California solon asks US Embassy to assist rights defender in Philippines

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2019 07:47 AM

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

CALIFORNIA, United States -- A California congresswoman on Thursday urged the US Embassy in the Philippines to protect a Chinese-American human rights defender who was wounded in a gun attack.

"I am calling on the US embassy in Manila to do everything they can to ensure Brandon’s safety and take measures to protect him and other Americans in the Philippines," said Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat who represents California's 27th district.

Chinese-American Brandon Lee was shot multiple times outside his home in Ifugao province after he was tagged an "enemy of the state" on social media.

He had moved to the Philippines about a decade ago and volunteers for the Ifugao Peasant Movement, a community group that opposes a hydropower project and military presence in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Lee suffers from harassment even in the hospital and has not received assistance from the US Embassy or Filipino officials, his relatives told ABS-CBN News.

"We need immediate safety for Brandon. We need protection for him and his family now while they return home to the US. We need to bring justice to his perpetrators," said Lee's cousin Lauren Quirarte.

Some activists are also calling on the US government to look deeper into the incident and investigate US military aid. 

"We want to encourage Congress to put a moratorium on US military aid to the Philippines seeing how that aid is funding these human rights violations through this budding dictatorship in the Philippines," said Audine Tayag of US-based group Malaya Movement.

A GoFundMe page, created by Lee's friends to help pay for his medical bills, has so far raised $31,000 of their $75,000 goal.

Read more on Balitang America.