For Immediate Release
February 4, 2017
Nina Macapinlac, BAYAN USA Northeast Regional Coordinator
email@example.com, (973) 641-9735
On the anniversary of the Philippine American War, Filipinos in the Northeast carry on the legacy of revolutionaries who fought against Spain and the United States by resisting the Trump administration’s outright fascist and imperialist agenda. Since Trump’s inauguration, Filipinos from throughout New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC have joined hundreds of thousands of people as part of the international outrage against the Trump administration’s discriminatory Executive Orders against migrants and refugees. This Philippine Solidarity Week, which happens every year on the week of February 4 to mark the Philippine American War, BAYAN USA Northeast commemorates the war that gave birth to the first colonies of the U.S. and calls for an intensification and continuation of Filipino resistance against U.S. domination.
Since January 20, protests have swept the country almost every day and member organizations of BAYAN USA have taken to the streets throughout the Tri-State Area. Many of these rallies highlighted the need for unity and resistance in the face of an oligarchic administration bent on attacking the rights and services of working and poor communities. On January 20, GABRIELA NY joined the Black, Brown and Indigenous March to linked arms with comrades to defend people’s rights. That same day, Anakbayan NJ led the “Jersey City People’s Inauguration,” a rally and march organized by a coalition of progressive Jersey City groups called the Jersey City People’s Alliance.
“More than ever we must strengthen our solidarity and people’s movements as this fascist administration seeks to divide and intimidate us!” said Ana Robelo, the Solidarity Officer of Anakbayan New Jersey. “We take to the streets to show that with people power we will fight to defend our communities.”
On January 21, Anakbayan New York, as part of the steering committee of the New York City Against Trump Coalition, led the “Call to Action: J21 Make Fascists Scared Again!” march in a Muslim-majority neighborhood of Queens. “An image of monstrosity was just sworn in as president,” said Michael Legaspi, Solidarity Officer of Anakbayan New York. “ A monster that threatens to build walls to keep immigrants out; threatened to force Muslims to register their names for state surveillance, threatened to criminalize and deport millions more undocumented people–including Filipinos.”
Though the Philippines is not officially listed as one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries banned by Trump’s Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” 300,000 undocumented Filipinos in the U.S. are in danger of deportation as the Trump administration steps up its sweep of undocumented immigrants. In his Executive Order called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” Trump announced an immigration enforcement priority system that is much broader than anything in the past. The language of this Executive Order suggests that individuals can be merely charged with a crime and do not have to be convicted to be considered for removal.
Additionally, President Rodrigo Duterte announced his intention of non-interference and lack of support for Filipino migrants who get deported. “If you are not allowed to stay there where you are staying, get out because if you are caught and deported, I will not lift a finger,” he said, during a news briefing in Malacanang. “You know that it is a violation of the law.”
Both of these world leaders head governments that are culpable for the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of people whom they are now condemning. All of the countries in the Trump administration’s travel entry ban (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) are countries that were bombed, militarized, and economically sanctioned by U.S. imperialist wars of aggression. The Philippines is also no stranger to forced migration by neoliberal policies. The Philippines’ labor export policy pushes 6000 Filipinos to leave the country everyday in search of work. Instead of creating the conditions for national industries and domestic jobs, the Philippine economy relies heavily on the labor and remittances of migrants–the very same people who Duterte will “not lift a finger” to help.
BAYAN USA Northeast draws lessons and inspiration from the Filipino revolutionaries of the Philippine-American War and calls on Filipinos in the United States to carry this legacy through heightened struggle. Survival under the Trump administration will require unity and a mass movement to destroy rising neo-fascism and intensifying imperialism. With every move of the Trump administration, Filipinos must link arms in solidarity with the masses of people in the United States who are taking to the streets in defense of their communities. Now is not the time to quiver in fear, but to join mass organizations and alliances like BAYAN USA Northeast and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle to demand system change.
MAKIBAKA, HUWAG MATAKOT!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!