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CANDLELIGHT VIGIL for Melissa Roxas, John Edward Handoc, and Juanito Carabeo directly following!!!!

News Release
May 25, 2009

For more information:
Jeff Rice, AnakBayan-BAYAN-USA edjop82@gmail.com, 206-291-8078
L. U. Carpenter, Pinay sa Seattle-GABRIELA-USA, pinayinfo@gmail.com, 206-859-7525

JOIN BAYAN NW AS IT CALLS ON THE US TO JUNK THE VFA “We are civilized & yet the savage acts against our people continue.”

Seattle, WA—On Thursday, May 28, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. local chapters of BAYAN-USA, Pinay sa Seattle and AnakBayan-Seattle, along with their allies will be holding a Teach-In at the Filipino Community Center (5740 Martin Luther King Jr Way) to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in the Philippines.  They are asking others to come dialogue, teach, and learn about the effects the VFA has on Filipino people in the Philippines, the United States, and other countries.  Along with learning about the VFA, there will be information on local, national, and international campaigns of resistance that state, “We are civilized & yet savage acts against our people continue.”

Recently, Melissa Roxas, John Edward Handoc, and Juanito Carabeo, healthcare workers, were abducted in a La Paz, Tarlac, on May 19 at gunpoint by eight heavily armed and hooded men and shoved into a van without license plates.  They have since been released and the government is denying the reports of Karapatan, a human rights group in the Philippines.  Pinay sa Seattle & AnakBayan-Seattle are standing with allies and community in solidarity for Melissa Roxas and her two companions understanding that the oppressive U.S. puppet government of the Philippines is attempting to hide the facts, the truth, and sidestep responsibility for creating the economic conditions that keep suppression, poverty, and lies as the foundation of country.  There will be a candlelight vigil following the teach-in to show support for the bravery of Melissa Roxas and her companions.

Pinay sa Seattle & AnakBayan-Seattle are not alone as their fellow activists in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, and more, under the national Filipino alliance of BAYAN-USA hold joint actions from March 27th to March 28th to mark this historic and horrifying history of colonization.  The 10th anniversary of the VFA comes after another reported incident of a Filipina, “Vanessa,” being raped by a U.S. serviceman, US Marine Daniel Smith being acquitted of his crime of rape against “Nicole,” human rights violations and murders mounting, and serious allegations of corruption involving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Balikatan military war exercises backed by the US.  The VFA gives the US access to the Philippines at the expense of Filipino peoples’ rights to sovereignty and their very lives.  As the US shakes hands with the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo, and counts benefits, there is the question “at what expense?” and “at whose?”  The JUNK VFA Movement believes it is time for an honest assessment of the alleged benefits derived from 10 years of the VFA.  We call on the US to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, stop providing military aid to the Philippines, and for US Troops to withdraw from the Philippines.

Within Seattle, new campaigns are being developed to understand how US tax dollars are fueling the destruction of our homeland and forced migration throughout the world instead of education for children.  Also, strategizing about the continued resistance to lands, bodies, and minds.  For instance, the issuance of an apology is being demanded for by the University of Washington and the city of Seattle with the launching of the “We are Civilized! Apologize!!” Campaign.  This campaign highlights the effects of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition (A-Y-P-E) where the most popular exhibit was the zoo-like “Igorot Village” where Filipinos were portrayed as merely “dog-eaters” and “head-hunters” and forced to perform indigenous dances and ceremonies.   Many of the images and stereotypes created during the AYPE and 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair continue to this day.  The AYPE is recognized and celebrated as “putting Seattle on the map.”  Jeff Rice states, “However the question is, at whose expense?  At the same time, a brutal war of colonization was still active during the Philippine-American War under the auspices of “civilizing a savage race.”  One million Filipinos were killed in the first major overseas military action of the United States.”  The Philippines is still in US control.

Today, the question is still relevant, “at whose expense?” and to state that, “we are civilized people” is still pertinent 100 years after the US colonized the Philippines and 10 years of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) as the continued brutalization of Filipino people remains.  There is resistance that happens in the fight for true justice; by attending on May 28th, the community can come together and learn how.

SIGN the PETITION! JUNK the VFA!
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/JunkVFAnow/

JUNK THE VFA!
Terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement!
U.S. Troops Out of the Philippines!!!
No U.S. Military Aid to the Philippines!!!
No to Another Generation of Comfort Women!!!  Stop Military Rapes!