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Filipino Progressive Leaders Visiting Waihopai

The Waihopai spybase is currently in the news because the media shy agency which runs it, the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau, is suing for more than $1m damages the three Christian peace activists who were acquitted of criminal charges for their 2008 deflation of one its giant domes. They did that in protest at Waihopai´s vital role in the global network of spybases operating as the ears and eyes of the US war machine.

Waihopai´s primary role is to spy on our neighbours, particularly political groups which are deemed inimical to US interests. On the afternoon of Wednesday October 27th two leading figures of one such political movement in a neighbouring country will be visiting the Waihopai spybase (viewing it from the public road) to see for themselves New Zealand´s most important contribution to any and all American- led wars.

See below for details on Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma and their NZ tour. For details on the Waihopai spybase see http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/waihopai09.html


Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa Box 2450, Christchurch, New Zealand cafca@chch.planet.org.nz www.converge.org.nz/psna


Luis Jalandoni´s NZ itinerary is below. To arrange media interviews in advance please ring Murray Horton (03) 3663988 or 0274 307742. During his tour, you will be able to ring him direct on 0274 276629. Or you will be able to contact him and his wife Coni Ledesma (who will also be speaking throughout NZ) through their local organisers, listed below.

If you would like their CVs and/or photos e-mailed to you, please reply to cafca@chch.planet.org.nz We also refer you to the Website of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines www.ndfp.net for information on the organisation which they represent and to our Website www.converge.org.nz/psna for material on the Philippines.

Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF, www.ndfp.net), a post that he has held since 1977, and since 1994 he has been the Chairperson of the NDF´s Negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Government of the Philippines. The NDF is the coalition of several underground groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People´s Army, which has been waging a war of liberation throughout the Philippines for more than 40 years, making it one of the longest running armed struggles in the world. The country desperately needs peace with justice and security, so resolving this people´s war is central to that.

Luis (who previously toured New Zealand in 1987) will undertake a national speaking tour between October 24 and November 14. His tour is being collectively organised and hosted by the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa, Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy. His topic will be: Justice And Liberation: The Road To Peace In The Philippines. He will visit: Christchurch, Blenheim, Wellington, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland and Whangarei.

Luis will be accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, who will also be speaking. She is a member of the NDF Negotiating Panel for peace talks; and is the International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women´s group which belongs to the NDF.

Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left. He was a Catholic priest in the 1960s and she was a nun. Both were founders of Christians for National Liberation, a member group of the NDF. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, both went underground. They were both arrested and spent time as political prisoners. They left the clergy, and got married in 1974. They have lived in The Netherlands since 1976; they were the first Filipinos to apply for and receive political asylum there. They hold Dutch passports and travel extensively as NDF representatives.

Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma´s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a four decades long war, and accompanying peace process, in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. As more and more Filipinos come to NZ to live and work, it is important that Kiwis learn the full story about one of our closest Asian neighbours.


Tuesday October 26 - Christchurch
Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m. Knox Presbyterian Church Lounge, 28 Bealey Avenue.

Wednesday October 27 - Blenheim
Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m., Nativity Centre Lounge, cnr Alfred & Henry Streets

Thursday October 28 & Friday 29 -Wellington Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m. Thursday 28, St John´s Hall, corner Willis & Dixon Streets

Monday November 1 - Palmerston North
Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m., Catholic Diocesan Centre (t Rau Aroha), 33 Amesbury Street

Tuesday November 2 & Wednesday 3 - New Plymouth Public Meeting - 6 p.m. Wednesday 3rd, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, 42 Queen Street

Thursday November 4 - Hamilton
Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m., Waikato Trade Union Centre, 34 Harwood Street.

Friday November 5 - Whangarei
Public Meeting - 7 p.m., Manaia PHO Rooms, Rust Ave, central Whangarei.

Tuesday November 9 - Auckland
Public Meeting - 7 p.m. Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

Wednesday 10 - 9a.m. - 12 noon, Auckland University, Maori Studies, Women´s Forum with Coni Ledesma. RSVP to Helen Te Hira (09) 2803372 (w); 0272 888894 helent@nzctu.org.nz

Friday 12 - 7 p.m. Solidarity Dinner, Civic Building, Strata 17, Mayoral Drive, Auckland. Tickets $30 (dinner, entertainment, cash bar). Contact Luke Coxon for tickets Contact: Luke Coxon (09) 8276059, 028 25893203 luke_coxon@yahoo.com

This tour is collectively organised by Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi-Pinoy


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