Category: BAYAN USA

Filipinos Demand Real Change, Not Aquino’s Chump Change


July 21, 2013

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro, Vice Chair, BAYAN-USA,

Filipinos Demand Real Change, Not Aquino’s Chump Change: BAYAN-USA Members and Allies to Mark President Aquino’s Annual State of the Nation Address with Protest Actions Across the US

“Instead of three more years of lies and empty promises, the Filipino people deserve true change and their full due,” said Jessica Antonio, BAYAN-USA Secretary General. “In his annual State of the Nation Address, we expect Aquino to recycle the same old lies about economic growth, the straight path, and progress, but the truth is that the vast majority of people are getting poorer while Aquino, the other big landlords and compradors, and foreign powers are getting richer.”

In Aquino’s State of the Nation Address he is expected to make pronouncements about growth in the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, most of the so-called growth in the past quarter is based on temporary fixes that can be attributed to either the elections—with traditional politicians dumping millions into their campaigns—or industries like construction and real estate, which serve foreign companies building commercial spaces for processing and outsourcing businesses such as call centers. In reality, such ventures spell double-jeopardy: they undermine wages for workers in both the first world country where the corporation is based and the Philippines, as well as undercut development of local industry.

In addition, surveys by national polling agencies report that most people consider themselves poor and their situation worse than in previous years. According to the Social Weather Station’s statistics from 2010-12, unemployment in the Philippines increased by 2.7 million people, and the number of people experiencing hunger increased by half a million families (2.5 million people). Furthermore, the National Statistics Office reported underemployment at 7.2 million people, and unpaid family workers at 3.6 million people. The prices of basic commodities and services including water, electricity, oil, transportation fares and food have climbed consistently over the first three years of Aquino’s term, while real wages have stagnated or dropped for most Filipinos.

“How can Aquino claim to be on the path to prosperity, when the ability to live a decent life is out of reach for most families? It’s no wonder that 4,400 Filipinos migrate out of the country everyday,” said Antonio.  “The fact that remittances climbed to a record-high $21.39 billion speaks to the desperation driving people to leave home to do dangerous and demeaning jobs around the world.”

Far from giving precedence to programs that alleviate the suffering of the poor, Aquino’s government has prioritized band-aid approaches and virtual scams that do little more than create the illusion of assistance.  Aquino’s World Bank-funded Conditional Cash Transfer scheme—a discredited program with a history of failure in other third world countries–has had zero impact on poverty, even though more than three million people have received the paltry dole-outs.  Even worse, Aquino’s massive demolitions of urban poor communities for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects have violently displaced and directly intensified the misery of tens of thousands of poor Filipinos, for the benefit of foreign corporations and the biggest businessmen and landlords who are reaping millions in profits from the privatization of public infrastructure and services such as water, energy, and transportation.

“After demolishing their homes and destroying their lives, moguls the likes of Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Enrique Razon Jr., John Gokongwei Jr., Jaime Zobel de Ayala, George Ty, Roberto Ongpin, and Danding Cojuangco rub salt in the wounds of the poor by jacking up prices of basic public services that people need to survive. Aquino will just be adding insult to injury if he announces plans to continue the PPP,” said Antonio.

With Aquino poised to sign the new Philippines-U.S. bases access accord with the U.S. BAYAN-USA also expects the President to ignore the longstanding affront of Philippine sovereignty by the Visiting Forces Agreement, and cite national security interests to rationalize signing the new agreement. This would allow the U.S. to again park its military vessels and troops on Philippine soil and in its waters in order to advance America’s military pivot to the Asia Pacific region. With 60 percent of U.S. armed forces set to shift from other parts of the world to the Philippines and other countries in the Asia Pacific, the new agreement will open the floodgates to further trampling of Philippine sovereignty, human rights violations committed by U.S. military personnel, and tens of billions of dollars in profits to giants of the military industry, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and McDonnell Douglas.

“The people aren’t sitting around waiting for scraps from the table of a President and his cronies who feast on the blood and sweat of the Filipino masses,” said Antonio. “BAYAN-USA joins the millions of Filipinos who will be protesting Aquino’s State of the Nation Address and calling for fundamental change—national industrialization, genuine land reform—to result in lasting improvements in the Philippines.  We welcome everyone who believes in true peace and justice and addressing the root causes of the crisis in the Philippines to join us in actions across the U.S. this week.”

BAYAN-USA will be conducting the following activities to mark SONA 2013:

Seattle, Washington
Wednesday, July 17
6:00 PM
Educational Discussion @ Jefferson Park

New York City, New York
Sunday, July 21
3:00 PM – Discussion on the Current State of the Philippines
5:00 PM – People’s Action
@ Bayanihan Community Center
40-21 69th St., Woodside, NY 11377

Los Angeles, California
Monday, July 22
5:30 PM – People’s Action
@ Philippine Consulate
3600 Wilshire Blvd.

San Francisco, California
Monday, July 22
5:30 PM- People’s Action
Union Square, downtown San Francisco


Demand Justice for Melissa Roxas! Join the Week of Action May 19-25, 2013

Justice for Melissa!

Sign the petition calling on President Aquino to compel Philippine authorities to investigate Melissa’s case:

May 19, 2013 marks the fourth anniversary of the abduction and disappearance of Melissa Roxas, who was abducted on May 19 and surfaced on May 25, 2009 after an international outcry. Melissa’s case made headlines as the first case of such a human rights violation committed against a US citizen in the Philippines under President Obama’s term. As one of the few survivors of abduction by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Melissa courageously went public with her story, seeking justice not only for herself, but for all victims of human rights violations. Melissa filed her case in the Philippine courts, testified in various venues, and fully cooperated with the investigation undertaken by the Commission on Human Rights. Four years after her abduction, we are still fighting for justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations in the Philippines.

Just last month on April 16, 2013, the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued a resolution on Melissa’s case, which orders the Philippine authorities to “continue and undertake a deeper probe and investigation of the incidents with the end in view of identifying the perpetrators of the complained abduction and abuses and of the eventual filing of cases for said resultant crimes.” In the preceding month, the Philippines Court of Appeals declared that activist-agriculturalist Jonas Burgos was abducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. However, despite overwhelming evidence that Melissa, Jonas and so many others have been abducted and tortured by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to this day none of the perpetrators have been apprehended or prosecuted. This typifies the so-called justice system in the Philippines, where notorious human rights butchers like Army Major General Jovito Palparan—described by the National Council of Churches of the Philippines as “[personifying] the brutality and notoriety of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration for its gross, systematic and brazen violation of human rights”—can remain at-large even in the face of a warrant for his arrest for the kidnapping and illegal detention of two university students, due to the lack of political will by the Aquino regime to capture him. As always, the only hope lies in the perseverance of the mass movement to continue demanding justice and organizing for change.

Since 2009, BAYAN-USA has held demonstrations the week of Melissa’s abduction and release, and made the “Justice for Melissa” demand a standard call at all BAYAN-USA’s actions dealing with human rights, the Visiting Forces Agreement, war and militarization. In light of the ongoing impunity in the Philippines, we can not take for granted that the Philippine Supreme Court’s resolution will be acted on by government authorities unless the people demand it!

Please take action now to demand justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations. Join us in the following actions, as we count down each day that Melissa was disappeared, culminating in a Day of Action on May 24th, 2013.

Day 1—May 19:

Day 2—May 20:

Day 3—May 21:

  • Post a song/music video, poem or visual art in honor of people who have been tortured.
  • Continue forwarding the petition and gather signatures on petition demanding that Philippine authorities comply with the Supreme Court resolution to continue investigating Melissa’s case:
  • Make Justice for Melissa graphic your Facebook profile photo and update your status with: “Melissa was disappeared against her will and tortured today—May 21, 2009”

Day 4—May 22:

  • Post of photo or video montage of yourself and members of your organization or friends holding a sign “Justice for Melissa Roxas.”
  • Continue forwarding the petition and gather signatures on petition demanding that Philippine authorities comply with the Supreme Court resolution to continue investigating Melissa’s case:
  • Make Justice for Melissa graphic your Facebook profile photo and update your status with “Melissa was disappeared against her will and tortured today—May 22, 2009”

Day 5—May 23:

  • Record and post a video message of solidarity to Melissa and all victims of human rights violations.
  • Continue forwarding the petition and gather signatures on petition demanding that Philippine authorities comply with the Supreme Court resolution to continue investigating Melissa’s case:
  • Make Justice for Melissa graphic your Facebook profile photo and update your status with: “Melissa was disappeared against her will and tortured today—May 23, 2009”

Day 6—May 24:

Day 7—May 25:

  • Record and post a video message calling on President Aquino to ensure that Philippine authorities comply with the Supreme Court resolution ordering them to pursue the investigation of Melissa’s case.
  • Continue forwarding the petition and gather signatures on petition demanding that Philippine authorities comply with the Supreme Court resolution to continue investigating Melissa’s case:
  • Make Justice for Melissa graphic your Facebook profile photo and update your status with “Melissa was surfaced today but justice is still missing—May 25, 2009”
  • Make a donation to BAYAN-USA, so we can continue the campaign for Justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations:


Do You Know How Freedom Sounds?

Diskarte Namin

Find out by getting the latest album from San Francisco band Diskarte Namin. The album “Kultural Guerrillas” is a mix of reggae, rock, folk and soul accented with Philippine indigenous instruments and driven by lyrics about love and liberation.

And it’s not just lip service—every album bought online will help support the struggle for human rights and self-determination in the Philippines.

All proceeds from album sales go to BAYAN USA, a national alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth.

By downloading the online album, you’ll be donating $10 to BAYAN USA’s human rights work:

  • The Justice for Melissa Roxas campaign to obtain justice and accountability for the abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas and all victims of human rights violations perpetrated by state forces of the Philippines
  • The International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines, to be held in July 2013.  This conference will bring together more Filipino survivors of human rights abuses, families of victims, and human rights advocates from around the globe to develop a shared analysis of the causes of the human rights crisis and to develop action plans to address the problem.
  • Manilakbayan – Bringing Mindanao Peoples’ Voices from the Margins to the Center, a week-long mobilization convened by Mindanao’s “Anawim” or “the unprotected” indigenous Lumads, Moro, small farmers and workers.  The mobilization will include actions to defend land, environment and human rights in the face of destructive large-scale mining and mining-related killings by state forces.

Buy your album today!
Be part of the movement for international human rights!
Support movement music and Filipino community organizing!
Spread the word to fellow music lovers and justice seekers!

Sample tweets and Facebook posts:

  • Happy International Human Rights Day!  Celebrate by downloading Diskarte Namin’s new album, proceeds benefit @BAYAN_USA and its campaigns for human rights in the Philippines
  • Diskarte Namin celebrates International Human Rights Day with release of new album, proceeds benefit @BAYAN_USA
  • Celebrate International Human Rights Day by buying Diskarte Namin’s new album proceeds benefit human rights work in Philippines

Panaghiusa (Unity): A Movement for Human Rights, Peace, and Justice in Mindanao

Join us for the launching of
Panaghiusa (Unity): A Movement for Human Rights, Peace, and Justice in Mindanao

In celebration of the Salugpungan Anniversary, Bonifacio Day, and Anakbayan’s 10th-Year Anniversary

Learn more about our 2012 advocacy medical mission trip to Mindanao and our plans for next year’s mission

Friday, November 30, 2012
Rosewood United Methodist Church
4101 Rosewood Avenue (nearest cross street North Vermont Ave)
Los Angeles, CA 90004

6:30 PM Reception
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Program

All love donations are gratefully accepted.

Special photo exhibit.  Photos will be for sale.  All proceeds go to Panaghiusa.

Sponsored by
Rosewood Advocacy Ministry
California-Pacific Annual Conference Chapter of Methodist Federation for Social Action
CAL-PAC Church and Society
Anakbayan Los Angeles and San Diego
Habi Arts
Sisters of GABRIELA, Awaken! (SiGAw!)
Filipino Migrant Center
Fil-Am Health Workers Association

National Day of Action Against the Cybercrime Law and Political Killings in the Philippines

Wednesday, November 7, 2012; 5:30PM

Philippine Consulate
3600 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Sponsored by: Anakbayan-USA, Gabriela-USA, Bayan USA, ILPS, NAFCON, Filipino Migrant Center, Habi Arts

FB event:

Join us as we protest the Noynoy Aquino administration’s signing of the Cybercrime Prevention Law and the escalating political killings across the Philippines under his regime. The Cybercrime Prevention Law violates people’s freedom of speech, internet freedom, and the right to privacy. It is being used as a way to censor and silence any dissent or criticism of the government. An anti-mining leader in Cagayan has already been arrested for a Facebook post, even though the law’s implementation has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court to review its unconstitutionality.

We especially condemn the brutal massacre of an indigenous B’laan family by the Philippine military in Tampakan, South Cotabato, Mindanao. The soldiers shot up the home of indigenous leader Daguil Capion, killing and desecrating the bodies of his pregnant wife, Juvy (27), and her two sons, Jordan (13) and Janjan (8). He and the B’laan tribe have been fighting against the foreign mining operations of Xstrata Sagittarius Mining Inc., which would destroy the environment to steal the rich gold and copper deposits in their area.

For more about the Cybercrime Law:

To read more about the Tampakan Massacre:

(Source: anakbayanusa)

WordPress Themes