Expose the “Maid in Malacanang” Movie’s Lies! Oppose the Continuing Effort of the Marcos Family and their Cronies to Sanitize the True History of the Marcos Dictatorship!

Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines declared by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the Marcos family and their cronies have continued their unrelenting effort to erase the family’s historical record of corruption and human rights violations committed during Marcos dictatorship. The movie “Maid in Malacanang” is not just a fictional piece of art or the simple story of one family.  The movie, which was written and directed by Daryl Yap and produced by Senator Imee Marcos herself, horrendously seeks to rewrite the Marcoses as the victims of the 1986 People Power Revolution to create sympathy for the family. It plays an insidious role in paving the way for Marcos II, who was inaugurated on June 30, 2022, to smoothly advance the interests and control of the Marcos family and their allies while they again hold power. The film, which will premiere in the US on August 12, plays a crucial role in projecting a fictional and sanitized image of the Marcos family to people in the US.

The film adds insult to injury for the actual victims and survivors of martial law – the critics who were killed, disappeared, and tortured, and their families. It is a slap in the face to the Filipino people as a whole whose collective wealth was stolen by the Marcos family, and on whose backs massive international loans were secured – loans whose payments are still squeezing the country and the people dry today. It attempts to be progressive by using the perspective of the common person, a maid, while glossing over the reality that Marcos I systematized the labor export policy which drives millions of Filipino migrants to leave the country yearly to do some of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in the world. This has been the sole option aggressively promoted by the Philippine government for the people to support their family and uplift the economy.

As people in the US, we must reject the US government’s ongoing support for the Marcos II administration and its willingness to turn a blind eye to the murderous and corrupt record of the Marcos I regime. Already, the US government has welcomed the Marcos II presidency, even assuring Marcos II safe passage into the US despite a US court judgment made in favor of the victims of martial law that was never settled by the Marcos family. In fact, Marcos II has been invited to speak at the UN General Assembly in NYC on September 20, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of martial law. Let’s combat the widespread disinformation that led the Marcos dynasty to regain Presidency and educate ourselves and our communities on the true history and struggle of the Filipino people under the Marcos I dictatorship. Join us for the ICHRP-US educational series starting August 11 and to take ongoing action to reject US Support of the Marcos Dynasty. Uphold the Collective Memory and True History of the Marcos Dictatorship from the People’s Perspective!

Duterte Government Terror Tags International Church and Labor Allies

On Sunday, April 10, elements of the Republic of the Government of the Philippines harassed and red-tagged labor activist Joe Iosbaker in front of his hotel in Manila, Philippines. Iosbaker, from Chicago, was visiting the Philippines for eight days. 

Before 7am that day, members of the Criminal Investigation & Detection Group (CIDG) hung three banners at the fence of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines national office bearing the name and image of Iosbaker. The banners read, “Ally of CTG [Communist-Terrorst Group],” “Don’t meddle with PH affairs. You’re not welcome here!” At around 8:30 am, a small group of people rallied in front of the office of National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Their placards read: “Banyagang Terorista, Alyado ng Komunista, Layas!”(Foreign Terrorist, ally of Communists, Out!”).

The following Monday, April 11, Reverend Cathy Chang, a mission co-worker of the Presbyterian Church (USA), found similar banners and stickers outside of her home in Quezon City. The stickers and tarpaulin, with her photo, mirrored those written about Iosbaker, reading “Supporter of Terrorist CPP-NPA-NDFP” and threatening her to “Get Out of the Country.” Rev Chang and her family have lived in the Philippines for six years where she serves in migrant ministry at the invitation of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). 

The tagging of Iosbaker and Chang as “supporters of terrorism” is another example of the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program that increasingly targets overseas Filipinos and solidarity Activists. In recent years Bayan USA, Gabriela USA, Migrante USA, Anakbayan-USA and the Malaya Movement USA have faced online harassment and red tagging. Just weeks prior to the tagging of Iosbaker and Chang, Harry Roque, former spokesperson for President Duterte and current Senatorial candidate, made the preposterous but dangerous claim that the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines is a ‘legal front’ for the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

As documented in ICHRP’s recent Bulletin on “Fighting Red-Tagging in Philippine Elections” red-tagging is on the rise in the Philippines as pivotal elections approach. While the country sits on the brink of a potential return of the Marcoses to power, the Duterte camp has red tagged Leni Robredo, the main opposition candidate, accusing her of working with the Communist Party, while also calling for voters to withdraw support from Makabayan Bloc under similar accusations of support for the Community Party. The political situation remains tenuous as the upcoming elections await, and clearly red-tagging continues to be used to intimidate, harass, quell dissent and attempt to discredit opposition. 

In the end, red-tagging does not put to question the credibility of its victims but rather exposes the ineptitude of its perpetrators. In this moment, the need becomes to increase solidarity support, not to quash it from fear of retribution. 

#ActivismIsNotaCrime #ActivismIsNotTerrorism #DefendtheDefenders #PassthePHRA

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Sec-Gen of Karapatan Wins Human Rights Prize

ICHRP-US congratulates Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan Human Rights Alliance, for winning the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and Rule of Law Award. The award signifies international recognition of the justness of Palabay’s work despite many attempts of the Duterte regime to attack her, Karapatan, and human rights defenders across the Philippines. 

“I, we, stand with all of you today — unburied by those who wanted to take life and our rights away from all of us. This recognition, the Franco-German Human Rights Prize and the Rule of Law Award, is not only for me: it is for each and every person who believes in defending and advancing people’s rights,” Palabay said.

Tinay Palabay is our friend and we are a proud partner of Karapatan Human Rights Alliance. We have been privileged to host Tinay on speaking tours in the United States in 2017 and 2019. We are committed to genuine solidarity with the struggle of the Filipino people and will continue to support Karapatan’s work in the face of increasing attacks and human rights violations.