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AnakBayan Seattle is the Seattle branch of Bayan USA
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-US
According to correspondent Eric Buerk, April 6 2018, a wide variety of socialist, anti-imperialist and Philippines solidarity groups convened in Seattle’s Southside Commons to hear firsthand reports from the Philippines, particularly in those areas that have been ravaged by the military under the cover of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s criminal “war on drugs.” Convening groups included BAYAN USA PNW, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and MALAYA, with endorsers Party for Socialism and Liberation – PSL, Rainier Beach Key Club, Got Green, Town Hall Seattle, PUSO Seattle, Southside Commons, GABRIELA Seattle, Lionswire Communications, Climate Justice Alliance, 350 Seattle, Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Changelab, Anakbayan Seattle, Chinatown International Distict (CID) Coalition / Humbows Not Hotels, and Na’ah Illahee Fund.
Michael Alcantara, current general secretary of Anakbayan Seattle, presented a startling report on the “Counter Insurgency” actions by the Philippines military which have been concentrated in Mindanao, and in particular in the city of Marawi. In response to the “occupation” of Marawi by Islamic fundamentalist fighters claiming affiliation with ISIS, the Duterte government undertook the wholesale siege of Marawi in 2017. When government forces declared victory after five months of indiscriminate destruction, hundreds of thousands had been displaced and virtually the entire city lay in ruins.
Jill Mangaliman, an activist and member of GABRIELA Seattle reported on the way in which the Duterte regime has also used these counter-insurgency actions as a cover for overtly political repression. T
Pam Tau Lee, the chair of the newly formed US International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines,(ICHRP-US) gave an enlightening presentation on the posturing on the part of Duterte. In early 2017, the carefully managed nationalist public image Duterte presented led some to believe that he might take an anti-imperialist stance in relation to the United States government under Trump. Yet, when the two met at the meeting of ASEAN in 2017 that illusion quickly melted away. Both leaders were seen to work hand-in-hand for the accomplishment of their mutual goals of exploitation in the Philippines, each praising the other for his leadership.
All three speakers were unanimous in their call for the prevention of another fascist regime in the Philippines. They reminded us that we are engaged in one struggle with many fronts, and must stand together in order to face down the common enemies of the working class all over the world.