Photos courtesy of NAFCON and BAYAN-USA
June 4, 2008
Reference: Rico Foz, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON),
REPRESSION AT THE PIDC! PARADERS ARRESTED, HARASSED FOR CELEBRATING
NEW YORK-- Approximately 100 parade marchers from the National Alliance
for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and BAYAN USA were met with repetitive
harassment by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and security forces of
the Philippine Independence Day Celebration (PIDC) Committee last Sunday
during the annual Philippine Independence Day Parade. The joint contingent
was projecting issues of the rice crisis in the Philippines and protesting
the local commercialization of the annual Philippine Independence Day
parade and fair along Madison Avenue. Constant harassment from the NYPD,
in connivance with the PIDC organizing committee and Philippine Consulate,
ended with the arrest of two members of the Filipino community fraternity,
Kapatirang Pilipino, or Kappa Pi.
35 year-old Rusty Fabunan and 18 year-old Wilfred Recaido of Kappa Pi were
stopped from playing music in the middle of the crowded fair. The two
members were playing makeshift drums out of buckets and entertaining
onlookers when they were dragged by NYPD off to a corner and arrested for
alleged "failure to disperse". Onlookers who had been entertained by the
street music quickly rallied for the NYPD to let Fabunan and Recaido go. A
crowd of youth gathered and confronted the NYPD with loud chants shouting,
"Just music... What's wrong with that?" and "Is this how we celebrate
Robert Roy, Executive Director of the Philippine Forum, who was also
physically harassed by NYPD, recounts,"They were just arbitrarily grabbed
in a very violent way. Why? They were only playing music, beating drums,
and making the crowd happy. There is no policy in the PIDC guidelines that
prohibits playing drums in the fair or convening a crowd while playing
music. This was a targeted act against us led by the PIDC committee and
the Philippine Consulate. Both been targeting our contingent with
harassment for years now. They are threatened by the message we bring to
the PIDC and want to censor us."
As early as 10am last Sunday, while the NAFCON-BAYAN parade contingent was
assembling along 39th Street at 6th Avenue and rehearsing their chants,
Roy believes the officers of the PIDC committee were already planning
their measures to censor and disrupt the group, including calling on NYPD
to escort the contingent throughout its walk down Madison Avenue.
After a well-received march down Madison Avenue chanting "Habang si Gloria
ay nasa itaas, masyadong mataas ang presyo ng bigas!" and "How on earth
can we be free, with a thousand dollar booth fee? How on earth can we be
free, change your ways PIDC!", NAFCON-BAYAN paraders were obstructed from
entering the main fair area by a blockade of NYPD. After holding an
impromptu rally calling for an end to the local commercialization of the
annual parade and fair, NAFCON-BAYAN marchers were eventually let in and
then continually harassed when they carried their placards inside.
Finally, after hours of listening to non-patriotic (American) songs from
the fair's main stage, Filipino youth seeking genuinely Filipino cultural
performances started playing street music that convened a small crowd of
onlookers. It was at this point that the NYPD grabbed the buckets from
Fabunan and Recaido and arrested them.
"Sa sarili nating Independence Day Celebration, hindi kami free," (On our
own Independence Day Celebration, we're not free), stated Recaido.
"We're not here to make trouble. We just don't want to listen to loud
American music all day on this celebration of Philippine Independence.
We're just calling for positive change, and for that, we are harassed,"
Fabunan stated. "It's ironic that in this celebration of our so-called
independence, we are not afforded our democratic right to freedom of
speech and expression."
History Repeats Itself, and Gets Worse
In 2005, the same contingent was stopped from marching the parade route by
the NYPD for carrying placards calling for Philippine Consul General
Cecilia Rebong to move out of her $10,000 a month condominium in the Trump
Towers in Manhattan. In 2006, marchers protested the state of
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of activists in the
Philippines. In 2007, police stood guard as NAFCON marchers criticized the
Philippine Consulate for it's collusion with SentosaCare LLC, a healthcare
management company in New York that has been known to illegally recruit
nurses from the Philippines. This year, NAFCON and BAYAN USA marchers
joined forces to protest the local commercialization of the PIDC, carrying
placards denouncing the $1000+ rental fee for a fair booth. Many believe
the local commercialization and high rental fees for booths is another
local corruption scheme by the Philippine Consulate to pocket more money
out of the Filipino community.
Philippine Consulate Still Behind the PIDC
"It is becoming more and more evident that the PIDC committee, which is
led by the Philippine Consulate, is responsible for this. How ironic that
on the website of the Philippine Consulate, it states its mission is to
protect and serve the rights of overseas Filipinos in the US. But the
history of the PIDC shows us that most of the time overseas Filipinos in
New York need to protect themselves from the Philippine Consulate, a
significant violator of our basic rights to speech and assembly," Roy
"Despite the PIDC's disapproval of our message, the vast majority of
parade and fair goers were in support of us," states Christina Hilo of
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), also part of the NAFCON-BAYAN
contingent. "The PIDC should be a venue for all Filipinos to express
themselves truthfully and enjoy their rights, not a day of repression and
Release from Arrest, and
As for Fabunan and Recaido, they were eventually released on the spot due
to pressure from street protesters and issued a summons. Fabunan quickly
thanked the crowd of supporters. "If not for the united voices of chanters
pressuring the police, I would have spent tonight in jail," Fabunan
stated. "Organized community members fighting on the streets is always a
powerful force that can shift the situation to the unexpected."►►►
Click here for video on
In an emergency NAFCON-BAYAN last night, an indignation rally will take
place in front of the Philippine Consulate this Friday at 5:30pm. The
contingent will continue on with its campaign to dismiss the charges
against Fabunan and Recaido, as well as pressure the Philippine Consulate
to lower the rental fees of fair booths for the PIDC, including a thorough
audit of all accumulated PIDC funds from the past celebrations. "These
funds should go towards Filipino community projects, not in the large
pocket of the Philippine Consulate," Roy ended.
For more information, contact the BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center at
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2008
Jackson Heights, NY
Rusty Fabunan, Kappa Pi, e-mail: email@example.com
News Reporter: Gerry Espiritu e-mail: NYCHRP@yahoo.com
KAPPA PI FRATERNITY CONDEMNS HARASSMENT BY NYPD AND PIDC
The members of the newly-established fraternity Kappa Pi, which stands for
"Kapatiran Pilipino" (Filipino Brotherhood), condemns on the strongest
possible terms the harassment and aborted arrest of brother Wilfred
Recaido and founder Rusty Fabunan by the New York Police Department (NYPD)
in connivance with the Philippine Independence Day Committee (PIDC) and
the Philippine Consulate on Sunday, June 1st, during the annual
commemoration of Philippine Independence Day in New York.
"Its' just music, what's wrong with that?" chanted the Kappa Pi brothers
along with friends and the rest of the community as the NYPD illegally
dragged Recaido and Fabunan off of the street. "We were just playing drums
and celebrating our independence. We did not violate any laws or ordinance
whatsoever," Recaido said referring to the fact that the large annual
gathering on Madison Ave. was a permitted fair.
"It was clearly not a violation of any noise or sound ordinance because
the main stage of the fair had the loudest music. We're also not using any
electronic or amplified equipment, just drums made of buckets and water
bottles," Fabunan stated.
Recaido and Fabunan were forced by the NYPD cops aside on a street corner
of East 26th and then blocked by other cops away from the crowd illegally.
It was illegal because they were not being arrested. One of the cops
simply gestured with his fingers and told Fabunan, "Come with me."
Afterwards the officer came back to the crowd and grabbed Recaido's nape
and forcibly pulled him together with Fabunan. Claiming they would not
arrest them, the cops simply wanted to "talk to them" and there were no
charges being thrown against the two Kappa Pi brothers. The crowd gathered
and continued chanting demanding that Recaido and Fabunan be released.
As more and more people gathered and the chants got stronger and louder,
the defiant Recaido raised his fist amidst custody of the NYPD. The crowd
grew defiant as well. Flashes of digital cameras, cellphones and video
cameras continued to monitor the activity as well.
Due to the obvious fact that Fabunan and Recaido did not violate any laws,
and perhaps out of fear from the gathering strength of the crowd, Recaido
and Fabunan were slapped with a "failure to disperse" ticket and were
released back to the community.
"Failure to disperse? Why should we disperse? We have a permit to gather
at this fair, we are simply celebrating our independence from the Spanish
colonizers," Recaido stated in amusement after being cited by the NYPD.
"We believe that the NYPD did not act on its own" Fabunan said, accusing
the fair organizers the PIDC for giving the orders to the cops to
"intimidate and harass" the contingent under the banner of NAFCON or the
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. "Every year the PIDC would harass
our group. They have a long history of trying to isolate us and silence
our voices and attempting to discredit the issues that we want the
Filipino community to know," Fabunan commented.
The group NAFCON include member organizations such as the Kappa Pi
Fraternity, YEHEY (Young Educators for the Health and Empowerment of the
Youth), the Philippine Forum, Kabalikat Domestic Workers Group, Filipinas
for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Anakbayan NY/NJ, SANDIWA National
Filipino American Youth Alliance, Sentosa 27++ Nurses, and the New York
Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). Other member
organizations from other states also in town include League of Filipino
Students (LFS) from San Francisco staue University, Active Leadership for
Advancement of Youth (ALAY) from the Bay Area, Anakbayan-East Bay Chapter,
San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP-SF) and
Habi-Arts from Los Angeles.
The group has been known for being the only parade contingent to carry and
highlight relevant social and political concerns both locally and from the
Philippines. They marched carrying a giant rice cooker symbolizing the
on-going rice crisis in the Philippines. NAFCON also attacked government
corruption and also highlighted the "commercialization" of the PIDC
through its "exorbitant and outrageous increase of the price to rent a
booth at the fair".
"We've been harassed since the
start of the parade" said Robert Roy, executive director of Philippine
Forum. They were continuously harassed by PIDC marshals and the NYPD
throughout the celebration. "Anyone watching the parade would notice that
we're the only contingent being escorted by the NYPD. We're not violent
and we're not troublemakers," Roy added. In fact the contingent has
consistently won awards from the parade organizers because of their
artistic excellence, creativity, and for being the most organized and
June 4, 2008
Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, member of Filipina for Rights and Empowerment
(FiRE), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PINAYS TAKE STAND AGAINST POLICE HARASSMENT AT PIDC FAIR
Madison Avenue, NYC - During last Sunday's Philippines Independence Day
Celebration (PIDC) parade, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and
other member organizations of National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
were consistently harassed by the police for unknown reasons. The NYPD
persistently tried to silence and cease their political street theatre,
which exposed the commercialization of the PIDC and the current rice
crisis in the Philippines. The constant harassment reached its limit, when
NYPD threatened to arrest, and violently seized two youth members of
Kapatirang Pilipino (Kappa Pi fraternity) for just playing drums. In
response, women from FiRE made it loud and clear to the NYPD that enough
"When the NYPD took our friends away for playing drums, it didn't make any
sense. This is New York City, people play drums everywhere--in the parks,
in the street, in the subways! Why can't we play drums during our
celebration of independence? It was JUST MUSIC!" responded Jackelyn
Mariano, member of FiRE, to this past Sunday's incident.
Mariano and other women from FiRE, quickly responded to the possible
apprehension by leading the chants with fellow bystanders, "JUST MUSIC!
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?!?" NYPD quickly responded as well and made a
barricade of officers blocking the rally and the drummers. To support the
youth who were apprehended, the FiRE women led the chants non-stop for an
hour until the police released them. Although, the women's voices were
already drawn out from the chanting during the parade and the overwhelming
stress with the thought they might be arrested, FiRE women stayed vigilant
and didn't stop the chanting until the youth were free.
The Kappa Pi brothers were charged with "failure to disperse" have been
sentenced to a court summons, however, this is still an injustice
considering that they were only playing drums.
Please join FiRE and NAFCON groups in an indignation rally of last
Sunday's events in front of the Philippine Consulate, 556 Fifth Avenue,
this Friday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m.
To see the consistent harassment by the NYPD, please click on this link
For more information, contact email@example.com. ###
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women's
organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect
the Filipino diaspora to the women's struggle in the Philippines. By
bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together, we challenge
pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities. For
more information, please visit http://www.firenyc.org .
FiRE is a proud member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino
groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars,
women, workers, and youth. To learn more about the only overseas chapter
of BAYAN, and the other organizations in our alliance, please visit
Organizers of NAFCON have strong reason to believe that the aborted arrest
of Recaido and Fabunan was a direct order from the PIDC and the Philippine
Consulate. In 2005, the Filipino community will never forget the fact that
during the parade, the NYPD also harassed the contingent by forcibly
dispersing them out of the parade even if they have not violated any laws.
"This year they targeted our youth because they think they can intimidate
and scare them," Roy added.
The illegal and aborted arrest
of the Kappa Pi brothers Recaido and Fabunan started when the two
initiated a drum circle, a very common practice and staple in New York
City parks during the summer. The drumming session attracted many youth
enjoying the fair. "It's actually fun, because some of the performers on
stage are boring. Plus we can't get close to the stage to watch because
there's many people, so we're glad there was other music even if it's just
impromptu and makeshift," said one of the Filipino youth who joined in to
watch the drum session.
Other youth started dancing, some were clapping and a few are even singing
and chanting freestyle verses. "It was just plain fun, there was no threat
or intimidation, you always see that in New York, people gathering around
playing beats and bustin' out moves and breakin' that's genuine New York
Hip Hop culture for you," said another youth who claimed he was a hip hop
artist from the Bronx. "Why are we being singled out? Is it because we're
brown and Filipino?" he added.
NAFCON organizers said that they are filing a case against the PIDC.
Meanwhile the Kappa Pi Fraternity together with other members of NAFCON is
spearheading a protest action in front of the Philippine consulate at 556
5th Ave. between 45th and 46th streets on Friday June 6, 5:30 pm.##
June 4th, 2008
Reference: Jackelyn M. Mariano, Co-Educational Discussion Director,
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE NYC) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) Bring the Noise!
New York, NY – On Sunday, June 1st, 2008, during the Philippine
Independence Day Celebration on Madison Avenue, the Philippine Forum,
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), and BAYAN-USA contingent
was met with much resistance from the New York Police Department about
their peaceful protests against the rice crisis in the Philippines and the
commercialization of the PIDC.
After being repeatedly harassed during the parade and having a rally
stopped short in the PIDC fair, NYPD officers forcefully threatened to
arrest two members of the contingent, Wilfred "Pewee" Recaido and Rusty
Fabunan, for simply refusing to stop playing drums on the corner of 25th
Street and Madison Avenue. The two were released with a summons after the
other members of the contingent staged a strong impromptu rally for
On Monday night, Jackelyn Mariano of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment
(FiRE NYC) searched through videos on the online video sharing website
YouTube for any footage of the final rally. One video was found. It
provided an aerial view of the rally as well as sharp playback of the
contingent's chants of "Just music! What's wrong with that?"
The discovery of the video enticed a less-than-positive response, however,
as it also contained very offensive commentary made by the videographer.
As the video plays, the videographer, whose first name is revealed to be
Jason, calls the people involved in the rally, "pu**y Filipinos" claiming
that they were only supposedly able chant "f**k you, pigs" in the rally.
Jason claims that the chanters were not able to vary the response unless
they spoke in their own language, "Filipinese." Jason also tags the video
with the words "stupid filipinos."
"I was very shocked to hear what he had to say," asserts Mariano. "I was
looking for a video that would highlight our collective efforts for our
friends, but instead, the video succeeded in stripping away our
credibility. It is great that we are now able to express ourselves on the
web so freely, but it is also a shame that some people can get away with
spreading ignorance and discrimination."
This video is very reminiscent of the Desperate Housewives episode that
contained a racist remark towards Filipinos. BAYAN-USA and NAFCON
campaigned against that issue in October 2007.
The link to the YouTube video was spread to all members of Philippine
Forum, NAFCON, and BAYAN-USA. Mariano encouraged those who were able to
see the video to express their outrage over Jason's blatantly racist
comments. Within an hour, fifteen comments denouncing his racism were left
on the page. In fear that he would take down the video upon discovery of
the Filipino community's outrage, members of FiRE NYC saved a copy of the
video and screenshots of Jason's pages as proof that the video was indeed
there. A picture of Jason was also saved.
At 3:29AM on June 3rd, 2008, Jason made the video private and modified the
layout of his YouTube channel, excluding his name and his picture to
public. He retaliated by leaving short comments of videos made by the
outraged commentors. On a video by Krystle Cheirs of FiRE NYC, he
commented with the word "lame." On a video by Mariano about FiRE at the
International Women's Day March in May 2008, he used the word "boring."
Philippine Forum, NAFCON, and BAYAN-USA demand justice out of this past
weekend's unfortunate events. The contingent was met with unjust treatment
from the PIDC and the NYPD as well as the racist remarks from Jason on
YouTube. The contingent will rally against these issues on June 6th, 2008
at 5:30PM at the Philippine Consulate and continue to fight for fair
treatment and equality.
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE NYC - GAB USA) - External ED
Sandiwa - The National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth - NY Co-Regional Director,
Publicity Committee Chair Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue
(FIND - District III) Pilipinos of Hunter (POH)
Hunter College of the City University of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04 June 2008
Reference: Yves Nibungco & Yancy Gandionco, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey
Contact Info: email@example.com, (646)5787390
Anakbayan NY/NJ Joins the Music! What's wrong with that?
Criticizes video by guy calling Filipinos "pussy" and "stupid"
Anakbayan NY/NJ condemns New York Police Department (NYPD)-Philippine
Consulate-Philippine Independence Day Celebration (PIDC) Committee, Inc.
for the recent harassment done towards members of Philippine Forum's Kappa
Pi -- a Filipino community-based fraternity and fellow member
organizations of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) --
during the Independence day celebration on June 1st.
The NAFCON and BAYAN-USA contingent converged at 39th and 5th avenue and
proceeded to march along Madison Ave. carrying signs about the Rice Crisis
in the Philippines, commercialization of the whole PIDC event and ongoing
campaign for justice of the Sentosa Nurses. All throughout the day,
members of the contingent of NAFCON suffered several harassments from
officers of NYPD and PIDC Inc.
"I think we were the only contingent accompanied and harassed by the NYPD
as we marched down Madison Ave. They told us that we were not allowed to
air our protests during the parade and they (the NYPD officers) constantly
heckled us to hurry down Madison Avenue as if they wanted us out of the
streets as fast as they can." Babz Manuel, a member of Anakbayan NY/ NJ
commented. The whole contingent was even prevented from entering the fair
grounds for reasons not yet clear to us.
The harassment did not end there. It escalated when an NYPD officer
grabbed two members of the Kapatirang Pilipino Fraternity or Kappa Pi.
Rusty Fabunan and Peewee Recaido were taken to the corner, by the Patrol
car, after they played music with snare drums and a makeshift drum from
paint buckets. Both men were released after a group of young Filipinos
gathered around the scene chanting, "Just Music, What's wrong with that?"
However, the two Kappa Pi brothers were given summons by the NYPD charging
them with "failure to disperse".
"What is there to disperse? This is the celebration of Philippine
Independence and we were there only to celebrate our so-called freedom and
there they were preventing us from expressing it. We weren't doing
anything to harm the public. We were even entertaining them," Pewee
Recaido, who is also the Kappa Pi supremo, said.
"In the past, history shows that the PIDC Committee, while working with
the Philippine Consulate on this celebration, has been hell-bent on
preventing our contingents from voicing out and criticizing the Philippine
government by employing all means to belittle our calls, from drowning out
our chants by placing us in between contingents playing loud drum beats to
the violent dispersal of our organized forces," Dani Galan, president of
Anakbayan New York/New Jersey said, "We were even the only contingents
escorted by NYPD officers. How's that for INDEPENDENCE?"
The Philppine Consulate and PIDC INC has been consistently criticized by
members of NAFCON and BAYAN USA for making the independence day
celebration a grand money-making scheme. The celebration was also
lambasted by these contingents for promoting a culture of greed and
corruption instead of a genuine culture of "bayanihan". This, and the
showcasing of not-so Filipino performances, was what had driven our fellow
NAFCON members, mostly youth, to come up with the alternative music and
cultural space, which, unfortunately resulted in the harassment by the
"With the recent happenings in the Philippine Independence Day
Celebration, it only shows that even here in the United States, militant
Filipinos fighting for their rights and who are critical of the Philippine
government's wrongdoings are also being repressed. We are also met with an
iron hand, revealing the true fascist nature of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
administration, with the help of, who else, but its office in New York and
the local police department," Jonna Baldres, Anakbayan NY/NJ
Undeniably, this unholy alliance of NYPD and Philippine Consulate-PIDC
could not silence the brave voices of the people's indignation as their
dirty deed was witnessed and opposed by bystanders and NAFCON and BAYAN
USA's member organizations' chanting and inquisition: "IT'S JUST MUSIC!
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?!?"
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