Archive for national alliance for filipino concerns

In Wake of DREAM Act Defeat Filipinos Reinvigorate Call for Legalization for ALL

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2010

Reference:
NAFCON National Office
info@nafconusa.org

In Wake of DREAM Act Defeat Filipinos Reinvigorate Call for
Legalization for ALL

Just days after the DREAM Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, NAFCON reaffirms its commitment to fight for Legalization for All. Rev. Fr. Ben Alforque, MSC, NAFCON President commented, “There are more than one million undocumented Filipinos in the U.S. who have a right to a decent life here in America. Our kababayan should be recognized for their legitimate contribution to this country instead of having to live in the shadows. We must strengthen our efforts to fight for their rights.”

NAFCON is opposed to the criminalization of undocumented immigrants.  Migrants, specifically from third world countries such as the Philippines, are forced to leave their homelands because of the worsening conditions of landlessness, joblessness, and economic hardship. It is this situation of extreme poverty and hopelessness that pushes them to search for livelihood in the U.S. and 190 other countries throughout the world. Rev. Alforque stated, “It is inhumane to criminalize undocumented immigrants because laws should protect people in search of a better life not persecute them.”

NAFCON points to the role of the Philippine and U.S. government in creating the conditions that forced millions of Filipinos to migrate and become undocumented.  Every year the U.S. gives millions of tax dollars to the Philippine government as incentives to implement policies which favor American interests at the expense of the Filipino people. For example the Philippine government prioritizes repayment of its debt to the U.S. controlled IMF/World Bank over the welfare of its people. Rev. Alforque explained, “The Philippines spends nearly 20% of its national budget to debt servicing while the allocations for education, health care, and social welfare combined is 17%.  It is the implementation of policies like these, at the behest of the U.S., that impoverish the Philippines and force its people to seek a better life in other countries.”

NAFCON demands the U.S. overhaul its immigration system to protect all workers, unite families, and unify our communities. NAFCON also calls for an end to U.S. intervention in the Philippines and throughout the world because the issue of forced migration is rooted in the creation of poverty and resulting lack of opportunity in the third world.

NAFCON urges its member organizations and allies to work toward building a mass movement towards Legalization for All and an end to policies causing forced migration. Lyra Ibarra, Chairperson of Active Leadership to Advance the Youth in San Francisco commented, “We need to make certain that all our kababayan are given a fair path to legalization. It is not just those who go to college or who serve in the military that should be recognized, but all undocumented peoples who contribute to this country.”

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To join the NAFCON news list please send a request to info@nafconusa.org.
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns [NAFCON] is a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the United States serving to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos by fighting for social, economic, and racial justice and equality. It was launched in San Jose California in 2003. At present, NAFCON members encompass over 23 cities in the United States.

 

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NAFCON-US Demands the Immediate Release of 43 Health Workers Illegally Arrested and Illegally Detained in a Military Raid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8 February 2010

Reference: NAFCON National Office
info@nafconusa.org 718-565-8862 718-565-8856 (fax)

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns-US (NAFCON-US) Demands the Immediate Release of 43 Health Workers Illegally Arrested and Illegally Detained in a Military Raid, Rizal Province, Philippines

New York—NAFCON-US, an alliance of Filipino American organizations based in 23 cities, condemns the Philippine police and military’s illegal raid and abduction of 43 health workers and doctors who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal, Philippines on Saturday, February 6. The health workers and doctors administer health services to poor communities, and were participating in a First Responders Training, sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD). Their personal belongings, as well the training materials used, were all confiscated by the military.

The human rights alliance KARAPATAN reports approximately 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Rizal Philippine National Police (PNP) forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte at 6:15 AM. At gunpoint, the military forced the caretaker to open the gates. Inside, the soldiers fanned out to different directions. They also kicked the main door to get into the building.

When Dr. Velmonte and her son, Bob demanded for a search warrant, they were merely brushed aside by the military. All medical practitioners and health workers, were ordered to line up at the garage, frisked, and handcuffed. The victims were also questioned and photographed by the military, while another took a video recording of the interrogation. The male victims were then blindfolded with old shirts brought in by the soldiers and secured with packaging tape.

When the participants were already handcuffed, it was only then that Police Superintendent Marion P. Balonglong showed Bob a search warrant for a certain Mario Condes of Bgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal, charged with illegal possession of firearms. The search warrant dated February 5, 2010 and issued by Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of Branch 22 of the Imus, Cavite Regional Trial Court, did not indicate the exact address of the Velmonte compound. Bob asserted that the warrant did not specify their address, and that Mario Condes, who is subject of the warrant, is not even the owner of the house, but he was ignored by the authorities.

The health workers were forced into the military trucks and were brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of Philippine Army. The health workers have been held incommunicado since then, and have been denied their right to legal counsel. A team from the Commission on Human Rights was also blocked from seeing the detainees.

“The PNP and AFP’s illegal abduction and detention of health professionals is reprehensible and again highlights the Arroyo regime’s disregard for human rights,” states Father Benjamin Alforque, NAFCON-US President. “We condemn the government for arresting these health care providers while they were undergoing ‘First Response Training,’ to serve the poor who are in most need of critical healthcare.”

“If the Philippine government was truly concerned with the welfare of the Filipino people, especially in light of the recent devastation caused by natural disasters such as Ondoy and Pepeng, it would be supporting, not arresting, health professionals who are trained in emergency response and who seek to serve communities,” adds Julia Camagong, NAFCON Vice President of Programs.

Karapatan Recommended action endorsed by NAFCON-US:
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1. The immediate release of the health workers who are illegally arrested and illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

2. The government to ensure the safety of the victims and that they are not harmed; their belongings be returned immediately to them.

3. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into raid and illegal arrest of the health workers conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal.

4. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

5. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

You may send your communications to:
H.E.Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Gen. Avelino Razon, Ret. PNP
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
osec@opapp.gov.ph

Norberto Gonzales
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Email: osnd@philonline.com

Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com

GMA STOP THE ILLEGAL ABDUCTION AND DETENTION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS!

JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS UNDER THE ARROYO REGIME!

NO TO US MILITARY AID THAT SUPPORTS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS

________________________________________________________________________________

NAFCON Mission and Purpose

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) is a national network of Filipino organizations, institutions, and individuals committed to advancing the rights and welfare, celebrating culture and history, and building unity among Filipinos living and working in the United States. Founded in 2003, NAFCON members are based in over 23 cities across the country. Member organizations include: SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth, National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns, Filipino Community Center–San Francisco, Filipino Community Support–Silicon Valley, Philippine Forum—New York and New Jersey, F.I.R.E.—New York, Habi Arts—Los Angeles, Liwanag Kultural Center—Daly City, Filipino Ministry of DSB—San Bernardino, Fellowship for Filipino Migrants—Illinois, and Filipino Migrant Heritage Commission—Virginia.

The main purpose of NAFCON is to contribute our time and efforts to fight and protect the Rights and Welfare of the Filipino immigrants all over the globe. Through education, organizing, mobilizing, fundraising, networking and lobbying; we hope to restore social justice and equality for our people in the United States and in the Philippines.

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

SANDIWA NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FIL-AM YOUTH JOIN THEIR FELLOW FILIPINA/OS AROUND THE WORLD IN VOICING THE PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2009

SanDiwa Statement on GMA’s 2009 State of the Nation Address

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

SANDIWA NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FIL-AM YOUTH JOIN THEIR FELLOW FILIPINA/OS AROUND THE WORLD IN VOICING THE PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

On July 27, 2009, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be giving her annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) to boast on the social, economic, and political progress that her administration believes the Philippines as a nation has made. This will mark her ninth SONA and potentially, her last. However, as in years past, the Filipina/o people are expecting the same rhetoric that does not reflect the reality of immense poverty, government corruption, human rights violations, and increasingly unattainable education.

This year’s SONA may very well be her last, and with an approval rating of only 26 percent, the majority of the people have high hopes it will be so. Recognizing this, Arroyo’s administration has orchestrated a plan in order to stay in power beyond her presidential term, taking the form of Charter Change, or “Cha-Cha” as it is commonly called. If “Cha-Cha” is approved, the current Philippine Constitution will be changed so that the current system of government will be changed to a parliamentary system, allowing Arroyo to become Prime Minister for an unspecified length of time. Given her administration’s horrible track record of government corruption, rampant human rights violations that even surpasses former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and worsening poverty, “Cha-Cha” is a desperate move for her to cling to power and is highly unpopular with the people. This political maneuvering will only result in the continuing worsening poverty, government corruption, and human rights violations, clearly at the people’s disadvantage.

The Filipina/o people know that because of these conditions in the Philippines, about 3,000 Filipina/os leave the country everyday to escape the poverty and find work abroad. Filipina/os living abroad often work to send money back to their families in the Philippines, and billions of dollars in remittances is what is keeping the Philippines’ already fragile economy afloat. If Arroyo’s boasts of economic progress were only true, then Filipina/os would not be leaving the country just to find work. “Cha-Cha” would only perpuate, if not worsen, these conditions. As Fil-Am youth in the United States, we are all too familiar with this situation, being children of Filipina/o immigrants who left their homeland for greener pastures in order to provide for their families.

The worsening economy has also made the Philippines unsafe for those who simply wish to address these social issues. Many journalists, workers, students, and even innocent civilians who have chosen to organize and speak out against poverty, corruption, and injustice have experienced human rights violations in the form of abduction, forced disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Their only crime was seeking justice. With the increasing incidences of human rights violations, which run rampant and unchecked, Filipina/o Americans are growing increasingly concerned about their kababayan (fellow countrymen) in the Philippines as well as their own safety when traveling back to the homeland, whether it be for visiting family or going on exposure trips. Recently, Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipina/o descent, was abducted and tortured by elements known to be connected to the Philippine military. Fortunately, she was resurfaced and safe after being missing for five days. Roxas was a founding member of Habi-Arts in Los Angeles, a cultural organization that is also a part of NAFCON. She was in the Philippines on an extended exposure trip simply doing volunteer healthcare work. After being resurfaced and returning to the U.S. to be reunited with her family, she is now back in the Philippines to testify about her abduction and torture before the Commission on Human Rights. SanDiwa applauds and commends her courage to return to the Philippines and speak not only for herself, but for all victims of human rights violations. Her courage is inspiring to SanDiwa and all people working towards social justice.

What is also happening in the Philippines that Filipina/o American youth can closely relate to is the rising cost of tuition at universities throughout the nation. More and more funding is being taken out of education, and college is becoming more and more unaffordable. Similar situations are happening in the U.S. In New York, the City University of New York system cut $51 million from its budget as the governor’s plan to address the state’s finances in the current financial crisis. In July 2009, The California State University system increased student fees by 20% and is not accepting applicants for Winter 2010 and Spring 2010 terms. In addition, classes are being cut and in effect lengthening the time for students to graduate. It is the students who are directly and severely affected by these budget cuts and tuition increases. These are just two examples of countless others throughout the U.S. What we see is less investment on education and more funding towards law enforcement and military, which is a very similar situation in the Philippines.

Yet despite all these unjust conditions, Filipina/o American youth stand in solidarity with our kababayan (countrymen/women) in the Philippines taking to the streets and voicing the true state of the nation, standing up against “Cha-Cha,” human rights violations, and rising college tuition fees. While our people in the Philippines struggle with these injustices, we realize that our struggles as Filipino Americans are closely connected, with the criminalization of immigrants and youth, the rising student fees at colleges and universities, and budget cuts to education that goes towards military funding instead. Our work as a National Alliance of Fil-Am youth is especially important here in the United States, because it is our U.S. tax dollars that support the GMA administration. In this new era of “hope” and “change,” we will tirelessly work to make those words hold true, for a better Philippines, for a better United States, for a better world.

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.