By MIGRANTE Europe
More protests greeted BS Aquino as he swings around Europe, this time in Paris, France.
According to Cora Guibernas, a member of the Nagkakaisang Pilipino Sans Papier (NPSP) in Paris, France, which belongs to the MIGRANTE Europe network, Aquino was taken aback when several French solidarity activists for the Philippines and NPSP members raised posters and a big tarpaulin of Aquino’s face with the words “Human rights violator” and “Pork barrel king” as he was greeting compatriots outside the church venue where he was to deliver a speech.
A major Philippine TV network showed Aquino surprised and was immediately whisked away by his security when he saw the protesters.
“Aquino was exposed for his lies about his human rights record and his scandalous corruption as he swings around Europe. Our problems and plight are not in the agenda of Aquino, especially us Filipinos here in France who always face the threat of arrest and deportation because many of us are undocumented”, Guibernas stressed.
To emphasize the point that the situation in the Philippines is even worse now under Aquino, Guibernas cited records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) report that 1.8 million Filipinos left the country for work in 2013 which is equivalent to a record 5,031 leaving the country every day. This is more than the daily average of 4,937 leaving in 2012, she said.
Filipinos protest even in Italy and Austria
Even in countries such as Italy and Austria which BS Aquino avoided during his European junket, Filipinos conducted protest actions. In Rome, Italy, members of Umangat-Migrante held a picket in front of the Philippine embassy in Rome last September 19, to protest OWWA’s anti-migrant policies, Aquino’s human rights record and continued use of pork barrel which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.
In Austria, Migrante Austria wrote an open letter to the Filipino people to coincide with the Europe visit of Aquino.
In the letter, copies furnished to the European Parliament president Martin Shulz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, Migrante Austria denounced BS Aquino’s European tour as “a costly junket, an absolute waste of time and money”. It said Aquino lacks the dignity and integrity needed to effectively foster better relations with foreign governments.
“He has a human rights record that is incompatible with democracy. From July 2010 to March 2014, KARAPATAN, a Philippine-based human rights watchdog, has documented cases of 192 victims of extrajudicial killings, 21 cases of enforced disappearance, 94 of torture and 631 cases of illegal arrests and detention. Included in these figures are twenty-six journalists reportedly murdered since President Aquino took office. It is no wonder that the Asian Human Rights Commission ranked the Philippines as the 3rd most dangerous place for journalists and activists – from trade union activists to human rights defenders alike. We underscore the fact that up to now there is still no justice for two European citizens murdered under Aquino’s counterinsurgency scheme – missionaries Fr. Pops Tentorio of Italy and Willem Geertman of the Netherlands. All of these are attributable to his Oplan Bayanihan,” Migrante Austria said.
Migrante Austria adds: He remains deaf and blind to the plight of an ever-growing number of Filipinos who are exploited cruelly as undocumented domestic helpers here in Europe and any other place imaginable or even risk their lives in war- torn countries rather than return to the Philippines. This is the harsh indication of Aquino’s Labor Export Policy (LEP) failure to uplift the economy and solve unemployment and poverty in the Philippines.
Biggest organizations in Spain express concern over human rights and corruption under Aquino
In Spain, nine big national organizations, led by the APDHE (Human Rights Association of Spain), which holds consultative status to the ECOSOC of the United Nations, wrote a strongly-worded letter to BS Aquino in time for his visit in that country last September 14-15.
The letter was personally delivered to the Philippine embassy in Madrid by Hon. Mauricio Ots, a member of the regional parliament in Madrid representing the Izquireda Unida political party, on the day of Aquino’s visit.
In the letter, the Spanish organizations expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in the Philippines.
“From July 2010 (the year of his presidential inauguration) until June 2014, 204 extrajudicial executions, 21 forced disappearances, 99 cases of torture 207 of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 664 illegal arrests and detentions, 39,800 forced evictions, 65,712 cases of threats, harassment and intimidation, 141,490 cases of using civilians as a human shield or guide for the armed or security forces, 141,490 cases of military use of public places such as schools, medical or religious centers, were documented,” the Spanish organizations said.
They asked Aquino to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, end pork barrel corruption and account for the monies his government received for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.
The organizations that signed the letter were: APDHE (Human Rights Association of Spain), COMADEHCO (Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia), ICID (Initiatives for International Cooperation for Development), IEPALA (Institute of Political Studies for Latin America and Africa), IU (United Left), Justice for Colombia, OSPAAL (Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America), GM-Greens Confederation, CDHHG (Human Rights Commission Hispano-Guatemala).
Filipinos and Germans in Berlin join protests
Filipinos and Germans in Berlin, Germany also joined the bandwagon of protests during Aquino’s visit to Germany, Sept. 19-20, the last leg of his Europe junket. The German-Philippine Solidarity Group, the MLPD party, the Concerned Filipino-Germans in Berlin and Filipino Scholars in Berlin conducted the protests.
BS Aquino leaves Europe Sept. 20 for the United States leg of his foreign junket where more protests are expected to greet him there.###
Grace Punongbayan, MIGRANTE Europe, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31633056411