Friday, July 24, 2009



JERSEY CITY, NJ-- Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey, a Filipino youth
organization, joined by allied organizations under the National Alliance for
Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), held a silent protest last Saturday along Five
Corners in Jersey City. The action was meant to be a build-up for the
upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) speech to be delivered by
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this coming Monday, July 27th.

They stood side by side, wearing black shirts and sandwich boards saying:
“Justice for Melissa Roxas!” and “No to US tax dollars for Philippine Death
squads!” This, they said, is symbolic of what the state of human rights in
the Philippines has become under Arroyo.

“Ever since Arroyo came to power, numerous repressive policies and brutal
counter insurgency campaigns were put in to place. The state of human rights
can be easily but horribly summed up by just looking at the increasing body
count of the dead and the posted pictures of the disappeared”, said Yves
Nibungco, Deputy Secretary-General of Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey.

Nibungco expects Arroyo will deliver her speech on Monday, highlighting her
achievements and her vision for the future of our country. But young
activists doubt it.

“For the past nine years, what we heard are just litanies of lies. With
regards to human rights, there is nothing but a long trail of blood. In her
last year, we call on our kababayans here in the US and around the world to
be vigilant and ensure that this will be the end of Arroyo’s days in power,”
said Mr. Nibungco.

The youth organization also called attention to the scheduled Obama-Arroyo’s
meeting in Washington DC this July 30th. They demanded Melissa Roxas’ case
be put into the agenda. Mr. Nibungco continued, “Obama should stay true to
his word that he is for human rights. We demand that he put a hold on all US
military aid to the Philippines and that the Arroyo regime to cooperate with
ongoing and future investigations on Melissa Roxas’ case and other human
rights issues.”

The Philippines has been one of the biggest recipient of US military aid
since after the 9/11 attacks. In 2003 the Philippines, since it was also
considered as the second front on the US war on Terror. The Philippines
received $114M of military aid from the US, $164M in 2005 and $162M last
year. This is amidst America’s shrinking economy and decline in social
services due to budget cuts.

“We will continue to do this and launch more protest actions as long as
there dissent is being suppressed and that an illegitimate government
continues to exist. Our message to Ms. Arroyo is that they can never silence
the oppressed but definitely, her days are numbered," concluded Nibungco.

Anakbayan NY/NJ, along with several other Filipino organizations, is
sponsoring a community forum entitled "The Real State of the Nation Address"
in Queens on Monday, July 27, at 6pm. It will be held at the BAYANIHAN
Filipino Community Center, located on 40-21 69th Street off Roosevelt Avenue
in Woodside. For more information, email ###

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