Tuesday, August 22, 2006

People’s Pilgrimage Offers New York Prayers for Victims of Political Killings in the Philippines

People’s Pilgrimage Offers New York Prayers for Victims of Political Killings in the PhilippinesNew
York/Jersey City— In response to the rise in political killings in the Philippines and with the upcoming 34th anniversary of Martial Law on September 21st, Filipinos in New York and New Jersey are appealing to the spiritually-conscious to offer their prayers and light candles for over 730 victims of human rights violations and their families in the Philippines. The Jersey City-based Filipino youth organization Anakbayan and members of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) are sponsoring a “People’s Pilgrimage for Human Rights” to bring public attention to intensified human rights violations in the form of politically-motivated killings and forced disappearances.
Every Sunday starting August 27th through October, the pilgrimage will travel to churches starting in Jersey City to New York City and from their doorsteps, encourage entering parishioners to offer prayers in memory of victims of human rights violations and light candles for peace and justice in the Philippines. The pilgrimage, which is open to all interested, will especially visit churches with large concentration of Filipino parishioners and Filipino church workers.
On Thursday, September 21, the pilgrimage will gather at the steps of the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at 6:30pm, then continue in procession to the nearby Philippine Consulate for a candlelight vigil and prayer tribute. This action will be in coordination with several other overseas Filipino groups around the world who will light candles in front of the Philippine Consulates and embassies in their countries.
“Our sisters and brothers, fellow members, and all progressive voices in the Philippines calling for pro-people reforms are being targeted for these killings. The international monitor from human rights groups are pointing fingers at the Arroyo regime for an investigation. Instead, Arroyo shows she has the most to gain from this bloodshed by reallocating billions in government funds and military aid towards fake, lip service measures,” stated Gary Labao of the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.
The Philippines is also the largest recipient of US military aid in the Asia Pacific region, with thousands of US troops currently stationed in the country to train Philippine troops in anti-terror measures. “
The Arroyo government is not having its troops trained to fight terror. It is launching an all-out war against those who criticize her regime,” Labao added.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Presbyterian Church of the USA, the United Methodist Church, and several other international church organizations have all issued public resolutions condemning the onslaught of politically-motivated killings, a significant percentage of which are church workers themselves.
A recent country report published by Amnesty International also called international attention to the rampant state of human rights violations, including killings and forced disappearances in the country.
Both Anakbayan and NYCHRP are members of Bayan, an alliance of Filipino organizations in the Philippines of whose membership comprise the largest number of victims of political killings. Bayan actively campaigns against the presence of US troops in the Philippines, the Bush-Arroyo compact in the War on Terror, and intensified foreign economic intervention in domestic affairs, including provisions of Arroyo’s proposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) to the Philippine constitution.
Church locations and schedules of the People’s Pilgrimage for Human Rights in the Philippines,
August 27 -
2217 Kennedy Boulevard 07304-1497
Sunday 12:00 noon
691 West Side Avenue 07304
Sunday 7:00 p.m.
September 3 -
40 Sullivan Drive 07305
Sunday 12:00 noon
September 10 -
800 Bergen Avenue 07306
Sunday 12:00 noon
September 17 -
San Sebastion Church
Woodside Queens
Sunday 12:00 noon
September 21 -
Assembly at St. Patrick's Cathedral
Manhattan at 7:00 p.m.
Procession to the Philippine Consulate
at 556 5th Avenue New York, NY
Schedules and Church venues could change, so please keep posted through this site or call the Anakbayan New York/New Jersey at #201 895 2475.

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