“Duterte has been in office for a year, and yet we can see no sign that he will not be subservient to Americans.”
By CHARIS MAE RIVERA
MANILA- To commemorate Independence Day, progressive groups marched last June 12 to fight for sovereignty, human rights and peace.
Amid the Duterte administration’s seeming backtracking on its independent foreign policy, the groups protested what they called foreign intervention of the two superpowers, United States and China.
Gathering at Makati Central Fire Station in Makati City in the morning, protesters then marched towards the Chinese Embassy along Gil Puyat avenue in Makati, chanting “China Layas, atin ang Pinas, “PH not for Sale, we are not for Sale.”
Speaking at the program in front of the Chinese consulate, P1nas spokesperson, Teddy Casiño said President Duterte’s strong stance against foreign intervention has seemingly softened.
“Duterte has been in office for a year, and yet we can see no sign that he will not be subservient to Americans. Aside from cursing (former US President) Barrack Obama, we do not see his resistance against the imperialist America,” Casiño stated.
Casiño even likened Duterte to the biblical Judas Iscariot, for accepting loans and Official Development Aid from China.
Binenta po ni Duterte ang soberanya ng bansa for 30 billion pieces of gold na galing sa Tsina (Duterte sold the sovereignty of the country for 30 billion pieces of gold from China),” he said.
Fernando Hicap, national chair of Pamalakaya, lambasted China for violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which recognizes the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as within Philippine waters.
Hicap said that even though China has no basis for its historical claim, it has continued its aggression in the West Philippine Sea with its naval force. Since 2012, China has kept away Filipino fisher folk in the area, depriving the country of almost 5,000 metric tons of fish every year. Hicap said some 50 billion metric tons of fish products is produced in the West Philippine Sea every year, and it is the source of 20 percent of the country’s seafood.
Benjie Valbuena, national chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said there is no reason to celebrate Philippine’ Independence Day because it is “false independence.”
“The American colonizers have left, but the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asia Pacific Economic Council and World Trade Organization are still there. Up to now, we have no sovereignty,” he said.
Valbuena also denounced how China remains arrogant despite the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, rejecting its claims in the West Philippine Sea. He said that China and US are competing over Philippine natural resources for their own economy and sustainability, which should primarily benefit the people. “If the Filipino people will use and nurture these resources, there won’t be any poor and there won’t be squatters in our own country,” he said.
“Walang interes and gobyernong Duterte sa soberenya ng Pilipinas (The Duterte administration is not interested in asserting Philippine sovereignty),” he stated.
Valbuena stated that China, through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),
takes advantage of the Philippines by globalization.
Feny Cosico, secretary general of the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham), said through RCEP, China will be in charge of major projects, such as reclamation projects, in Luzon and different parts of the Philippines. China, as a rising imperialist country, is increasing its hold over the Philippines’ military, economy and politics.
“We have to remember that China pushed for industrialization to develop itself. China must respect that we are promoting our own national industrialization, and we are working hard to launch our own industry. Not China nor the US nor Australia can determine the welfare and interest of the people,” she said.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate, focusing on the armed conflict in Marawi City, said lamented that President Duterte claimed he did not know about the involvement of US military troops in in the operations. He said it is clear that the Duterte administration is not doing anything to stop America from meddling in Philippine affairs.
The rallyists went on a caravan to Plaza Salamanca in Manila, then marched to the US Embassy.
Related story: June 12 | Protesters want US troops out of PH