Friday, September 28, 2018

Malaya Movement Mobilizes on Martial Law Day Against Human Rights Abuses of Duterte Regime

Photo Christiaan Pfeifer

New York – This past Friday, September 21, 2018, the Malaya Movement, together with Bayan USA-Northeast, Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, GABRIELA New York and New Jersey, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), and the recently inaugurated Migrante USA, held a mobilization at the Philippine Consulate General of New York on the 46th anniversary of the 1972 declaration of martial law in the Philippines by ex-president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Old and new generations of activists alongside allied communities and organizations participated in the mobilization to remember the sacrifices of the Filipino people who fought against and overthrew the Marcos dictatorship, as well as remember all those who were arrested, tortured, and killed by the Marcos regime. The Malaya Movement recognizes that act of remembering is crucial in face of today’s gross historical revisionism, blatant denials, and calls to “move on,” even by those who were directly responsible and carried out atrocities during martial law.

The action sought to remind the world of the truth of what happened during martial law under Marcos, expose and call to end the atrocities of the current regime of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte including his imposition of and Congress’ complicity in extending martial law in the southern region of Mindanao, and denounce his open political support for the return to power of the Marcos family and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the highest posts in the country despite the fact that they are guilty of plunder and crimes against the Filipino people.

Taking a stand against the repetition of this violent history and continuing the struggle, the Malaya Movement brought together various sectors to fight for the advancement of genuine democracy, human rights, and justice in the Philippines. All collectively called for an end to martial law in Mindanao, US military aid that continues to fund the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who are perpetuating human rights abuses nationwide, the contractualization of Filipino workers, and the TRAIN law that has contributed to worsening economic conditions, the ongoing food crisis, and the highest inflation rate in nearly a decade and the highest among ASEAN countries.  All called to stop the killings in the Philippines and the silencing of journalists, and to unequivocally say no to dictatorship, fascism, and tyranny.

The program featured speakers from Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, Migrante New York and New Jersey, Gabriela New York, Bayan USA, and the Malaya Movement, as well as activists who fought against the dictatorship of Marcos decades ago.  Responding to Governor Imee Marcos’s claim that millennials have “moved on” from her father’s martial law and Duterte and Arroyo’s denial of abuses and plunder during their own presidencies, Malaya Movement Northeast Co-Coordinator Vina Orden said, “While you may try to erase the atrocities of the Marcos, Arroyo, and Duterte regimes from our history books, for as long as martial law survivors continue to tell their stories of what it’s really like to be detained and tortured as political prisoners, for so long as the children of survivors continue to deal with the emotional and psychological damage of our parents’ truth as well as their silences, for so long as millenials like many of those gathered here today continue to educate themselves...for so long as there are more of us who are committed to the truth, we will never forget what martial law was and is, and we won’t let any of you ‘move on’ unless you are held accountable for the ways that you continue to sell out Philippine sovereignty and the Filipino people.”  Old and new generations of activists participated in the symbolic act of ripping up and destroying images of Marcos and Duterte, chanting, “never again, never again, never again to martial law!”  The program ended with everyone singing the song “Awit ng Pag-asa.”

Photo Christiaan Pfeifer
The mobilization came on the heels of the announcement of the International People’s Tribunal’s guilty verdict against Duterte for crimes against humanity over gross systematic violations of human rights on September 20, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The proceedings and decision noted the politically motivated killings under the Duterte regime, massacres in Mindanao under martial law, the targeting and persecution of activists and journalists, vilification of women, militarization of Moro communities, violations of the socio-economic rights of the Filipino people, and how the Duterte administration’s anti-drugs, anti-loitering, and counterinsurgency programs have terrorized Filipino citizens, particularly the most marginalized sectors, including the urban poor, indigenous peoples, laborers, and peasants.

The Malaya Movement is committed to exposing Duterte’s abuses of power and attacks against democracy, standing in solidarity with those in the Philippines and around the world who are fighting against his looming dictatorship.  We will continue to use our voice and influence to uphold human rights and resist fascism and dictatorship in the Philippines. Forty-six years years ago Marcos forever altered the course of the Philippine history and the lives of the Filipino people when he signed Proclamation 1081, declaring martial law over the entire country. Forty-six years later, the Malaya Movement declares: never again and never forget.

The Philippines Reaffirms Commitment to International Pact that Seeks Better Treatment, Protection for Migrants

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano delivers his intervention during the high-level meeting on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration held Wednesday, 26 September, at the sides of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (RTVM Photo)

New York – The Philippines on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to an international agreement that seeks to provide better treatment and protection not only for the more than 10 million Filipinos living and working overseas but for migrants from other countries as well.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano gave the reaffirmation during a high-level meeting on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that was held on the sides of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“Having millions of migrant Filipinos, we want the Global Compact to be a living document that translates into action, not one that is shelved and cited merely for its aspirations,” Secretary Cayetano said during the meeting that was also participated in by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The Global Compact, which is set for adoption during the Intergovernmental Conference to be held in Morocco in December, seeks to secure the cooperation of the international community in effectively addressing issues related to migration.
The Secretary said the hosting by the Philippines last month of the Manila Conference on the Global Compact for Migration underscores the importance the country places on its effective implementation.
“The Philippines reaffirms its strong commitment not just to defend and implement the Global Compact, but to promote its implementation by other states,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano delivers his intervention during the high-level meeting on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration held Wednesday, 26 September, at the sides of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (RTVM Photo)

The Secretary also cited the importance of innovative partnerships, such as the ongoing cooperation between the Philippines and Bahrain.
“With the Global Compact as basis, and even in the absence of a bilateral labor agreement or a regional cooperation framework, we are working together on a standard employment contract that would ensure decent work and substantially reduced recruitment cost for hiring Filipino domestic workers in Bahrain,” the Secretary said.
He said Manila and Manama are also working together to provide regular pathways to over a thousand Filipino migrant workers through Bahrain’s flexi visa system. 

“This Philippines-Bahrain cooperation is the best example that the Global Compact is a framework that works on the ground despite its non-legally binding nature,” Secretary Cayetano pointed out.
In the statement he read during the meeting, Secretary General Guterres likewise urged member-states to commit themselves to the Global Compact.
"I urge governments, businesses, civil society, but also local and regional authorities to come to the table ready to make commitments that will maximize the benefits of well-managed migration, and reduce the negative impact of ill-advised policies and a lack of cooperation," he said.
The side event was organized by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration Louis Arbour and co-sponsored by the Philippines, Morocco, Mexico, Bahrain, Canada, Rwanda, Turkey, and Brazil.
Among those who delivered statements other than the the representatives of the sponsoring countries were the President of the Swiss Confederation and the Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Tuvalu, Tunisia, and Indonesia.