BAYAN-Canada takes a stand with Filipinos around the world to demand an end to the U.S. and China’s aggression and intervention in the Philippines.”
June 12 marks the official delcaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898. Yet until now, people still feel the long shadow of colonization.
For hundreds of years, foreign powers have settled, colonized and ruled over the Philippines economically, militarily, politically and culturally. Following July 1946 when the United States granted independence to the Philippines in name, years after Philippine sovereignty was turned over by Spain, the U.S. has extended its hold on the islands through neocolonial economic arrangements and unequal brokered by local puppet governments, from Roxas to the current president Rodrigo Duterte. In April 2014, the U.S. has diminished its presence but has shrewdly expanded its scope by enacting the new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which permits the American military to construct facilities, deploy troops in rotations, defence and other equipment on Philippine territory, including places where civilian communities live.
Like the previous Mutual Defense Treaty, much of its value rests on whether the U.S. has disinterested protection to maintain aid to the Philippines in resisting attacks on its soil and seas. More recently, the Chinese government has escalated its claims in disputed waters surrounding the Philippines amidst interimperialist conflict across the Pacific between Washington and Beijing. Chinese military has aggressively deployed warships and militia boats occupying shoals off the coast and unsettlling small fisherfolks whose means of living are dependent on the islets.
Today, the Philippines is caught in the crossfire as these two foreign powers battle for world domination. While China is an economic superpower and its military might on the rise, U.S. remains with a major advantage merely for its wider operations in the Asia Pacific sphere. In particular, the West Philippine Sea is host to the most diverse marine ecosystem in the planet, contains rich resources of oil and mineral deposits, and sees one-third of the global shipping traffic. The disputed waters are also considered a gateway to the Asian landmass, where one-fifth of the world’s population resides. It is key in ensuring control of the economy, military, politics, and culture contesting U.S. hegemony and regional affairs.
The Philippine flag unfurled before us is a stark reminder that the colors of “blue, red and white” is a symbol of the Philippine vassal state’s dependence to the United States. Meanwhile June 12 is an occasion for national reckoning not only to remember the role of monumental heroes of past but to rise up with the people to struggle for national and social liberation.
We echo the call for a truly independent foreign policy that is pro-people, not pro-China nor pro-U.S. We condemn the continued repression of our compatriots by the Duterte regime, the selling out of our sovereignty, and the status quo under imperialism, centuries-old feudalism, and government corruption.
End dependence day!
Fight for genuine independence!
BAYAN Canada, an overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), is an alliance of organizations of Filipino migrant workers, women and youth, indigenous people, church people, healthcare workers and professionals committed to advancing the cause of genuine national independence, people’s democracy and a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
Artwork by Sining Bugkos