BAYAN CANADA STATEMENT
20 August 2009
“I ask our people to spend on the basics first before the luxuries so our children will have enough to eat,” President Arroyo made this statement just two years ago in Tarlac when she advised Filipino families to spend their money wisely even as she assured that the government was taking the problem of household hunger seriously.
Arroyo forgot she had said this, nay, she never believed it in the first place! Imagine the Philippine President and her band of 20 loyal members of Congress and supporters as they stuffed themselves full on the $20,000 dinner at Le Cirque in New York and then on the following night, on a $15,000 steak and wine dinner at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in D.C. This pompous and ostentatious consumption is not only immoral and obscene, it is downright criminal!
The youth and students who demonstrated at the gates of Malacanang Palace yesterday, August 19, 2009, rightfully thought so too. However, the police and the military decided that the youth and students went too far with their banner waving and their speeches. These armed police and military elements attacked and assaulted the students with their nightsticks and batons, arrested them and have unjustly detained them.
BAYAN Canada, the alliance of progressive Filipino organizations in Canada, denounces the treatment of the 20 young men and women who were arbitrarily arrested and detained, and the 17 others who were injured by the police and military. The youth and students were from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and some high school students, who are members of the League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan Partylist, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP). These demonstrators had the right to dissent and make their disgust known to Malacanang and the public.
Bayan Canada calls on the immediate investigation and prosecution of the military and police involved in the violent dispersal and arrests of the student and youth demonstrators.
“The shameless behaviour of the President and her entourage is truly criminal,” says Joey Calugay, Spokesperson of Bayan Canada, “more so when there are 2 million to 3.7 million Filipino families who go hungry regularly and have to scrounge for food in garbage bins, or when thousands of Filipinos are pushed to leave the country so their kids would not have to go hungry because no decent jobs can be had at home.”
This latest scandal is one more proof that President Gloria Arroyo has never cared about the Filipino people. She mocks the Filipino people’s hunger and poverty. She treats the people with contempt. Gloria Arroyo must go!