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URGENT ACTION ALERT!
for California residents who care about human rights


EMAIL, FAX, AND/OR MAIL LETTERS TO SENATOR BARBARA BOXER TO ASK HER TO CUT US MILITARY AID TO THE PHILIPPINES AND REQUIRE THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO FULLY COMPLY WITH INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE CASE OF MELISSA ROXAS!

HELP ENSURE JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED FOR MELISSA ROXAS & ALL VICTIMS OF ABDUCTIONS AND TORTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES

The recent abduction, detention, and torture of a US citizen of Filipino descent, Melissa Roxas, is part of a violent epidemic of human rights violations plaguing the Philippines. There are thousands of documented cases of assassinations, kidnappings, torture, and other forms of human rights violations that have gone uninvestigated and therefore unresolved in the Philippines. As reported by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston, in his 2007 report, evidence points to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the main culprits behind these human rights violations, but they are protected by the Philippine government’s culture of impunity that allows them to roam free. The Philippine government denies any responsibility for and frequently attempts to cover up these human rights violations, as they are also attempting to do in the case of Melissa Roxas despite her sworn testimony about her experience.

The Philippines is one of the largest recipients of US military aid in Southeast Asia. This means US tax dollars are being used as resources by the AFP to continue to perpetrate these human rights violations against innocent civilians. As US taxpayers, we need to tell our government that we DO NOT want the blood of the Filipino people on our hands.

At present, the US Senate Appropriations Committee is in the process of shaping the next US military aid package to the Philippines, and could come out with a decision as early as mid-July. US Senator Barbara Boxer is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has influence on how our tax dollars are spent abroad. As our Senator, she has a responsibility to represent our concerns about how US military aid is being used to commit—and cover up—human rights atrocities in the Philippines, and to tell her colleagues in the Senate Appropriations Committee that we DO NOT WANT 1 CENT of our tax dollars going to the Philippine military.

On, June 19, a request was made of the office of Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the State & Foreign Operations Sub-Committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to include language into this year’s Senate Appropriations bill that would require the Philippine military to fully comply with the Writ of Amparo proceedings and any investigation into the case of Melissa Roxas. In the past, Senator Barbara Boxer has been supportive of the Filipino American community’s call to end the human rights violations in the Philippines. On June 22, Senator Boxer’s staff told concerned community members that Senator Boxer is very concerned, but would like to hear from more people in order to strengthen her case to the Senate.


We must write Senator Barbara Boxer TODAY and THIS WEEK, to tell her that we want her to make sure the Senate Appropriations Committee does not grant funds to the Philippine military and pressures the Philippine government to comply with investigations into Melissa Roxas’ case.

Below is sample text you can use for your letter to Senator Boxer. You can also draft your own language.

Thank you for responding to this action alert. If you have questions or would like more information, contact Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA, at secgen@bayanusa.org.

*************************
(SAMPLE LETTER)

Dear Senator Boxer:

The recent abduction, detainment, and torture of an American, Melissa Roxas, in the Philippines last May has me extremely concerned about the US government’s financial allocations to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Roxas, 31, is US citizen of Filipino descent and human rights advocate who was in the middle of a medical relief mission in La Paz, Tarlac, when she and her two companions– Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Jandoc– were kidnapped on May 19th, 2009. In a sworn statement, Roxas describes being abducted by approximately 15 armed men, thrown in a van, handcuffed and blindfolded for six days, and dragged from jail cell to jail cell. She recounts being subjected to torture via asphyxiation using a doubled-up plastic bag, repeated beatings to the face and body, and having her head banged repeatedly against the wall by her interrogators. She was denied legal counsel despite her persistent requests. Roxas was dropped off near her relative’s house around 6:30 AM on May 25 and warned not to go to Karapatan, the human rights alliance that handles cases like hers. Her captors left her with a SIM card and phone, which one of her interrogators used to contact her after she was released.

Today, fortunately, Roxas is back safe in her hometown of Los Angeles with her family. Credible sources, including Roxas herself, believe the detainment took place in nearby Fort Magsaysay, a military camp near the town Roxas and her companions were abducted.

As my US Senator and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I urge you to remember Melissa and all who have suffered the epidemic of torture, kidnappings, and unlawful detainment at the hands of the Philippine military. Please call Senator Leahy’s office to express your support for including specific language on Melissa’s case in the Senate Appropriations Bill. I am concerned that US military aid may be providing the “ammunition” (in both a literal and figurative sense) being used to pursue unarmed civilians whom the Arroyo administration has tagged as “Communists.”

I urge you to keep in mind my strong concerns regarding the lack of a full, impartial investigation into Melissa’s abduction and torture by the Philippine government. I urge you to impress on the US Senate and especially the Senate Appropriations Committee that I do not want one cent of my tax dollars going to the Philippine military, and that the Philippine military must fully cooperate with the Writ of Amparo proceedings as well any investigation by the Commission on Human Rights into the case of Melissa Roxas. I hope you will do everything in your power to ensure that the Philippine government cooperates to the fullest extent in resolving Melissa’s case and in stopping all human rights violations in the Philippines before any US aid is granted..


Senator Boxer, you are a leader in the Senate and a representative of the state where Melissa Roxas currently resides. Please be a voice of conscience and human rights when helping the Senate decide on the next US military aid package to the Philippines. In these tough economic times, many government budget choices are hard. This one shouldn’t be. Our hard-earned tax dollars should be used towards the betterment of society and for public service, not for human rights violations overseas. Please be the change America needs and help the Senate achieve this.

I hope to receive a response from you outlining your position on the human rights crisis in the Philippines and on the case of Melissa Roxas.

Sincerely,

Name
Organization (if any)
City, State

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