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Category Archives: Art

San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SFCHRP) is proud to present the shadow puppet piece, Karapatang Pantao (Human Rights). It is dedicated to all victims of human rights violations (HRVs).

Please anticipate a second version of this shadow puppet piece coming in the near future. In the meantime, we hope you all enjoy this first version.

For more information, please visit


I AM ND: Michael “Artivista” Luat at the Office Gallery


On exhibit March 24 – May 11, 2013

Opening reception March 24, 3-5PM


Kearny Street Workshop

1246 Folsom Street, Suite 100

San Francisco, CA 94103


“Art is not a skill. This is an irrevocable fact . It is beyond form. It is the consciousness juxtaposed with feelings, thus become structured and created into form… Action, which is the process of painting, is an interplay of sorrow, pain, fear, and the liberation from it which is joy, beauty, and freedom. It has an infinite doors in which these opposing forces interact. To me, my painting is a door to open. It is for the viewer to open and discover not the artist’s space but their own dimension…”

– Papo De Asis, Los Angeles, Ca. Feb. 26, 1997

I AM ND is an exhibit inspired by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, a movement led by the Pilipino masses uniting to fight for basic human rights against an anti-people, neo-colonial government and system. It celebrates the legacy of 150 years of struggling for sovereign nationhood beginning with the revolutionary leader Andrés Bonifacio and continuing to this day.

The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with abundant natural resources enough to feed its entire population, including the eleven million Pilipinos living and working abroad. However, due to increasing privatization and globalization stemming from neoliberal policies propped up by the U.S.-controlled puppet state, resources are sucked dry and then dumped back into the country as finished products. Jobs are a joke as the rights of workers are whittled down to almost nothing, and wages are unable to cover the rising costs of living. These oppressive factors create a domino effect for families – from education, healthcare, housing, and more until people are forced to leave to seek “better opportunities” abroad.

I am an organizer with BAYAN-USA, an umbrella organization with 17 groups across the country aligned with the principles of the ND movement, due to the conditions that I have experienced from integrating with people in the Philippines who are struggling everyday to survive. In the US, I have heard countless stories of overseas workers who fall victim to the exploitation at the hands of their employers.

A current example of this is the plight of the Pilipino workers at Grand Isle Shipyard in Louisiana. Welders there toil under dirty, dangerous, and demeaning conditions on oil rig platforms. While working on the Black Elk platform, three workers were killed in an explosion. A report was sent to the Philippine government, but nothing so far has been done to protect the welfare of and bring justice to these workers.

As a Pilipino American, I feel it is important to let others know about what is happening in my homeland and in my community. In creating art, I am able to illustrate the stories of the Pilipino masses to my audience, inviting them to dialogue and moving them to take action to make a difference internationally.

Michael Peña Luat, aka ‘Artivista’, is a native Californian, San Francisco-based artist/activist  whose works are inspired by the social and political views of the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, as well as protest/revolutionary art from individual artists and collectives from around the world. He is trained by a handful of college classes, but socially acquired techniques through his peers and experimentation. He produces work in various mediums, including pen, acrylic, linocut, and digital media.



TJ Basa, Program Manager
Kearny Street Workshop
(415) 503-0520

Federico “Boy” Dominguez was born on June 9, 1953 in Tangkulan, Bukidnon, Mindanao Philippines. He traces his descendents on to the Manobo and Mandaya indigenous peoples of Mindanao, and the Tagalog ethnic group in Luzon. He was raised in Davao City but spent his vacation in his parents’ community in Davao Oriental where he experienced some of the social events performed by his Mandaya relatives as well as several indigenous groups in Luzon.

He took up architecture and fine arts at the University of Mindanao and the University of the Philippines in Diliman respectively. He has been involved with various governmental and non-governmental organizations, and people’s organizations as a free lance artist doing posters, illustrations and layout designs on publications, mural painting, and production and stage designing.

The subjects of his works vary from social conditions that are happening in the Philippines, to everyday life of the Filipinos, and to a union of farmers across the world.  Boy’s illustrations are social commentary on what are happening to the nation, whether its about Imperialists   dumping their goods on the Philippine economy or Indigenous issues. His works are seen to have vibrant colors and texture that make the audience feel the emotions and mood of the subjects.

His favorite hobbies are playing the blues harp and guitar, and swimming. He loves folk rock and roll. He is a member of Tumbang Preso, a multi-media organization which renders services in visual, musical, performing and literary arts. He is currently based in Quezon City with his wife and three children.

The Red Traveler Speaks Her Mind: An Interview with Ms. Con Cabrera of Artists’ ARREST

Posted By Ronalyn V. Olea On March 28, 2009

Ms. Con Cabrera, a member of the Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation, or Artists’ ARRREST, in this interview shares with Bulatlat her views on arts, issues confronting Philippine society today and some personal things that she wanted to share with her audience.


Ms. Con Cabrera, a member of the Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation, or Artists’ ARRREST, in this interview shares with Bulatlat her views on arts, issues confronting Philippine society today and some personal things that she wanted to share with her audience.

This young artist had shown her prowess in an exhibit last year, MissBehaving, together with Ms. Bunch Garcia, another superb young artist and a member the Neo-Angono Arts Collective, which garnered a lot of applauses and commendations.

The young artist, who graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), is now making waves in the art scene with her unique style of presenting the people’s struggles, particularly of women, in her immaculate white canvases.

Our first encounter was in October 2008 at the Lunduyan Art Gallery in Kamuning, Quezon City. She and Ms. Garcia had hung their paintings on the walls of the 30 x 30-meter gallery. These were pictures of women of different types, shapes, sizes; showing different moods, ideals, intellect. Ms. Cabrera’s series of pieces was titled “The Red Traveler”.

MissBehaving was indeed a success but between the exhibit and this interview I hardly heard from Maria Consuelo G. Cabrera, or Con.

Con Cabrera (left) with Bunch Garcia during the “Fact Sheet” exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Con Cabrera)

The 28-year old Pampangueña artist hails from a family of well-known artists. Ben Cabrera (BenCab) and the late Salvador Cabrera are her uncles (“They’re my father’s cousins,” she said in an email interview). And some of her other kin are also into arts.

Noel Sales Barcelona (NSB): After your two-woman show with Ms. Bunch Garcia, what has made Con Cabrera busy? Is there any new work?

Maria Consuelo Cabrera (MCC): After the October ‘08 show, I joined several group shows in Novermber, “boXed 3″ organized by J. Pacena II (Cubicle Art Gallery, Pasig), “TutoKKK: Anong K mo?” organized by the artists’ alliance Tutok Karapatan (Blanc Compound, Mandaluyong and Blanc Makati), and Artists’ ARREST’s “Fact Sheet” exhibit last December where I helped curate.

I’m currently employed as an art director in a publishing company. Aside from my day job, I’m busy helping ARREST in organizing for their events and campaigns. I’m also busy with my upcoming group shows, and another volunteer project where my friends and I paint on bare rooms and walls of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. We started this last Christmas break, and do it on scheduled weekends of each month. So far, we were able to paint two rooms, including the Hema room where cancer kids have their chemo sessions, and the wall of the OPD waiting area. I also started a project, “Naku! I’m FIRED!” — which addresses the issue of mass layoffs. It’s a cross-disciplinary art project patterned after “Wrapped” by Mark Salvatus where the outputs are multimedia and participatory. I plan to collaborate with other artists in this project and try to bring them to pickets and rallies of workers to do their art and interact with the people.

NSB: What/who are your influences in art?

MCC: I am fan of women artists like Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian early baroque painter; Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi, Filipina painter and printmaker who lives in France; Brenda Fajardo and Karen Flores. I admire their perseverance in being the artists that they are, especially with the art field being dominated by men. I am also inspired by works of the masters Juan Luna, Amorsolo and Botong Francisco, also by artists BenCab (of course), Manny Garibay, Jose Tence Ruiz, young artist Wire Tuazon, and red artist, Parts Bagani. I also draw inspiration from contemporary street artists like Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Bansky and painter Ian Francis.

Point of view in arts, being an artist, and the roles that an artist plays in the society

NSB: How do you view your art and how do you define art? Is it just confined to self-expression and/or gratification?

MCC: First, I would like to say that I am thankful that I am able to show my art at this particular time of my life when I have grown to be the activist that I am. Though I would not want to label my art as social realism because I am afraid of the expectations one is burdened with when labeled as such, I think I can say that I am resolved to create art that tackles the masses’ struggle against those who oppress them. I have nothing against artists who make art for self-expression. I think that phase is natural at some point in an artist’s life, and I am hopeful that there is also a point where an artist showcases content that is beyond it, that there would be a time in their lives where they would devote their art to an advocacy and/or the further advancement of art in the country.

NSB: How do you assess the art industry in the country?

MCC: I think art industry in the Philippines has a lot of potential. Even in the early times, we had proven that we are rich in talent. We have skills and talents that are recognized by the world. I just wish that there would be more advanced ways of preserving artworks, more art historians, more published local art books, more art and cultural education for the masses, and more recognition for our local artists, and art and culture exposure that reaches beyond the metro.

Kompo by Con Cabrera

Critique on issues affecting culture and the arts

NSB: What are your views about…

(a) Globalization and its effects on arts and the art industry as a whole?

MCC: Art is becoming a commercialized industry, it is affected by the crisis because it lowers the demand for art selling. But then again, it becomes rich in inspiration and I wish more artists look at it from this perspective to make them create more art that is socially relevant and that depicts the present situation of the country, more as painting history.

(b) Philippine social realities and its connection to propagation and development of arts and culture?

MCC: It is an unfortunate fact that culture and the arts are not a priority of the government that is why everything’s backward. “Spoliarium” is the only restored painting we have and it is unacceptable that our art will be lost in a matter of time if we do nothing about it. Art is an important part of our culture and it needs preservation.

(c) Role of an artist in developing national and social consciousness?

MCC: Art is part of making and writing of history and for that, it is our responsibility as artists to bring upfront more socially relevant contents in our works. Works that don’t only mirror social reality but also has a call for change.

(d) The “liberalization” and “Westernization” of arts?

MCC: Though westernization had opened us to exposure to more style and art forms, it also has set a benchmark for art to carry on what is “globally accepted”, leading us to forget to maximize and utilize what is our own culture and art.

Con Cabrera on the road

NSB: Any upcoming shows?

MCC: March group shows:

Mar. 6 – a mini art exhibit by Shangri-La Mall for the celebration of Women’s Month

Mar. 28 – “Resurrection” in My Little Art Space Gallery in Greenhills

May 26 – “PasyoNasyon” by KASIBULAN (Kababaihan sa Sining at Bagong Sibol na Kamalayan) at the CCP main gallery

NSB: Any message to your fellow artists?

MCC: To artists, may they realize the power of art as a tool to revolutionize and change the system that has long been a burden to the masses. That they may find the true purpose of art that is for the masses and to gear it towards them that it is not for an individual or an institution alone. Because as artists, we are also citizens as Brocka once said, and to elaborate on that, let me quote Sir Boni Ilagan on his speech during ARREST’s general assembly last July 2008:

“..The artist-as-citizen must learn more than the technique of his art, but the politics and ideology of his commitment.

“In this connection, may I say that as we artists-as-citizens create, our works only become relevant AND enduring only if and when they illuminate social reality beyond the parameters of the urgent and into the hopefulness of the militancy of the people’s movement.

We shan’t lose our vigor by Con Cabrera

“My third point is about the end-all and the be-all of our creations. What is the use of it all when the people for whom we create are not affected in a manner that inspires them to act? All our works amount to nothing if they remain on canvass, on paper, on the screen or video monitor, on stage, or in CDs and tapes. But they will amount to everything if they leap from their medium and into the hearts and minds of the people. And then, ultimately, the people themselves must transform our art into a material force in their collective struggle to create the greatest work of art there could be.”


NSB: Who are your favorite recording artists?

MCC: I listen to a lot of ‘80s and ‘90s rock, punk, classical and folk. I like Bob Dylan, The Clash, Janis Joplin, cellist Yoyo-Ma, The Section Quartet, Twelve Girls Band, Radiohead, Bjork and a lot of British Indie Bands.

NSB: Do you go for film? What genres?

MCC: I am a fan of Michel Gondry, Akira Kurosawa, Wong Kar Wai and Michael Moore, and of course my docu-filmmaker friends from STexposure Kiri Dalena, King Catoy and RJ Mabilin. I watch a lot of indie films more than hollywood mainstream.

NSB: Any funny experiences while working on art pieces?

MCC: I have a habit of cleaning my art space before I paint.

And I once got caught by a policeman while doing graffiti in Philcoa overpass. We were shooting a music video for Bobby Balingit and that was the time of peasants’ Lakbayan from Southern Tagalog to DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform). The policeman confiscated my spray paint and insisted we come with him to the station. In the end, our foreign filmmaker friend talked to the police and gave him a bribe.

NSB: Anything under the sun that Ms. Cabrera can share?

MCC: Everything is a decision: being happy or sad, having a meaningful life or letting oneself be carried away by the current. ( [1]

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A peep of my submission  for Factsheet art show. Come through, check out the dope pieces from the Philippines and here, and learn something new!!!

The FACT SHEET exhibit is a collection of the piece reflects a few of the endless cases of human rights violations in the Philippines. Each of the pieces are based on Fact Sheets that contain important information on these cases. Artists’ ARREST in collaboration with the KARAPATAN (RIGHT) collected works from artists as part of CineVeritas 2008.

Currently, the  FACT SHEET exhibit has crossed the Pacific Ocean  and presenting  30 posters about human rights violations in the Philippines. It is inspired by Bay Area’s Social Serigraphy movement that started in the 1960s, 20 works and ideas of Artists’ ARREST, an art collective in the Philippines.  In addition 10 pieces from Kwatro Kanto collective, Lainerz, KA68, and others artists from the U.S.  The exhibition will show how art can be used as a social practice by forming alliances and mobilizations, from a single person to an entire nation.

Media Contact: Lian Ladia,

MHF Contact: DiAnne Bueno,

MHF: 415-777-1130, 415-399-9580

Political Poster Exhibition on Human Rights at Manilatown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – San Francisco – January 11, 2010

EVENT: Manilatown Heritage Foundation (MHF), a Filipino American community arts organization based in San Francisco, will host “FACTSHEET: Activism is Not a Crime,” an exhibition of 30 posters by artists in the U.S. and the Philippines about human rights violations in the Philippines, curated by Lian Ladia and Con Cabrera and co-presented with SF Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.

WHEN: Exhibit runs from February 6-April 24, 2010

Opening reception: Saturday, February 6, 4-6  PM, with live performances and special guest,  Marie Hilo from KARAPATAN, a human rights organization in the Philippines. FREE, donations appreciated

Film & Discussion: Saturday, March 27, 4-6 PM

Film shorts about human rights in the Philippines from the Southern Tagalog Exposure, followed by a panel discussion with Bay Area community organizers. $5-$10, no one turned away for lack of funds

Closing Reception: Saturday, April 24, 4-6 PM

FREE, donations appreciated

WHERE: International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street (and Jackson), SF

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: “FACTSHEET: Activism is Not a Crime,” showcases 30 posters by artists in the U.S. and the Philippines about human rights violations in the Philippines. It is inspired by Bay Area’s Social Serigraphy movement that started in the 1960s, as well as by the works and ideas of Artist Arrest, an art collective in the Philippines. FACTSHEET shows how art can be used as a social practice to form alliances and mobilize, from a single person to an entire nation.

ABOUT MANILATOWN HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The Manilatown Heritage Foundation is a non-profit community-based organization formed in 1994 and incorporated in 1998, to advocate for the rebuilding of the International Hotel (I-Hotel) and the preservation of the Filipino legacy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its mission is to promote social and economic justice for Filipinos in America by preserving our history, advocating for equal access, and advancing our arts and culture. The I-Hotel was the last vestige of a vibrant 10-block area known as Manilatown. Manilatown Heritage Foundation emerged out of the struggle to defend the tenants’ rights to their homes and to preserve the Manilatown District. 28 years after the brutal eviction of the tenants, the new International Hotel Senior Housing opened its doors in August 2005. The Manilatown Center has now come alive with exhibits, weekly events and activities.


Start Time:
Friday, December 4, 2009 at 8:00pm
End Time:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:30pm
Off Market Theater
965 Mission St. #250
San Francisco, CA

The Babae Ensemble Presents…
Pinay Stories
Connection, Memory, Roots

An evening of original written work, theater, and performance by an all-Filipina cast.
Stories that will inspire, empower, and uplift you.

Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5
8pm show; doors open at 7:30pm

Off Market Theater
965 Mission St. #250
San Francisco, CA 94104

$12 admission
For tickets, visit

Pinay Stories is a national cultural arts project of GABRIELA USA that centers on collecting creative efforts of Filipino women in the United States reflecting their life stories, journeys and current lives.

Babae (Tagalog for “woman”) is a grassroots and volunteer-based organization of Filipina women in San Francisco dedicated to supporting and empowering Pinays through critical education, leadership development, and community building. We are committed to taking up local and global struggles, immediate and long-term concerns of our communities, especially those directly impacting Filipino women. As part of the Philippine women’s movement for self-determination, we are committed to working towards a future of real sisterhood and international solidarity, true gender equality and opportunity for all women, and genuine sovereignty and democracy in our homeland. |

GABRIELA National Alliance of Women is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 organizations, institutions, desks and programs of women all over the Philippines seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people. GABRIELA-USA is the first overseas chapter of the Philippine-based organization, extending the Filipino womens mass movement to the United States.

Another artist cries military harassment
By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 13:23:00 09/22/2009

Filed Under: Espionage & Intelligence, Military, Arts (general)

MANILA, Philippines – A creative writer on Tuesday complained of falling victim to military harassment, days after a trainee intelligence officer was caught conducting surveillance outside the residence of National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera.

Writer and University of the Philippines professor Jun Cruz Reyes said during a press conference that unidentified men were conducting surveillance outside his Bulacan home for two days on September 10 and 13.

At around 11:30 p.m. on September 10, around eight men on board a white van reportedly parked outside Reyes’ home in Sta. Elena, Hagonoy town. The men reportedly stayed outside and surveyed Reyes’ home.

On September 13, a black van again staked out the home of Reyes again late at night. The van left minutes after.

“Nagiging kakaiba ang mga pangyayari sa buhay ko,” Reyes said. “Nanganganib ang buhay ko, may mga nagtatangka, gayong wala naman akong kagalit sapagkat ako’y isang manunulat at pintor lamang.”

Also on September 13, an unidentified man approached Reyes while he was having a snack at a nearby convenience store inside the UP campus. The man reportedly took a picture of the author without his consent.

According to Reyes, the man was wearing a blue pants and stood 5’4” in height.

Reyes is an award-winning literary writer having won various awards including the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, National Book Awards, and Catholic Mass Media Awards, among others.

When asked why he was being targeted by the military, Reyes said he could not think of any particular reason.

But Reyes admitted that the incidents were not the first for the writer. On November 2007, unidentified men wearing fatigue reportedly went to the home of his neighbor and offered P20,000 to reveal Reyes’ direction.

On August 2007, unidentified men wearing black jackets also attempted to break into his home in Bulacan. But alert neighbors prompted the men to escape.

Reyes criticized the alleged harassment.

“Their method is primitive. The price of gasoline

is very high. They should have searched the Internet if they want to know more about me,” he said.

Human rights group Karapatan said that the military was targeting artists because of their impact in shaping public opinion.

“They help form public opinion and give a creative analysis of what’s happening. They are telling the story in a precise manner easily understood by the masses,” said Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Reyes’ legal counsel, lawyer Jules Matibag, said they are “seriously considering” filing for a writ of amparo and habeas data for Reyes’ protection.

Enriquez said Karapatan has also asked the Commission on Human Rights to compel the Philippine Navy to reveal its training module, after it admitted that spy training exercises were being conducted.

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.

photo by Aurora Victoria David

International Day of the Disappeared

Press Release Sunday, August 30, 2009


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: 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.”