Statement on Trump-Trudeau Visit to the Philippines
November 12, 2017

In the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Trade and Security Summit in Manila, US President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau represented two leading imperialist states with their own economic and political agenda and concerns. The United States and Canada are not members of the ASEAN but were invited by the Philippines who is the host and the chair of ASEAN 2017.

Trump is still dealing with his scandal-besmirched election campaign officials and the opposition to his racist, homophobic pronouncements and his threats of fascist measures. There is Trudeau’s own economic crisis and his government’s need to ensure the continuous flow of temporary workers into Canada for permanent jobs in caregiving for children and seniors, in agriculture, and in the service and hospitality sectors. Within US and Canada, both Trump and Trudeau continue to face resistance and strong opposition from their own people.  In the Philippines, militant anti-imperialist protests and marches have erupted to oppose and denounce Trump and the US meddling in the country, with huge banners saying “Ban Trump”. Philippine protestors have been met by anti-riot police with water cannons, truncheons and a sonic device that obstructs one’s sense of hearing. In Canada, concerned Canadians and overseas Filipinos have asked Trudeau to bring up the human rights issue of tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, the killings of human rights defenders, and the human rights violations in mining areas that include Canadian mining corporations.

The Philippines is the last stop of Trump’s Asia trip and presents a good opportunity for the US to reconstitute and reaffirm US leadership and control in the politics and economics of the Asia-Pacific region. The mutual admiration between Duterte and Trump was played out in the media and will certainly impact trade, foreign policy, military aid and presence, etc. This “great relationship” in the words of Trump once more confirmed what everybody knew, including the Left, that Duterte’s earlier speeches against anti-US meddling in the Philippines were purely rhetoric and that Duterte remains to be a willing and subservient partner to US dictates and policies. We will see increased militarization, high threat of being dragged into the US-North Korean conflict, the increase in US military troops in US facilities in the guise of US war exercises and civic engagement, and involvement in the US “war on terror.”

For Trudeau, the acceptance of Canada as observer in the ASEAN, is likewise a chance to raise Canada’s profile in the Pacific region for trade, investment, and labour needs. The Philippines remains to be one of the top sources of low-skilled temporary foreign workers and caregivers in Canada. Canadian mining corporations remain to be among the biggest in mining applications and in mining operations. Just on these two issues alone, human rights violations remain to be on-going concerns.

Although the ASEAN, APEC and other talks are presumably about coordination with Asian states and non-Asian states about the trading system, it is the leadership of the US which is the main point of contention in these meetings.  The US can certainly dictate the “opening” of countries to foreign trade by “creating” constitutional changes, further sharpening the oppressive neoliberal policies such as deregulation, privatization and liberalization that will make wage levels remain meager, industrialization impossible, and the basic masses more impoverished. The US continues to raise threats against North Korea in its effort to build up and strengthen US military presence in the area. US- instigated anti-people policies and fascistic protection of foreign businesses only mean that profits will increase for foreign companies; it will mean even higher numbers of workers going overseas for jobs; it will mean war and profits for companies in the war industry.

The participation of Trump and Trudeau at the ASEAN serves to raise their visibility and military presence; it also serves to give the other imperialist and capitalist countries like Japan and China the opportunities to collude among each other to further break down trade and investment barriers.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seeks to benefit from these alliances with the US and Canada as he wages his so-called wars against drugs, insurgency and so-called terror – wars that are essentially wars of his government and military against his own people.

More than ever, as overseas Filipinos, we should be vigilant on these collusions, on the machinations of US imperialism and the subsequent actions of the Duterte government. We should continue to organize and strengthen ourselves as overseas Filipinos and launch our political actions and campaigns against the US-Duterte’s war against the people and we should not stop in pushing forward the people’s demand for social and political liberation.

Fight Trump, fascism and imperialism!
Fight Trudeau’s repressive immigration system!  Down with Canadian imperialism!
Uphold Philippine sovereignty!
Struggle for national democracy!

Dr. Constancio Claver


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