Posts tagged: Action

Roxas’ Hometown Rallies to Demand Justice Now

Contact: Kuusela Hilo
Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign

Los Angeles Community Stands with Melissa to Condemn Philippine Government’s On-Going Cover-up of Enforced Disappearances and Torture

What: Emergency Rally
Where: Philippine Consulate, 3600 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
When: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

*Photo Opportunity

Los Angeles, CA – On Wednesday, grassroots organizations and church leaders will rally in front of the Philippine Consulate with  Melissa Roxas, the first American to have survived abduction and torture in the Philippines during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Supporters of the Justice for Melissa Roxas campaign are outraged at the Commission on Human Rights’ Resolution that protects the torturers and abandons the facts that Roxas courageously shared under oath with the CHR and the world in 2009 so that the perpetrators could be brought to justice.

Now almost two years since Roxas was abducted and tortured, there is still no justice for Roxas and all the other victims of human rights violations committed by Arroyo and her military.  BAYAN USA, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Rosewood United Methodist Church Advocacy Group, Rosewood United Methodist Women, Filipino Ministry of the Diocese of San Bernardino, AnakBayan LA, SiGAw!, Habi Arts, the Filipino Migrant Center and the Filipino American Health Workers Association will be joining the emergency rally.

Emergency Action Alert! Release the 43 Illegally Detained Community Health Workers Now!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Philippine Consulate
3600 Wilshire Blvd (between Harvard and Kingsley)
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary-General, BAYAN-USA

BAYAN-USA Condemns Illegal Abduction and Detention of Health Workers in Rizal

The alliance of 14 Filipino American organizations known as BAYAN-USA strongly condemns the Philippine police and military’s illegal raid and abduction of 43 community health workers and doctors who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal, Philippines on Saturday, February 6.  The health workers and doctors administer health services to poor communities, and were participating in a First Responders Training, sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD). Their personal belongings, as well the training materials used, were all confiscated by the military.

According to reports by the media and the human rights alliance KARAPATAN, approximately 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Rizal Philippine National Police (PNP) forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte at 6:15 AM. The training participants were then lined up, violently frisked, blindfolded, and taken to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, AFP.  The health workers have been held incommunicado since then, and have been denied their right to legal counsel.  A team from the Commission on Human Rights was also blocked from seeing the detainees.

“We denounce the PNP and AFP’s illegal abduction and detention of health professionals,” stated Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN-USA Chair. “It is contemptible that the government arrested these health care providers while they were undergoing training in ‘first response,’ especially in light of the government’s failure to provide this type of critical care during disasters like typhoon Ondoy.”

KARAPATAN reported that the AFP and PNP illegally used a search warrant naming a person who was not the owner of the home, nor specifying an exact address.  Moreover, the military declared that the victims were members of the New People’s Army because of explosives allegedly found inside the compound, even though witnesses said that the military conducted the search of the compound’s premises only after all of the victims and residents were already outside the buildings. Witnesses also said that the military brought in with them plastic bags with the GMA Kapuso logo printed on it.

“The government is sending the message that Filipino doctors and nurses are welcome to go abroad to work, but they are labeled rebels if they stay in the Philippines to serve the poor,” said Ellorin.  “This falls right in line with President Arroyo’s bloody counter-insurgency program Operation Plan Bantay Laya 2, which has terrorized innocent people with extra-judicial killings, abductions, disappearances, torture and mass arrests.”

BAYAN-USA makes the following demands:

  1. The immediate release of the health workers who are illegally arrested and illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.
  2. The government to ensure the safety of the victims and that they are not harmed; their belongings be returned immediately to them.
  3. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into raid and illegal arrest of the health workers conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal.
  4. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
  5. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

10 Years Too Long, 200 People Too Many: Filipinos Across the US Call for the Termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement and Justice for the Disappeared

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA

In the wake of the abduction of Filipino American human rights advocate and health worker Melissa Roxas and her companions Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc one week ago in the Philippines, BAYAN-USA launches actions against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) today, the 10th anniversary of the VFA’s ratification.  BAYAN-USA demands the termination of the VFA and justice for victims of abduction and all human rights violations, which have climbed to record levels in the Philippines since the VFA was ratified on May 27, 1999.

“Human rights violations have escalated to unprecedented heights since 2001, when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president and the U.S. launched its ‘war on terror.’  It is no coincidence that the Visiting Forces Agreement was ratified just two years earlier in 1999,” stated BAYAN-USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro.  “The VFA paved the way for U.S. military advisers, troops and equipment to flood the Philippines and to train and equip the Philippine military which has been implicated in 1,017 extra-judicial killings and 1,010 cases of torture.  Melissa’s abduction adds an American citizen to the list of over 200 victims of enforced disappearance under Arroyo.”

Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc, all members of a volunteer health worker team preparing for a medical mission in La Paz, Tarlac, Philippines, were reportedly abducted at gunpoint on May 19 by at least eight heavily-armed masked men riding motorcycles and in a van without license plates.  The circumstances of their abduction typify the pattern of dozens of politically-motivated abductions of activists critical of the Arroyo administration, and evidence points to the military as responsible for these acts.  Roxas and Carabeo were officially surfaced on May 24 and 25, respectively; unconfirmed reports of Handoc’s surfacing were received as of the writing of this statement.  Because the vast majority of abductions and enforced disappearances remain unresolved, BAYAN-USA believes their surfacing was a direct result of rapid community response and an international campaign by BAYAN Philippines, BAYAN-USA, and the human rights organization Karapatan.

“While we are elated that Melissa and Juanito have surfaced and that John Edward might also have been found, we are outraged that they were even abducted in the first place,” said Ramiro.  “We call for justice for all three, including a full investigation and prosecution of the abductors.”

“The abduction of Melissa, Juanito and John Edward is directly linked to the VFA and U.S. military aid to the Philippines,” continued Ramiro.  “The U.S. government cannot claim ignorance or wash its hands of responsibility, when it is U.S. advisors who are training the Philippine military, U.S. aid that is funding the military training, and U.S. guns and bullets that are being used to threaten and kill innocent civilians.”

BAYAN-USA claims that despite its rhetoric of “change,” the administration of President Barack Obama has clung to Bush’s foreign policy when it comes to the Philippines.  Earlier this year, President Obama phoned Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to express support for the VFA and continuing the annual joint military exercises known as “Balikatan” (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”).   The estimated total expense borne by U.S. taxpayers for U.S. militarization in the Philippines since the VFA was enacted in 1999 is a lofty $1 billion.  An additional $660 million—up from a reported $400 million just one month ago—is reportedly set to be granted to the Philippines in the coming year.

The VFA also provides justification for the basing of U.S. troops throughout the country, in what is widely perceived as an affront to national sovereignty.  Moreover, witnesses have observed U.S. troops participating in combat operations, which is in violation of the VFA itself.  In the months of February-May this year alone, the “Balikatan” exercises also led directly to the killing of a young girl and wounding of four more children, the rape of 22 year old Filipina “Vanessa,” and the forced displacement of tens of thousands of residents in Bicol where the exercises were held.  No one was held responsible for the killing of the child, and although there was clear evidence that “Vanessa” was raped by a U.S. marine, she refrained from pressing charges because she did not believe she could obtain justice.  “Vanessa’s” rape was committed just weeks after the acquittal of U.S. Marine Daniel Smith, who was the only American ever convicted of raping a Filipina despite reports of thousands of rapes committed by U.S. military personnel.

“The VFA fosters a culture of militarization and violence, and both the U.S. and Philippine military are guilty of committing human rights violations with impunity,” stated Ramiro.  “Melissa’s abduction should give Congress and the Obama administration even more impetus to terminate the VFA and stop pouring billions of dollars into a regime that abducts and kills innocent people.  In the face of a budget deficit in the trillions, it is unconscionable to continue providing aid to the Arroyo government and to perpetuate the costly VFA.  Congress should cut both during the budget appropriations process this spring and summer.”

BAYAN-USA is an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As an international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.  BAYAN-USA’s online petition against the VFA can be found at  The online petition to demand justice for Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc can be found at


Actions being held in the US

Los Angeles
Vigil in front of the Philippine Consulate
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 7:30 PM
3600 Wilshire Blvd. (between S Harvard Blvd and S Kingsley Dr)
Los Angeles, CA 90010

New York
Rally at the Philippine Consulate and march to Military Recruitment Center
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 5:30 PM
556 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10036

San Francisco
Action and meeting with the Philippine Consulate
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 4:00 PM
447 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

Teach-in on the VFA
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 6:00-8:00 PM
At South of Market Community Action Center
1070 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Visiting Forces Agreement teach-In
Thursday, March 28, 6:30-8:30 PM
Filipino Community Center
5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Seattle, WA 98118

San Diego
“As If They Never Left” teach-in on the VFA
Thursday, May 28, 7:00-9:00 PM
At Filipino American Veterans Association Hall
2926 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92102

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