FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2019
GABRIELA USA Contact: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, firstname.lastname@example.org
GABRIELA Los Angeles contact: Ariana Rodriguez, Secretary General, email@example.com
Filipinas condemn suspected Philippine military attack on U.S. citizen and activist.
Oakland, CA--GABRIELA USA, the U.S. chapter of the international Filipino women's grassroots movement, denounces the violent shooting of our personal friend Brandon Lee, a U.S. citizen from Bay Area California, and human rights defender, in Lagawe, Ifugao Philippines on August 6th. Brandon is a paralegal volunteer for the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and a volunteer staff for the Ifugao Peasant Movement and the Justice and Peace Advocates of Ifugao, two Indigenous grassroots organizations. He is a husband and father.
Brandon was shot several times by unidentified men in front of his house, whom we believe are state security forces or agents. Prior to this, Brandon has been consistently subjected to different threats and harassment, even on social media, by the 54th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army for his involvement with the Ifugao Peasant Movement and his human rights work.
Brandon commits his life’s work to the Filipino people, particularly the Cordillera people. Brandon saw the need for human rights work in the Philippines and loved the Filipino people like his own, exemplifying genuine solidarity. He devotes his time and skills for the work, knowing its value to the indigenous people of Ifugao who have treated him as their own. Brandon has also been a big supporter of the women’s movement in the Philippines and has participated in the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women.
Members of GABRIELA extend our love and prayers to Brandon’s family, as he is in critical condition. We hold Philippine President Duterte accountable for the shooting of Brandon. The 54th IBPA, the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the Northern Luzon Command have been given carte blanche to commit extra judicial killings and other human rights violations in the Cordillera region and elsewhere through Duterte’s Executive Order 70. Duterte has justified widespread killings and other violent attacks on human rights advocates and others organizing for human rights through E.O. 70, as part of his counterinsurgency program, Oplan Kapanatagan, which claims to fight supposed “communist insurgency.” The attack on Brandon is part of a larger attack on the growing mass movement of people who are organizing to defend their human rights and who are speaking out against Duterte for his anti-people policies.
GABRIELA USA urgently calls on the people to voice out your concern and call for justice for Brandon and other victims of human rights violations in the Philippines. The attacks on human rights defenders must end. We hold the Duterte administration responsible for the attacks and killings of human rights defenders.
GABRIELA USA is the first overseas chapter of the Philippine-based organization, GABRIELA, extending the Filipino women’s mass movement to the United States.
GABRIELA is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 organizations, institutions, desks and programs of women all over the Philippines seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people. While we vigorously campaign on women-specific issues such as women’s rights, gender discrimination, violence against women and women’s health and reproductive rights, GABRIELA is also at the forefront of national and international economic and political issues that affects women.