Demand an End to U.S. Military Aid and State Violence Against Activists in the Philippines

Anakbayan New York condemns the brutal murders of Freddie “Fermin” Ligiw, his father Licuben, and his brother Edie by suspected elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). On March 2, the three men never returned to their home.  Later that week, their family reported that they were missing.  Finally on March 8, their bodies were discovered gagged, tied up, and piled in a shallow grave in Abra in the Cordillera region of the Philippines.

The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) reported that Freddie, a member of Anakbayan Philippines in Abra, prepared  to testify that the military coerced him to be a guide for the 41st Infantry Battalion in their counterinsurgency operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area. After the murders were reported, the AFP claimed the NPA was responsible for the murders of the Ligiw men. This has been the AFP’s line of justification for every political activist or civilian that they murder to cover up their human rights violations.

The savage murders of the Ligiw family by suspected military personnel is nothing new. These killings are a part of President B.S. Aquino’s United States-backed “Oplan Bayanihan,” a counterinsurgency program aimed at suppressing and literally eliminating dissent. It has been responsible for countless human rights violations including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.  By the end of the 2013, the number of extrajudicial killings reported under Aquino’s regime reached 169, according to Karapatan, a human rights group in the Philippines.

We also recognize the significance of the joint military exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines. These exercises are supposedly aimed to help train and modernize the AFP, while in exchange, U.S. troops receive training in guerilla fighting. In reality, these military exercises equip the AFP with the necessary tools to terrorize and destroy progressive movements by killing activists, such as Freddie Ligiw.

As Filipino youth residing in the United States, we are outraged that the U.S. government continues to financially support the AFP who are infamous for thousands of human rights violations against political activists and the people. Last year, U.S. military aid to the Philippines increased to $50 million with the help of our tax dollars.  Filipino American youth are being forced to pay for the murders of the Ligiw family and all political activists in the Philippines instead of paying for quality education and social services for our communities.

Anakbayan New York demands an end to U.S. Military Aid to the Philippines and all the extrajudicial political killings in the Philippines. We call for an end to the joint military exercises, supported by U.S. military funds, in training these death-squads. We call on all Filipino youth and allies to condemn the state violence against activists in the Philippines and to demand justice for Freddie Ligiw and his family. Our tax dollars should be spent on basic social services here at home instead of funding the murders of our fellow Filipinos in the Philippines.

 Join us on Friday March 14 at 11:30am in front of the Philippine Consulate to protest the against state violence in the Philippines.

What: “Justice for Freddie Ligiw and family! Justice or all political killings in the Philippines!” Demonstration

When: Friday, March 14 at 11:30am

Where: Outside the Philippine Consulate General, 556 5th Ave, New York, NY 10036