The month of September marks the Filipino people’s victory against the continuation of permanent US military bases in the Philippines. On September 16, 1991, with widespread call and mobilization in the country, the Philippine Senate officially ended the 1947 contract with US Naval Bases. The removal of the bases showed the strong opposition of the Filipino people against the presence and intervention of US military in domestic and foreign policies. The protests against the renewal of the contract were grounded on the people’s cry to uphold national sovereignty against foreign intervention, grave abuses by US military against Filipinos especially committed against women and children, and the harmful effect on the environment.
However, the Philippine government’s subservience to foreign powers continued as it later signed in 1999 the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in 2014 amid the strong opposition of the Filipino people. These two agreements, lopsided in favor of the US, practically opened the entire country to foreign military basing. It also again exposed the Filipino people to grave abuses by visiting personnel involved in military exercises and rest and recreation activities since the agreements guaranteed the protection of US personnel against any criminal liability.
With VFA and EDCA, US soldiers who committed rape and murder in the country went scot-free. The latest was on September 7, 2020 when President Duterte awarded unconditional pardon to US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who murdered trans-Filipina Jennifer Laude.
Cases of rape, physical abuse, murder, and indiscriminate firing are nightmares that will haunt the Filipino people as long as there are US soldiers in the country and as long as justice is not served to past atrocities. The brutal violence against LGBTQ Filipinos will only worsen under US Militarism – we must fight for the safety and protection of all women and LGBTQ Filipinos.
To express our solidarity and our rage against this injustice, we call on our friends and allies to join our online protests on September 11 and 16. We will call to put a stop to the United States’ interventionist agenda in different parts of the world and for justice for victims of militarization like Jennifer Laude.
The Days of Rage will launch on Friday, September 11 (5:30pm PST / 8:30pm EST) please register here: (https://tinyurl.com/DayOfRage4Jennifer). Join GABRIELA USA and allies as we condemn the Duterte regime, call for the termination of all unequal military agreements (VFA, EDCA) and unite with justice and peace seekers all over the world in fighting for justice for Jennifer.
On September 16 (10am Manila, 10pm New York/Toronto, 12nn Sydney, 7pm LA/Vancouver) please register here https://forms.gle/UDV5yFTUt3UHXguP9 to participate.
US Out of the Philippines!
Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!
Justice for Jennifer Laude and all victims of US military abuses!
What you can do:
1. Hold actions in front of Philippine embassies and consulates in your countries.
2. Write letters of protests to the Philippine government and send to Philippines embassies or consulates in your country and CC to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
3. Protest from home, school, or workplaces and post on social media, using the following hashtags #USOutOfThePhilippines #JunkVFA #JusticeForJenniferLaude #DefendFilipinoWomen and tag Gabriela Philippines (IG: @gabrielaphils) and Gabriela USA (IG: @gabriela.usa) on your posts.
Re-Post GABRIELA PHILIPPINES and GABRIELA USA Online Prop during the Week of Rage
4. In the United States: Support the Philippine Human Rights Act
Join lobbying efforts of US legislators to explain to them Duterte’s anti people track record and human rights abuses and why they should sign on to the PHRA
Get your organization to endorse the PHRA
5. Join us in our upcoming actions on Sept. 21st as we commemorate the anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines