BY THEA AYLA PEREZ BANAG AND JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Members of various organizations marched toward the US Embassy in Manila on Tuesday and blamed “US imperialism” for the crisis engulfing the Philippine economy.
The protesters held the “Kalbaryo 2009” (Calvary 2009) or the reenactment of sufferings of Jesus Christ to portray the plight of the poor under the Arroyo administration.
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Joel Maglungsod, Anakpawis spokeperson, said, “Madami nang kalbaryo ang nararanasan ng mamamayan sa ilalim ng administrasyong Arroyo. Hindi dito natatapos ang kalbaryo, mananatili ito hangga’t mananatili ang sistema ng gobyerno” (Under the Arroyo administration, the people are going through many hardships. They will remain so long as the system of the government is unchanged.)
Roman Catholic Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of the Diocese of Caloocan joined the protesters in a communal prayer and fasting at the Plaza Miranda. Speaking at the rally, Iñiguez said,“Ang pagliligtas sa atin ni Hesus ay pakakahulugang pagkakaligtas niya sa atin mula sa lahat ng pagkaapi at kahirapan kaya talagang napakagandang panahon ito para sa ‘conscientization’ na hinahangad” (The salvation of Jesus Christ means the salvation from slavery and poverty, that is why this is the perfect time for “conscientization”).
Kalbaryo 2009, according to Iñiguez, is not just about voicing out the pains of the people but also about understanding deeper Christ’s salvation of mankind.
The protesters staged drama, song and poetry to ‘awaken the government on the sufferings of the poor.’
The protesters proceeded to the Liwasang Bonifacio. The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-National Capital Region (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance-NCR) called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down from presidency. The group asserted that Arroyo is the ‘main obstruction to national progress and development.’
The protesters were blocked by elements of the Manila Police District at the corner of T.M. Kalaw St. on their way to the US Embassy. They burned a US flag to symbolize their condemnation to the US-dictated economic policies implemented by the Arroyo administration.
Arthur Cadungon, spokesperson of the cultural group Sining Bugkos said, “Mula rito sa kalbaryong ito, magpapatuloy ang iba pang kilos protesta para makipaglaban. Maging daan sana ang Kalbaryo ng Mamamayan sa paghatid sa gobyerno ng pagsasakripisyo ng mamamayan” (From this calvary, the fight will go on through more protests. May the People’s Calvary be the way in bringing the sacrifices of the people to the government’s attention.) (Bulatlat.com)