For Immediate Release
April 28, 2010
References: Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA-USA Vice-Chair,firstname.lastname@example.org;
Fil-Ams in New York ‘Sings for Change’ with Gabriela Womens Party
NEW YORK– With over fifty people in attendance to support Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) 2010 congressional Candidate, Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA-USA, BAYAN USA, Kabalikat Domestic Support Network and other allied organizations hosted a karaoke benefit as Krystal‘s Café 81 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, raising funds to support the party list’s campaign heating up in the Philippines’ election season.
The GWP, created in 2003, won a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives in 2004 and two seats in 2007 for Rep. Liza Maza and Rep. Luz Ilagan. The party is known for being critical of the Arroyo government’s foreign and domestic policies, including the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement, and the national counter-insurgency program known as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). GWP’s slogan, “Babae, Bata, OFW at Bayan,” (“Women, Children, Overseas Foreign Workers and Nation” in English) also shows their allegiance to advocate for migrants, a majority of which are women. GWP is perhaps the only all-women’s political party in the world, creating innovative legislation prioritizing the rights of Filipina women and children. Many of their platforms include positions on human trafficking, prostitution, rape, discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence. GWP has also been at the forefront of legislation that could finally legalize divorce in the Philippines.
“GWP is a significant force in changing the landscape of Philippine politics as the party list emerges from women’s grassroots movement and organizing,” stated Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA
s vice-chair of mass campaigns, “For FilAms in NYC, although we might be far away, GWP’s democratic engagement signals a genuine reflection of the people’s needs and desires.”
Filipinos in the US have an inextricable link to political governance in the Philippines as billions of US tax dollars are budgeted annually towards aid to the Philippines. Historically, the US government has played a key role in determining who will be the next president of the Philippines. This is because almost all Philippine presidents in recent history, with the exception of Joseph Estrada, were educated and groomed in the United States. Key financial backing from the US government, in various forms, to whoever is the Philippine president, ensures that the US government’s neoliberal agenda in the Asia-Pacific region is enforced, with the Philippines as a strategic point.
Given that, under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, members of GWP have also been fallen victim to human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, abductions, and harassment from state security forces, FilAms are keeping a vigilant watch over the election season. With the upcoming national elections in May 2010, GWP expects an increase in human rights violations, the reality of electoral fraud, and the possibility for Arroyo to determine a failure of elections.
Francisco said, “Because there is no telling what the election season may bring, we as FilAm women will be keeping a vigilant watch over the happenings in the Philippines and supporting and celebrating partylists like GWP and senatorial candidate Liza Maza because of their dedication to the Filipino people, women and migrants!”