MALAYA to hold nationwide actions Feb. 25 to commemorate ‘People Power Anniversary’ of 1986

NEW YORK – Over 25 concerned community leaders launched a new U.S.-based alliance called MALAYA: US Movement Against Killings and Dictatorship and for Democracy in the Philippines on February 6, 2018. They represent a cross-section of the Filipino community of faith leaders, academe, attorneys, youth leaders, business owners, and human rights advocates.

The conveners of MALAYA said the new alliance was established to express their fullest condemnation of increasing “fascist” administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. They also pledged to mobilize more people in the U.S. to stand up for human rights, inviting people to sign MALAYA’s petition as a concrete action the public can take to prevent Duterte from imposing a new dictatorship on the Philippines.

Conveners are from the West Coast, Mid-West, and the East Coast.

According to a statement, MALAYA will hold nationally coordinated actions around the U.S. on February 25 to commemorate the “People Power Anniversary” of 1986, when millions of people poured into the streets of the Philippines to demand an end of the dictatorship of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

At the same time, the statement also said the actions will call attention to the new dictatorship currently looming in the Philippines under Duterte. Along with the International Coalition of Human Rights in Philippines-U.S. (ICHRP-U.S.), MALAYA will also co-sponsor a “Stop the Killings Speaking Tour and Caravan” from April 21- May 11, 2018, featuring speakers from the Philippines who are survivors of human rights violations as well as human rights defenders on the frontlines of the crisis.

Alliance points of unity

MALAYA–the Filipino word for “free”–also seeks to broaden U.S.-based support for the cause of freedom and democracy in the Philippines. The alliance’s points of unity are:

  • STOP the KILLINGS: End Duterte’s war on drugs and on those struggling for change
  • LIFT MARTIAL LAW in Mindanao immediately
  • SAY NO to ANOTHER FASCIST DICTATORSHIP in the Philippines: stop the abuse of executive power and curtailment of democratic rights and civil liberties
  • STOP the KILLINGS: End Duterte’s war on drugs and on those struggling for change
  • END the SYSTEM OF POLITICAL DYNASTIES and CORRUPTION in the Philippines
  • STAND for DEMOCRACY: pursue political, economic, and social reforms that benefit the majority of ordinary Filipinos and promote genuine sustainable development n the Philippines

Timely response

Co-Lead Convener, Dante Simbulan, Ph.D., a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (1952), turned activist during the Marcos Dictatorship, said: “This is a timely response to the escalating social, economic and political crises brought about by the mistakes, ineptness, and crimes of Duterte and his minions in both the civilian and military bureaucracy.”

Simbulan also said that extra-judicial killings (EJKs) or summary executions without due process goes unabated.” “…Reports from international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also confirmed the Duterte Administration’s disgraceful number of extrajudicial killings and gross human rights violation,” Simbulan emphasized.

In light of the International Criminal Court’s initial investigation of Duterte, through Special Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Simbulan welcomed this development and view it as recognition by the international community that something must be done “to end the impunity which is running rampant under Duterte.”

MALAYA cited a long list of attacks on the rights of the Filipino people under Trump-backed President Rodrigo Duterte, including:

  • Over 14,000 people mostly from the ranks of the poor killed under Duterte’s drug war
  • a war on the Moro people, indigenous people, and extended martial law throughout Mindanao
  • politically-motivated killings, arrests, and detentions on fabricated charges against opponents critical of Duterte’s policies and cause-oriented groups struggling for reforms, under the guise of counter-insurgency and the war on terror
  • Charter Change to consolidate executive powers, extend terms of elected officials, dissolve congress, exempt lawmakers and administration officials from paying taxes, remove restrictions on 100% foreign ownership of land and strategic enterprises, and remove the ban on foreign bases without Senate concurrence
  • Attacks on press freedom, with administration moves to discredit and shut down independent media outlets which have questioned Duterte’s actions

Misogynistic and demeaning behavior towards women

MALAYA also condemned Duterte’s continual violent, misogynistic and demeaning behavior towards women, pointing to the President’s statement earlier this week when he told the Philippine military to shoot female soldiers of the New People’s Army in the genitals.

Dr. Alma Trinidad, Co-Lead Convener of MALAYA and Board President of the Foundation for Philippine Progress remarked that Duterte’s most recent statements continue to disrespect women. “It encourages government sanctioned processes to commit deep sexual violence during armed conflict and struggle,” she said.

“It is a blatant violation of the dignity and rights of women, and indeed a violation of the international humanitarian law. Parallel to the struggles of women in the west, Pinays continuously being denigrated and seen as less than, we must rise against systemic oppressive forces.”

Young People

MALAYA conveners include young people, who express that they embrace the historically important and crucial role that youth play in organizing for genuine democracy in the Philippines.

Troy Osaki, MALAYA convener, poet and Anakbayan leader from Seattle, WA said he recognizes the struggles of youth in the U.S. are connected to the struggles of youth in the Philippines. “Instead of adequately funding schools, social services, and resources in the U.S. for young people to succeed, federal funds are being sent to the Philippines to support the Philippine National Police targeting poor youth in the “War on Drugs,” Osaki said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines are targeting indigenous children in the “War on Terror.” We face the same enemies and must unite to build a better world and ensure there’s one to leave behind for all youth in the future.”

Initial list of conveners

Initial conveners include Professor Dante Simbulan; Professor Alma Trinidad; Bishop Eliezer Pascua; Bishop Raul Tobias; Chera Amlag; Professor Nerissa Balce; Dr. Joi Barrios; Rev. Dr. Felicisimo Cao; Josephine Calderon; Pastor Jaime Case; Kenneth Crebillo; Aurora Victoria David; Margaret Dominado; Bernadette Ellorin; Kiwi Illafonte; Joelle Lingat; Ramon Mappala; Professor Ligaya McGovern; Troy Osaki, J.D.; Rev. Father Primo Racimo; Roger Rigor; Professor Robyn Rodriguez; Irma Shauf-Bajar; Professor Neferti Tadiar; Father Toting Tronco; and Felix Vinluan, Esq.

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