The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) today announced that weeklong protests are being readied in time for the arrival of US President Barack Obama and the participants of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders Meeting this November.
Bayan also warned the Aquino government from undertaking repressive measures that aim to suppress criticism of the annual economic meeting.
“The APEC meeting is the Aquino government’s last hurrah. It is a chance for it to showcase its so-called achievements. The regime will again hide the poor street dwellers, hide the traffic problems and window-dress economic figures to fit the narrative of inclusive growth under the ‘daang matuwid’. The protest actions are the people’s counterpoint to the lies and deception of the Philippine government,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Some 19 years after we first hosted, we remain an underdeveloped country with worsening unemployment, depressed wages, increased migration and gross economic inequality. The policies embodied by APEC have not developed the Philippine economy. Quite the opposite, the neoliberal policies articulated by APEC have severely damaged our domestic economy,” Reyes said.
The group said that wherever you may be from November 17 to 20, you will surely be “APECtado” because of the security arrangements that have been put in place by the Philippine government. “From the security measures to the actual economic policies that APEC promotes, people will definitely be affected. The Philippine government is pandering to foreign leaders will failing to address the most basic economic issues such as jobs, wages, mass transport, land reform, industrialization,” Reyes said.
The umbrella group slammed Malacanang’s efforts to whitewash poverty and other social realities in the country. In particular, it decried Malacanang’s insistence that the Lumad camp in Liwasang Bonifacio be removed after November 12.
“The City of Manila is under extreme pressure from the Palace to remove the Lumad camp-out in Liwasang Bonifacio. After being displaced from their communities in Mindanao, the Lumad now face eviction from their protest camp in Manila. Such is the heartlessness of the Aquino regime,” Reyes said.
“We remind the Aquino government that just because foreign leaders are here, it doesn’t mean that the Constitution is suspended. APEC does not give Aquino the power to arbitrarily suppress freedom of expression and right to assembly,” Reyes added.
Protesters from Mindanao arrived less than a month before the APEC summit. Other participants from Northern and Central Luzon are expected to also converge in Manila. Marches, camp-outs and international conferences are being organized by Bayan through the People’s Campaign Against Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG), which will be the people’s counter-APEC center.