Friday, August 31, 2007



News Release
August 31, 2007

Reference: Steven Raga, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: nychrp @

Former US Attorney General Offers to Help Arrested Philippine Leader

New York--- Former US Attorney General and world-renown international human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark expressed disapproval and deep concern over the recent arrest of Philippine leader Jose Maria Sison, a political refugee currently detained in the Hague, Netherlands. He also called on the Dutch government to immediately release Sison, whom he describes as "a gentle person... and inspiring leader."

"Everyone who is concerned about peace and freedom has to be greatly distressed over the arrest of Joma Sison," Clark explained in a meeting with the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) in his Manhattan home.

Clark visited Joma in the Netherlands back in 2005 and has been a ardent supporter of the campaign to have Sison de-listed from the US and European Union terrorist lists. He also claims to be great admirer of Sison, a fellow critic of US foreign policy.

"Sison is a great spirit that the world needs to know about, a great voice that the world needs to hear. The demonization [of him] will destroy us if we permit it to continue," Clark continued.

As an international human rights lawyer, Clark also pledged to assist Joma by offering to join his international defense team of lawyers headed by Jan Fermon.

Clark is also uncertain of the Dutch judicial system's ability to handle Sison's case with validity and competency, given his two murder charges originate in the Philippines, charges that the Philippine Supreme Court has since dismissed.

"The Dutch can't determine the facts," Clark explained. "The Dutch can't investigate in the Philippines. They can only rely on what the [Arroyo] government tells them, and what the [Arroyo] government wants is persecution for Jose Maria Sison."

"If we want peace on earth, we got to do better. I hope that Netherlands can start right now by releasing this great man, Joma Sison."

No to HSA

Clark also expressed his disapproval of the recently passed Human Security Act (HSA) by the Philippine government last February. The HSA has since been put into full effect since last month.

Already the controversial law is drawing sharp criticism as a measure to stifle and eliminate broad opposition to the Arroyo government in the Philippines and abroad, and dangerously defines terrorism in vague terms.

"The new HSA is a copy of the US Patriot Act, which is probably the most unpatriotic act I've seen past by US Congress, in my many years practicing law," Clark stated. "Sadly the Philippines has been subjected to too much copying of some of the worst aspects of the US, and the HSA ought to be repealed."

No to US Aid

Clark also expressed the need to withdraw US military aid to the Philippines, the 4th largest recipient of US military aid in the world.

The recent US Senate hearing on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, headed by Senator Barbara Boxer, could play an influential role as the September marks a crunch period for the Senate and House appropriations committees do decide on military spending for 2008. Major human rights watchdogs and churches testified that US military aid to the Philippine military translates into death squads killing civilians who criticize the Arroyo government.

To avoid US aid reduction, the Arroyo government is highlighting the need to invest in war in Mindanao to fight terrorism.

"Every penny given in US aid, will be re-paid in Philippine blood. US aid is buying power through surrogate governments abroad," Clark continued.

"I urge [the US Congress] to withdraw US aid to the Philippines, and urge you to insist that the Philippines be free of all US military presence, especially the building of new bases in Mindanao." Clark ended.

Clark serves on the advisory board of NYCHRP, a member of the Filipino-American alliance BAYAN USA. ###

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

EMERGENCY ACTION ALERT! Release Jose Maria "Joma" Sison!

Release Jose Maria "Joma" Sison! Arrested Last Night!

Condemnation Picket in Front of the Dutch Consulate in New York
Wednesday, August 29th, 4pm
11 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan
Trains: B/D/F/V/N/R to Rockefeller Plaza

please bring your statements and placards


organized by Committee Defend in New York, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, and BAYAN USA


News Release
August 28, 2007

Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

Fil-Am Alliance Condemns Dubious Arrest of NDF Political Consultant

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of over 12 Filipino organizations in the US, vehemently condemned the arrest of the National Democratic Front Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison last night by the Dutch Police on false charges of multiple murders.

The alliance further condemned the raiding of homes by the Dutch police of the NDF personnel.

Sison was arrested last night for multiple murders of Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara. Police say Sison ordered the murders from the Netherlands back in 2003. Sison will be put on trial in the Netherlands, not the Philippines.

While the New People's Army has already come forward with admittance to the killings, Sison maintains he is not in the leadership of the NPA nor the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

BAYAN USA maintains the real reasons for Sison's arrest are political not criminal. Emergency actions will also be set at Dutch consulates across the country calling for Sison's immediate release.

"Behind the actions of the Dutch police is the Arroyo government, which since its ascendency has been in pursuit of Joma Sison and worked tirelessly to subdue his meaning to the people," states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano.

The alliance, a member of the International League of Peoples Struggle, an international organization of which Sison serves as Chair, has been calling for a de-listing of Sison from the US and EU terrorist lists.

"It is in every interest of the US and Arroyo governments to confine Professor Sison for his politics. As the Chief Political Consultant to the organization that comprises one half of the stalled NDF-GRP peace negotiations, the Arroyo government is declaring to the world it is not interested in resuming peace talks," Quijano added.

BAYAN USA has also supported the resumption of peace talks between the NDF and GRP. The Arroyo administration just recently called to intensify the all-out war in Mindanao under the auspices of the US War on Terror as a measure to raise its annual pork barrel of military aid from the US government.

BAYAN USA also asserted it's been a year of hot water for the Arroyo administration, with isolation from human rights watchdogs such as the UNHRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and even a US Senate hearing that may influence US military aid to the Philippines. Sison, a political refugee in the Netherlands for nearly 20 years, has been one of the most famous and vocal critics of the Arroyo regime.

Earlier this year, a European court nullified Sison's terrorist listing. Since his listing of 2001, Sison had his assets frozen and right to work stripped. Sison remains on the US State Department's terrorist list.

For more information, contact BAYAN USA at info @ ###

FiRE Open House Announcement!

FiRE NYC's Open House: Pinay HERstories
Fri, Sept. 28,2007 @ 7p
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen At. F or V to 2nd Avenue
(between Stanton and Rivington Streets)
Suggested donation of $5-$10 Sliding Scale

Readings and performances by:
Hanalei Ramos
Kimmie David
Lisa Ascalon
Marie Avetria
Rachelle A. Cruz
Rowena Cruz
and many more!

There are a number of instances when our stories, as women, as Filipinas, are lost and relegated to the outskirts of history. Pinay HERstories hopes to reclaim the Filipina/Filipina-American narrative by collecting fragments of the shared Pinay experience. Join us for a night with local Pinay artists who will be reading and performing works meant to inspire, empower, and most importantly, relate to Pinays like us! You can also meet the women of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) who have been organizing several local and global campaigns for the past six months. Learn more about our current programs, our allied organizations, and how Pinays are building a community, here, in the New York City area.

This event is open to everyone, and of course, light refreshments will be served.

Professor Sison's arrest, ransacking of NDF International Information Office and houses of Filipino Refugees spell death for the peace negotiations

National Democratic Front of the Philippines Monitoring Committee

Press Statement
29 August 2007

Professor Sison's arrest, ransacking of NDF International Information Office and houses of Filipino Refugees spell death for the peace negotiations

By Fidel V. Agcaoili

On behalf the NDFP-Monitoring Committee, we condemn in the strongest
terms the arrest of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chief Political Consultant
of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, and the raids and ransacking of the NDF
International Information Office and the houses of Filipino refugees
by the Dutch police on the basis of trumped-up charges by the
Philippine government.

The actions of the Dutch authorities gravely violate the rights of
Prof. Sison and other Filipino refugees and do not in any way
contribute to the furtherance of the peace negotiations between the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

With the arrest of Prof. Sison based on false charges, Mrs. Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo has succeeded in extending her long fascist arms
abroad courtesy of the Dutch authorities.

It should be Mrs. Arroyo and her minions in the Cabinet Oversight
Committee on Internal Security who should instead be arrested for war
crimes under the principle of command responsibility for the
extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances of more than 900
unarmed civilians in the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya I and II.

Contrary to the claims of Mrs. Arroyo, the arrest of Prof. Sison and
the raids conducted are bound to terminate the ongoing peace
negotiations between the NDFP and the Arroyo government.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel will await instructions from the leadership
of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines on the fate of the
peace negotiations in light of the recent arrest of Prof. Sison.

The arrest of Prof. Sison will not stop the Filipino people from
advancing the struggle for national liberation and democracy and the
attainment of a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. They will
continue to intensify their resistance against the illegitimate,
unjust, corrupt and barbaric Arroyo regime.#

Ruth de Leon
Executive Director
NDFP International Information Office
Tel.: +31 30 2310431
Fax.: +31 84 7589930

Email address:
Telephone: 31-30-2310431
Fax: 31-84-7589930
Mailing address: Amsterdamsestraatweg 50, NL-3513 AG Utrecht, Netherlands

Statement on the arrest of NDF Chief Political Consultant Jose Ma. Sison

For Immediate Release
August 28, 2007

Reference: RENATO M. REYES, JR.

Statement on the arrest of NDF Chief Political Consultant Jose Ma. Sison
By the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of National Democratic Front Chief Political Consultant Jose Ma. Sison and the raid on the houses and offices of NDF personnel by the Dutch authorities. This development has dire and far reaching repercussions on the peace process in the Philippines.

The move to arrest Joma and the subsequent raids and interrogation of NDF personnel are most probably done with the knowledge and prodding of the Philippine government. We condemn both the Dutch and Philippine government for these latest attacks on civil liberties.

As of this writing, the legal basis for the arrests and raids remain unclear and are highly questionable. No formal charges have been filed by the Dutch authorities.

The rights of the NDF personnel are being clearly violated by the Dutch government. Meanwhile the Arroyo government is beside itself with glee over the latest developments.

It should be recalled that it was the Arroyo government, through then Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas Ople, who actively lobbied for the inclusion of Sison in the European Union's terrorist list.

The Arroyo government has long sought the incarceration of Sison along with the termination of the peace process. The attacks on the NDF personnel who are part of the peace process clearly show that the Arroyo government has no intention to pursue meaningful peace negotiations.

It is very likely that the Arroyo government has driven the last nail on the coffin of the peace talks with the NDF. The Philippine government is doing all it can to sabotage any remaining hope for the resumption of the talks. The Arroyo regime is preparing to escalate its all out war against the Filipino people.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Filipino Artists Gather for DC Concert to Promote Human Rights in the Philippines

News Release
August 27, 2007

Reference: Raul Menchavez, Northeast Coordinator, BAYAN USA, email: ny @

Filipino Artists Gather for DC Concert to Promote Human Rights in the Philippines
Don't Use Mindanao War to Increase US Military Aid-- BAYAN USA

Washington, DC-- Responding to the Philippine Congress's implementation of the Human Security Act (HSA) last July, Filipino groups along the east coast will be converging for a concert in Washington DC on Friday, September 28, one week after the 35th anniversary of Martial Law as declared by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

The concert, organized by the Filipino-American alliance BAYAN USA and featuring Filipino-American hip-hop sensations Blue Scholars and Kiwi Illefonte, aims to bring awareness to the repurcussions of the newly-passed and controversial bill, and connect with the overall issue of increased US military spending to places where US troops are present, such as the Philippines.

The concert will also be featured as part of a one-week encampment organized by the Troops Out Now Anti-War coalition, that will culminate in a march to Capitol Hill on Saturday, September 29th. A similar encampment will also be held in Los Angeles on the same dates.

"The HSA is a disaster for domestic security in the Philippines. It will cause the endangerment and the termination of innocent lives," states Valerie Francisco of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, or FIRE, a community organizer who recently returned from the Philippines to protest the HSA.

FIRE, along the Anakbayan, the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, under the banner of BAYAN USA, and local DC groups such as Katarungan will be sponsoring the mini-concert set outdoors and following next-day anti-war march near Capitol Hill. The Fil-Am groups have also warned that US-based advocates and supporters of the broad Arroyo opposition under the HSA are also subject to the measures of the state with such a vague definition of terrorism. This comes in light of reports on extrajudicial killings, increase in forced disappearances throughout the country, and a watchlist of names provided by the Bureau of Immigration and Department of Justice jeopardizing travellers from abroad that speak out against Arroyo's domestic policies.

"These days, to oppose the Arroyo regime is the most genuine act of security. To highlight this issue during the Martial Law anniversary is fitting and appropriate, because the Philippines is still under undeclared Martial Law," states Jonna Baldres of Anakbayan.

The groups have also been calling for restrictions on US military aid to the Philippines, in line with its human rights work. September also marks continued Congressional deliberations on US military spending for 2008. Nearly 50 US solons have signed a petition letter calling for Arroyo to handle the human rights crisis in the Philippines.

In response to a recent US Senate hearing and Congressional deliberations on the fate of US military aid to the Philippine government this pasy year, the Arroyo regime has resorted to deflecting possible aid reduction by pushing for an all-out war in Mindanao, the southern-most island, claiming Al-Qaeda cells exist, much to wide public disagreement.

Following the public reports of UN Rapporteur Philip Alston, and Amnesty International, the Philippine military has been identified as the key perpetrating group of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances. In 2001, President George Bush declared the Philippines the Second Front to the War on Terror.

Since then, the Philippines has remained the fourth largest recipient of US military aid in the world and the largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information or to join the Filipino contingent during the anti-war march, contact BAYAN USA at ny @ . ###

Saturday, August 25, 2007

August Pinay Brunch!

Hello, Pinays!

Please join us for the August installment of our Pinay Brunch! We would love to round out our summer with you and talk story about life and your respective summmmertime adventures! Our pick this month is care of Joseline, it's a kitschy little restaurant with some nice, hearty food. Please RSVP if you plan to attend! :)

Saturday, August 25, 10 am
@ Old Devil Moon
511 E. 12th St. NY, NY 10000
(by 12th St. and Ave. A)

and for more info:

Excited to see you all, and welcome you back to this side of the coast! We hope you can find the time to share a meal with us...


On the Review of History Textbooks

25 August 2007

Source: Lana Linaban, Deputy Secretary General, GABRIELLA PHILIPPINES, 371-2302 / 0928-7922342

On the Review of History Textbooks

Now that the school text books are being evaluated and text book
evaluators are being evaluated, it is an opportune time to right our
history for Filipinas. In particular, our history books should
include an account of the tragedy of Filipina "comfort women."
Gabriela Women's Party has already filed a bill on this in 2004 (House
Bill 01019) but it merely languished in the Basic Education and
Culture Committee of the Philippine Congress.

Young Filipinas were abducted, raped and made into sex slaves by the
Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. That is an
established fact. This war time atrocity together with the Balangiga
massacre of US troops during the Philippine-American War are
historical truths.

We in GABRIELA are appalled that the Department of Education would
find the inclusion of the issue of Filipino "comfort women" in
textbooks demeaning. It only adds insult to the women abused by
Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese government should be the shamed
party for its history of systematizing war-time abuses against Asian

More so, the DepEd has no right to obliterate the truth and alter our
history – not because its advisers merely find these truths "violent"
or "demeaning to women"; definitely not because it would strain the
Philippine government's relationship with the government of Japan.

If ever, dishonor goes to the Philippine government for not being able
to stand up for its people wronged. The Philippine government has many
times over sold out the dignity and lives of its people – from the
denial of justice for the Filipino "comfort women" to current peddling
of the iniquitous Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement.

Lastly, to dismiss the truth of Filipino comfort women because it is
"demeaning to women" only reflects the archaic values on women and
women's issues of the DepEd. It is just as appalling that the DepEd
seems to be ignorant of the real aim of studying history, which is not
merely to memorize dates, places and names of events past. The study
of history is to learn from it: to learn so that we may not allow
again foreign governments to violate our country and our people and to
be inspired by the Filipino men and women who courageously fought
against these colonizers.

Remembering and learning the lessons from their travails is part of
giving justice to the Filipino "comfort women." ###

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fil-Am Group Welcomes Senate Probe on Illegal Recruitment Agency

News Release
August 22, 2007

Reference: Rico Foz, Executive Vice President, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, email: nafconusa @

Drop All Charges Against the Sentosa 27! -NAFCON
Fil-Am Group Welcomes Senate Probe on Illegal Recruitment Agency

The Filipino-American alliance known as the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON acknowledged today that while they welcomed the Philippine Senate probe on the case of the Sentosa 27, they demanded the current criminal and civil charges be dropped against the 27 healthcare professionals who were falsely contracted to work in New York for various facilities that differed from the employers they signed to work for.

The alliance, which took charge of the case this year along with the Sentosa 27 themselves and their lawyer Felix Vinluan, has been coordinating an international campaign along with various nurses associations, labor groups, immigrant rights advocates and Philippine-based groups calling for justice and a shutdown of both Sentosa Care LLC in Long Island, New York and Sentosa Recruitment Agency at the Ortigas Center in Manila.

A campaign blog and online petition garnering thousands of support signatures are available at

"In light of the fact that Philippine Senator Panfilo Lacson is calling for a probe on the fraudulent operations of the Sentosa Recruitment Agency, where clients have well expressed their disdain over false contractualization, and the inactivity of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency on the matter, we firmly believe the Sentosa 27 and their lawyer, Felix Vinluan, should be relieved of all civil and criminal charges that have been put upon them," states Rico Foz, Executive Vice President of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON.

Upon moving to the United States and realizing that none of the terms of their contracts pushed through, the 26 nurses and 1 physical therapist filed a civil case with the Labor Attache in Washington DC. The move prompted a fierce backlash from Sentosa owner and manager Bent Philipson to file counter civil charges against the 27 for breach of contract.

After enduring months of deplorable working conditions under false and violated contracts, ten of the Sentosa 27 resigned from their posts. The move caused a bigger stir, prompting Philipson to press criminal charges against the 10 for so-called patient endangerment. The 10 nurses maintain they did not place their patients in danger or plot for a collective "walk-out", but in fact made sure the nurses from the next shift were at hand. The nurses also reported that the working conditions under Sentosa required inhumane and impossible patient to nurse ratios that climbed as high as 100:1.

"This is not as much about the possible criminal activity but about preserving quality patient care for the Sentosa facilities in New York," states Foz continued. "With such high patient-to-nurse ratios and work conditions that aggravate the welfare of nurses--- backwages, long hours, no overtime-- nurses are impaired from performing optimumly and patient care is jeopardized."

"As Senator Lacson pushes forward with his investigation of the delay of action with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency on this matter, another necessary investigation must still be on the political interference of Mike Defensor and US Senator Charles Schumer for obstructing the avenues to justice initially pursued by the Sentosa 27 last year," Foz added.

NAFCON has been seeking public clarification from the offices of Defensor and Schumer for their well-documented roles in calling the POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz urging a lift of the suspension she issued on Sentosa after the Sentosa 27 filed case against the agency last year.

"The saddest part is illegal recruitment is not only commonplace from the Philippines, but that these types of criminal agencies are supported and protected by US and Philippine government officials, exposing a deeper and more systemic malaise for the export of our healthcare professionals that the Philippine government so prides itself on," Foz ended.

A court date for the criminally charged 10 is set for tomorrow, August 23 in Riverhead, NY.

Other vocal US-based supporters of the Justice for the Sentosa 27 Campaign include the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA). ###

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Filipinas in New York Bring Awareness About Comfort Women

Filipinas in New York Bring Awareness About Comfort Women

New York---In a nationally coordinated event with other progressive Filipino women's organizations, namely, babae in San Francisco and Pinay Sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) gathered with over 50 concerned citizens to learn about the burning issue of the Lolas formerly known as "comfort women" in WWII.

The sexual slavery ensued by the Japanese Imperial Army during their occupation of the Philippines in World War II has been on the back burner for almost 65 years. "Comfort women" from all over, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, have been denied rightful compensation and recognition for the violent war crimes systematically inflicted on them during WWII.

"Many of the Lolas are now dying without seeing the justice, apologies and acknowledgment for the torture they experienced in their lifetimes," Valerie Francisco, secretary general of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment stated.

The film screening and discussion touched on the recently passed H.R. 121 introduced by Representative Mike Honda which called on the Japanese government to formally apologize and acknowledge the forced mobilization of thousands of Asian women for the sexual slavery of Japanese soldiers in WWII.

As resolutions quickly gain support in countries like Australia, the United States and the Philippines, those who attended the screening sponsored by FiRE ardently demanded a response from the Japanese government to recognize and fulfill the cries of Lolas in the Philippines and others across Asia.

"The Lolas have lived with these sexual crimes of imperialist wars of aggression for far too long," Francisco added, "If the issue of the comfort women in WWII is not addressed properly by the Japanese government, they are aquiescent to the systematic gender violence that continues in today's vapid yet ubiquitous wars on terror happening all over the globe."

Working with Lila Pilipina, an organization in the Philippines under GABRIELA Philippines, the national campaign for the Lolas will continue to put pressure on both the Philippine and Japanese government to act on the issue.

For more information about Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) please visit, or contact us at

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Film Screening of Malaya Lolas

Film Screening of Malaya Lolas (Grandmothers of Freedom) and Discussion
Tuesday, August 21st 7-9 pm
International Action Center (IAC)
55 West 17th Street between 5th and 6th Ave, 5th Floor
Take 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W to 14th Street/Union Square

THIS EVENT IS FREE (contributions welcomed!)

On the morning of November 23, 1944, the Japanese Imperial Army bombed the barrio of Mapanique in Pampanga from their garrison. By noon, most of the men and women were rounded up and brought to the local school house. There, the men were tortured and massacred in front of their wives, mothers, sisters and children. With their barrio and homes burned, the women were forced into a life of sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army; under these conditions they were raped repeatedly and subjected to a panoply of violence. Of the thousands of women forced into sexual slavery in the Philippines, only 173 of the surviving Filipina comfort women have come forward to date. Earlier this month, HR 121, a demand for Japan to apologize to the women victimized by military sexual slavery during World War II, was passed by Congress. Malaya Lolas is the raw and truthful backstory portraying the struggle of these surviving lolas (now in their 70s and 80s) which questions whether an apology is enough to absolve Japan’s military for imposing a legacy of violence onto the bodies of our grandmothers.

Please join FiRE (NYC), Pinay sa Seattle (Seattle), and babaeSF (San Francisco) this week as we launch our respective anti-militarization campaigns in this coordinated action spanning three cities.

The film will begin promptly at 7 pm, a discussion will follow, and light fare will be served.

We look forward to seeing you!

This event is sponsored by Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE). Please learn more about us by visiting // Email us: // Or contact Hanalei at 201.790.0995

FilAm Women Demand Justice for Lolas 62 Years After the End of WWII


Contact: Donna Denina, Vice Chair – Pinay 206.438.3521
Valerie Francisco, Chair – FiRE 925-726-5768
Marisa Mariano, Chair – babae 415.333.6267

FilAm Women Demand Justice for Lolas 62 Years After the End of WWII

Progressive Filipino women's organizations babae – San Francisco, FiRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment) – New York, and Pinay sa Seattle (in collaboration with progressive Korean American organization, Sahngnoksu), member organizations of Bayan-USA, launches a nationally coordinated campaign today to demand justice for Comfort Women. During WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army abducted and repeatedly raped a reported 100,000-250,000 young girls and women in Japanese occupied colonies and territories including China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In 1992, Maria Rosa Luna Henson, at the age of 65, was the first Filipino comfort woman to publicly come forward with her story. This encouraged more and more women in the Philippines to emerge from almost 50 years of silence since the end of WWII. On June 25, 1994, LILA-PILIPINA was formally launched and founded by comfort women survivors and members of the Task Force on Filipino Comfort Women. To this day, hundreds of surviving comfort women continue to seek an apology from the Japanese government, demand that their stories be included in Japanese history textbooks, and that they be adequately compensated for themselves and their families.

Ritchelda Estremadura, Executive Director of LILA-PILIPINA states, "Justice remains elusive for the Filipina 'comfort women.' Many of the Lolas have died but we must continue the fight for justice. Otherwise, we will not learn from the lessons of history and more women will suffer the fate of 'comfort women'."

Last month, the United States passed House Resolution 121, which stipulates that Japan officially acknowledge, apologize, and take responsibility for their role in the atrocities committed against women and children during WWII. However, despite the passing of this resolution, we remain steadfast in our fight to end all wars of aggression being led by the United States so that crimes committed against innocent women and children may never happen again.

In light of the passage of HR 121, Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela Women's Party filed a House Resolution on August 13, 2007 urging the Philippine Government for Japan to "FORMALLY AKNOWLEDGE, APOLOGIZE AND ACCEPT ITS RESPONSIBILITY OVER THE SEXUAL SLAVERY OF YOUNG WOMEN COMMONLY KNOWN AS COMFORT WOMEN BY THE JAPANESE IMPERIAL ARMY DURING WORLD WAR II AND PROVIDE COMPENSATION TO THE VICTIMS." The women's partylist group has also filed House Bill 1136 "An Act Providing for the Inclusion in the History Books of Elementary, Secondary and Collegiate Curricula the Lives and Heroism of Filipino Comfort Women during the Japanese Occupation and Appropriating Funds Therefore".

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan says that "passing the resolution will help boost initiatives of Japanese legislators seeking to pass a bill entitled Promotion of Resolution for Issues Concerning Victims of Wartime Sexual Coercion Act. The bill was introduced last June 9, 2004 to the House of Councilors in Japan, jointly by the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and by independent senators."

Please join babae, FiRE, and Pinay in a nationally coordinated campaign to seek justice for the comfort women and to demand that the Government of the Philippines must not turn their backs on the heinous crimes of sexual violence afflicted upon their own citizens. As Filipinas who uphold the rights and welfare of women all over the world, we are united that the fight for justice goes beyond just an apology and acknowledgement in text books. We must continue to put an end to all wars of aggression and pressure the US backed Arroyo regime to send all US troops out of the Philippines.

Events and actions spanning 3 cities nationwide will take place this week as a continuation of the Global Action Day Demonstration on the issue of "comfort women" which began on August 15th. Please contact the organizations listed below for more information on how you may be involved in your local area.


San Francisco - babae
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Film showing about surviving comfort women of WWII
Doors open at 6:30pm
Filipino Community Center
35 San Juan Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112
Light refreshments will be served, followed by an open discussion, and updates on the issue.
*this is a FREE event, but donations are kindly accepted!
Contact: Marisa Mariano - 415.333.6267

New York – FiRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment)
Tuesday, August 21st 7-9 pm
Film showing and discussion
International Action Center (IAC)
55 West 17th Street between 5th and 6th Ave, 5th Floor
Take 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W to 14th Street/Union Square
THIS EVENT IS FREE! Contributions welcomed!
Contact: Hanalei Ramos - 201.790.0995

Seattle - PINAY sa Seattle
Friday, August 24, 2007 6-9pm
Comfort Women Teach-In
Film Showing and Discussion in collaboration with Sahngnoksu
2100 Building
2100 24th Ave S
Community Room B
Seattle, WA
This is a FREE EVENT
Contact: Donna Denina - 206.438.3521

Thursday, August 16, 2007


14 August 2007

Reference: Ritchelda Extremadura, Lila Pilipina Executive Director,
Joms Salvador, GABRIELA Spokesperson, 371-2302 / 0918-6254080


The elderly women of Lila Pilipina, organization of Filipino victims of Japanese war time atrocities, and members of the militant women's group GABRIELA held a protest action in front of the Japanese Embassy today in commemoration of the 62nd Anniversary of the Second World War.

"Justice remains elusive for the Filipina 'comfort women.' Many of the lolas have died but we must continue the fight for justice. Otherwise, we will not learn from the lessons of history and more women will suffer the fate of 'comfort women'." This was according to Ritchelda Extremadura, Executive Director of Lila Pilipina.

"The fight for justice of the lola's should be the fight of all Filipino women. Calling for justice means calling for an end to the victimization of women in times of war. It means calling for an end to wars of aggression," said Joms Salvador, spokesperson of GABRIELA.

According to Salvador, studies show that 80% of those affected by war - killed, injured and traumatized - are women and children.

Meanwhile, Lila Pilipina lauds the Gabriela Women's Party for filing a House Resolution for the Philippine Government to urge the Government of Japan to "formally acknowledge, apologize and accept its responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women commonly known as comfort women."

"It has been decades since the first Filipino 'comfort woman' came out and sought justice but the Philippine government has yet to officially take a stand on the issue. It is shameful for any government which cannot stand up for its citizens aggrieved by the foreign military," said Extremadura.

The House Resolution was filed yesterday by Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women's Party.

The protest action of Lila Pilipina and GABRIELA is also part of the Global Action Day Demonstration on the issue of "comfort women" on August 15. Simultaneous demonstrations are expected in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Seoul and Busan in South Korea, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Taiwan and USA. ###

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A message from the FiRE website manager

Since we've installed the counter in mid-May 2007, the FiRE website has received a consistent weekly trickle of about 125 unique visitors from all over the world! We thank you for your interest in the National Democratic movement, acknowledgment in the value of this work, and hope to incite your further involvement in our cause.

With that, we've recently received a slew of blog comments regarding our current campaigns, and have found answers to some of your questions. We are elated that you are using this forum as a means of engagement. We welcome any honest and critical dialogue, and should you ever need to contact us, please do not hesitate to use the information found at this link, and we will get back to you shortly!

Hanalei Ramos
Organizational Development Officer

Now, onto the matter at hand! Please keep the questions and requests coming; feel free to use us as a resource! :)

(original thread found here: )

"I'm a nurse also, and I have signed up with sentosa recruitment agency. Until now I'm still here in the Philippines despite having completed all my requirements. I've been with trhem for 2 and half years already and still there is no or there's just very little progress with my papers. My friends who signed with sentosa and others taht I know that signed up with sentosa suffered the same fate. I HOPE THAT THIS FIGHT AGAINST SENTOSA RECRUITMENT AGENCY WILL NOT JUST BE FOCUSED BY THOSE 27 NURSES IN NEW YORK, WE HOPE THAT NURSES LIKE US THAT CAN'T GET OUT OF SENTOSA BECAUSE OF ITS CONTRACT AND A CERTAIN FEE TO BUY OUT THE CONTRACT THAT ARE TRAPPED WILL BE NOTICED. We the nurses that signed with SENTOSA ARE ALSO SHOUTING THAT WE WANT OUT OF SENTOSA!! "

Response: (via Rico Foz, Executive Vice President of NAFCON - the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns)

Through FiRE, tell these RNs in the Philippines that our struggle for justice is not really meant for the 27 healthworkers in NY only; which is why it is called 27++. They are not alone, many of their colleagues are of course coming out in the open and reaching us out. The unabated exploitation of healthworkers by the Sentosa Recruitment Agency, in cahoots with some unscrupulous businesspersons and corrupt government officials continues to this day. This is also the very reason why we strive to advance the struggle to higher grounds.

If you please tell them to uncover themselves with anonymity and email me directly at, as extreme confidentiality is to be expected from us. We understand their difficult plight but we are inutile until they reach out to us and reciprocally communicate with them to learn their stories. This will further strengthen our arguments then stand side by side and fight with them in their quest for justice.

Monday, August 13, 2007


13 August 2007

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0915-6463009


The women's partylist group GABRIELA has filed a resolution for the Philippine government to demand from the Japanese government a formal acknowledgment and an apology as well as an acceptance of its responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

"It has been over two decades since Filipino comfort women first found the courage to step up, reveal their ordeal and seek justice. Many of them have already died. It is indeed high time that the Philippine government take concrete steps to support our comfort women," said GABRIELA Representative Liza Largoza-Maza.

Rep. Maza notes that both the governments of Taiwan and South Korea have taken initiatives at the state level to confront the Japanese government for acknowledgement and compensation of victims in their respective countries. "Last month, the US House of Representatives has likewise passed Resolution 121 calling on Japan to acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility for its war crimes. What has the Philippine government done for our comfort women?"

Reps. Maza and Luz Ilagan, proponents of the measure agree that by passing the resolution, "the Philippine government is demonstrating its earnest interest to help the Filipino comfort women achieve the justice they deserve and reclaim their dignity and that of the Filipino people."

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan also adds that passing the resolution will help boost initiatives of Japanese legislators seeking to pass a bill entitled "Promotion of Resolution for Issues Concerning Victims of Wartime Sexual Coercion Act". The bill was introduced last June 9, 2004 to the House of Councilors in Japan, jointly by the
Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and by independent senators.

Rep. Ilagan also explained that the bill included measures to restore the honor of the so-called comfort women, which would also entail the announcement of an apology for the violation and dignity of the victims of wartime sexual slavery and the implementation of necessary means to immediately restore their honor, including
monetary compensation.

The GABRIELA solons said they are gathering more signatures to support the resolution. The women's partylist group has also filed House Bill 1136 "An Act Providing for the Inclusion in the History Books of Elementary, Secondary and Collegiate Curricula the Lives and Heroism of Filipino Comfort Women during the Japanese Occupation and Appropriating Funds Therefore".

Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City, Metro Manila

First Regular Session




WHEREAS, the recognition of human rights is a valuable tenet in the
1987 Philippine Constitution which states: "the State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
rights" (Article II, Section II);

WHEREAS, it has been more than a decade since the World War II
comfort women started clamoring for an official apology and legal
redress from the government of Japan for the unimaginable suffering
they experienced in the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army;

WHEREAS, the Japanese government recognized the issues concerning
comfort women as a social problem only in June 1990;

WHEREAS, after realizing the importance of the matter, the Japanese
government proceeded to conduct a research, after which, it admitted
its involvement in the sexual slavery case, expressed its remorse
for the matter of comfort women and apologized for it in August 1993;

WHEREAS, Japanese public and private officials have recently
expressed their desire to retract or water down its 1993 statement
by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the "comfort women". The
1993 statement of Secretary Kono expressed the sincere apologies of
the government of Japan for the ordeal of the women victims of
military sexual slavery by the Japan Imperial Army;

WHEREAS, the Japanese government claimed that it had no obligation
to provide compensation for the victims since the matter was already
settled when the San Francisco Treaty and other bilateral treaties
were signed;

WHEREAS, the UN Report of Miss Radhika Coomaraswamy, the then
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, to the Commission of
Human Rights in 1996 urged the Japanese to compensate the former
comfort women while Miss Gay McDougal's UN Report in 1998 severely
criticized the Japanese government in its handling of the cases of
the comfort women and strongly recommended that Japan raise the
issue of compensation to the state-level;

WHEREAS, the Japanese government's response to the mounting
international pressure was the creation of the Asian Women's Fund
(AWF) which collected "sympathy money" from the Japanese citizens,
thereby evading its legal responsibilities as a state in addressing
the cases of the comfort women. The Asian Women's Fund has raised
US$5,700,000 to extend "atonement" from the Japanese people to the
comfort women. The said fund ended on March 31, 2007 and the fund
was to be disbanded on that date;

WHEREAS, in April 1998, the South Korean government issued an
announcement in which it insisted that the Japanese government
should answer its liabilities in the state level, even as the South
Korean government decided to give the former comfort women
approximately 3 million yen of monetary support;

WHEREAS, the Taiwanese government took similar measures by
conferring 2 million yen for the former comfort women to substitute
for AWF's money while seeking a state level compensation and apology
from the Japanese government;

WHEREAS, a bill entitled "Promotion of Resolution for Issues
Concerning Victims of Wartime Sexual Coercion Act" was introduced to
the House of Councilors in Japan, jointly by the Democratic Party of
Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party,
and independent senators last June 9, 2004. The same bill was filed
last March 21 and November 14, 2001 and January 21, 2003. However,
the House of Councilors failed to adopt said bill.

WHEREAS, the main objective of the bill filed at the Japanese House
of Councilors was to take immediate steps to restore the dignity and
honor of women victims of wartime sexual slavery of the Japanese
Imperial Army during the World War II. It aimed to provide the
necessary fundamental grounds for the resolution of the issues
concerning the victims of wartime sexual coercion that will improve
the relationship of the peoples of the concerned nations and will
enable Japan to occupy an honored place in the international

WHEREAS, the bill indicated measures to restore the honor which
includes the announcement of the Japanese government of an apology
for the violation and dignity of the victims of wartime sexual
slavery and the implementation of necessary means to immediately
restore their honor, including monetary compensation;

WHEREAS, the same measure will again be filed at the House of
Councilors of Japan;

WHEREAS, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea had already
approved their resolution recommending the Japanese Diet to consider
and enact the bill on the promotion for the resolution of issues
concerning victims of wartime sexual coercion;

WHEREAS, the U.S. House of Representatives, on July 31, 2007,
approved its House Resolution 121 expressing the sense of the House
of Representatives that the Government of Japan should formally
acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a
clear and inequivocal manner for its Imperrial Armed Force's
coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world
as "comfort women", during its colonial and wartime occupation of
Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of
World War II;

WHEREAS, the Government of Japan is a signatory to the 1921
International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women
and Children and supported the 2000 United Nations Security Council
Resolutions 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which recognized the
unique impact of armed conflict on women;

WHEREAS, by following the step of the U.S. House of Representatives
in passing Resolution No. 121, the Philippine government is
demonstrating its earnest interest to help the Filipino comfort
women achieve the justice they deserve and reclaim their dignity and
that of the Filipino people;

express its sense that the Philippine government urges the
government of Japan to formally acknowledge, apologize and accept
its responsibility over the sexual slavery of young women commonly
known as comfort women by the Japanese Imperial Army during World
War II and provide compensation to the victims in the light of the
adoption by the U.S. House of Representatives of House Resolution
121 which states that Japan should formally acknowledge, apologize
and accept historical responsibility in clear and unequivocal manner
over its armed force's coercion of young women into sexual slavery
during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia, and in the
light of the legislative initiatives in the House of Councilors of
Japan seeking apology, compensation and immediate resolution of
issues concerning comfort women





Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fil-Am activist barred from returning to US

Fil-Am activist barred from returning to US
Posted August 10, 2007, 6:41 pm

Members of progressive women's organizations in the US are outraged over the Philippine government's move to prevent an activist Filipino-American professor from leaving Manila where she attended a conference.

Dr. Annalisa Enrile, assistant clinical professor at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work and national chair of Gabriela Network (GABNet) USA, was barred from boarding her return flight to Los Angeles on Aug. 5 purportedly because her name was on the Bureau of Immigration's "hold-departure order" list.

Enrile, a US citizen, came to the Philippines for the 10th bi-annual Women's International Solidarity Affair held in Manila last week. The conference drew hundreds of women from all over the globe and covered issues such as sex trafficking and other international human rights violations.

GABNet secretary general Doris Mendoza said Enrile chaperoned a delegation of USC Masters students who attended the conference and visited local non-governmental organizations.

In a statement, she said officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) advised Enrile to report the Bureau of Immigration.

Enrile was supposedly placed on the BI "watch list" on July 25. Gabriela believes this was still an enforcement of the Arroyo government's policy adopted late last year to limit protest actions timed for the 12th Leaders' Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cebu last January.

GABNet said its other leaders Judith Mirkinson and writer-novelist Ninotchka Rosca are on the same "watch list." Mirkinson and Rosca also attended the women's forum.

"This is undoubtedly a scare tactic by the Philippine government to intimidate women's
international solidarity with Filipina women and their struggles," Mendoza said.

Pinay sa Seattle, a group of progressive Filipinos in Seattle, Washington State, said the barring of Enrile could be related to the government's anti-terror policy.

"Although the Philippine government had assured the international community that the watch list would be lifted following the ASEAN Summit, internationally-based progressives are still being targeted as part of the Philippine's collusion with the War on Terror," Donna Denina, vice chair of Pinay sa Seattle.

"This is a time of grave concern due to the escalating human rights violations in the Philippines and the recent passage of the Human Security Act, commonly referred to as the Anti-Terror Bill. This law prohibits freedom of assembly and curtails the right to openly criticize and organize against injustices committed by the Philippine government. It restricts due process of law and is likely to be used in the Philippine government's campaign against progressive organizations," Denina noted.

After a meeting on Thursday with US Embassy officers in Manila, Enrile was advised to secure a clearance from Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Cesar Garcia of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and Armed Forces Chief Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr, who all happen to compose the Anti-Terrorism Council tasked to implement the anti-terror law.

Because of the concerns, the progressive leaders have alerted their networks all over the United States and around the globe about Enrile's experience at the NAIA.

"The Philippine Human Security Act 2007 is in full effect and impacting visitors to the Philippines who are doing genuine international solidarity work," said Pinay sa Seattle in its advisory.

Other progressive women's groups like Babae-San Francisco and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment-NY, member organizations of BAYAN-USA have also denounced the travel ban on Enrile.

Gabriela Women's Party has organized a press conference on Saturday, August 11, in Quezon City for Enrile to talk about her experience at the airport on her way back to the US. - GMANews.TV

Friday, August 10, 2007

Philippine Government obstructs Filipina American Professor's scheduled return home to the US

August 10, 2007
Contact: Chito Quijano, Chair, BAYAN USA

Philippine Government obstructs Filipina American Professor's scheduled return home to the US, US Government intensifies domestic spying.
Los Angeles, CA – BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups across the US, is outraged at the recent holding of Annalisa Enrile, Associate Professor at the University of Southern California and national Chairperson of Gabriela Network USA. Professor Enrile was stopped at the airport and prevented from returning home to California on August 5, 2007. She is a US citizen and is speculated to have been held, because of her involvement with Gabriela Network, a Philippine-US women's solidarity organization based in the US .

"It is coincidental that the Philippine government stopped Professor Enrile's return-flight to the US the same day Bush signed the "Protect America Act of 2007," but it is no coincidence that both Bush and GMA are intent on eradicating what few civil rights we have left" said Chito Quijano, Chair of BAYAN USA.

According to Quijano, "In attempts to silence their critics, Bush and GMA are rushing to repress and criminalize those who speak out. We must be more vigilant and fight for our basic rights or these illegitimate regimes will continue to pull the human and civil rights rugs out from under us."
Initial reports indicate that Professor Enrile was on a "watch-list" developed by the US-backed Arroyo administration to hinder international participation in protests against the ASEAN Summit hosted in the Philippines in January 2007. The Philippine government had assured the international community that the "watch-list" would be lifted following the ASEAN Summit. And despite escalating pressure from the international bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International, and the guilty verdict of the Second Permanent People's Tribunal in March to stop the killings and other human rights violations, the US-Arroyo clique fast-tracked the implementation of the Anti-Terror Law, or Human Security Act to begin on July 15, 2007.

The US-authored Human Security Act establishes a dangerously broad definition of terrorism, legalizes warrant-less arrests and wire-tapping, and criminalizes the actions of mass organizations exercising their democratic rights to protest the US-Arroyo clique's acts of state terror. US-based organizations of BAYAN-USA are additionally concerned by the "Protect America Act of 2007" signed by Bush on August 5, 2007. The act amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow domestic spying, wire-tapping of any foreign calls coming into the US and forcing all telephone companies to submit data to the federal government. Like the Human Security Act, this "Protect America Act" is dangerously broad; no requirement of a connection to terrorism is necessary to justify this invasion of privacy and erosion of civil liberties. It also is a move to legalize the illegal surveillance already being done by the Bush administration.

Member organizations of BAYAN-USA, are united in the defense of Prof. Enrile's international right to travel and return home to the USA. BAYAN-USA condemns all attacks against human and civil rights now legalized by the Human Security Act and the Protect America Act of 2007. "All people, especially those in the US, must counter these attacks against our human rights. We are inviting all people to save the date and join us on the upcoming international day of action on September 21, 2007 the anniversary of Martial Law."

'Never Again to Martial Law!'

Stop the Killings in the Philippines!

Repeal the Human Security Act!

Stop US Military Aid to Philippine Death Squads.

BAYAN-USA is an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As the only international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

HR 121 Passed!

House seeks Japan's apology on "comfort women"

By Richard Cowan
Monday, July 30, 2007; 11:37 PM

WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday called on Japan to apologize for forcing thousands of women into sexual servitude to its soldiers during and before World War II.

On a voice vote, the House approved a nonbinding resolution intended as a symbolic statement on the Japanese government's role in forcing up to 200,000 "comfort women" into a wartime brothel program starting in the 1930s.

The vote marked a rare rebuke by Washington politicians of Washington's closest ally in Asia, but drew only a muted response from Tokyo.

"Today, the House will send a message to the government of Japan that it should deliver an official, unequivocal, unambiguous apology for the indignity the comfort women suffered," said Rep. Mike Honda, the California Democrat who pushed the legislation through the House.

One of those women, Yong Soo Lee, a Korean, was inside the House chamber watching the debate and vote.

Honda, 66, is a Japanese-American who spent his early childhood in a World War II internment camp in Colorado.

The Japanese government offered a low-key response on Tuesday.

"The Prime Minister went to America in April and explained his thinking on this problem again," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki told reporters. "It is unfortunate that the U.S. House of Representatives nonetheless passed this resolution. Our government has dealt sincerely with the problem of the comfort women."

In 1993, Japan acknowledged a state role in the wartime program, which mostly victimized Chinese and Korean women. Japan's government later established a fund, which collected private donations and offered payments of about $20,000 to 285 women.

But more recently, Japanese officials including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have denied there was evidence the government or military were directly involved in procuring the women. He later apologized for the women's suffering and said he stood by the 1993 statement.

"There can be no denying the Japanese Imperial military coerced thousands upon thousands of Asian women," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos of California said.

"Those who posit that all of the 'comfort women' were happily complicit and acting of their own accord simply do not understand the meaning of the word rape," added Lantos, a Holocaust survivor.

Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party was dealt a crushing defeat in an upper house election on Sunday amid a string of government scandals, gaffes by ministers and a row over mismanaged pensions. But Abe vowed to stay in his post.

In June, Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato wrote a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California saying Honda's resolution "will almost certainly have lasting and harmful effects on the deep friendship, close trust and wide-ranging cooperation our two nations now enjoy."

There was no immediate comment from the conservative Japanese lawmakers who placed an advertisement in the Washington Post last month stating that the women had worked as licensed prostitutes, sparking harsh criticism from U.S. lawmakers.

(Additional reporting by Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Photo from WISAP

Delegates of the non government Women's International Solidarity Affair in the Philippines, their faces colorfully painted, pose for photographers during a conference in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, on Sunday Aug. 5, 2007. The women's group expressed support to Muslim women who could be displaced due to a planned military offensive against Muslim guerrillas on southern Basilan island. (Aaron Favila, AP)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Party Like ARAK Star! RECAP!

A great heartfelt thank you to Cristina Hilo and the rest of AB for making last night's event a success! An entire handful of people came out to support Berna, and listened to a night of spoken word and hip hop. Hosted by FiRE's own Kimmie!

An extra thank you to those from the APIA Spoken Word and Poetry Summit who came all the out to Queens to see some folks perform on a suspended bridge/stage!

It was phenomenal to feel the love in that room, and it was a simple bonus that all the performers of the night were extremely skilled and got the crowd hyped.