Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anakbayan NY/NJ Honors Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran

Press Statement
21 May 2008

Reference: Jonna Baldres, Secretary General, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey
Contact info:, 1(646)5787390

Anakbayan NY/NJ Honors Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran

As Anakpawis Partylist Representative Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran meets his untimely demise on the 20th of May at the age of 75, the Filipino youth of New York/New Jersey shares with the whole Filipino nation the grief of losing a great role model who tirelessly fought for the advancement of workers’ rights and who ceaselessly struggled for nationalism, democracy and freedom of the Filipino people.

Despite the government’s persecution, from the Marcos regime up to the present, Ka Bel has been loved by many -- most especially by people from marginalized sectors -- as he lived his life in genuine service of the people. Two years ago, Ka Bel was arrested and detained at the Philippine Heart Center on charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion as he, and 5 other representatives, were accused by the government of collaborating with elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a coup attempt to remove Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office. The charges had not been proven and Ka Bel was finally released last year after spending a year and a half in detention.

As a member of the house of representatives, having been arrested while the congress was in session at the time, Ka Bel was not granted his parliamentary immunity, thus making him a victim of unjust and unreasonable detention, a concrete manifestation of the worsening condition of political repression in the Philippines.

In a display of unwavering fighting spirit, Ka Bel had also served as leader of Yellow Taxi Drivers' Union and the Amalgamated Taxi Drivers Federation, and of numerous unions and militant organizations such as Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and the founding chairperson of International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS). As a representative to the Congress, he served under Bayan Muna, and as of recent, Anakpawis, partylists.

As an advocate of workers' rights, Ka Bel lobbied and campaigned for the passage of pro-worker, pro-poor bills such as HB 345, the bill legislating a P125 across-the-board wage increase for all workers nationwide. This, among a hundred and thirty (130) other bills and resolutions, had been proof of Ka Bel’s commitment to serve the majority of the Filipino people.

“Dying while fixing his own roof only shows how Ka Bel is tightly linked to the grassroots of Philippine society,” Anakbayan NY/NJ Vice President Yancy Gandionco remarks, “He will forever serve as inspiration for us young people to continue the fight until we grow old. Up to his last breath, Ka Bel had been a faithful embodiment of a true working class hero.”

Anakbayan New York/New Jersey will be joining other organizations nationwide under BAYAN USA and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) on May 31 in paying tribute to the humble life lived by Ka Bel. ###

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