Youth in celebration of resistance

Land is Life, Anakbayan Toronto’s fifth annual Diwa ng Kasarinlan (Spirit of Independence) event held on Saturday, July 16 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education was a cultural celebration of resistance in Philippine history and current society. The event was also a fundraiser for Sulong Kabataan, a Canada wide conference for youth this November 18th- 20th taking place in Toronto. During the programme, many references were made to recent events such as the displacement of Lumads from ancestral lands and the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan,  stressing the importance of land to the survival of the people in the Philippines.

The cultural event was held in solidarity with the International Solidarity Missions and International Conference for People’s Rights in the Philippines, which is taking place in the Philippines from July 16th to the 24th. The conference aims to examine and promote awareness of the living conditions of various regions and communities where human rights violations have been increasing.

Filipino youth – and Anakbayan youth prefer to use the gender-free term “Filipinx” – in and outside of the Philippines often express their struggle of staying connected to their culture. “It is interesting to discover that youth can identify with their own struggles in both here (Toronto) and of their fellow Filipinos at home”, says Viel Perida, lead event coordinator. The Land is Life event provided an opportunity for young people to celebrate their roots through song, dance, spoken word, and traditional instruments.

The event lineup featured returning crowd-pleasers, like jazz singer Belinda Corpuz and ethnomusic group Panday Sining, as well as emerging artists to the DnK scene. Toni Oponda and Rachel Chiong captivated the crowd with their spoken word pieces. Mariz and Myka Lacorte showed off their hip hop dance skills, while New York-based Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage enchanted the audience with pre-colonial traditional dances. Ron Culianista, Mary Carl Guiao, and Justin Lima also entertained the audience through musical performances.

Alongside the featured cultural performances was a lineup of presenters starting with a keynote speech from Dr. Nonilon Queano on the importance of cultural work in the struggle for National Democracy in the Philippines. Jesson Reyes and Gabi Abis spoke about the work of Migrante Ontario not only with the workers but also their children. Meanwhile, Ben Corpuz of Philippine Advancement through Arts and Culture (PATAC) briefly outlined the 15-point agenda to President Duterte by various People’s organizations, which includes a push for the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

What purpose does art serve?

An interaction at the event sparked an opportunity to begin dialogues long needed in the artistic communities in North America. Anakbayan Toronto encourages the youth not only to embrace their heritage through song and dance, but to go beyond by learning about the struggles of the communities from whom this art originates.

As a community outside of the homeland, it is important to hold critical discussions on the use of traditional arts and culture. We must always ask what purpose does art serve and for whom is it intended?

Moving forward

Anakbayan Toronto looks forward to collaborating with its allies and the broader community to begin further educational discussions and workshops to reclaim and preserve the integrity of the culture of the peoples in the Philippines. Anakbayan Toronto invites the youth interested in learning more about their cultural heritage to join them on this journey.

You can follow Anakbayan Toronto on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit their website anakbayanto.org for updates on Sulong Kabataan and other events.###

 

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Land is Life! the fifth Diwa ng Kasarinlan

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Land is Life

Filipinx Youth celebrating our culture of resistance

Arts | Music | Poetry

July 16, 2016, 1-4pm

Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE), 5th floor Room: 5260

Join us for this year’s fifth Diwa ng Kasarinlan (DnK) as we celebrate our history and culture of resistance!

 

How do we get to know Filipino pride for the right reasons?

(Press Release)

How do we get to know Filipino pride for the right reasons?

Most migrants are occasional activists while they are away from their home-country and as they endure attachments to their host country. But there is an increasing number of immigrant generations who are engaging transnational activities on a regular basis.

Some Filipinos of various backgrounds engage in activities to uphold democracy at home and to foster political participation in Canada. For youth group Anakbayan-Toronto, hosting the annual cultural event to commemorate the founding anniversary of the Katipunan is important to establishing the ties that bind to their revolutionary roots.

Sarah Salise, event coordinator of Diwa ng Kasarinlan (Spirit of Independence) 2015, said it’s like “getting to know Filipino pride for the right reasons”.

Distinct from the number of summer events promoting Filipino arts and culture in Toronto, this occasion celebrates the militant struggle of contemporary Filipinos worldwide for national democracy in the Philippines.

Some of the presenters include Bern Jagunos of the Canadian chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP). Jagunos shared about the recently concluded grassroots International Peoples’ Tribunal in Washington, DC last July 18th.

A jury of lawyers, scholars, and human rights defenders assembled to look into the mass violation of human rights in the Philippines. The Peoples’ Tribunal declared President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the US government as represented by Barack Obama, guilty of crimes against the Filipino people. This verdict is part of the historic fight of the Filipino masses against US imperialism and local reaction.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan also served as the People’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) as a parallel protest to the SONA delivered by Pres. Aquino in Manila. Petronila Cleto of Gabriela alliance of Filipino women spoke of the dire situation of their sector under the present government. A performance by iWWorkers portrayed the lived experience of Filipinos forced into migration. While Rafunzel Penanueva of the Filipino Worker’s Network expressed the significance of unionizing to assert worker’s rights in the workplace, especially here in Canada.

Anakbayan-Toronto member Lesley Valiente encouraged fellow compatriots to connect back to their roots by joining solidarity missions and educational trips to the country.

Animated by the progressive developments among people’s organizations, the audience danced along in the pop-rock act Uppercase band and hip hop beats of Tagalog rap group Southeast Cartel. “When we seek pleasure in this manner, this is our way of resistance,” comments co-emcee Gary Fondevilla.

It also featured homegrown talents of songstress Belinda Corpuz accompanied by the music of Malcolm Connor and reading of literary pieces by Kay de Guzman and Keith Villena of Akdaan writers collective.

The fourth annual DnK is supported by BAYAN Canada organizations, OPSEU Region 5, UFCW Canada, Filipino Workers Network, Cookies and Crease, and SEAS Centre.

Anakbayan-Toronto is one of the overseas chapters of the global network of over 180 grassroots Filipino youth organizations who aspire for national liberation and just and lasting peace in the Philippines.

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For Reference: Sarah Salise, Secretary General

anakbayanto.org

anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

facebook.com/anakbayan.toronto

twitter.com/anakbayanto

instagram.com/anakbayan.toronto/

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iWWorkers’ cultural presentation

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Francesca Esguerra’s visual art display

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Kay de Guzman of Akdaan writers collective.

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Keith Villena of Akdaan writers collective.

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Southeast Cartel

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Ibrahim Bozai of OPSEU

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Rick Esguerra delivering the solidarity message of Dr. Chandu Claver of Bayan-Canada

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Rhea and Luisito performing “Dyandi”

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solidarity message from PATAC

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A message from Filipino Worker’s Network member of UNITE HERE Local 75

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Petronila Cleto of Gabriela Ontario

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UPPERCASE BAND

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For more photos of the event please visit our Facebook page

Toronto Filipino progressive groups meet with head of the Philippine Consulate in Toronto

Toronto Filipino progressive groups meet with Consul General Mahilum.

On November 15th 2013- Toronto Filipino progressive groups Anakbayan Toronto (AB-TO) Migrante Canada and Migrante Sectoral Partylist (MSP) met with Consul General Junever Mahilum West appealing to the Philippine government to get its act together when it comes to the relief efforts following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

The current Philippine government have failed to demonstrate the urgency needed to provide the basic necessities to the thousands affected by the Super typhoon. The lack of disaster response coordination coupled with widespread corruption is mainly to blame on the slow response of the state.

The group also handed a petition to Consul General Mahilum asking to abolish the Pork Barrel funds that is unlawfully in the discretion of corrupt Philippine legislators.

Later, Mahilum-West assured the group, “We will convey everything to Manila.”

“As much as you may be seeing us as very critical of policies,” Connie Sorio said, “we also want to work with you in terms of improving more services towards our countrymen,” she told Mahilum-West.

The Consul-General said, “We’re open. If you want to come, let us know. We’ll have dialogues. We’ll have this continuing dialogue.”

The group staged a candle light vigil to show solidarity with the families and victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The vigil lasted for an hour and was attended by other concerned Filipinos and organizations (FMWM-Filipino Migrant Workers Movement, IWworkers, Akdaan Writers group, GABRIELA-ONTARIO, Indigenous group Binnadang and BAYAN CANADA and students from a few universities.

TORONTO FILIPINO YOUTH: EMBODY THE FIGHTING SPIRIT OF BONIFACIO IN HIS 150TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY.

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The significance of Andres Bonifacio’s revolutionary life story is not lost on history books. Youth group Anakbayan-Toronto (AB-TO) lead the 150th birth anniversary of the working class hero Andres Bonifacio on November 30 in the University of Toronto. Simultaneously, the local chapter also celebrates the first year anniversary together with over a hundred chapters around the world.

Solidarity video messages from BAYAN Canada spokesperson Dr. Chandu Claver spearheaded the action packed day as AB-TO members listened attentively to his militant greetings. Anakbayan-Seattle Chairperson Jennilee Policarpio wished the Toronto group and conveyed the significance of building the first overseas chapter eleven years ago to address the issue of Filipino-American youth to connect them all back to the Philippines. The national situation of the Philippines was reported back by Anakbayan Philippines Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo who enunciated the need for all Anakbayan chapters to organize and mobilize against the incompetent BS Aquino administration.

“Hindi na nating maaring tiisin na magpatuloy ang kahirapan ng ating mamamayan sa ilalim ng isang rehimeng taksil sa taong bayan, at para lamang sa iilan at mapagsamantala” said Crisostomo.

Outgoing Secretary General Jesson Reyes facilitated the discussions in remembering Bonifacio and the revolutionary movement Katipunan, which spearheaded the 1896 Revolution, the first anti-colonial uprising in entire Asia and spawned as well the first republican government in this region.

Under the theme “Continue the Unfinished Struggle,” the gathering brought together youth from different backgrounds and showed a wonderful expression of their fervor for genuine change in society.

Since it was founded in 2012, AB-TO has carried out its mandate to uphold the rights, welfare and interests of the Filipino youth, migrants and workers in the Greater Toronto Area. More so it has continued to empower people from different backgrounds through its real-time and online project Kamalayan by providing short courses on critical Philippine history, identity and questions on national pride. It contributed to researches on the Filipino youth situation, local campaigns like Raise the Minimum Wage in Ontario, extension of consular services in provinces with a growing Filipino population and fundraising initiatives for super Typhoon Haiyan survivors.

Local youth organizer Rhea Gamana, founding chairperson of Anakbayan-Toronto, helped provide a framework on the current situation of Filipino youth in Canada. Gamana shared her insights on why Filipinos leave the Philippine only to find more challenges after arriving in the host country.

AB-TO members all showed earnestness in learning more of their heritage and keeping abreast on both current affairs in the community and in the home front. New members also committed in helping out in realizing the spirit Bonifacio and the Katipunan imbued by serving the people as everyone clapped and chanted in unison.

For more information on how to get involved, visit www.anakbayato.org, email anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com or follow AB-TO on twitter @anakbayanto

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Anakbayan Toronto Challenges Filipino Youth on Identity & Struggle with Diwa Ng Kasarinlan 2013 on July 27th.

 Filipino youth group Anakbayan-Toronto (AB-T) partners with Philippine Advancement Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) to host Diwa ng Kasarinlan 2013.

What does it mean to identify yourself as a distinct people, how can you affect local realities and how can you mobilize with an action to empower the community? On July 27, Toronto Filipinos are invited to challenge their struggles in an afternoon of engaging activities, workshops and cultural performances.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan looks to serve as an arena for inquiring a much deeper appreciation, particularly about the engagement of Filipino youth revolutionaries during the Spanish colonial period. Diwa ng Kasarinlan, which means for “Spirit of Independence” debuted last year on July 7th. This date marks the anniversary of the founding of the Katipunan, the revolutionary movement led by Andres Bonifacio, which waged war against the Spanish colonizers in the struggle for independence.

AB-T and PATAC are proud partners in this event aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of the Filipino culture hand-in-hand with the contemporary youth’s struggles. This year the event will take place at Palmerston Public Library Theatre at 560 Palmerston Ave. Toronto, ON M6G 2P7 on July 27, 2013 – 12:00PM – 6:00PM

The first part will feature a film showing of a movie related to the history of Philippine independence. Then will be followed up by performances featuring local talents. Complementing the workshops on Filipino culture, history, and current events, participants will be engaged in interactive cultural workshops, which allows them to extend the presentation in creative ways. Toronto Filipinos are encouraged to be part of the conversation by using the hashtag #DnK2013.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan was created by young Filipino-Canadian organizers to strengthen their ties to the motherland. The aim is not only to learn about native food, traditional dances and pop culture but to provide a venue for inquiring a much deeper appreciation of those who’ve come before and have taken the revolutionary path.

Come and celebrate Filipino pride that comes from our history of epic struggle!

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About Anakbayan-Toronto

Anakbayan Toronto is one of the overseas chapters of Anakbayan, a Philippines-wide organization which unites Filipino youth from all walks of life – for the cause of human rights, national freedom and genuine democracy in the country. In Canada, the group engages the youth to raise sociopolitical awareness of Filipino-Canadians and Filipino im/migrant youth through regular educational discussions, workshops and similar activities.

About PATAC
The Philippine Advancement Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) is a community based organization, registered federally as a non-profit organization. It strives to promote the Philippines’ progressive and nationalist culture, its people, culture and struggles through music, photo, spoken word, print and other artistic medium.

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For tickets, please check
dnk2013.eventbrite.com

For more info feel free to contact us:

anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

Imagehttp://www.anakbayanto.org

 

Diwa ng Kasarinlan 2013: Struggles

Join us and be part of the Filipino community youth to learn about our culture, history and the legacy of our revolutionary forefathers through music, performances, and interactive education.

AnakBayan Toronto (ABT) is an all-youth advocacy group organizing around issues affecting the Filipino community in Canada and the struggle for national democracy in the Philippines. Since it traces its roots to the revolutionary forefathers, AB-T celebrates the founding of Katipunan through Diwa ng Kasarinlan on July 27, 2013.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan is a celebration of our assertion for genuine Philippine independence and continuing our fight for People’s true rights and freedom. It will provide workshops on leadership, arts, and community empowerment. Also, as part of ABT’s dedication on educating Filipino youth regarding the plight of the Philippines, various socio-political discussions will also be featured.

Come celebrate Filipino pride that comes from our history of epic struggle.

#DnK 2013 Volunteer Call Out

Anakbayan-Toronto is still looking for dedicated and energetic youth to make this historic event happen.  In the lead-up to the event, we need people to help with pre-DnK events, marketing, physical setup, ushers, etc. Working together is a great way to meet others who also hold the passion and the resilient spirit that the Filipino struggle is remarkable with.

Contact us at anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com with the subject line #DnK2013 and let us know your interests.

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Anakbayan Toronto
To get your tickets for FREE please register at http://dnk2013.eventbrite.com/


Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!

MAY 2 #TEDDYDAY: Sumusuporta ang Anakbayan-Toronto sa Migrante at kay Teddy Casiño

(Ibinahagi sa gabi ng pormal na paglunsad ng Migrante Partylist-Canada sa Marcelina’s, Toronto ika-16 ng Marso, 2013 ni Ysh Cabaña ng Anakbayan-Toronto)

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Mga kasama, kawani, estudyante, mga kapatid, mga kaibigan at bisita, isang maalab na pagbati mula sa kilusan ng mga kabataang Filipino sa Canada!

Buong pusong sumusuporta ang Anakbayan-Toronto sa paglahok ng Migrante Partylist at ni Teddy Casiño sa halalan sa Pilipinas sa darating na Mayo ng taong kasalukuyan. Kasali kami sa paglahad sa MSP bilang pasaporte natin sa Kongreso. Kalahok rin kami sa pagtakbo ni Teddy Casiño bilang boses ng karaniwang tao sa Senado.

Batid naming mga kabataan ang suliranin ng mga migranteng Filipino. Maging kami ay nakararanas din ng mga problema at paghihirap mula sa pagkakahiwalay ng aming pamilya bunga ng matinding kahirapan sa Pilipinas.

Ngunit malaking pabor sa rehimeng Aquino ang malawakang pag-eeksport ng lakas paggawa. Patuloy ang pagdagsa ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Canada dahil sa kakulanganan sa pagbibigay ng sapat na kabuhayan at paglunsad ng pambansang industriyalisasyon. Walang dudang malaking pakinabang ang remitans mula sa mga OFW. Bunga ng palisiyang ito ang pag-ebolb ng bansa bilang susunod na ‘tiger economy’ syempre sa balangkas ng patuloy na pandaigdigang krisis. Banggit nga ng ilan, sigurong sa tatlong araw na ‘di magpadala ng remitans ang mga migrante ay labis na babagsak ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

Marami pa ring kinahaharap na hamon ang mga migrante, na karamihan ay mga babae at mga kabataan. Kaya hindi lang tayo nagbabakasakali tulad ni Carly Rae Jepsen sa kanta nyang “Call Me, Maybe”: I threw a wish in the well / Don’t ask me, I’ll never tell I looked to you as it fell / And now you’re in my way dahil sigurado tayo na sa sama-sama nating pagkilos at walang sawang pangangampanya para sa Migrante at kay Casiño ay maitatama natin ang daan tungo sa tunay na pagbabago sa ating bansa.

Sa mga panahong umalpas, napatunayan natin ang serbisyong walang pag-aalinlangan, may eleksyon man o wala, nasa pwesto man o hindi.

Subalit, ito ang ating pagkakataon upang mas palawakin pa ang pagtataguyod ng karapatan at kagalingan d’i lamang ng kasalukuyang migrante, kundi ng mga susunod na henerasyon ng mga Filipino mula sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan: manggagawa, magsasaka, kababaihan, propesyunal, kawani, kabataan, maralitang tagalungsod, pambansang minorya, atbp. Kagyat na nararapat na pausarin natin ang pagluklok ng boses ng mga migrante sa Kongreso.

Magkita-kita tayong muli sa tagumpay. Mabuhay ang Migrante Sectoral Partylist #96 sa balota. Mabuhay si Teddy Casiño #6 sa balota. Mabuhay ang migranteng manggagawang Filipino.

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“Parahin ang pangyayamot sa mga progresibong partylista!” – Anakbayan Toronto

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Mula sa hanay ng progresibong kabataang Filipino sa Canada, ang Anakbayan Toronto ay taas kamaong sumusuporta sa Kabataan Partylist at sa PISTON partylist para sa nalalapit na halalan ngayong Mayo 13.

Ang pagtatangka ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) na i-diskwalipika ang dalawang progresibong partido dahil lumabag ang mga ito umano sa patakaran sa pagpapaskil ng mga poster ay hindi makatarangunan, kahit na nagwasto na ang mga partidong ito at tinanggal ang mga posters. Ang mga partylista na kaalyado ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, tulad ng Akbayan at Anak Mindanao ay may tig-siyam na paglabag sa batas, ay hindi nila ito i-diniskwalipika ng kumisyon!

Ipinapakita ang anti-mamamayang interes ng Comelec at ng sabwatang US-Aquino lamang ang nangingibabaw sa paglalako ng mga partido na kaalyado nito. Kaalinsabay nito ang kanilang paniniil sa mga makamasang progresibong partylist upang panatilihin ang sistema ng pagsasawalambahala sa mga mamamayang Pilipino, nasa Pilipinas man o sa ibayong dagat.

Kung itatala, ang Piston partylist ay tuloy-tuloy na nagsusumikap sa pag-arangkada ng karapatan ng mga tsuper at sektor ng transportasyon. Sila ang pangunahing bumubusina sa laban sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa konteksto ng deregulasyon ng industriya.

Sa kabilang banda, ang Kabataan partylist ay isa sa masugid na nagbitbit ng isyu para sa kapakanan at kalagayan ng mga estudyante at ng kabataang Pilipino. Sa loob lamang ng dalawang taong pagkaluklok sa Kamara, ipinakita ng Kabataan ang kasanayan at representasyon sa paglatag ng mga panukalang batas. Walo mula sa 35 lamang rito ang di kaugnay sa sektor ng kabataan, ayon sa isang pag-aaral. Aktibo rin ang pakikibaka ng mga kasama sa loob at labas ng kongreso, laban sa mga hindi makabayan na patakaran ng rehimeng US-Aquino.

Sa semi-kolonyal na kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, napatunayang minamaniobra ng pamahalaan sa Washington ang bawat proseso ng halalan sa pamamagitan ng pagtulak ng mga lokal na tuta nito upang paigtingin ang impluwensiya nito sa bansa.

Sa ating patuloy na pag ooganisa ng mga kabataang Pilipino sa labas ng bansa ay aktibo tayong nag-aambag sa paglikha ng kasaysayan. Di lamang natin pananatilihing ang muling pagkapanalo, bagkus ay itutulak rin natin ang paglawak ng representasyon ng sektor ng kabataan at masa sa kongreso .

Kami sa Anakbayan-Toronto ay nananawagan kay Commissioner Sixto Brilliantes ng COMELEC at G. Benigno Aquino III na itigil ang political harassment sa mga progresibong partylist. Itigil ang panggigipit sa mga progresibong partylist gaya ng Kabataan Partylist at PISTON! ##

Lagdaan ang petisyon DITO.

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Toronto Filipino youth group slam security overkill of poldet Ericson Acosta

Youth group Anakbayan-Toronto condemns the illegal arrest and overkill security measures of political prisoner Ericson Acosta who recently granted a furlough to seek medical attention.

With the campaign of organizations such as human rights group KarapatanSELDA and other international groups, temporary release has been granted for poet-activist Acosta, who displayed symptoms of serious health problems which may have been the effect of torture. However, he received brutal treatment even while undergoing medical treatment.

According to the Free Ericson Acosta Coalition, a broad alliance supporting the detainee, 10 full-armed personnel from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) were stationed at Acosta’s hospital room not only to guard him but to make sure that he is handcuffed to his bed at all times.

Acosta is a poet, thespian, songwriter, and intellectual activist who has been arrested without a warrant since February  2011 by armed troops. He was tortured inside the military camp before being charged of illegal possession of explosives. He has since then been suffering from injustice as his case is still pending in court for 23 months. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaias P. Acosta, despite their own health conditions, have been continuously calling for their son’s release.

Acosta’s case is one in more than 400 political prisoners in the Philippines today, most of them victims of arbitrary arrests, torture and trumped-up criminal charges. More than 120 of them, including the imprisoned writer, were arrested under President Noynoy Aquino’s watch.

Anakbayan-Toronto calls for the unconditional and omnibus amnesty to be granted to Ericson Acosta and to all political prisoners.

Free Ericson Acosta!!
Free all Political Prisoners!!

Sign the online petition at  change.org

Plight of Typhoon Pablo Survivors: Anti-Environment And Anti-Peoples’ Policies

We, from the national democratic organizations of Filipino migrant workers, women, youth and students and indigenous people in Toronto, stand in solidarity with the survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. We call our allies and friends to continue our collective effort to raise funds and donations to assist them.

Typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha) hit the southern island of the Philippines on the evening of December 3, 2012.  With winds of 260 km/h affecting over five million people, the super typhoon has been considered the most destructive tropical storm of the year.


As of December 11, at least 700 persons are reported dead, almost 2,000 injured, and 900 missing. The state agency for disaster risk management stated a total of 486,554 families, or 5.4 million persons, were affected by Pablo. But many were also able to get away from danger seeking shelter in makeshift evacuation centres for safety. The affected communities in the south region of the Philippines were especially quick to evacuate and mobilize in light of last year`s calamity (previously thought improbable, Typhoon Ondoy hit the southern Philippines leaving behind $1.06 billion in damages and close to 750 dead).

But the situation remain grim for many communities isolated by the landslides and flash flooding incited by the tropical storm. Aerial surveys show vast areas of flattened houses and buildings, destroyed infrastructures and agricultural lands totaling to over PHP4 billion in damages. However, Typhoon Pablo still left the country, with the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental the most damaged, in a declared state of calamity.

The Philippines is hit by an annual average share of 20 typhoons . But every year the effects of these natural disasters only seem to get worse. Even in the issue of climate change, there is no dispute that it is happening. Yet the government is doing insufficient preparations to prevent these before they strike. Many of these are the direct result of the systemic and biopolitical conditions in the country. The KALIKASAN-People’s Network for the Environment and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) both released separate statements blasting the current regime for allowing the desecration and liberalization of our sovereign land and resources.  This is a message worth repeating in light of the destruction of the tropical superstorm Pablo.

President Benigno Aquino III’s government has been more than willing to further degrade Philippine land and people.  For a pittance, Aquino has authorized exemption laws allowing big multinational mining companies, many of which are Canadian-owned, to operate without any accountability to the people and the environment.  For their benefit, Philippine land laws have been permanently altered in our constitution to allow mineral rich areas to be explored and to be exclusively reserved for extractive operations. These areas were and still are technically, ancestral domains of the indigenous communities in Mindanao. According to the country’s cultural commission, the Lumad—a Bisayan term for indigenous people which has been adopted by 15 of the 18 indigenous groups in Mindanao—comprise 2.1 million out of 6.5 million indigenous people nationally.  It is the Lumad like the B’laan, Higaonon, Manobo, T’boli and many others who are profoundly affected by these large scale mining operations.

But displacement is only one other major problem they must face. State-sanctioned assassinations have encouraged the total annihilation of these communities.  Vilification of movements was made easy through liberal policies. In 2011, the Aquino administration pursued the path for a new mining policy which seeks to employ paramilitary and even the Philippine Army to protect the investments of foreign mining firms. The lives of village tribal leaders and other members as well as many other environmental defenders who have openly voiced their opposition have been the state’s obvious targets. Mindanao-based green group Panalipdan has reported 19 deaths due to the rising struggle against mining plunder.  The RMP-NMR have also been publishing numerous stories illustrating similar cases.  One is Sharon Liguyon, whose village tribal leader husband, Jimmy, was shot dead in their home by the paramilitary because he did not want to give his consent to the company that wanted to mine in their area. With a growing and more daring opposition from the Lumad and from the general southern population, we recognize the need for bigger collective mobilizations. If not, stories like the Liguyons’ will only be normalized.

Meanwhile, advocacies like Manilakbayan have been alerting the public of the broadening alliances of internal refugees. Although the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 seeks to “recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities…” environment defenders and indigenous leaders have only been answered with bullets and bulldozers. Thus, many local people choose organised armed resistance against the ruling landlords and big foreign mining companies.

The government lambasting on small scale miners condemning their work as amplifying the chaotic destruction of Typhoon Pablo is totally false and is an act of betrayal geared towards the poor Filipinos. “Kadtong niuli ko sa Pilipinas duha ka bulan na ang nilabay, giduaw nako ang sitio sa New Bataan sa probinsya sa Compostela Valley ug nakit-an nako ang sitwasyon sa minahan didto. Nadugmok pag maayo ang akong kasing-kasing sa akong nahibal-an. Didto kay nailhan nako ang komunidad sa mga gagmayng minero, ug sila nagbahin sa ako ug ilang sentimyento ug unsa sila maapektuhan kung sudlun ug langyaw na dagkong minahan ang ilang yuta na posibleng madaut ang ilang yuta, panginabuhi, ug ang ilang mga kinabuhi. Mao ba ning Pilipinas na ikabilin nato sa mga musunod na henerasyon? Among ginapangayo ang hustisya ug paspas na pagtubag ni Pangulo Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III atol sa pagtabang sa atong mga kababayan para sila makahanlingkawas niining kalisod sa sitwasyon!!!”  (When I went to back to the Philippines almost two months ago, I visited New Bataan in Compostela Valley Province and saw the mining situation. I was devastated. I met small scale miners, and they shared how their community will be affected by the possible invasion of huge foreign mining, which will potentially hurt their land, livelihood, and their lives. Is this the Philippines that we want for our future generation? We demand justice and quick response from President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to help our kababayans to recover from this disaster!!!) ,said Anakbayan Toronto Chairperson Rhea A. Gamana, who is also a Mindanao native.

The Philippine delegate’s urgent appeal to halt global warming in the recent climate change conference is simply reactionary. The impact of recurring typhoons is natural, but the abilities of the Filipinos who have survived the typhoon are hampered down by conditions of unnatural nature. If the government is pro-environment and pro-people, it will recognise that the these calamities are primarily due to the sinking conditions of the status quo. The Alternative Minerals Management Bill is yet to be enacted. Typhoon Pablo confirmed that imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism are still inherent in the current system.

As Filipinos overseas, we want to register our concern regarding the continuing environmental degradation and seeming government neglect of its basic obligation to protect its people. A genuine change in political agenda must be pursued progressively by the masses to overcome capitalism and environmental catastrophe.

Defend our national patrimony versus big foreign mining firms plunder!
Stop the killings of indigenous leaders and environmental defenders!
Scrap the mining EO 79! Support the People’s Mining Bill!

AB-T Solidarity Statement on the Quebec Student Movement

Reference: Ysh Cabana
E-mail: anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

ANAKBAYAN-Toronto stands in support of the students, youth and public protests, which started in the province Québec and has a growing following across Canada. We extend our strongest solidarity to the student unions against the proposal to a sharp tuition fee increase of nearly 80% over the next five years.

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We echo the call of the people in articulating the ideals of public responsibility for education, equal access to quality education for all members of society and the right of students to participate in the collective building of their institutions against the strict conditions set forth by the government of Jean Charest.

The Quebec situation is not a fluke but an important part of the struggle of a global movement against an embattled future (environmental, economic, cultural). Massive student mobilizations have sprung up from Chile, Colombia, Brazil, UK, Spain, the US, to the Philippines and elsewhere.

Considering Canada’s political perspective, budget expenditures are characterized by priorities on tax cuts for the wealthy few and the withdrawal of portion of public funding for post-secondary education. Student debt for low-income students has soared as a result of double-digit fee increases. As if these working hard to peter out their burden would be enough no matter how profitable they are, education is commodified so youth would be declassified as the salaried bourgeoisie (if there are jobs at all with the grim prospect after graduation) to fall under the same tactics of exploitation. The issue is not just about tuition fee increase. That’s the same reason why the ruling class are opposing the students strike. That’s the same reason why propaganda campaigns are launched to denounce and demonize the students and their dissent, using whatever means necessary.

By the same token is Bill 78 is utilized to brutally crack down the monumental student strike. At its widest, the movement has mobilized over 300,000 in action. The marches have endured kettling and mounting pressure from the police. This law curtails the fundamental freedom of the citizens at large to assemble, express and demonstrate. It even goes beyond by punishing public expression of support for the demonstrations and by giving the police the power to decide whether a strike action is legal or illegal. This repressive measure has gripped Quebec ever since it was enacted.

We recognize that this crisis has similarly been happening in the Philippines. As classes have opened for this academic year, students are faced with unabated tuition fee hike and the implementation of the new K to 12 curriculum. For students, this means additional two years worth of schooling. For parents, an incessant race in sending their kids to school means additional costs. For the schools, this exacerbates an education already depleted of general content and consistent lack of equipment. For the country, it props up the neoliberal policy of the government towards a commercialized and colonial system, the same system which has a long history favorable to imperialist foreign interests, instead of gearing towards national development.

But if we want to put ourselves in the best position to win, the decision means that our goal should not be allowed to dissipate into mere rhetoric. This means spreading more active than ever the essence of pinning or using as a graphic symbol the red square felt everywhere. From 2005 when the idea of debt (“carrément dans la rouge” translated as “squarely in debt”) is cleverly thought of until the recent public pots and pans protest, we continue to draw important lessons from Quebec’s history of sustained political consciousness and collective organizing.

We must not only refute the tuition fee hike but also reaffirm that education in its very essence must foster critical public pedagogy.

Solidarity to student movements across the world!

Struggle for free and emancipatory education for all! Jusqu’a la victoire!