Hundreds of Filipino women under GABRIELA marched to the US embassy today to once again call for an end to the US political and economic domination of the Philippines and reiterated their support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of an independent foreign policy for the country.
The women’s march coincides with the 33rd commemoration of the National Women’s Day of Protest, which began in 1983 when 10,000 women marched in the first huge protest against the Marcos dictatorship since the Ninoy Aquino assassination.
“We are here at the US embassy today to add the women’s voice to the growing people’s clamor for an end to US political and economic control of the country. President Duterte’s bold declarations have provided us a unique opportunity at building even greater strength in our fight against US imperialism,” said Joms Salvador, Secretary-General of GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women.
She added that since the dying days of the Marcos dictatorship, GABRIELA has confronted the US imperialist might in the country and its local client regimes. From 1980 to 1990, advocates documented more than 3,000 cases of violence against women and children committed by US military servicemen in its military bases in Clark, Pampanga and Subic, Zambales.
After the signing of the RP-US Visiting Forces Argeement (VFA), Clark and Subic became “rest-and recreation” havens for American soldiers preying on prostituted Filipino women. In other places where the Balikatan military exercises were held, GIs feasted on prostituted women as well.
GABRIELA campaigned for justice for the victims of rape and murder committed by US soldiers, among them, rape victims Nicole in 2005 and Vanessa in 2009, as well as murder victim Jennifer Laude in 2014.
“Beyond the physical violence committed by its soldiers, US imperialism has savagely preyed on Filipino women by imposing neoliberal policies. These policies mainly benefit monopoly-capitalists and their local elite partners. Previous administrations obediently implemented economic policies of privatization, deregulation and liberalization that impoverished Filipinos further,” Salvador explained.
This is why GABRIELA and many other patriotic organizations and individual Filipinos support Duterte’s independent foreign policy.
“Filipino women now call on President Duterte to make good on his pledge to flush out all foreign military troops, especially that of the US, from the country in two years. We urge him to immediately junk the RP-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed by the previous regime that is aimed at bringing back US military bases in the country, and also abrogate the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty,” she added.
As for the US embassy, Salvador said they are well aware that the US government has been issuing veiled threats and is said to be plotting with its local lackeys to destabilize the country because of Duterte’s anti-US stance.
“You can be sure that the Filipino women and people will have none of it. We have long dreamed of a country that is truly free, prosperous and egalitarian. We will fight to our last breath to achieve this,” Salvador concluded. ###
Reference: JOMS SALVADOR, Secretary General (09189182150) / Public Info Desk (3712302)