Three Filipino parliamentarians began a cross-Canada tour earlier this month in Vancouver to seek support and provide an update on the deteriorating human rights situation and the continuation of the political killings. Their specific focus is the international “Stop the Killings” campaign.
They are in Ottawa April 14-18 to meet with federal political party caucuses and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, non-governmental organizations and others.
Equality Branch director Anne McGrath met with the MPs on April 15 and brought greetings on behalf of CUPE as they continued their cross-Canada tour.
Here is a short biography of each MP:
Crispin Beltran, a former labour leader, was first elected to the Filipino Congress in 2001, then again in 2004. He is the president of the Anakpawis Party. Respected by labour organizations around the world, he was arrested by security forces in February 2006 and detained illegally until the Supreme Court threw out the charges against him in June 2007.
Luzviminda Ilagan is the second representative of the Gabriela Women’s Party elected to the House of Representatives in 2007. Her party is dedicated to promoting the rights and welfare of women. Ilagan is a pioneer of the women’s rights movement in Mindanao. She has written several House bills for the protection of Filipino migrant workers rights. The Gabriela party has suffered political persecution and two of its leaders have become victims of extrajudicial executions.
Satur Ocampo is president of the Bayan Muna Party and the deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives. A journalist by profession, he was a former vice president of the National Press Club and a former assistant business editor of the Manila Times. He was the longest-held political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. The Bayan Muna Party has been a target of political persecution. From 2001 to October 2007, 132 Bayan Muna Party members were assassinated. Its key leaders continue to be threatened and harassed.