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‘Stop the killing of Philippine activists’

Published Jun 21, 2005 10:51 PM

The Bush regime and the U.S. military are backing a wholesale terror campaign against the people of the Philippines. That was the message of an Emergency Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines held in New York June 16.

The supposedly democratic administration of Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has carried out more human-rights violations than any previous Philippine government--including the fascist dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos--according to Berna Ellorin of BAYAN USA. She had just returned from two months in the Philippines.

This year alone, 39 members of the mass organizations BAYAN and BAYAN-MUNA have been murdered by military-backed death squads. Slides showed the faces of labor organizers, priests and others who have been killed.

The Philippine military is armed, trained and funded by the Pentagon. U.S. Special Forces are operating in the country. In the past four years human-rights organizations have documented violations against 198,398 individuals, 18,977 families and 123 communities. The Arroyo regime also holds 238 political prisoners.

Ellorin and other speakers talked about the history of U.S. intervention in the Philippines, the Philippine people's struggle and the BAYAN movement. Exposés of corruption and massive electoral fraud have now discredited Arroyo's government, and BAYAN is leading a campaign for her resignation with a perspective to oust her if she refuses to step down.

The meeting ended with an appeal for international support for BAYAN's call: "End undeclared martial law! Stop the killing of political activists."

A Philippine Solidarity Committee in the U.S. is now being created.

The conference was organized by BAYAN USA, the youth organization ANAKBAYAN and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. The program also included a popular poem in Tagalog by Philippine laureate and labor organizer Amado V. Hernandez. It was read by Gary Labad of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines and accompanied by a dance interpretation by NYCHRP member Donna Mae Santos. The program closed with the singing of the Philippine patriotic song "Bayan Ko."

In the photo, left to right, are Rusty Fabunan, Berna Ellorin and Gary Labad.

—Bill Cecil