Southern Tagalog workers condemn US soldier’s killing of Jennifer Laude, reaffirm call to junk VFA, EDCA

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PRESS RELEASE

References:

Allan Bagas, Secretary General, 09491798754

Christopher Oliquino, Vice-Chairperson, 09085772960

Roque Polido, Chairperson, 09196452316

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA—Workers from different genuine, militant, nationalist and anti-imperialist unions gathered in an indignation rally to strongly condemn the killing of transgender Jennifer Laude by US serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton. The workers assembled from 4 to 5pm at Amar, Balibago, Sta. Rosa City. A one-hour program followed it from 5 to 6pm.

PAMANTIK, though an organization of militant unions that advances workers’ right to just wages and decent jobs, is also an advocate of LGBT rights. In its education program, it opens the workers to the plight of the women and LGBT sectors.

“We firmly believe that every human, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, deserves to be treated as humans. And thus, deserves respect for their human rights. This is the same principle that we strive to uphold inside and outside factories.” Said Roque Polido, PAMANTIK Chairperson.

The workers were instantly alarmed when news of Laude’s killing reached them. They were enraged after learning that another US soldier was responsible for the crime.

Allan Bagas, PAMANTIK Secretary General, expressed, “This unacceptable and inhumane act is one of the many reasons why we have been campaigning for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). We witnessed how the agreement one-sidedly favored the US in “Nicole’s” rape case. We don’t want this, and other numerous undocumented human rights violations, to happen again.”

In the middle of the program, the workers organized a one-minute noise barrage while the US flag is being burned. This is to show their disgust over the US’ pro-capitalist and anti-people policies and agreements such as the VFA.

The workers also called for the scrapping of the recently signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“The US imperialist, throught its self-serving agreements and soldiers, has raped our country and people beyond perceivable gravity. Clearly, the EDCA is a much worse version of VFA as it allows US soldiers to conduct exercises anywhere in the country they deem necessary. This could mean more Nicole and Jennifer if we remain silent about its possible horrifying effects. With our snail-pace judicial system, and rotten society in general, we cannot hope for a speedy serving of justice. But we can truly give Jennifer and other victims of human rights violations justice by fighting against anti-Filipino agreements.” Ended Christopher Oliquino, Vice-Chairperson. ###

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