy—scare tactics, torture, or direct abduction and killing—to silence its critics. This brutal campaign indiscriminately victimizes activists, journalists, women, and church people. As long as you are vocal in criticizing the government, you are an enemy and a target.” declared Anne Beryl Corotan, Chairperson of Sandiwa. With the 2010 Philippine elections fast approaching, and due to fear of losing their positions, those in power resort to coercive acts. The recent massacre of journalists and innocent civilians over local electoral campaigns in Maguindanao, and the delisting of Migrante Partylist from contending in the coming elections are just a couple of examples of countless repressive tactics utilized by the Arroyo administration and its allies in their desperate clutch to power.

Despite all of the repression, SanDiwa vows to continue to educate, organize, and mobilize Filipina/os in the United States in demanding justice for these violations of human rights. “We will continue to protect the rights of the people and will not stop until justice is brought to Mr. Benalo and all victims of human rights violations in the Philippines,” ended Corotan.


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.