“Being the global superpowers holding the reins in Apec, they are the ones directing the policies that will enforce the domination of foreign businesses and unbridled plunder of our economy.”
MANILA – Progressive groups went on a protest caravan today Nov. 12, going the rounds of the embassies of the three superpowers which they said “pose a trinity of threat to Philippine sovereignty.”
Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), protesters first went to the Chinese Consulate office along Gil Puyat avenue in Makati City. They proceeded to the Japanese Embassy along Roxas boulevard in Pasay City. The last stop was the US embassy, also along Roxas boulevard, in Manila.
Phalanxes of anti-riot police men, combined with Phil.Air Force men in Manila, secured the embassies.
The protest was part of the #PHFightAPEC series of activities parallel to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit.
“China, Japan and the United States pose triple threats to our national sovereignty. Being the global superpowers holding the reins in Apec, they are the ones directing the policies that will enforce the domination of foreign businesses and unbridled plunder of our economy,” said Charisse Bañez, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS).
The progressives had criticized China for its military aggression, reclamation and construction of structures within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). They also criticized Japan, which had recently abandoned its ban against collective self-defense, thru security laws passed by its parliament. The laws allows Japan to go to war in defense of an ally, as well as sending self-defense forces abroad.
In January this year, the Aquino administration signed with the Abe government the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges, which allows joint military exercises, such as the one held in the country in June, by the Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force (JMSDF) and their Filipino military counterparts.
The protesters said that instead of asserting Philippine sovereignty and building the country’s external defense, President Aquino caters to Japan’s “rising militarism,” and allows US military intervention.
“It’s Aquino’s fawning subservience to foreign interests, most especially to the US, that allowed these countries to feast on our resources and people. He must be held accountable for putting forward the interests of his foreign bosses despite the historic resistance of the Filipinos,” Bañez said.
The protesters also condemned the “martial law” security measures being put up by government for the summit, such as the closure of major roads, cancellation of some 1,000 flights, sweeping of vendors and street dwellers, and the “no permit, no rally” policy for critics.
Among those to be swept under the rug is the Kampuhang Bayan (people’s camp) of the Manilakbayan in Liwasang Bonifacio, which is set to be dismantled tomorrow, as the Manila government allowed it only up till today, Nov. 12, reportedly due to pressure from the national government.
Meanwhile, the groups also hailed the Senate resolution passed on Nov. 10 which declared the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) “invalid and ineffective” without Senate concurrence. The resolution was issued amid rumors that the Supreme Court (SC) is readying a decision declaring Edca constitutional.
“We certainly hope that the SC follows the Senate’s example of standing up for the Filipino workers and people. The SC would expose itself as a lackey of the US and Aquino if it rules that the Edca is constitutional,” said Elmer Labog, chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Text by Dee Ayroso
Photos by Divine Miranda/Kodao Productions