Since 9/11 the Bush administration has escalated its military presence in the Philippines, with more US troops there than at any time since World War II. The Philippines is a linchpin of Bush's worldwide war strategy as well as a key to capitalist globalization. Despite the vote by the Philippine Senate 10 years ago to stop the bases treaty, the US has been unwilling to give up its foothold in Asia.
This fall, one of the largest "war games" Baliktan 03, will be taking place in the Philippines. While it was claimed that the troop presence was used to fight against the Abu Sayaaf (a Muslim group), the latest targets of militarization are the progressive peoples movements, including human rights workers, women and labor activists.
We are witnessing increasing militarization in the Philippines, as we approach the 30 year anniversary of the declaration of martial law there and the possibility of martial law in the US (the one year anniversary of the US Patriot Act).
As in the US--where the "War on Terror" is mainly a war on immigrants and civil liberties--in the Philippines it's working people who suffer the consequences. Come hear how the Filipino people are fighting back (both in the Philippines and in the United States) and how movements in the US can learn from their 100+ years of resistance to US imperialism.
Christene Reyes, GABRIELA Network, Seattle chapter.
Ace Saturay, Coordinator, Filipino Workers Action Center, Seattle.
Ms. Reyes is the coordinator of the Seattle chapter of GABRIELA Network, a U.S.- based solidarity organization working with GABRIELA Philipppines on issues that negatively impact Filipina women worldwide. She has been actively involved in organizing and speaking at events on issues such as globalization, the women's movement in the Philippines, and more recently on the current U.S.-led war of aggression and its impacts on the Filipino diaspora.
This summer Ms. Reyes participated in a tour of social conditions in the Philippines, where she met with people's organizations such as GABRIELA, the National Alliance of Women's Organizations, and the Karapatan, a human rights organization. She also participated in the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) against US Military Intervention in the Philippines, which uncovered the involvement of a US soldier in a Philippine military operation.
Mr. Saturay coordinates the Filipino Workers Action Center, which seeks to empower Filipino workers and develop leadership among them to address social and economic justice issues among Filipinos in the greater Seattle area. He has been actively involved in organizing and speaking at events on issues such as globalization, immigration, and militarization as they affect workers both in the Philippines and in the United States. In 1999 he served as the convenor of the "No to WTO" People's Assembly in Seattle, which, despite being denied a permit, marched from South Seattle's communities of color to downtown Seattle. He was also a delegate to the founding conference of the International League of People's struggle.
Co-sponsored, in part, by the Portland Alliance, OUT Now, Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines, Solidarity.