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Edith Burgos U.S. Tour

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yesterday I had the honor of be able to spend time with Edith and Anne Burgos at Senator Barbara Boxer’s office. Edith and her daughter Anne are on a U.S. tour being coordinated by the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. Edith’s husband is the late Joe Burgos, a world renowned journalist who fought hard for democracy during the martial law period of former Philippine president Marcos.

Edith is on tour because her son Jonas was kidnapped by the government, becoming one of the many “desaparecidos” (disappeared persons) in the country. Jonas helped organize farm laborers in the Philippines with the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) or Alliance of Peasants in Central Luzon, a local affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) or Peasant Movement of the Philippines. Jonas was also critical of president Macapagal-Arroyo who, since becoming president seven years ago, has seen over 890 victims of killings and over 300 victims of abductions. Ms. Burgos told Sen. Boxer’s senior representative that the average abductions of activists in the Philippines per month under Macapagal-Arroyo is actually higher than it was under martial law for Marcos.

Her daughter Anne was also there to keep her company and help her in these trying times for the Burgos family. Accompanying her to Boxer’s officer were six others representing student orgs, church orgs, the Committee f0r Human Rights in the Philippines, and the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns, in order to show her staff that there is broad support in the Pilipino American community for taking action against the Philippines and holding the Philippine government accountable for the money we give them in their military “adventures.”

Boxer’s staff seemed very concerned on what was going on over in the Philippines and how U.S. taxpayer’s money was being used in human rights violations and it seems as though they will take some action in making sure that all of the $15 million going to the Philippines in economic and military aid will not be used to violate human rights and kill activists, students, and priests. Boxer was instrumental last year in making sure that the $2 million in U.S. military aid (apart of a larger $30 million aid deal) was solely used for humane purposes, however this year we want all of the money to have these qualifications on it; which is why Edith and her daughter Anne are touring the U.S. (D.C., Seattle, New York, San Francisco, LA).

Hopefully this comes to pass and will pave the way in the upcoming years to cut off all military aid to the Philippines. However, in my opinion, the Philippines is an important economic and imperial tool (a gateway, if you will) to the larger Asian continent and it will take a lot of action to stop U.S. imperialists from using the Philippines as their tool in their larger global capitalistic ambitions. The Philippines has essentially been a colony of the U.S. since 1898 and to change that relationship will take action from Pilipinos abroad, in the Philippines, and a large array of U.S. citizens.

For more information on human rights in the Philippines and the fight for democracy visit:

Bagong Alyansang Makabaya (New Patriotic Alliance)

  • A broad based leftist and progressive umbrella organization of student, church, peasant, native, and other progressive organizations in the Philippines.

BAYAN USA

  • T he U.S. branch of BAYAN.

League of Filipino Students

  • A progressive student org with branches all across the Philippines and one at my school, San Francisco State University.

Amnesty International and Amnesty USA

Human Rights Watch

Image From:
Ellen Tordesillas 

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