We held a successful action yesterday we thought you’d be interested in covering. I’ve attached a press release and video clips for your convenience. (Download here). More footage and pictures are available if needed.
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Nikole Cababa

For Immediate Release
July 28, 2015
Reference: Nikole Cababa, BAYAN USA Southern California Regional Coordinator

People’s SONA 2015: Filipino Americans in Los Angeles Roast Aquino for Presidential Failures

Picture Above: Filipino Americans host rally in front of the Philippine Consulate highlighting the 262 extrajudicial killings and culture of impunity under Aquino’s presidency. (Photo courtesy of Hiyas Saturay)

Los Angeles, CA — Fifty Filipinos from across Southern California held a rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles to protest against President Benigno Aquino III’s final State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2015.

BAYAN USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations, mobilized community members from Los Angeles, South Bay, Inland Empire, and San Diego to conduct a “roast” protest of Aquino for failing to address human rights violations, pork barrel corruption, labor export of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and the defense of Philippine sovereignty. A lechon-themed effigy displaying Aquino’s face and star spangled top hat was the main attraction of the rally, which included speeches, artwork, theatre, song, and poetry.

Nikole Cababa of BAYAN USA Southern California explained, “The Filipino people are fed up with Aquino’s lies and self-serving politics. It’s important we host a real state of the nation address to reflect the harsh realities and aspirations of Filipinos and migrants around the world.”
Picture Caption: A street theatre performance by Joanna Concepcion of Gabriela Los Angeles calling for the release of Mary Jane Veloso, a migrant worker wrongly-accused of drug trafficking and currently facing death row in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Hiyas Saturay)

Trafficking survivors of Migrante Los Angeles, a Filipino migrant organization organizing for their rights and welfare, also attended the rally. The group performed theatre skits to portray the situation of OFWs, highlighting the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a single mother of two and a human trafficking victim facing execution in Indonesia who has been incarcerated since Aquino took office in 2010.

Nap Pempeña of Anakbayan Los Angeles said, “In the five years of his regime, he has done nothing respectful. There is nothing respectful about the state of Mary Jane, the state of OFWs right now, along with 80 other OFWs on death row right now.”

Pempeña continued, “There’s nothing respectful about billions of dollars that are still in the coffers of politicians right now instead of being distributed to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.” Anakbayan Los Angeles helped recruit 30 Filipino American students to volunteer for the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network’s ongoing typhoon relief and rehabilitation mission in the Philippines. Activists held placards criticizing government neglect in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda with $33 million worth of relief money left unused in the bank accounts of Philippine government agencies.
Picture Caption: A theatre skit by Andrew Esposo and Beti Capil portrays President Aquino serving rotten goods to Typhoon Yolanda survivors. (Photo courtesy of Hiyas Saturay)

The activists welcomed Filipino leaders from Mindanao who recently testified at the International People’s Tribunal in Washington D.C., which ruled that Aquino and the U.S. government, represented by President Barack Obama, are guilty for conducting human rights violations and crimes against the Filipino people.

“He practically bragged about everything except the truth,” stated Amirah Lidasan, of Suara Bangsamoro or Voice of the Moro People. “He did not say anything about the Mamasapano incident, how the US government has masterminded, planned, and pushed the Philippine government to implement an experimental war on terror program called the Oplan Exodus.”
Photo Caption: Amirah Lidasan, National President of Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People), criticizes Aquino’s human rights violations and collusion with the U.S. in the militarization of Mindanao. (Photo courtesy of Hiyas Saturay)

A guest speaker from the Mindanao-based typhoon relief organization BALSA-Lanao, Vennel Chenfoo said, “Sa huling SONA, dito natin maipapakita ang lakas ng mamamayang pilipino na kung tayo’y magkakaisa, makakamit natin ang tunay na hustisya at tunay na kalayaan para sa ating bayan.” (“In his final SONA, we can show the strength of the Filipino people, that if we are united, we can achieve genuine justice and liberation for our country”)
Picture Caption: Vennel Chenfoo of BALSA-Lanao describes the situation of youth and the privatization of education in the Philippines
Picture Above: 50 members of BAYAN USA Southern California, Anakbayan Los Angeles, Anakbayan Long Beach, Anakbayan Inland Empire, Anakbayan San Diego,Habi Arts, Migrante Los Angeles, National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns, Gabriela Los Angeles, and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns protest President Aquino’s final State of the Nation Address (Photo courtesy of Chando Kem)


Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web