December 24, 2015
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Christmas, We Remember the Past and Hope for a Better Future!
During this holiday season, members of GABRIELA USA continue to demand an end to U.S. domination over the Philippines. As the year comes to a close, we call on our families, friends and communities to join us in this continued struggle for genuine national democracy.
On December 16th, the Philippine Supreme Court decided to defer its ruling on the petition brought by BAYAN Philippines challenging the unconstitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) until 2016. The Filipino people must be united on the need for EDCA to be declared unconstitutional and immediately scrapped. We must remain vigilant and ready to respond when the Supreme Court issues its ruling in the new year.
GABRIELA USA strongly oppose the EDCA – with the following reasons as to why it surrenders Philippine sovereignty, further violating the rights of the majority:
EDCA is unconstitutional and signs away Philippine national sovereignty.
If implemented, the EDCA would undermine and reverse the Philippine Senate’s historic 1991 decision to kick out U.S. military bases from the Philippines. The TPP and EDCA puts previous imperialist policies to shame, as it relinquishes ALL rights to Philippine land, with the power to violate human rights without consequence to law over to the U.S. EDCA allows the U.S. military to re-occupy military bases in the Philippines in a broad, more permanent scope; essentially giving the U.S. complete control over natural resources, cheap labor, and a strategic positioning in the Asia Pacific region. Both Presidents, Aquino and Obama, are positioning the Philippines to enter the TPP, which would allow multinational corporations free reign over 100% of Philippine industries.
More U.S. military bases equals devastating impacts on women and children in the Philippines, and throughout the world.
Similar to the various countries where U.S. military is present, it is historically documented that Filipino women and children are the first to suffer whenever troops arrive. Generations of Filipino women have never seen justice against their American rapists, while orphaned Amerasian children are continuously abandoned by American fathers. Despite the recent homicide conviction of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for the brutal murder of Jennifer Laude, the U.S. still has not turned him over to the Philippine authorities. In 2005, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was found guilty for raping Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas– despite Smith being convicted by Philippine courts, he did not serve time because of U.S. intervention. These are examples of how unequal agreements between the U.S. and the Philippines favor U.S. troops over the lives of Filipinos.
U.S. taxpayers involuntarily contribute billions of dollars annually for U.S. military expenses while the global economic crisis worsens, depriving basic needs and services.
The U.S is the only country that has over 900 bases in over 130 countries around the world. The U.S. spends over $600 billion yearly to protect their imperialist interests of the richest 1% of the world, through military alliances with third world puppet regimes. In the U.S., while the military budget increases – big banks and corporations are bailed out, millions of people are jobless, losing their homes or being displaced due to gentrification. At the same time, the budget for social services and basic needs continue to be drastically slashed to bare bone.
We call on our communities to join GABRIELA USA as we continue to fight U.S. imperialism alongside people globally who are uniting in response to unfair policies, and the clear unequal distribution of wealth. We believe that the global economic crisis brought upon by imperialism is bound to fail in the face of people’s resistance against this oppressive system.
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.