This is not the first time U.S. soldiers abused a Filipino woman. This is not the first time U.S. soldiers showed pure contempt for a Filipino woman and, in effect, Filipino women in general. The reported details of the rape committed by the six servicemen show that contempt: the driver who witnessed the incident reportedly said that after the woman was raped she was dumped on the road like a pig.
Now that the victim has dared report the heinous crime, her person is being attacked. In an effort to discredit her story, she has been called a “sex worker,” a loose woman, a willing victim. She is blamed for what happened.
Those who had been raped and those who work with victims of rape know that the reality of rape is otherwise. There is never a justification for rape. No woman, whatever her character, reputation or station in life, deserves to be raped. Every rape results in grievous harm to the victim’s physical and mental integrity. Every victim’s healing and recovery requires justice.
And so this latest violation of a Filipino woman’s humanity and rights must not be left unpunished.
The Philippine government must ensure that the victim of the six U.S. servicemen receives adequate support and the appropriate services she needs to pursue her claim for justice to the very end.
It must pursue all means to get custody of the six U.S. soldiers and ensure that an effective and speedy trial of the six is conducted towards ensuring that justice is served.
We call on our people to join us in collective condemnation of the rape and to be steadfast and vigilant in our call for justice for the victim. #
Amnesty International - Pilipinas
AWHRC / Lolas Kampanyera
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Katipunan ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KALAYAAN)
Laban ng Masa
Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng Angeles City (NAGKA)
Philippine Working Group (PWG), International Women’s Network Against Militarism
WomanHealth Philippines / FDC
Women’s Crisis Center (WCC)
Women’s Education, Development, Productivity Research & Advocacy Organization (WEDPRO)
Women’s Legal Bureau (WLB)
Women Rage /Partido ng Manggagawa
Women Step In, Gloria Step Down Movement
Women Working Together to Stop Violence Against Women (WWTSVAW)
Rape case highlights excesses of VFA
by AKBAYAN Citizens' Action Party http://www.akbayan.org
The six US Marines allegedly involved in a rape case should be tried in the Philippines. We warn against any move on the part of the US embassy to cover up the wrongdoing as it would reflect on the US's inability to rein in its forces not only in the Philippines but elsewhere. US troops should get out of Philippine soil right away and should never come back, not because we are racists but because we do not support what they are here for.
Back in 1995, three US service men pleaded guilty to raping a 12-year old girl in Okinawa, Japan, where the US also maintains a military base. Another incident of rape in Okinawa was also reported in 2001. Elsewhere US military personnel have been embroiled in other controversies such as prisoner abuse (including sexual) in Iraq, sexual harassment and assault in Korea, etc.
In our own history there have been reports as well of US military personnel who raped and physically abused women and children in areas near the former US bases, but none ever resulted in a conviction. The initial response of Philippine government should be followed through in light of the sensitivity of the situation, or in real terms -- because of the millions of dollars in military aid attached to the continued enforcement of the Visitng Forces Agreement.
We have opposed the VFA from the very beginning because it makes a virtual US base out of the entire country. Whereas the Bases Treaty designated Subic as the military base, the VFA defines any point in the country as one huge pit stop for among other things, "rest and recreation". This wholesale sell-out of territorial integrity and national sovereignty only means that in the future, more instances like this will happen, not only in Subic, but in other areas where US vessels ever go. Government should be pro-active and tear up this agreement pronto.
We remain steadfast in our position that the country is not one paradise resort for war-weary US soldiers. Rape is a crime of the highest order, and the US service men if found guilty must be put away for life -- here, and not in the US. The VFA is not an effective framework to cover Philippine-US military relations, since in the first place they have no place here. US forces should be kept home so they can be kept with their families and away from crimes, instead of waging a stupid war in behalf of George W. Bush. http://www.akbayan.org
November 7, 2005 : Defying all odds in the highly secured area, Akbayan organized an all-women’s march towards the US embassy today. It was the rape of a 22-year old Filipina at the hands of US marines last November 1 that triggered this indignation rally.
“We only have one message to the American military establishment: stop raping our women! Stop raping our country!” an emotional Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel exclaimed. The Akbayan representative added: “For what is rape? It is a violation of body and soul; it scars a person forever. Rape strips the victim of all dignity. Words are not enough to condemn this horrible, horrible act. Our thoughts are with victim in this difficult time.”
Akbayan veteran legislator Etta Rosales added: “This is a heinous crime against an individual Filipina, but our entire nation is in outrage. This sickening act has touched a raw nerve because it is mirrors how the American empire is out to overpower other nations. What piercing irony! The US are on a self-proclaimed crusade to crush terrorism and fight for democracy the world over, but look at American soldiers conduct overseas! Is this their idea of rest and recreation, violating our women?”
Rosales further underlined the need to seriously consider declaring Philippine territory off-limits to foreign military exercises: “We can only hope that the Philippine government draws its lesson from this painful experience. Akbayan has consistently called for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement since its ratification in 1999. The agreement is an open invitation for trouble. This rape is just one manifestation of the injustice spawned by the VFA.”
Malu Perpetua, head of the Akbayan Women's Committee, continued: “We never considered Gloria Arroyo a women's rights advocate. But her reaction to this crime is totally unacceptable. Instead of publicly speaking out for a fellow Filipina, she is hiding behind the Department of Foreign Affairs. Instead of taking a stand for dignity, she is playing it safe with the Americans to secure herself. She is a traitor to women's cause.” http://www.akbayan.org
PM CONDEMNS RAPE OF FILIPINA BY US MARINES; CALLS FOR VFA ABROGATION
by Partido ng Manggagawa (Worker's Party) http://partidongmanggagawa.org.ph
November 8, 2005 : The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) condemns the rape of a Filipina by six members of the United States Marines. In addition, they also call for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement and other military agreements with the US.
PM Partylist Representative and National Chairperson Renato “Ka Rene” B. Magtubo said, “The government should ensure that all suspects be turned over to the Philippine authorities, and be presented to the public. In addition, we Filipinos should also remain vigilant over this intolerable incident, to ensure that there won’t be any whitewash and payoffs.”
“Rape is a grave violence against women. If the government is sincere in its pronouncements that it is bound to protect women’s rights, it should be decisive in this particular incident to avoid the same from happening again,” Judy Ann Chan-Miranda, PM Secretary-General, adds. “And we emphasize that this is not an isolated incident.
“For a woman president, GMA has committed various offenses against the Filipino women, which includes policies that further worsen their lives and situation. We hope for a women-sensitive stance from her government, and this case would not result to another ‘lapse in judgement.’”
Magtubo asserted the call for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and all other military agreements we have with the United States. “These agreements, for a long time, have undermines Philippinr sovereignty. Found within these agreements are clauses which gives immunity to US personnel when Philippine laws are violated.
“A number of US personnel have not been held accountable for their crimes. These must be put to stop,” Magtubo concluded.###
PM held rally to denounce rape of Filipina by US Marines
November 7, 2005
The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) together with Sanlakas, Akbayan and other women groups denounce the rape of a Filipina by six US Marines in Subic Bay in a rally held at the US Embassy. The group demanded justice to the victim, the abrogation of VFA and other military agreements with the US, and the immediate pullout of US troops in the country.
PM Secretary General Judy Ann Chan Miranda said “verbal protest is not enough to assure the public that justice will be served to the victim. President Arroyo, should, at once, ensure the turnover of the suspects to the custody of the Philippine authorities and present them to the public.”
Ms. Miranda added that rape is a heinous crime in the Philippines and a non-bailable offense. “Hence, we are calling on the Arroyo government to ensure there won’t be any whitewash of this intolerable incident.”
The party’s secretary general said that rape is a grave violence against women. And this usually happens in a society that views women as “sex objects.” True enough, if the government is sincere in its pronouncements that it is bound to protect women’s rights, it should be decisive in this particular incident to avoid the same from happening again.
“Mrs. Arroyo has committed various offenses against the Filipino women – including policies that further worsen their lives and situation. We hope that this case would not result to another ‘lapse in judgement’ especially for a woman president,” Miranda said.
Meanwhile, Partido ng Manggagawa is also calling for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA] and all other military agreements we have with the United States.
“Aside from subverting our sovereignty in general, these agreements also contain particular clauses that give blanket immunity to US personnel who violate Philippine laws,” Miranda said, adding that since their passage, numerous incidents have occurred involving US military personnel but none of them were held in to account for their crimes.
We must put a stop to these now.” Miranda concluded.### http://partidongmanggagawa.org.ph/
APL-Women: Uphold RP sovereignty!
by Alliance of Progressive Labor-Women http://www.apl.org.ph
November 16, 2005
The Government, particularly the GMA administration, must ensure that justice is served for the Filipina who was raped by US service men recently. Any attempts to have these soldiers moved, transferred, or otherwise hidden from public view to escape the wheels of justice will only be met with nothing but the most resounding condemnation from the public.
The Alliance of Progressive Labor-Women believe that the Visiting Forces Agreement has basically turned the whole country into a military base. It allows for the entry and mobilization of US forces anywhere in the country. Thus, the rape case in Subic is sure to repeat itself in other places as long as this treaty remains in force.
Historically, where US troops go, a booming sex industry follows, as US service men exploit the opportunity to indulge in their "rest and recreation" to the detriment of poor women everywhere. US military forces have dumped not only their toxic waste on lands like the Philippines but also diseases and other social ills.
APL-Women do not oppose Americans per se, but the underlying principles behind the presence of US forces in the Philippines. These soldiers should be at home with their families, not waging a dubious war on terror in behalf of President Bush with his unilateralist arrogance. They should be living their lives, instead of committing crimes elsewhere.
As far as the Subic rape case is concerned, the Philippine government should not provide any special treatment to the trespassers, regardless of race. The US Embassy is looking more and more like a coddler of guilty criminals, as it exerts greater efforts to try the service men from public scrutiny.
But more than that, however, the Arroyo government must ensure that at every step of the way, it is Philippine sovereignty and the interests of the victim and the Filipino people everywhere that are its most paramount concern. Not military aid. Not the patronage provided by the US government. Not the country's long-standing debts. And not any promised funding once the anti-terrorism bill is enacted into law.
APL-women calls for the repeal of the VFA and the re-direction of the country's foreign policy away from the militarist adventures of Bush and his Coalition of the (Abusive) Willing in Iraq and elsewhere. Let’s take this opportunity to re-assert Philippine sovereignty, NOW!! http://www.apl.org.ph