Skip navigation

Category Archives: Educationals


Dr. Alex Montes and patient
We need money for healthcare and education! So why is the US sending over $30 million taxpayer dollars each year to arrest, jail and torture health care workers and other innocent civilians in the Philippines?

Every year, the US sends tens of millions of dollars in military aid to the Philippines–and it’s added up to a whopping $1 billion US taxpayer dollars since 1999.  What has been the result? Record-high numbers of human rights violations have been committed against innocent civilians, including: 1,118 killings  • 1,026 cases of torture • 204 forced disappearances • 1,983 illegal arrests. Who is perpetrating these human rights violations?  Reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and KARAPATAN all conclude that the Philippine military, police and paramilitary units are the perpetrators, and are targeting pastors, teachers, union leaders, students, lawyers, journalists, healthcare workers, artists and others whose only “crime” is voicing criticism of the government for neglecting and exploiting the Filipino people. They are being arrested, tortured and killed for doing what the government should be doing–serving the poor and oppressed.

The arrest, detention and torture of 43 healthcare workers is the latest outrageous case of human rights abuse. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Philippine military and police used a bogus search warrant to raid a First Responders healthcare skills training in Rizal, where they violently arrested and jailed 43 community healthcare workers, including two renowned doctors, a nurse, and midwives. The military has inflicted physical and psychological torture on the healthcare workers, including: sleep deprivation, prolonged tactical interrogation with death threats, 36+ hours of being blindfolded and handcuffed, solitary confinement, and denial of legal counsel and medical treatment.  The health workers are still being held in jail on trumped up charges of being rebels, and the military has even defied a Supreme Court order to produce the 43 health workers at a court hearing.

The 43 health workers and doctors were undergoing health training to serve the vast majority of Filipino people who do not have access to healthcare. They should be treated like heroes!  But instead, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her military are persecuting them.

You can help.  Join the growing movement of grassroots organizations, churches, individuals, and labor organizations and unions such as the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), National Nurses United (NNU), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to demand the release of the 43 healthcare workers.

Sign the petition at so you can
1.    Tell Congress and the Obama administration to end all US military aid to the Philippines. No US tax dollars for torture!
2.    Tell President Arroyo to Free the 43 health care workers and end all human rights violations being committed by her military.

For more info: or or

Download printable


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 –; (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!

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.

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

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.”


Haiti/Honduras Vigil: Wednesday, Aug. 12 – 4:30 pm
Brazilian Consulate – 300 Montgomery St. (at Pine, nr Montgomery BART), SF
Haitians and Hondurans are still in the streets protesting political kidnappings and coups.
Return Lovinsky! Return Aristide! Return Zelaya!

  • August 12, 2009 marks 2 years since the kidnapping and disappearance of Haitian human rights leader Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. Yet the authorities have sat on their hands.

  • Haitian President Aristide and Honduran President Zelaya – both kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night and flown into exile in US-sponsored military coups – are still in exile and not permitted to return home. This is intolerable.

Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

It is two years since human rights advocate Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine was kidnapped in Haiti. We are with the people of Haiti who have been living under occupation since their elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped and forced into exile in 2004 by a US military coup, and with the people of Honduras whose president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and removed by a military coup in June 2009.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Please join Haiti Action Committee Wednesday, August 12th, to observe the second anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of grassroots organizer and leader, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.
Meet in front of the Brazilian Consulate at 300 Montgomery Street in San Francisco, 4:30PM. [Brazil heads up MINUSTAH, the United Nations military force that has been occupying Haiti since soon after US special troops kidnapped President and Mrs. Aristide in 2004 and flew them to exile in Africa aboard a US military plane.]
Lovinsky was kidnapped and disappeared in Haiti on August 12th, 2007 shortly after meeting with a US-Canadian human rights delegation. As a member of Fanmi Lavalas, Brother Pierre-Antoine is an extraordinary grassroots organizer and leading advocate for the poor, including street children, teenage mothers and victims of torture.
Despite international actions demanding an investigation into Lovinsky’s disappearance, there has been no effective effort by either the UN in Haiti or the Preval government to locate Lovinsky and secure his safe return, or to hold those responsible for his disappearance accountable.
Join with Haiti’s grassroots movement on August 12, together with friends and comrades in Haiti, Grenada, Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere, in events demanding the return of our dear brother, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. End the US/UN occupation! Brazil out of Haiti! Free the political prisoners! Return Presidents Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Manuel Zelaya!
Here is last year’s message of solidarity from Mumia Abu-Jamal:
For Haitians, this coming August is a reminder of the kidnapping and disappearance of their brother, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, who was taken after a meeting with a US-Canadian human rights delegation visiting Haiti in mid-August, 2007.
Pierre-Antoine is a co-founder of the Fondayson Trant Septenm, (Kreyol for September 30th Foundation), a group which assisted and supported the people who during (and especially after) the 1991 and 2004 coups against the democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Members of the Fondayson have been targeted for years.
Around the world, activists have been organizing in Lovinsky’s support, calling on various governments, from Haiti’s President Rene Preval, Brazil (which forms the bulk of the United Nations forces in the country), Canada, the US and France, which organized the latest coup against Haitian democracy.
When Pierre-Antoine was abducted, it forced other democracy and human rights activists in Haiti to go into hiding to avoid waves of state repression.
Haiti has a proud and illustrious career on the world’s stage, becoming the first free Black republic in the West after its 1804 revolution against France, which abolished slavery almost 70 years before the US Civil War spelled the end to human bondage in the US. Their freedom spread the bright lights of liberty and independence throughout the Caribbean, and when South America rose against Spain, it was to Haiti that their Liberator Simon Bolivar turned for support, arms, and a place to rest.
For their bold struggle to bring Black freedom to the West, the US and Europe have unleashed an unholy war. France forced reparations (!) on Haiti — an act unprecedented in history, forcing the victor in war to pay away it’s wealth for almost a century. The US repeatedly invaded the country, brutalized its people, and imposed an assortment of puppet dictators to exploit the country for foreign benefit, and national impoverishment, for generations!
Because Haiti’s popularly elected Bertrand Aristide dared to oppose Haiti’s rich elite, and tried to make things nominally better for its peasantry, US Marines forced him into exile.
Because Lovinsky comes from the popular mass movements, he was snatched off the streets of Haiti a year ago, and the movement is building to bring him back home to his family, his community, and the popular movements of which he was a part.
Haiti must never be forgotten, and neither must we forget Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. 7/30/08 (c) ’08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Behind the kidnappings of these political leaders [excerpted from an article circulated by Global Women’s Strike]:
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is co-ordinator of Fondasyon 30 Septanm for survivors of the military coups against Aristide, and an advocate for those with the least, starting with women and street children. He was kidnapped on August 12, 2007, two weeks after announcing he would run for the Haitian Senate. The grassroots in Haiti hold weekly vigils demanding his return and the return of Aristide, who was forced into exile in 2004 by a Bush administration military coup backed by Canada and France.

Latin American governments have rightly condemned the recent coup in Honduras and have been working for the return of President Jose Manuel Zelaya, but in contrast, they have collaborated with the occupation of Haiti….UN occupying forces in Haiti continue to be headed by Brazil and include troops from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. Only Caricom (a grouping of the English-speaking Caribbean, Suriname and Haiti) and Venezuela have spoken out; Cuba continues to provide doctors to Haiti.

President Aristide, a liberation theology priest with a 91.8% mandate (2000 election), was removed because he fought to eliminate poverty. His policies angered the Haitian elite and the US which profit from sweatshops, privatisation and the import of [US] rice which has destroyed the local agriculture and contributed to starvation. Like Zelaya in Honduras and Chávez in Venezuela (who also faced a coup in 2002), Aristide increased the minimum wage, and invested in food, health and education.

Now, former US President Bill Clinton is pushing US policy to expand sweatshops in Haiti under the guise of global investments – and the UN occupiers are responsible for many rapes and murders, including recently opening fire on mourners at the funeral of Father Jean-Juste, another liberation theology priest….

Despite pressure from those in power to participate in elections, grassroots people in Haiti organized “Operation Closed Door”. This massive boycott of the US-financed ($17 million) elections was organised after all candidates from Aristide’s party Fanmi Lavalas were banned from running. The boycott was an outstanding success – only 3% voted, a fantastic example of grassroots organizing and solidarity! The ban [on Lavalas] came the day after a meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the present Haitian President, Preval. The reason for the ban?: Lavalas usually takes over 85% of the vote.

Haitians have been made to pay for their 1791-1804 revolution which overthrew slavery, making way for emancipation in the region and for liberation movements everywhere. The world owes a great debt to the Haitian people. They have never given up. [Courtesy of Global Women’s Strike.] Read more about Brother Pierre-Antoine here:

Haiti Action Committee

Please forward widely…


August 5, 2009

Reference: Marisa Mariano, Chair, Babae-San Francisco

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $489 million from the state budget passed last week by the state legislature, cuts which were directed primarily towards the state’s health and human service programs. Filipina-American women of Babae, the San Francisco chapter of GABRIELA USA, are especially shocked and outraged at Schwarzenegger’s elimination of the entire state’s funding support for California’s crucial Domestic Violence Programs. Domestic violence shelters were already preparing for the 20% funding cut proposed by the state legislature, but will now be forced to close their doors entirely or scramble to seek new sources of funding. Affecting the most vulnerable citizens of the state, battered women and children will be left with no place to go as the $20.4 million in cuts affects 94 domestic violence shelters throughout California. These shelters not only offer a safe space for women and children escaping and seeking protection from their abusers, but also provide vital services to help rebuild their lives. Shelters across the state are now being forced to lay off staff and eliminate services including their emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, and counseling programs, as well as those which serve the young victims of abuse, such as child counseling and support groups. It is equally important to remember that these broad cuts do not only affect these much needed shelters, but also affect the valuable domestic violence programs which focus on community education, advocacy, and prevention.

“We are already experiencing deep cuts for students, children, the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the working poor throughout California, but now, if Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, survivors of violence will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost,” said Marisa Mariano, Babae-San Francisco Chairperson. For many communities, the budget cut coincides with an increase in reported cases of domestic violence. The stress of job loss, foreclosures, and car repossessions stemming from the current economic crisis can raise tension in vulnerable homes, leading to domestic violence. The city of Fresno has seen a 30% rise in cases of domestic violence over the past four months. “Domestic violence has been and continues to be a problem in the Filipino community. We’ve lost Marisa Corpuz and Claire Joyce Tempongko in the last few years in the city of San Francisco alone, to domestic violence and without state support and culturally relevant resources, more Filipinas will fall victim to violence.”

Babae-San Francisco stands together with domestic violence shelters, organizations, and others throughout California to protest the governor’s action and call on the state legislature to do everything in its power to restore funding to domestic violence programs and other vital health services for the most vulnerable Californians.

We urge you to take action and:

1.) Call the Governor’s office at 916-445-2841 and express your concern.

2.) Use this easy action alert tool to send a message to the Governor and your state legislators:

3.) Forward this message to your family and friends and urge them to call or write the Governer and their state legislators.


Babae (Tagalog for “woman”) is a grassroots women’s organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of Filipinas in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to learn about our history and culture in the Philippines and how it connects to our conditions as Filipinas in the United States. We mobilize and organize around Pinay issues to strengthen our legacy as empowered Filipina women in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women’s emancipation. For more information, please visit

We are a proud member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with Pinay Sa Seattle in Seattle, SiGAw in Los Angeles, and FiRe in New York.

Babae is a member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. To learn more about BAYAN, please visit


The people do not want to vote for CHA CHA (Charter Change) because they do bot want to see President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo(GMA) to become the prime minister of the Philippines.

GMA has been had a history of scandals from the Garci  tape scandal and NBN/ ZTE corruption. She has lost the people’s trust due to these scandals, moreover, the people  voice their needs and resentment for the GRP. The needs of the people are not met but are silenced by means of abduction and polical killings.

As more contradictions happen the people resist. Students are outraged that Arroyo’s willing to prolong  her reign of power in the government will produce more harm to many Filipinos. The students have the responsibility to unify together to overthrow CHA CHA and the reign of GMA.

Another violation of human rights in our backyard . . .

On February 5th, 2007, Marlo Custodio, his brother, Romel Custodio,
and his mother, Marilou Custodio, became victims of police brutality
and racial profiling. More than two years later, the violence
continues as their case has been drawn out and delayed through the
courts’ system in order to discourage the family’s quest for

In the Spring of 2008, the Custodio family was told by their judge
that their trial would begin in the summer. Accordingly, they were
advised to hold off on any family vacation plans and make special
arrangements with their employment, and they did. When summer arrived
however, the eight police officers expected to be at court failed to
appear—prolonging the case further than necessary. On February 20th,
2009, friends, family, and members of the San Jose and larger San
Francisco Bay area community came out in support of the Custodio
family: THE COMMUNITY WAS PRESENT in Department 52’s courtroom,
filling it to capacity. No more than 20 minutes after being seated
however, the Custodio family found themselves leaving the court room
to meet their supporters outside. Apparently, one of the main
arresting officers was on a pre-paid vacation!!! Despite advance
notice of the trial, despite the Custodios having to appear time after
time at the court, there was nothing that the judge could do or was
willing to do to hold the DA accountable for this travesty of Justice.

After having their trial pushed back yet again (more than 30 total
consecutive times!) the Custodio family now awaits a new judge. The
Custodio family has been placed back onto the master calendar of the
courts (since one of the officers failed to show for an important
motion) and on June 6th, 2009, will find out who their new judge is.
The COMMUNITY HOPES that the family will be able to proceed with their
motion to dismiss, and finally have the bogus charges filed against
them by the SJPD dropped.

The COMMUNITY’s support of the Custodios is Strong. Recently, FOCUS
– SV in collaboration with Silicon Valley Debug and many other
organizations raised approximately $1000 for the legal fees of Marilou
Custodio. On March 6th, 2009, in celebration of International Women’s
Day, entitled, “Two Year Wait – A Woman’s Pursuit of Justice,” spoken
word artists, DJ’s, cultural performers, friends, family and community
members joined the Custodio family as they shared heartfelt words
about their mother’s strength and courage, not only throughout this
trial, but throughout their lives. Words were also spoken that linked
Marilou’s struggle with the larger struggle of Filipinas in the U.S.
and Globally. The brutality imposed on Marilou Custodio reminds us of
the brutality imposed on Filipina migrant workers in the Middle East
by their employers. Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality
imposed on Filipinas by the U.S. military as in the case of Nicole.
Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality against Filipinas imposed
by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Regime in the Philippines as in the
recent abduction of Melissa Roxas, a U.S. Citizen doing Human Rights
work in the Philippines .

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the
morale and determination of the Custodio family remains strong.

Justice for the Custodio family!

Drop the charges against the family now!

Prosecute the offending officers!

Demand SJPD accountability and ban tasers!

Justice for all victims and families affected by police brutality!


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


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

Its has been 10 yrs since the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) has been active, allowing the U.S. to send troops to the Philippines. Its like the they never left…

The VFA allows U.S. troops into the Philippines without having to go through customs, where they are screened for things like the swine flu. Any soldier that may have the swine flu may walk in as they please where anyone else that may have at least one of the symptoms will be detained for a days. Furthermore, a Philippine citizen that may have caught the virus will have a hard time getting over the flu because health care is not affordable  which makes it lethal.

The VFA allows the U.S. troops full access anywhere in the Philippines. That means land, sea and air. They could even occupy a house that a family owns.

Collateral damage has increased due to weapons testing and exercises. Family have lost their houses, mothers, fathers, children due to these exercises. Bullets have entered houses while people were sleeping, killing innocent civilians.

U.S. troops  are above any laws in the Philippines. An example is the ‘Nicole’ case where a college student is raped by a U.S. soldier Daniel Smith. Smith was sentenced to jail in the Philippines, however, on his first night in jail he was taken to the U.S. Embassy. If a person was convicted for rape in the U.S. they would have to be in custody until the trial is over. 

Nicole and Vanessa, another Filipina that was raped, we can see that number of cases went up; belittling the rights of Filipinas; and that the Philippines judicial system is a joke because of how Smith was treated with a pardon. 

The VFA is funded by U.S. Taxdollars, therefore we as Americans have blood and injustice on our hands. The money that is funding the killing and injustice of the Filipinos can be used to bail out the struggling Americans in an economic crisis. 

We say no more blood on our hands and not in our name!


What is art?

Art is anything that anybody perceives as expressive and is made by the labor of human production. Where it is created through human expression and thought, to portray the events of human life.

These expressions are through literature: poetry, short stories; music: composing, singing, , movement: dance, theater, guerrilla theater and visually: painting, drawing, illustration, sculptures, fashion, craving, etc.

Even the way we present ourselves or dress is art because it is our expression.

Besides being an expression, art is also seen as a commodity.

What is needed to make art?

People, materials, time, labor, aesthetics, and functionality are all needed create art.

Aesthetics or form is a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.

Functionality or what is the purpose of it?

Where do ideas come from?

Ideas come from our personal and social experiences but also from our social and cultural practices. How we relate to the world and other people come from our ideas, experiences and practices.

Our ideas are influenced by our social and personal experiences. People in all societies go through different experiences. The way of thinking make be different in the urban poor communtiy than of those in the country side.

Social and cultural practices also have an influence on how we think. For example in the Philippines we see skin lightening products because in the media people with lighter skin are seen as beautiful. The viewer may see their dark skin is not beautiful, urging them to use skin lightening .

A lot of the art that is seen in U.S. is centered on the social “hip” or even to show status. examples are photos of people that have traveled to other countries where it show the beautify of the scenery or of the culture, however, there are struggling people that are loosing their land, resources, etc.

Therefore, our ideas define our class backgrounds due to personal and social experiences and/ or our social and cultural practices.

News Release

14 May 2009

Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0917-3221203

On the heels of Subic rape case,

US troops continue abusing Filipinas – GABRIELA

As long as US troops freely roam the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement, many more Filipinas will be abused by US servicemen. This was according to the women’s group GABRIELA in a press conference today. The women’s group cited the case of “Vanessa” (not her real name), a 22-year-old Filipina allegedly raped by a US Marine just last April 19.

The crime allegedly took place in the early morning of April 19 at the hotel room of the perpetrator, “John Jones” (not his real name). GABRIELA was able to confirm that the alleged perpetrator is a US military personnel listed in hotel records as “from Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG)/Balikatan.”

“The victim immediately sought the help of GABRIELA. Like many other rape survivors, Vanessa’s life has been thrown in shambles since the incident,” said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general.

GABRIELA said that although Vanessa is going through a difficult period, she has agreed to reveal her ordeal to let the public know that abuses by US servicemen against women continue.

“While rape victims have a strong desire to seek justice for the offense made against them, the decision to come out in public and pursue a legal case does not come easy. This decision is now even more difficult to make since another US personnel is involved, and with the events in the Subic rape case set as background,” said de Jesus.

Last April 23 the Court of Appeals acquitted L/Cpl. Daniel Smith who was earlier found guilty by the lower court.

The Subic rape case is the first ever criminal case against a US serviceman under the VFA that went to trial. More than 3,000 cases, including abuse of women and children, were filed against US servicemen at the height of the presence of US military bases in the country, but all were dismissed.

“The Arroyo government’s handling of the Subic rape case from the very beginning is unconscionable. The CA’s reversal of Smith’s conviction sends a clear signal that despite the glaring abuse of American soldiers on our people, the interests of the United States government take precedence over justice,” added de Jesus.

“The case of Vanessa only shows that the abuses will continue as long as the VFA is in effect. And justice will remain elusive as long as the VFA overrules our laws and undermines our sovereignty,” concluded de Jesus. ###
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
(+632) 3712302