We are outraged by the brutal assassination of Ernesto “Ka Erning” Gulfo, urban poor leader and community organizer of Catmon, Malabon on May 30, 2012. We condemn the systematic and continuous terror campaign of the Aquino regime against our people back home in the Philippines. Ka Erning’s murder adds to Aquino’s growing record of political killings. This clearly shows that Aquino is perpetuating the legacy of the previous President Arroyo through his utter disregard for human rights.
Ernesto “Ka Erning” Gulfo is an urban poor leader and community organizer of Catmon, Malabon. As the chairperson of the local alliance of people’s organizations against the demolitions of urban poor communities, Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (AKD) – Malabon, he was organizing the community to defend itself against a demolition that would displace over 1,500 families. Ka Erning had a deep grasp of the community’s problems and the Philippine government’s devious schemes to displace urban poor communities in the name of “development”. He worked tirelessly to organize local residents to stand up and defend their basic human rights. He showed that the way to truly change these conditions was to take collective action and struggle for national democracy. Because of this, he became a prime target of state-sponsored terrorism. On the morning of May 30, two unidentified men entered his home and shot him twice in the chest. Ka Erning is now the 77th victim of political killings under the Aquino administration.
As soon as we found out about his murder, it immediately sent shockwaves throughout the Filipino youth movement in the US. Many of us had the opportunity to meet Ka Erning on our exposure trips to the Philippines. He was a humble and warm-hearted comrade, father, grandfather, and laborer who selflessly welcomed community members and exposurists into his home. Ka Erning was a wise teacher to a generation of Filipino youth and student activists here in the US. He generously shared his years of experience and insightful lessons as an organizer and activist. He emphasized that in order to effectively organize, we should not only hold meetings, but be on the ground in the community and immerse ourselves in the lives of the masses.
The struggle of Ka Erning and the urban poor population of the Philippines resounds strongly to us, who are part of the Filipino diaspora. The poverty and injustices that cause the internal migration and displacement of the urban poor in the Philippines are the same conditions that force thousands of us to migrate abroad daily.
Under the current Aquino regime’s Public-Private Partnership “development” scheme, violent demolitions and human rights violations are an integral part of the ruling class’ ruthless drive to acquire property and profit. Even here in the US, communities are increasingly under threat of displacement by the ruling 1% through the gentrification of working class and immigrant communities, as well as the widespread foreclosure of homes by big banks.
Ka Erning fought for a brighter future for our people. He will live on forever in the hearts and memories of the Filipino people here in the US as a martyr of our people’s struggle for dignity and genuine liberation. We will continue his unfinished struggle.
We call on our kababayans to emulate Ka Erning’s shining example. Let’s organize and struggle for a Philippines where human rights are upheld and all our people will have homes and a life with dignity. Struggle for national democracy until victory!
Justice for Ernesto “Ka Erning” Gulfo!
Stop the demolitions!
Struggle for national democracy in the Philippines!
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