Filipino women in Canada stand in solidarity against political harassment by the Arroyo regime!

As overseas Filipino women, the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) and its member organizations are gravely concerned with the Philippine President Arroyo government’s political harassment of Dr. Annalisa Enrile, a U.S. citizen, assistant clinical professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work, and national chair of Gabriela Network (GABNet) USA.

After attending the 10th bi-annual Women’s International Solidarity Affair in the Philippines (WISAP), organized by GABRIELA-Philippines and held in Manila, Dr. Enrile was barred from returning to Los Angeles on August 5th. Dr. Enrile is being held purportedly because her name was on the Bureau of Immigration’s “hold-departure order" list.

The WISAP drew hundreds of women from all over the globe and covered important women’s concerns on governance, migration, war and violence against women. Prior to the WISAP, Dr. Enrile also led a delegation of Social Work Masters students on a Philippine summer immersion program.

Two other GABNet leaders, Ninotchka Rosca and Judith Mirkinson, are reportedly on the same hold list and are likely to face the same restriction of movement. GABRIELA-Philippines believes this watch list is a revival of a list the Philippine government adopted late last year to limit protest actions timed for the 12th Leaders’ Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cebu last January. Although this watch list was lifted recently, it is being revived to attack foreign visitors who have come to the Philippines out of concern or in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations of the Arroyo regime.

Reports state that in order for Dr. Enrile to leave the country, she must receive clearance by the Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, the National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Cesar Garcia of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. It is no coincidence that the majority of these officials belong to the Anti- Terrorism Council which, under the Philippines Human Security Act (HSA), is tasked to implement the HSA.

Dr. Enrile has now become a clear example of the Arroyo regime’s attempt in using the HSA to harass anyone critical of her government.

The Arroyo regime has faced harsh international criticism because of her appalling human rights track record, currently totaling 885 extrajudicial killings, of which 98 are women and 9 are teachers. Many of these violations have been exposed through solidarity efforts of individuals and organizations. This obvious intimidation tactic of the Arroyo regime will not stop people from going to the Philippines to learn about the actual conditions of the country, nor will it stem the growing international support for the Filipino people’s demand to uphold basic human rights and the call to end state terrorism in the Philippines.

NAPWC stands in militant solidarity with Dr. Enrile, Ms. Rosca, Ms. Mirkinson, GABNet, and all others who oppose state terrorism under the Arroyo regime. We know that the Arroyo regime is using the HSA as a tool to further its state terrorism on the Filipino people and all those who struggle against its anti-people actions. We demand the HSA be repealed! We will not allow these intimidation tactics to affect our commitment to continue to fight to uphold the human rights of the Filipino people. We join in the Filipino people’s call to oust the fascist Arroyo-regime and join in the struggle for genuine national and social liberation of the Philippines and the Filipino people.

Makibaka, huwag matakot!
End political harassment by the US-Arroyo regime!
End US-Arroyo regime’s state terrorism against the Filipino people!
Repeal the Human Security Act!
Oust the militarist, repressive and corrupt US-Arroyo regime!
Support the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation!
Long live international solidarity!