Thank you for the invitation to share a solidarity message with you on this wonderful mile stone of the 20th anniversary of the Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA).
Two decades ago, a group of passionate people came together with a common goal: to advocate for justice, solidarity, and awareness, for the often- overlooked history of the Philippines and its people’s resistance against the United States (USA), colonisation of their country.
PASA has worked long and hard for the democratic and human rights of the Filipino and Australian people.
In particular, it has fought constantly against the vicious abuse of the democratic and human rights of the Filipino people by successive Filipino governments, and their colonial master, US imperialism.
The arrests without charge or due process, of human rights workers, lawyers and political activists, and the use of anti-communism and the false terrorist labels to try to justify arrest, torture and even murder by the Filipino state.
Even judges and religious representatives have been targeted in this fascist onslaught.
The vicious, in-humane fascist-like nature of the current Marcos government, reminds us of the marshal law imposed by his father in government 51 years ago.
We well remember the thousands, the tens of thousands of Filipinos extrajudicially killed, tortured, unjustly detained, and “disappeared” using red tagging, the communist bogey as a cover up.
We remember the corruption and tyranny and we are aware that the latest Marcos government is heading in the same direction, and trying to cover up it’s crimes by pinning the terrorist and communist label on campaigners for democratic rights and human rights.
Of course, Australian governments have been complicit in these crimes against the Filipino people as well.
Australian government representatives have even boasted about their role in helping the Philippines government in writing their anti-terrorism law, which is being used to oppress, torture and murder the people.
This is a law, which a United Nations Human Rights Commissioner correctly labelled as “draconian”.
PASA is absolutely right in continuing to campaign to repeal the anti-terrorism law, to stop the red tagging and terrorist tagging of human rights and democratic rights activists, and to end assistance to the Marcos/Duterte government whilst these abuses continue.
Yet, as we celebrate PASA’s achievements over the past two decades, we must also acknowledge the sobering reality that the Filipino struggle for justice, freedom and self determination continues to face challenges.
One of the most prominent figures in this struggle was Comrade Joma Sison, a dedicated activist and scholar who spent his life advocating and fighting for the rights of the Filipino people and the rights of the people of the world. His tireless commitment to the cause exemplifies the sacrifice made by many who have dedicated their lives to the struggle.
The International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), supports your just struggles against the rise of fascism in the Philippines, and expresses our militant solidarity with PASA, and wishes you every success as you enter your next 20 years of important struggle, resistance and progress.
Thank you PASA for two decades of unwavering dedication to the cause of justice and solidarity. Here’s to another 20 years of making a difference in the world and ensuring that the voices of the Filipino and Australian people, past and present, are heard, remembered and acted upon.
Long live the struggle against imperialism and all reaction.
Long live international solidarity.