OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2008
Reference: Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA-USA, National Coordinator
(206) 859-7525, email firstname.lastname@example.org
GABRIELA USA DENOUNCES ARROYO’S MARTIAL LAW OF TODAY
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.
NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES! US MILITARY AID OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!
NO TO ANOTHER GENERATION OF WAR ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN!
OUST GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO!
SELF-DETERMINATON FOR THE BANGSAMORO PEOPLE!