Wednesday, October 10, 2007

babae Open House - October 29

Looking for a space to organize around Pinay issues?
Interested in doing women's work? Curious to know about babae as an organization? Please join us!

babae Open House

Monday, October 29, 2007
Filipino Community Center
35 San Juan Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Please RSVP at so that we may make the appropriate accommodations.
Contact: Joanna Robledo-Maderazo, P: (415) 637-4129 E:

BAYAN-USA Bay Area Remembers the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines

San Francisco – Over 200 Filipinos and allies packed the Filipino Community Center last Friday, October 7th to remember the 35th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines. The event was sponsored by BAYAN-USA Bay Area organizations: Anakbayan – East Bay, babae – San Francisco, and League of Filipino Students.

The night kicked-off with an audio recording of President Ferdinand Marcos declaring Martial Law while various images of a well-dressed Marcos and his family rubbing elbows with international celebrities and world leaders flashed across the screen; interspersed amongst these images were those of massive poverty and popular protests in the Philippines during that time. Bindlestiff's Movement Troupe along with local Bay Area organizations ALAY, babae, and Anakbayan performed a shadow puppet theater play based on an adaptation of Augie Rivera's book entitled Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara Ang Batas Militar, the story of the declaration of Martial Law as witnessed by a young Filipino boy. Various speakers also shared their own stories from Martial Law. Elaine Villasper shared a tragic family story about a relative who was killed by the Philippine military for being suspected as a subversive. Former anti-Marcos activist, Emil de Guzman also shared his experiences as a Filipino organizing against the Marcos regime in San Francisco during the 1970s and 1980s. Revered Michael Yoshii of the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda addressed the crowd about his recent fact-finding mission in the Philippines with the United Methodist Church and how the current spate of political killings in the Philippines is all too similar to the level of violence and political repression of the Martial Law period.

The finale of the evening featured a special performance by Pendong Aban Jr. of Philippine folk supergroup, Asin. The crowd erupted in applause as he started off his set with the chorus of "Balita," a song recently sampled by the hip-hop group, Black Eyed Peas. He then continued on with other familiar songs about peace and justice. Aban's performance was followed by a candlelight ceremony to pay tribute to the martyrs who gave up their lives struggling against the Marcos dictatorship as well as under the current Arroyo regime.

For many in the audience, Martial Law symbolized the repression and corruption of the Marcos regime and the reason why many of their families immigrated to the United States. Although the time of Martial Law has passed, the stories of the current repression of the Arroyo regime were a major theme of the night. A short documentary was shown about the political killings—numbering almost 900—that have taken place in the Philippines since 2001. The current attack on Filipino progressives worldwide is also reminiscent of the Martial Law days. Certain BAYAN-USA members are on a blacklist of 504 people from 50 countries, including overseas Filipinos that were barred from entering the Philippines last July, when the country hosted the ASEAN ministerial meetings. The unlawful arrest and detention of Jose Maria Sison in the Netherlands is more evidence that the current Arroyo regime is bent on mirroring Marcos' record of repression and violation of human rights.

To view photos from this event, visit:
Memoirs of Martial Law