FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2008
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!
OUST GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO!
STOP US MILITARY AID TO THE PHILIPPINES!
NO TO VIOLENCE AGAINST FILIPINO CHILDREN!
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!