Toronto Filipino youth group’s 114th PH Independence Day message

June 2012

On the occasion of the 114th Philippine ‘Independence Day’, ANAKBAYAN-Toronto stands firmly with Filipino people in opposing the US military presence and intervention in the Philippines. Their entrance through the Balikatan, the joint military exercise between the Philippines and United States implemented this year is a farce of true Philippine sovereignty. Anakbayan Toronto rallies for the removal of US troops now!

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The US military have become a permanent fixture in the Philippines. Even more so with Noynoy in Washington agreeing to let the country be used as a storage facility for its drones, troops and deadly artilleries and as an experiment lab for military offenses in Mindanao. It was made clear by the masses through the Senate’s decision in 1991 to ban all US bases that, Filipinos no longer want to be part of the US military complex. Their presence in the country has not served the country well.

US intervention has transformed the Philippines into a warmonger nation seeking violent confrontation which are unnecessary and destructive against the Moro people of the Philippines, other fellow Filipinos and against Asian nations. The tension between Asian neighbours regarding maritime and territorial dispute is further heightened by US military presence in the Pacific making it difficult to reach a peaceful pact between China and the Philippines. But most importantly the militarization of the Philippines is a backward development which disregards the interests and the lives of the Filipino people. It is a fact that the positive consequences of US intervention do not outweigh the negatives.

The current record for human rights violation by the Philippine military has put 1,280 for murdered, 215 abductions and 1,150 of tortured civilians since 2001 when the government began implementing the US counterinsurgency project against extreme Islamist groups. But the project has since been diversified in targeting government oppositions, human rights advocates and community leaders, journalists and other governemnt critics.  News of kill drones in the southern part of Mindanao has already made headlines killing 15 and leaving the indigenous Tausug community in despair. Such US sanctioned violent acts not only further complicates the government’s relationship with the various sectors of Philippine society but damages the reconciliation process.

Under Oplan Bayanihan where promises of school and other development projects are enticing to the impoverished Filipino communities, the military presence have actually interrupted the social and school life of these communities where its resources are rerouted to ensure the comfort of the troops. But the more disturbing fact is that Balikatan development projects are reconnaissance project for the Philippine and US military to be used against the communities themselves.

Cases of prostitution, rape, sexual abuses are also severe symptoms of military presence. Red light districts where the majority of workers are women and children but who as sex workers are prone to sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases flourish where there are US troops . Not only that, since the closing of the US bases and the constant stream of military men through VFA, around 52,000 Amerasian sons and daughters of US GI men are left with their Filipino mothers to face poverty, discrimination and hardship without any support from the American fathers or the US government.

No doubt that these and other cases of human rights violation will only increase with the US military presence in the Philippines.

Anakbayan Toronto opposes US military presence because it interferes with and violates Philippine sovereignty and independence while leaving the Philippines to pick up the laid wastes left behind by the actions done through US intervention. True Philippine development and independence does not interest the US. We recognize the true intention of their presence is to consolidate US hegemonic interest in the Pacific and only use the Philippines as a key military asset. But we will not be bullied!

We ask our kababayans in Canada along with our friends and allies to join our voices with the Filipino people in demanding an abrogation of the VFA and the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Philippines.

Stop US intervention in the Philippines!
Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!
Uphold genuine Philippine independence! 

Reference:
Althea Balmes
anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

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AB-T Solidarity Statement on the Quebec Student Movement

Reference: Ysh Cabana
E-mail: anakbayan.toronto@gmail.com

ANAKBAYAN-Toronto stands in support of the students, youth and public protests, which started in the province Québec and has a growing following across Canada. We extend our strongest solidarity to the student unions against the proposal to a sharp tuition fee increase of nearly 80% over the next five years.

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We echo the call of the people in articulating the ideals of public responsibility for education, equal access to quality education for all members of society and the right of students to participate in the collective building of their institutions against the strict conditions set forth by the government of Jean Charest.

The Quebec situation is not a fluke but an important part of the struggle of a global movement against an embattled future (environmental, economic, cultural). Massive student mobilizations have sprung up from Chile, Colombia, Brazil, UK, Spain, the US, to the Philippines and elsewhere.

Considering Canada’s political perspective, budget expenditures are characterized by priorities on tax cuts for the wealthy few and the withdrawal of portion of public funding for post-secondary education. Student debt for low-income students has soared as a result of double-digit fee increases. As if these working hard to peter out their burden would be enough no matter how profitable they are, education is commodified so youth would be declassified as the salaried bourgeoisie (if there are jobs at all with the grim prospect after graduation) to fall under the same tactics of exploitation. The issue is not just about tuition fee increase. That’s the same reason why the ruling class are opposing the students strike. That’s the same reason why propaganda campaigns are launched to denounce and demonize the students and their dissent, using whatever means necessary.

By the same token is Bill 78 is utilized to brutally crack down the monumental student strike. At its widest, the movement has mobilized over 300,000 in action. The marches have endured kettling and mounting pressure from the police. This law curtails the fundamental freedom of the citizens at large to assemble, express and demonstrate. It even goes beyond by punishing public expression of support for the demonstrations and by giving the police the power to decide whether a strike action is legal or illegal. This repressive measure has gripped Quebec ever since it was enacted.

We recognize that this crisis has similarly been happening in the Philippines. As classes have opened for this academic year, students are faced with unabated tuition fee hike and the implementation of the new K to 12 curriculum. For students, this means additional two years worth of schooling. For parents, an incessant race in sending their kids to school means additional costs. For the schools, this exacerbates an education already depleted of general content and consistent lack of equipment. For the country, it props up the neoliberal policy of the government towards a commercialized and colonial system, the same system which has a long history favorable to imperialist foreign interests, instead of gearing towards national development.

But if we want to put ourselves in the best position to win, the decision means that our goal should not be allowed to dissipate into mere rhetoric. This means spreading more active than ever the essence of pinning or using as a graphic symbol the red square felt everywhere. From 2005 when the idea of debt (“carrément dans la rouge” translated as “squarely in debt”) is cleverly thought of until the recent public pots and pans protest, we continue to draw important lessons from Quebec’s history of sustained political consciousness and collective organizing.

We must not only refute the tuition fee hike but also reaffirm that education in its very essence must foster critical public pedagogy.

Solidarity to student movements across the world!

Struggle for free and emancipatory education for all! Jusqu’a la victoire!