Balikbayan: Unpacking the People’s Struggle in the Philippines


“Balikbayan” is a Pilipino word for “going back home.”

In commemoration of International Human Rights Day and NYCHRP’s 11th Anniversary, hear from members who have returned stateside from our annual program Exposure Trip: Philippine Social Realities (Expo). Expo is a rare opportunity to integrate with communities in the Philippines who are ravaged by human rights violations and to learn how they are organizing to defend their rights to a peaceful livelihood.

In the summer of 2015, Rodrigo Bacus, a migrant Filipino and law student, returned to the Philippines as a Legal Intern for the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

Thursday, December 17, 2015
CUNY Hunter College, 68th Street & Lexington Ave.
Hunter West Building, 8th Floor, Faculty Lounge


NUPL exposed him to the lived realities that people from the most oppressed sectors of the Philippines face and how, as peoples’ lawyers, they utilized legal strategies to support grassroots movements to defend basic human rights in these communities. From visiting political prisoners to attending a nationwide conference to demand an end to destructive mining, from marching in the streets to reintegrating with urban poor communities, Rodrigo learned from the ground how his people, from whom he spent 14 year apart since migrating to the United States, are resisting the reign that the landed, wealthy elite have over the Philippines.

Rodrigo’s exposure trip was preceded by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on the Crimes of the U.S.-Aquino Regime in Washington, DC, in July, which resulted in a guilty verdict against the U.S. and Philippine governments for violations of political and civil rights, economic and social rights, and the right to self-determination. Despite this verdict, human rights violations are still on the rise, especially in Lumad (indigenous) communities in Mindanao, Philippines, where schools built by grassroots movements to educate indigenous children have become targets of violent raids and massacres by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Philippines faces an opportunity to change the course of its history, improve the people’s quality of life, and commit to a system of government that sustains those efforts. NYCHRP invites you to join our struggle and stand together as legal advocates, international allies, and balikbayans (overseas Filipinos) to demand these changes. We invite you to join us as we report back on lessons learned, reflect upon experiences, and discuss how we can strengthen our solidarity to support the fight for genuine democracy and freedom in the Philippines.

Please email for more information.

“Balikbayan” is co-sponsored by:
-Asian American Studies Program (AASP) at CUNY Hunter College
-Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH)

The event will also feature NYCHRP allies who will have just returned from the Philippines from the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) 5th International Assembly and the anti-APEC protests.