ONCE again, the world is witnessing an illusion of affluence in the 2017 Asean Summit, with heads of state dining and talking about plundering more resources from poor countries, pressing down already low wages, promoting globalization and economic integration at the expense of local economies, and bombing countries for the ushering of “democracy” – all while Filipinos continue to be mired in poverty as a direct result of US neoliberal policies. The stench of hypocrisy is revolting.
The Asean has long been rendered subservient to unequal economic and political agreements shoved down the member-countries’ throats by imperialist nations. There is no partnership here, only the connivance of powerful countries to sell, undermine, and plunder the rest of the world – with the permission of our own leaders who have benefited from this wretched system.
Along with other heads of state in the Asean, US President Donald Trump is being welcomed by the Philippine government with pomp and pageantry amounting to P15.5 billion, when the only welcome befitting of his visit is protest and condemnation. We emphasize the role of the US government in funding human rights violations that it hypocritically denies and condemns whenever convenient.
The US engages in doubletalk when it throws criticisms on the Duterte’s human rights record, when all this time it has been funding Duterte’s drug war and the Philippine military’s all-out-war in the country, resulting in the killings of the urban and rural poor, farmers, indigenous peoples, and human rights defenders, including those who have struggled against US militarism and plunder of the country.
Thus, the 2017 Asean Summit and Trump’s visit, and all the superficial glamor that comes with it, is a tasteless attempt to feign progress and development in a region that is already drained off of its labor, resources, rights, and dignity, when the Filipino people and the peoples of Asean have experienced the worst human rights violations, unfair economic policies, and the preservation of a world order that favors a wealthy few.--Karapatan