November 13, 2017
Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan led a march today towards the Philippine International Convention Center, the venue of the ASEAN Summit and related events, on the day US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte were set to hold a bilateral meeting. It is the fifth day of protest actions in the Philippines against Trump.
Bayan unveiled a 13-foot tall effigy of Trump with Duterte at his side. The protest art was put together wp artist group Ugat Lahi and features Trump with four arms shaped into a swastika symbol. In his own country, Trump has been described as a fascist and has been blamed for the rise of neo-Nazi groups. The Trump effigy’s four rotating arms show different symbols of US war and plunder. Behind Trump’s legs stood Duterte.
“The Trump-Duterte meeting signals the continuation of the lopsided and oppressive US-PH relations. It is a grotesque fascist fest between an imperialist master and its neocolonial underling. We denounce Trump’s agenda of war and economic liberalization. We oppose Duterte’s subservience to US dictates,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Trump’s importance for Duterte is apparent even during the ASEAN gala dinner, where Trump was seated beside Duterte who is host and ASEAN chair, even if the US is not an ASEAN member. It is a reminder to all that the US will remain top dog in this part of the world, in classic imperialist fashion,” Reyes added.
Bayan opposes the US war provocations in North Korea and believes that the existing Philippine military agreements with the US may be used to drag the Philippines in the conflict. The US has sought the return of military bases in the Philippines through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The militant group also opposes proposals for a named-operation wp US forces in Southern Philippines as part of the so-called “war on terror”. “The US is using ISIS as pretext to justify its permanent military presence in the country. However, the US itself is to blame for the rise of ISIS because of US efforts to destabilize the Middle East. In 2002, the US also used the Al Qaeda threat to justify its incursions in Mindanao. The ‘war on terror’ has long been discredited worldwide,” Reyes said.
“Trump will likely ramp up US military assistance to the Philippines despite its dismal human rights record. The US will also look to get a slice of the pie in the lucrative Marawi reconstruction as big corporations line up to reshape the city along big business interests. In exchange for this support, we expect Duterte to allow greater US military presence in the Philippines in the guise of fighting ISIS,” Reyes said.
The Duterte government has been heavily criticized worldwide for its brutal “war on drugs”. ###
*Photo from Rappler