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!

 

Anakbayan-Canada Statement on Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Review

“We can’t keep on relying on others winning, we need to change the game”
Anakbayan-Canada Statement on Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Review

May 30, 2016
Reference: Ysh Cabana
anakbayan.canada@gmail.com

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Toronto Rally for Migrant Worker Rights May 30, 2016 (Photo by Pinky P.)

 

Migrant power on the rise/ Now’s the time to organize!
No more bosses, tricks & lies/ Give our children better lives!

We are children of migrants, students, intern labourers, youth advocates, the precariat, young blood, the new generation, the millennials who are inspired by the Canadian federal government’s move to review the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).

We cannot continue to hold onto a permanent state laced with suspension and insecurity. We affirm the necessity for this change to be more inclusive by encouraging migrant workers to be heard and heeded. We acknowledge their contributions to the economy.

We believe that the best positive service to migrant workers is to respect their rights and dignity.  With potential federal changes from this review, the most vulnerable could also avail to integrate their work and life. To borrow the Prime Minister Trudeau’s words, “in order to be able to be in service of the country with all one’s very best”.

Within this context, we urge the government to make three specific changes: (1) to transition all work permits to open work permits (2) to remove the policy of cumulative four years working limit also known as ‘4 and 4’ rule and (3) to give status for all migrants in Canada now.

We value our relationships with them – the others – as, in any case, we are all migrants. Not only do we seek for policies that do not treat workers as mere commodities. We also strive for a labour system based on democratic principles of access and distribution, wherein if workers are good enough to work, then they absolutely have the right to stay.

We stand boldly with the working-class sector – unionized, unorganized, unemployed, underemployed and temporary – to conceive and to create institutions making a government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality.

As a nation of immigrants, we deserve better than the current state of affairs.
Together, we have a critical job in shaping the future.
We need to change the game. Status Now!

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The Canadian Federal Government is reviewing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program from May 11 to June 15, 2016. For more information visit the Coalition for Migrants Workers Rights Canada (CMWRC) website migrantrights.ca/  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Diwa ng Kasarinlan 2014

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Toronto– Local Filipino youth organization Anakbayan-Toronto and Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson (FCAR) invites everyone to the third Diwa ng Kasarinlan Spirit of Independence Saturday, July 19th from 1-4pm at Ryerson University Student Campus Centre.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan is a free annual celebration of the formation of the Katipunan and its heroes as a way to realize Filipino pride that comes from our history of epic struggle. This year’s theme is “Powershift : Power to the People.”

Join us for a day of festivities featuring local Toronto talent. We are excited to present new and returning performers such as local Filipino hip hop group Southeast Cartel, No Budget Band, Filipino poetry collective Akdaan, and the all-women kulintang ensemble Pantayo. We are also featuring the performance of spoken word artist Spin El Poeta and local Cordillera youth group Matineb.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan is a celebration of our assertion for genuine Philippine independence and continues our fight for People’s true rights and freedom. It will feature talks, various artistic performances, and community empowerment.

AnakBayan Toronto (AB-TO) is an all-youth advocacy group organizing events around issues affecting the Filipino community in Canada and the struggle for national democracy in the Philippines.

Diwa ng Kasarinlan

Saturday, July 19th from 1-4pm

Ryerson University Student Campus Centre

55 Gould St. Toronto, Ontario

 

For more information and updates follow us and use hashtag #DnK2014

Facebook: http://fb.com/Anakbayan.Toronto/

Facebook event page: http://on.fb.me/UbC25T

Website: http://www.anakbayanto.org

Twitter: @anakbayanto

Event: http://dnk2014.eventbrite.com

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.

“We dream of a society where families will never be torn apart just for the need to survive”— Toronto Filipino Youth on International Migrants Day 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Jesson Reyes,
anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

December 18, 2013Anakbayan-Toronto stands with the millions of migrant workers worldwide who are forced to leave their homes for different reasons: some move away from their families behind in pursuit of a better livelihood, while others flee persecution or seek refuge without having anything left. Is this the kind of society we want?

Over the past few decades, mass migration in the Philippines takes place primarily because of the failure of the government to provide decent jobs, and decent wages to its people. Crippling poverty, persistence of un(der)employment, inequality and the governments inaction are the direct results of neoliberal policies that give priority to the foreign and corporate profits over the welfare of the majority of the people.

The Philippine state continues to be the apparatus to mobilize labor as export to the global enterprise. With almost 5,000 citizens from the country going elsewhere everyday, the Filipin@ workforce has become the most globalized on the planet. How did this start?

From the 1970 onwards, the global crisis is the battering the country’s export-oriented economy, particularly the electronics and garments industries. This means liberalization of trade, services, investment and capital. It also means transnational movements of people in search for better lives. A temporary fix to the country’s balance of payment deficits is the Labourt Export Policy as instituted by the Philippine government by then-president Ferdinand Marcos. It engineered the first outflow of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the Gulf region. This policy is affirmed not by a single act of deployment of people. But through different program thrusts, the numbers continues to increase by ten folds as we the victories and continued struggles of Migrant workers today.

Filipin@ im/migrants are practically located everywhere. Most number of outward migration are women who are forced to leave in search of work to support their families. To date, no tipping point is forthcoming and this migration model is touted as one of the most sophisticated in “institutionalizing and managing migration”.

However, decades of exporting cheap Filipin@ labour have not led to any genuine development: the Philippines is still an underdeveloped Third World country. OFWs continue to experience physical, sexual, psychological abuse, are exploited, trafficked and discriminated against. Their families at home suffer the social burden while the Philippines experiences an unrelenting brain drain

Since 2011, there is a growing population of Filipin@ migrant workers that are coming to Canada. Under the temporary foreign worker program, the Live in Caregiver program is dominated by women. According to the film “End of Immigration?” by Malcolm Guy and Marie Boti, there has also been a growing number of Filipin@ workers being recruited to work in the fast food and service-oriented sector across Canada.

Many of the migrant workers face precarious working conditions in Canada. This is mainly due to their temporary status. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a system that runs a use-and-abuse cycle. Furthermore, it supplies the need of a Canadian capitalist market as it creates a quick to access source of cheap and disposable labour out of Filipin@ migrant workers.

The Philippine government and it’s implementing agencies pay lip service in protecting its migrant workers worldwide. Though not novel, the Benigno Aquino III administration still uses the term “Bagong Bayani” amongst overseas workers. Rightfully so, the country is the fourth biggest remittance receiving country next to India, China and Mexico. Its economy depend on remittances to keep the economy afloat. Remittances make up 12.5% of the GDP in 2012. For years, it’s been the country’s roughshod exercise in managing its economy.

But these numbers have not translated to either genuine development and better protection for migrant workers. In 2012, several embassies and consulates were closed due to lack of funding in various countries. Stranded OFWs in the Middle East were left to fend for themselves and families as the current administration refuses their demands for a swift repatriation.

The paradox of labor migration is that migrant parents saying parting words to their children “We love you so we need to leave you”. These simple words impact the hundreds of live-in caregivers who, while in the host country such as Canada, face various obstacles with legal, health and consular issues. As they seek help from the Philippine consulate office, migrant workers are asked if they are a member of “OWWA” which is an insurance-like protection package that is offered to all OFWs at their departure. Family separation and reunification also have long lasting impact on children and youth.

In Canada, we may be seen as outliers but we are not outsiders. We are not disposable and we cannot easily be dispensed crisis after crises. We hold on to our role in making history as we claim we are the lifeblood of the economy working and paying taxes. We may decide to stay yet continue resisting to be detained, decimated or deported.

As youth and students, along with other progressive organizations, we assert our part in the Filipin@ Diaspora and will continue to speak out that the Philippine state’s brokerage through the Labor Export Policy is unconscionable. We stand firmly that the most efficient way to address the root causes of forced migration is to advance the struggle for a national industrialization in the homefront.

Anakbayan-Toronto will continue to arouse, organize and mobilize with the increasing Filipino migrant community in the region. We will continue to call on the government of BS Aquino through their implementing agencies to ensure the protection and to uphold the rights and welfare of Filipin@ migrant workers in Canada. We will hold the government accountable for all migrant workers whether they have OWWA membership or not as they have the mandate to serve the Filipin@s inside and outside the Philippines.

We will continue to realize our dream of a more just and humane society where the basic needs of the people are fulfilled.

Long live the migrant workers movement!

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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 on the detention of Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Meunier Press Statement

Press Statement
September 9, 2013

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We, progressive Filipino students and youth in Toronto, strongly denounce the detention of Kim Chatillon-Meunier by the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Kim, a 24-year old student, was denied to board her flight back to Canada Friday night Manila-time. She is being held in the BI detention center in Taguig city. Kim is one of the people included in the “watchlist” made by security state forces of foreign activists showing solidarity with the Philippines.

Kim was in the Philippines for her internship as part of her requirement for the international studies she is taking at the University of Montreal. She participated in women’s reproductive health research and documentation in slum communities in Tondo, Manila. Prior to her observance of the rally during the State of the Nation address last July, she was a delegate at the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP).

We are alarmed at this pattern of harassment and violation of human rights persist in the Philippines. As we have seen, this is not the first case that foreign participants in mass demonstrations have been held by Immigration officials to be deported and blacklisted. From the illegal detention of Thomas van Beersum in the wake of the ICHRPP, the BI under the Aquino administration has just proved its repressive character in the Philippines, where thousands of human rights abuses are consistently brushed off the side.

We demand the immediate release of Kim and a guarantee to her safe passage back to Canada. This show of threat to individuals who stand up to support human rights issues in the country does not at all reflect the Filipino people’s interests. It contradicts the principles of democracy and peace, which it had always advocated.

As people of conscience around the world, we will keep a close watch of this case. We demand that her rights, particularly her right to counsel, be recognized. We demand the scrapping of
such blacklists/watchlists by the BI.

We call for the international community, including the Canadian government, to speak out against these threats to human rights in the Philippines under the Aquino administration.

For more updates, please see http://is.gd/y2Tzq8.

ANAKBAYAN-TORONTO
Toronto, Ontario
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anakbayan-Toronto
Twitter: @anakbayanto
http://anakbayanto.org
anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

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Open Letter to the Aldovino Family

To the Aldovino Family,

We would like to extend our sincerest condolences on the loss of your family.

Edna Aldovino

We see Edna’s passing as a case of the precarity of working conditions as a result of the negligence the government to its people’s welfare.

Before her death on Aug. 6, 2013, circumstances surrounding Edna have been brought by enticement by some compatriots for work that supposedly provides better compensation. She has had to endure many hardships starting with being a victim of release-upon-arrival scheme. She’s been one of the overseas Filipino workers who refuse to return to the country to look for replacement jobs for fear for unemployment, unable to meet the family’s needs. Rather, she had to stay in Canada for a few months before she could find someone who was willing to hire her with the proper arrangement under the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Her graduation from the program and finishing the work requirements have not been a guarantee for her to escape from the risks and hardships. Despite her being diagnosed with cancer in 2011, she opted to work day and night in between chemotherapy sessions. She had waged battle to make use of productivity of precarious working condition. She had a job in affective work immaterial of her bearing a lot of sacrifice.

Philippine envoys to Canada have tried to pay close attention to her case yet the time- and resource-consuming procedures follow. One would surely wonder if the purpose of the offices of the government is to provide assistance to the people they ought to represent and serve for (as written in the country’s constitution, why is not being a member of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration suddenly deprives a migrant worker of their assistance?

On the other hand significant delays in the processing of visa for Edna’s son Kenneth’s visit show how the austerity measures by even a developed country such as Canada interrupt and let the process of precarity be the normal, thus, continuing exploitability, especially of migrant workers.

We, members of progressive youth organization, mourn with you, for Edna’s departure. We encourage you to join other families who have suffered from this vicious cycle of warm bodies for export. May this be a reminder that your case is not an isolated one: almost 92% of LCP applicants are Filipino women who either are coming in directly from the Philippines or other parts of the world—from the fraudulent practice of recruitment agencies to the tied “temporary” work permits and the mandatory live in requirement thus making them vulnerable to different forms of abuses other workers in Canada normally would not experience. These issues create a negative effects on the transnational lives (physically, mentally, psychologically).

We would be glad to let you know that we continue our work in criticizing the government in its increased neoliberal economic policies that mainly serves the interests of foreign investors and only the countries’ elites. The state of Overseas Filipino workers under the Aquino administration remains to have been overlooked in PNoy’s cure-all “Daang Matuwid”—contradictory to cliches for OFWs as the “bagong bayani” among other people. The current government has failed to address the very basic rights, safety and welfare of OFWs worldwide This has been evident in various diplomatic issues OFWs continues to face today.

ABT with Edna Aldovino

Edna’s passing will not be in vain. Her life and memory would not be taken for granted that the cancer in our society should not only be coped with but treated from the very core problems. We are here at your side together with Migrante Canada, BAYAN-Canada, iwWorkers, Filipino Migrant Workers Movement and Gabriela Ontario. Root causes of migration would have to be addressed and resolved while we try to argue for our human rights. Together we call for development not for profit, but for the people.

Sincerely,

Anakbayan-Toronto

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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!

Toronto Filipino youth group on PH peace process: “Time for true action rather than empty talks”

Reference: Alex Felipe
anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

APRIL 24, 2013–This year marks the 40th anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the largest coalition of various economic, social justice organizations and organs of political power within the national democratic movement.

The process of building up a concrete revolutionary movement has been a gradual and complex process since its inception. This was the same period that the Philippines suffered from a serious downturn after years of experiencing positive outgrowth postured by ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos. An era for his vision of a “New Society” was supposedly fostered through the installation of Martial Law. The regime’s move however, created extreme poverty levels, rampant graft and corruption and slowdown of economy until “it was grinding to a halt” in the 80s.

In the midst of the disorder caused by the dictatorship, the NDFP was born in 1973 the day after its program was formalized. Its policy was sought under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to establish unity among patriotic classes, forces and sectors in the Philippines and abroad for genuine national freedom and lasting peace.

It has a profound role in advancing the struggle against the imperialist US government and its peripheral reactionary governments throughout the last four decades. While it continuously pushes for its program, a truly democratic process that serves the needs of the majority of the people remains elusive with the current ruling class still  in power. This naturally gives rise to a yearning for justice, and has pushed the people to wage an armed rebellion.

The Philippine military’s assessment makes clear that the broad mass movement led by the NDFP continues to wield “strong influence” in more than 60 of the country’s 72 provinces. 

According to their own reports, New People’s Army (NPA) units have initiated more than 70 tactical offensives against large-scale mining corporations and agri-business plantations in the first four months of 2013. These activities are coordinated to hold the multinational companies back from exploiting the peoples and the environment. The anti-feudal movement in the countryside continues to heighten its influence up to the regional level, particularly in the southern island of Mindanao.

Despite the incident involving an NPA unit and Gingoog Mayor Ruth Guingona, Senator Teofisto Guingona III agrees to the need to resume formal GPH-NDFP peace talks. On the other hand, the Malacañang palace orders to “dismantle NPA checkpoints” enforcing its will on the Philippines as having only “one government” and under “one President,” Benigno Aquino III. His demand only seeks to circumvent the process and calls for surrender.

This is just one in a line of the many obstacles to a two-state solution. How can the problem be resolved when the Aquino regime keeps its counterinsurgency campaign and even allows US troops to use the country as a base in the Asia-Pacific region? How can negotiations be pursued if NDFP consultants Alan Jazmines, Tirso Alcantara, Eduardo Serrano, Edgardo Friginal, Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, Emeterio Antalan, Renante Gamara, Jaime Soledad, Danilo Badayos, Pedro Codaste, Alfredo Mapano and Ramon Patriarca remain in detention? How can we move on to tackle the next substantive issues if the current regime fails to honour previous agreements such as the Hague Joint Declaration, and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG)? It is safe to say that a solution of the broader framework is needed.

However, this is a situation that peace-minded masses want to see a resolution to: a sincere engagement in reconciliation work for restorative justice and lasting peace process.

Anakbayan-Toronto only hopes for hastening the resumption of the negotiations in the midst of the pitfalls caused by the Aquino regime’s apparent disinterest. We are committed that the root causes of the armed conflict be addressed fundamentally through an overturning of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal conditions in the Philippines. We rightfully express that the Filipino people deserve to benefit in our goal for genuine land reform, national industrialization, true freedom and democracy.

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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!

N30: Filipino Youth found Anakbayan-Toronto

Toronto—Commemorating Andres Bonifacio Day, fifteen delegates join hands together to formally launch the progressive Filipino youth and student organization Anakbayan-Toronto (AB-T) on December 1st at Ryerson University.

Organized to coincide with November 30, a date  historically significant to Filipino peoples. It is the birth of the working class revolutionary Andres Bonifacio, whose leadership founded the Katipunan and laid the foundation for the Philippines’ first unified armed resistance against foreign oppression.

One hundred and forty-nine years after the renowned hero’s birth, AB-T convened as the newest overseas chapter of Anakbayan, which is translated as “sons and daughters of the people.”  The comprehensive national democratic, mass movement of the Filipino youth is the first branch in Canada.

However, since the 80s Filipino-Canadian youth, particularly in urban core centres, have been organizing themselves through cultural and nationalistic means. According to Marco Luciano, former member of the Montreal Coalition of Filipino Students (MCFS) and now Secretary General of Migrante-Canada, the ‘real upsurge’ of youth organizing was not carried on until the 90s. Programs allowing youth to bond and discuss culture and identity in the context of Filipino struggle against colonialism was pushed by concerned members of the community. In 1993 the Montreal Coalition of Filipino Students in Quebec was formed .

While in Toronto, early strands of educational discussion groups were also realized under the guidance of Philippine Solidarity Group. In 1996 issues between “baguhan” (new immigrants) and “datihan” (Canadian-born/raised) youths were shared in a play entitled “Dreams of a Revolution” in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Bonifacio-led 1896 Philippine Revolution. This search for identity and fight against colonialism moved to modes of outreach in the community and exposure trips, finally leading to the formation of Migrante Ontario Youth in 2008, shared Mithi Esguerra, a former member of the group.

Canada has the second largest Filipino community overseas. For decades, poor job prospects and the nation’s undeclared policy to export labour led Philippine citizens to pursue employment abroad. According to the Philippine National Situation by Bagong Alyasang Makabayan (BAYAN) presented by founding member Ysh Cabana, the  current Aquino administration perpetuates  this oppressive system by placing more anti-people policies and being subservient to foreign interests.

Since the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is the financial and cultural capital of Canada, it is one of the top city choices of Filipino immigrants and migrants. The GTA is home to over 140,000 Filipinos. A presentation by founding members Tim Manalo and Alex Felipe revealed that most Filipino immigrants  have non-permanent residence status and are coming in through the family reunification program. Impeded by their minority and recent immigrant status, many Filipino-Canadian youth face a number of cultural challenges and systemic barriers that hamper their economic mobilization and social integration.

Bearing the onus to address these problems, AB-T commits itself to ensure that youth stay engaged in raising social awareness and advocating for the betterment of the Filipino community in Canada and the Philippines. The newly elected officers in the founding assembly symbolize the utmost dedication of youth in leading the Filipino community towards true emancipation: Rhea Gamana as Chairperson, Jesson Reyes as the Secretary General, Ysh Cabana as Education Officer, Henessy Cruz as Finance Officer, and Tim Manalo as Solidarity Officer.

“I’m very honoured to be elected as Chairperson of Anakbayan Toronto, and I would like to thank our Kasamas for trusting me to be in this position. I will absolutely do my best to represent Anakbayan Toronto to our kababayans. I and the rest of the Kasamas will painstakingly educate and organize Filipino youth here in the Greater Toronto Area. I will continue to fight for genuine national democracy for the Philippines, and continue the unfinished struggle of Gat Andres Bonifacio.” Rhea Gamana, elected founding Chairperson of Anakbayan Toronto.

For now, Anakbayan-Toronto’s task is articulated in the founding general assembly’s theme “Ipagbunyi ang Kabataang Sumusulong tungo sa Malayang Bukas” (Celebrating the Youth Marching Towards Emancipation).

A video message by the Anakbayan Philippines National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo for the 14th Anniversary of Anakbayan, he expressed the importance for youth to carry on the legacy of arousing, organizing and mobilizing. In the words of Kabataang Makabayan’s founding chairperson, Jose Maria Sison, “Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge.”

Among the guest speakers was former Chairman of the National Union of Students in the Philippines, Ben Corpuz. Presenting on the student movement in the Philippines, he emphasized how the three basic problems of Filipinos back then remain the same today, even worsened.

Special guest Vernie Diano of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Centre (CWEARC) reflects how “The energy of the youth is direly needed to oppose the threats facing our communities.” Heartfelt solidarity messages were also delivered by allied groups including member representatives of the International League of Peoples Struggles-Canada (ILPS- Canada).

AB-T would like to thank allied organizations, BAYAN Canada, Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement (FMWM) and Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) for their presence at the event. To the Filipino community in Canada and other chapters for their continuous support. The success of the founding assembly formally declares our member’s dedication to arouse, organize, and mobilize for the advancement of the Filipino people’s struggle towards national liberation and genuine democracy in the Philippines.

Lumalakas! Lumalawak! Lumalaban! (Strengthening! Broadening! Continuously fighting!)

Lumalakas! Lumalawak! Lumalaban!

Youth-student organization Anakbayan hold’s the founding assembly of their Toronto chapter to advance the people’s struggle of the Philippines


A message from Anakbayan Toronto Organizing Committee:

In the spirit of the youth revolutionaries of Bonifacio and the pre-Martial Law youth organization of Kabataang Makabayan, the Anakbayan Toronto Organizing Committee warmly invites all our allies, other chapters, those in the struggle, other youths and the community at large who share the passion and interest of activism, to the founding assembly of the Toronto chapter of Anakbayan.

Anakbayan is the comprehensive, national democratic mass organization of the Filipno youth. It was established on November 30th 1998 to unite the youths from all sectors of the society: workers, migrants, students, out-of-school youth, women, professionals, Indigenous, Muslim, Christians, peasant, fisherfolks and many others, to advance the cause of national democracy of the Philippines and liberalization from foreign imperialism.

The theme for the inaugurating general assembly is set as Magbunyi ang Kabataan Patungo Sa Malayang Bukas (Celebrating the Youth Marching Towards Emancipation) to acknowledge the Filipino youth’s continuing history and commitment to arousing, organizing and mobilizing their community. Filipino youths have had their share of the fight from demanding justice for Filipino youth like Jeffrey Reodica, to tackling the effects of the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) on the youth and their family, to forwarding and making the national democracy movement of the Philippines relevant to other Filipino youth in Toronto. The inauguration and the first general assembly meeting of Anakbayan Toronto is a step closer to making the voices of Filipino youth stronger and be heard; and make the youth be the leaders of their community to continue the struggle towards a genuine independent Philippines.

Join the Organizing Committee on December  01 2012 and be part of building the new chapter. Everyone is welcome.

Event schedule includes:

  • History of Youth Organizing
  • Situating the Youth in the Philippines and Canada”
  • Reading of the Constitution and Bylaws and Election of Officers
  • Our Allies and their Messages of Solidarity
  • Cultural Presentation

Anakbayan Toronto Founding General Assembly-
Ipagbunyi ang Kabataang Sumusulong tungo sa Malayang Bukas
(Celebrating the Youth Marching Towards Emancipation)

SCC 115, Student Centre, Ryerson University
December  01, 2012; 6-12 pm

FREE event
Space is wheelchair accessible