April 24, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference: Jeff Rice, AnakBayan Seattle, email: edjop82@gmail.com

The chapters of AnakBayan in the United States are celebrating the historic victory of the 1st youth representative to the Philippine Congress held by the Kabataan (Youth) Partylist.  The position will be held by 29 year old Raymond Palatino who was once chair of the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Diliman and president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines.  This comes after the Philippine Supreme Court overturned a previous decision on partylist elections and now allows for a full representation from the 2007 elections.  In addition to the Kabataan partylist, the decision has now increased the progressive block in Congress with an additional seat for both BAYAN-MUNA and Anakpawis.

The Kabataan Partylist ran for Congress in 2007 and garnered 225,000 votes based on a platform opposing tuition fee increases, supporting increased funding for education, creating adequate jobs for new graduates, promotion of genuine national industrialization, agrarian reform and pro-people economic policies.  Its campaign was supported by its founding organizations, the National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students and AnakBayan along with other allies nationwide and abroad.  In the US, BAYAN-USA and chapters of AnakBayan launched a “TEXT B.A.C.K. (Text Brigade Against Cheating and Killings)” campaign to encourage Filipinos in the US to vote for and support progressive partylists.  However, the Supreme Court at the time limited the number of seats for partylist winners including the one for Kabataan.  The Supreme Court has now reversed that decision due to the need for more representatives to counter the US-GMA regime which rabidly insists on Charter Change.

Once in office, Kabataan will immediately submit legislation concerning youth empowerment in governance, employment for the 900,000 new Filipino graduates, and tuition fee hike moratorium, among others. Kabataan will now have a stronger voice to advocate for the youth in fighting for a better society devoid of corruption, inequality and social injustice.  They will continue to be vigilant and vocal against issues of electoral fraud, corruption and plunder, human rights violations, tyranny and the root causes of poverty, hunger and indecent living conditions to the people.  The need to uphold national sovereignty is all the more pressing with thousands of US troops in Bicol due to the VFA and the Philippine government colluding with the US government in overturning the conviction of rapist Daniel Smith.

It is all the more important to have a youth voice in Congress during this economic crisis of imperialism.  With the current crisis caused by the overproduction of goods and services, the bursting of the US real estate bubble and greed of financial services, it is necessary to have a voice in the congress that opposes further orientation of the Philippine economy to low-value exports and more foreign exploitation of its natural resources.  It is Filipino youth who are the future of the country and clamor for national industrialization & genuine land reform to create jobs in the Philippines.  The Filipino youth have always played a pivotal role in ushering in significant changes in history whenever the social, political and economic conditions in society became too intolerable to endure.  It was young men and women who prevailed in the fight against Spanish colonialism, US colonization, Japanese fascism and who toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and ousted the Estrada regime in 2001.

As Filipino-Americans, Kabataan Partylist serves as an inspiration of what young Filipinos can accomplish.  The US chapters of AnakBayan will also continue to advocate for young Fil-Ams and to be the voice for our local communities.  In the US, Filipino youth have often been in the forefront for social change.  Young Filipinos, including Carlos Bulosan, in the 1930’s & 40’s unionized in the salmon canneries for better working and living conditions.  Filipino-American youth in the 70’s organized into the KDP to fight against the Marcos dictatorship as well as struggling for civil rights in the US.  Today there is the need for Filipino youth to further organize in local communities, schools and colleges around immigration reform, cuts to social services, tuition increases, joblessness, gang violence, police brutality, military recruiters, domestic violence, homophobia and racism.

The current crisis has exposed the need for a new generation of Filipinos and Filipino Americans to struggle for the world we want to live in.  It is the youth who can fight to change their society into one with social justice and respect for human rights and dignity.  We congratulate Kabataan Partylist for holding high the torch of social change by the youth at a time of global crisis.

MABUHAY ANG KABATAAN PARYLIST!

MABUHAY ANG ANAKBAYAN NG US!

STRUGGLE FOR THE RIGHTS OF FILIPINO YOUTH!

JUSTICE FOR REBELYN PITAO AND ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

SURFACE KAREN EMPENO, SHERYLN KADAPAN AND JONAS BURGOS!

END BALIKATAN EXERCISES!
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES NOW!

JUNK VFA NOW!