BY EMILY VITAL
August 2, 2007 – 7:05pm
About 200 members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and allied organizations held a rally Aug. 2 to condemn what they described as the U.S. government’s intervention in Southeast Asia.
The protesters attempted to get near the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, but were blocked by the police before reaching Mabini Street, two blocks away from Roxas Boulevard.
“The biggest threat to regional peace is the US-led war on terror,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, Jr. said. “The US government is guilty of continuing military intervention and military aid to fascist governments such as the Philippines’ Arroyo regime. In the guise of so-called regional security, the U.S. is trying to outdo other nations in the race for regional supremacy.”
“The US government continues to pressure the ASEAN and their puppet governments into supporting the discredited ‘war on terror.’” Reyes added. “In the Philippines, the puppet government of Gloria Arroyo has implemented the anti-terror law, a measure that will escalate repression and human rights abuses.”
Reyes also slammed U.S. State Deputy Secretary John Negroponte for what he described as the U.S. official’s insincerity in caling for a stop to the political killings.
“Negroponte is not sincere at all when he calls on the Philippine government to stop the killings,” Reyes said. “The fact that the U.S. continues to fund and train the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) means that the Bush government condones the gross human rights record of the Philippine military.”
In 2005, Negroponte served as the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. He oversees 15 spy agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was accused of utilizing death squads in suppressing national liberation forces in Latin America during his stint as ambassador. He also served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Iraq after the invasion.
During Eduardo Ermita’s term as AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, death squads were utilized to squash then progressive political party Partido ng Bayan (PnB or People’s Party). In the 1960s, Ermita worked with Negroponte in Vietnam in suppressing the anti-imperialist resistance forces under the military plan Operation Phoenix.
Speaking at the rally, Vencer Crisostomo, chairperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), criticized Negroponte’s visits to public secondary schools in Manila.
“Negroponte is a hypocrite,” Crisostomo said. “While he tries to portray himself as someone who cares for the Filipino youth, he actually prods the Arroyo regime to commit more human rights abuses to quell the Filipino people’s resistance to U.S. imperialism.”