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.

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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