This past Saturday a press conference was held in Los Angeles, CA to address the recent abduction of Melissa Roxas, a member of Habi Arts- LA & BAYAN-USA, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). For the first time, Melissa was able to speak out in public to what had happened to her and take questions from the media. While the Philippine Government and AFP are doing their best to deny these events took place, even going as far as to claim that the kidnapping was staged, they cannot deny the real human emotion that Melissa displayed during the press conference. The physical and psychological scars that she carries with her serves as testimony against the Philippine Government’s stance on basic human rights. Unfortunately, she is not alone. As long as the current administration’s policy is to demonize and attack organizers who are trying to serve the needs of the people, this will continue to happen. As long as the U.S. Government continues to give the AFP $30 million a year in aid, they will continue these atrocities. We must do what we can to 1) inform folks about what’s going 2) put pressure on our government to stop all military aid to the Philippines. Otherwise, Melissa won’t be the last victim of kidnapping and torture in the Philippines.
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