GABRIELA Network statement on lifitng of Philippine "state of national emergency"
3 March 2006
Dorotea Mendoza, Secretary General, GABRIELA Network
Annalisa Enrile, Chairperson, GABRIELA Network
email@example.com; (212) 592-3507
PHILIPPINE DE FACTO PRESIDENT REMAINS A THREAT TO NATIONAL STABILITY AND TO FILIPINO PEOPLE WITH OR WITHOUT "STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY"
The state of the Philippine nation remains in dire straits with or without the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's "state of national emergency." Five congress representatives are still facing arrest for fabricated charges of rebellion; Representative Crispin Beltran, recently rushed to the hospital for hypertension, is still under arrest for a warrant issued in 1985 during Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship; public assembly and press freedom are still restricted; civil liberties are still curtailed. Suppression of people's rights, repression and political persecution are indeed the mainstays of Arroyo's regime.
Arroyo's claim of stabilizing the nation is laughable. Her very own government breeds instability, with its subservience to US interests and the International Monetary Fund/World Bank, and with her desperate attempts to hold on to power after evidence of election fraud and despite popular outcry for her resignation. The presence of some 5,500 US troops in the archipelago, a blatant affront to Philippine sovereignty; the policy of exporting labor which saw more than 700,000 Filipino women go abroad in 2005; a poverty rate of 80%; Arroyo's spineless non-presence in the on-going legal battle against the US marines accused of gang-raping a 22-year old Filipina in November 2005; graft and corruption-these are the true causes of national instability in the Philippines.
Arroyo's "state of national emergency" was never meant to stabilize the Philippines. It was a transparent scheme to quell the voices of dissent. On the 4th day of the "state of national emergency," a 54-year old teacher and labor leader Napoleon Pornasdoro was gunned down near the high school where he worked. This added to the tally of more than 245 politically motivated killings under Arroyo. During the week-long "state of national emergency," Arroyo's government filed cases of rebellion against 51 individuals, including legitimate congressional representatives and officers of people's organizations. Among them are Gabriela Women's Party Representative Liza Maza and Gabriela Women's Party Vice Chairperson Eliza Tita Lubi. Rep. Liza Maza, along with 4 congresspeoples of Bayan Muna Party (People First) and Anakpawis Party (Toiling Masses), has been under protective custody in the House of Representatives since February 27th. Anakpawis Party Rep. Crispin Beltran was arrested on February 25th. Charge of rebellion carries a life sentence.
Arroyo, however, was unsuccessful in quelling the voices of dissent. Arroyo's tyranny will be her own demise as her recent scheme to hold on to power galvanized, not silenced, more support for her ouster. With or without the "state of national emergency," GABRIELA Network urges the international community to remain vigilant and to continue the pressure demanding that the trumped-up charges of rebellion against Rep. Liza Maza and her 5 colleagues be immediately dropped. GABRIELA Network stands by GABRIELA Philippine's call for a "State of Urgency" to evict Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the Philippine presidential home Malacanang.
GABRIELA Network is a Philippine-US women's solidarity mass organization. GABNet provides the means by which Filipinas in the US can empower themselves, functions as training ground for women's leadership, and articulates the women's point of view. GABNet effects change through organizing, educating, fundraising, networking, and advocacy.
PO Box 403, Times Square Station
New York, NY 10036 USA