For Immediate Release
February 25, 2015
Contact: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 25, 2015 marks 29 years since the People Power Revolution or the EDSA Revolution ousted the 20-year long dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The administration was rife with graft and corruption, teeming with human rights violations including murders, enforced disappearances, torture, and wrongful imprisonment of activists and anyone with a dissenting opinion. Today, the son of Marcos’ rival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III, is president of the Philippines. Benigno Simeon Aquino III has followed the footsteps of his father’s adversary.
On January 25, 2015, an extremely violent encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the southern part of the Philippines, killed 44 Special Action Forces, a mobile unit of the Philippine National Police, and members of the Moro Liberation Front (MILF), as well as civilians. Under BS Aquino’s watch this incident has exposed his administration’s subservience to US imperialist aggression, militarization and dominance as the clash that claimed the lives at the end of January has been linked to secret US military training, including the use of US drones, which undermines Philippine sovereignty. Additionally, Aquino has avoided any accountability as the widows and family members of the fallen have gone public with the trauma of the incident and seeking out justice. When families of the killed SAF members confronted Aquino with questions, he responded with sarcasm. Given this high profile incident, Aquino has demonstrated once again his incompetence and persistent neglect for the overall well-being of the country.
Furthermore, BS Aquino has been lackluster in the trial for the murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman who was found dead on October 11, 2014 in Olongapo City. Aquino has done next to nothing to hold Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, the US military personnel who allegedly took Laude’s life, accountable for his crime. He would not so much as attend the wake of the slain transgender woman, claiming “I don’t attend wakes of people I don’t know”. Although this case of trans-violence has gained international attention, this case comes after the Philippines and the US strengthened its ties with the recent Enhanced Defense Coordination Agreement (EDCA), which allows greater US access to Philippine military camps.
The Filipino people have had enough, and the clamor for BS Aquino’s resignation has increased as his arrogant lack of accountability and neglect of the Filipino people has time and time again proven his incompetency. Aquino is part of a long history of inept leaders continuing the plunder of the country’s resources, and failed attempts to create any real meaningful change. From the lessons of EDSA 1 and EDSA 2, we must push forward with an overhaul in the system, but in the interim, a body known as the Transition Council can be formed in the short term. This interim body could run the state of affairs, which is representative of various groups that would have the genuine interest of the people in mind, until a more permanent government can be formed. Let us reignite the power of the people once again to call BS Aquino’s resignation and continue the fight for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines.
GABRIELA USA chapters and affiliated organizations are holding various protest actions and education forums in light of the anniversary of People Power.
- Hold the US-Aquino regime accountable for the bloody incident in Mamasapano!
- Aquino Resign! Oust the US-Aquino regime!
- Establish a transition council! Advance genuine change!
- US Out of the Philippines NOW!
GABRIELA USA Stands in Solidarity with the Trans Community on Trans Day of Remembrance
November 20, 2014
Reference: Terrie Cervas, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
GABRIELA USA joins in solidarity with the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community on this Trans Day of Remembrance. We are outraged at the escalating transphobic attacks, murders and the struggles faced by Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people, including low-income, imprisoned, undocumented and trans people of color. We remember, grieve, and demand justice for those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence, including Aniya Parker in L.A., Zoraida Reyes in Orange County, Mia Henderson and Kandy Hall in Baltimore, Islan Nettles and Lateisha Green in New York.
On October 11, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender woman from the Philippines, was brutally beaten and strangled to death in a hotel room in Olongapo City near Subic Bay Naval Base by Private First Class Joseph Pemberton. Jennifer’s death, clearly the result of a violent hate crime, also underscores how U.S. militarization and unequal U.S. led agreements contribute to transphobic, transmisogynistic, and gendered violence. The U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and now the greatly expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), further perpetuate hate crimes and state violence like that against Jennifer Laude to occur.
Over a month since her death, no criminal charges have been made, and the prime suspect still has not fully been handed over to the Philippine authorities for proper investigation. These events repeat a pattern of protection and immunity granted to a string of U.S. personnel who have committed sexual violence, murder, and other human rights abuses in the Philippines. GABRIELA USA joins the global campaign to support Laude’s family in seeking justice, and to demand an end to unequal military agreements that enable ongoing human rights abuses against the Filipino people and infringes upon the sovereignty of the Philippine nation.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., trans women are four times more likely to experience police harassment and violence than all others reporting police violence. In just one case, a Washington D.C. cop shot into a car of three trans women after one refused his attempt to solicit sex. In 2008, video footage caught Memphis police brutally beating a handcuffed trans woman, Duanna Johnson, in their custody; soon after the exposé, Johnson was fatally shot. The criminalization and detention of trans people of color increases.
We are inspired by freedom fighters like Cece McDonald, a Black trans woman who was harshly punished and imprisoned for defending herself against a transphobic attack, but remains steadfast as an outspoken organizer for trans justice and against state violence. We stand in solidarity with trans people of color who have suffered at the hands of state violence, from police brutality and the prison industrial complex, to U.S. militarization abroad.
We recognize the links between state violence against trans people within the U.S. and U.S. militarization globally, which perpetuate transmisogyny and a culture of violence targeting queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and people of color. We desire a world in which we don’t have to fear hate violence, police intimidation, losing our homes and livelihood, for being trans. We desire a world where we all may thrive, where the human rights of all are upheld, where we are celebrated in all our gender expressions and identities. We pledge to continue to educate our communities about the need to fight for justice and self determination for all trans and gender non-conforming people, while building safe and supportive spaces.
Trans Lives Matter!
End Violence Against Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People!
Healthcare, Housing and Human Rights for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People Now!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and for All Victims of Transphobia, Militarization, and State Violence!
Junk the VFA and EDCA! US Troops Out!
We request your support in the campaign for Justice for Jennifer Laude, and for an end to the VFA and EDCA. Please help us reach 1,000 signatures, by signing and forwarding our petition: bit.ly/justice4jennifer