Tag: filipina (page 1 of 4)

GABRIELA USA Stands with Women Globally Bearing Brunt of Imperialism


November 25, 2013

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, chair@gabusa.org

GABRIELA USA Stands with Women Globally Bearing Brunt of Imperialism

On November 25th, GABRIELA-USA commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) by answering the call from our kababayan back home in the Philippines to join Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. “Super Typhoon Haiyan is not just a Philippine-based issue, but a global one. With rapid climate change due to large-scale carbon emissions and extraction of natural resources for multi-national corporate gain, calamities throughout the world are increasingly becoming deadlier,” says Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

Instead of genuine aid for the people, we are witnessing increased military presence, not only through the AFP, but also the deployment of 5,000 U.S. soldiers aboard aircraft carriers with missile cruisers, as well as soldiers from the Israeli Army, to protect the interests of multi-national corporations. We have historically seen that with an increase in military presence in communities, we see increased risks of violence, sexual assault, rape, and sex trafficking. The Philippines along with other third world countries are targets for U.S. military occupation to protect the interests of the global 1% instead of looking out for the welfare and livelihood of the people who need it most. Disaster relief should not be an excuse to further militarize the Philippines, at the expense of security of women and children. “Women and children are especially vulnerable to sexual violence and human trafficking during times of calamities and conflict,” continues Francisco.

In Somalia, a deadly tropical cyclone hit the country on November 10, killing 140 and with many more missing due to flooding and wind. The U.S. has been using Somalia as a base of operations for drone programs, and Mogadishu is home to a major CIA field station. The U.S. has interest in the region and teamed with the British to carry out bombing operations against alleged Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda bases in Somalia. “Throughout the world, women and children are suffering the effects of militarization. During times of calamity, women are the ones who are thinking about the safety of their children and their families, and militarization only worsens their situation,” says Irma Bajar, Vice Chair of International Relations of GABRIELA USA. As seemingly “natural” disasters create need for aid, it should not double as an invitation for military occupation. The conditions in Somalia and the Philippines point to links between increased climate change due to neoliberal corporate aggression and imperialist military intervention.

GABRIELA USA criticizes the lack of emergency preparedness by the Philippine government, despite the increasing occurrence of “natural disasters,” but also the lack of accountability and blame-shifting for it’s own deficient infrastructure to handle calamity. Together with our fellow alliances of BAYAN USA and the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), we come together in solidarity with our people in the Eastern Visayas – not just for the immediate relief needed post-catastrophe, but also through the long road of rehabilitation for the numerous communities, towns and lives of those most hard-hit.

GABRIELA USA demands an end to U.S. imperialist military occupation of third world countries throughout the globe. We understand the correlation between global climate change caused by environmental injustice (i.e. the effects of large scale mining, deforestation, etc.), government corruption, and militarization – all of which magnify the destruction of typhoons and earthquakes like we have seen in the Philippines and Somalia.

Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by Resolution 54/134. The date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.


GABRIELA USA Remembers Filipina Desaparecidos


September 2, 2013
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, chair@gabusa.org

GABRIELA USA Remembers Filipina Desaparecidos

Imagine your loved one taken from you, suddenly, without warning. You go searching for days on end, months, even years, with only a glimmer of hope that they may still be alive. Imagine living in a place where people are abducted and disappeared simply for speaking out for justice. In the Philippines, human rights violations, such as enforced disappearances, run rampant as a means to silence dissent. On August 30, GABRIELA USA commemorates the International Day of the Disappeared alongside all other nations in the world who use enforced disappearances as a means quell movements for social and national liberation, by remembering all of the women and men who have been abducted, tortured, killed and disappeared, under the bloody hands of the state sponsored regime.

Current Philippine President, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, reached his mid-term in office, but shows no signs of prosecuting the perpetrators of gross human rights violations committed under his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Under Aquino’s Presidential term thus far, human rights group, Karapatan, has documented at least 142 cases of extrajudicial killings and 17 cases of enforced disappearances.

In December 2011, retired Major General Jovito Palparan went into hiding after he, along with three other military officials, were finally charged with kidnapping with serious illegal detention for the disappearance of students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. The two were abducted and disappeared in June 2006.

“Many Filipinas who are targets of human rights violations are subject to gender violence because of a system that condones violence towards women. There’s no accountability for corrupt practices by the Philippine military,” says GABRIELA USA Chairperson, Valerie Francisco. Both women were raped and tortured by the Philippine military.

In May 2009, Filipina-American, Melissa Roxas, was abducted while doing community health work in the Philippines and surfaced after 6 days of physical and mental torture . Even though Roxas has survived her ordeal, her abductors remain at large.

“People are being abducted, killed for standing up against a self-serving government that does not look out for the welfare of its people. In fact, the government is, instead, capitalizing on exploiting their people and making profit out of the country’s resources, causing the majority of the population to suffer from extreme poverty” says Francisco. Even with the passage of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, the Philippine government has done little to nothing to end enforced disappearances, and the country’s most notorious perpetrator, Palparan, continues to evade arrest.

Additionally, with no investment by the government to allow for national industries to flourish for the benefit of its people, the wealth is instead concentrated in the pockets of the country’s 1% for the benefit of multinational corporations and U.S. imperialism. The people are consequently left with no jobs, affordable housing, food, and social services.

Because of the conditions in the Philippines caused by corrupt government practices and U.S. imperialism, Filipinos are being forced to migrate out of the country, and in that process, migrant workers also become victims of human trafficking and systemic exploitative practices. “It is no wonder why people are standing up against these repressive practices by the U.S.-backed Philippine government and military. Aquino’s administration and U.S. imperialism should be detained and put under investigation!” says Tina Shauf, GABRIELA USA’s Vice Chair of Campaigns.

GABRIELA USA demands and defends people’s rights to speak out against these injustices and put an end to the culture of impunity. The families of those who have been disappeared, and spend endless days and nights searching for their loved ones, deserve to know the whereabouts of their loved ones.

Like kababayans who remain in the Philippines, we see the importance of overseas migrants who also experience human rights violations, to organize for their own rights and welfare. This October 2-4, in New York City, GABRIELA USA is co-sponsoring the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees 4 (IAMR4), calling on migrants to speak out on behalf of all migrants who are also victims of human rights violations. GABRIELA-USA remembers and demands justice for all victims of political repression and enforced disappearance!

Justice for all victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings!

Surface Karen Empeno and Sheryl Cadapan!

End the culture of impunity!


Justice for Christina Jose! Stop the Killings in the Phillippines


GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women condemns the murder of Barug Katawhan leader and typhoon Pablo survivor Cristina Morales Jose by an unidentified motorcycle riding assassin in Baganga, Davao Oriental around 6:00 PM on Monday, the 4th day of Women’s Month.

“We condemn the persistence of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines which claimed Jose as latest victim. The circumstances surrounding her murder is suggestive of the ways gunmen kill citizens who have been branded as enemies of the state for criticizing corrupt, unjust and inhumane government programs and policies. We reiterate our condemnation of the government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan which has made extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations against Filipino women, children and men a despicable pattern under the Aquino administration.”

Jose, the slain woman leader, was also kagawad of Bgy. Binondo in Baganga town. She earlier exposed the food blockade and militarization of relief operations conducted by 67th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Barug Katawhan, an organization of survivors of the typhoon Pablo disaster, figured in national news when more than 4,000 members of the organization came all the way from Compostela Valley to Davao City to stage a barricade in front of the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in February 25-27. They also confiscated sacks of rice and boxes of noodles as they protested DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman’s apparent hoarding of 10,000 sacks of rice to typhoon survivors that she promised to the group in January. More of this story here.

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