By admin Published: April 26, 2014
US-based hardline outfits protest against Obama’s Philippine visit
Protests in the Philippines by certain agitating groups will be joined by militant groups in the US and other countries against the visit of US President Barack Obama this coming week.
The militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Saturday that two-day protests have been planned.
Bayan, which is planning its own two-day protest action, said at least 20 US-based organizations allied with it were to start the protests on Friday (US time).
The basic reason for the protest is explained by Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr as: “The groups all oppose the US military pivot to Asia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). We’d also like to remind the Aquino regime that just because a US president is coming does not mean our Constitutional rights will be diminished. Obama’s arrival does not mean our rights as Filipinos, including the right to protest, can be curtailed.”
It gave out the long list of organizations – with somewhat diverse agenda – that would join the protest in the US.
They are: Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Tomos Somos Japon, Viet Roots, Taiwan is Not 4 Sale, Trade Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, United National Anti-War Coalition, Grassroots Global Justice, International Action Center, American Friends Service Committee, Chinese Progressive Association, Critical Resistance, HOBAK-Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans, New Priorities Campaign, OccupySF Action Council, Women for Genuine Security, Union of progressive Iranians, Union del Barrio and Long Beach Area Peace Network, GMA News has reported.
The US-based protests started April 25 in New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
On the other hand, the group said it is coordinating with groups from Japan and South Korea for “continued protests” against plans to increase US bases and troop presence in the region.
Bayan says the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) has been virtually railroaded, making it a de facto basing pact that signals a second US military occupation. The TPPA, Bayan said, will lead to amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the “removal of any protection for the domestic economy.”
“As Filipinos, we have to be critical of the US agenda in the region. We do not want to be pawns in the US power play in Asia. We do not want to be used for US bases and troops and be a staging ground for US intervention. We do not want the US simply taking advantage of the dispute with China and giving false promises of aid just so the US can justify the return of its bases in the Philippines. And we do not want another free trade agreement that aims to change the Constitution and bleed the economy dry,” said Bayan.
These protests would be reflected in the Philippines, Bayan said, by its allies, including a protest march to the former US air force base in Clark, Pampanga.
It was revealed that marches will be held across Mindanao where US troops have been stationed since 2002.”Groups from Southern Tagalog are also expected to troop to Metro Manila,” it said.
Protests are being planned in Manila too, at the Liwasang Bonifacio on Monday before marching to the historic Mendiola bridge near Malacañang, where they will hold a program with an effigy of a “puppet” President Benigno Aquino III dragging an effigy Obama on a chariot.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño talked about the alleged lack of transparency in drafting the AEDC, which he said may be signed next week by the US and Philippines.
He observed: “By making this an executive agreement not requiring Senate concurrence, the Philippine government has assured that details of the pact will remain a secret until the day it is signed. The people are deliberately being kept in the dark. We are being given assurances only through press conferences by negotiators, but there is really nothing we can scrutinize.”