Stop Aid to
Arroyo, Filipinos Ask Canadian Gov’t
Filipinos in Canada
joined their compatriots in the Philippines in calling for President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation last week. They are also asking the
Canadian government to stop giving aid to the Arroyo government.
By the Kapituko – GMA Resign Movement
Posted by Bulatlat
- On the day embattled Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave
her yearly State of the Nation Address (SONA), Filipinos in
and Montreal braved the sweltering heat of +35-degree Canadian summer to
deliver a hotter message – her immediate resignation.
They also asked the
Canadian government to stop giving its Official Development Assistance (ODA)
to the Arroyo government.
Here in Toronto,
Filipinos with young children and grandparents in tow waved banners and
placards in front of the Philippine Consulate on Eglinton Avenue East in
solidarity with the worldwide call for the resignation of Arroyo.
Speakers from various
sectors lambasted what they call the U.S.-Macapagal-Arroyo fascist regime
and demanded Arroyo’s resignation. They also called for an end to the
spate of killings of political leaders, journalists, priests, ministers
and church leaders, workers, peasants, judges, lawyers and people critical
of her administration’s policies.
government’s political crisis had been simmering for years as the Filipino
people realized that, as alleged, Arroyo and her husband are in the take
from the proceeds of illegal numbers game or jueteng – an issue that
brought the downfall of Arroyo’s predecessor, Joseph Estrada through
people power uprising in January 2001.
The crisis had been
aggravated by increasing poverty, unemployment, military atrocities
committed by the military and paramilitary forces against the civilian
populace under the guise of counter-terrorism as well as killings and
human rights violations.
scandal has sparked and fuelled protests and brought the political crisis
to a boiling point. At the same time, as various polls painted her as the
most unpopular and the worst president in Philippine history, the
“Gloriagate” expose’ and Arroyo’s virtual admission of involvement in the
electoral fraud have heightened the people’s clamor for her immediate
Joy Sioson of the
Philippine Women’s Centre–Toronto said the people’s outrage can no longer
be contained over Arroyo’s cheating in the 2004 elections, subservience to
the dictates of U.S. imperialism, militarization of the whole country and
the unabated murders of opposition leaders and anti-administration
Mithi Esguerra of
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada (UKPC) also said already, there
were 47 deaths due to assassinations and summary execution since November
2004 to March 2005. Many of the victims are from Bayan Muna and Anakpawis,
both political parties that won seats in the House of Representatives.
Other victims include leaders and members of people’s organizations and
cause-oriented groups that were critical of her policies.
“In view of all
these, we ask that all Canadian aid to the Philippines used by the Arroyo
administration for counter-insurgency and the dubious ‘war on terror’ be
cut off since these have been used to commit many grave human rights
violations,” Esguerra said. “We also ask that the members of the AFP and
police who are responsible for these violations be held accountable and
brought to justice. The GMA administration must indemnify all victims of
these military atrocities.”
Iggy Manlangit of
North York Filipino Association urged Filipinos to unite in the struggle
to protect and uphold human rights in the Philippines. Arroyo, he said,
should resign immediately to allow a new breed of Filipinos to run the
country. The days of corrupt, autocratic and dictatorial political leaders
must come to an end so that the socio- political and economic life of
Filipinos can progress.
Edwin Mercurio, a
Toronto freelance writer and former Philippine journalist, held Arroyo
accountable for the unmitigated killings of media practitioners.
“The rising death
toll suffered of Filipino journalists is abhorrent, scandalous and is a
savage attack on Press Freedom,” Mercurio said. “Today, the Philippines is
the most dangerous place in the world for media practitioners surpassing
India, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico and second only to war-ravaged and
US-occupied country, Iraq.”
“We are witnessing
the assassination of journalists under the murderous, graft-ridden,
fascist and U.S. puppet Mrs. Gloria-Macapagal-Arroyo,” Mercurio also said.
Terry Olayta of the
Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) scored Arroyo for using the
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) fund during her election
campaigns. She added that the administration’s lack of assistance for
overseas workers facing abuse, exploitation and persecution abroad and
continuing rights violations are enough reasons for Arroyo to resign.
also said they are tired of the Philippine-style ‘Rigodon’ politics and do
not believe that fundamental changes would come out of the U.S.-Ramos
sponsored Charter Change or “Cha-Cha.” They want to see a government that
truly reflects the aspirations of the Filipino people, where there is
social justice, genuine economic reforms, righteousness, transparency and
accountability – a Philippines free from imperialistic control by foreign
countries and a sovereign nation where there is lasting peace and
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION ■
© 2004 Bulatlat
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