Monday, June 30, 2008

Justice for Paraders Harassed at PIDC! Protesters Storm Philippine Consulate Demanding Apology

News Release
June 11, 2008

Reference: Rico Foz, Executive Vice President, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), email:, phone no. 718.565.8862

Justice for Paraders Harassed at PIDC! Protesters Storm Philippine Consulate Demanding Apology

NEW YORK-- In a show of solidarity, members of the Filipino community converged in indignation for two of its members, last Friday, June 6, 2008, outside of the Philippine Consulate in New York City.
Rallying behind Rusty Fabunan and Wilfred Recaido, members of Kapatirang Pilipino or Kappa Pi (Filipino Brotherhood), a community-based Filipino fraternity, the community protested outside of the Consulate, demanding an apology for the Philippine Consulate-PIDC-NYPD's treatment of the two at the Philippine Independence Day Celebration. Also being called for was the dismissal of all charges brought against the two.

The indignation rally was one of the biggest mobilizations staged in front of the Philippine Consulate in recent years. With representatives from FiRE, ANAKBAYAN NY/NJ, KABALIKAT Domestic Workers Support Network, NYCHRP, BAYAN USA, IAC, NAFCON and the Philippine Forum joining - it was the youth of Kappa Pi who made up the bulk of the protest. After being harassed by the NYPD while marching down the Madison Avenue parade route on June 1st, Fabunan and Recaido were detained by the NYPD for launching a drum circle at the fair. Protesters believe the NYPD acted on the Philippine Consulate-Philippine Independence Day Committee's (PIDC) orders.

"[PIDC President] Raul Estrellado claims we were 'out of place' at the parade and fair because we were using the event to protest," claims Matthew Cheirs of Kappa Pi, "but how can we be deemed out of place when the PIDC awarded the Philippine Forum-NAFCON contingent 'Most Meaningful Group that Best Depicts Our Theme 2008: Tribute to Filipino Excellence- Innate Knowledge, Capability and Talent'"?

"In honoring the theme of the celebration this year, we decided to question the decision to raise the price of a rental booth at the fair as high as $1700.00, a stark contrast from the days of $50-$70 during the 90's. The Filipino community, for the most part, was in support of our signs," Cheirs added. "Perhaps that is the real reason the PIDC called the cops on us--censorship?"

Protesters chanted loudly throughout but grew louder when Philippine Consul General Cecilia Rebong and Vice-Consul Leandro Lachica passed by them, entering the Consulate uncomfortably. Lachica later approached members of the rally, attempting to shift responsibility from the Consulate, claiming that the actions of the police were at the request of the PIDC alone.

"But the PIDC is heavily-influenced by the Philippine Consulate. In fact, all meetings of the PIDC are held in the Philippine Consulate. It is hard to swallow that the Consulate's interests aren't being upheld by the PIDC, and this Consulate has a clear history of censoring our group," Cheirs ended.

Among the demands of the community campaign are an official apology from the PIDC and Philippine Consulate, a dropping of all charges against Fabunan and Recaido, an investigation to who from the Philippine Consulate and/or PIDC ordered for the NYPD to harass the NAFCON/BAYAN parade contingent, and an audit of all funds collected from the PIDC.
To view actual video documentation of the incident, please go to the YouTube video link ###
No to Racial Profiling!
Stop criminalizing the youth!
Rusty Fabunan of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
Peewee Recaido of Kappa Pi Fraternity

Jonna Baldres of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey

Katie Joaquin of Anakbayan East Bay


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