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Volume 2, Number 1                   February 10 - 16,  2002           Quezon City, Philippines

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President Arroyo Should Go Back to School' --- UP RAGE

A new UP-based alliance against the Balikatan 02-1 urges President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to relearn and unlearn the country’s history of US-RP military relations. If she does not, then she will learn her lesson the hard way.


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should go back to the University of the Philippines (UP) to relearn and unlearn the complexity of Philippine society.

In a press conference last February 9, the newly formed alliance UP Rage Against US Aggression (UP RAGE) issued this call as President Arroyo branded those who are against the Balikatan 02-1 military exercise as “protectors of terrorists, partners of murderers and lovers of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf.”

“It is unfortunate that President Arroyo, a former UP economics professor, is not fully aware of the long history of US aggression,” UP RAGE member Danilo Arao (UP Journalism Department) said. “This could explain why she sees the US as a friendly country instead of a dangerous enemy.”

He stressed that at present, the choice is not between US military support and the Abu Sayyaf. “One only needs to look at the past to realize that both have wreaked havoc on the people’s lives and livelihood,” he said.

UP RAGE convenor Dr. Roland Tolentino (UP Film Department) said that the President’s adventurism “has placed the country in treacherous waters.” He denounced the prevailing culture of mendicancy, which he said “provokes the acceptance of a culture of war and aggression, colonial mentality and maldevelopment.”

Another UP RAGE convenor, Rommel Romato (UP Student Council) explained, “If President Arroyo refuses to understand the lessons of the past, then she will learn her lesson the hard way as anti-Balikatan protests escalate in the coming days.”

UP RAGE reminded President Arroyo that UP students, faculty, research and extension personnel (REPS), employees and alumni were part of the movement against the stay of the US military bases in the country which culminated in the historic Senate voting against the extension of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement (MBA) on September 16, 1991.

The new UP alliance also argued that its current members and supporters also “campaigned against the Visiting Forces Agreement which the Senate unfortunately ratified on May 27, 1999. Our collective rage echoed not only within the UP campus but also in the streets leading to the Philippine Senate.”

Consistent with past actions, UP students, faculty, REPS, employees and alumni have also declared their commitment to continue the fight against US aggression in the country by opposing Balikatan 02-1.

In its founding assembly last February 5, UP RAGE declared: “We oppose Balikatan 02-1 since the more than 600 American troops and thousands of Filipino soldiers will use live ammunition in Mindanao, an actual combat zone. Balikatan 02-1 has real targets: the Abu Sayyaf and other groups labeled as “terrorists” by the United States.”

UP RAGE also said that the Balikatan is “an external military aggression and a violation of Philippine sovereignty. It is an intervention into the internal affairs of the country.”

The convenors of this newly formed alliance are Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera (Arts and Letters), Dr. Mel Luna (Social Work and Community Development), Dr. Roland Tolentino (Mass Communication), Rommel Romato (UP Student Council), JPaul Manzanilla (Student Regent) and Clodualdo Cabrera (All-UP Workers Union). Bulatlat.com

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