For Immediate Release
May 19, 2015

Reference: Adrianne Sebastian, PCHRP Mass Campaigns Committee Member portlandchrp@gmail.com

Portland Filipinos Continue to Demand Justice for Melissa Roxas

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) remembers six years ago today, on May 19, 2009, Filipina-American activist Melissa Roxas who was abducted, blindfolded, handcuffed, and illegally tortured at a Philippine military camp while on a fact-finding and medical mission in La Paz, Tarlac, Philippines. Under the Aquino government, Roxas was accused of being an “enemy of the state” for conspiring with the New People’s Army, though Roxas was innocent of all accusations. Roxas and two other volunteers were interrogated and beaten for six days, resurfacing only following the people power of Bayan organizations and allies who mobilized tirelessly to demand her release. 

The state repression worsens under B.S. Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency program, continuing to target innocent civilians like Melissa Roxas. Her story illuminates the ongoing state-sponsored violence against the Filipin@ people, fueled by the Philippine government and perpetuated by the Armed Force of the Philippines. Six years later, justice has yet to be served for Melissa Roxas and the thousands continually victimized of state-sponsored disappearances, illegal detentions, tortures, and killings. The Philippine government continues to deny responsibility - it has neither investigated the injustice nor prosecuted the perpetrators. Despite Melissa’s efforts to testify before the Philippine court system and file complaints with the US State Department and United Nations, due process has yet to be attained. 

Melissa courageously continues to tell her story in the pursuit of justice for her and all victims of gross human rights violations. She tells her story for the thousands silenced by the tyranny of the Aquino government, which continuously exploits the most vulnerable of its citizens while absolving the human rights violators. PCHRP, in solidarity with BAYAN USA, stands with Melissa Roxas and all victims and survivors of human rights violations in the ongoing struggle for visibility, accountability, and justice from the Aquino government.

JUSTICE FOR MELISSA ROXAS & ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF STATE-SPONSORED DISAPPEARANCES AND TORTURE!
END US MILITARY AID TO THE PHILIPPINES!
END OPLAN BAYANIHAN!
NO TO TPPA & US PIVOT TO ASIA PACIFIC!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

More info & to support Melissa’s Campaign: http://justiceformelissa.org/

***
A Poem for Melissa
by Adrianne Sebastian

Melissa Roxas 
has taught us 
struck the match illuminating injustice 
the Aquino government, fueled by capital, loveless
6 days in the dark, wet, bloody, despair 
psychological warfare 
gunshots in close proximity, blindfolded, beaten until blue 
life longing sweet release her soul seeking to renew 
she saw white light, military force pushed to end her healing art 
but no amount of force could break the activism in her spiritual heart
abducted illegally with cruel intent 
Agitate the people and organize, for Melissa is Inosente!  
contingents mobilized strong for her release
but 6 years later she still mends her scars in bittersweet peace
buying time and silence won't sweep this story out of sight 

We will always fight for Filipin@ human rights 
we don't play victim, unyielding we thrive
resilient, in shadows we survive 
though at an expense - our bodies grow tense with a survivor's mentality 
how long are our brown bodies to be examples of bruises and brutality 
fellow humans looking to us as if we are the ones that lack humanity 

We internalize our burdens, sleep with our strife 
cut ourselves open so deep with their knife 
sword and cross the arms of imperialist rule, 
miseducation of the masses as their tool 
maintaining our shackles and ties 

But when we expose truth hidden between lies 
we rise in true democracy dismantling centuries of patriarchy 
self-healing in collective identity
reclaiming our people's rightful destiny

Justice for Melissa can heal the movement's soul 
patch up neglected wounds a step forward toward the goal
perhaps we believe in a greater freedom, 
a world of our design 
a land that is ours should Aquino Resign! 

Melissa Roxas 
has taught us 
no one is safe 
yet fearless Filipinos we are innate
life's light strengthened by premature death
Resistance in each lived breath  

***

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
portlandchrp@gmail.com
http://www.portlandchrp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/portlandchrp
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Executive Committee:
Chairperson - Rossella De Leon, rosselladeleon@gmail.com
Education Officer - Angelica Lim, angelica.a.lim@gmail.com
Mass Campaign Officer - Justin Katigbak, katigbak.j@gmail.com
Organizational Development Officer - Geleen Abenoja, gel.abenoja@gmail.com
Cultural Officer - Kenneth Crebillo, crebillo@pdx.edu
Finance Officer - Nikki De Leon, nikkimdeleon@gmail.com