People's SONA 2009 in Sydney, Australia

 

July 27, 2009

 

On 27 July 2009, Filipino-Australians and their supporters protest against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plan to prolong her grip on power through a flawed process of constitutional change (Cha-cha) at the Philippine Consulate, Sydney.

   
   
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Photos courtesy of Migrante - Australia
           
           


Statement
Migrante Australia
Sydney, 28 July 2009

Filipinos, Filipino-Australians and their supporters
protested against President Arroyo’s scheme to constitutional vandalism

On 27 July 2009, Filipino-Australians and their supporters protest against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plan to prolong her grip on power through a flawed process of constitutional change (Cha-cha) at the Philippine Consulate, Sydney.

On July 27, on the day the Philippine president Arroyo delivered her State of the Nation Address [SONA] members of Lingap Migrante called on GMA to stop her plan to change the Philippine Constitution or do a “cha-cha” (Charter Change) by making the Philippine Congress as a Con-ass (Constituent Assembly) that will do the cha-cha.

In the Philippines and world-wide there is rising opposition to President Arroyo’s schemes because –
 

1. Her motivation is to prolong her grip on power by overcoming the current constitutional limit on Presidential terms;
 

2. This will allow her to maintain her executive power and her immunity from facing graft and corruption charges
 

3. This will give way to her wishes of allowing foreign ownership of land and public services prohibited under the current constitution.
 

4. This will also allow the return of foreign military bases, in particular the US
 

5. The use of Congress as a Constituent Assembly is of dubious constitutionality and less democratic than the elected Constitutional Congress in the present Constitution.

On July 27, many Filipinos in Australia and around the world did not send money back to their families in the Philippines to show their opposition to GMA’s SONA, Cha-cha and Con-ass. Remittances from overseas Filipinos total billions each year, and the Philippine economy is dependant on these payments. By withholding remittances for one day overseas Filipinos will signal their protest against the government of Arroyo in stark terms.

Arroyo’s undemocratic machinations are discouraging those Filipinos in Australia who have the right to vote in the Philippines elections in May next year. This is a worldwide trend, with people hesitating to register for the vote. Dismal registration has prompted Congressman Satur Ocampo [Bayan Muna party] to file House Resolution 1249 to extend OAV [Overseas Absentee Voting] registration from August 31 to December 31.

The spate of human rights abuses under Arroyo also serves as a major obstacle to registrations and participation in the electoral process. Extrajudicial killings are the most blatant of these abuses. A recent example is the case of Nelson Malit, 48, an Anakpawis Party coordinator of Floridablanca town in the central part of Luzon island and a part-time staff of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson [or ‘Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon] (AMGL), was shot and killed on December 28, 2008 at around 10 p.m. four houses away from his home in Barangay Del Carmen.

A motorcycle-riding, bonnet-wearing team of two assassins shot the victim with a .45-caliber pistol while he was playing cards with two other friends in front of the house of neighbour Juanita Labonera. Witnesses said the assassin entered Labonera’s steel gate as the motorcycle driver waited outside. The gunman fired on Malit at least six times and once on Labonera’s front wall to drive away witnesses. This method has been the standard procedure of assassins linked to the Armed Forces of the Philippines counter-insurgency policy according to investigators from human rights advocacy groups.

Oust the US-GMA regime!
Long live the Filipino people!

Reference: Migrante-Australia (national alliance of Filipino ang Filipino-Australian organisations)
Email: migrante.australia@gmail.com
Contacts: George Kotsakis and Edwin Subijano
 

     
     
           
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