"Our votes may not count, but our voices will be heard:
No to cheating! Stop Political Killings!
Vote for Progressive Party Lists!"
-TEXT B.A.C.K. USA
New York, May 7, 2007
US FILIPINOS PARTICIPATE IN PHILIPPINE ELECTION THROUGH TEXT MESSAGING
Hundreds of Filipino-Americans started a massive campaign of sending cell phone text messages containing the message:
"KUNG MAHAL MO ANG BAYAN
POL KILINGS TUTULAN!
SA TRAPO WAG PALOKO
VOTE KABATAAN PARTY!
PLS FWD TO 10 PPL.
FROM TEXT BACK-USA"
(If you love our motherland, fight against cheating. Oppose political killings!Don't be fooled by traditional politicians, vote for progressives)
to thousands of Filipinos in the U.S. the Philippines and elsewhere in the world encouraging them to forward the said text message to relatives and friends in the Philippines.
TEXT B.A.C.K. stands for TEXT Brigade Against Cheatings and Killings is an initiative of BAYAN USA member organizations and launched on May 7, 2007. Precisely at 10:30 AM Manila Time, hundreds upon hundreds of text messages was sent from various cities of the U.S. starting in New York City, Jersey City, San Francisco, Los angeles, Seattle and Hawaii to the candidates and members of KABATAAN PARTY LIST headquarters in
Quezon City as well as to various provincial and regional chapters from Ilocos Norte, Baguio City, Central Luzon, Bulacan, the National Capitol Region, Southern tagalog, Central Visayas, Cebu City, Mindanao Region, Davao City and many more. The text message was also sent to various members of the media.
The text message is meant to encourage Filipinos to be vigilant and watchful against cheating and electoral fraud. The message also contain a plea to oppose the rampant political killings.
"A vast number of Filipinos abroad can not vote, but the circumstances should not prevent us from directly participating and making our voices heard in the coming elections. The fact that Filipinos, particularly in the US is responsible for keeping the Philippine economy afloat, we deserve the right to be heard in the elections. Since we cannot vote, we want to encourage our kababayans to vote for whom we believe deserve our votes. We are using the technology of text messaging and the internet to spread our message." a statement by Gary Labao, spokesperson for TEXT B.A.C.K. USA. and a member of BAYAN USA in New York.
"Araw araw pinapangako namin na tuloy tuloy kaming magse-send ng text sa lahat ng mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at kakilala namin sa Pilipinas. Dito sa U.S. lahat ng mga kapit bahay, mga katrabaho at lahat ng iba pang Pilipinong kakilala namin ay ite text namin para makasiguradong umabot sa libu-libo hanggang milyon ang ma-abot ng mensahe namin, pati sa 'Friendster' at 'Myspace' saka sa mga 'blogs' ikakalat namin ito."
(Everyday we promise to keep sending to all our relatives and friends in the Philippines. Here in the US, we will also text our neighbors and co-workers to ensure that thousands up to millions of people reach our message including 'Friendster', 'Myspace' and blogs.) the statement said by Bobz Manuel, a member of Anakbayan in New Jersey, a prticipant for TEXT BACK USA.
"Pati sa kapatid kong nasa US Navy, hihimukin namin sila na mag text din, dahil napakarami ng kabataang Pilipino ang nasa US Navy ngayon nagustuhin man nilang bumoto ay hindi pwede, pero kahit paano, sa text man lang ay makalahok din sila." (Even to my brother who is in the US Navy, we will encourage them to send the texts because there are so many Filipino youths right now enlisted in the US Navy who can't vote
even if they wanted to, at least through texts, they can participate.) Manuel added.
TEXT BACK has also already caught international support with news of other major cities in various countries all over the world taking up the campaign. In Particular, Australia has also launched TEXT BACK Australia sending similar text messages to the Philippines. More countries with large Filipino communities are soon expected to follow.
In the following days until election day, TEXT BACK USA and KABATAAN PARTY vowed to continue sending the text message to reach millions of Filipinos in the Philippines and all over the world. TEXT BACK USA initiators include New York Committee for Human Rights (NYCHRP) in the Philippines, Anakbayan U.S. Chapters, League of Filipino Students (LFS) SFSU & members of BAYAN USA. In the Philippines it is being carried and promoted by KABATAAN PARTY.
For more information about the TEXT BACK campaign contact Gary Labao, BAYAN USA, e-mail NYCHRP @ yahoo.com, tel. 646-479-1595 in the U.S. in the Philippines: Sarah Maramag, KABATAAN PARTY, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0919-348-6790