Contact: Jack “Kiwi” de Jesus
Deputy Secretary-General, BAYAN USA
A new generation of young and concerned Filipino-Americans will be taking on the issue of election fraud and corruption in the Philippines this April through May through the powerful medium of music. BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations across the US, will be launching “Power in Numbers”, a concert series aiming to bring musical talents of different ethnic backgrounds together to help shed light on the upcoming Philippine national elections slated for May 10, 2010.
BAYAN USA, an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines, is an alliance formed under the principle that even in the US, Filipinos are intricately affected by the social, political, and economic developments in the Philippines. Since its founding in 2005, the alliance continues with its campaign to cut US military aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the basis that billions in US tax dollars are being funneled to arm, advise, and train Philippine military personnel to commit gross human rights abuses. The pattern of systemic killings, abductions, and illegal detention and torture cases in the Philippines under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration has reached a point of high international scrutiny and condemnation from various international monitoring bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In 2009, a BAYAN USA member on exposure in the rural areas of Central Luzon, Melissa Roxas, was the victim of a brutal abduction at gunpoint, blindfolded, and subjected to 6 days of physical and psychological torture by her captors. Roxas, and BAYAN USA, believes the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army is responsible for the ordeal.
Now back in Los Angeles, Roxas has been speaking out against Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the national counter-insurgency program of the Arroyo government that aims to annihilate the armed insurgency in the Philippine countryside by 2010.
“Instead of going after armed insurgents, the Philippine army and Philippine government are trying to reach their objective by targeting civilians critical of Arroyo and falsely claiming they are communists fronts,” Roxas states. “The upcoming elections, and official end of the Oplan Bantay Laya and the Arroyo presidency scheduled by June 2010 lay the foundation for human rights abuses to escalate by way of election-related violence, election fraud, government corruption, and more impunity for human rights abusers. We have already seen the opening salvo for this with the Maguindanao Massacre last November.”
“We are launching Power in Numbers as our effort to create more awareness about the very unstable conditions in the Philippines right now with the elections coming this May,” states Jack De Jesus, Deputy Secretary-General of BAYAN USA and the national tour spokesperson. De Jesus is probably better known as the hip-hop artist Kiwi, formerly of the rap duo Native Guns, who has previously toured with MC Geologic in the People Power Tour in venues and universities across the US.
Power in Numbers concerts are set to take place in various cities in the US. In New York City, an April 14th date is set where diverse acts such as Gabriel Teodros and Khingz of Abyssinian Creole, Rogue Pinay, and Deep Foundation will perform. To find out more information about the your nearest concert, visit www.bayanusa.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ##