Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Arroyo deserts people for company of US masters

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) has incensed the Filipino people by leading a junket to the US whilst the nation recovers from a lashing by wild storms.

Whilst the people grieve for their dead and the prices of food and oil skyrocket, Arroyo’s priority has been to get to the US for further orders from her masters.

However, Filipino-American RATs or "Rapid Action Teams" will scour the streets of the cities she visits to harass her “garbage regime”.

Arroyo and her entourage, which included at least 59 loyal congressmen, left for the US on Saturday even as Typhoon Fengshen was battering a large area of the Philippines.

Heidi Laurel, 21, whose parents and five brothers and sisters were among the missing in the sunken Princess of the Stars (right), was screaming the name of Arroyo as she desperately pleaded for information about her family.

'Where is President Arroyo? We need you here now. Where are you?' she screamed after security guards at Sulpicio Lines, the shipping company that owns of the ill-fated ferry, prevented her from entering the office.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, lambasted the visit for its insensitivity to the plight of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Fengshen.

'In the face of the exaggerated and expensive trip of more than 60 of our national leadership to the United States for more than a week, how can we talk of austerity and frugality in spending the people's taxes, knowing for whom they must be urgently applied in times of great calamity,' he said.

'The insensitivity of Gloria shows much too much,' the opposition newspaper the Daily Tribune said in its editorial.

'Not even a typhoon that lashed the Philippines, with thousands rendered homeless ... causing the rapid sinking of a ship where hundreds went missing, with many dead, were enough reasons for Gloria Arroyo to cut off her working trip to the United States to meet for a few minutes an American lame duck president,' it added.

(The actions of a US puppet like Arroyo stand in stark contrast to the actions of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who immediately travelled to the earthquake-devestated Sichuan Province to personally console victims and to deal with problems as they arose.)
BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth denounced Arroyo’s visit. Chito Quijano, Chairperson of BAYAN USA said, ”The US-Arroyo administration is the Bubonic plague of the Filipino people, and we must rid ourselves of this pestilence. Our families in the Philippines are suffering because of this US-Arroyo administration that is rotten to the core.". BAYAN USA first launched RAT actions against Arroyo during her 2005 visit to the United Nations in New York.

"The pinnacle of Arroyo's US visit will be her meeting at the White House with Bush and members of his Cabinet on June 24th, where she will further undermine Philippine sovereignty in exchange for US military-backing," said Quijano. US military presence in the Philippines will be a key agenda in the Bush-Arroyo meeting not just because of the "War on Terror," but also because of US economic interests in the region.

This past February, US military were involved in the massacre of innocent civilians in Sulu. Just recently the US oil company, Exxon-Mobil, announced that it would be doing oil exploration off Sulu.

Quijano also stated, "Arroyo's appalling record of human rights violations continues to worsen as people are still being extra-judicially killed or disappeared and Arroyo's death squads and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are still the main suspects at large." Based on data from Karapatan, there have been a total of 903 extrajudicial killings and 193 enforced disappearances since Arroyo came to power in 2001. "This White House meeting between Bush, the world's number-one war criminal, and his number-one puppet, Arroyo, can lead only to plans of more human rights violations and attacks on civil liberties and democracy," concluded Quijano.

RAT actions are planned for Washington, with follow-up RAT attacks in New York on June 26 and in Los Angeles

Washington, DC-based group Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights in the Philippines, will be doing an action themed "Airing the President's Dirty Laundry" on June 25 at 6pm in front of the Willard Hotel. Participants in the action will be holding a ten foot puppet of GMA whose arms will act as clotheslines bearing symbols of some of the President's most unpopular and not so secret legacies—extrajudical killings, rampant corruption, rice shortage and rising cost of very basic needs.

RATs and their supporters will be uniting behind these demands:

Control the Prices of Rice, Gas, and Basic Necessities!

Stop the Killings & Enforced Abductions in the Philippines!

No to U.S. Military Aid to the Philippines!

No to Labor Export Policy!

End Political Corruption!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First the socialist ‘iron rice bowl” was taken away.

In a socialist China why is it now IMPOSSIBLE for the ordinary working people to make or preserve the value of their real savings by even putting their money in a state bank ?


Did not this force people into speculative investment in capitalism, its share and property markets, simply to try and preserve the labour created value of their own labour?

In the past year the working people who were FORCED in this way to withdraw their life savings from the banks and invest on the share markets have lost 50% of the value of these shares and therefore their savings (plus inflation losses)

This is a massive transfer of real wealth from the poor to the rich.

What is the material reality, the weals and woes of the people of China under capitalism, or great harmony and stability and growth under socialism?

This is a huge mass robbery of the working people’s savings - you recently personally observed this growing poverty creation firsthand.