For Immediate Release
December 22, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
Newly Crowned Miss Universe on U.S. Militarization in the Philippines
Recent crowning of Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the new Miss Universe has drawn significant international attention, and GABRIELA USA celebrates this victory with Filipinos all over the world. With the global spotlight shining in her direction, we look to her for genuine humanitarian leadership. We, however, are deeply concerned over the comments made by Ms. Pia Wurztbach regarding the question on U.S. presence in the Philippines, and hope that the newly crowned Miss Universe will change her mind as she assumes her humanitarian role and learn about the negative impacts of U.S. militarization.
During the question and answer portion, Wurtzbach was asked whether the United States should re-establish military bases in the Philippines. She responded saying “I think the Philippines and the United States has always had a good relationship with each other. We were colonized by the Americans and we have their culture and their traditions even up to this day and I think we’re very welcoming with the Americans, and I don’t see any problem with that at all.” We recognize that the question would a elicit an answer suited to appease a mostly American audience and panel of judges.
Ms. Wurtzbach’s current view of U.S. military presence in the Philippines does not acknowledge and address the documented accounts of murders and abuses conducted by the U.S. military on Filipino women, including the case of the brutal murder of Jennifer Laude. “We encourage Ms. Wurztbach to represent the Philippines responsibly by understanding the detrimental impacts of unequal agreements between the U.S. and Philippines such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Ms. Wurtzbach is in a position where she can use her platform to demand justice for the victims of U.S. militarization,” states Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA Chairperson.
Lastly, GABRIELA USA denounces the anti-black racist comments made throughout social media outlets. Steve Harvey made an honest mistake on international television, and we must guard against the use of racial slurs that perpetuate racism and violence towards Black people. Instead, let us use this time to invite Ms. Wurtzbach, and the international community to further our understanding of the longstanding historical and current human rights violations that have been brought upon by the presence of U.S. military in the Philippines.
GABRIELA USA is a grassroots-based alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations in the United States seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people.