FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 25, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
November 25, 2014 marks the thirty-third year since activists proclaimed this day as International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), in commemoration of Dominican Republic political activists, the Mirabal sisters. They strongly opposed the fascist dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, and were ordered to be killed on this date in 1960. GABRIELA USA is launching an 18 day campaign starting today and concluding on December 12, International Day Against Human Trafficking, to raise awareness and encourage action on key dates throughout the course of the campaign.
GABRIELA USA condemns the continuous failing of the B.S. Aquino administration that does not protect the rights of its people. In the Philippines, the Aquino regime perpetuates multiple forms of patriarchal violence targeting women, LGBTQ identified people, and children. The actions and–even worse–the inaction of this government are reprehensible, and the women of GABRIELA USA are raising our voices during the next 18 days to expose the systemic violence that perpetuates a culture of violence in our communities.
From the U.S. to the Philippines, state-sponsored violence runs rampant. The U.S. is a global power that has about 1,000 military bases and installments throughout 61 countries globally. Rather than protecting Filipino women and children, B.S. Aquino proves his subservience to the U.S. by continuing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and recently signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). These unequal agreements with the U.S. unnecessarily exposes Filipino women to further forms of violence, as seen in the recent murder of transgender woman Jennifer Laude by prime suspect U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has not yet been fully turned over to the Philippine authorities for proper detention or investigation.
“This case is reminiscent of the Nicole rape case in 2005 where Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was not convicted of his crime. What message is Aquino sending his people? That it’s acceptable for U.S. military personnel to rape, murder, and violate the rights of people of countries they are based in? Aquino is doing nothing to uphold the rights of his citizens against human rights violations committed by foreigners, and we say enough is enough!,” proclaims Tina Shauf, mass campaigns officer of GABRIELA USA.
The violence against Filipino women reaches across the world while Aquino continues neglecting migrant citizens’ rights and welfare. Economic hardship has created an exodus of Filipino workers forced to migrate under vulnerable conditions, a majority of whom are women. An example is the case of Filipino trafficked teachers, a major campaign of GABRIELA USA led by GABRIELA Washington, D.C. teachers who have suffered from exploitation and abuse by labor trafficker, Isidro Rodriguez. The trafficked teachers have felt the injustice of their government that has not advocated for their cause. “Here in D.C. where the Philippine Embassy is, it has taken numerous complaints over the years, and it isn’t until now that we have an organized group of trafficked teachers rallying outside their gates that they have taken notice,” stated Janet Basilan, GABRIELA D.C.’s Vice Chair of Campaigns.
Lastly, government neglect in the Aquino administration has continued to attack its own people through continuing pork barrel schemes allowed by the president himself. As politicians act on their own behalf with impunity, calamity relief and livelihood for Typhoon Haiyan-affected regions are left without recourse. This political violence against the Filipino people is a heavier burden on women as their responsibilities to work and attend to domestic duties are stifled because of politicians’ graft and greed.
The women of GABRIELA USA will not stand for this systemic violence. Instead, we demand accountability, justice, and genuine social change to uphold the rights and welfare of Filipino women globally.
Women Unite to Eliminate Violence Against Women!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all victims of hate crimes! Trans Lives Matter!
Justice for Filipino Trafficked Teachers!
Justice for Victims of Typhoon Haiyan!
Junk VFA! Scrap EDCA! No to TPPA!
End State-Sponsored Violence!
Please join us to demand justice for Jennifer Laude by taking action and obtaining at least 1,000 signatures in our 18 Days of Action, concluding on December 12! Read, sign, and share our petition, which can be found here: bit.ly/justice4jennifer