Wednesday, September 24, 2008



September 25, 2008

Reference: Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA-USA, National Coordinator (206) 859-7525, email

On September 5, 2008, the US Congress passed The Children Soldiers Accountability Act to prosecute any foreign military commanders actively recruiting children under the age of 15 into military service. These efforts are branded by the US government, the leading force in many overseas wars of aggression, to "real leadership" to end using children as soldiers. The US' puppet regime has fallen right into place with this new trend of "philanthropic" American imperial guilt. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will claim in the 63rd Assembly of the United Nations that the leadership of several opposition military formations, namely the New People's Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, recruit children into their ranks. In truth, these accusations against endangering children reflect more severely on GMA's track record.

Under GMA's rule, over 60 children have died under the extra-judicial killings of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their unwarranted insurgency strategies. Unborn and small children in the care of regular Filipino women targeted as terrorists have been slain in indiscriminate bombardments, shootings and torture. Children have been found on the list of torture victims on the AFP lists. Caught in the crossfire of GMA's copycat US War on Terror cum state terrorism, children have suffered greatly because of displacement and harassment under harsh militarization.

Additionally, under GMA's regime, the rights of children have become the last priority of the nation--the plummet of economy has led to abject poverty, panhandling and begging become the only option for street children and the use of child labor the most rampant abuse in multi-national corporations.

Lastly, the clandestine recruitment of children in the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), a government-trained and sponsored paramilitary force has swelled under the watch of GMA. It is a well known fact that in highly militarized provinces like in the Cordillera region and Samar, that there have been several claims that the AFP have repeatedly used children to serve as guides in their expansion areas. On these grounds, GMA becomes the number one suspect to prosecute with the newly passed Children Soldiers Accountability Act as she has and continues to use children to power her reign of terror upon the Filipino people.

"While we fight for the rights of Filipino children, GMA makes children fight her battles for her," states Valerie Francisco, chairperson of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), "GMA must be held accountable for putting Filipino children, women and families in danger with her blatant lies and abuses."

The women of GABRIELA-USA demand that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo step down from her stolen presidential seat. We call for US military aid to stop funding death squads under the GMA administration. We demand that GMA and her goons stop abusing and killing the children and women of the Philippines!






Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE urgently demands that those responsible for the enforced disappearance of JAMES M. BALAO should immediately and unconditionally surface him. We are specifically calling on the military intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to surface James. James' surveillance leading to his abduction was executed only by means of the joint operations of the military intelligence groups-the Intelligence Security Unit (ISU), Military Intelligence Group (MIG) and the PNP. Balao is not simply a missing person but a victim of enforced disappearance, and this is an urgent issue of the right to life that must be upheld and respected at all times. We challenge the AFP and PNP that if they truly are defenders of human rights and are mandated to serve and protect the Filipino people, they MUST immediately surface James Balao.

Balao is a founding member of the CPA in 1984 and worked in its Research and Education Commission, extending his services and expertise in this area in the Cordillera provinces such as in Ifugao. He is the president of their clan association, the Oclupan Clan Association. He hails from Atok and La Trinidad in Benguet. Balao is the second victim of enforced disappearance in the CPA, with Ama Daniel Ngayaan who was first abducted in October 1987 in Pasil, Kalinga. Balao was first arrested in 1988 for allegedly possessing "subversive" documents. The case was dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Intensified Surveillance and Harassment Towards Extrajudicial Killings
Balao's enforced disappearance is not an isolated incident. It is part of a systematic and desperate move of the State against members and officers of the CPA in its "counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency" campaign. The ultimate end-all of being unjustly branded as a "communist front" or "terrorist" is surveillance and harassment towards extrajudicial killings. In recent months, our members, including innocent civilians, became victims to the state terror unleashed thru the Oplan Bantay Laya. Through the OBL, the Arroyo regime has mercilessly claimed the lives of CPA members Markus Bangit and Alyce Claver in June and July 2006, and nearly, the life of Dr. Chandu Claver.

In November 2007, human rights worker Vangie Tadeo from the CPA-Abra chapter was abducted and it was very fortunate that Vangie escaped from her abductors. In March 2008, a youth member of our cultural member organization was abducted. She was surfaced after four days when her captors could not probably get anything from her. She was severely interrogated and remains in trauma. In their massive military operations in Tubo, Abra last March 2008, the 50th IB killed 60-year old farmer-hinter Mariano Galisen. In April and June 2008, elements of the 77th and 21st IBs mercilessly gunned down farmer-hunters Rey Logao and Rocky Aboli, both of Lubuagan, Kalinga, in what the military senselessly calls a "legitimate encounter with the NPA". The circumstances of their deaths show that they are innocent civilians merely attending to their daily routine of farming. If the military can commit such a gruesome act to Aboli who is in fact a councilman of Upper Uma barangay, the ordinary civilians are also subject to the AFP's mad terror tagging. The 5th Infantry Division has in fact manufactured a list of 25 alleged NPA surrenderees that includes names of civilians like Max Liyang Finmon-as of Tonglayan, Natonin, Mt. Province. The barangay officials immediately issued a resolution, also signed by Natonin Mayor Ana Rafael Banaag and the Natonin PNP Chief Eusebio Aclupen, stating that Finmon-as is NOT an NPA but a local resident whom they know.

Undaunted vigilance is very necessary at these crucial times. The regime is desperate in its attempt to prove that it is successful in quelling the revolutionary NPA, because it cannot. That is why it is manufacturing a list of NPAs which are actually innocent civilians and carries on attacking legitimate people's organizations like the CPA.

The surveillance never stopped, and now, with James' enforced disappearance, more suspicious looking drivers, taxi cabs and private vehicles have been parking near the CPA regional office and its network of organizations. The extrajudicial killings came to a lull in 2007 as a result of the sustained multi-level pressure at the extremely isolated Arroyo regime and its OBL, and while the regime underwent review for its human rights record in the Universal Periodic Review. The Philippine government's report to the UPR contained barefaced lies and half truths about the real human rights situation in the country, claiming credit for the decrease in the number of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances through supposed "measures" undertaken by the Philippine government.

Defy State Terror!
Once an innocent civilian or a member of a legitimate people's organization such as the CPA is labeled as a front organization of the CPP, an NPA supporter or a terrorist, that is already laying the ground towards surveillance, harassment and extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance. In James' case, let the public know that an AFP dossier has actually tagged James an alleged position as head of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Education Bureau in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions. This is outrageous and an outright desperate attempt of the AFP to claim that indeed, the State's "counter-insurgency" is yielding positive results!

We challenge the AFP and PNP to immediately and unconditionally surface James Balao. Each day that you, the PNP and AFP remain silent and indifferent to the enforced disappearance of James only validates further your accountability in his disappearance.

We, along with the Balao family, appeal to the public for support in our effort to have James immediately surfaced. This is our task as Filipino citizens to always uphold and protect the right to life and not deny it to anyone.

A State that violates basic human rights and brazenly denies the right to life must not be tolerated. We will not tolerate each passing day with passivity nor will we tolerate the impunity bred in this fascist regime. We will heighten our vigilance and most especially, resist and defy state terrorism. We will not be lameducks waiting for prolonged surveillance and harassment and the next extrajudicial killing. We will resist all forms of state terror and if necessary, through self defense as an assertion of our rights to life and self determination!



Beverly Longid
Chairperson, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

# 2 P. Guevarra Street, West Modern
Aurora Hill, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Tel: +63-74-442-2115
Fax: +63-74-443-7159

Sunday, September 21, 2008


September 20, 2008
Reference: Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA-USA, National Coordinator
(206) 859-7525, email


Thirty-six years ago, on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos, the
former US-supported dictator of the Philippines, declared Martial Law
in his country. The political repression, liberalization of economic
policies and social constriction following his declaration claimed the
lives of hundreds of Filipinos. Today, the historical trauma of that
period and the continuation of backwards economic and political
policies still resonate. Filipino American women denounce the ongoing
militarization of the Philippines and the undeclared state of Martial
Law in the Philippines under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

The resonance of Martial Law can be more accurately described as an
extension and continuation of graft and corruption from the Marcos
dictatorship all the way through the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime.
While she sits in her stolen presidential seat, GMA has washed her
hands in the blood of over a thousand community leaders, activists and
common people. GMA's eagerness to bend over backwards to the dictates
of United States politics and its IMF/World Bank appendages have
outdone the assaults of Marcos on his own people.

The increasing conflict in Mindanao, falsely assigned religious
undertones as its source, finds its origins in the years of Martial
Law when Marcos engineered Philippine policies and legislation to open
up to the demands and orders of countless transnational, multinational
corporations and the then emerging IMF/World Bank. These grievances
exacted on the people of Mindanao pushed the Bangsamoro people to
fight against economic and state aggression to protect their land,
life and resources.

The very same fight exists today in Mindanao, the violence erupting is
from a people defending themselves and their land. The easy fallback
story of Christians versus Muslims is one of the fables in GMA's
fictional legacy in her presidency, just like her claims to appease
the poverty and labor situation in the Philippines. US-backed foreign
intervention and the return of permanent US military bases is again a
reality for the Philippine people under the watch and permission of
the GMA administration.

The direct impacts of GMA's foreign diplomacy results in the
displacement of women and children in Mindanao, beginning with the
arrival of US military occupation in 2001. Family homes, children's
schools and community spaces have been readily disposed to be replaced
by military development and corporate aggression. The "collateral
damage" and the lives of women and children taken by these settlements
are shocking and continue to escalate.

The entrance of US military bases in Mindanao opens the doors for the
proliferation of bases elsewhere in the Philippines, Zamboanga being a
site for expansion. These conditions, tried and true, leave women more
vulnerable to prostitution, sexual terrorism and rape with the arrival
of military servicemen in the thousands.

GABRIELA-USA, consisting of babae, San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle and
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York, unite to call for a
serious investigation of the US military encampments in the
Philippines and a restoration of constitutional law and Philippine
sovereignty. GABRIELA-USA demands that respect be reinstated to the
people of Mindanao, that they be granted their ancestral domain and be
able to live with the dignity of their full human rights.

On September 20, 2008, at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center,
FiRE-GABRIELA USA hosts "On Martial Law." This event features special
guest Bebot Galvan from KABALIKAT, support network for Filipina
domestic workers. Together, community members remember the conditions
of Martial Law under Marcos, his overthrow during People Power I in
1986 and discuss today's conditions of ongoing militarization and the
call to oust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Volunteers Needed: Diwata Young Women's Group Coordinators!

Hey fams!

Just a heads up that i'm looking for a few fresh ladies to be the new Coordinators for Diwata, Babae's young women's group program out of the Filipino Community Center in the Excelsior. This a wonderful volunteer opportunity!

Diwata is a program that provides a space for young pinays once a week at the FCC. The group's activities and projects are determined by the young women themselves, and in the past have ranged from painting a mural, arts and crafts projects, film/movie nights, and putting together a skit performance for Diwang Pinay. More importantly, the young women's group provides the women a space to talk about their issues, receive mentorship, and gain leadership skills.

We had up to 12 young women participants last year ranging from 17yrs-20. We're looking to incorporate some younger youth (possible age 15 and above) this year, and currently only have one coordinator for the whole group (me!). I NEED help! Here's an overview of the responsibilities:

- Attend weekly young women's group meetings and activities (currently set for Friday evenings from 6pm-8pm, but may change depending on availability of the new participants)
- Attend a minimum of one planning meeting per week to plan the week's activities
- Attend and help coordinate a weekend leadership retreat.
- Serve as a mentor and adult ally to the young women participants.
- Help in creating monthly report of the group's activities.
- Oversee and help with recruiting new members.
- Oversee and help with implementation of the projects and activities.

- Must be 21 yrs old or older
- Must be invested in youth empowerment and advocacy!

Not 21?? Join the group! We're always looking for young women to train into youth leaders.

For folks who are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please email me directly at Diwata meetings start soon...don't miss out! :D

Thanks all! Pls. forward to anyone who may be interested!

Elaine Villasper