By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA – Youth and student activists slipped past heavy police security yesterday afternoon, Nov. 11, and held a lightning protest in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), one of the venues for ASEAN 2017 summit.
Some three dozen protesters led by Anakbayan managed to gather inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, amid police security for the Asean and for United States President Donald Trump who is set to arrive in the country today, Nov. 12.
Earlier in the morning, hundreds of protesters led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) headed to the US embassy along Roxas Boulevard but were blocked by anti-riot police along Kalaw avenue. The rallies were part of the “Ban Trump” series of protests in time for the Asean summit.
Einstein Recedes, Anakbayan secretary general, likened Duterte to the traitor Judas for selling out the Philippines to US imperialism and allowing them to retain military presence in the country through joint military exercises and the building of military bases through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).
“Duterte is selling out the Philippines to his US imperialist lord Trump as well as to rising imperialist powers like China and Russia. We call on the Filipino people and youth to join protests during the ASEAN 2017 and stand for our national sovereignty and end imperialist domination of our land,” Recedes said in a statement.
In the morning protest, President Duterte’s fellow Mindanaoans – residents of war-torn Marawi City, Lumads, and peasants – traveled all the way from Mindanao to condemn the support of the US in Duterte’s all-out-war.
Jerome Succor Aba of Suara Bangsamoro said the involvement of the US in operations during the 2015 botched Mamasapano operations and the Marawi crisis are questionable. Progressive groups have alleged the participation of US military forces in combat operations, specially when these were targeting suspects in the US “terror list.” The US embassy claim they only extended technical support.
“We will not fail our ancestors who have historically resisted foreign aggressors and defended the land of Mindanao,” Aba said in a statement.
Lumad leaders also condemned Duterte’s war against the Moros, and for declaring that Lumad schools are illegal and should be bombed. Mindanao peasants were also the ones most targeted by political killings, with more than half of the 91 victims killed in the island. Twenty victims were from Compostella Valley, is now dubbed the “valley of death”.
“The US imperialist is the number one terrorist in the world that instigated the wars of aggression against the nations hostile to its economic, military, and political interests. The East Asian Summit which promotes and strengthens trade liberalization in the Asia Pacific Region has nothing to offer but suffering, death, destruction, and poverty of the Filipino people,” Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of BAYAN Mindanao, said.