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Monthly Archives: September 2009

You’re maybe thinking…. how does the Marvel Universe collide with the Philippine and their president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?

The context:

The Marvel Universe has been breached by Skrulls, an alien race that shape shifts and have infiltrated every super- powered organization on Earth. Their main goal is to have a full-scale invasion. The invasion tosses the Marvel Universe into chaos and has hero vs. hero.

In book #5,  a voice of Skrull uses television as a way to communicate their motives on why they are invading the Earth. In this scene figures like Obama, the pope, Tom Cruise, Bin Ladin, and GMA are illustrated as seen on tv.  In GMA’s illustration they have  her saying, ” The earth is now part of the Skrull empire.”3949611667_c46a14490d

You’re maybe scratching your head and thinking:
Did Marvel notice all the Human Rights violations that GMA committed?
Do the Filipino people have an insider in Marvel, that would expose how bad GMA is?
Did they mean that GMA is a puppet of U.S. Imperialism…. ooopps I mean.. Skrull?
Why is this guy writing about, how and what bad did GMA do?

Facts about GMA:

  • Hello Garci scandal– where audio recordings of a phone call conversation between President Arroyo and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano allegedly talking about the rigging of the 2004 national election results, were released to the public. This escalated, when the minority of the lower house of Congress attempted to impeach Arroyo. This was blocked by Arroyo’s coalition in September 2005. The administration has denied some of the allegations and challenged others in court. The House of Representatives, which is dominated by Arroyo’s coalition allies, blocked attempts for an impeachment trial.
  • On Feb 24, 2006 GMA  Proclamation 1017 a defacto martial law under the guise of a ” State of Emergency” which gives her the power to issue warrantless (and until then unconstitutional) arrests, detainments, and even assassination aimed at progressive Filipino Organizations. Six leftist representatives – Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, and Joel Virador of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza of GABRIELA, and Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis – were charged with rebellion. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis was arrested on February 25 on charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion. The decree was lifted on March 3, 2006. However the opposition, lawyers, and concerned citizens filed a complaint in the Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of PP 1017. The court, on May 4, declared the proclamation constitutional, but said it was illegal to issue warrantless arrests and seize private institutions.
  • Caliberated Pre-Emptive Response.
  • Human Rights Issues

By supporting the Skrulls, there is an assumption that she is one herself. In this case, the Skrulls represent the U.S. Imperialist- the real ones in cotrol of the Philippines.. GMA is a puppet who is controlled by someone other than herself but the hand of the ruling elite.

The people are the ones who will expose her as the alien from the comics and once she is exposed they will bring her down.

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Mother Braves Uncertainty to Find Abducted Son

By ZOFIA LEAL
Bulatlat.com

At 56, yesterday was Wilma Rodriguez’s first trip out of town. She has always considered herself as a homebody, going out only to attend mass or buy food and other needs. Now, however, she needs to leave the comforts of her home in Rodriguez, Rizal to find her missing son, Noriel.

Noriel, 26, was abducted last September 7. According to initial reports gathered by human rights group Karapatan-Cagayan Valley, Noriel was taken at gunpoint by four armed men in civilian clothes at around 5:00 p.m. in Sitio Sta. Isabel, Barangay Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan.

The suspected perpetrators are elements of the 17th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army stationed at San Jose, Gonzalo, Cagayan.

Noriel has been an active member of the activist youth group Anakbayan- National Capital Region since 2004. In May 2005, he joined the basic masses integration program in Cagayan and decided to stay and commit his time organizing peasant communities through the Kagimungan peasant group.

After almost five years in Cagayan, Noriel went home in late 2008 and left only last April.

Last week, he sent a text message to his mother asking that they send him chocolates. That was the last text they received from him.


Noriel, or Nonge to his family and friends was a mass server in his teens. His mother Wilma explained that she did not raise her children to be bad people. That is why she does not understand why Nonge was abducted.

She has always supported her son’s mission of serving the masses. In fact, she has joined rallies herself and was even a member of a union when she was still working. Even when her son was already based in Cagayan, she did not pressure him to come back even though she was always worried about his safety.

She said her oldest son told her not to cry and to be strong in their search for Noriel. However, sometimes her emotions get the best of her. She could not help it, she said. Wilma admits that she is not brave, but she is trying hard to put a brave face so that she can find her son.

While waiting for the service that will take them to Cagayan, friends of Nonge recalled that he became a member of Anakbayan when he joined a youth camp at the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac last November 2004.

Since then, he became an active member of Anakbayan with the primary task of teaching literacy classes to children. According to Lei Piñon, Noriel’s friend, their area of work is at the community of the North Cemetery and along the railroad tracks of Blumentritt in Manila.

Good Organizer

Lei remembered that they were having difficulties inviting the youth in the communities to join rallies. The youth could not just leave their work. They needed to sell street food to earn a living. It was Nonge who told them that they could sell during rallies so they would be able to join the activity and even earn money.

Nonge was also able to recruit so-called “rugby boys” in the community. Rugby, a solvent, is the inhalant of choice for most poor teenagers wanting to get a high. Since their recruitment to Anakbayan, these boys have not used rugby anymore.

Wilma also attested to her son’s sincerity and kindness. He was always the one worrying about his siblings when they were not yet home, she said.

Both Wilma and Lei expressed their concerns about Nonge’s abduction. For Wilma, she admitted that she is fearful but mentioned that if they do not fight the perpetrators, crimes like these would never end.

Meanwhile, Lei believes that Nonge’s dedication to change society and his perseverance in the face of sacrifice would help him withstand whatever might be happening to him right now, including the possibility of torture.

According to Ken Ramos, national chairperson of Anakbayan, this incident in nothing new. Ramos cited the case of two missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan who were abducted in 2006. Ramos said that despite the overwhelming evidence proving the military’s role in their disappearances, they are still missing up to now.

“The list of desaparacidos will continue as long as the fascist Arroyo regime uses force to protect her self-interests”, Ramos said.

Wilma is not the only mother whose children have been abducted under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration. According to human rights group Karapatan, there are already 207 victims of enforced disappearance as of June 2009.

For Wilma, the fight has only begun. “Nagtatapang-tapangan lang ako. Hindi talaga ako matapang. Pero kapag hindi ka lumaban, hindi rin titigil ang mga yan.” (I just try to be fighter. I am not really a fighter. But if you don’t fight, they would not stop.)

She is uncertain of what awaits her in Cagayan but is ready and willing to be as courageous as her son to be able to find him. (Bulatlat.com)

Hacienda Luisita. Comprises  of  6400 hectares (15,814 acres), Hacienda Luisita is the second largest single piece of contiguous land in the Philippines (after the 20,000-hectare Canlubang Sugar Estate of the Yulos in Laguna.) In 1957 by Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. advised to convince his father-in-law Jose Cojuangco Sr. to purchase the estate.With loans from the Manufacturer’s Trust Company of New York, the Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Government Service Insurance System, Cojuangco purchased the land. The GSIS loan carried a stipulation that the land would be distributed to the tenants and farm workers by 1967.

Fifty-two years later, Hacienda Luisita has yet to be redistributed. Corazon Aquino took pride in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) , but exempted the hacienda from its coverage, instead placing it under a “stock distribution option” that supposedly made the farmers investors in -– as opposed to owners of — the hacienda, which was never the intention of a genuine land reform program.

With the running for presidency in 2010, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will need to untangle  what his mother has done to the agrarian reform. The selling the 6,400 hectares serves no social justice for the farmers, tenants and especially  the massacre of 14 workers in a violent dispersal on November 16, 2004  Hacienda Luisita Strike . The workers fought for a wage increase, hospitalization benefits and land distribution which still remains to be the major demand. Noynoy uses good over evil when in fact selling the land to gain profit or to regain the loss of it due to bad debts, is more evil than, say, corruption because he is depriving thousands of families of their basic human rights(land, food, dignity, etc.)

It will be interesting to see what change he will bring.

A CounterPunch Exclusive

The Denial of My Parole

I Am Barack Obama’s Political Prisoner Now

By LEONARD PELTIER

The United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would “promote disrespect for the law.”

If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI’s supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The parole commission’s phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow’s historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged ‘actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.”

The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that “our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.”

It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States’ role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

I am Barack Obama’s political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP-Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

For more information on Leonard Peltier visit the Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee website. http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/

Quo usque tandem abutere, Gloria, patientia nostra?

(How  long will you, Gloria, abuse our patience?)

Statement on the Killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero

By the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns

We, of the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON), an alliance of Church-based individuals and groups in the United States of America, condemn the killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero as an evil deed by an evil regime in the Philippines.  With our fraternal organization in the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in the US (NAFCON), the SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth, we express our vehement moral indignation at the murder of Fr. Lucero.

What has Fr. Lucero done so as to provoke the vile regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to aim its guns, reportedly held by some thirty people in ambush, on an early Sunday morning, against a priest-minister of God and servant-minister of the people?

Fr. Cecilio Lucero was a Roman Catholic priest, and pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish of Catubig, Samar in Eastern Visayas.  His life and work mirrored his deep convictions as Minister of God, disciple of Jesus and servant of the people! As a justice and peace and human rights advocate, he headed the Catarman Diocesan Human Rights and Social Action Desk, chaired the Committee on Human Rights and the Task Force Peace and Order of the Diocese of Catarman.  Fr. Lucero was also an outstanding member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), an ecumenical national organization of church people dedicated to the promotion and defense of justice, peace, human rights and integrity of creation.  PCPR itself is listed as a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Trinity of War, Book III, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as “one of the enemies of the State” in the Order of Battle of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its Oplan Bantay Laya II counter-insurgency campaigns.

According to reports, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself was engaged in anti-communist witch-hunting when she labeled Fr. Lucero as ‘that communist priest’ before a civilian crowd and in front of her military officers at the inauguration of the Catubig Bridge last June 16, 2009.  By that act, the so-called President of the Philippines and Commander In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines sealed the death sentence of Fr. Lucero.

The brutal ambush of Fr. Lucero once again speaks of the wanton violations of human rights committed with impunity in the Philippines.  Backed by the record of more than 1,100 extra-judicial killings under the GMA regime, Fr. Lucero’s killing should by now convince the Bishops and the Christian churches in the Philippines to openly withdraw their support to the GMA regime.  Fr. Lucero’s inhuman death should by now prick the conscience of this priest-ideologue and his partner in the defense department of the GMA regime that their moral interpretation to justify GMA’s anti-communist war has shed the blood of a civilian fellow-priest.

We of NEFFCON and SanDiwa, with our fraternal organizations in NAFCON, remember the heroism of Fr. Lucero and his dedicated service to the poor and the victims of human rights abuses.  His martyrdom adds one more candle to the Light that is guiding the struggle of the Filipino people for Jobs and Justice, Food and Freedom, Land and Liberation.  With Fr. Lucero’s interment on September 14, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in the Catholic Tradition, we celebrate his 22nd sacerdotal anniversary and his share of Christ’s gift of the Resurrection.  We pledge to carry on his cause and the struggle of the Filipino people by urging the US government to withhold military aid to the Philippines until the GMA regime prosecute these human rights violators, indemnify their victims, and create a climate for genuine peace talks that shall usher in a transformed society of justice and peace.  We exhort the Filipino Youth in the Philippines, and the FilAm Youth in the United States of America to take inspiration from the life and death of Fr. Lucero in the vigorous defense of human rights.  We call on the Filipino and the American peoples to withdraw their recognition of the GMA regime, for we cannot tolerate its abuses anymore.

Fr. Cecilio Lucero’s blood cries out from the depth of the earth:  How long will you, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, abuse our patience?

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the Reign of Heaven!” (Matt 5, 10).

Signed:

For the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON)

Bishop Val Lorejo, IFI

Pastor Roy Padilla, United Methodist Church

For the SanDiwa National Alliance of FilAm Youth

Ryan Leano, SanDiwa Secretary General and Northern California Regional Coordinator

For the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, MSC

ANAKBAYAN (Sons and Daughters of the People)
For Immediate Release
September 13, 2009
SURFACE NORIEL RODRIGUEZ!
Justice for victims of enforced disappearances!
ANAKBAYAN condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent abduction of Noriel Rodriguez in Cagayan by elements of the fascist Arroyo regime. This incident proves yet again the policy of the Arroyo regime of employing extra-judicial means to silence progressive individuals whose only advocacy is the advancement of people’s welfare.
Noriel Rodriguez, 26 years old, was forcibly abducted by suspected elements of the 17th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army stationed at San Jose, Gonzalo, Cagayan last September 7, 2009. According to initial reports gathered by KARAPATAN-Cagayan, Noriel was taken at gun-point by four armed men in civilian clothes at around 5:00 p.m. Monday in Sitio Sta. Isabel, Barangay Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan.
We demand the leadership of the Philippine Army, particularly the 17th IB-PA, to immediately surface and release Noriel Rodriguez. We demand accountability from the Arroyo regime for this atrocity.
We are furthermore outraged by the fact that he has been missing for nearly a week as of today. And with the military’s despicable record of enforced disappearances, time is of the essence. Habang tumatagal na walang impormasyon sa kinalalagyan ni Noriel, mas lalong nalalagay sa panganib ang kanyang buhay, at gayundin ang iba pa namin kasamahan.
Rodriguez is an active member of ANAKBAYAN-National Capital Region and regularly joins in ANAKBAYAN’s annual integration program with the peasant and workers. He helped in the organizing of peasant communities in Cagayan through the KAGIMUNGAN peasant group.
This incident is nothing new. In 2006, elements of the Philippine Army also abducted activists Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan. Despite overwhelming evidence proving the military’s role in their disappearances, they are still missing up to now.
The list of desaparacidos will continue as long as the fascist Arroyo regime uses force to protect her self-interests.
But we will not cower in fear. Instead, we will continue our search for our missing comrades. Hahalughugin namin ang bawat kampo at bawat instalasyon ng militar hanggang hindi namin nakikita ang aming mga kasamahan. Magpoprotesta kami sa harap ng Malacanang hanggang hindi nakakamit ang hustisya.
Once again, we reiterate our call to the military to immediately surface and release Noriel Rodriguez! We call on our fellow Filipino youth to help in extracting accountability for the Arroyo government. We demand justice, not just for Noriel, but for all victims of enforced disappearances and political repression!
==========

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines

NCCP Compound,  879 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines

Mobile Number 09289526973                              e-mail: scmpinas@gmail.com

CONVENOR: TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Press Statement

September  13, 2009

Reference: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, Chairperson (09186106275)

Call to surface and release Noriel Rodriquez from the hands of 17th Infantry Brigade

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines calls for the immediate surfacing of Noriel Rodriguez, 26 years old, and a member of Anakbayan who was reportedly abducted by suspected elements of 17thIBPA stationed at San Jose, Gonzaga, Cagayan on September 7.

According to initial reports gathered by KARAPATAN-Cagayan, Noriel was taken at gun-point by four armed men in plainclothes at around 5:00 p.m. Monday in Sitio Sta. Isabel, Barangay Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan while he was aboard a tricycle.

We condemn this atrocious act by the security forces under the baton of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Arroyo has been presiding over the numerous enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in the country. According to KARAPATAN there are 207 victims of enforced disappearance as of June this year and not one of the perpetrators had been prosecuted even in the cases of Manalo brothers and Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan whose military captors were clearly identified.

Rodriguez is an active member of ANAKBAYAN-National Capital Region and regularly joined in ANAKBAYAN’s annual basic masses integration program with the farmers. He helped in the organizing of peasant communities in Cagayan and joined the KAGIMUNGAN peasant group there.

It is outrageous that these young people who give their time and efforts in worthwhile service to their communities especially among the marginalized, are the ones victimized.

We hold accountable the Arroyo government and demand the immediate surfacing of Noriel by his captors. We join the calls of Noriel’s family and demand the 17th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army not to harm Noriel and immediately release him unconditionally.

We challenge the military to open its detachments, which often becomes a detention place of many of our missing friends and fellow activists.

Surface and release Noriel now! We continue our call for justice to all the victims of state terrorism under Arroyo regime!

####

Save the date!

What: Justice for Custodio Family: Filipino Community Support, SV Hosts Post Trial Community Gathering
When: Friday September 25, 2009 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Filipino Youth Coalition Office Welch Park
San Jose, CA

**Potluck event. Please bring something to share.**

Contact: Noemi Teppang – teppang_noe@yahoo.com; (408) 307-6717

The San Jose Filipino community has much to celebrate with the recent dismissal of Marilou Custodio’s case, but the struggle for complete justice continues. The denial of justice to Romel and Marlo Custodio is a temporary hurdle for the broader San Jose community’s ongoing struggle against racial profiling and police brutality.  The community at large has gained strength through the Justice for Custodios Family Campaign and we will continue to demand for justice to ALL victims of racial profiling and police brutality, and for San Jose to end all use of torture weapons such as tasers.

In affirmation of the community’s determination and ability to enact true change within the Santa Clara County judicial system,
we invite all allies of the Custodio family to join Filipino Community Support, Silicon Valley and the Custodio Family as we gather and celebrate community strength and show appreciation to allies who have supported the JCFC campiagn for the past two years. The Custodio Family also will discuss their next steps for their future in the struggle for justice.


Justice for the Custodio Family!
Justice for All Victims and Families Affected by Racial Profiling and
Police Brutality!
Demand SJPD Accountability!
Ban Tasers and Other Weapons of Torture!
Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

FOCUS  MISSION
As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic injustices.

FOCUS  VISION
We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social, cultural, and political
resources for the Filipino community in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

photo by Aurora Victoria David

International Day of the Disappeared

Press Release Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reference:

Princess Bustos

Secretary General

San Francisco- Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP)

From the heart of San Francisco to Palestine, Iraq, Mexico, and the Philippines

SF-CHRP linked arms with allies from various communities for the International Day of the Disappeared.

The San Francisco chapter of the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF-CHRP) commemorated the International Day of the Disappeared on Sunday, August 30th 2009 at the Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Public Library. The event was filled with cultural performances—poetry by Ayla Schoenwald of Break the Seige, Carl Davison, and POETAS POBRE of Poor Magazine; music accompaniment by Diskarte Namin; a skit by POCAT, Poor Magazine and members of SF-CHRP; and an opening ceremony by MIXCOATL. Allies from various communities also shared the struggles in their homeland. In attendance were International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) on Palestine, Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW), members of SNAG MAGAZINE who recently went on a trip to Palestine, Action and Resistance Collective (ARCO) on Mexico, and Kiilu Nyasha, a Black Panther veteran speaking on the Mumia Abu-Jamal struggle.

Link to photos at event: http://www.flickr. com/photos/ 23878692@ N07/sets/ 7215762219308597 2/

SF CHRP’s chairperson Angelica Cabande stated that, “it is of utmost importance that we put the issue of human rights violations and enforced disappearances at the forefront of our discussions. Activists are being killed and abducted all over the world, even in our own backyard and we can no longer turn a blind eye and remain silent. We have to condemn these atrocities and seek justice for the victims and their families.”

In the Philippines, the human rights group KARAPATAN documented that under the current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 1.7 million people have fallen victim to human rights violations, in forms such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, tortures, harassments, illegal arrests and detentions. Recently, a Filipino-American activist, Melissa Roxas was abducted along with two of her companions in La Paz, Tarlac. Roxas was brought to a military camp in Nueva Ecija and was repeatedly tortured. She was later released after much pressure from BAYAN-USA, allies, and friends of Roxas. “The abduction of Melissa Roxas is evident of the current political situation in the Philippines. No one is safe, even a health care volunteer like Melissa Roxas who travels from across the world to help her kababayans is not spared from the repression of the administration,” added Cabande.

Consequently despite international pressure to stop the abductions and political killings, and reports from Amnesty International and U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston that human rights violations are in fact taking place, the Arroyo-Macapagal administration has made no effort to provide assistance for the families of the victims nor has the administration made any steps to prosecute or question suspected cultprits—elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP).

“It is no surprise that the Arroyo-Macapagal administration has continued to dismiss the reports. Once again, she is cheating her way out of accountability like she cheated her way into office during the 2005 presidential elections,” states Cabande.

In addition to the International Day of the Disappeared, Cabande said, “SF-CHRP will continue to educate the public about the human rights situation in the Philippines and lobby against the unconstitutional Visiting Forces Agreement and Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) Exercises. We will demand that the Obama administration and the senate stop all U.S. military aid to the Philippines. For this year alone, more than $30 million tax dollars have been allocated and given to the Philippine government despite the cuts in social services here in the U.S. In addition, the Philippine media have reported sightings of U.S. military personnel participating in “anti-terrorism” combat missions in parts of the Philippines, actions which are deemed unconstitutional.”

###


Protesters surround Mikey Arroyo’s U.S. house


By Henni Espinosa, North America News Bureau | 09/05/2009 8:58 AM

FOSTER CITY, CA—Philippine Congressman Mikey Arroyo’s house had some very angry visitors this morning.

Filipino-American activists, chanting “Shame on you, you got caught!” staged a protest outside the home that is situated in the upscale planned community.  They say they are disgusted that Arroyo, son of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, bought the $1.3 million home and failed to declare it as part of his real estate assets.

“Of course there should be a clear investigation of how he got his wealth, where he is investing it,” said Terry Valen, chair of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.  “It’s clear that this is not coming from his salary as a Philippine congressman.”

The protesters say they are not surprised that another Arroyo property in the Bay Area has been exposed.

“In the past, we’ve heard of allegations of the Arroyos trying to hide other million-dollar homes in San Francisco.  We know that this is a pattern of the Arroyos, hiding their ill-gotten wealth,” said Racquel Redondiez, chair of Gabriela USA.

What is more disturbing for the protesters is that Arroyo insists the Foster City house is owned by a company, when county records show that his wife is listed as the house’s only owner.

“It just further exposes the pattern of cover-up.  If you’re not hiding anything, why would you have to cover it up and deny?” Redondiez said.

The protesters say Arroyo should come clean about the source of his ballooned wealth.  Arroyo’s net worth jumped from 5 million pesos in 2002, to 99 million pesos in 2008.

“We’re just here to express our outrage that Congressman Arroyo has all the money to spend on a million-dollar home in Foster City while our people in the Philippines only live on less than a dollar a day,” said Jack de Jesus, Deputy Secretary of Bayan USA.

The protesters call on the Philippine and U.S. government to investigate the source of Arroyo’s wealth before this Foster City house is sold.

“If they (the Arroyos) get paid for the house, then the money goes back into their accounts and they can do whatever they want with it.  Who knows what they’re going to do next?  But this could be the money of taxpayers not just in the Philippines, but also for us here in the U.S.,” said Valen.

The protesters made efforts to deter potential buyers by putting up warning signs on the sidewalks.

Neighbors have mixed reactions.  A Filipino neighbor who refused to be identified said the Arroyos don’t bother him, because they are never around.  Allen Leader, another neighbor of the house, wants the Arroyo family to come clean about the home to the Filipino people so the protests will end in Foster City.

as of 09/05/2009 8:58 AM

1655 Beach Park Blvd

bought with unexplained wealth by Mikey Arroyo

Investigative Journalist and RT Contributor Wayne Madsen says that the Philippines has become a major base for the operating of one of the most controversial private military companies in the US: Blackwater. Blackwater, which is now known as ‘Xe’ is apparently training private contractors for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Madsen explains why exactly these contractors are there and other US companies involved in similar matters.