Wednesday, July 25, 2007

FiRE's Sec Gen, in the press!

Valerie Francisco, who is currently doing an Exposure trip in the Philippines was highlighted in the State of the Nation Address coverage in the Philippines:

Street protesters twist chants with a twang

Journalists and other members of the media covering Monday's protests
during President Arroyo's State of the Nation Address were surprised
with activist chants not from the regular Filipino demonstrators but
from English-speaking protesters all the way from abroad.

Filipino-American members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
from Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York participated in the protests
along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, several hundred meters from
Mrs. Arroyo's location at the Batasan Pambansa Complex.

Together with their Filipino counterparts, "imported" protesters
expressed dismay at the political and economic climate in the

Two of them, Belgians Koen Roel and Veronique Potuer, joined street
demonstrators in shouting "Hoy, hoy, hoy" and "Ibasura."

"They face political killings. We want to express our international
solidarity with them," Roel said, referring to the cases of murdered
Filipino activists who were identified with left-leaning groups.

"Do not criminalize what activists are doing. We just want to help,"
Filipino American Valerie Francisco said in her parents' native

The Fil-Ams also headlined the "variety show" of the demonstrators atop
a makeshift stage. Instead of venting their anti-Arroyo statements by
way of shouting, a group did a rap number.

Their song's lyrics, however, was unflattering to the President.

"Gloria we say, we abrreviated GMA. Another President puppet to the
USA," sang a rapper.

Poteur, meanwhile, said that she does not fear for her safety following
the 40-day ordeal of Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi in the hands of
Muslim extremists in Mindanao.

Bossi, a missionary, was kidnapped on June 10 in Zamboanga Sibugay

"I think it's a dangerous place for Filipinos [but] not for foreigners
if you [know] what's happening [around you]," said Poteur. With a
report from Ni–a Corpuz, ABS-CBN News