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(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)


CHICAGO (JGL) – A human rights group that brought human rights crusaders from the Philippines to Chicago, including Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes, IV, Fathers Albert “Paring

Bert” E. Alejo and Amado Picardal, had regrouped Saturday (June 23), to discuss plans to pursue matters that will keep the Filipino American community up to speed with the human rights developments in the Philippines inside Seafood City in the north side of Chicago, Illinois.

With the third priest killed on June 10 in the Philippines, the group led by co-convenors Jerry B. Clarito and Juanita Salvador-Burris of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) in Illinois is hoping and praying that their recent guests, Fathers Alejo and Picardal, will be spared from the current rage of impunity against men of cloth as a result of the atmosphere created by the ongoing war on drugs by the government of President Duterte. Please see story here.

Fr. Alejo of the order of Society of Jesus was guest of FAHRA and three other community organizations last Jan. 21, 2018, at a Conversation (Usap-Usapan) and Reflection on the “War on Drugs, EJK's, and the Lumads” at Paisley Conference Room of St. Elizabeth Hospital at 1431 N. Claremont Avenue in Chicago's north side.

Aside from FAHRA-Illinois, the other co-sponsors of Father Alejo's visit were Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines (EANP), Filipino American Grandparents' Association of Chicago (FAGPAC) and American Unity for Progress (UniPro).


On the other hand, Rev. Picardal, CSsR, spoke before a standing-room-only crowd last Jan. 25, 2018 and talked about “Burying the Dead: Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines and the Catholic Church's Response" at Student Center (Lincoln Park) of Vincentian De Paul University at 314B 2250 N. Sheffield Avenue also at Chicago's north side. The event was part of DePaul’s Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology (CWCIT) programming. Please see story here.

Bishop Eli Pascua of the Philippine American Ecumenical Church has also expressed alarm over the killings of Catholic priests in the Philippines. “Whatever decisions you have on how these killings of the clergies can be addressed, please let me know,” Bishop Pascua told the group.

While Senator Trillanes discussed about the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherland to conduct a preliminary examination of his group filed against President Duterte who was charged with crimes against humanity and mass murder. Please see story here.

Aside from FAHRA-Illinois, the other co-sponsors of Mr. Trillanes' visit were CIRCA-Pintig Community Theater, the Filipino American Grand Parents Association of Chicago (FAGPAC), and the Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (Unipro).


The group at Seafood City also discussed how it can sustain the conversation among the young and young-at-heart Filipino Americans who are concerned with the EJK's and the “conspiracy” theories on how Marawi City was leveled to the ground and residents of Marawi are being prevented from returning to their residences so that the deserted homes destroyed by the war against terrorists could be used by the government for other projects.

The group is also alarmed by the current drive by the Philippine National Police to arrest the “estambays/kanto boys” (adult male loiterers) in street corners. With warm temperature for most of the year in the Philippines, adult out-of-school Filipinos, who have no jobs, the estambays/kanto boys will not be able to stay indoors when they don't have the capability to buy their own air-conditioning units or coolers that they will keep them inside their homes.

Perhaps, if these loiterers are given training by the government with skills that will land them jobs, these loiterers might be a thing of the past, it was suggested during the Usap-Usapan.

Circa-Pintig's Angela "Ging" Mascarenas, who invited Fr. Alejo to speak in Chicago, suggested that in order to bridge the gap between the second-generation young Filipino American community with their elders, is asking the community to join her group to contribute their stories and experiences that can be developed into a play that can help them cope up with the challenges that they encounter in their workplaces and in their communities.

The Usap-Usapan also marked the advanced celebration of Dr. Juanita Salvador-Burris' birthday on June 24, St. John the Baptist's birthday.

Mr. Clarito, acting chair of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, also updated the group of the development of the pending case filed by his group against Ms. Elaine Lehman, her husband, Ari Lehman, former FACC President Alex Gonzales, who replaced FACC President Rufino Crisostomo, FACC Directors Alfredo Barranco and Caesar Yabut.

With Clarito's group driven to the street after being ousted from the Rizal Center, its members have now favored Seafood City as their tambayan (meeting place). (Contact Reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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