Filipino Americans in the US yesterday launched Text Brigade Against Cheating and Killings (Text Back USA), a campaign for clean elections and in support of Kabataan Party and other party-list bets.

Initiated by US-based activists, Text Back urges family, friends, and loved ones of the Filipino-American community in the Philippines to vote for sectoral party-lists Kabataan Party, Gabriela Women’s Party, and Suara Bangsamoro.

“A high constituency of our national Fil-Am alliance are youth, young women, and of course, as Filipinos, we understand the conditions of being an marginalized ethnic minority. We see genuine hope in the legislative agendas of Kabataan Party, Gabriela Women’s Party and Suara Bangsamoro to trail blaze a brighter future representing these voices amidst the cheating, violence, and the maneuvers of the trapos,” said Gary Labao of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) and a spokesperson for the campaign.

Starting last Sunday, May 6th, 7:30pm PT/10:30pm ET in the United States, nationally-coordinated text messages were sent from texters in New York, San Franciso, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu and other US cities to friends and relatives in various Philippine cities including Manila, Baguio, Davao, and Cebu City.

Text messages were sent in Tagalog, Visayan, Ilocano, and English. Messages included catch-phrases such as: Kung Mahal Mo Ang Bayan, Pandaraya Labanan; Pol Killings Wakasan, Sa Trapo Wag Paloko, Progresibo Iboto (If you love your motherland, fight against cheating; End political killings; Don’t vote for traditional politicians, vote for progressives), and signed Text Back USA.

Representative from the party-lists groups in the Philippines received the text messages from their US-based supporters.

“It is estimated that one Filipino in the US supports 4-5 Filipinos in the Philippines. Fil-Ams are the largest overseas community outside of the Philippines, with almost 4 million Filipinos. With those calculations we anticipate Text Back USA spreading like wildfire reaching thousands, maybe more, of our countrymen this final week before elections,” said Sarah Katrina Maramag, media officer of Kabataan Party.

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