Raise the Minimum Wage to $15! Fight for the Living Wage!

Statements 11112015.001

For Immediate Release
Press Statement

Reference:

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

Ian Jerome Conde, Deputy Secretary-General, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15! Fight for the Living Wage!

Anakbayan New Jersey sends its deepest support for 15 Now NJ’s nationally coordinated Day of Action calling for the $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. On November 10, 2015 low-wage workers, unions, community groups, and allies gathered in Jersey City’s City Hall for a rally and the third resolution calling on the State Legislature to raise the minimum wage. After deliberation the resolution Jersey City Council successfully voted unanimously 8-0 in favor of the resolution to raise the Minimum Wage in NJ.

“A fight for 15 dollars minimum wage is not much to ask, when we have people living to recover from the economic depressions that keep hitting our economy even harder and harder,” said Ian Jerome Conde, Deputy Secretary-General of Anakbayan NJ, “While we seek a higher minimum wage, we must also push for the necessity of a living wage for the population. Filipinos are working multiple jobs in order to feed their family and save enough to remit back to the philippines. Increasing the minimum wage is a step in our local government prioritizing the needs of everyday people.”

The Fight for 15 has been waging for three years across the country since its launch in 2012. Multiple cities are proposing laws, and Seattle was even victorious. New York City’s Fast Food Wage Board also recommended a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. As one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. with one of the largest immigration populations in the state, the conditions are ripe for Jersey City workers to demand a $15 minimum wage.

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In New Jersey, the cost of living is higher than the wages earned. According to the Working Families, the average adult needs to make $19.67 per hour to sustain themselves, without consideration of their families. Further, an adult earning minimum wage must work 100 hours for a one bedroom apartment according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With the shift to one-parent households and increased gentrification, a $15 minimum wage is necessary now more than ever.

As youth and students, we would all directly benefit from a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. With the increasing education crisis, tuition fees are becoming more expensive and students are getting further in debt. By taking up these struggle for the rights and welfare of low-wage workers, the youth advocate for their families and empower themselves.

We are worth more!
$15 now, living wage next!

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Anakbayan New Jersey, FIWOP: Filipino Immigrant Workers Alliance and 15 Now NJ posing with Council President Rolando Lavarro after City Council votes 8-0 on the resolution for $15 min wage in NJ.

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Anakbayan New Jersey Condemns Martial Law and Its Legacy

ABNJ CONDEMNS MARTIAL LAW AND ITS LEGACY

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

September 23, 2015

Reference:

Gian Parel, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

It has now been forty-three years since Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law to breed and reign terror on the Philippines for more than eight years. Martial law is lauded as a time of progress in Philippine history, but what is too often forgotten—or outright silenced and erased—are the victims of human rights and their realities of political imprisonment, disappearances, torture, and even execution during this time. We, the youth and students of Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ), condemn martial law and uplift those who have struggled against it, in the past as well as today.

On September 21, 1972, Marcos declared martial law under Proclamation No. 1081 under claims of “lawless violence” and “armed insurrection and rebellion” by suspected communists, thereby seizing absolute power as dictator until the declaration was lifted on January 17, 1981. Peace and order were fiction during this time, and in fact the opposite was happening: there were over 70,000 individuals arrested; 34,000 tortured; 3,240 salvaged or executed; and 1,000 disappeared under Marcos’s fascist state, according to Amnesty International.

Another red scare has been bred by the current president, Benigno Aquino III, and the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan terrorizing Lumad (indigenous) communities in Mindanao. It should be no surprise that the United States has supported martial law and Oplan Bayanihan.

As dictator, Marcos also abused his power to accept billions of dollars in aid from the United States and the U.S.-backed World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In October 1983, however, the Philippine government announced that it was unable to pay back its foreign debt of $24 billion.1 Filipinos are still paying off this debt, including those abroad whose remittances are worth USD 184 million, 10% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP).2

Marcos was also praised for increasing the economic growth during martial law: from 1965 to 1971 the average growth rate was 4.9%, while it leaped to a 5.7% average from 1972 to 1981.3 In 1983 and 1984 after the Marcos regime defaulted on its debt, GDP actually fell to a devastating negative 7.3%. One of the effects of this economic decline was a sharp widening of the gap between the poorest and richest. The poor got poorer, while the rich got even richer. This economic gap lives on to today.

Martial law set a legitimized a pattern of impunity that is still the order of the day as Lumads are killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups. Funny, however, that the current Aquino regime recently echoed the popular call of “never again” to martial law, patting themselves on the back.

In continuing the fight against impunity in the Philippines, ABNJ screened Dekada ‘70 last week and participated in an action to commemorate the survivors of martial law on September 21st. “Unfortunately, there are many people, including children of the Filipino diaspora, that are unaware of the human rights violations that have taken place and of Martial Law itself,” reflects ABNJ member Laura Emily Endaya Austria. “The screening of Dekada ‘70 is one of many ways we can make the conversation and history of Martial Law salient in society’s minds as we strive to prevent Martial Law from taking place again.”

The September 21st martial law action called for all people to stand up for Lumads and to stop the killings in Mindanao. Among other speakers, ABNJ member Jonathan Zirkle stated, “Our people risk death every day of their lives whilst they live beneath the heel of bureaucrat capitalists.”

We call on everyone to sign the Unity Statement to condemn escalating human rights violations. Condemn Oplan Bayanihan and the killings of lumads in Mindanao as legacies of martial law. We as ABNJ acknowledge the long-lasting impacts of martial law under Marcos’s dictatorship and call for all people to stand up for human rights in the Philippines.

NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!

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Notes

  1. Boyce, James K. 1993. The Philippines: The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  2. World Bank estimates based on IMF balance of payments data.
  3. World Bank national accounts data and OECD National Accounts data files.

STATEMENT: Filipino American Youth Condemn Extrajudicial Killings of Lumad Leaders in Surigao Del Sur

abnj statement.001

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

September 1, 2015

Reference: Nina Mariella Macapinlac, Vice Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

nmacapinlac@gmail.com, 973-641-9735

Daniel Santiago, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

das101191@gmail.com  

Filipino American Youth Condemn Extrajudicial Killings of Lumad Leaders in Surigao Del Sur

Anakbayan New Jersey condemns in the strongest terms the extrajudicial killings, harassment, illegal occupation, and forcible evacuation of Lumad indigenous communities surrounding the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), an alternative indigenous school in Sitio Han-Ayan and Km. 16 of Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. These atrocities were committed by military and paramilitary groups that are organized and armed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to attack their fellow Lumads as part of the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan.

After ALCADEV’s three-day Foundation Day celebration, three indigenous leaders and community educators were violently killed on school grounds and in surrounding communities by paramilitary forces on September 1. The Executive Director of ALCADEV Emerito “Tatay Emok” Samarca was restrained, tortured, and stabbed in one of the classrooms. Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) Chairperson Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were shot by paramilitary in the midst of other community members. The school and the Han-Ayan community continue to be occupied by armed elements of the paramilitary Magahat/Bagani Forces, who are pressuring the community to evacuate within two days lest they be massacred.

On Thursday, August 27 two brothers in Surigao del Sur were also killed by alleged members of the tribal forces locally known as Bagani Force. On August 30, about thirty armed elements of the military and paramilitary occupied ALCADEV, threatening the staff, faculty, and community members. The next day, the community cooperative of MAPASU was burned down and paramilitary forces fired into the community indiscriminately. The Han-Ayan residents are currently in Km. 16, awaiting assistance from the local government unit.

ALCADEV and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao Sur (TriFPSS), the primary school counterpart of ALCADEV, provide culturally relevant and mass oriented education to indigenous communities, a service that is otherwise not provided to the people by the current Philippine government. The schools equip the indigenous with crucial skills like literacy, agricultural education, and an understanding of their political and human rights. They have been vocal in their support of MAPASU’s community campaign against development aggressions like large-scale mining and plantation, rightfully fighting for their ancestral lands.

Because of the Lumad struggle for their ancestral domain, these alternative indigenous schools have been maliciously tagged as “NPA schools” and have been subject to disruption, occupation, and military violence. This recent spate of human rights violations is one example in a long list of state-sponsored terrorism under President Benigno Aquino III’s premier counterinsurgency program “Oplan Bayanihan.” In it, Aquino’s centerpiece “peace and development” program aims to crush the armed revolutionary movement by the end of presidential term in 2016.

Instead of peace,  the US-backed Oplan Bayanihan has brought death, displacement and more suffering to Philippine communities, especially to indigenous communities like the Lumads of Surigao del Sur. The Lumad communities of Caraga region have been experiencing intensifying counterinsurgency, holding mass evacuations from the hillsides to the barrios almost every year since 1987.  Instead of development, Oplan Bayanihan has paved the way for more environmental destruction by facilitating the encroachment of foreign mining companies and plantations into indigenous lands, as well as the displacement of entire communities.

As Filipino Americans, we must be aware of the US government’s complicity in the militarization, displacement, and murder of indigenous peoples and activists in the Philippines. The American government allocates 50 million dollars of our tax money every year towards foreign military financing which aids in human rights violations and strengthens counterinsurgency against community leaders. The disruption of learning, military occupation of schools, the traumatizing killings of community leaders, and the hardships that accompany evacuations cannot be ignored by the international community. As Filipino Americans, we must stand with and alongside the Lumads of Surigao del Sur who have long struggled and continue to struggle for land, rights, and education!

JUSTICE FOR EMERITO SAMARCA, DIONEL CAMPOS, AURELIO SINZO, CRISANTO AND SINZO TABUGOL BROTHERS!

STOP EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS!

END THE MILITARIZATION OF LUMAD SCHOOLS!

END OPLAN BAYANIHAN & STATE SPONSORED VIOLENCE!

NO TO U.S. MILITARY AID FOR STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM IN THE PHILIPPINES!

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Members of Anakbayan New Jersey & New York in Han-Ayan for the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network Relief and Rebuilding Mission – International Solidarity Mission last August 3 to 9, 2015.

Jersey City Pinoys slam plans to ‘open’ Balikbayan boxes, joins “Zero Remittance Day”

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PRESS STATEMENT August 28, 2015

Reference:
Yves Nibungco, Organizer, Filipino Immigrants and Workers Organizing Project (FIWOP)
FilipinoIWOproject@gmail.com
Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Jersey City Pinoys slam plans to ‘open’ Balikbayan boxes, joins ‘Zero Remittance Day’

Jersey City, NJ – Jersey City-based organizations Filipino Immigrants and Workers Organizing Project (FIWOP) and youth group Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ) joins the call of Overseas Filipinos for a global day of action dubbed as “Zero Remittance Day” last August 28 to protest the Philippine government’s recent policies of taxing, random inspection and seizure of ‘balikbayan’ boxes. This protest, according to economists, will cost the country around Php3 Billion worth of remittances.

Members of both organizations went from store to store around Newark Avenue, a hub of Filipino owned businesses, to distribute information and urge Filipinos to join the Zero Remittance Day. Local cargo shippers expressed support but expressing that they have already been forced to increase the costs of their services $7, $11, and even $14. This is due to the additional Php100,000 fee on the 40-footer cargos entering the Philippine ports and is part of the government’s plan to raise Php600 million worth of revenues.

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FIWOP: Filipino Immigrant Workers Organizing Project

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina recently proposed stricter policies on handling Balikbayan boxes. “Canned goods, grocery items and other household effects must not exceed a dozen a kind, while apparel whether used or new must not exceed three yards per cut,” Lina said. “Home appliances are not allowed unless these are consigned to returning Filipino residents and overseas contract workers. We will seize these prohibited shipments and revoke registrations of forwarders or consolidators if we find any violations,” Lina added

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Anakbayan NJ in front of PNB

According to Anakbayan NJ member, Ana Robelo, this scheme is not more than to extract more money out of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). “The taxation of the balikbayan boxes is only a symptom of the larger function and reach of government being run like a business or what we call as Bureaucrat Capitalism. The Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy is set up to bring revenue in through its overseas workers through remittances. At its root, workers should not be displaced just to provide for their families and the government should not be further feeding itself from that labor.” said Ana Robelo, ABNJ member

This recent policy has earned the ire of OFWs worldwide, including Filipinos in Jersey City. “Lagi akong nagpapadala ng balikbayan boxes, mga tatlong beses sa isang taon. Nagpapadala ako bago mag pasukan sa eskwela, bago mag pasko at pag may espesyal na okasyon. Bakit kami ang pinagiinitan ng BOC at hindi yung mga rice smugglers at mga basura galing Canada?” [I always send balikbayan boxes, three times in a year. I send before school starts, before Christmas and when there are special occasions. Why is the BOC picking on us and not the rice smugglers?] said a member of FIWOP.

This reflects the widespread anger and frustration of many overseas Filipino workers and migrants regarding the new policies. Although taxes and fees have consistently been on the rise, services have are sub-par if at all in existence.

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Jersey City Resident on Newark Ave.

“Coming back from the Philippines I have seen first hand the conditions of our people back home. The economic policies already bring about a brain drain within our country as well as push our people abroad making our country reliant on remittances and balikbayan boxes from these family members. Taxation put upon them would only further the injustices our people face. Moreover, seeing that the conditions of our people have further worsened and the corruption of government-collected money only brings up ideas that the money from this taxation will be used in the same way,” said Daniel Santiago, ABNJ Solidarity Officer.

Due to pressure, the Philippine government withdrew its plans on conducting random checks of boxes but has yet to drop its increased fees and taxing. FIWOP and Anakbayan NJ calls on Filipino migrants and other organizations to unite and continue taking action and exert pressure on the BOC and the Philippine government.

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The Straight Path to Corruption and Criminality: OUST AQUINO at his Last State of the Nation Address

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

July 28, 2015

Reference:

Laura Emily Endaya Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

 

The Straight Path to Corruption and Criminality: OUST AQUINO at his Last State of the Nation Address

SONA in Jersey City "5 Corners"

Anakbayan NJ, alongside member organizations of BAYAN-USA North East refuted the US-Aquino regime’s final State of the Nation Address through a two-day protest in Jersey City, NJ and Manhattan, NYC. Delegates also delivered the guilty verdict of the International Peoples’ Tribunal to the Philippine consulate to highlight the lies President B.S. Aquino delivered hours beforehand. B.S. Aquino’s has continued the legacy of egregious criminal acts against the Filipino people of the administrations predecessing him and enough is enough!

On July 27, 2015, President B.S. Aquino again tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the Filipino people. However, after five years of empty promises and lies, the people have poured into the streets in the thousands, across the world to declare that enough is enough. His so-called straight and narrow path of reforms has only led to literal death and destitution for our people. SONA 2015 is a mere veil to ever-worsening crisis of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial society of our homeland.

Throughout his address, B.S. Aquino continued to distance himself from the undeniable corruption of his administration. When he first mentioned “Government Owned and Controlled Corporations,” (GOCC) B.S. Aquino claimed no responsibility for the monetary abuse facilitated by the appointees to these GOCCs. Yet, in a May 13th article, President Aquino “order[ed] a review of their bonuses to ‘maximize’ their lawful benefits.” People question how he can spout such contradictory statements when he siphones these funds for his cronies, but this was clearly foreseen from his haciendro bureaucrat capitalist background even from the start of his reign.

B.S. Aquino dared to continue with the National Budget, alleging that projects that were already completed were still receiving funding because of the approval of the General Appropriations Act in 2007. He feigned concern that these funds would be funneled into wrongful channels, yet the money was already sent into the pockets of his cronies. With the upcoming election, we must collectively reject corruption in government agencies for election fundraising and this barkadahan system of governance. There is no accountability of high ranking officials of the government, and as a people, we must make an example of B.S. Aquino by exposing and opposing his criminality and corruption.

Following, B.S. Aquino feigned shock at improvement of the Philippine economy because he “only thought of fixing the crooked system to prevent our people from sinking deeper into poverty.” But what crooked system did he fix if the problems not only remain, but have exacerbated with his regime?  If B.S. Aquino truly cared about the welfare of the Filipino people, he would not be shooting our farmers down. If he truly cared about the welfare of the Filipino people, he would be giving back all the land to the rightful owners. If he truly cared about the welfare of the Filipino people, he would not be promoting and fostering a situation where the Filipino people are reduced to cheap labor that can be exported abroad for the whims of other countries to take advantage of. If he truly cared about the welfare of the Filipino people, maybe there wouldn’t be anymore forced disappearances of our loved ones who are trying to fight for those who are being suppressed by the B.S. Aquino administration.

As Filipino youth and students in the U.S., we are continually baffled by the expected regime’s empty rhetoric. From the Public Private Partnership and Conditional Transfer to lack of social services and widespread contractualization and low wages, we cannot allow B.S. Aquino to fail our kababayans another moment more. We condemn foreign intervention, whether from the U.S., Japan, or China and condemn the continued cycle of bureaucrat capitalist presidences. It is time we take action to our sentiments because five years has been too long. Aquino must be ousted and we must institute a government for the people!

Enough is enough! End the puppet, oppressive, repressive and corrupt government now!

Five years without reforms: Oust the US-Aquino regime!

Onward with the people’s national democratic struggle for genuine reforms!

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Thank you for an inspiring 2013! Dare to struggle! Dare to win!

To all of our friends, family, supporters and allies,

As we are in the first few days of 2014, allow us to say: THANK YOU! Thank you for your continuous support and belief in Anakbayan New Jersey’s work and vision. 2013 wouldn’t have been as successful without you all. Because of this, we are confident to say that we are so ready for 2014. Together, we will continue to dare to struggle and dare to win!

Here are some of our accomplishments this past 2013:

  • Early this year, the Florida 15 Trafficked Filipino workers were granted their T-Visas which allows them to work, adjust their immigration status and even petition their families. Anakbayan NJ played a role in drumming up their case in the media and raising awareness in the community about the realities of labor trafficking. [1]

  • Fought for and won the establishment of the first “in-state” Immigrant Affairs Commission in Jersey City. [2]

  • Raised awareness about the Filipino immigration experience and build support for genuine immigration reform throughout Jersey City and across New Jersey. [3]

  • Helped in gathering support for the Bayanihan Relief & Rehabilitation effort and have successfully convened the first meeting of Taskforce Haiyan New Jersey

  • Last but not the least, Anakbayan NJ helped lead the campaign and win the historic passing of the Tuition Equality Act in New Jersey also known as the New Jersey DREAM Act. [4]

Here are some things we are planning to work in 2014:

  • NJ DREAM Act 2.0! Together with other youth & students in NJ, we’ll be fighting for access to state financial aid for undocumented youth.

  • Student Debt – We are also aiming to take part in the campaign against student debt

  • Help for the Philippines – Organizing for a solidarity & relief mission to the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

  • We’ll be continuing our work on immigrant and workers rights by organizing Filipino immigrants and workers

  • We will continue educating, organizing and mobilizing the youth for the rights and welfare of our communities here in New Jersey and back home in the Philippines.

We wouldn’t have accomplished all of these without you. We hope you continue to support our work through 2014 and beyond in serving our people. Again, salamat! Mabuhay and maligayang bagong taon! (Thank you! Long live and happy new year!)

Here are some ways you can help and support Anakbayan:

1. JOIN – Join the movement! Become a member of Anakbayan now.

I WANT TO JOIN ANAKBAYAN!

2. DONATE – Make a donation ($5, $10, $25, $100+ ) to Anakbayan New Jersey and put on note “for Anakbayan New Jersey”

I WANT TO DONATE!

3. FOLLOW – Stay updated and spread the word about us through social network accounts (twitter, facebook: Anakbayan NJ, Anakbayan NY)

4. RELIEF & REBUILD – Help support our relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by the Super storm Haiyan by donating to NAFCON’s Bayanihan Relief and Rehabilitation Program.

I WANT TO HELP

With love and solidarity,

Anakbayan New Jersey Family 🙂

Filipino Youth of New Jersey Joins International Day of Outrage vs. Pork Barrel, Demand an End to Government Corruption in the Philippines

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

       (201) 779 6886; anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

Filipino Youth of New Jersey Joins International Day of Outrage vs. Pork Barrel,

Demand an End to Government Corruption in the Philippines

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New York City, NY- Anakbayan New Jersey (AB-NJ) united with several other Filipino community organizations in the region for a historic 100-people strong protest action in front of the Philippine Consulate in NYC, demanding nothing less than the abolition of the pork barrel system in all branches of government.

In solidarity with the August 26 Million People March in Luneta, overseas Filipinos took to the streets and social media to express outrage and disappointment over the Aquino regime’s ineptitude at genuinely addressing the economic and social problems of the Filipino people.

In NYC, community members showed up wearing pig masks and brought signs that said, “Abolish Presidential Pork Barrel”, “Re-Channel Funds to Social Services” and “Investigate and Prosecute All Involved in Corruption”. There were also chanting of a revised popular protest slogan that goes, “Makibaka! Huwag mang-baboy!” in reference to the pork barrel fund and corruption. Speakers also from various organizations lashed out against the gross governmental misuse of public funds.

A member of Anakbayan NJ, tells his experience, “The protest meant a great deal to me because it’s great to see Fil-Ams in my area still be so connected to the troubles of our homeland.  [We sent the message] that we are angry that supposed public servants are breaking their promises and stealing the money of the Filipino public,” said Jan Aguilos.

Clearly, despite Aquino’s supposed campaign to eliminate corruption, trillions of pesos in pork barrel funds are being laundered and pocketed by politicians every year through sham non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private investments; while the Filipino masses suffer under state budget constraints in education, health care, Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) protection, emergency relief and rehabilitation and other social services.

Scrap the Pork, Serve OFWs

The pork barrel scandal, where the exposé on Janet Lim- Napoles is but the tip of the iceberg, affects overseas Filipino workers as it affects their families back home. Corruption on the part of politicians is negatively connected to declining economic conditions in the Philippines, which push Filipinos to migrate abroad.

Nina Macapinlac, an AB-NJ member who migrated to the US 15 years ago, said, “This [government corruption] is outrageous because the pork barrel scandal illuminates the expansive pork barrel state of the Philippines, where power is so regularly used to exploit the public sphere. My family in the US works hard to send back money so this is just as much our concern as it is in the Philippines.”

Pork barrel funds include remittances sent home by Filipino migrants as well as millions more from tax impositions and state exactions through the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. These remittances reached a record high of $21.4 billion worth of personal cash and non-cash items and goods in 2012, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Despite OFWs’ undeniable contributions, protesters cited several examples of the Aquino government’s failure to provide assistance to thousands of OFWs. President Aquino’s P1-trillion pork barrel fund could well be spent on the repatriation costs of over 5,000 distressed and stranded Filipinos in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as legal assistance funds for victims of labor trafficking in the United States.

Unity is People Power

The current surge of grassroots activism in the Filipino community around the world has been likened to the rumbles of the First Quarter Storm of the ‘70s. Participants of the protest action vowed to remain united and continue fighting until the pork barrel is abolished.

“Today, I saw the potential of our People here in the States to truly come together and stand up for something,” shared Daniel Santiago, an AB-NJ member, reacting to his experience witnessing the great turnout of Filipinos in the NY/NJ area. “There were people from varying spectrums of beliefs and focused on different aspects of what is going on with our People, but we managed to be united on certain things. It was a beautiful thing to be able to see [these organizations] come together as well as see so many Filipinos come out against the pork barrel to be in solidarity with those back home fighting to see it gone,” Santiago concluded.

Anakbayan is calling on Filipino youth and students in the United States to join the campaign against government corruption and hold Philippine public officials accountable. Sign on and endorse the Youth and Student Unified Statement vs. Pork Barrel and Corruption by August 28, 2013 by visiting anakbayannynj.wordpress.com or emailing anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com with your name, organization and contact information.

The Filipino people, across various sectors of society, are stepping up and starting to question President Aquino’s eroding “daang matuwid” (righteous path). “The pork barrel scam is an unavoidable symptom of larger systemic problems in Philippine society. A bright, sustainable future depends on our determination to realize the demands of the campaign to abolish pork barrel and the system that perpetuates it through organized actions and people power. This broad movement for justice seeks to prove that the truly righteous path is the one we pave ourselves as a united force at home and abroad for the rights and welfare of our kababayans,” ended Bea Sabino, chairperson of AB-NJ. ###

UNDOCUMENTED AND UNAFRAID BOOK TOUR

Co-sponsored by Anakbayan New Jersey

 “Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement” is a new book was written by and about undocumented immigrant students. The book features the voices of immigrant youth leaders throughout the country who have waged a courageous campaign to secure passage of the federal Dream Act.  It features two leaders of this movement, Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, who were tragically killed in a car accident in May 2010.  Both were UCLA alumni who went on to prestigious graduate schools and both played a pivotal role in the immigrant youth movement.

The book event will also provide an update on the recent decision by the Obama Administration to stop the deportation of Dream Act eligible students and to grant them work authorization.  This change in policy will potentially impact more than one million immigrant youth, and represents the most significant change in immigration policy in 26 years.  This event will feature leaders of the immigrant youth movement who helped to secure this victory.

The book event will feature UCLA Labor Center director Kent Wong, student authors and editors of the book, and short video clips capturing the spirit and power of the immigrant youth movement.

Pack the Court! Support the Florida 15 Workers!


 
15 Filipino workers are speaking out against a corrupt recruitment agency that have victimized hundreds of migrant workers. This will be the first court hearing of the Florida 15 workers and it is very important that we show our support for them and for the long struggle for justice! 
 
Come out and show your support on their first court hearing. Let us pack the court!
 
What: Court Hearing and Rally
Where: U.S. Eastern District Court of New York | 225 Cadman Plaza, East Brooklyn
take the A/C to High Street (for directions, click here)
When: September 24, Monday | 3pm
 
For more information contact the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) at ne@nafconusa.org
or go directly to Michelle at michelle.saulon@gmail.com or Yves at yvesnibungco@gmail.com
 
For more information about the case click here or here
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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