Justice for Melissa Roxas

3 08 2009

Justice for Melissa RoxasWhile I was in Abra, Melissa Roxas, unbeknownst to me, was abducted and tortured.

She recently surfaced and is now taking legal actions to defend all human right victims in the Philippines.

Her story is not an isolated, many suffer just as she has and many more will if no one comes out to speak about it.

Visit: justiceformelissa.org


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VFA, EPIC FAIL!

14 04 2009

 

VFA EPIC FAIL

VFA EPIC FAIL

 

 

 

 

We will heed the calls of the oppressed when justice is demanded.  Nicole, a rape victim of a U.S. marine and  a victim of poverty has accepted a deal for cash to recant her statement that she herself did not write.  We should not admonish or blame Nicole because she has been through a beating in court hearings after court hearings after being raped and thrown out a moving van.  

With the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows U.S. soldiers to “train” with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the sovereignty of the people is jeopardized.  In fact, U.S. soldiers have been seen engaging in combat operations against so called terrorists.  Many of the civilians who were killed by the U.S. Marine soldiers were either “suspected terrorists” or “collateral damage”- a nice way to say,

“oh shit, I fucked up and killed the wrong person.  My bad, but its okay because I can get away with it just like I can get away with Rape”

In 1992, the Filipino people were able to force U.S. bases off the grounds of the Philippines on the basis that U.S. military bases brought 1) increased prostitution and rape cases 2) Environmental damages and 3) A trampling of the Filipino rights to sovereignty.

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Quotations From Chief Consultant Sison

10 04 2009

 

Quotations From Chief Consultant Sison

by Edjop

sison2

On Technology

“The biggest irony in the world today is that science and technology can effect industrial development and eliminate poverty but is used by the multinational firms and banks to exploit the people of the world, extract superprofits and debt service from them, deprive them of the boon of development and consign them to worsening levels of poverty.”

 

On Human Rights

“There can be an effective advocacy and militant defense of human rights only by knowing who are the violators of human rights and who are the victims and by recognizing that the people themselves can fight for their human rights through the national democratic movement.”

 

“The substantive scope of human rights covers not only civil and political rights, but also the economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people.  The people assert and fight for the full scope of human rights in their struggle for national and social liberation.”

 

On the Environment

“In extracting superprofits and debt service from the third world, the foreign monopoly capitalists are the biggest plunderers of human and natural resources and despoilers and polluters of the natural environment.  The environmental issue as well as the demand for sustainable development can be seriously addressed only by criticizing and repudiating imperialism and by struggling for liberation.”

 

On Education

“Academic freedom is not merely a protective mantle for cultivating an egotistic and self-gratifying type of enlightenment and expertise or for undertaking the study, training and research program approved by the capitalist state and its monopoly firms.”

 

“Aside from being the keeper and disseminator of received knowledge, the university promotes the advance of knowledge to a new and higher level for the sake of social progress.  It has the obligation to perform critical and creative functions in the contemporary world.  Here lies social responsibility that leads to social progress.”

 

“The bourgeois mode of thinking dominant in society inevitably circulates in or pervades your university at the present time.  The monopoly bourgeois never ceases to influence the university in the capitalist world.  In addition to the tuition fees paid by the students, funds and other resources are received by the university from the state and from the capitalist firms and certain requirements consistent with the demands of capitalism are attached to these resources.” 

 

 

“Academic freedom is best exercised and practiced when you perform your critical and creative functions, when you can see through the workings of monopoly capitalism and criticize the capitalist appropriation of science and technology to extract profits, exploit the proletariat and the people, impose neocolonialism on the countries of the third world and relegate the people there to poverty and misery.”  

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Canadian Intern Inspired by the Search for James

12 10 2008

This is a letter written by Canadian intern for CHRA (Cordillera Human Rights Alliance) Nicole Smith who beautifully expresses her feelings in the past days looking for James, another human rights organizer and co-founder of the CPA (Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance). I hope you find this piece an inspiration to take part in our continuing search. Mabuti na lang may mga bisitang tulad niya: tumutulong.

-Anjo (my journalist friend)

I first met Nicole Smith (ironic name in the P.I because of the Justice 4 Nicole case), when we were both staying at the NCCP (National Council of Churches in the Philippines).  She stayed in the direct opposite room of me for some days.  One day I had my door open and she peaked in just to say hi but Charles and I were having a private conversation.  However, one day I was able to sit down with her and have a good solid conversation.  She comes from Canada and decided to intern with the CHRA because of her dedication to Human Rights.  I am glad that international solidarity remains strong not just in the philippines but all over the world.  

Brandon
______________

September 2008

    *National Council of Churches in the Philippines
     879 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue
     West Triangle, Quezon City 1104
     Philippines

 

I am asking all of you to read this message and to help in any way that you can. For the last week and a half my office has been in the midst of an urgent campaign. Ten days ago, on September 17, a member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance(CPA), my host organization, was forcibly disappeared. These have been the hardest 10 days of my internship and a very difficult time in my office.

James Balao left his house around 7:00 a.m. on September 17 and no one has been able to contact him since. James was a dedicated, full-time people’s advocate and Indigenous human rights advocate. In the last four months, James and his family have been reporting heavy surveillance on both of their family residences and on their persons during daily activities. It is believed that his assertion and defence of the rights of the poorest segments of Filipino society have made him a target of the state’s counter-insurgency operations. Oplan Bantay Laya, the counter-insurgency policy of the government of the Philippines, tags legal people’s organizations and advocates as supporters or members of the armed communist rebel group to legitimize state harassment and violence, intended in reality to silence democratic government opposition. The disappearance of James Balao is the 199th enforced disappearance in the country since the policy was instated in 2001.

I work for the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), the human rights branch of the CPA, and as such we have taken on the lead in the campaign to find James. Many people in my office have worked with James, and the stress on his former coworkers and friends has been the heaviest. We initially met with his family, searched military and police camps in our region, and filed complaints with regional, national, and international human rights bodies. Our campaign is now focused on publically calling for the state security forces to surface James, through press conferences, newspaper ads, demonstrations, and a signature campaign. We are hopeful that James will be surfaced alive if enough immediate pressure is exerted on the Philippine government and state security forces.

As an intern new to the stark reality of human rights work, I am struggling to hold myself together as days go by without any information as to the whereabouts or fate of James. I have no reference for understanding this situation or for participating in its resolution. I am focusing on being present and hope that the work I can do helps ease the stress of those leading this campaign. Nothing I learned in school or by growing up in Canada could have prepared me to process the emotions I am feeling right now. In my office we are wading daily through frustration, hopelessness, and anger deeper then any I have ever experienced. Looking into the tired, desperate eyes of his family I realize now how difficult my chosen career is going to be. But seeing the impunity with which James has been disappeared, and knowing that his fate will either be torture and imprisonment or death, my dedication to working in human rights has been solidified. So has my belief that all people must make a stand against governments, like the Philippines’, committing state terrorism against people who advocate for social justice.

 

We are urgently calling for support for the SURFACE JAMES BALAO! campaign. We specifically seek your support signing our online petition that we will later forward to the Philippine government and its agencies. We also ask you to read the Take Action and send letters of concern to the Philippine government and its agencies. The more international attention that is garnered by this case, the more likely it is that the government of the Philippines will listen to the call to surface James that is coming from its own citizens. International attention to the enforced disappearance of James Balao may also dissuade this same human rights violation from being committed against other people’s advocates. In addition to this support, statements or letters of solidarity to the Balao family, CPA, and CHRA are very welcome and very helpful.

This case is urgent and your immediate assistance is needed if James Balao is going to be surfaced alive. Thank you for your time and for your support in the SURFACE JAMES BALAO! campaign.

In solidarity,
Nicole

 

Nicole Smith is a United Church of Canada global mission personnel serving with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. The work of this global partner and the work of overseas personnel is made possible through your gifts to the Mission and Service Fund of The United Church of Canada.