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!

How to spit FiYah in Bisaya – workshop 2/6

 

This is the 2nd of the 6 FREE language classes, coordinated and facilitated by Haniely Pableo, that will teach you how to construct basic sentences and engage in a conversation in Bisaya! In this class, we will focus on: interrogatives, request and command; and basic sentence structure. To enhance your Bisaya vocabulary, you will be learning a new song every class.

… Space is limited, so please contact us immediately to book a spot!

Contact info:
anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com, or Rhea at (647) 281-0652

Where: CSI Regent Park, 3rd Floor, Daniels Spectrum Building, 585 Dundas Street East
When: Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 4:30-7pm

**Poster created by Althea Balmes and Tim Manalo**

AB STATEMENT ON ALDAW TI KORDILYERA (CORDILLERA DAY) 2013

Can a revolutionary indigenous culture break capitalism’s momentum?

Is it imaginable that our indigenous youth who have been born in Canada or have been hyphenates, claim that they can empower themselves today through their decolonizing psychology, practice and constant self-identity? Can culture alone allow the next generation to come to the fore as active participants in shaping our times?

Sisters, brothers, comrades and kasamas, revolutionary greetings from the youth section of progressive Filipinos in Canada.

The roots of the struggle of the indigenous peoples had resulted in a push by the American regime for direct control over the Cordillera region. The solution to the US Great Depression of the late 1920s was contracted in the mineral-rich mountains the Philippines. This would mean the start of “the real gold rush,” which had been in slack primarily because of the panned resistance to the Spanish conquistadors by the disparate peoples. This would mean that the northern region was the predestined subject of “benevolent assimilation” and cultural disparagement.

American colonial authorities propagated the idea of a pan-Cordillera identity and the meaning of a single “Igorot” inhabiting the highlands to separate them from their lowland counterparts and pacify them. This homogenous regional consciousness was used to constitute America as modern to justify its imperialist occupation. In the turn of the 20th century during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, descendants of tribal peoples were put as ‘living exhibits’ — especially the Cordillerans whose main draw was their custom of eating dog meat. However, prior to their coming, these peoples were richly diverse, as is still now, in different terms.

Our history has taught us lessons that are very significant to our present identity. The role of instituted policies have demonstrated us how ethnic imaginings are constantly constructed and reconstructed. It is precisely the clash of interests that shape the dynamics of history.

Has the bourgeois government in Manila ever effected a progress without dragging away peoples through dirt and blood, forced disappearances and forcible dispossession from their domains?

Perennial mining disasters and controversial mining impacts including those by Canadian firms operating in the homeland show us clearly: the 1996 Marcopper tragedy in the small island-province of Marinduque, whose main waterway Boac River was declared not usable even after more than 10 years since the mine closed; then 2005 Lafayette mine which caused cyanide spill and fish-kill off the coast of Albay, in which local fisherfolks’ livelihood and health were devastated; and most recently, the Philex tailing pond leak which is probably the largest mining tragedy in the Philippines, causing displacement of thousands of our brothers and sisters from the Cordillera region.

From north to south, indigenous peoples must arise out of the fact that their formal equality only covers up their real inequality.The concentration of economic and political power among a few families should not be an acceptable option to the majority Filipinos. Our people in the diaspora must also stand firmly on the question of sovereign land in the context of impoverishment. Altogether, we must ultimately allow healing the economic wounds inflicted by peripheral capitalism by pushing for true democracy and national industrialization.

Cordillera Day gives us a chance to reflect the sacrifice that have been made by our fallen hero Macli-ing Dulag. This day also should make us act on behalf of our indigenous compatriots who have been disappeared such as James Balao and politically imprisoned like Kennedy Bangibang. Culture of impunity persists after the extrajudicial killings of Romy Sanchez, Albert Terredano, Pepe Manegdeg, Jose Doton, Markus Rafael Bangit and Alice Claver. Against the backdrop of centuries-old culture of resistance of indigenous peoples, justice has not been served to these human rights defenders.

We, together with the people of Cordillera, do not sit idly by as we continue to ward off capitalists who plunder their lands and lives for the benefit of the monied few. We will keep exposing and opposing the complicity of Canadian corporations in this conflict. We reaffirm our fight for land which is life and for life that is the land.

We at Anakbayan-Toronto are in solidarity with the people of Cordillera! Down with imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudalism!!!

***How to Spit FiYAh in Bisaya!!***

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Interested in learning a different language? Want to know more about the Bisaya language? Kamalayan presents “How to Spit FiYAh in Bisaya”!! It is a FREE language class that will teach you how to construct basic sentences and engage in a conversation.

The creator and facilitator of this workshop is Haniely Pableo. Poster created by Althea Balmes and Tim Manalo.

Please contact anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com or call Rhea at 647.281.0652 to confirm your spot!

Space is limited!!!

Where: CSI Regent Park, 3rd Floor, Daniels Spectrum Building, 585 Dundas Street East
When: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 4:30-6pm

SINONG TATAY MO?!? A History of Family Dynasties and Corruption

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[FREE History Workshop | Open to All | Space is Limited]

Why is Philippine Politics So Corrupt?
Why do family dynasties persist in a supposedly democratic, and supposedly independent Philippines?
And what does history teach us about the potential for real change?

This will be a one hour history talk matched with one hour of discussion.

We will look at how family dynasties came to dominate Philippine politics, economics, and pop culture. We will also look at the many attempts to overturn this climate of corruption. Where were there successes and where were there failures, and why?

In discussing corruption we’ll also examine why this corruption is not an unfortunate side effect but a necessary tool to maintain the status quo… and along the way examine some of the dark chapters–like how the CIA was born in the Philippines to crush post WWII attempts at a truly independent country…

You can email us to confirm your spot: anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com
Or you can also just drop in! (Space is limited, emailing us confirms your spot.)

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

AB-T photo

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! ##

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Drop-in orientation sessions available

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Meet your kasamas at ANAKBAYAN-TORONTO, the youth chapter of the Philippine national democratic movement at our DROP-IN orientation sessions. LEARN about the root causes of the problems in the Philippines and how to be part of the CHANGE.

Being politically engaged doesn’t just mean a change in Facebook status or profile picture. It means being active in your community, being involved in social issues and making a BIG difference.

We have two locations

Tuesday, April 23 3-6pm @ CSI Regent Park, 3/F Daniel Spectrum Bldg., 585 Dundas St. E Toronto, Ontario M5A 2B7

Tuesday, April 23 5-8pm @ Bathurst and Wilson Starbucks Cafe

See you there!

Why I Became an Advocate for Philippine Issues

A speech delivered on 22 Feb 2013 at “Activate TO”

by Anakbayan-Toronto Chair, Rhea A. Gamana.

Rhea SONA 2012

I used to say that activists, especially the youth, were just complaining, paralyzing the traffic, and that they should do more productive things rather than going out to yell on the streets. I used to say to myself that they should just go abroad and earn a living.  Then they would have a better life and could be able to provide their families. I changed my attitude when I reunited with my mother.  Now I understand why they do those things. I am now one of them.

My mother used to be a government employee in the Philippines, but since her salary wasn’t enough to provide for us, she decided to come to Canada and be a live-in caregiver. She left my brother and I behind.  This is a common story for Filipinos.

In the last four decades, a Labour Export Policy (LEP) has been implicitly implemented to address the economic crisis in the country. This is not a long-term and people friendly solution to poverty.

OFW Deployment photo

The Philippine economy does not have a national industrialization plan to end underdevelopment. Instead it depends on remittances from overseas Filipino workers. Their numbers continue to rise under the administration of current President Benigno Aquino III. The LEP divides families. There are now 4500 leaving every day to work in different countries. The Philippines is the number one source country of migrants to Canada.

I was a good student and daughter in the Philippines. I took care of my family. Yet I was always sad that I couldn’t speak to my mother face-to-face if I needed advice from her.

When the time had come that we were going to reunite with her, I was nervous but happy. Prior to coming here in Canada, we attended a few orientations where they told us that Canada was a better place to achieve the future I wanted.

My Philippine educational attainment was considered nothing here in Canada. I had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and wanted to become a lawyer or a teacher. A week after our arrival here in Canada almost 7 years ago, I applied for a job at a fast food chain.

I resigned myself to working as a part-time cashier while waiting for the right time to go back to college. After working for almost a year, my workplace got robbed.  I thought I would die that day. The robber pointed the gun towards my stomach, and hit my head on the cash register.

That day changed me. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and that lasted for three years. This was not what I expected from a country like Canada. It was not what was described to us in the pre-departure orientation session we received in the Philippines.

According to a study titled “Filipinos in Canada: Economic Dimensions of Immigration and Settlement” by Dr. Philip Kelly of York University, Filipino immigrants have the highest educational attainment of all migrant groups yet still tend to be deskilled. For example, if I was a nurse in the Philippines, I could only work here as a nanny or personal support worker. In my case, I wasn’t able to use my education here in Canada at all.

Research also shows that children of Filipino migrants make less money than their parents and have a lower educational attainment.  According to Statistics Canada, 32% of first generation Filipinos have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28% of the second generation.

The Philippines is a semi-colonial country, which means that the country itself is not independent and remains under the control of Western imperialism. The Philippines is a semi-feudal nation. Big business landlords and elites exploit the natural resources and the cheap serf-like labour of the country. This results in the displacement of families who then migrate to urban areas or to other countries to find a better living.

It makes me wonder why the Canadian government only allows one family member to come to Canada if they need more people here.

The Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) is a program of the federal government allowing Canadians to import temporary migrant live-in caregivers, known around the world as domestic workers.

If they complete the program they can become Canadian citizens and sponsor their family through the reunification program.  This takes an average of seven years, sometimes more.  That’s a long time to be separated from your family.  A long time spent taking care of the children of others, while your own need you at home.

This aspect of the program causes damage to family relationships, one that affects the children deeply—this I can tell you from personal experience.

Canadians need to be aware that we are part of this system. Not only here in Canada through our immigration policies, but also in the Philippines where Canadian imperialism contributes to forced migration. Part of our taxes goes to fund Canadian companies in the Philippines (especially in the mining sector), and Canadian military training of the Philippine armed forces to help protect those companies and forcefully displace Filipinos from the countryside through militarization.

I want a Philippines with true democracy and true independence. I want justice for the marginalized and underrepresented.

Today I am the Chairperson of Anakbayan-Toronto. We advocate for human rights, and we struggle for national industrialization that will keep Filipino families intact and ensure that no one will have to leave the country for a better life.  I don’t want any child to suffer what I went through.

Anakbayan-Toronto will not stop calling for national industrialization and genuine land reform in the Philippines, This is the only way that Filipinos will be able to work decent jobs, and not have to leave the country.

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 Karapatan, SELDA 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

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!)