Anakbayan New Jersey Calls on Filipino Community to Demand Justice on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW)

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
November 25, 2015

Reference:
Laura Emily E. Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee
Devyn Mañibo, Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Anakbayan New Jersey Calls on Filipino Community to Demand Justice on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW)

The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) in commemoration of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic. The date also marks the start of the “16 Days of Activism” that precedes Human Rights Day on December 10th each year.

Today, on IDEVAW, we join our allies at Action 21, the Jersey City community, and the world at large to stand united for a just society for women, and for all oppressed peoples.

We, Filipino youth from Anakbayan New Jersey, mark this important day by highlighting the conditions that force about 6 million Filipinos to leave the country each day, most of whom are women, in search of economic security abroad. Filipina immigrants often face violence in the countries where they find work. Host governments often turn a blind eye while the Philippine government pursues its Labor Export Policy to maximize profit off of migrant workers’ remittances. These women often cite physical and psychological abuse, discrimination, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse and exploitation such as wage theft, limited access to food and shelter, and not allowed time off from work.

As of 2010, Jersey City’s total population is 7% Filipinos, putting the city at a total of over 18,000 Filipinos, and rising – the second highest number in the state. The Filipino community in Jersey City is comprised heavily of working class and migrant women who face multiple intersecting layers of oppression including, but certainly not limited lack of equal access to employment and living wages, workers rights, immigration and citizenship barriers, and gender-based violence at home and in the workplace. For these reasons, IDEVAW is relevant to the lives of Filipina migrant women who work tirelessly to survive in the name of providing for the needs of their families back home.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a woman is beaten every fifteen seconds. Jersey City in particular has faced increased violence as just last Thursday, November 19th, a woman faced an attempted attack by an ex-boyfriend with an ax, injuring two people at Newport Mall. As of November 21st, the crisis has escalated to five fatal shootings in twelve days. We are raising alarm for these regrettable developments in our neighborhoods.

Further, Jersey City women face multiple forms of violence through socioeconomic disenfranchisement, lack of access to jobs and education, and targeting of migrant workers. As a result of a lack of a living wage, increased student debt, and lack of social services, women in Jersey City experience violence in both explicit and insidious ways.

Violence against women does not solely connote the physicalities of abuse, but rather, accounts for all forms of violence, physical, psychological, and even political and economic. Violence occurs and is sustained through the injustices inherited and perpetuated by systems of patriarchy, upheld by imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. Violence against women is deep set, but can be uprooted.

Since the founding of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey in 2005, and the formal inception of Anakbayan NJ in 2012, Filipino women have played an integral role in serving the most oppressed people and pushing forward the national democratic movement with a socialist perspective. We must continue to strive in upholding the rights of poor and working class women here and across the globe.

With the launch of the Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee, we renew our commitment to studying the concrete experiences of Filipina immigrants for the purpose of uplifting their stories, and actively participating in mass campaigns that respond to their immediate needs and concerns, while exposing the manifestations of an imperialist system that perpetuates hardship and exploitation.

We call on Filipino youth in the U.S. to join Anakbayan in educating, organizing, and mobilizing our community to fight for fair working conditions, support for victims of domestic violence, an end to human trafficking, the removal of US military bases and personnel in the Philippines and other developing countries. Let us advance the legacy of the Mirabal sisters and our own, Lorena Barros, who wholeheartedly took up the cause of national liberation and genuinely serving the people.

 

End violence against women!

Justice for Jennifer Laude! US out of the Philippines!

Justice for Mary Jane Veloso! End the Labor Export Policy!

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HLI @ 11: The fight for genuine agrarian land reform continues

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement

November 9th, 2015

 

Reference:

 

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

Laura Emily E. Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey

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

 

HLI @ 11: The fight for genuine agrarian land reform continues

 

Today, November 16th, 2015, we mark the 11th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. Anakbayan New Jersey members in the past have integrated with the basic masses in HLI in the past. We acknowledge the ongoing plight of the farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, as they represent the frontlines for the fight for genuine agrarian land reform in the Philippines. 11 years later, the farm workers of HLI have not been granted access to their lands. As we continue to wage the National Democratic program, we continue the fight against the monopoly of the comprador big-bourgeoisie and landlord classes of the entire country.

As the U.S.-Aquino administration is channelling their energies towards APEC, it is clear that their priority is in appeasing and serving the interest of the landlord and comprador big-bourgeoisie instead of the interests of the toiling masses. As these world powers gather, the increase fascism in the countryside is ever-worsening. The U.S.-Aquino regime is accelerating the worsening crisis of the Philippines into a downward spiral as the economy is barely standing on its crutches as we continue to lay servitude to the foreign multinational corporations.  

Since the Cojuangco family’s acquisition of Hacienda Luisita, the call for genuine agrarian land reform has remained at the forefront of priorities of the BS Aquino administration. 11 years later there have been no attempts to respond to the call of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita. The culture of impunity has remained intact under the BS Aquino administration.  Sham Land Reform remains under the guise of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Under the U.S.-Arroyo regime, farmers’ wages were shrunk to P194.50, and farmers were only allowed to work one day a week. The workers of Hacienda Luisita filed a petition with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in order to have the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) Agreement abolished. Two months later, the petition bore at least 5,300 signatures before being filed by union officers at the DAR. After the union attempted to negotiate wages to at least P225 a day, the Luisita management discarded 327 farmers — including union officers.

11 years later, we remember the martyrs of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. Bayan-USA states “The political repression faced eleven years ago is the same political repression activists and community organizers face today. Peasants, who make up more than 75% of the population in the Philippines, still demand genuine agrarian reform- a redistribution of the land. Many died defending their rights to the land at Hacienda Luisita and today they continue to fight against the bureaucracy of land distribution after the Supreme Court’s decision to award the farmers a certain percentage of the Cojuangco land.”  The culture of impunity is ever-prevalent in relation to the recent killings of Lumad leaders in Mindanao. Oplan Bayanihan, the current manifestation of US-Arroyo’s counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya I & II keeps legal mass activists to be preyed upon the state reactionary forces.  

In 2013, the DAR set up a tambiolo raffle that would determine which farmlands would go to the former workers of Hacienda Luisita. This allocation only served to pit the workers against each other. Then, right before Christmas that same year, goons working for Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) fenced off and destroyed a 260-hectare area in Balete to forcibly remove farmers. Weeks later, the Luisita farm workers picketed at PNP’s Camp Macabulos in Tarlac City to demand the release of illegally arrested and detained farmers. On B.S. Aquino’s birthday in 2014, crops were destroyed, homes were burned, children were mistreated and detained, and supplies and animals were stolen.

Back in 2013, Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres resigned from her position. As a result, B.S. Aquino dubbed her “Aryendo Queen,” revealing her large role in the tambiolo scheme. Contrary to the belief that tambiolo ‘land reform’ would protect the farmers’ rights to own and till the land, the papers given to beneficiaries only functioned as collateral in the raging unlawful leaseback operations called aryendo.

On April 25th, 2014, as a response to her effigy being burned at the CAT sugar mill, Kris Aquino said, “Alam ko na pag sinusunog-sunog ka, humahaba ang buhay mo, kaya okay lang, carry.” Her family sold their shares to Martin Lorenzo shortly after Kris Aquino responded. After Lorenzo established CAT Resource and Asset Holdings, Inc., almost 700 CAT workers were forced to sign “voluntary retirement” papers. As a way to continue to cover up their exploitation of workers, Lorenzo and Fernando Cojuangco are planning to rid of more of CAT and LRC’s land assets.

Pooling money with Florencio Abad, B.S. Aquino was able to use the P237 billion to create the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program. P50 million was given to each of the senator-judges to secure a guilty verdict in the Corona impeachment. The Department of Agrarian Reform also stated that the P451.7 million compensation to the Aquino-Cojuangco family came from DAP. P3.5 million from DAP was used to erect a small multi-purpose hall in Barangay Central, Hacienda Luisita by Aquino; this was a favor for an alleged broker of the aryendo, Barangay Captain Edgardo Aguas.

In August 2014, survivors and relatives of those who died at the Hacienda Luisita Massacre filed a motion to reopen the case. The motion was thrown out two months later. Instead of the Philippine government prosecuting military officials involved in the massacre, they gave the officials lovely promotions. The soldier who killed the president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union, Ricardo Ramos, was acquitted.

Today, Hacienda Luisita is still in the hands of the Cojuangco family. Today, power is still in the hands of the few. Today, the farmers whose livelihoods are tied to the cultivation of Hacienda Luisita are still suffering. Today, we continue to remember and uplift those whose lives were brutally killed in order to retain an immoral socioeconomic hierarchy. As Anakbayan New Jersey, we remember the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and continue to advocate for a better and just Philippines through genuine agrarian reform.

Justice for the Victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre!

Redistribute Hacienda Luisita to the Farmers Now!

Stop Lumad Killings!

Genuine Agrarian Reform Now!

Defend Indigenous Rights to Ancestral Land!

#PHFightAPEC

Junk APEC and Imperialist Globalization!

 

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Jersey City Community Calls to Relief, Rebuild, and Remember on Haiyan 2nd Anniversary

Statements 11112015.002

For Immediate Release
Press Statement

November 8, 2015

Reference:

Daniel Valentin, President, Asian American Student Union at Saint Peter’s University

201.205.6389, dvalentin@mail.saintpeters.edu

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

470.309.2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Jersey City Community Calls to Relief, Rebuild, and Remember on Haiyan 2nd Anniversary

Various community and student groups held “Typhoon Haiyan Second Anniversary: Relief, Rebuild, Remember,” a special mass and a vigil at St. Aedan’s Parish on November 8, marking the second anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan. Participants called for the continued awareness on the ongoing struggles of typhoon survivors as well as the need for climate justice.

The mass was conducted by Father Rocco Danzi, Director of Campus Ministry, at Saint Aedan’s Church, a vigil at Panepinto Plaza, and a discussion in the Student Center’s Campus Ministry and the vigil was organized by the Asian American Student Union (AASU) of Saint Peter’s University, Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ). This commemoration is part of a national week of action called by the national Fil-Am youth and student relief network, Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network (KBKN).

On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in central Philippines.For the past two years, the world has stood in witness to the aftermath of one of the strongest and deadliest typhoon ever recorded. Typhoon Haiyan left an estimated 10,000 people, affected 11 million Filipinos and more than one million homeless.

“Jersey City, though half way across the globe, still remembers typhoon Haiyan and continues to stand in solidarity with the survivors. We join the call for justice for the victims of government neglect. We also call on our government leaders to act on the climate crisis,” said Laura Emily E. Austria, ABNJ. Jersey City is home to more than 20,000 Filipinos, one of the largest population of Filipinos in the east coast.

Throughout the mass, Father Rocco commemorated the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in song and scripture. During his homily, he remarked that unlike CNN and other mass media, the community must be committed to remembering the tragedy and acting in solidarity with the survivors that still struggle. Denise Yzabel Salonga Cateron, a student at Saint Peter’s University and member of the choir, offered a personal prayer in Tagalog at the close of the mass. $250 was raised in through a special second collection to contribute to the National Alliance of Filipino Concern’s Typhoon Lando relief efforts.

The vigil was attended by members of 350.org, Pax Christi, Gabriela New York, Food and Water Watch New Jersey, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Saint Aedan’s Parish, and the larger Jersey City community. In addition to solidarity statements and personal testimonies, participants were invited to respond to a posterboard prompting, “How has ‘natural disasters’ impacted your life?” Responses connected the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey shore and persistent flooding in Wayne, NJ. The vigil was closed as Kate Angeles, Saint Peter’s University student, Vice President of Schola, and Jersey City resident offered the song, “Hindi Kita Malilimutan.”

The discussion featured a report back by recent missioners to disaster-stricken areas of the Philippines on the 2015 KBKN relief and rebuild mission. They shared photographs accompanied with stories of survivors’ personal accounts of the gravity of the situation on the ground. Although there is loss of livelihood, threats of demolition, and corporate use of No Dwelling Zones, the missioners also shared messages of hope. Peoples Surge, an organization of Typhoon Haiyan survivors, is leading a concerted effort to protest economic policies that favors profit over the wellbeing of the people and the environment through protest of APEC and the TPPA and appeals to the upcoming COP21 in Paris.

I felt that the Discussion portion of last nights event affected me the most because it was the most informative and most intimate. I was glad we were able to have a short hand experience through the KBKN missioners on what life was like in the Philippines after the Super Typhoon, and how mentally traumatizing the events that occurred are, till this day.” said Daniel Valentin, President of AASU.

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“Reflecting on my journey back to the Philippines, my exposure trip was the single most solidifying experience for me,” said Daniel Santiago, KBKN missioner. Going back allowed me to not only reinforce why I am fighting and struggling towards the liberation of our People, but truly were on the grounds living, experiencing, and hearing directly from the People. No media twisting, no political propaganda from the government, but hearing firsthand what the people are experiencing. From the landlessness and being pushed off of lands their families have worked for over a century, to the lack of governmental response and deficiencies of NGO’s after “natural” disasters, as well as the militarization of indigenous communities. Here we risk our comfort to support our People, back home they risk harassment, threats, and even death to fight for the human rights of our People. To truly see the true conditions that not only the Philippine government propagate, but the United States government has on our homeland. One must take the pilgrimage back home to have a sincere understanding that it is not just “More Fun in the Philippines” as tourism advertises, but that our People are struggling. If we are truly proud to be Filipino, we must take the good and beautiful aspects with the bad and the ugly to fight genuinely towards making sure our People and our land one day can see true independence and freedom.”

Despite the international clamor for support for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the immediate aftermath, there has not been much progress in the past two years. “Typhoon donations get funneled to the Philippines through government agencies, therefore creating room for pilfering and disparity. What little is left is not distributed fairly to those most affected by disaster. Many are left with minimal monetary support and are forced to live in temporary housing on no-build zones. Often, monetary donations do not correspond to need, leaving many displaced and distressed,” said Devyn Manibo of ABNJ and Typhoon Haiyan commemoration committee member. “Two years has shown that the survivors will be in a perpetual state of disaster unless there is an overhaul of the government ineptitude,” Manibo continued. Most recent reports allege that survivors are dying in the bunkhouses and still lack access to social services as public institutions on health and education are being used for public-private partnership schemes.

“As AASU and ABNJ, we call upon on the Filipino American community to stand firm with the disaster survivors to intensify demands for justice and accountability and an end to the climate crisis. It is important that we, as youth and students, acknowledge Super Typhoon Haiyan as a warning for our world that will forever will go down in history. While they call it a “natural disaster” we will not be lied to by mass media. It is natural for an archipelagic nation to undergo periods of typhoons, but the extent of the most recent waves of typhoons is due to man-made causes. Global warming, carbon pollution, and social exploitation has entered us into the age of Super Typhoons and a climate crisis that will only continue to increase in severity. The warnings and candles are no longer enough, we echo the survivors’ calls for accountability, livelihood and justice now!” Laura Emily Austria of ABNJ concluded.

End the climate crisis!
Peoples’ survival is non-negotiable!

Remember Haiyan!

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Anakbayan New Jersey Congratulates Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s 5th General Assembly, “With Feist and Fervor, Fight State Terrorism!”

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
October 8, 2015

Reference:

Laura Emily Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

We Congratulate the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s 5th General Assembly, “With Feist and Fervor, Fight State Terrorism!”

Anakbayan New Jersey sends warm and militant congratulations to Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) on their 5th General Assembly in Baguio City. On September 20, 2015, CHRA gathered 60 delegates for discussion and education on the human rights work that is currently needed in the region in the midst of the worsening attacks against indigenous peoples all over the country.

As an overseas chapter of Anakbayan Philippines, we uplift the work of human rights organizations in the Philippines and abroad. One particular example is the Justice for Freddie Ligiw campaign. CHRA was one of the first to report on the killing of Ligiw, a member of Anakbayan Abra. They reported that 29 year-old Ligiw was last seen at his home in Sitio Sukaw, Domenglay; Ligiw was supposed to see his father, Licuben, at the pacalso before heading off to the mining site in the community. His remains were found in a shallow grave with that of 49 other people. Without the reporting and support of CHRA, Freddie Ligiw’s story would have never been told.

People from the Cordillera region also attended July 2015’s International Peoples’ Tribunal in Washington, D.C. to testify about the conditions that have been created through the implementation of state repression by the Philippine government. Attorney Maria Catherine Salucon exemplifies the attacks that have been taking place in the Cordillera region. Salucon states that she had received “systematic harassments and threats” from the paramilitary. Later, she was tagged as a Red Lawyer and was placed on the Order of Battle, a hit list for the Philippine military.

In so many areas across the Philippines where indigenous people live, there are attacks and incidents of harassment by the Philippine government. We support Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and their efforts to fight state repression and state terrorism in the Cordillera region.

ACTIVISM IS NOT A CRIME! JUSTICE FOR FREDDIE LIGIW!

END IMPUNITY FROM THE CORDILLERAS TO NEW JERSEY!

FIGHT FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES!

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One Year Later: Justice for Jennifer Laude! US Troops Out of the Philippines

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For Immediate Release

Jonathan Zirkle, Deputy Educational Development Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

Bryan Chen, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265

One Year Later: Justice for Jennifer Laude! US Troops out of the Philippines!

Anakbayan NJ remembers Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman who was murdered by Scott Pemberton, a US Marine, on October 11th one year ago today.  Laude had met Pemberton at Ambyanz, a social club in Olangapo City, Philippines.  While the marine appeared to be friendly, Jennifer’s friend, Barbie, described him as noticeably inebriated during the initial meeting.  Soon after their introduction, they had left the club and checked into the nearby Celzone Lounge, a motel.  It was there that Pemberton has alleged, recently, that the two of them had a physical altercation after he had fondled Jennifer.  According to his statement, he shoved Jennifer after this, which initiated the conflict.  The fight ended with him strangling Laude until she was unconscious.  Dragging her to the bathroom, he claims that he splashed water from the toilet on Laude’s face and, receiving no response, left her slumped over the receptacle.

Although Pemberton was arrested and held at Camp Aguinaldo, he was never held in full custody by Philippine Authorities, being detained primarily by the US Navy.  In addition, the marine was provided several privileges not generally offered to defendants in Philippine court, a substantial plea deal was offered to the Laude family in his name, reporters were banned from the courtroom, and the court was allotted only  one year to complete proceedings.  These resources afforded to the defense are similar to those offered to several marines in People of the Philippines vs. Chad Carpentier, Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood, and Daniel Smith.  In this case, several US Marines were accused of raping a Filipina, Suzette Nicolas, and were all acquitted while in custody of their own government.

These recurring themes and events are unfortunate reminders of persisting discrimination against trans people in Philippine society, and the misogyny in public outcry, with outspoken sections of the community calling both these cases complex “extortion rackets”.  They aliso show the incredible political clout that the US holds over the Philippine government because of treaties like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allow visiting US service people substantial privileges in travel, lodging and legal matters. Indeed, the opportunity for accused US military personnel to be held by their own country’s military authorities during legal proceedings is explicitly outlined in Section 6 of Article 5 of the VFA.  It is these treaties that effectively make Filipinas like Jennifer Laude and Suzette Nicolas second-class citizens in their own countries.  The damage of these events are not limited to the Philippines either, as migrant Filipinos struggle with discrimination and oppression because of their country’s non-existent national sovereignty and global power.

As an organization dedicated to bringing about democracy in the Philippines that benefits Filipino people instead of foreign imperialist interests, Anakbayan New Jersey condemns the extraordinary acts of violence that military personnel have been acquitted for in our country.  The unique plight of gender non-conforming people of our communities and the world are in our interests as a comprehensive group that calls for the liberation of all people.

The weakness of the Philippine government is exposed often because of tragedies such as Jennifer Laude’s murder.  The Filipino Government is run like a business, with crimes and insults often being overlooked for the benefit of very few.  This is why development is limited to small sections of the Philippines, such as Makati City and Metro Manila, and wealth is accrued only by small sections of the population, like the political dynasties of the Cojuangcos and Estradas.  The weakness of the state in the Philippines can only be remedied by more equal land distribution and agrarian reform, as well as national industrialization to allow for natural resources to be used by Filipinos instead of being sold to foreign corporations.

Anakbayan New Jersey calls upon Filipino and Fil-am youth to embrace their history of resistance and decry the awful crimes committed against Jennifer Laude.  We must work to put pressure both on the US government to cease imperialistic activities in the Philippines, as well as dismantle the puppet regimes working to oppress the masses in our homeland.  It is through this work that we can honor Jennifer’s memory, and work to build a world where trans people of color no longer must fear for their lives.

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

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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.

Defend the Defenders; Activism is Not a Crime: Stop the Political Vilification and Harassment of Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

March 23, 2015

Reference: Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

201-675-8278, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Defend the Defenders; Activism is Not a Crime: Stop the Political Vilification and Harassment of Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

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Anakbayan New Jersey condemns the increased political vilification and surveillance of members and leaders of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), barangay officials, local organizations, and indigenous people’s rights advocates. As activists ourselves, we believe in the basic rights of individuals and organizations to freely express their political beliefs and to advance their peoples’ rights in the Philippines, the U.S., and across the world.

As of the last quarter of 2014, there has been an increase in the ostracization and red-baiting of local people’s organizations as communist fronts or members of the New Peoples Army (NPA). Not only are these accusations false, but they attempt to turn the public against these community advocates as “enemies of the State” or “terrorists.” This is a direct result of the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency policy, Oplan Bayanihan, which continues to uphold a culture of impunity and injustice.

History has shown that increased political vilification is a prelude to illegal arrests based on trumped up charges, enforced disappearance, and even extrajudicial killings. After the Philippine Army’s release of a “Target List,” William Bugatti, one of those listed, was extrajudicially killed on March 25, 2014. It is a grave injustice to demonize these individuals and organizations that have dedicated their lives to empowering the oppressed, poor, and most vulnerable to government neglect through social services and livelihood assistance.

Those targeted are: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera, Montanosa Research and Development Center, Amianan Salakniban, Katinnulong Dagiti Umili iti Amianan, Tebtebba, Igorota Foundation, and more. Among the individuals are: Nestor Peralta, Claudine Panayo, Billy Karty, Ben Calingayan, Edwin Bumolyad, Nonoy Bangtiwen, Dick Tangid, Ricardo Mayumi, James Tayaban, and Brandon Lee.

The last person named on this list, Brandon Lee, is of particular relevance to us as a former member of the League of Filipino Students – San Francisco State University. He entered college as an everyday student and left as an activist in service of the people. Not even Filipinx, this Chinese American man found a place within our homeland in a way that very many Filipinx youth in the U.S. have never even engaged with. He has come a long way from his first exposure program to the Philippines as he has permanently moved to work as a defender of indigenous peoples’ rights with his wife and daughter.

However, this is not the story of a single person, or even a single region of the Philippines. It is of a culture of impunity that is plaguing the homeland our families have been ripped from. Political vilification and military repression extends from the northernmost tip of Luzon to the southernmost tip of Mindanao, and in most recent incidents, from Ifugao to Mamasapano. Our very own members of Anakbayan New Jersey have integrated with students whose schools have been bombed and farmers whose lands have been stolen.

There have been too many “final straws.”

It is our duty as Filipinx Americans of the diaspora to stand in solidarity with our Filipinxs back home in our demand of truth, accountability, and justice of the Philippines government and the especially the president, BS Aquino. We also call on the American taxpayers to demand that the US government cut all military aid to the Philippines. We demand an end to BS Aquino’s bloody counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan. We also demand that the Philippine government respect human rights and adhere to international humanitarian law. End the culture of impunity! Long live international solidarity!###

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. ###

Filipino Youth Overseas Demand an End to Government Corruption in the Philippines

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We, Filipino youth and students overseas, stand with our sisters and brothers in the Philippines who are taking to the streets in the “Million People March vs. Pork Barrel”.

We join the call to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the presidential Special Purpose Fund (SPF). For too long, these discretionary funds have been used to fatten the pockets of corrupt politicians at the expense of our people’s welfare.

We demand that the Philippine government prioritize funding our people’s needs and not their own luxurious lifestyles. In the upcoming 2014 National Budget, the Aquino administration is set to allocate P1.2 trillion ($28.2 billion) for the president’s SPF and P25 billion ($565 million) for congress and senate’s PDAF. Despite his “Tuwid na Daan” (“Righteous Path”) rhetoric, the amount of pork barrel fund has actually doubled during Aquino’s administration and government corruption has only worsened. We demand the immediate rechanneling of all these funds directly to vital social services that our poorest sisters and brothers need, such as public education, health, housing, protection and welfare for overseas Filipino workers and even flood control.

We also call for the immediate, independent, and thorough investigation and prosecution of all parties involved in the misuse of the people’s money. The Pork Barrel must be emptied and the stench of all corrupt politicians and public officials must be aired out. Investigation and trial must be led by independent entities and not the politicians in senate and congress themselves. This process must be made public and televised. We want justice and accountability.

We recognize that this is bigger than Janet Lim-Napoles and the corrupt politicians involved in the current Pork Barrel Scam. This is about a system that breeds corruption and serves the interests of the wealthiest few while neglecting the poor majority of our people. We understand that it is exactly this type of corruption that is one of the main root of the ongoing economic crisis in our homeland, which forces millions of migrants like our parents to search for livelihood in other countries.

That is why, though we are thousands of miles away from our motherland, we are one with the people in fighting against systemic corruption in the Philippines. August 26th is only the beginning. No damage control nor deception by Aquino’s public relations team can stop the growing tide of people’s anger. The entire corrupt system must be changed in order for future generations to live in a society that is truly just and free.

ABOLISH ALL PORK BARREL FUNDS NOW!

RE-CHANNEL FUNDS TO SOCIAL SERVICES!

INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ALL INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION!

ORGANIZATIONAL SIGNATORIES

United States:

Active Leadership to Advance the Youth (ALAY)

Anakbayan- USA

Anakbayan Los Angeles

Anakbayan San Diego

Anakayan East Bay

Anakbayan Silicon Valley

Anakbayan Seattle

Anakbayan Chicago

Anakbayan New York

Anakbayan New Jersey

Asian American Student Union – Saint Peter’s University

Barkada – Farleigh Dickinson University

Filipino American Student Association at Oberlin College

Filipino American Student Association of the University of Washington

Filipinos Uniting Nations at Kean (FUNK) – Kean University

Filipinos Uniting Students in Other Nations (FUSION) – City University of New York, Baruch College

Kasama – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Katipunan – University of California Riverside

Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, Daly City

League of Filipino Students – San Francisco State University

Maganda Magazine

PEACE – City College of San Francisco

Philippine Union of La Guardia Students Organization (PULSO) – City University of New York, La Guardia Community College

Pilipinos of Hunter (POH) – City University of New York, Hunter College

Kaibigan – Portland State University

Samahang Pilipino – University of California Los Angeles

Youth of Iglesia Filipino Independiente – Diocese of Tampa (Eastern USA & Eastern Canada)

 

Canada:

Anakabyan Montreal

Anakbayan Toronto

BAYAN- Canada

Binnadang – Migrante Canada

Filipino Student Association of Toronto (FSAT) – University of Toronto

 

Australia:

Anakbayan Melbourne

Netherlands:

SAMAKA – Netherlands

~~~

To be a signatory now, click here.

Take a Photo. Take a Stand.

Take a photo. Take a stand. 


On August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) will bring attention to the thousands of Filipinos who are victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines. The International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 is a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives, or victims of enforced di

sappearances. Imprisonment under secret or uncertain circumstances is a grave violation of some conceptions of human rights as well as, in the case of an armed conflict, of International Humanitarian Law.Under the current President of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, there have been 11 cases of Enforced Disappearances in the Philippines.Since the Arroyo Regime (2001-2010), 205 are still missing. The families seek justice, the Philippine government must be pressured to SURFACE THE DISAPPEARED and END IMPUNITY NOW!We demand that these victims are surfaced and their perpetrators are brought to justice.

Join to take a photo and stand in solidarity with the thousands of families still looking for their loved ones. Your photo will be viewable at www.nychrp.info

This event is endorsed by BAYAN USA, Anakbayan-NJ, Anakbayan-NY, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, Action 21 and ILPS US NE.

To rsvp click here
For more info on the human rights situation in the Philippines check out KARAPATAN (an alliance of human rights organizations in the Philippines) here
For articles on victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines click here