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BAYAN USA statement supporting the fast by peasant leaders for justice and peace; it calls for end to state-coordinated killings of Filipino activists

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MANILA–BAYAN USA was present and supports the recent 3-day hunger strike led by Anakpawis partylist representatives Rafael Mariano, Crispin Beltran, as well as several prominent peasant leaders held outside the House of Representatives during a special session held by Congress in Manila.

The urgent action, spearheaded by Anakpawis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya, and the peasant women group Amihan, was held in condemnation of state-directed killings of leaders and members of progressive parties and legitimate people’s organizations pressuring for social change.

The group fast commenced early Wednesday, March 30 and lasted until the evening of Friday, April 1 outside the gates of the Batasan complex, site of congressional buildings during a Congressional special session over the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) hike bill.

“We are here parked outside the Batasan gates to draw the attention of the leadership of the House of Representatives to act immediately on the series of political assasinations of leaders identified with militant partylist groups such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and left-leaning organizations like KMP, Pamalakaya, Bayan, and Gabriela,” stated in a statement released by KMP.

Since the start of the year, 32 members and leaders of progressive parties and people’s groups have fallen victim to extra-judicial killings and another 5 victims to involuntary disappearances.

In light of the state terror campaign against these leaders to suppress a growing mass movement fighting a legitimate struggle against social ails, what is intolerable is the telling silence from the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“GMA’s mute stance on the ongoing killings of her fellow countrymen is in line with her administration’s mastermind role in imposing an undeclared Martial Law upon the Filipino people,” states Berna Ellorin of BAYAN USA, who was also present at the hunger strike. “After speaking with the strikers at this action, what is alarming to note is that this second go-around incites more terror as now leaders of progressive groups are simply sought out and killed by Malacanang-AFP death squads, rather than detained, as was practiced during Marcos’ Martial Law.”

“Filipinos all over the world, especially in the U.S., are deeply concerned over the gross state of human rights violations at the hands of the Philippine government at this time,” states Kawal Ulanday, chair of BAYAN USA. “It is a known fact that many of us and our families sought refuge abroad precisely because of the ensuing terror against the Filipino people during the time of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship for many years. BAYAN USA joins the call of hunger-striking peasant leaders of Anakpawis, KMP, Pamalakaya, and Amihan in condemnation of the state-coordinated killings, disappearances, and attacks of leaders such as Abel Ladera, Fr.William Tadena, Marcelino Beltran, Victor Concepcion, Justice Romeo Capulong, Atty. Charles Juloya, Atty. Felidito Dacut, Joel Baclao, Ernesto Bang, and Danilo Macapagal.”

“Furthermore, we point fingers of condemnation at our own government, the Bush administration, for its continued involvement and aid to state machineries of terror all over the world and especially in the Philippines that operate under the bogus tag-line of anti-terrorism,” Ulanday continued. “We support the joint call of KMP and Pamalakaya to investigate these killings and remove from public office the barbaric perpetrators from the cabinet and AFP whose hands are freshly stained with the blood of our beloved leaders.”

The hunger strike was joined by a contingent traveling from Hacienda Luisita by the end of the program.

BAYAN USA will also sponsor the official delegation to the International Solidary Mission in the Philippines, scheduled for August 12, 2005, as an internationally-coordinated fact-finding mission drawing attention to the rampant killings and other human rights atrocities ensuing in various regions of the Philippines under the US puppet Arroyo regime.

Kawal Ulanday, Chair