Monday, July 30, 2007

Party like ARAK Star!

Friends! Please support!
Anak Bayan NY/NJ and FIRE (filipinas for rights and empowerment) Present:

Big Things Poppin'
Party Like ARAK star!

Who's Performing:
Kiwi from Native Guns
Geo from Blue Scholars
Hanalei Ramos
Deep Foundation
Mike Swift
... and many others!

Terraza Cafe
40-19 Gleane St.
Jackson Heights, NY 11373

Directions: Take the 7 train to 82nd Ave and walk to 83rd and Roosevelt

Funds will be going towards local organizing within the filipino
community and the medical bills of one our organizers.

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

Sunday, July 22, 2007


July 23, 2007
Contact: Joanna Robledo-Maderazo, BAYAN-USA Women's Committee
Email:, 415-637-4129,


The Filipino women organizations, babae (San Francisco), Pinay Sa Seattle (Seattle), and FiRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment- New York) of BAYAN USA unitedly demand that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo admit to the REAL state of the Philippine nation this July 23, 2007 during her State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the Philippines. Every year, SONA has been GMA's shameless brag list of the Philippine economy's supposed improvements and her administration's accomplishments in the last year. But the truth is that GMA is bleeding the Philippine nation dry with her administration's rampant human rights violations, and economic policies that keep the country in poverty, thus driving thousands of Filipinos to seek work outside of the Philippines everyday. The Filipino people have long withstood GMA's deception and exploitation during her six years as President, and will no longer tolerate her corruptness.

Human Rights Violations: Election Cheating and Political Repression
In classic tyrannical fashion, GMA has fastened onto power in violent ways: Election fraud, killings and abductions of mass leaders, and recreating a state of lawlessness by renewing an undeclared state of martial law. Since 2001, Bush and Macapagal Arroyo's campaign of murder in the Philippines has so far killed 850+ labor leaders, youth and community organizers, political activists, women's rights advocates, church leaders and journalists. Eighty of those killed are women--mothers and daughters of the nation, half of who were organizers for, or leaders of Gabriela Women's Party or the GABRIELA national women's alliance. Many more have gone missing, been abducted, are illegally detained, or consistently harassed. Despite international condemnation from Amnesty International, United Nations investigator Philip Alston, and dozens of other human rights advocates and organizations, GMA has continued to avoid any accountability for the escalating number of human rights violations in the Philippines.

The Human Security Act
The Human Security Act of the Philippines, which went into effect on July 14, 2007, is an example of legislated repression that will be used against dissenters and critics of the GMA administration. It will only aggravate the current climate of political harassment and persecution. This law targets the agitated masses of Filipinos by quelling non-violent protests, petitions, and forums, silencing the needs of the Filipino people. Anyone who is critical of the Arroyo government and fights for basic human rights will be charged with "Terrorism" and will likely be subject to unwarranted searches and unlawful arrests. The Human Security Act is yet another tool for GMA to strengthen the culture of fear and is an attempt to legitimize the ongoing state violence carried out by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Worsening Economic Crisis and Overseas Filipina Workers (OFW)
The real state of the nation will reveal the wide-scale poverty that plagues the country, exemplified as joblessness, landlessness, prostitution, and hunger. These conditions are caused by GMA's puppetry to U.S. imperialism. In the US, a primary receiver of Filipina migrant workers, Filipino women are consistently trafficked into working as nurses, domestic workers, nannies, caregivers and sexual slaves. The Philippine government's neglect of OFWs is a long-standing issue as OFWs face exploitation, sexual assault, violence, and discrimination overseas. The recent exploitation of the Sentosa 27 health care workers in New York reveals how GMA turns a blind eye to the violence inflicted on OFWs. The abuse and injustices enacted by state-sponsored recruitment agencies, like the Sentosa firm, are affecting the general migrant worker population, the majority of who are Filipino women. The Philippine government profits from these OFWs' earnings through remittances that amounted to $13 billion in 2006, but does nothing to protect the rights and welfare of these so-called heroes of the nation. Foreign remittance for 2007 is expected to go over $14 billion, but at the expense of Filipino women all over the world.

The truth is, the state of the Philippine Nation is appalling. We, as Filipina women's organizations representing Filipina U.S. citizens and immigrants are united in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. We join the thousands of enraged Filipino people in protest when GMA will broadcast yet another false and antagonizing account of her accomplishments in the last year, despite the gross accounts of injustice created by her administration. Our duty as Filipinas living in the U.S. is to hold the US government accountable for sending military funding that sustains state violence in the Philippines and forces our families to leave our homeland. From the Philippines to the United States, babae, Pinay Sa Seattle, and FiRE remain connected with those struggling to fight for basic human rights. All across the world, let us expose Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for what she really is, a greedy and corrupt President!



babae (Tagalog for "woman") is a women's organization that serves to address the rights and welfare of Filipinas in the San Francisco Bay Area. We mobilize and organize around Pinay issues to strengthen our legacy as empowered Filipina women in solidarity with National Democracy in the Philippines and international women's emancipation.

PINAY* Sa Seattle is a collective of PINAYS celebrating our multifaceted identities, revolutionary history, and rich culture. We work to build a community in the Seattle area invested in educating, defending, and advocating for the human rights of Filipinas globally. *PINAY - a term coined by Filipinos in the US during the 1920s, refer to women of Philippine descent.

Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women's organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect the Filipino diaspora to the women's struggle in the Philippines by bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together. We challenge pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities.

Collectively, these three organizations represent the women's sector of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S., and 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. (

Friday, July 20, 2007

Justice for Sentosa 27++ Migrante hits Malacanang over illegal recruitment of RP nurses to US

News Release

July 20, 2007
For reference: Connie Bragas-Regalado

Justice for Sentosa 27++
Migrante hits Malacanang over illegal recruitment of RP nurses to US

With Congress set to open in a few days, an alliance of progressive organizations composed of Filipino migrants and their families today called for a congressional investigation into the plight of the Filipino nurses in New York illegally recruited by the Sentosa Recruitment Agency.

"We are working with the Gabriela Women's Partylist and approaching other pro-OFW legislators to ensure that as soon as Congress opens, a resolution is forwarded to investigate the culpability of Sentosa and Philippine government officials in violating the rights of these nurses. This campaign for the Sentosa 27++ exposes only the tip of the iceberg of abuse suffered by health care workers and other migrants under Arroyo," says Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante International Chairperson.

The Campaign for Justice for the Sentosa 27++ is an international campaign launched in the US by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. In the Philippines, Migrante International, the Alliance for Health Workers and the Health Alliance for Democracy are also forwarding this campaign.

"We are deeply concerned over the conditions of the twenty-six nurses and one physical therapist recruited by Sentosa. Clearly, Sentosa is guilty of contract violations, violating human trafficking laws and involuntary servitude. Many of the promises made to the nurses were broken shortly after their arrival in New York," she added.

Sentosa Recruitment Agency is run by a certain Francis Luyun, who also works as Director of International Recruitment for the New York-based Sentosa Care, LLC owned by a Brent Philipson.

"In particular, the role then Sec. Mike Defensor played in having a POEA preventive suspension order against Sentosa lifted must be exposed," said Bragas-Regalado.
Citing the Sentosa 27++ fact sheet, Bragas-Regalado explained that the suspension against Sentosa was lifted on June 8, 2006 less than two weeks after it was ordered. The lifting came after US Senator Schumer interceded for Sentosa by writing POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz and then Labor Sec. Patricia Sto. Tomas. Then Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor is also reported to have called POEA Admin. Baldoz the day before she signed the order to lift the suspension.

The fact sheet states that one of the owners of Sentosa in the United States is a big political contributor of US Senator Schumer.

"As we approach Arroyo's State of the Nation Address, it is evident that the exploitation and oppression of Filipino migrants continues to heighten – even among the ranks of the highly-skilled and professional workers. Instead of relying on the export of people to prop up the country's ailing economy, a policy geared towards creating long-term viable jobs in the Philippines is our demand," she said, noting that in the immediate, the baseless charges against the Sentosa nurses in the US must be withdrawn. #

To gather greater international support, an internet petition on the Sentosa 27++ campaign can be found at www.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

GENUINE SONA on Sunday, July 22!

Genuine State of the Nation (SONA) Mass Action
Sunday, July 22 at 2pm
Philippine Consulate of New York
556 Fifth Avenue, NYC, NY 10036
Neglected Overseas Filipino and Filipino-American Workers with Allies and Friends
Peaceful Demonstration

A Message from NAFCON's Rico Foz:
President (?) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will again deliver her State of the Nation Address (SONA). As usual, we expect nothing but self-directed praises and outright lies; the complete opposite of the sad state of reality where more than 80% live in poverty.

On our part as Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, we will present our basic rights and welfare concerns to the Philippine Consulate office in New York. This will illustrate the true state of our Philippine nation. Sectoral and organizational leaders are expected to deliver their respective concerns.

Participating are: Anakbayan NY & NJ, Philippine Forum, Kabalikat-PF, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), New York Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Movement for Free Philippines, SENTOSA 27++, BAYAN-USA, Lakas Diwa of New Jersey, Bagong Alyansa ng Kabaklaan at Lesbyana sa Amerika (BAKLA), Sandiwa, Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, and NAFCON.

Invited friends to deliver their solidarity messages are: New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), International Action Center, May One Coalition, CAAAV, DRUM, DWU, PAKISTAN, NYCLAW, KAWAN, RCP, FREE Hawaii, and Malcolm X Group.

Come bring your friends and relatives with you as we unite on this historic day of action.

Thanks to AB NY-NJ for this great flyer!

The Anti-Terrorism Act: Recipe for Undeclared Martial Law
>> [ English version ] [ Filipino version ]
by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

EILER Primer on Human Security Act

Anti Terrorism Bill Bicameral commitee Version


Kimmie and I are glad that you enjoyed last night's screening of Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves. We are grateful for the opportunity to share with you the many stories of struggle faced by overseas Filipinos all over the world. We strongly encourage you to take these stories back to the communities you serve and note how these gross injustices replay themselves in local narratives.

Thank you for also filling out our event assessment form, as it is our only line of evaluation, and our impetus for improvement. We are elated that you enjoyed the empanadas, promise a discussion at next month's film, and look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events and actions.

Organizationally, one of our objectives is to send Val to WISAP!
FiRE is excited to have a representative present for the Women's International Solidarity Affair in the Philippines (WISAP). However, unexpected expenses have led to some difficulty getting Val (FiRE's Sec. Gen) to attend ---- as the registration is $400--yes, American dollars! If you have the capacity to, please help us by making a donation below. ANY AMOUNT HELPS!!!!

(FAQ: Paypal takes about $2 off per transaction, and accepts credit/debit cards, personal checks EVEN WITHOUT A PAYPAL ACCOUNT)

Friday, July 6, 2007

July FiRE Summer Screening Series!


Film Screening of Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves and Discussion
Tuesday, July 17th 7-9 pm

International Action Center (IAC)
55 West 17th Street between 5th and 6th Ave, 5th Floor
Take N, Q, R, W to 14th Street/Union Square

In light of the recent NYT article, "A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves" By JASON DePARLE, it has come to the attention of the mainstream U.S. that there is a dire need for reform in the way the Philippines views its terms of accountability to its Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs.) Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) invites you to join this dialogue by attending our screening of Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves which touches on the poor economic conditions in the Philippines, where thousands leave and seek work as domestic workers in "developed nations." This crucial source of revenue to the country's economy has prompted the Philippine government to call these contract workers "modern day heroes." Despite the obvious exploitation experienced by these workers, the Philippine government is reluctant to pressure foreign governments for fair treatment in fear of losing revenue. With New York City accounting for one of largest populations of domestic workers on the east coast, this screening of Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves is the beginning of a much needed dialogue in our community.

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

We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, August 21 @ the IAC: MALAYA LOLAS ( or Free Grandmothers)
A film about the surviving Filipina comfort women of World War II.

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