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Filipina women say: Never again to martial law!

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Reference: Marisa Mariano
Secretary General, babae San Francisco

babae joins the League of Filipino Students and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan USA) in a candlelit vigil commemorating the 34th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines on Thursday, September 21st. This event will coincide with an international action co-sponsored by the International League of People’s Struggle denouncing current human rights violations under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) government, similar to the brutal tactics utilized under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos to terrorize the Filipino people. As we commemorate the vibrancy of the people’s movement that toppled the Marcos Regime, we cannot help but recognize the irony of the current undeclared Martial Law instigated by the United States-supported GMA government.

babae is alarmed by the growing political repression in the Philippines and calls for an end to the killings and abductions of community members simply working towards better working and living conditions for themselves and their families. As of today, September 21st, the death count has risen to 755 while the numbers of people that have disappeared is now at 184. With the numbers growing at a weekly, sometimes daily rate, many Filipinos in the homeland as well as in the United States are outraged by the GMA government’s lack of action in investigating these cases. As of September 21st, no arrests or prosecutions have been made.

babae is deeply concerned by the atrocity of these assassinations. Of the 755 murders, 78 were women and 58 were children. These women all ranged from students, peasants, workers, teachers, doctors, and to mothers and teens — all committed to ensuring livable conditions for their communities. According to a recently released report by the human rights group, Amnesty International, it points directly to the negligence of the Arroyo government to adequately address or solve any of the killings.

babae stresses the importance of learning the historical lessons from our collective memory so as not to repeat the greed and corruption that have plagued the very government meant to serve and protect its people. How do these issues impact Filipinos in the United States? First and foremost, our tax dollars are being spent to sponsor Arroyo’s corrupt and repressive government – $38 million in US military aid to the Philippines this year alone. Furthermore, many of our educational, health and social services are being cut in order to fund the Philippines’ state-sanctioned murders. We must ask ourselves what our responsibility must be in order to address the suffering and repression that our people are experiencing in the Philippines.


babae (translates to “woman”) is an organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of multi-generational Filipino women in the United States. We strive to connect concrete material conditions here in the United States and the Homeland through deepening our understanding of our history and culture by applying theory with practice. We seek to mobilize and organize with Filipino women in the San Francisco/Bay Area community by engaging in our collective struggles and promoting holistic well-being in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women’s emancipation.