One Year Later, Filipinos Still in Crisis Under Aquino– BAYAN USA

Press Statement
July 25, 2011
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN-USA, email: chair@bayanusa.org

National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and BAYAN USA hold the People's State of the Nation Address in Woodside, NY

Filipino-Americans, under the banner of BAYAN-USA, are taking part in actions across the US and in Manila during the scheduled State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the Philippines to register strong condemnation and disappointment over the failure of the administration of Philippine President Benigno Simeon “P-Noy” Aquino III to facilitate significant changes to improve the lives of the burdened Filipino people after one year in office.

Citing continuing subservience to foreign dictates and a worsened economic situation as measures of the Aquino’s failure to deliver upon promises made during the election and during last year’s SONA, BAYAN-USA and its allies in the US remain adamantly unconvinced that the administration is genuinely for change.

Shameless US Puppetry

At the heart of Aquino’s failure is unrelenting loyalty and puppetry to US foreign policy.

Within his first year, Aquino has willingly allowed the US to use the Philippines as its puppet state to take advantage of the regional territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands and provoke profit-making military aggression in Asia, and particularly against China.

As war and arms production has become the most profitable industry for the US ruling elite, the US government has in turn been able to rely strongly on the compliant Aquino administration to continue with a sugar-coated version of Arroyo’s deadly Operation Plan Bantay Laya by implementing Operation Plan Bayanihan, per the US State Department’s Counter-Insurgency Guide (US COIN). The objective of this counterinsurgency program is the same as it was for Arroyo’s administration and as utilized by repressive regimes worldwide: to suppress dissent and eliminate opposition using a combination of deceptive and increasingly violent tactics. The end result is the protection of imperialist economic and political interests at the expense of human lives.

The Poor Get Poorer Under Aquino

Under the thumb of US foreign dictates, Aquino has further pushed a neoliberal economic framework that has made life more miserable for the majority of the Filipino people. Landlord families, such as Aquino’s, remain in control of the country’s natural resources and push for privatization. Liberalization continues to hike up the prices of basic commodities such as food, gas, and water out of the reach of Filipino families. Contractualization hurts workers by decreasing wages, sowing job insecurity, and busting unions. Under Aquino, there are over 11 million unemployed Filipinos in the country with virtually zero job growth.

Privatization schemes such as the so-called Public-Private Partnership (PPP) not only serve to bulk up the pockets of wealthy and powerful multi-national corporate investors at the expense of ordinary Filipino citizens and workers. They also widen the gap between the few Filipino families that control the majority of the country’s wealth and political power and the burdened majority who must pay from their own pockets for the risks of private investors. It is the impoverished majority who suffer the most from the Philippine state’s abandonment of its public responsibilities.

Filipinos are left with no choice but to seek opportunities abroad, like in the United States. But in these desperate economic times, many Filipino workers fall prey to human trafficking schemes to the US.

Philippine Government: #1 Human Trafficker

The cases of the Sentosa 27 healthworkers, the Florida 15 hotel workers, and hundreds more similar cases of Filipinos duped into coming to the US under the auspices that they would have contract work waiting for them only to have their money taken, passports confiscated, and be left by their recruiters to fend for themselves as undocumented migrants are another clear measure of the Philippine government’s failure to address the country’s economic woes.

In addition, the Aquino government continues Arroyo’s non-accountability to overseas Filipino workers in distress by not providing adequate social services and protection from abuse, maltreatment, and exploitation abroad.

Last Names Do Not a Great Leader Make

Though he was able to capitalize on his last name and the dirty record of his predecessor to win the election, it is clear that none of these things actually translated into making Aquino a great leader or any improvement to the state of the Philippine nation.

Like Obama, Aquino has proven that he is not much different than his predecessor, particularly with his human rights record. In one year of the Aquino presidency, 45 activists have been slain in politically-motivated killings, 5 have been victims of forced disappearance and over 300 political prisoners remain behind bars. The perpetrators of the 1,206 extra-judicial killings, more than 300 forced disappearances, and over 1,000 cases of torture committed under the previous administration of President Gloria Arroyo remain at-large, including those guilty of abducting and torturing renowned Filipina American poet, artist, and BAYAN USA member Melissa Roxas.

As Aquino delivers his formal State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the Philippine Congress today, Filipino-Americans will be amongst those who refused to be deceived and who understand that real change can only come from ordinary people in collective struggle, not from individual politicians with famous last names. ###

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Let’s Deliver Our One- Two Punch Against the Incompetent Aquino Regime!

Warm and militant greetings!

WHAT: Production work

WHERE: Action 21

107-B Hutton St. (corner of Central Avenue)

Jersey City, NJ

WHEN: Wednesday, July 20; 4pm

WHY: President Noynoy Aquino’s 2nd State of the Nation Address is just around the corner. As we do every year, we’ll be holding a People’s State of the Nation Address under the banner of National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and BAYAN-USA on Sunday, July 24, 12-1pm at Queens, NY.

Being an inspired, creative force, the youth in NJ is tasked to help make props for the protest action. The concept behind this production is that President “P-Noy” Aquino will be depicted as a spoiled egg, oozing with controversy and various incompetencies (rising prices of commodities, public-private partnerships, tuition fee hikes, Spratly dispute, etc). The boxing gloves will represent the Filipino people’s collective power that continues to fight for basic rights such as jobs, education, healthcare, and other social services. The boxing gloves also serve as a reference to Congressman Manny Pacquiao’s endorsement of the 125- peso wage increase bill.

We’ll be making 2 big boxing gloves that are meant to smash the spoilt “humpty dumpty”, and 6 smaller gloves representing the different groups of human trafficking victims and the community organizations in the NY/NJ area.

To volunteer, or for questions, contact Bea Sabino at biningbol@gmail.com or call (201) 779-6886. Thank you and hope you can offer some of your time for a great cause! Feel free to tag your friends who would be interested. 🙂

STOP TRAFFICKING OUR PEOPLE!

P125 WAGE INCREASE ACROSS THE BOARD, NATIONWIDE IN THE PHILIPPINES!

NO TO LABOR EXPORT POLICY!

LEGALIZATION FOR ALL!

US Anti-War Activists, Peace Advocates Gather in Manila for Historic International Conference Amidst Looming US Military Presence in Region

News Release

July 14, 2011Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA, email: chair@bayanusa.org

4th International League of Peoples' Struggle Logo

Over 60 US-based anti-war activists composed one of the largest country delegations to the fourth international assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), held last July 7-9 in San Mateo, Rizal. They were joined by over 430 delegates from East and West Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America in the largest assembly of ILPS since its founding in 2001. The assembly also marked the 10th anniversary of the global alliance of over 350 grassroots organizations and movements from over 40 countries worldwide.

Delegates from the BAYAN USA, the largest progressive Filipino-American alliance in the US, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) and Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) in San Francisco, the International Action Center, the New York May 1st Coalition, and the Black Agenda Report were in attendance and participated in the various plenary and workshop sessions of the assembly that tackled issues such  as US military aggression, US foreign military bases and operations, US-funded counter-insurgency operations, as well as worldwide struggles of workers, migrants, farmers, women, youth, and indigenous peoples in the face of neoliberal policies and continuing foreign economic intervention.

In addition to opposing ongoing US military aggression in in West Asia and North Africa, the assembly also united strongly in support several national movements asserting sovereignty against US domination and intervention, namely US-Israeli occupied Palestine, the Philippines, as well as progressive governments in Latin America such as that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Rosa Martha Zarate Macias of Mexico sings to the assembly

Mexican singer-songwriter and migrant rights organizer Rosa Marta Zarate-Macias described the large gathering as “encountering a family I have chosen to be a part of. I came all the way from Mexico to the Philippines, only to find out that the struggles of people here in Asia and in Africa are the same as in Latin America. This gathering opened my eyes to our common struggle and our common adversary– the few wealthy families in our countries that serve the interest of the corporations and enslave the rest of the people.”

Kuusela Hilo of BAYAN USA

Kuusela Hilo, Vice-Chairperson of BAYAN USA and newly-elected member to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), the lead body of the ILPS, stated, “The worsening global economic crisis continues to drive the intensification of the profit-driven US military-industrial complex, at the human cost of the peoples of the world, including the American people. The growing unrest in the US over deadly budget cuts on education, health care, as well as rising unemployment and joblessness must link with similar struggles abroad in order to effectively shake the current system and facilitate change. The ILPS can certainly be maximized as a global coordinating body to realize this.”

Bill Doares of the International Action Center speaks

Hilo joins newly-elected ILPS Vice-Chairperson of External Affairs Bill Doares of the International Action Center and newly-elected ILPS Auditor Lyn Meza of Chelsea Uniting Against the War in Massachusetts in the ICC.

Key international campaigns adopted during the international assembly were also taken up by several US delegates, including a global campaign to dismantle the US foreign military bases and operations in over 700 posts worldwide.

In addition, San Francisco-based hip-hop performers Power Struggle, Seattle hip-hop MC Rogue Pinay, and acoustic acts Taospuso joined performers from Palestine, the Philippines, and Taiwan in a crowd-pleasing solidarity night and even performed throughout the assembly itself.

ILPS 4th International Assembly plenary session

Delegates from the United States also committed to building a US country chapter of ILPS by next year. A country chapter in Canada was recently launched earlier this year, joining the roster of ILPS country chapters in Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, and Indonesia.

Earlier in the week, US missile ships dropped anchor in the South China Sea to engage the Philippine Navy in joint military exercises under the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty. The unpopular presence of the US military in close proximity to the Spratly Islands has moved international groups to protest the exercises as a maneuver to take advantage of the territorial dispute to provoke US-directed military aggression against rival superpower China and in the region. ###

Diplomatic Solution and Independent Foreign Policy Upholding Philippine Sovereignty, Not U.S. Intervention, the Answer to Spratlys Conflict – NAFCON

For Immediate Release

06 July 2011

Reference:

Jun Cruz, NAFCON Public Info Officer

415.333.6267 / info@filipinocc.org

 

 

Diplomatic Solution and Independent Foreign Policy Upholding Philippine Sovereignty, Not U.S. Intervention, the Answer to Spratlys Conflict – NAFCON

 

 

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) urges the Philippine government to work for an independent foreign policy upholding Philippine sovereignty, and to reconsider requesting increased military assistance from the U.S. in response to the growing conflict with China regarding the Spratly islands.

 

Fr. Ben Alforque, president of NAFCON reiterated, “If the Philippine government is really for good governance, then it should not allow itself to become tools of war mongering and pawns of the U.S. It should promote an independent foreign policy and work for a diplomatic solution of the problem by all claimants including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Philippines and Malaysia.”

 

The Spratly Islands consist of over 30,000 unoccupied islands in the South China Sea that encompass strategically important trade routes and are believed to sit atop abundant mineral and oil deposits. For decades, several nations including China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines, have engaged in territorial disputes over the islands.  Tensions have increased as of late due to moves by China that have been perceived by the Aquino administration as violations of international law and threats to our nations’ sovereignty.

 

However, Aquino sent representatives to the U.S. seeking for increased support to beef up the Philippines military capabilities including more joint training exercises and leasing naval vessels. Utilizing the conflict for greater military buildup in the region, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the U.S. is “determined and committed to supporting the defense of the Philippines.”

 

“While we denounce China’s incursions within our boundaries, it is contradictory for Aquino to increase our nation’s dependence on its former colonial master behind the banner of defending Philippine sovereignty. The U.S. military has violated our sovereignty since time immemorial, even resulting in the raping of our women and displacement of our people. By seeking greater U.S. military presence, the Aquino administration is actually undermining Philippine sovereignty.” said Fr. Ben Alforque. ###

 

 

To join the NAFCON news list please send a request to info@nafconusa.org.

JULY 9– Spend Your Saturday With Us!

Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey, in cooperation with several other community organizations, is inviting you to check out the following events we have lined up for the second weekend of July:

JULY 9, 2011: “Ka Bel” Film Screening
What: A 60-minute documentary about the life and struggle of Ka Bel. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran was a prominent labor leader in the Philippines, well-loved and respected by the masses. His life and struggle were dedicated to champion the rights and welfare of the oppressed working people. He served as chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement), and later as a congressman, representing the Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party.We hope you could join us in celebrating Ka Bel, a tried and true working class hero.
When: Saturday; July 9, 2011; 2pm-4pm
Where: Action 21 (107- B Hutton St., Jersey City, NJ)
Admission: suggested donation of $5
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=222755054425437

**** DATE AND VENUE CHANGED***** Details below.

JULY 9, 2011: “Party With the Expats: Despedida- Fundraiser Party”
What: A fundraiser party for Anakbayan’s Summer Exposure Program 2011., which will send 4 of our members to the Philippines for 3 weeks this month to integrate with, and learn from, the basic masses.
When: Saturday; July 9; 8pm- 12 midnight (Date moved from July 8)
Where: Grand Banks Cafe (75 Montgomery St., Jersey City, NJ)
Admission: All ages welcome; 21+ to drink
$10 before 10pm; $20 after 10pm
Student Special: $15 all night with valid student ID
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=165777826822679