For Immediate Release
May 19, 2015
Reference: Adrianne Sebastian, PCHRP Mass Campaigns Committee Member email@example.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
has taught us
struck the match illuminating injustice
the Aquino government, fueled by capital, loveless
6 days in the dark, wet, bloody, despair
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!
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
Chairperson - Rossella De Leon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Officer - Angelica Lim, email@example.com
Mass Campaign Officer - Justin Katigbak, firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizational Development Officer - Geleen Abenoja, email@example.com
Cultural Officer - Kenneth Crebillo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Finance Officer - Nikki De Leon, email@example.com