MILITANT groups in Bacolod City scored the National Government for spending too much in the hosting of the ongoing 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and Related Meetings in Manila.
They also assailed the “looming” allegiance of President Rodrigo Duterte to his counterpart in the United States (US), President Donald Trump, who was among the world leaders who visited the country for the international gathering.
In Bacolod, about 100 rallyists trooped to the Fountain of Justice for the nationally-coordinated anti-Trump protest Tuesday afternoon.
Marching on the streets at the downtown area, protesters yelled: “Imperialismo,” “US, number one terrorist,” “Duterte tuta,” and “ban Trump.”
The group also burned a tarpaulin bearing a picture of Trump with Duterte on a leash.
Michael de la Concepcion, secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Negros, questioned the P15-billion budget for the government’s Asean Summit hosting.
“Why is there a budget for our foreign delegates when it can’t allocate budget for social services?” he asked.
He said it’s a “clear oppression” and doesn’t serve the interest of the Filipino people.
“The Duterte administration has P15.5 billion for Asean hosting while 26 million Filipino people are living under P61 a day,” De la Concepcion said, adding that 4.5 million are also homeless and seven million children are hungry and malnourished.
“The P15.5-billion funds for foreign visitors represents a betrayal of the Filipino people, who are in dire need of social services,” he said.
The militant group pointed out that Duterte had been stressing his independent foreign policy, but has mellowed after Trump was elected president.
He said the American leader wants to establish his presence in Asia to deploy more troops in the region.
De la Concepcion said that Trump is the “number one interventionist and imperialist in the world.”
He also said that Trump’s visit to the country will only drag Philippines in the North Korean conflict and other US-instigated wars.
“We are calling for an independent foreign policy, away from the co-optation of US, and against imposed neo-liberal policies,” he said.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on November 15, 2017.
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