Monday, July 27, 2009

People's SONA in British Columbia: Filipinos raise voices in opposition to Philippine President

The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights and MIGRANTE B.C. combine its collective voices in opposition to the State of the Nation (SONA) address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her devilish scheme to perpetuate herself in power well beyond 2010.

As overseas organizations of Filipino migrants and immigrants and human rights advocates in Canada, we closely follow the developments in the Philippines. We are well aware that the Arroyo regime has kept the Philippines in an ever worsening political and economic crisis; that it continues to wage a counter-insurgency campaign against its own people and that it does not care that it has a notorious human rights record that has claimed more victims and spawned more intensive militarization than any of her predecessors; and that it has made a name for itself in corruption schemes that benefit the her First Family, her cronies and her loyal allies in the Legislature.

President Arroyo’s evil plan to stay in power is strongly reminiscent of the maneuvers of the late dictator Marcos to stay in Malacanang well beyond the two-Presidential term limits and his eventual declaration of Martial Law. Arroyo’s plan in her desperate fight for political survival is already in place with the swift passage of House Resolution 1109 that would call for a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), which in turn will move for changes in the Philippine Constitution, also known as Charter Change (Cha-Cha). As early as her SONA in 2005, Arroyo already made public her preference for Charter Change and for a parliamentary form of government.

The grand scenario would then involve the transition to a parliamentary form of government making it possible for Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, who will most likely run for and win as Representative of her district in Pampanga in the 2010 elections, to run for Prime Minister. Under a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister is not directly elected by the people but is chosen by the majority party in the legislature. There are no term limits for Prime Minister so Gloria Arroyo can stay strapped to the seat of power and run the Philippines until she is bald and toothless.

Arroyo’s survival plan also ensures that she enjoys immunity, and thus protected from any lawsuit that will certainly come from the families and relatives of those who have been killed, disappeared, detained, tortured, and displaced by her forces of terror.

And if her political schemes do not work, there is nothing to prevent Arroyo from declaring the country under martial rule or emergency rule which also gives her insurance to stay in power, surrounded by her army and her principal supporter, the United States government.

Let this be her last SONA, her farewell to a people who would oust and replace her if she does not step down willingly. Arroyo believes the myths that she peddles to the public and refuses to see that in the last nine years, the people have seen record joblessness, falling household incomes, increasing poverty, fiscal crisis, unprecedented debt and debt service, social service cutbacks, increasing landlessness, and deeper Philippine underdevelopment. She continues to peddle Filipino men and women to work abroad with no regard for their protection but only mindful of their remittances that prop up her shaky economy. She has wantonly sold the country’s national patrimony and national sovereignty to foreign and imperialist ownership, interests and profits.

Arroyo has not learned the lessons of history. The people’s protests that are fueled by poverty, resistance, desire for human dignity, nationalism and a genuine desire for comprehensive change in society grow bigger and bigger each time. These will be the most decisive factors that will dictate the course of events in the coming months.

It is the march of the people in the streets and in the countrysides which will prevail, not the nefarious dance of the Cha-Cha or the evil spectre of Martial Rule.###

Vancouver, Canada

July 27, 2009

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