BAYAN-USA Opposes Philippine State’s Counterinsurgency Tour in the United States
BAYAN USA is outraged by the Philippine state-sponsored counterinsurgency tour that made its rounds across the United States this November. The tour, branded as a “Special Mission Project,” was meant to raise “awareness with our kababayans here on the real status and modus operandi of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the US as well as in the Philippines.” Events were held with members of the Filipino community in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The “Special Mission Team” consisted of three main speakers who are known to actively collude with state agents: Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz of SAMBAYANAN, Relissa Lucena of Yakap ng mga Magulang, and Anna Crisostomo of Mindanao Indigenous People’s Youth Organization. These personalities work in partnership with the Philippine government — in particular the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) — to masquerade as advocates of peace, while red-tagging or terror-tagging progressive individuals and organizations that seek to protect democracy and freedom in the Philippines. Through these efforts, the Philippine state alongside these spokespeople incite harm against human rights defenders, indigenous communities resisting corporate logging and mining as well as militarization, and leaders of labor unions and peasant associations struggling for better pay, working conditions, and land rights in the Philippines.
The tour was shamelessly supported by the Philippine Embassy, as well as Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI). SMNI is a media outlet owned by by Apollo Quiboloy, a known sex trafficker and the former spiritual advisor for Rodrigo Duterte. It hosts the “news” program “Laban Kasama ang Bayan,” which former NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson Lorraine Badoy uses as a platform to spread disinformation and red-tag national democratic organizations and even broad opposition forces in the Philippines and U.S. alike. Pro-Marcos organizations such as UNITEAM, Bagong Pilipinas New York, and US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP) also supported the tour.
“This most recent initiative by the NTF-ELCAC to hold a counterinsurgency tour in the U.S. is just another desperate attempt by the Marcos Jr. regime to hide its own incompetence and criminal neglect of millions of ordinary Filipinos,” criticized Niko Cababa, Secretary General of BAYAN USA. “Under Marcos Jr., we continue to witness Filipinos suffer from widespread poverty and hunger, low wages, and crippling debt — all this amid skyrocketing increases in the prices of basic goods and the selling out of public services to foreign companies. Instead of putting public money toward essential services for Filipinos back home, Assistance To Nationals (ATN) to provide support for OFWs abroad, or adequate disaster relief for thousands of typhoon victims, the Philippine government has recklessly spent millions of the Filipino people’s pesos to tour fake peace advocates across the U.S. The ‘Special Mission Project’ is nothing but a sinister ploy to turn the community against people who are actually doing the job the government is mandated to do.”
“Contrary to the blatant lies and disinformation spread by Celiz, Lucena, and Crisostomo, members of BAYAN-USA have campaigned tirelessly to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the U.S. and Philippines,” continued Cababa. “Throughout the pandemic, BAYAN-USA members organized with Filipino workers to demand an increase in wages and hazard pay, especially in the healthcare and service industries; defended Filipino tenants from being forcibly evicted from their homes for being unable to pay rent; and raised thousands of dollars to provide relief and other resources for typhoon survivors in the Philippines.”
Moreover, at a time when anti-Asian violence has become a deadly public health concern for the Filipino community in the U.S., BAYAN-USA members have worked alongside Filipino families to bring about justice and accountability from both the U.S. and Philippine governments, winning policy changes locally to improve the infrastructure for responding to hate crimes and challenging the Philippine Consulate to improve their services to Filipino nationals who are victims of such crimes.
“If the NTF-ELCAC was sincere and serious about promoting peace in our community, then why are they parading around the U.S. smearing the very organizations that have kept the Filipino community cared for and safe? Why have they sent three individuals who have terrorized their very own families and communities?” posed Cababa. “We know that the Philippine government is fully capable of harassing and killing activists — even in the U.S. — as we’ve seen during Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship, Duterte’s regime, and now under Marcos Jr.”
“It is our organizations under BAYAN-USA that disenfranchised Filipinos in our community trust to show up in times of hardship. We have a long history of empowering each other to fight for the kind of rights and freedom that we all deserve. This is the people power that the NTF-ELCAC and Philippine government are afraid of: the power of our collective action, rooted in the understanding that the people’s democratic rights and freedoms won’t simply be respected or upheld under a system that is historically corrupt, bureaucratic, and brutally anti-people. This is why we must combat the red-tagging and disinformation of the NTF-ELCAC and its agents, hold the Philippine government accountable for its crimes against the Filipino people, and continue to work together to organize and fight for a truly democratic and sovereign Philippines.”
Abolish the NTF-ELCAC! Buwagin ang NTF-ELCAC!
Fight Fascism & State Terrorism! Labanan ang pasismo at terorismo ng estado!
Services not Surveillance! Pagmamatyag, wakasan! Mga serbisyo, ilaan!
Activism is Not Terrorism! Aktibismo ay Hindi Terorismo!
Junk the Anti-Terror Law! Ibasura ang Anti-Terror Law!
Defend the Truth! Fight Historical Revisionism! Ipagtanggol ang katotohanan! Labanan ang pagbura sa kasaysayan!