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Campaign for Justice Not War in the Philippines

Campaign for Justice Not War in the Philippines Launched in NYC

Sunday, Feb. 23, New York City--A new campaign was launched today to build opposition to U.S. military intervention and human rights abuses in the Philippines. Initiated by GABRIELA Network--NY/NJ and the Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines, attendees at the conference included a group of Maryknoll nuns from upstate NY, workers, students, Filipino domestic workers, and representatives of Korean, Puerto Rican and pan-Asian organizations.

This event took place just days after the Pentagon announced that it is sending as many as 3,000 heavily-armed Special Forces and Marines to Jolo Island in far southern Mindanao to start combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandit group. Participants learned about the brutal history of the US Army during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1916, the well-publicized collusion between the terrorist leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and corrupt army officers, and the actual strategic goals of the U.S. military intervention. Nearly 40 people enjoyed a Filipino lunch, specially prepared by members of the Filipino domestic workers group DAMAYAN. As they ate fried lumpia, spring rolls and puto, the participants watched a short clip from a video that graphically described the virtual Martial Law-type conditions in Southern Tagalog from 1998-2001. Executions of dozens of members of GABRIELA, KARAPATAN and Bayan Muna (People First) Party volunteers by the AFP and paramilitary death squads were described by surviving family members and other witnesses.

Two Filipinas, one Christian, one Muslim, had everyone's complete attention when they explained how they felt about this move of the U.S. to bring thousands of GIs, military bases, prostitution and other social ills back to the Philippines. Kinding Sindaw then performed a traditional dance of the Muslim Maranao people to dramatize how they are being affected by war and militarization.

Four "break-out" discussion groups gave the participants an opportunity to discuss how the U.S. "war on terrorism" is affecting people in the Philippines and the U.S. These break-out groups brainstormed about how to bring the issues of U.S. military intervention, militarization and human rights violations to women and LGBT communities, immigrants, youth, people of color, labor and faith-based groups. The campaign will work to build stronger solidarity between Filipinos, Koreans, Puerto Ricans, Palestinians, the people of Iraq and many others who are struggling against U.S. military intervention and occupation of their countries.

At the end of the day, this conference successfully established a new Justice not War Campaign that will support the demands of the powerful people's movements in all regions of the Philippines to oust U.S. troops and to put an end to the growing human rights abuses of the Philippine military.

To receive more information about the Justice not War campaign, contact GABRIELA Network--NY/NJ at 212-592-3507 or gabnet@gabnet.org; or NISPOP at 212-561-1567 or nispop@nispop.org.


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