Partial List of Post-Hurricane Relief

A partial list of resources can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/okjerseycitylink to resource map at http://goo.gl/maps/K9HZh

To contact the 24-hour hotline to the Jersey City Mayor’s Action Bureau, call (201) 547 5563

ATMs

  • Downtown – PNC Bank,  95 Christopher Columbus Drive
  • Downtown, ATM at Wayne and Grove Streets outside Las America
  • Downtown, Provident Bank, 239 Washington Street
  • Journal Square, PNC Bank, 26 Journal Square
  • Heights, Chase Bank, 374 Central Avenue

Free Charging Stations: (electrical outlets available for free to charge for devices)

  • Pershing Field Community Center, 201 Central Avenue (Summit Avenue and Manhattan Avenue), Open 9 am to 7 pm daily
  • Joseph Connors Senior Center, 28 Paterson Street off Central Avenue
  • Mira Fruit Market, 500 West Side Avenue (by Williams St.)
  • Lowe’s Bayonne, Bayonne Crossing Way
  • NJ Lightrail Parking lots on West Side Avenue and Claremont Avenue, or call  800 436 7734

Gasoline (as of 11/2/2012; availability changes quickly)

  • Hess, Marin Blvd. and 14th Street
  • Quick Check, 54th St. in Bayonne
  • Gulf Gas, along route 1&9 & Duncan
  • Hess, Tonelle Ave.
  • EZ Gas, Tonelle Ave.
  • Shell, Tonelle Ave.

Meals/Food Distribution:

  • Pershing Field Community Center, 201 Central Avenue (Summit Avenue and Manhattan Avenue)
  • Jersey City Armory, 678 Montgomery St. (by Jordan Ave., Journal Square area)
  • Dr. Ercel Webb Pool, Johnston Avenue Pool (Johnston Avenue Entrance), 395 Johnston Avenue. (by Van Horne St.)
  • MLK Hub, Martin Luther King Dr. and Ege Avenue West Side Avenue Light Rail Station, Claremont Avenue on West Side Avenue

Pet Food

  • Liberty Humane Society on Jersey City Boulevard across the street from Liberty Science Center.
  • Joseph Connors Senior Center, located at 28 Paterson
  • Maureen Collier Senior Center, located 335 Bergen Avenue

Water & Ice Distribution

  • NJ Lightrail Parking lots on West Side Avenue and Claremont Avenue, or call  800 436 7734

Oxygen re-fills are available at these Fire Departments:

  • 255 Kearny Avenue, between JFK and Country Road 605/West Side Ave.
  • 355 Newark Avenue, by 5th Street in Downtown Jersey City
  • 715 Summit Avenue, by Jefferson Ave. in the Heights
  • 595 Palisade Avenue, by Congress St. in the Heights
  • Or call (201) 547 5681

Red Cross Stations/ Shelter:

  • Jersey City Armory,  678 Montgomery St. (by Jordan Ave., Journal Square area)
  • Dickinson High School and PS #7 have closed to prepare for school reopening

Jersey City Filipino Youth Group Starts Post-Sandy Relief Efforts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2012

Reference:

Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

Contact: 201.779.6886; anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

Hanalei Ramos, Operation Kaligtasan Hudson County Coordinator

Contact: 347.829.9802; operation.kaligtasan@gmail.com

Jersey City Filipino Youth Group Starts Post-Sandy Relief Efforts

Jersey City- Filipino youth organization, Anakbayan New Jersey, mobilizes community support after hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the east coast last Monday, Oct. 29.  The Filipino youth organization calls on the local Jersey City government to prioritize assistance for working class and immigrant communities.  The said efforts are part of “Operation Kaligtasan/ Operation Safety”, a Filipino volunteer based emergency disaster response team.  After the storm, members of Anakbayan New Jersey conducted a preliminary assessment of the effects of hurricane Sandy and the immediate needs of the Filipino Jersey City community.

Community left in the dark

Working class and immigrant communities are literally and figuratively left in the dark due to power outage and lack of information dissemination from the city government.  Based on the assessment that Anakbayan NJ made, the major concern among the community is the extended power outage and its effects on the people’s livelihood. “A majority of the city has been out of power since Monday.  In a predominantly immigrant and working class community such as Jersey City, not being able to work for an extended period of time means no food on their families’ plates, delayed bill payments and unstable living conditions,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of the local Filipino youth organization, Anakbayan New Jersey.

Also based on the assessment, most Jersey City residents are frustrated by the City of Jersey City’s inefficient methods of disseminating information. Dissemination of updates about resources available to the community have been limited to an unstaffed City Hall and inaudible police patrol car announcements. This, according to the youth organization, left the community relying mostly on word-of-mouth for information. “There are shelters, food and water distribution services available in certain locations across the city. However, the communities who are in dire need of these services are neither receiving this information nor can access it due to the ineffective communication systems between local city government and residents,” Ms. Sabino added.

Power to the people

With frustration building-up and uncertainties piling up, community members are coming together to save themselves. Conversations between concerned citizens and community leaders are leading to an effort to unite the diverse neighborhoods of Jersey City to voice out these clear cases of government neglect of working class and immigrant communities.

“We call on Mayor Healy, and the local Jersey City government to not leave our communities in the dark. We demand immediate government assistance for the residents of Greenville, Bergen-Lafayette, West Side and Journal Square. We also demand to immediately address the long power outage in our neighborhoods and lastly, to improve information dissemination regarding updates on what the city is doing by working closely with grassroots organizations,” concluded Ms. Sabino. In the following days, Anakbayan NJ, in collaboration with local community organizations will be conducting more surveys and will be distributing information sheets for relief and assistance in Jersey City. 

Anakbayan NJ is calling for volunteers for survey teams. For more information contact them at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com or visit them at www.anakbayannynj.wordpress.com.

###

A partial list of resources can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/okjerseycitylink to resource map at http://goo.gl/maps/K9HZh

To contact the 24-hour hotline to the Jersey City Mayor’s Action Bureau, call (201) 547 5563 ATMs

  • Downtown – PNC Bank,  95 Christopher Columbus Drive
  • Downtown, ATM at Wayne and Grove Streets outside Las America
  • Downtown, Provident Bank, 239 Washington Street
  • Journal Square, PNC Bank, 26 Journal Square
  • Heights, Chase Bank, 374 Central Avenue

Free Charging Stations: (electrical outlets available for free to charge for devices)

  • Pershing Field Community Center, 201 Central Avenue (Summit Avenue and Manhattan Avenue), Open 9 am to 7 pm daily
  • Joseph Connors Senior Center, 28 Paterson Street off Central Avenue
  • Mira Fruit Market, 500 West Side Avenue (by Williams St.)
  • Lowe’s Bayonne, Bayonne Crossing Way
  • NJ Lightrail Parking lots on West Side Avenue and Claremont Avenue, or call  800 436 7734

Gasoline (as of 11/2/2012; availability changes quickly)

  • Hess, Marin Blvd. and 14th Street
  • Quick Check, 54th St. in Bayonne
  • Gulf Gas, along route 1&9 & Duncan
  • Hess, Tonelle Ave.
  • EZ Gas, Tonelle Ave.
  • Shell, Tonelle Ave.

Meals/Food Distribution:

  • Pershing Field Community Center, 201 Central Avenue (Summit Avenue and Manhattan Avenue)
  • Jersey City Armory, 678 Montgomery St. (by Jordan Ave., Journal Square area)
  • Dr. Ercel Webb Pool, Johnston Avenue Pool (Johnston Avenue Entrance), 395 Johnston Avenue. (by Van Horne St.)
  • MLK Hub, Martin Luther King Dr. and Ege Avenue West Side Avenue Light Rail Station, Claremont Avenue on West Side Avenue

Pet Food

  • Liberty Humane Society on Jersey City Boulevard across the street from Liberty Science Center.
  • Joseph Connors Senior Center, located at 28 Paterson
  • Maureen Collier Senior Center, located 335 Bergen Avenue

Water & Ice Distribution

  • NJ Lightrail Parking lots on West Side Avenue and Claremont Avenue, or call  800 436 7734

Oxygen re-fills are available at these Fire Departments:

  • 255 Kearny Avenue, between JFK and Country Road 605/West Side Ave.
  • 355 Newark Avenue, by 5th Street in Downtown Jersey City
  • 715 Summit Avenue, by Jefferson Ave. in the Heights
  • 595 Palisade Avenue, by Congress St. in the Heights
  • Or call (201) 547 5681

Red Cross Stations/ Shelter:

  • Jersey City Armory,  678 Montgomery St. (by Jordan Ave., Journal Square area)
  • Dickinson High School and PS #7 have closed to prepare for school reopening

Quick Community Assessment of Post-Hurricane Sandy in Jersey City

On November 1, 2012, from 12:30-3:00pm, members of Anakbayan New Jersey walked around Jersey City to speak with the community regarding Hurricane Sandy.  We surveyed 37 people, mostly Filipinos, throughout West Side and Mallory Avenues (From Fulton St to Roosevelt Ave).

We identified the following as the community’s major concerns:

  • Lack of electricity
    Phones losing charge
    Limited supply of batteries
    Cash only transactions (ATMs are closed)
    No heating systems
    Loss of income (people can’t get to work; perishable products in small stores)
    Lack of transportation (trains are not running; no access to NY; road closings; limited gas stations; increased gas prices)
  •  Lack of communication
    Limited phone service
    Phones losing charge
    No internet access
    No landline
    Hard to get information other than through the radio   
  • Safety and security
    No street lights at night
    No traffic lights
    Rumors of break-ins and burglary

Beginning yesterday, October 31, Jersey City instituted a strict 7pm-7am lockdown. Pedestrians and vehicles are prohibited from the streets overnight in an effort to control incidences of burglary and store break-ins. Most of those surveyed were not aware of this, while less than ten people heard about it through word-of-mouth or from the radio. Overall, people thought the lockdown is a firm but fair safety measure, especially to avoid motorvehicle accidents and to ensure the community’s security.

There were mixed reviews regarding the response time of government agencies. Most people surveyed observed that the state’s disaster preparedness plan does not seem apparent because fallen trees are yet to be cleared up. In Ege Ave. there are 2 electric posts that are still laying around, 4 days since Monday, posing danger to residents. Country Village and Society Hill weren’t evacuated, and power has not been restored.

According to the PSE&G, their expected time to bring power back is on Monday, November 5. This is already affecting small businesses, schools and people’s livelihood. Majority of the businesses (banks, gas stations, offices, autoshops, etc) remain closed except for deli’s and groceries. These stores are also running low on basic commodities to sell and are only open  until 1pm, 6pm the latest. On the otherhand, folks we’ve talked to are already complaining because of the lost income due to businesses not opening.

Majority of the people surveyed were not receiving updated information, and relied solely on word-of-mouth. The local government is failing to effectively disseminate information on resources available, current state of the city, and other public service announcements.

Analysis:

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is affecting the lives of many Jersey City residents. 5 days and counting of no power is harmful to the predominantly working class communities of Jersey City. Many are unable to go to work due to the lack of reliable transportation or workplace being temporarily closed (due to lack of electricity). Therefore, many people are worried on how they are going to pay their bills, and local stores are faced with limited supplies.

Despite the community’s lack of access to power and information, the only government response present is the massive police presence and a citywide lockdown enforced by the JC police. The state’s obligation to keep its citizens informed with access to vital social services is not being fulfilled.

 

Community Groups Hold Forum on Deferred Action in Jersey City

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 Photos by Noel Pangilinan

Jersey City, NJ -Filipino youth activist group, Anakbayan New Jersey, joined forces with immigrant and lawyers organizations last August 12 for a “Community Forum on Immigration Reform: Deferred Action” held at the Pope Lecture Hall, Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City.  The said forum provided vital information regarding the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or most commonly known as “Deferred Action.”  It also aimed to empower the Jersey City immigrant community to continue the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform. 

The immigrant community turned out in large numbers to learn about the said new immigration policy.  Anna Brown, head of the Social Justice Program of Saint Peter’s College, gave a warm welcome to the attendees of the forum.  Councilman at-large, Rolando Lavarro, also gave welcoming remarks, commenting on his own experience.  The speakers include DREAM Act activists, Giancarlo Tello and Brenda Aguilar of the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition (NJDAC), and Filipino lawyer and immigrant rights advocate, Attorney Cristina Godinez. They provided  an overview regarding the said new policy.  The forum also provided free legal consultations to the community headed by lawyers from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

“Deferred Action is simply a stop-gap measure, a band-aid for the overall immigration issue that America faces and is not to be confused with the Dream Act. While the Dream Act is definitely a goal, we should not and will not forget our parents, aunts, and uncles and will continue to push towards ultimately Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” said Giancarlo, core member of the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition or NJDAC. .

Meanwhile leaders in the Filipino community talked about the need to build a strong immigrant movement. Jonna Baldres, Deputy Secretary General of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) gave a comprehensive presentation on the socio-economic factors that lead to forced migration.  “We only want to provide for our families but our governments are forcing us to migrate to look for livelihood elsewhere, separating us from our loved ones.  We must come together, stand up and fight against the 1% that exploits us.  It is only just for us to demand respect, dignity, wages, benefits and rights that are rightfully ours and due to us,  until we achieve full legalization for all,” said Ms. Baldres.

According to statistics, an estimated 2 million individuals nationwide and 40,000 in New Jersey can be eligible for deferred action.  “It is important to note, however, that Deferred Action is not so much an achievement of the Obama administration, as it is the product of thousands of Dream Activists and allied organized forces, who continue to put pressure on US lawmakers in order to assert their rights as undocumented youth,” Bea Sabino, Chairperson of AnakBayan New Jersy, added. Community leaders urge the immigrant community to stay informed, be vigilant and organize support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Anakbayan New Jersey called on the Filipino youth to take part in fighting for immigrant rights. “Filipinos are the second largest immigrant community in the United States.  We come from five centuries worth of migration history, which includes notable personalities like Philip Vera Cruz and Carlos Bulosan, who dedicated their lives to fighting for the civil rights of immigrant workers.  Our identity as young Filipinos in America is deeply rooted in that history; hence, we must step up in continuing the struggle against racism, exploitation, illegalization and criminalization of immigrants. At this juncture in US immigration policy, we must always keep in mind that, undocumented or not, every human being has rights to education, fair and just wages, healthcare and the due process of law,” concluded Ms. Sabino.

The Community Forum on Immigration Reform: Deferred Action was organized by Anakbayan New Jersey and was endorsed and co-sponsored by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Philippine Forum-New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition (NJDAC), Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Action 21, and the Saint Peter’s College Social Justice Program.

On August 25, the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition will be holding a free Deferred Action application drive from 11am to 5pm at the Paul Robeson Campus Center located at 350 Martin Luther King Blvd. Newark, NJ 07102.  For more information please contact NJDAC at info@njdac.org

In the Spirit of Bayanihan

Dear friends of BAYAN USA,

 Your bayanihan and giving spirit is needed as the Philippines has been hit once again with the worst flooding since 2009.  For the past week,  rains due to the southwest monsoon (Habagat) after typhoon Gener (international name, Saola) left the country have caused massive flooding in different parts of Luzon, especially in Metro Manila where half of the city is submerged. 

Source: Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

At present, as the rains continue to pour, many have been stranded in their homes, while thousands are being relocated to various evacuation centers in their cities and municipalities. According to news reports, the rains have affected some 199,485 families (or about one million individuals based on an average of 5 per family) across 11 regions of the country. A total of 60 individuals have been reportedly killed due to the non-stop rains, flooding, and landslides. PAG-ASA, a local weather station is forecasting more rains in the next few days. This and the fact that the dams around Metro-Manila are spilling out water will worsen the flooding in days to come.

Source: Aaron Favila – Associated Press

We in BAYAN USA appeal to all concerned citizens to donate $5, $10 or any other amount within your capacity to help with relief efforts. Your donation is urgently needed and appreciated.  Your donation will reach those areas not normally covered by media & reach the far barrios to provide food (more than one kilo of rice, dried fish, mongo, cooking oil, and more) and other basic needs.  The grassroots organizing efforts of BAYAN and BALSA with the communities in the Philippines will ensure that all donations given are directly contributed to the areas that need immediate assistance. 

The thousands of displaced families and communities in the Philippines need your support at this time, anything truly helps. Many thanks for your consideration!

With Gratitude & Appreciation,

BAYAN USA

See this video of BALSA at work during Typhoon Sendong Relief efforts just earlier this year. 

 Donate today to BALSA, the relief organization of BAYAN for more than a decade: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanrelief

NEWS COVERAGE:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/world/asia/flooding-in-philippines-grows-worse-as-thousands-flee-manila-and-desperate-residents-are-trapped-on-roofs.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/244365/heavy-rains-paralyzeluzon-metro-manila

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Heavy-rains-submerge-Philippine-capital-killing-9-3766863.php

“Stop the killings in the Philippines!” Say Jersey City Activists

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Jersey City, NJ- Jersey city activists called on Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to “stop the killings” of activists and community leaders in the Philippines.  They also called on the US government to “cut the US military aid to the Philippines.  This action was in response to the current state of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.As part of Jersey City Peace Movement’s (JCPM) “Stop the War-Sundays”, a monthly anti-war action and food and clothing drive for the homeless community of Jersey City, Anakbayan New Jersey, a Filipino activist youth organization, collaborated to raise awareness about the killing of Willem Geertman and other  cases of human rights violations in the Philippines.  They posted pictures of victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances around the 9/11 memorial fountain at Journal Square Plaza with signs that said, “Justice for Willem Geertman!” and “Cut US military aid to the Philippines.” Members of Anakbayan NJ also handed out flyers regarding the “State of Human Rights in the Philippines” to passers by.

“The memorial at Journal Square was meant to raise awareness about the poor state of human rights in the Philippines. State sponsored killings and abductions of activists and community leaders continue under President Aquino.  Anakbayan NJ, together with JCPM, addressed an important issue that he [Pres. Aquino] failed to mention in his third state of the nation address,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.  “As US taxpayers, we demand an end to US military aid to the Philippines. $30 million in tax dollars go to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is notorious for gross violations to human rights.  We also demand justice for Willem Geertman.  We call on the Aquino administration to take decisive steps on investigating these cases and also to prosecute former President Arroyo and former  AFP general Jovito Palparan as perpetrators of human rights violations in the Philippines,” Ms. Sabino concluded.

Currently, there are 100 recorded victims of extra-judicial killings under the 2 year-old administration of President Aquino.  Willem Geertman, a community development worker is one of the most recent victims.  He was killed last July 3rd, colleagues and family claim, for his advocacy in land, indigenous people and environmental issues.  He is the Executive Director of a disaster relief NGO Alay Bayan Inc and has resided in the Philippines for the past 46 years. He spoke fluent Filipino and has worked among poor farmers in rural communities.  He is a known anti-mining advocate.  Geertman is the second European NGO/community worker killed under the Aquino regime, after the death of Fr. Pops Tentorio in Mindanao on October 2011.  Geertman’s death came a month after the Philippine government appeared before the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, where it was scrutinized for its inaction towards the elimination of extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.

Activists linked the issues of human rights violations in the Philippines with the US-military aid and involvement in the internal affairs of the Philippines.  Since 2001, The U.S. government has spent $507 million since 2001 in military aid for the Philippines.  $30 million is scheduled to be released again this year.  According to activists, this could have been used to fund social services here in communities like Jersey City.

“Our stolen tax-dollars must be re-channeled from endless wars and bank-bailouts, back to the people, including the working-class, the elderly, the sick, the homeless and the youth,” said Erik Anders-Nilsson, Director of Jersey City Peace Movement.  “The corrupt powers of Imperialist America vying for global hegemony must be challenged and struggled with.  Jersey City Peace Movement calls for the end to all U.S wars abroad, an end to all U.S. military bases in the Philippines , and the liberation of all oppressed peoples, from Palestine to Jersey City, to Manila,”  Mr. Nilsson concluded.

Activists say they will continue to raise awareness, and lobby to uphold human rights in the Philippines until the US government cuts military funding to the Philippines.

Repression is the State of the Nation Under PNoy

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Repression is the State of the Nation Under PNoy
Anakbayan-USA condemns the violent dispersal yesterday at the State of the Nation Address demonstration near Batasang Pambansa, where President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III delivered his speech.  This recent case of impunity from the Philippine National Police has left 95 people injured and 21 hospitalized, mostly youth and students. We demand that the responsible officials of the PNP, namely the ground commander, Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo and human rights monitor, Chief Superintendent Mario Dela Vega, Superintendent Nicanor Salamera, and Herbert Bautista, mayor of Quezon City be held accountable for this blatant abuse of power and violation of our people’s basic human rights.
The violations started early on as the local government of Quezon City under Mayor Bautista failed to act on the request of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) for a permit to rally.  Under the Batas Pambansa 880 (BP 880) also known as the Public Assembly Act of 1985, Section 6 (b) states, “The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days from the date the application was filed, failing which, the permit shall be deemed granted.”  Mayor Bautista failed to respond and therefore the application was deemed granted and the people had all the right to peacefully assemble and march in front of Batasang Pambansa to protest air their grievances.
The government’s violations continue to pile up as the PNP conducted an illegal blockade and showed clear lack of restraint by provoking and brutalizing the peaceful demonstration.  Cops attacked, pushed and assaulted everyone in their sight.  Some demonstrators were hit as many as 23 times with truncheons and shields.  A garbage truck was also commanded by the PNP to disperse the crowd, attempting to run over and endanger the people.  In addition, an overkill force of 6,000 police officers and 400 soldiers was deployed around Batasang Pambansa, militarizing the communities.  
This is a clear snapshot of the real state of the nation in the Philippines. There is a state of repression under Noynoy Aquino administration that uses deceit and violence to silence the truth.Noynoy should know that repression only breeds more resistance and struggle.  No truncheons nor shields can deter the people in exposing the real state of the nation.
We are sure that the people’s movement will only grow bigger and the struggle stronger. We call on the Filipino youth here in the US to organize, take action and expose the Aquino administration, as a violator of human rights in disguise. Let us intensify our struggle to defend human rights and towards a society that upholds the universal and inalienable rights of the people. 

Struggle for National Democracy as the Only Path for Change

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Struggle for National Democracy as the Only Path for Change

Anakbayan-USA joins Filipinos across the US on July 23rd to expose the outright lies and deception of the US-puppet regime of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III as he delivers his third State of the Nation Address.  We call on the Filipino youth to fulfill its revolutionary role as the hope of the nation by fully participating in our people’s struggle for genuine change which can only be realized through achieving National Democracy.

Success and Progress For Whom?

Aquino’s mythology of taking a “Righteous Path” only serves the interests of the ruling class and US imperialism.  He hypes the 6.4% gross domestic product growth rate as a sign of success, but this so-called “growth” only benefits the top 1% of Filipinos – the big landlords and big corporations.  Despite the global economic crisis, the top 40 richest Filipinos doubled their wealth from $23 billion in 2009 to a total $47.4 billion in 2011.  Meanwhile, working families are experiencing deepening poverty and economic hardship.  This is made possible through Aquino’s economic centerpiece, the Public-Private Partnership program, which increases the privatization and commercialization of vital services such as health and education.  Approximately 26 public hospitals are to be turned over to private corporations and 1.4 million urban poor families are in danger of being displaced in order to make way for business projects of private corporations.

By deregulating the costs of tuition and repeatedly cutting the budget for public schools, Aquino has made education inaccessible to the majority of Filipino youth.  There is a rising number of college dropouts due to the fact that public schools are now as expensive as private schools.  Currently, 50% of children age 11-15 are out-of-school.  Aquino’s conversion to a K-12 educational system only serves the demands of the foreign labor market by producing more semi-skilled workers to be exploited in low-paying jobs overseas.  It does not create genuine economic development for the Philippines.  Meanwhile, the great majority of youth continue to be unemployed or underemployed under short-term contractual jobs.

Aquino maintains and imposes this unjust order through Oplan Bayanihan, the US-dictated counter insurgency program that unleashes violence on the civilian population and continues the previous Arroyo regime’s blatant disregard for human rights.  At least one community leader or activist is killed every week, amounting to a total of 100 victims of extrajudicial killings.  This brutal counter insurgency program is funded by $30 million in military aid from our US tax dollars.

Selling-Out the Philippines’ Sovereignty

Aquino is pushing to further entrench the Philippines as a vassal state of US imperialism.  He pretends to be ultra-patriotic against China’s muscle flexing in the disputed territories of Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands, while openly allowing the intrusion of US military forces in the Philippines.  Currently, there are 4,500 US troops in the Philippines.  Predator drones are deployed for surveillance and bombing operations, particularly in Mindanao. Nuclear-capable warships and submarines dock for service in the Philippine shores.  What’s worse, Aquino has illegally given permission for the reopening of former US military bases in the Philippines.  All of these treasonous acts are in complete disregard and violation of the provisions in the Philippine Constitution of 1987 that prohibit foreign troops.

National Democracy vs. Aquino’s “Righteous Path”

The current state of the Philippine nation clearly tells us that Aquino’s “Righteous Path” is leading us towards greater poverty, hunger and exploitation.  It also clearly tells us that the only true solution is to continue and intensify our struggle for national liberation and genuine people’s democracy.

The struggle for National Democracy is the movement to achieve genuine independence by liberating the country from foreign control and establishing a truly democratic people’s government that is run by the working people themselves.  It is the fulfillment of the concrete needs and interests of the majority in the Philippines, particularly the peasants and workers which comprise 90% of the population.

Through implementing a genuine agrarian reform, land monopolies of the major landlords like the Cojuangco-Aquinos will be dismantled and distributed to the landless peasants, liberating 75% of the population from a backward and exploitative condition.  This land reform serve as the foundation for national industrialization that will enable us to tap the rich natural resources of the Philippines for benefit of our people.  It is only through national industrialization that we can create full employment for the Filipino people and put an end to the systematic export of migrant labor as a means of survival.

Under this new system, free quality health care and education will be available for all.  The guarantee of political and civil rights will ensure the full development and participation of the people towards true social progress.

Youth as the Hope of the Nation

It is apparent that there is no bright future for the Filipino youth and people under the current political, economic, and social system in the Philippines.  Now more than ever, it is urgent that Filipino youth combine with all the sectors of Philippine society to replace the current system with one that truly serves their interests.

As chapters of Anakbayan are now being established across the US, Canada, and Australia, we have an important role in spreading awareness to the international community of our people’s struggle for freedom.  As Filipino youth overseas, we must arouse, organize and mobilize the people to address the needs of our community abroad and strengthen international support for the struggle for National Democracy, the only genuine solution to the problems in the Philippines.

It is only by fully participating and contributing to the struggle for national democracy can we concretely fulfill our role as the true hope of the nation.

Reject the Lies of the US-Aquino Regime!

US Troops Out of the Philippines!

Increase the Budget for Education and Social Services!

Advance the Struggle for National Democracy in the Philippines!

 

Filipino Youth and Community Take A Stand Against Labor Trafficking

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photos by Cristina Grey Villaflor

Jersey City, NJ-  Activists, students and community members took a stand against labor trafficking after attending the community forum on the case of the Florida 15 workers last April 25 at Saint Peter’s College’s Pope Lecture Hall. The said forum was organized by Anakbayan New Jersey, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and the Saint Peter’s College Social Justice Program. 

At the community forum, two of the Florida 15 workers shared their experiences as survivors of labor trafficking. They talked about their recruitment from the Philippines, and the working conditions they endured under San Villa agency in Miami, Florida. They also discussed how this experience has affected their personal lives.
“We didn’t expect to end up like this. It’s been four long years. We miss our families and the children we’ve left behind. But there’s no turning back now. Tuloy ang laban! (the struggle continues!). This is not just for the Forida 15 but for all trafficking victims” said Cecil Delgado, the spokesperson of the Florida 15 workers.
The community forum also discussed the factors that lead to Labor Trafficking such as the Philippine Labor Export Policy. According to Yves Nibungco, current chairperson of Anakbayan NJ, landlessness and lack of job creation in the Philippines, coupled with the government “development” program of exporting Filipinos as commodities, creates the favorable condition for illegal recruitment and labor exploitation to thrive.
“In order for us to fully stop labor trafficking, we must fight against the Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy. Only by genuinely creating jobs at home through national industrialization and agrarian reform can we eliminate labor trafficking” said Yves Nibungco. “We call on the Filipino youth and students to stand up for our kababayans. Take a stand against labor trafficking and the Philippine labor export policy,” added Mr. Nibungco.
Jonna Baldres, Deputy Secretary General of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns talked about their current “Stop Trafficking Our People” campaign or STOP. NAFCON North East region will be organizing a community task force to pull resources and effort together. She called on the Filipino community to unite and join the struggle against labor trafficking.
The forum ended with a group photo and a community chant saying: “Stop, stop trafficking our people!.”

“People Power is Road to Recovery for Sendong Survivors” Said Youth Group

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Queens, NY- Progressive Filipino youth group, Anakbayan New York, held “R2R: Road to Recovery” last Saturday at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church as community celebrates the 26th anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising. They called on the community anew to launch people power to protect and save the environment in the Philippines.

The benefit concert, a fundraising as part of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns’ (NAFCON) Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief Campaign, featured a wide array of talents. Among the list is the Philippine Chambers Rondalla of New Jersey which performed wonderful authentic Filipino music. It was then followed by Kinding Sindaw, which featured cultural performances from Mindanao, the region most affected by the typhoon Sendong last December.

Bayanihan Kultural Kolektib also performed songs depicting the current situation in the Philippines and the hardships of migrants and how they cope through collective action while away from their loved ones during these types of calamities. Another performer, Melanie Dulfo of Philippine Forum, said, “I wanted my poem to transform people’s sadness, anger and sympathy into action against the ungoverned greed of multinational logging and mining companies, for change.”

Youth and students also offered their talents for the cause. Mike Acoba and Francis Maling of Anakbayan New York both did spoken word pieces that depict the resilience of our people to overcome calamities, both natural and man-made. Rachel Hangad of Pilipinos of Hunter ended the night with a Saxophone performance prompting the young Filipino crowd and members of their families who came to see the performances to a line dance.

People Power and the road to recovery

Just like the uprising in EDSA People Power, R2R: Road to Recovery was a product of different Filipino youth and student organizations in New York coming together for the cause of our kababayans.

According to the organizers, this is their way of upholding the spirit of People Power. “The Filipino youth coming together shows that we are aware and are able to make a difference. It shows that we are proactive,” said Jobeth Arceo, President of the Philippine-American Organization, a Filipino student club at the City College of New York.

Also, “The speakers were able to engage the audience and empowered them in becoming more involved to continue the movement for improving Filipino society,” Ms. Arceo added.
Speakers included Anne Beryl Corotan, current chairperson of Sandiwa, the National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth, and Yves Nibungco, current chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.

Youth unite to protect environment

The benefit concert did not only aim to raise funds but also awareness on the environmental situation in the Philippines.

“Large-scale mining, quarrying and logging operations combined with the Aquino government’s neglect are the main culprits for the high death toll in the wake of typhoon Sendong,” said Matthew Cheirs, one of the lead organizers for Anakbayan New York.

Anakbayan announced the start of a petition campaign addressed to Pres. Noynoy Aquino and other Philippine government officials to protect the Philippine environment. The petition is calling on the Philippine government to impose moratorium on multi-national companies that are causing environmental degradation. It also called on a stop to monoculture, cash-crop plantations and to increase the budget on disaster preparedness and management.

“That is why we call on the community to come together and take action to hold Pres. Noynoy, the DENR, and the respective local government units accountable on their failure to protect the welfare of our kababayans. It is only through our collective action can we affect change”, Chiers added.

*Photos by Don Gutierrez