The Killing Fields

Angeles City is a large urban area in Pampanga, north of Manila and featuring the former USAF Base, Clark Freeport. The entertainment area is the barangay of Balibago and the main strip is Fields Avenue. Since early July there have been 13 murders involving foreigners. An American, a Canadian, a South African, A South Korean, two Britons and seven Filipinas, spouses, girlfriends and live in domestic helpers. All shot with 9mm bullets and several by the same gun.

You can read more here.

My good mate, the late John Martin lived there for many years and fell afoul of the corrupt cops and judges when he was framed for dealing Shabu. he had sold his business (a country club with bowls lawn) and retired, hence he had money and was thus a target. He suffered two weeks in prison and then 6 months handcuffed to a bed until he was able to pay for his release. He is certain the local top cop of the time was behind it and I am pretty sure his wife of the time was in on it too. A little payback for John’s peccadilloes on Fields. Of course he could just as easily been bumped off.

This web site has reported several murders of expats over the past few years but quite frankly this latest crime spree is scary. While I doubt the casual tourist has much to worry about, those expats who live there are more of a permanent fixture and therefore a target for any local wanting to make some quick cash. If it isn’t a bullet in the head, it can just as easily be a set up with an under age girl alleging molestation or soliciting. They would try it on with a wheelchair bound castrated cripple with no hands if they thought he had money stashed somewhere. Logic and justice are irrelevant, all that is important is that you are a foreigner and have money to spare and the poor Pinoy deserves your hard earned.

While you can become a victim anywhere in the country and of course, anywhere in the world, even at home, Angeles City is a more dangerous place because of the vice that lures so many there. Once you cross the line into the less than morally pure territory that is Fields Avenue you leave yourself open to all sorts of risks, even if you are squeaky clean!

L.A. Cafe Developments

I received this Open Letter today and believe it should be reprinted here to add another point of view to the debate. If it is true, and it is certainly the closest to what I would take for a true account I have read so far, somebody is throwing their weight around to cover their own bad behaviour and in the process hundreds of people are suffering. I have to say while the L.A. Cafe has always to my knowledge been a haunt for freelance prostitutes, I have never once witnessed any of the staff pimping or being pimped or facilitating the activities of the freelance girls. If any of them ever did get a little too forward it was always  an easy matter to ask one of the waitresses to tell teh lady to leave you alone. And they did for fear of being turfed out. I see there being no difference between the L.A. Cafe and bars and casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere. They will always be the haunts of women offering the only thing of value they have in exchange for an income. Sad, tragic but a fact of life.

OPEN LETTER TO

Honorable Harry K. Thomas, Jr

Ambassador to the Philippines

United States Embassy

Roxas Boulevard

City of Manila

THE CHAIRMAN

COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS PHILIPPINES

SAAC BUILDING,

Commonwealth Avenue,

Quezon City

Ms. Elzadia Washington

USAID Philippines

Acting Mission Director

United Nations Avenue,

Ermita, City of Manila

infoph@usaid.gov

Mr Roger Carlson

USAID Philippines

Acting Deputy Mission Director

United Nations Avenue,

Ermita, City of Manila

infoph@usaid.gov

Dear Sirs / Madame,

The employees of LA Cafe would like to address the fabricated press releases and totally untrue allegations coming from an AMERICAN FUNDED group called International Justice Mission (IJM) under the leadership of a certain Atty Carmela Andal-Castro, IJM Field officer

IJM Philippines an American Funded group claim they donate large sums of money to Philippine Government organizations. Their money comes from donations from American tax payers via USAID and various American Agency’s.

LA Cafe has been operating as a restaurant, live band , billiards bar similar to an American Theme Restaurant/Bar in Makati called Hard Rock Cafe since 1999 without any problem’s

or issues affecting public morality or health. LA Cafe enjoys Worldwide renown and is a significant contributor to local Philippine employment and welfare.

LA Cafe is a member of the Manila Entertainment Music Lounge Association and has been accredited by the Department of Tourism Philippines (DOT) since 1999

In early 2007 the general manager of L A Cafe was attacked by an inebriated American National and as a direct consequence suffered a life threatening heart attack, resulting in a full heart by pass operation at the Philippine General Hospital

The General Manager of LA Cafe once released from hosiptal filed a case against the American National Mr. MARC EDWARD MC CABE / IS # 06-H-16862/ Address: 139 Blk 7 Sitio 3 Zone 7 Sto.Nino A. Bonifacio, Western Bicutan Taguig – who claims he works for USAID Philippines

McCabe, a US citizen claimed he was ”un-touchable” in the Philippines as he worked for USAID Philippines and would use his infuence, connections and position of authority to cause problems for LA Cafe if a case was taken against him.

This criminal case IS# 06-H-16862 can be verified by the Regional Trial Court of Manila – the criminal case is still being processed and continued.

Why did an American USAID supported group (IJM) start to harrass a legal Filipino business that EMPLOYS more than 190 FILIPINOS as waitresses , bar tenders, utility, chefs, live bands ,dj’s, security guards, and administrative and purchasing staff? Workers who support their families and now have NO EMPLOYMENT!! thanks to the unfounded and untrue accusations and cases issued by IJM an American funded group, just a week after the case involving the USA National McCabe was elevated to court?

To compound matters and to highlight the level of vindictive behavior thrust upon this FILIPINO company by the AMERICAN funded group, IJM, several honest and hard working L.A Café waitresses have been accused by IJM of being PROSTITUTES! These accusations were made nationally in our FILIPINO newspapers giving no thought to the humiliation felt by hard working FILIPINAS as the baseless lies are paraded in front of their families! These poor FILIPINA waitresses were even paraded like animals on Philippine national television (TV PATROL), accused and condemned as PROSTITUTES and CRIMINALS while wearing their work uniforms!!

The American sponsored group INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION are the entity that filed a complaint against LA Cafe with the Manila City Hall, as verified by the newspapers

The Manila Standard Newspaper even wrote in their article that Mayor Lim had previously closed LA Cafe which is un true and baseless.

How would AMERICANS react if we FILIPINOS marched into a Hard Rock Café in New York, or TGI Fridays in Los Angeles, a HOOTERS BAR in Las Vegas or any AMERICAN owned restaurant and accused AMERICAN waitresses of being sex workers, PIMPS and PROSTITUTES writing un founded allegations to your beloved Mayor!!

Would this ever happen to the American Franchise Chain’s in the Philippines such as HOOTERS MANILA, HARD ROCK CAFE, TGI FRIDAYS, OUTBACK, CAFE HAVANA, CALIFORNIA PIZZA OVEN, MCDONALDS or the American Hotel Chains such as the MARRIOT PARANAQUE, HOLIDAY INN CLARK or the RENAISSANCE MAKATI where they have restaurants, bars and discos

These Filipina waitresses, supervisors and management all come from respectable Philippine famalies and are now branded as PROSTITUTES, PIMPS and CRIMINALS in their own Country the Philippines by this AMERICAN funded organization IJM

There are many similar Filipino establishments within walking distance from LA Cafe such as HOOTERS Manila Bay, Hard Rock Cafe, Hobbit House, Cafe Havana, TGI Friday’s, Cowboy Grill, which have never been a target of the American funded IJM and their vindictive operations against Filipino’s

How can this American supported mission IJM ask for donation’s from the American taxpayer for EVANGELICAL work here in our beloved Philippines whilst fabricating evidence and issuing affidavits against hard working Filipinos in our own Country, the Philippines?! All because the AMERICAN, McCABE got drunk and was sued correctly within OUR LEGAL SYSTEM???

Which legal Filipino establishment will this American Funded Group (IJM) target next and fabricate evidence against the management and have inocent Filipinos forced into jail while using American Tax Payers Money in our Country the Philippines

There are now four (4) FILIPINA’S who work for L. A. Cafe Restaurant/Bar as managers/supervisors facing LIFE IMPRISONMENT due to the total and baseless fabrication of evidence and sworn affidavits that they were pimping PROSTITUTES and are themselves PROSTITUTES

Their names have been published in all the National Newspapers by the American funded IJM using American Tax Payers money

Amazingly there are two (2) Filipina customers of LA Cafe who the American funded IJM

claim worked in L. A. Cafe, the management of LA Cafe has no record of there persons nor knowledge who they are.

The final detainee does not work for LA Cafe but is the manager of LA Cafe Annex in the adjacent building which is a small billiard hall employing 14 Filipino waitresses, utility and security. This small billiard hall is also closed due to fabricated allegations depriving its Filipino employees their constitutional right to work and support their families thanks to IJM.

All the employees of LA Cafe have valid work/health permits issued by Manila City Hall

Does the RAID on LA Cafe during a 2010 World Cup Soccer game and live performing Live Bands at 10.30pm at night have anything to do with the vendeta of the American National who claims to be a USAID employee who was a REGULAR CUSTOMER of LA Cafe until his drunken fit of rage with his Filipina girlfriend against the General Manager of LA Cafe??

L. A. Cafe has a very clear Policy with our 12 security guards managed by an honorable decorated retiried Filipino Colonel that NO MINORS are to enter the premises as ordered by Manila City Hall even though we are just a public restaurant and bar. The NO MINORS policy is clearly shown at the entrance and throughout the premises with prominent signs. Any minor who is out after 10 pm is a violation of Manila City Ordinance 8046 and responsibility of the parents, barangay officials and police.

No Philippine National is forced to work at L. A. Cafe as claimed by the American IJM Group. This idea is RIDICULOUS, BASELESS and is a TOTAL FABRICATION!! The AMERICANS have their own history of SLAVERY, we proud FILIPINOS DO NOT !!!

How interesting is that many United States of America DIPLOMATS frequent LA Cafe (since its opening) and know personally the employees now held in jail, due to the fabricated affidavits of an agency that they support, The IJM!

How ironic that the United States of America Philippines Embassy held a going away party for an American DIPLOMAT at LA Cafe recently, the Embassy department even more ironically was NCIS (Strategic Investigations) of the United States of America in the Philippines

This is NOT A FABRICATION unlike the baseless claims of IJM the LA Cafe has 16 CCTV Cameras constantly monitoring the premises for the protection of us the staff and its customers. CCTV footage can SUPPORT ANY counter claims made by LA Café against IJM and their hypocritical American supporters.

Many foreign and Filipino executives are customers of LA Cafe both female and male personalities including famous actors, actresses and sportsmen. The LA Café is a tourist attraction and brings foreign money to our country and to our community, helping to support our local families.

LA Cafe proudly sponsors, as being the largest billiard venue in Manila (On and off) the following famous athletes and done since opening in 1999 with pride

Manny Pacquiao Pound for Pound greatest boxer in the World

Bobby Pacquiao Former Asia Pacific Boxing Champion

Efren ”Bata” Reyes Hall of Fame Billiard Player and many times over Wold Champion

Francisco Bustmante Former World Number 1 Billiard Player

Marlon Manalo World number 6 Billiard Player

Jeff De Luna Professional Pool Player

Alex Pagulayan World 2004 Billiard Champion

Roberto Gomes World 9 ball Runner up

Darren Appelton World number 1 English Pool player British

Karl Boyles UK World 8 Ball Champion

Rudolfo Luat Former world number 1 9 ball billiard player

Ronny Alcano World 9 and 10 ball champion

Steve Davis Number 1 paid UK athlete in 1988 and World Snooker Champion

Dennis Orcollo Current World Number 1 Billiard Player

LA Cafe is the proud Sponsor of MP Warriors General Santos Basketball Team.

LA Cafe arrange regular live exhibitions by these athletes, two weeks ago there was an exhibition billiard game featuring Efren ”Bata” Reyes a Filipino icon

Two live band’s perform daily on the second floor where the American funded IJM claim is located a sex den

The second floor has live bands, 4 billiard tables, eating area and an extensive wine cellar

There are NO PRIVATE VIP rooms anywhere in LA Cafe

LA Cafe bands are auditioned by both International and American Hotel chains from Guam, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia.

The bands from LA Cafe then receive legal contracts to work throughout the world as a performing artists.Something we FILIPINO’s can be proud of. Does this constitute HUMAN TRAFFICKING as alleged by American funded IJM

The World famous Filipino Artists that have and until last week did perform in the LA Cafes second floor, claimed to be a SEX DEN by the AMERICAN IJM, include

Ramon ”RJ” Jacinto Rock and Roll Legend of the Philippines

Freddie ”Anak” Aguilar (For over 10 years) KA Freddie

Side A

Freestyle

Aegis

(Francis Magalona)

Andrew E

Southborder

Cushe

Highway 69

Christoper De Leon

Air Supply International Band

And two (2) local bands daily who vary from day to day.

Manila Dogs Golf Club (500 Members) which was founded by LA Cafe and has been the home of the club since 2001, have their weekly prize giving at LA Cafe.

Players include both male and female diplomats from many Embassies including the United States of America

Palugaw Soup Kitchen for the Ermita Street Children

Every weekend LA Cafe sponsors Palugaw Soup Kitchen with the Barangay 668 to feed the street children of Ermita, this will now be cancelled due to the closure of LA Cafe thereby depriving Filipino Street Children the opportunity of a full meal once a week due to the American Funded IJM

Should IJM not use their American funded resources to feed and help these innocent street children in Ermita which LA Cafe has done for years instead of closing legitimate business for their own personal gain for more funding from America

We the employees of LA Cafe request that this American funded IJM be stopped from continuing to use American Tax payers money to make victims of innocent Filipinos! We are perfectly able in our own country to control our own affairs and do not need to be bullied by some HYPOCRITICAL American funded mission

The American funded IJM are wasting the time of the Philippine courts while making Millions of Peso’s for themselves from the donations given to them by American Agencies and the American “man in the street”. Most importantly we cannot work and support our loved ones and we don’t have their resources to repudiate these FALSE and BASELESS accusations against us

FINALLY WE THE EMPLOYEES OF LA CAFE HAVE LEGAL DOCUMENTS AND SIGNED AFFIDAVITS PROVING THAT IJM AN AMERICAN FUNDED MISSION ARE USING AMERICAN DOLLARS TO OBTAIN FALSE AFFIDAVITS FROM THIRD PARTIES TO CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE INNOCENT FILIPINOS SO THEY CAN JUSTIFY THEMSELVES TO THEIR AMERICAN HEAD QUARTERS TO RECEIVE MORE FUNDING FOR THEIR PERSONAL GAIN AT THE EXPENSE OF FILIPINOS

Mabuhay!

Employees Crisis Commitee of L A Cafe

Filipina Forced To Abort To Keep Job As OFW

Well, although the case is still being heard the facts are looking pretty much stacked against the owner of a Western Australia McDonalds franchise. It is alleged he forced a Filipina working for him as an assistant manager on a 457 Visa to have an abortion or else he would have her sacked and returned to the Philippines. Her visa is job dependent so he held a lot of power over her. The woman says she aborted that child to keep her job but when she fell pregnant again some months later (same Australian fiancee) she refused to do it a second time.

The Filipina claims to have recorded the meeting where she was told either the foetus goes or she goes. She was fired and has filed a case against the franchisee. Of course as the meeting was recorded without the franchisee’s knowledge it may not be admissable. I think this is a dumb law personally because the truth is the truth and just because you are unaware it is being recorded doesn’t alter what was said.

The franchisee has some history of hiring kids and working them past the legal time of an evening. I get the feeling if he has to get a Filipina on a 457 then he is either not paying full wages or pulling some rort. I am certain we have enough people in this country to fill her job.

Let us pause and look at this from the other side for a moment. One might argue the 457 Visa holder is there to work for the employer that went to the trouble and expense to sponsor them, not to get pregnant or start a new life on the employer’s dime. Basically the visa conditions must be met or else the sponsor/employer gets in trouble as well as the employee getting possibly deported. Taking more than 30 days off is, I have been advised, against the conditions of the visa. That might be over the year or the life of the visa or in one hit but it would be easy to lost 30 days due to pregnancy. Time will tell so I hope we can keep tabs on this story and report the ending.

We read about OFWs getting harshly treated in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuwait and so on but we never think it would happen in our own countries. Not that we are racist or supremacist but simply because we believe we have the checks and balances in place to give people a fair go. Time to think again it seems!

UPDATE: 8 July 2010. McDonalds have agreed to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum