Speeches/Public Presentations


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Poster designed by Ysh Cabaña

*** The below was delivered as a spoken endorsement at the “Formal Launching of Electoral Campaign in Toronto: Migrante Partylist and Teddy Casiño” ***

I’ve been giving thought as to what to say tonight in support of Migrante Sectoral Partylist (#96 on your ballot) and Teddy Casiño of Bayan-Muna for Senator (#6).

I considered talking about how human rights violations are still rampant in the Philippines.  How over 1300 extrajudicial killings have taken place since the regime of Gloria Arroyo and have not slowed during the term of Mr ‘Matuid Na Daan’ Aquino.  Included here is the killing of Christina Jose just a couple weeks ago.  She was a human rights defender fighting for the rights of the survivors of Typhoon Pablo, survivors so neglected that they were forced to bravely take actions to claim the relief goods owed to them.

I considered talking about the fact that illegal detention, disappearances and torture are still rampant in our country.

I considered talking about how the fact that there is no national industrialization policy and mass poverty are combining with all the other factors to drive our people out. (more…)

Image*The below was a talk I delivered on 9 Dec 2012 at an International Human Rights Day event in Toronto, Canada*

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Today we celebrate International Human Rights Day.  We believe that the resistance borne of the struggle for the rights of the people is truly something to celebrate.  That said it is also fair to ask ‘why?’

Well the truth is, we don’t celebrate Human Rights, we celebrate the rights of people.

As Wendy Brown writes in “Human Rights and the Politics of Fatalism:”

[H]uman rights are vague and unenforceable; their content is infinitely malleable; they are more symbolic than substantive… in their primordial individualism; they conflict with cultural integrity and are a form of liberal imperialism; they are a guise in which super-power global domination drapes itself; they are a guise in which the globalization of capital drapes itself; they entail secular idolatry of the human and are thus as much a religious creed as any other.

In contrast People’s Rights look at the rights of the people as a whole; the rights of communities over the benefit of the individual; the right to rebel.  (more…)

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poster by ysh cabaña

*This is the copy of a talk I gave at U of T on 23 Nov 2012 at an event held by the Philippine Press Club of Ontario…

Today is marked the “Day to End Impunity” by media organizations around the world.  This day was chosen because three years ago in the Philippines, the largest single massacre of journalists in the world took place when the politically powerful Ampatuan clan, attacked the convoy of the politically powerful Magudadatu clan resulting in 58 deaths, including 32 journalists.

We at BAYAN-Canada support this call: to end impunity, to end corruption, to end human rights violations.  But to reach this end, to truly achieve this, we need to examine why despite worldwide condemnation the climate of impunity persists.

Do human rights occur simply because of ‘evil’ people?  Because of cancerous corruption in need of a biopsy?

We don’t think so.  If this were the case this illness would not be so rampant and so global.  Changing faces cannot change the systemic roots of corruption. (more…)

*the following were my opening remarks for tonights forum of the same title at York University…

Thank you to the Professor Philip Kelly and the York Centre for Asian Research for putting on this event.  And thank you all for your attendance….

I was asked to begin with a brief background on Martial Law and Marcos:

Ferdinand Marcos first became president with a ‘nationalist’ message in 1965, he retained the position in the following election in 1969 (at the time presidents had a 2 term limit so this should have been his last term)  Interestingly 1969 is also the year the New Peoples’ Army was born (continuing the tradition of previous revolutionary movements that began with the Hukbalahap during WWII).  (more…)

*this is the copy of a talk I gave on 26 January 2012 at “The Politics of Protest” conference at the University of Toronto.

ImageAs one of the organizers of this event, wrote on her FB wall the other day (in all caps no less):  “OK SERIOUSLY, LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND HOW THEY NEGOTIATE POWER AND PRIVILEGE!!”

Ok.  Lets.

So let me start by saying something very bluntly: White people ARE superior to people of colour.  Men ARE more important and more valuable than women.  And greed IS far superior to “love.”

Let’s not beat around the bush about should be’s or the use of non-oppressive language.

THIS is the society we live in.  THIS is reality.  You don’t like it?  Good.  Change it. (more…)

 

Yesterday was the Anihan Arts and Academic Showcase at the University of Toronto.  There I spoke about our responsibility as Filipino-Canadians to be active in the fight of all Filipinos for respect, cultural pride, and national sovereignty. 
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Yes I am Canadian.  Yes I am Filipino.  And this means that I, and we, bear responsibility for both sides of our identity.  (more…)