BAYAN USA gives the highest honors to our fallen kasama, Amado Khaya Canham Rodriguez, who died from health complications while in the Philippines. Amado made his home wherever he lived, growing up on both the East and West coast, and a child of both Filipino and Black heritage. Eventually he moved back to the Bay Area and later became the chairperson of Anakbayan East Bay (ABEB). As a youth organizer, he took up local efforts in the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-displacement movements and Philippine-based issues through the National Democratic movement. During his time in ABEB, he participated in an exposure program to the Philippines in 2017 where he and others were able to visit political prisoners and integrate with Lumad communities in Mindanao. There, too, he would eventually call home.
Two years ago, Amado made the decision to move to the Philippines and joined the mass movement fighting for the basic rights of the Filipino people and against the tyranny of the ruthless Duterte regime. He worked closely in poor peasant and indigenous Mangyan communities in Mindoro, supporting them in the struggle for land, livelihood and ancestral domain. It was there that Amado fell ill from food poisoning and passed away, among the people he dedicated his life to serving. His passing speaks to the grave injustice of the Philippine government’s healthcare system, which is neither accessible nor affordable, especially in rural communities.
BAYAN USA condemns the Philippine government in its attempts to smear Amado’s name due to his activism and involvement with the National Democractic movement. We stand in defense of the church and peasant organizations that Amado worked with who are also being attacked by the Duterte regime. We will continue to raise our voices as long as the US-Duterte regime targets activists and endangers their lives. With the passing of the Anti-Terror Law, Duterte’s fascism has risen to new levels, resulting in mass arrests, disappearances, and extra-judicial killings, among other human rights violations. We call on others to bravely take on the root problems of the Philippines, in the face of heightening repression from the fascist Duterte regime, and to carry on Amado’s fighting spirit to defend ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines against corporate greed and plunder!
As our National Democratic movement continues to grow our fight against U.S. imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism, and for genuine independence, national industrialization and agrarian reform, we remember all those who have died fighting for these same goals. They have left lasting impacts through their tireless contributions of serving the people. Despite the real hardships faced by Amado, his decisiveness to struggle through them alongside the communities he worked with reminds us of what it truly means to be an activist and an anak ng bayan, a child of the people.
We encourage people to read his family’s full tribute and obituary here to learn more about Amado and what he was fighting for. We are asking organizations and individuals to endorse the Philippines Human Rights Act (PHRA) to cut U.S. military aid and force an investigation on human rights violations in the Philippines which has currently been introduced to the U.S. Congress last month.
Rest in Power, Amado Khaya Canham Rodriguez!
Mabuhay si Amado!