October 13, 2011

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro or Kuusela Hilo
Justice for Melissa Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — The Filipina Women’s Network has selected Melissa Roxas as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the United States. While doing community health work in the Philippines, Ms. Roxas was abducted, tortured and disappeared from May 19-25, 2009 at the hands of the Philippine military. Since she was surfaced after the ordeal, Ms. Roxas has advocated relentlessly for justice for all victims of human rights abuses and for an end to U.S. military aid and political support for the culture of impunity which allows human rights violators in the Philippines to escape prosecution. For her courage, the Filipina Women’s Network is honoring Ms. Roxas with the Policymakers and Visionaries award, which recognizes Filipina women leaders who have made or are making a difference in U.S. government policies or laws that impact business, industry, and society and who enrich the lives and careers of others by sharing the benefits of their wealth, experience, and knowledge.

The 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the United States Award™ is a celebration of leadership, inspiration and achievement. It honors Filipina women who are changing the face of power in American communities, organizations and the workplace.

“These influential Filipina American women are dynamic entrepreneurs, rising stars under 40, emerging builders and executives who have moved through the ranks in large organizations, nonprofits and government agencies. They are powerful examples of women doing extraordinary work who will motivate our youth and future leaders,” said Gloria T. Caoile, political director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and co-chair of the FWN 100 Nationwide Search and Selection Committee. “They were selected from nominations submitted from 19 states.”

“I am thankful to FWN for this honor,” said Melissa Roxas. “The human rights situation in the Philippines and around the world continues to worsen especially in the current economic and political crisis. I am humbled to be recognized for speaking out about human rights, but recognize that there are many more women out there that are the unsung heroes, some of whom dedicated their lives to the cause of human rights and have paid the ultimate price with their lives. The fearless women in the Philippines who dared to speak out have become the victims of political killings and disappearances. It is my hope that by attending events such as FWN, I can keep alive the voices of these women by continuing to speak out and call for justice and accountability.”

The 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S. Award™ is a working recognition award, a dream with a meaningful purpose: double the number of Filipina women leaders by 2012.

“Pinay Power 2012 began in 2006 with a dream to inspire, inform, and advance Filipina women leaders who would influence the Filipino American community’s future. It provides a critical pathway for successful women who care about advancement, achievement, and significance,” said Elena Mangahas, board chair of Filipina Women’s Network. “These women are not only talking about change, but plan to be part of making it happen.”

“FWN will honor these amazing women at a gala dinner awards celebration on Friday, October 14, 2011 at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco,” said Marily Mondejar, president of the Filipina Women’s Network. “The awards gala is the highlight of the 8th Filipina Leadership Summit from October 13 through October 15. Awardees often share this inspiring evening with their daughters, sons, mothers, grandmothers, young women and men from their organizations.”

For additional details concerning Pinay Power 2012 and to attend the Filipina Leadership Summit, call 415.935.4396 or go to For additional details concerning Melissa Roxas or the Justice for Melissa Campaign, please email


About the Justice for Melissa Campaign
The Justice for Melissa Roxas (J4MR) campaign is a broadly-carried initiative of organizations, churches, and individuals who support Melissa Roxas, a Filipina American poet, human rights activist and community health worker, who was abducted and tortured by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on May 19, 2009 while conducting community health work in La Paz, Tarlac, Philippines. She was held incommunicado and tortured for six days in a military camp, the first American victim of state-sponsored abduction and torture in the Philippines during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The J4MR campaign supports Melissa Roxas’ pursuit of justice and accountability and justice for all victims of state-sponsored human rights violations in the Philippines. Community members can take action to support the J4MR campaign by signing the online pledge at

About Filipina Women’s Network (FWN)
FWN is a national nonprofit professional association founded to raise awareness of the activities, careers and status of women of Philippine ancestry based in the United States. FWN’s mission is to advance Filipina women in the U.S. workplace through programs and activities that enhance public perceptions of Filipina women’s capacities to lead, change biases against Filipina women’s leadership abilities, and build the Filipina community’s pipeline of qualified leaders, to increase the odds that some will rise to the president position in all sectors. More info: Call 415.935.4396 or email

About the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S. Awards™
The Filipina Women’s Network’s FWN 100 awards program is part of a larger game plan called “Pinay Power 2012” – a dream with a meaningful purpose – to double the number of Filipina women leaders by 2012. The prestigious recognition is a working award – the winners are asked to femtor a protégée. Both leaders are invited to return to the Filipina Leadership Summit in 2012.