Out now! US troops, out now!

Out there, there is too much that the mainstream media have published; out there, it’s been a taboo topic. If you’re still trying to figure it out, now is the best time to stand up for justice. Jennifer Laude’s murder is not an isolated case of a brutal crime by a member  US troops as they conduct military operations in the Philippines. A long dark history of these crimes exists, dating to the first day that American soldiers set foot on our land.

With great concern for our sisters and brothers from the LGBTQI community, Anakbayan Toronto unites with the global alliance of mass organizations in solidarity with the family and supporters of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old transgendered woman. As shown by evidence, she  was tortured and then brutally killed in an Olongapo lodge on October 11, 2014.

Anakbayan-Toronto youth come from different backgrounds, and  work in solidarity with different sectors in addressing issues such as gender-based violence. At the same time, we also call for justice for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.

We are in the thick of the conversation where the aspect of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (sogie) has been singled out to conclude that it was a hate crime done by a certain Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton. However, we believe that this case, or any case involving US military for that matter, should also be seen as a product of the important context of the Philippine government as a client and lackey of the US government and its corporations.

pemberton

Though the Subic naval base officially closed in the 1990s, crimes against Filipinos at the hand of the predator US military persist to this day. On the whole, justice has not been done. In 2006, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was slipped off into American custody despite his being pronounced guilty of rape of a Filipina and being sentenced to a Philippine jail. Laude’s death came about at the end of the joint military exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), as ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999.

Americans never left the country,as Washingtos top officials boast.Today, the local puppet government clamored for an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which permits an unlimited number of US soldiers to put up their bases anywhere in the archipelago.

Clearly, there is a significant and concurrent growth of atrocities where there is a strong US military presence. The VFA and EDCA violate Philippine sovereignty. They also legally protect  US troops from prosecution and punishment  for gross human rights violations.

We call on the US authorities to turn over the American Marine Pemberton to the Philippine government for further investigation. We urge the Philippine government to act swiftly, and provide transparency in accordance with proper legal processes.

We call on the BS Aquino government to stop defending so-called foreign alliances, which are skewed towards foreign interest, serving to protect US imperialists.

As a progressive Toronto Filipino youth organization, we are joining the call to all Filipinos around the world to intensify the demand to scrap the VFA and recently signed EDCA, and the complete expulsion of US troops from Philippine soil.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Jennifer Laude. With the ongoing colonization of the Philippines, the threat of violence is never too far, especially for queer and trans women. It is time for the U.S. military to leave the Philippines and it is time for U.S. imperialism to end now!” says Anakbayan-Toronto member Zenee May Maceda

It is widely ackowledged that the escalation of US imperialist presence sustains the systemic deprivation of the already imperiled sectors of society. This must stop!  In addition, just as the lives of migrants, women and children matter, the lives of transgendered persons matter too. They must be protected!

Junk VFA and EDCA!
Down with US Imperialism!
Immediate Justice for Jennifer Laude!

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