Fil-Americans picketed the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles June 20 to call for the immediate ouster of embattled President Macapagal-Arroyo.
by Angel Buensuceso
Contributed to Bulatlat
Los Angeles, California – More than 30 Filipino protesters picketed the Philippine Consulate at noon June 30, calling for the ouster of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Holding placards and two effigies – one of Uncle Sam and one of Macapagal-Arroyo, the protesters played the now famous “Hello Garci” ringtones on the loudspeaker and afterwards, held a peaceful program on the sidewalk.
Initiators Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) USA-Southern California, Anakbayan (nation’s youth) Los Angeles and Habi Arts passed out a statement calling on the Filipino community and all concerned peoples to demand “an end to state terrorism” in the Philippines, U.S. military aid and training paid by U.S. taxpayer dollars and the “immediate removal of U.S.-backed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office for dereliction of her duties in serving the Filipino people.”
Sorry is not enough
Despite Macapagal-Arroyo’s recent apology for her alleged “lapse in judgment” regarding the “Gloriagate” tapes that implicates her in electoral fraud, Bayan USA still demands for her resignation. Bayan USA is the only overseas chapter of the Philippine-based alliance.
Melissa Roxas, spokesperson of Bayan USA-Southern California, said “Sorry is not enough. An apology without her resignation falls short of what the Filipino people demand; it falls short of justice. Resignation does not seem to be one of her options, therefore, she should be ousted. Filipinos here in America, along with other progressive people, should support the Filipino people in this struggle.”
U.S. taxpayer-funded state terrorism
The protesters, mainly composed of Filipino immigrants and American citizens of Filipino descent, also included a number of non-Filipino supporters from different ethnic groups. Their common ground is that they pay taxes to the U.S. government, which in turn provides loans and grants to developing countries overseas, including the Philippines.
Bev Tang, an organizer of Anakbayan Los Angeles, answers why Americans should find out more about state terrorism in the Philippines:
“The Philippine AidWatch Network reports that between the year 2000 and 2003, U.S. military loans and grants for the Philippines grew by an astonishing 1,776 percent. The Bush administration is also asking the U.S. Congress to increase U.S. military assistance to the Philippines from $65 million last year to $80 million this year.”
“They cut funding for social services here in America so that they can fund the Philippine military and police who torture and kill journalists, priests, human rights advocates… They cut the budget on education here in the U.S. so that they can give more money to repressive states such as the GMA regime under the auspices of the War on Terror,” Tang said.
The Philippine Consulate also released a short statement regarding corruption and election fraud charges against Macapagal-Arroyo. It said the president already explained herself and that Filipinos must now “move on and forward” for a “stronger economy.”
On the other hand, Bayan USA blames the Macapagal-Arroyo administration itself for the economic hardship caused by its “economic policies that favor local and foreign big business interests.” It believes that the economic crisis battering the country is directly related to U.S. imperialism and policies of globalization dictated upon Macapagal-Arroyo’s “puppet” government.
“Out of these two effigies, only one of them is a puppet,” joked one of the protesters. Bulatlat