BAYAN Canada Launch a Resounding Success

Dr. Chandu Claver, Bayan-Canada chairperson

Toronto, Canada - Eighty-five people from across Canada representing 20 organizations from Victoria to Montreal came together in Toronto on September 21 to witness the successful launch of BAYAN Canada. Present during the event was keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, chairperson of BAYAN Philippines, the multisectoral alliance of anti-imperialist and democratic organizations of the Filipino people.

Dr. Araullo, also a columnist of Businessworld delivered a presentation on the intensifying crisis of Philippine economic, social, political and cultural life. She also pointed out that through its mining companies, terrorist listing, and intent for the Visiting Forces Agreement negotiations with the Philippines, Canada is experiencing an "erosion of its image of benevolence".

She underlined the need for Filipinos in Canada to raise the level of their political struggle in order to expose and oppose the anti-national and anti-people policies of the US-backed Macapagal-Arroyo regime, the complicity of the Canadian state in such, and to advance the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Canada. Dr. Araullo emphasized that BAYAN Canada is this alliance for coordinating such struggles of Filipino organizations, finding synergies in their activities, and being their political campaign centre.

Several years ago while at a conference in Vancouver, and having witnessed the growing strength of the Filipino organizations here, I asked about the possibility of building a BAYAN chapter in Canada... several years later I am happy to see that some organizations had taken this on and are now launching BAYAN Canada on this important day, says Dr. Araullo who flew all the way from the Philippines to attend the event.

The launching of BAYAN Canada marks the 36th anniversary of the martial law imposed by the Marcos dictatorship. The organizers of Bayan Canada wanted to make the link between the US-Marcos fascist regime and the current US backed Arroyo regime scheming to stay in power while perpetrating some of the worst human rights violations in Philippine history.

Also speaking at the launching was Bernadette Ellorin, Secretary-general of BAYAN-USA. Ellorin shared some lessons and summarized the advances in the struggles of Filipinos living in the US because of the formation of a BAYAN chapter there. In a statement, the BAYAN chapter in the US expressed their solidarity and commended the years of painstaking work to build the organizations in Canada that have promoted the national democratic movement in the Philippines for decades.

As with the formation of the BAYAN USA in 2005, we understand that the formation of BAYAN Canada had its share of struggles before breaking through and moving forward... the formation of BAYAN Canada by far signifies a higher level of commitment to advance the national democratic line in the Philippines on a widespread level, the statement read.

Sending a solidarity message for the International League of Peoples struggle was ILPS chairperson, Prof. Jose Maria Sison. In the recorded message played for the assembly, Prof. Sison highlighted the worsening world economic crisis that will see imperialist and reactionary forces gearing to use the state as a system of organized violence to intimidate and attack the people in anticipation of growing mass protests and resistance.

"It is therefore necessary for BAYAN-Canada and its component organizations to intensify their efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipinos in Canada and thus to assert, defend and promote their rights and interests," states Prof. Sison.

The presentations were followed by an introduction of the BAYAN Canada national organizing committee, and a lively question and answer period. Dr. Constancio Chandu Claver, formerly the chairperson of Bayan Muna in Kalinga and now based in Victoria BC, summarized the discussions and outlined the important tasks for BAYAN Canada.

The assembly affirmed the BAYAN Canada national organizing committee and its chairperson Dr. Chandu Claver and its work leading to the first congress of BAYAN Canada. BAYAN Canada is calling on all patriotic Filipino organizations in Canada to join in advancing the Filipino peoples movement for national liberation and democracy.

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