UKPC/FCYA - Toronto

Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto Chapter

Thursday, July 06, 2006

STATEMENT: Release the 3 University of the Philippines Diliman Students Now!!!

National Statement of Filipino-Canadian Youth
7 July 2006

Release the 3 University of the Philippines Diliman Students Now!!!

Filipino-Canadian youth are outraged at the latest abduction of three University of the Philippines-Diliman students Karen Empeneo, Sheryln Cadapan and Manuel Merino on Monday June 26 at 2am in Bulacan, Central Luzon by 6 suspected elements of the military. We join other peace-loving Filipinos in expressing our disgust of the rampant abuse of human rights violations committed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and particularly Maj.Gen. Jovito Palparan (berdugo) who is continuing the government’s murderous campaign against “rebel forces” in Central Luzon. Since Arroyo has stepped into office, during the popular People Power 2 in 2001 that ousted the then corrupt president Estrada, there have been over 650 political killings under GMA's rule. Abductions and killings alike have been so rampant that the Philippines has been called the new "killing fields" of southeast Asia.

It is of no surprise that the heartless Arroyo regime has not yet replied to the demands of the families of those abducted; of concerned progressive organizations and of freedom-loving Filipinos for the release of the 3 youth who were abducted in Central Luzon. There can be no doubt that they were abducted by elements of the AFP, due to the typical fascist tactic of armed men wearing bonnets forcing their way into a civilian’s home in the middle of the night. It is also evident that the three youth abducted were targeted due to their involvement in progressive youth organizations, Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students, which been openly critical of GMA’s fake presidency and the worsening socio-economic crisis of the Philippines.

The recent abductions of these UP students are GMA’s way of desperately holding on to her weakening power as an illegitimate president. Such a desperate attempt is done through the counter insurgency operation of Oplan Bantay Laya (operation guard freedom), which seeks to stamp out the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army in the next 10 years. Yet it is legal and democratic organizations, which have been the target of the military. How can the GRP and AFP audaciously call their anti- insurgency "Oplan Bantay Laya" if this military operation is cowardly abducting and killing those who are asserting their constitutional right to speak out against a failing socio-economic system and a corrupt government? Instead of putting genuine effort and the public’s tax money in bettering the situation in the Philippines the GRP is taking money away from much need public services like education and putting it into the military. This misuse of public funds is seen in the recent release of P1 billion from the national budget to military spending. Abducting students is what the Filipino people’s tax money is being used for.

As overseas Filipinos; we are directly affected by the inhumane acts that the Arroyo regime inflicts on our fellow kababayan in the Philippines, as we are uprooted from our homeland because of the worsening socio-economic conditions and human rights violations in the Philippines. Over 3000 Filipinos leave the Philippines everyday to find work abroad because of this crisis. The remittances we send back home amount to US $12.5 billion annually and have become the backbone of the Philippine economy. The money we send back, which is intended to better the situation of our loved ones back home, is now being used to buy arms and hire soldiers that are violating the human rights of civilians.

Filipino youth in Canada can no longer stand idly by while the rights of their fellow students and patriotic peers are being trampled upon by an illegitimate president and her fascist army. Until there is genuine freedom, peace, and democracy in the Philippines; we shall not waver in exposing Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's tyranny.

We demand the immediate release of the 3 UP students and of others who have been politically abducted!
We demand the ouster of the illegitimate president GMA!
We demand that the GRP ends the abductions and political killings!


Statement of:
Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance/Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada - Vancouver
Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance/Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada – Toronto
Kabataang Montreal

FIRST ANNOUNCMENT: "Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggles"

First Announcement - REVISED
July 13, 2006

"Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggles"
Canada-wide Gathering for a National Alliance of Filipino Youth
September 23-24, 2006
Toronto, Ontario

Filipinos currently comprise the third largest visible minority in Canada, 14% of which, are youth and students (Statistics Canada, 2001 Census). The grinding poverty and landlessness caused by the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of Philippine society has forced Filipinos overseas as migrant workers in countries like Canada for years. This forced migration has had its impacts on our youth. Family separation and re-unification, barriers to education and employment, racism and sexism are among the many issues they face here.

For decades now, Filipino youth and students have been educating, organizing and mobilizing our community in the struggle for our genuine rights and welfare, while participating in the continuing struggle for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. Since the formation of the Montreal Coalition of Filipino Students (MCFS) and the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance in Vancouver (UKPC/FCYA-Vancouver) in 1995 - the first progressive Filipino Canadian youth organizations - Filipino youth in the other major cities of Canada have come together to form their own groups, which have continuously strived to give a voice to their experiences.

But as our community continues to grow, our rights are increasingly being attacked by instruments of the Canadian state. For youth, systemic racism is one of the main issues that has intensified in all aspects of their lives - the murder of Mao Jomar Lanot in Vancouver, the fatal shooting of Jeffrey Reodica by a police officer in Toronto, and, most recently, the ill-treatment of young Luc Cagadoc by school officials in Montreal are all testimonies to this. It is in the face of these growing challenges that these Filipino youth and student activists have decided to take another step forward in their organizing work.

On September 23-24, representatives from these various Filipino youth organizations will gather in Toronto for a conference under the theme Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggles. This national gathering aims to achieve the following objectives:
  1. To achieve a greater level of unity amongst existing Filipino youth organizations who support and participate in the struggle for Filipino people's national and social liberation.
  2. To broaden public awareness about the struggles faced by first- and second-generation Filipino youth in Canada.
  3. To learn from and build upon the previous work of the youth organizations and form a national youth organization.
Pagsulong: Filipino Youth Uniting and Advancing Our Struggles will feature panel discussions on the history of youth struggles in Canada, our current situation, the situation of the Philippines and the role of youth in the struggle of the Filipino people. It will also include testimonials from first- and second-generation Filipino youth, action planning and a solidarity night on Saturday, September 23.

All Filipino youth are invited to participate. To register, please contact:
Debbie Celis
(416) 556-6265

This gathering is being hosted by Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance Toronto Chapter (UKPC/FCYA-TO). Exact conference location and schedule will be announced soon.