For Immediate Release
November 10, 2013
Contact: Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA-USA Chairperson
(925) 726-5768, firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipino American women in GABRIELA-USA and their allies across the U.S.A. launches a relief campaign in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Reports from local areas affected by Haiyan, also referred to as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, have already reached staggering death toll estimates of more than 10,000. In the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, survivors of the ordeal now face additional challenges of having no electricity, clean water, food, medicine, and other basic necessities. GABRIELA-USA calls on community members to assist in meeting the urgent needs of survivors by joining the relief campaign and making a contribution.
The path of destruction wrought by the Cateogry 5 typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda is exacerbated by the retreat and abandonment of social infrastructure and services for the most oppressed people in the Visayas region. Women and children have long borne the brunt of government negligence.With the lack of government investment into Visayan livelihood, built environment and safety protocols, impoverished Filipino women have had to subsist at an atrocious level of poverty. Filipino women, at the helm of family structures, were not able to work and find the money to evacuate their families into safety or save up for emergencies such as these. Instead of prioritizing public social and physical safety, the Aquino regime has become infamous for the corruption in the misuse of public funds. Many in his political halls are culpable in the current and ongoing Pork Barrel scandals. The typhoon’s consequences have become disastrous in part because of the failure of the Aquino administration to provide for the citizens of the Philippines.
Aquino’s negligent management of funds have put Filipino citizens in danger. But the scope of the typhoon’s damage coupled with the administration’s ruin affects Filipinos worldwide, watching from afar, unable to help their families in the Philippines. Jennine Ventura, secretary general of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FIRE) in New York City has relatives in the devastated areas. She states, “My mother and her family are from Palo, Leyte and we are still trying to reach relatives who live there. The church that I visited as a child is now operating as a morgue.” Migrants and children of migrants who have been driven out to find work outside of the country are also worried. “Noynoy stated that Tacloban was not that prepared compared with other areas. In Leyte, there have been reports of flooding and ceiling collapses even at evacuation centers. Preparedness has not been a priority for Aquino, anywhere. This typhoon’s devastation is yet another failure of the Noynoy administration to carry out the core responsibility to protect the Filipino people,” Ventura added.
GABRIELA-USA turns to our community members and organizations in the U.S. for support. Our reliable and reputable partner organizations have long-standing history in serving the communities mostly affected by disasters, both natural and Aquino-made. The high mistrust in the Aquino government leads us to rely on our networks of community health workers, social workers, organizers and volunteers to provide swift response to the needs of Filipinos in Central Philippines.
GABRIELA-USA has partnered with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) to accept online donations. Our relief campaign will be directly sent to partner grassroots organizations in the Visayas region, the most affected areas. Cash and check donations can be submitted to the nearest local GABRIELA-USA chapter. (please see below for more details)
How to Donate:
To ensure aid reaches the Philippines as fast as possible, GABRIELA-USA is collecting and remitting monetary donations. GABRIELA-USA is partnering with NAFCON and the Bayanihan Relief campaign to accept online donations. Donations can be made through NAFCON’s Paypal account at http://nafconusa.org/programs/.
Please make a note on the NAFCON paypal page that you heard about the relief effort through GABRIELA. Checks can be made payable to “St. George Fontana” and on the memo ine, write “NAFCON Bayanihan Relief” and send check/cash donations to your nearest GABRIELA chapter. Please include your return address with your donation. For qualifying tax-deductible donations, please email email@example.com for necessary documentation.
Babae-GABRIELA USA– San Francisco, CA
Filipinas for rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-GABRIELA USA – New York, NY
GABRIELA Washington DC – Washington DC
Pinay sa Seattle-GABRIELA USA – Seattle, WA
Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken (SIGAW)-GABRIELA USA – Los Angeles, CA
GABRIELA-USA will contribute half of the money it has raised to LINGAP GABRIELA (Gabriela Philippines’ own disaster relief program, which assists women and their families) and half to BALSA Philippines (to assist other sectors).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2013
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
On October 28, 1983, over 10,000 women surged to Mendiola in the Philippines to protest the oppression, repression, hardship, and corruption of the Marcos dictatorship. Thirty years have passed since women have shown the power of collective action in the overthrow of a dictatorship, but even with the dictator gone, oppression, repression, and the struggles of the people still remain under the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies that further plunges Filipino families into hardship. Today, on the weekend of National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines, GABRIELA Washington DC launches as the newest GABRIELA USA chapter in advancing militant Filipina women’s voices across the world against the exploitative and repressive practices of the global imperialist system.
Most of the members of GABRIELA DC are survivors of human trafficking and are also mothers who have left their children back home to find a means to survive. All of them had been left to fend for themselves in a foreign country. Private recruitment agencies, along with loan sharks are given free reign to victimize Filipinos, who are seeking dignifiable work for their families. They leave their families for a job they were promised, and in this case as professional teachers, only to find themselves jobless when they arrive, and if they do find a job, they are not practicing their profession. The teachers followed all the correct procedures, protocoled by the Philippine government through the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, only to find themselves, along with thousands of others scattered throughout the U.S., as victims of the same private recruitment agency.
“It is easy to feel hopeless in the situation that we are in, but we are survivors. Even though many of us have unstable legal status, we still have rights and should be treated like a human beings and live in decent conditions. We have to be united so we are able to give justice not only for ourselves, but also for the welfare of everyone,” says Fen Ecleo, Co-Chairperson of GABRIELA DC. The trafficked teachers who are members of GABRIELA DC came to realize that they are not alone, that this is a problem bigger than their own individual situations.
“In the Philippines, there is a crisis in every aspect of the public social sphere, including education and ensuring the well-being of the people through social services. Why are we sending our teachers abroad, only so they can waste their talents instead of teaching the future of our country?” says Tina Shauf, Vice Chair of Campaigns of GABRIELA USA. Bureaucrats and their cronies in the Philippines are able to access billions through the “pork barrel” system, and yet struggling Filipino like the trafficked teachers are given few humane options to make a decent living.
We will continue to respond to a need to organize against corruption that prevents the genuine development of the Philippines and Filipinos globally. GABRIELA USA demands the right to stay with our families while working dignifiable jobs at home. The launching of GABRIELA DC highlights a historic moment in the Filipina women’s movement, given that the U.S. is the number one destination for Filipino migrants, the majority of whom are women.
In the spirit of National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines, GABRIELA will continue to utilize collective action to expose corrupt and unjust practices enforced by the U.S.-backed Philippine government. Until the Filipino people are treated with dignity and respect, GABRIELA will continue to advance the militant women’s movement to fight against such injustices.