Sunday, May 24, 2009

American Activist, Melissa Roxas, abducted in Philippines.

We are calling on the Arroyo regime to immediately surface and release Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc which were abducted by Philippines government forces.
Roxas, a volunteer health worker, was abducted last May 19 at around 1:30 pm in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Bgy. Kapanikian, La Paz, Tarlac. She was with two other volunteers, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc.
Based on reports filed by the human rights group Karapatan and the La Paz police, Roxas and her companions were taken by at least 8 fully-armed, bonnet-clad men on board two motorcycles and a Besta van without any plate numbers.

I probably can't articulate the importance of this situation as well as my good friend, Sergio. So I will just post what he wrote:

Historically, speaking out against the government of the Republic of the Philippines has never been easy, but since the time our current "leader" President Gloria Macapagal-​Arroyo (GMA) assumed office in 2001, activists hailing across many sectors of Philippine Society—workers​,​ clergy, lawyers, peasants, teachers, students, women, and beyond—have disappeared, or worse, been murdered. KARAPATAN, a Philippine-​based progressive human rights organization, reported that from Jan 2001 to Oct 2007, there were a total of 887 victims of extrajudicial killings, and 185 victims of enforced disappearances, with the grim note that among these cases, not a single perpetrator had been convicted and brought to jail. What did these people have in common? They all spoke out against the GMA government.

Now the issue hits home even harder. Five days ago on May 19, a fellow American-born Filipino / Fil-Am activist from my home"town" Los Angeles, Melissa Roxas, was abducted by the Philippine military along with Filipino organizers Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc. Melissa is a founding member of the LA-based cultural group, Habi Arts whose work paralleled that which Jo and I do here in the Bay.

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