“When we sit down with the President, we will not only brief him on what actually happened during the dispersal. We will also take that opportunity to explain to him the calls and demands of national minorities.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – The protesters in the US embassy dispersal welcomed President Duterte’s statement today that he will personally look into the violent incident, which left at least 50 protesters injured and 42 arrested.
Leaders of Sandugo, the national minority alliance that led the Oct. 19 protest by Moro and indigenous peoples outside the US embassy, said that the President may not have yet seen the footage of the police mobile driving back and forth into dozens of protesters, as well as police men mauling protesters with truncheons — all of which, they said, were human righs violations and unprovoked.
But beyond giving their side about the incident, the Sandugo leaders said they will tell Duterte the issues that brought the national minorities to protest at the US embassy in the first place: their call against US imperialist plunder and domination which has brought scourge to their ancestral lands.
The group had expressed support for Duterte’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy, which they said is in line with their struggle for the right to self-determination.
“When we sit down with the President, we will not only brief him on what actually happened during the dispersal. We will also take that opportunity to explain to him the calls and demands of national minorities,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, Sandugo spokersperson, and one of the 11 seriously injured by the rampaging police mobile driven by Police Officer 3 Franklin Kho.
“We will relate to him that we rallied at the US embassy to express our vehement opposition to the continuing assertion of US foreign power over our own domestic affairs, which has primarily brought turmoil and imperialist plunder of our ancestral lands and communities,” Malayao said in a statement.
In Duterte’s press conference held at early morning as he arrived from China today, Oct. 22, the President said: “I will try to talk to the police, invite them for coffee. And I will talk to activists. I would like to know what really happened. I will do the questioning myself.”
Malayao said it was ironic that Duterte mentioned in the press conference that he did not like police men bearing long firearms in rallies, because the SWAT teams at the US embassy protest toted high-powered firearms.
“The President really needs to be given a full view of what transpired, as it is apparent that he has been given limited information on the incident,” she said.