Friday, June 12, 2015

13 Independence Day protesters nabbed in Cavite

From the Website of INQUIRER

13 Independence Day protesters nabbed in Cavite

ROSARIO, Cavite – Thirteen members of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (Bayan-ST) were arrested after conducting a “lightning rally” at the historical Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite during the 117th Independence Day commemoration on Friday morning.

Nestor Villanueva, a peasant leader who spoke on behalf of Bayan, said the 13 protesters, among them students from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, were arrested by the police.

He said those arrested were able to sneak into the compound of the Aguinaldo Shrine, where the main Independence Day program was held around 8 a.m.
The rest of the rallyists stayed outside the shrine.

The militants began their “lightning rally,” a form of protest but done by a smaller group in a very swift manner, as Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo was starting to deliver her Independence Day speech.

Robredo was the event’s guest of honor and speaker.

Although the protesters briefly disrupted the program, the police were able to whisk them away, allowing the 45-minute celebration to push toward its end.

Villanueva could not immediately give the names of those arrested, who remained at the Kawit police station for charges of illegal assembly.


How to mark 117 years of freedom, according to Aquino, Fil-Ams in US

LONG MAY IT WAVE  Members of the Philippine Army practice raising a huge Philippine flag at Rizal Park in Manila on Thursday as part of preparations for Friday’s 117th Independence Day celebration. Departing from tradition, this year’s Independence Day ceremonies will be held in Iloilo’s Sta. Barbara town, where the Philippine flag was first raised outside of Luzon to inaugurate the provisional revolutionary government of the Visayas in 1898.  JOAN BONDOC
A group of Filipinos in the United States called for a boycott of all “Made in China” products as the “most meaningful way” to celebrate Independence Day even as President Aquino called on Filipinos living and working overseas to contribute to creating positive change in the country.

The Philippines celebrates the 117th anniversary of the proclamation of its independence Friday and Aquino will lead the Independence Day rites in Sta. Barbara in Iloilo province.
The US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) said the boycott of Chinese-made goods was to protest Chinese bullying of the Philippines and their continued militarization of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chair of the USPGG, a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, has called on Filipinos based in the United States and other parts of the world to join mass actions against Beijing on June 12.

In an Independence Day message to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Aquino said, “We call on you to exercise the rights and freedom borne from the toil of our ancestors and contribute toward shaping a more proactive and mature discourse.”

He said Filipinos overseas must also “perpetuate positive change [in] the broader spectrum of society,” emphasizing their roles in releasing citizens “from the shackles of poverty, corruption and greed.”

“Together, let us weave our own voices of compassion and hope into a narrative of resilience and empowerment, and make tangible the legacy we are crafting: The Philippines we will all be proud to bequeath to coming generations,” Aquino said.

“We are reminded that ours is a democracy earned through the valiant sacrifices of our predecessors and a relentless pursuit of peace, development and solidarity,” the President said in his message to OFWs posted on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

Contrarians, negativity

In Iloilo City, the President on Thursday urged “contrarians” to free themselves of their negativity, especially so that their pessimism affects government services meant for the people.

“I understand that we are in a democracy and anyone is free to express their sentiments. But what I cannot understand [is] people who do nothing but look for negatives in anything positive that we do,” he told his audience at the Iloilo provincial capitol.

“It’s been said that in any society in the world, there is what they call a ‘contrarian.’ They are the people who would oppose whatever you suggest…. That’s what makes them happy,” he said.

The President said it would not matter if the criticisms affected only him, but what pained him was that at times, even projects and programs for the benefit of the citizenry were affected.

The contrarians, he said, seemed happiest looking for the smallest faults that could slow down, if not completely stop, benefits that should have been for the people.

“I hope that instead of complaining, [the contrarians] would help us find additional solutions. We are ready to listen but they don’t give suggestions. As I said, tomorrow is Independence Day. I hope they would free themselves from their narrow-mindedness,” the President said.

Aquino said there was more than enough proof that he had kept his promise in 2010 of significant change in the country. “[O]nly those who cover their eyes and ears [can’t] see and hear the reforms we are now enjoying.”

But he stressed that all the positive changes in the country should be credited to the Filipino people.

He recalled that recently abroad, he was asked who would continue the reforms that he started and how the country would fare after he steps down from office.
“My answer: No one else would continue all these positive changes but the Filipinos themselves. You will make sure that you will side with what is right and just, you will make sure that we will never lose our way again and we [will] continue the progress we are making as one nation,” he said, adding:

“It is [we] Filipinos who [will] write the future of the Philippines.”

Asked about Lewis’ call for a boycott of Chinese goods, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told the Inquirer: “We acknowledge their right to assemble peacefully and express their sentiments on issues affecting their homeland.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte called the planned protest rallies “part of the democratic space that we have.”

“We respect the manner they wish to employ to express their stand,” she said in a text message.

In a statement, Lewis said that “while we cannot individually fight China militarily, we can do so economically by boycotting Made in China products.”

Wal-Mart, Apple

“[T]he largest distributors of China products in the United States are Wal-Mart and Apple. That is why we are calling for a boycott of those stores,” she said.

She observed “a sustained, organized boycott of China-made products may have been a factor in an unexpected decline in Chinese exports to the United States.”

Quoting a Reuters report, Lewis said that Chinese exports to the United States and other countries “fell by a massive 14.6 percent in March from a year ago.”

This, she said, surprised many economists who had projected that China’s exports would increase by double digits this year.

Boycotting all Chinese products in the Philippines, which include a wide range of goods may be more difficult. In 2014, the Philippines imported P418.5 billion from China but exported to China P373.5 billion, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.


Shortly before noon Friday, Lewis is scheduled to personally lead a picket of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in New York City.
In Washington, the mass action will be held in front of Wal-Mart Supercenter at H and 1st Streets in Chinatown.
Similar rallies will be conducted in Los Angeles, Chicago and Saipan, among other areas hosting Filipino-American communities in the United States.

In the Philippines, USPGG affiliate groups, including Di Ka Pasisiil Movement, were scheduled to hold at noon Friday a “Martsa para sa Kalayaan” (March for Freedom) in front of the Chinese consulate on Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. The movement is led by former Rep. Roy Golez.

Other groups taking part in the rally include Bantay Bayan, ROTC Philippines, United Filipino Seafarers and Filipino Patriotic Solidarity Movement.

Selfie campaign

“Those who cannot attend the protest rallies are asked to join our selfie campaign,” said leaders of Martsa para sa Kalayaan Network (MKN).

They advised protesters to “take a cellular phone photo of yourself holding a sign like “China, go away! Kalayaan is ours!” or a translation of that in your local dialect.”
“You may pose in front of the Philippine flag or map. Post the selfie in your timeline, use it as a profile picture and tag the Martsa para sa Kalayaan Facebook page,” said Jose Rizal Reyes, one of the MKN leaders.–With a report from Niña P. Calleja




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