MANILA – Progressive groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) marched to the US embassy here today, Feb. 4, on the 117th year of the Philippine-American War.
After overrunning the Filipino revolutionaries, America turned the Philippines into a colony. Some 1.5 million Filipinos, or one-seventh of the population, died in the conflict, and in America’s brutal pacification campaign.
The protesters carried placards with images from the biopic movie “Heneral Luna” based on Philippine revolutionary hero, Gen. Antonio Luna. The protesters warned of even more violations of Philippine sovereignty and human rights of Filipinos with the return of the US military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).
“After 114 years since the war ended, the US continues to violate our sovereignty and human rights with impunity,” said League of Filipino Students (LFS) National Chairperson Charisse Bañez.
The protesters marched from Plaza Salamanca and were blocked by anti-riot policemen and a fire truck along Roxas Boulevard on their way to the US embassy.
“We are not fools to accept EDCA, the return of U.S. bases in the Philippines, and the de-facto reoccupation of US in our country. The Aquino regime and the US government are barefaced liars,” said Bañez.
On Feb. 3, the petitioners against Edca led by Bayan filed a motion for reconsideration at the Supreme Court (SC) on its declaration of Edca as constitutional.
In a statement, lawyer Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) and Bayan counsel said the SC committed an error when it disregarded the Constitutional provision which requires Senate concurrence for treaties that involve foreign military troops and bases. The SC instead expanded the President’s power, when it qualified Edca as an executive agreement.
“Divorced from history, the Supreme Court’s decision on Edca fails to address the stark reality that the President has committed serious breach and violation of the constitution,” Pastores said.
“As it seems, the magnificent legacy of the Senate in 1991 is gone too soon. For as this quote from the movie Heneral Luna warns: ‘We have a bigger enemy than the Americans – ourselves,’” Pastores said.