Media advisory April 5, 2008 -- Three members of the Philippine Congress will be visiting Montreal April 11 and 12, 2008 as part of a cross-Canada tour (April 4-18). They will be lobbying Canadian parliamentarians in Ottawa and other groups to pressure the administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to end human rights violations and government corruption in the Philippines.
Allegations of corruption and electoral fraud plague the Arroyo administration, and demand for her to step down are intensifying in the Philippines. Recent massive street protests have been compared to the 1986 People Power movement that ousted Ferdinand Marcos 22 years ago.
Some Philippine human rights groups have also claimed that Arroyo’s record of human rights violations surpasses that of Marcos, with more than 800 politically motivated extra-judicial killings since 2001. The U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston has attributed these killings to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its counterinsurgency program.
The three congresspeople are:
o Rep. Satur Ocampo: President of Bayan Muna Party, Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is a former journalist and was the longest-held political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship.
o Rep. Crispin Beltran: Anakpawis Party List Representative, Vice-Chair of the House Special Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs and Member of the House Committees on Labour and Human Rights. He was arrested and detained from 2005 to late 2007 on charges of rebellion and murder, which were dismissed by the Supreme Court. He is the former chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, a progressive labour centre in the Philippines.
o Rep. Luz Ilagan: Gabriela Women’s Party Representative, member of the House Committees on Women, Mindanao Affairs, Overseas Welfare Affairs and Cultural Minorities. She was a faculty member of the Humanities Division of the Ateneo De Davao University. She is among the pioneer of the Women’s Rights Movement in Mindanao.
For more information on their visit to Canada and on the current situation in the Philippines or to arrange interviews, e-mail Malcolm Guy -- mguy[at]pmm.qc.ca
-- Philippine Legislators' Welcoming Committee, 4708 Van Horne Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada