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Solidarity message to the 25th Annual Cordillera Day

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Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA extends its utmost solidarity to the 25th annual celebration of Cordillera Day.  Our alliance of 14 progressive Filipino organizations in the US representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth unites with your call to “Strengthen people’s solidarity. Intensify the struggle for land, life, and rights!”

International solidarity is more important now than ever.  The world is facing the most widespread and violent crisis of imperialism in history, and the people of the third world, national minorities, and women suffer most acutely.  Contradictions are sharpening between the oppressed majority of the Filipino people–including Filipinos in the US and around the world–and the ruling elite in the Philippines represented by the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime.  We are under no illusion that the new administration of President Obama in the US will enact any fundamental change for the world’s people, solve the economic crisis in the US, or change the oppressive US foreign policy toward the Philippines.  We pledge to unite with you to create the change that we envision, by working to isolate the oppressive US-Arroyo clique, and towards building the anti-imperialist front in the United States and beyond.

Over the years, many members of BAYAN-USA organizations have participated in and been inspired by Cordillera Day celebrations and exposure programs hosted by Cordillera People’s Alliance, where we have come to embrace the struggle of national minorities for self-determination as our own.  As overseas Filipinos living in the US, we share the common experience of national minorities in the Philippines as well as other people of oppressed nationalities within the US.  Alongside our brothers and sisters in other communities of color, we are constantly fighting national oppression, racism, chauvinism, and xenophobia.  Together, we contend with the razing of our “Manilatown” neighborhoods by greedy corporate developers, the massive displacement of poor and working class families from New Orleans and Chinatowns, and the eviction of Filipino and Latino farmworkers from the land that generations have cultivated for the profit of capitalist agribusiness.

We have built our solidarity with you by engaging in struggle together.  We have marched with you on International Workers’ Day to condemn the exploitation of working people and demand wage increases and humane working conditions.  We have joined demonstrations and camped out on picket lines with you, to oppose wide-scale displacement of indigenous communities from their ancestral land.  We have stood with you to resist police and military harassment at the sites of past Cordillera Day celebrations.  You are sure to face intensified intimidation by military forces again this year, who are intent on derailing your efforts to defend your ancestral domain, assert your right to self-determination, and pursue what Macling Dulag and hundreds of Cordillera martyrs fought for.

In solidarity with your struggle, BAYAN-USA will amplify our condemnation of the plunder of your ancestral land resources by huge corporate and transnational mining companies, many of which are based in the US; the worsening human rights violations due to militarization, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, and political repression funded by US military aid; impending charter change pushed by the US-backed Arroyo regime; and the global economic crisis caused by the inherent flaws of US imperialism.