Ringing the World on SONA Day
Nothing could keep the fiery Filipinos from speaking their minds, not
distance, and especially if it involves the Macapagal-Arroyo presidency,
the source of their many woes.
AUBREY SC MAKILAN
Even from afar, overseas Filipinos are updated and involved in
activities on issues back home.
Just after former U.S. Attorney General and world-renown human
rights lawyer Ramsey Clark announced his support for the ouster of
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Filipino groups around the globe in
fact staged protests in their host countries simultaneous with the rally
Philippines on the same day of the president’s State of the Nation Address
(SONA) on July 25.
the Overseas Filipinos Unite to Remove the Arroyo Government (Outrage)
organized the protest since the eve of the Macapagal-Arroyo’s SONA.
Outrage is a broad alliance of migrants, their families and advocates
calling for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation or ouster.
The July 25 protest was a whole day affair which started with a
variety show cum videoke singing in the morning followed by a program in
NOT FOR GMA: Hong Kong
rallyers applaud not GMA, but speeches demanding GMA removal.
Photo courtesy of Migrante
Around 1,000 persons attended. Members of United Filipinos in
Hong Kong, Migrante Sectoral Party-Hong Kong and the yellow-shirted Bangon
Pilipinas/Jesus Is Lord Movement comprised the crowd.
Leaders of various organizations representing regions and provinces
such as Cordillera Alliance, Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society, Mindanao
Federation and Bicol Migrant Workers, also joined the protest.
Different organizations under OUTRAGE signed a life-size signboard
with the president’s face on a passport stamped with “FAKE” and with the
call “Gloria: Patalsikin!”
Filipinos and supporters gathered in front of the Philippine Consulates in
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and braved the scorching heat the summer
of +35 degrees. The day before, they marched along
towards Broadway, a "Filipino-town" area popular for Filipino church
service, eateries and stores.
The protesters vowed to continue their protests until Macapagal-Arroyo
a community forum titled, "What's Next After Gloria? The People's Agenda,"
will be held August 13 at the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House while
flyers and a petition for the Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation will be
on July 30. An indoor forum will also be held in Toronto.
According to Migrante International, there are about 500,000
which make them the fourth largest visible minority group in Canada.
Meanwhile, Filipinos in
Australia, led by Migrante-Australia, held a picket at the Philippine
Consulate in Sydney on July 25. Before that, members of the
Philippines-Australia Women's Association (Pawa)-Migrante Women delivered
their letter addressed to Macapagal-Arroyo through the Philippine
Consulate in Sydney on July 19. Vice Consul Ferdinand Victoria received
the letter. PAWA chair Ma. Eva Tingson took the opportunity to discuss
with Victoria the concerns of Filipino migrant women on the current
political and financial crisis.
Three days after, on July 28, the Philippines-Australia Solidarity
organized a public forum on the current political and economic crisis in
the Philippines with Rey Casambre of the Philippine Peace Center as the
speaker. The same forum will be echoed on August 2 in
protests and discussions were held in the Netherlands, Italy, and
Switzerland. An “Oust GMA” Campaign Plan, including Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan’s (New Patriotic Alliance-Bayan) “Gloriagate” PowerPoint
presentation and materials on the Philippine’s national situation, for
Europe was furnished to all
Migrante chapters and Europe-wide Consultation of Organizations of
Filipinos (Ecofil) network.
On July 23, Migrante-Netherlands (NL) members held a special
meeting to discuss concrete implementation of political actions to be
taken in connection with the current political crisis back home though
information-education activities of members were carried out since June.
Aside from withholding of remittances, Migrante-NL members adopted
and signed the statement “Kumilos tayo upang matanggal ang korap at
mandarayang gobyerno ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo!” Members also agreed
to support the call for the withholding of remittances to express
withdrawal of support to the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. They also
held a church-hopping in
to distribute the statement which included El Shaddai, Jesus is Lord,
Couples for Christ, and Iglesia ni Kristo.
Migrante’s Manggagawang Pilipino Tungo sa Pag-unlad (Umangat-Rome)
coordinated with church people for discussions and petition signing
activities in Rome and Milan.
Switzerland, “Oust GMA” statements were distributed, and even published in
a Filipino newsletter with 2000 circulation. Migrante-United Kingdom (UK)
members were collecting more signatures for their signature drive.
creative Fil-Ams, led by NY Coalition for Gloria’s Ouster and Bayan-USA
made a giant toilet bowl carrying the sign “Plunge Gloria,” with an
actress inside portraying Macapagal Arroyo on her cellphone being pushed
down with toilet plungers.
The colorful protest also included a giant “Lie-Sol” spray in
“Glo-berry” scent alongside the giant toilet bowl. The spray is reportedly
a “disinformational” spray that kills odors and others, like priests,
journalists, lawyers, and activists.
The protesters sang the “Glory Allelujah,” with ditty lyrics about
the president’s alleged cheating acts and the call for her resignation,
and another to the tune of the popular dance song “Ocho Ocho.”
The program highlighted the symbolic flushing and plunging of an
actress dressed as Macapagal-Arroyo inside the giant toilet bowl while the
crowd chanted a clogging sound “glug, glug, glug!” followed by the
The protest was also held simultaneously with Anti-Arroyo protests
Los Angeles and
Meanwhile, 58 Filipino-American community leaders in the
United States also expressed their
position in an open letter to the president. The letter appeared as a
full-page advertisement in the July 25 issue of Dyaryo Pilipino, a
Filipino community weekly that circulates in
California, Texas and Florida.
Among the signatories to the open letter were leaders of the
Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace (AJLPP), Act Now to Stop War and End
Racism (International ANSWER), American Coalition of Filipino Veterans (ACFV),
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)-Los Angeles,
California Nurses Association, Philippine Peasant Support Network, and
Washington Human Rights Forum on the
“It is time to go, Madame President, Resign Now!” the letter said.
To avoid “further political divisiveness and confusion that
aggravate economic hardships and uncertainty,” the Fil-Ams called on the
president’s “sense of patriotism and humility and heed the call of the
majority of the Filipino people to step down from the presidency.”
The leaders added that the president could not use the alibi of
"upholding the legal process and the Constitution" when she herself
“violated the fundamental law of the land by cheating in the elections”
and “use the usurped powers of the presidency to perpetuate yourself in
Protesting at home
Meanwhile, Fil-Ams in the country did not miss the chance to join
the over 80,000 protesters at
Fil-Ams’ participation started with a press conference on the eve
of SONA in
"We are representing the calls, concerns, and sentiments of our
compatriots and solidarity friends in the United States, who want to see the end
to this illegitimate administration as much as Filipinos do in the
Philippines," said Sergio Robledo of USA 4 GMA's Resignation, a national
coalition of U.S.-based Filipinos and organizations calling for Gloria's
About 40 Fil-Ams chanting, "We gotta beat back the Gloria attack!
We gotta beat beat back, the Gloria attack!" marched along
Commonwealth Avenue with the banners "USA 4
GMA's Resignation" and Bayan-USA. Two Fil-Ams dressed like Lady Liberty
and Uncle Sam marching with placards "USA
says OUST GLORIA!" and "We want you, Gloria, to Resign!"
Fil-Ams also made a rap version of the “Hello Garci” ringtone with
lyrics, "C'mon Gloria, it's your last day, we're gonna protest like it's
your last day. We're gonna march at SONA like it's your last day. Cuz
Filipinos in the
want you out today!"
Meanwhile, according to Bayan, more than 100,000 people under its
network alone held
simultaneous protests in various cities and
provinces, including Vigan,
Negros, Cebu, and Davao. Bulatlat
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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