US Filipinos get involved in Philippines election through text messaging

May. 09, 2007

Hundreds of Filipino-Americans started a massive campaign of sending
cell phone text messages containing the message:


(If you love our motherland, fight against cheating. Oppose political
Don’t be fooled by traditional politicians, vote for progressives) to
thousands of Filipinos in the U.S. the Philippines and elsewhere in the
world encouraging them to forward the said text message to relatives
and friends in the Philippines.

TEXT B.A.C.K. stands for TEXT Brigade Against Cheatings and Killings is
an initiative of BAYAN USA member organizations and launched on May 7,
2007. Precisely at 10:30 AM Manila Time, hundreds upon hundreds of text
messages was sent from various cities of the U.S. starting in New York
City, Jersey City, San Francisco, Los angeles, Seattle and Hawaii to
the candidates and members of KABATAAN PARTY LIST headquarters in
Quezon City as well as to various provincial and regional chapters from
Ilocos Norte, Baguio City, Central Luzon, Bulacan, the National Capitol
Region, Southern tagalog, Central Visayas, Cebu City, Mindanao Region,
Davao City and many more. The text message was also sent to various
members of the media.

The text message is meant to encourage Filipinos to be vigilant and
watchful against cheating and electoral fraud. The message also contain
a plea to oppose the rampant political killings.

“A vast number of Filipinos abroad can not vote, but the circumstances
should not prevent us from directly participating and making our voices
heard in the coming elections. The fact that Filipinos, particularly in
the US is responsible for keeping the Philippine economy afloat, we
deserve the right to be heard in the elections. Since we cannot vote,
we want to encourage our kababayans to vote for whom we believe deserve
our votes. We are using the technology of text messaging and the
internet to spread our message.” a statement by Gary Labao,
spokesperson for TEXT B.A.C.K. USA. and a member of BAYAN USA in New

“Araw araw pinapangako namin na tuloy tuloy kaming magse-send ng text
sa lahat ng mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at kakilala namin sa Pilipinas.
Dito sa U.S. lahat ng mga kapit bahay, mga katrabaho at lahat ng iba
pang Pilipinong kakilala namin ay ite text namin para makasiguradong
umabot sa libu-libo hanggang milyon ang ma-abot ng mensahe namin, pati
sa ‘Friendster’ at ‘Myspace’ saka sa mga ‘blogs’ ikakalat namin ito.”
(Everyday we promise to keep sending to all our relatives and friends
in the Philippines. Here in the US, we will also text our neighbors and
co-workers to ensure that thousands up to millions of people reach our
message including ‘Friendster’, ‘Myspace’ and blogs.) the statement
said by Bobz Manuel, a member of Anakbayan in New Jersey, a prticipant

“Pati sa kapatid kong nasa US Navy, hihimukin namin sila na mag text
din, dahil napakarami ng kabataang Pilipino ang nasa US Navy ngayon na
gustuhin man nilang bumoto ay hindi pwede, pero kahit paano, sa text
man lang ay makalahok din sila.” (Even to my brother who is in the US
Navy, we will encourage them to send the texts because there are so
many Filipino youths right now enlisted in the US Navy who can’t vote
even if they wanted to, at least through texts, they can participate.)
Manuel added.

TEXT BACK has also already caught international support with news of
other major cities in various countries all over the world taking up
the campaign. In Particular, Australia has also launched TEXT BACK
Australia sending similar text messages to the Philippines. More
countries with large Filipino communities are soon expected to follow.

In the following days until election day, TEXT BACK USA and KABATAAN
PARTY vowed to continue sending the text message to reach millions of
Filipinos in the Philippines and all over the world.

TEXT BACK USA initiators include New York Committee for Human Rights
(NYCHRP) in the Philippines, Anakbayan U.S. Chapters, League of
Filipino Students (LFS) SFSU & members of BAYAN USA. In the Philippines
it is being carried and promoted by KABATAAN PARTY.

For more information about the TEXT BACK campaign contact Gary Labao,
BAYAN USA, e-mail NYCHRP @, tel. 646-479-1595 in the U.S. in
the Philipines: Sarah Maramag, KABATAAN PARTY, e-mail: adarna @, 0919-348-6790

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