Role of overseas BAYAN chapters in the national democratic movement

Message to BAYAN-Canada General Assembly
By Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
January 19, 2019

Dear Compatriots and Friends,

Warmest greetings of solidarity to BAYAN-Canada! I am pleased and honored to be invited to speak to your General Assembly on the role of overseas BAYAN chapters. This is an important subject to discuss among those interested in BAYAN and the national democratic movement of the Filipino people.

BAYAN is a major member organization of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS of which I am the Chairperson. However, I am not authorized to speak on its behalf. I can talk about its international workings only as an observer and admirer.

BAYAN is the most important legal multisectoral alliance of patriotic and progressive forces in the Philippines. It combines the organizations of the toiling masses of workers and peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie, the women, youth, professionals, religious and other sectors.

It takes up a wide range of concerns, including national sovereignty, democratic rights, economic development, social justice, patriotic culture and so on. It is such a highly developed comprehensive alliance of mass organizations that its representatives are in all the ILPS commissions on 18 concerns.

It is the strongest urban-based political formation seeking to transform the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system into a truly national and democratic system. It has proven its might in opposing the Marcos fascist dictatorship and all the succeeding pseudo-democratic regime and now the tyrannical, brutal and corrupt Duterte regime.

The overseas chapters of BAYAN play an important role by being a necessary part of BAYAN. They provide BAYAN-Philippines an indispensable international dimension. They serve to reach and engage the 10 to 12 million Filipinos abroad. These compatriots comprise more than 10% of the Philippine population and more than 25% of its labor force.

The overseas chapters arouse, organize and mobilize the overseas Filipinos in order to uphold, defend and promote their rights in relation to the conditions in their host countries and at the same time to continue being in touch with the motherland and to contribute what they can to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation through the national democratic movement.

To arouse the overseas Filipinos in various host countries, BAYAN chapters provide the most useful and meaningful information and education about the Philippine situation, the needs and demands of the people and the status and prospects of the people’s struggle for national and social liberation against foreign domination and the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.

To organize the overseas Filipinos, BAYAN chapters build their countrywide chapter committees and the organizations of various sectors, such as those of the migrant workers (Migrante), women (Gabriela), youth (Anakbayan), various types of professionals and various types of concerns, especially human rights. Each organization connect to its counterpart in the Philippines through the countrywide BAYAN committee as well as directly.

To mobilize the masses of Filipinos in various host countries, BAYAN chapters abroad plan and carry out campaigns and activities in order to stand for the rights and welfare of the members of various organizations and the Filipinos abroad in general and to extend moral and material support to the people in the motherland in their struggle for national and social liberation through concrete programs and projects.

BAYAN chapters abroad are not limited to arousing, organizing and mobilizing only the Filipinos abroad. They establish relations of friendship, solidarity and cooperation with the host peoples and other migrant peoples directly and through their organizations, parties and institutions.

Through solidarity and cooperation on various issues of common interests, all peoples of various nationalities in the host country can gain strength and improve their conditions in the workplace, institutions and communities. All of them need to stand up against the ultra-reactionary currents of fascism, chauvinism, racism, sexism and the like which arise in the crisis-stricken world capitalist system.

For the sake of advancing the national democratic movement in the Philippines as well as the just movements of other peoples, BAYAN chapters abroad develop the mutual interest and the means for cultural exchanges and exchange of visits between the people in the Philippines and the host countries.

Friendly visits, study tours or research, internship and integration programs have proven to be the most effective in promoting close relations between peoples and in developing the solidarity activists.

It is certainly helpful to the national democratic movement of the Filipino people that BAYAN chapters abroad encourage the organizations of other peoples to join international organizations like the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and other international organizations and conferences focused on certain concerns, in which they can cooperate with Filipino organizations in a wider context.

I have come full circle by once more mentioning BAYAN in connection with the ILPS. I have tried to present what I think are the most important tasks that BAYAN chapters abroad do to fulfill their duty of of serving overseas Filipinos and the national democratic movement. You have all the leeway to consider and improve on what I have presented. Thank you.###

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