By JUSTIN UMALI
MANILA – In response to the Duterte administration’s failure to defend Philippine national sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, progressive groups staged a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Makati City, July 20.
The delegation was led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan–Southern Tagalog (Bayan-ST) as part of the region’s Daluyong 2019 protest caravan building up to the United People’s SONA on July 22.
Speakers from various groups condemned Duterte’s pro-China policies, particularly his insistence that the July 11 incident between 22 fishermen from Occidental Mindoro and a Chinese vessel was “minor” accident and that nothing could be done against China.
Eddie Billones, spokesperson for the Kapisanan ng Magsasaka sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), said in his speech in Filipino, “Duterte downplays the issue of our fishermen, because he thinks little of his fellow Filipinos. He treats even the constitution as just toilet paper.” “But we know what the multitude can do. They can topple anybody.”
The groups also condemned the continuation of the Kaliwa-Kanan Dam in Quezon and Duterte’s “gentleman’s agreement” with the Chinese on fishing in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.
Casey Cruz, BAYAN-ST spokesperson, said, “The true Filipino will not let foreigners claim our country. The true Filipino will take care of our sovereignty.” Cruz called Duterte a “dog with two masters”, referring to the president’s subservience to both the United States and China.
“It is time for the people to unite and assert what is rightfully ours! Fight for our sovereignty and remove the traitorous dog from the Palace!” Cruz said.