By Analou De Vera
“We have to keep on fighting!”
This was the stand of the various cause-oriented groups Tuesday in Mendiola, Manila as they concluded their four-day protest actions to denounce the visit of US President Donald Trump and the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in the country.
According to the Manila Police District (MPD), at least 2,000 protesters from Gabriela, Anak Bayan, Balikwas, Salinlahi, Suara Bangsamoro, Bayan Muna, Kadamay, Lumad Moro, and Anak Pawis, participated in the demonstration that started around 11 a.m.
The militants simultaneously voiced-out their concerns over the United States presence in the country as they held placards stating “Imperyalismo Ibagsak!; Stop the bombings in Mindanao; Dump Trump, Down with US Imperialism; and US Troops Hands off our Ancestral land!”
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said that the 31st ASEAN Summit failed to tackle the peace solutions in the region.
“Itong sampung mga bansang ito na dumaan sa maraming mga giyera na kinasangkutan din ng Estados Unidos at ngayon sa pag-upo ni President Trump na giyerahin ang North Korea, at hatakin ang mga ka-alyado nito–Japan, South Korea, Australia, kasama ang Pilipinas at maging ang Vietnam ay gusto nilang hatakin– ay wala. Tameme ang ASEAN.Walang sinasabi ang agenda sa 31st ASEAN Summit ng kapayapaan ganoon din yung natapos na summit sa Vietnam, ang APEC. Walang pinag-uusapan na kapayapaan,” said Ocampo.
Women group’s Gabriela secretary general Joms Salvador, meanwhile, questioned the participation of the non-ASEAN members on the summit.
“Tatanungin po natin, ang US, China, Canada at Japan, hindi naman mga miyembro ng ASEAN, pero nakikipag-usap sa mga pinuno ng mga bansa dito sa rehiyon, dahil sa pamamagitan po ng mga katulad ng mga asosasyon katulad ng ASEAN, pinapatupad ang mga imperyalistang atake, liberalisasyon ng kalakalan, pagbebenta ng mga lupain ng ating mga mamamayan, [at] ang pagkaliit-liit na pagbili sa lakas paggawa. Isa sa nakakaranas sa pinakamalalang pagsasamantala ng mga impeyalistang patakaran na iyan ay ang mga kababaihan,” Salvador said.
Unlike the other protest actions in the past days, wherein tensions erupted between the militants and police, the latter were just on the sidelines and the demonstration ended peacefully. At around 1 p.m., the leftists then burned a mock US flag that signaled the end of their program.
Criminal charges vs activists
The MPD, meanwhile, filed criminal charges against three activists who participated in a street protest on Sunday, Nov. 12, along United Nations Avenue in Ermita, Manila.
MPD spokesman Supt. Erwin Margarejo said the police team filed complaints against Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casino, and a certain Neil Legaspi.
They will be facing charges before the City Prosecutor’s Office for violating the Public Assembly Act (Batas Pambansa.880); Breach of Peace (Revised Ordinance 844); Assault Upon an Agent of a Person in Authority (Article 148, Revised Penal Code); and Disobedience and Resistance (Article 151, Revised Penal Code).
“As a result of the rally of the said militant groups, the peace and tranquility of the place was disturbed,” the complaint stated.
“In addition thereto, the action of Legaspi in bumping the police line using a vehicle thereby causing injury to PO1 Agcaraman, a police officer engaged in the performance of duty, constitute Assault Upon an Agent of a Person in Authority. Lastly, for seriously disregarding an order given by the police to refrain from bumping the police line, violates Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code,” it stated.
Tags: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, criminal charges, Manila Bulletin, Manila Police District (MPD), militants, Various cause-oriented groups to keep on fighting
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