rally

rally

rally

rally

forum

forum

forum

forum

Filipinos Rally in NYC to Denounce Recent Political Killings in Philippines; Condemn Killer Arroyo Regime From Historic Steps of Union Square

New York-- Lower Manhattan's Union Square Park-- the historic center for labor protests in New York City-- was the setting of over 30 Filipino and allies gathered last Saturday, October 29th, to condemn the state-sponsored killing spree of 5 Filipino Anti-Arroyo leaders this past week and honor the lives of all human rights defenders who have been murdered or abducted under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime in the Philippines.

The indignation rally followed an emergency public forum on rising state terror in the Philippines. Both were organized by the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) and the national alliance of Filipino-American organizations known as Bayan USA.

Focus was given to the 5 Bayan members and allies who were assassinated this past week over the course of 48 hours, including Ricardo Ramos, union leader in the Hacienda Luisita strike, Bayan-Pampanga leader Francisco Rivera, and Anakpawis leader Federico de Leon in Bulacan. All were vocal critics against Arroyo's intensified state repression and undeclared martial law.

The preceding forum, entitled "Examining State Terror: From Manila to Manhattan" featured speakers such as Dr. Robyn Rodriguez of NYCHRP, Labor Attorney Haeyoung Yoon of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Monami Maulik of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Camilo Romero of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Charlotte Kates of New Jersey Solidarity for the Liberation of Palestine, Sharon Eolis of International Action Center (IAC), and Berna Ellorin of Bayan USA.

Aside from each being active organizers in various NY-based immigrant/worker communities, five of the seven speakers were returned delegates of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) last August, an international fact-finding mission that investigated cases of human rights violations throughout the Philippines under Arroyo. Delegates shared their experiences visiting workers on strike in Hacienda Luisita, tortured Moro prisoners and families in Manila, indigenous communities under military attack in Surigao del Sur, and the military-orchestrated terror of Brigadier General Jovito Palparan in Samar, Eastern Visayas.

Some even spoke of their visits with union president Disdado Fortuna of the Nestle factory strike in Laguna, Philippines, before he was brutally murdered by military forces on September 22, 2005, the day following the 33rd anniversary of martial law.

Each made strong urgent appeals to support the international call to oust Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, documented as the worst enemy of the Filipino people, with over 4200 cases of human rights violations under her term, as reported by human rights alliance known as KARAPATAN and substantiated by the ISM. In 2005 alone, over 120 Anti-Arroyo and Bayan members have been killed.

Protestors urged that Arroyo, as Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine Armed Forces, be held accountable for the killings and brought to justice.

"It is time to turn our sadness and grief into rage and strength to forward our movement to oust the murderous Arroyo fascist dictatorship. The death of Ka Ric Ramos and all others victims of state terror in the Philippines will not be in vain. We will honor their lives by continuing and finishing the fight for justice they committed themselves to," stated Rodriguez.

Speakers and protestors also waged calls for the withdrawal of the millions in US military aid allotted to the Arroyo regime, currently ranked the fourth largest recipient of US aid globally, and first in Asia. ###