MALAYA MOVEMENT AMPLIFIES THE VOICE OF FILIPINOS DURING PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS IN WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington D.C. – Despite scorching temperatures, close to 200 Filipino activists gathered in front of the White House on Monday, July 22, just hours after Rodrigo Duterte gave his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Quezon City, Philippines. Malaya Movement called for nation-wide actions joining together thousands of people from across the United States and globally for a United People’s State of the Nation Address to take action against Duterte’s dictatorship. In addition to Washington D.C., actions and events were held in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.
“The true state of our nation is that we are living in a traitorous, fascist, dictatorship under Rodrigo Duterte.” Stated Audine Tayag of Malaya Movement – Southern California. “30,000 of our people, including children like 3 year old Myca Ulpina who was just killed earlier this month, have been killed in the three years Duterte has been in office. This number far surpasses the Marcos dictatorship.”
President Duterte’s address was more of the same rambling claims of progress, open threats, and fake promises. We do know that he will continue his drug war against the poor, is pushing to displace hundreds of Filipinos to build airports and railways as part of his economic program “Build, Build, Build” and continue his subservience to China and the United States. Duterte claims that he will go the “peaceful way” and “in the privacy of a conference room than in a squabble in public,” regarding the escalated dispute with China over the territory of the West Philippine Sea after a Chinese ship crashed into a Filipino fishing boat leaving the 22 fishermen to drown. He claims he avoids saying anything to avoid war and conflict stating “War leaves widows and orphans in its wake.” However, Duterte is waging open warfare within his own country by continuing martial law in Mindanao which has been in place since 2017, forcing over 400,000 people to be displaced, bombing Marawi to pieces, and killing whole communities including women and children.
“That’s what martial law is all about in the Philippines,” said Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of Bayan USA, reporting back from her trip to Mindanao, Philippines. “It’s about harassing communities, trying to scare people to not stand up for their rights, closing Lumad schools, and occupy communities. We have to ask who benefits from martial law? The big multinational corporations who have been pillaging the land and the bureaucrats who pocket the money. The solution is simple. End martial law now.” President Duterte claims that martial law in Mindanao is to fight ISIS terrorists–but, as Rhonda reports, in reality, Lumad schools are bombed and communities are terrorized.
The Malaya Movement and Filipino people at home and abroad know that the root of the problems of the Philippines are what keep people in poverty and force more than 6,000 Filipinos to leave the country daily. Historically we have seen regime change after regime change and know that there is no action that could possibly be taken by a government run by family dynasties and landlords that could solve the problems of the Philippines. We also know that presidents in the Philippines do not step down from office so willingly and that a genuine people power movement will be the course that people must take to start the ripple towards true change.
“Our movement has grown so big so fast, we are an active threat to this government! Because of this international movement, the UN passed a resolution to investigate Duterte’s war on drugs, his campaign of mass murder and there will be a U.S. Congressional Hearing examining the human rights situation in the Philippines this Thursday in Washington D.C. That’s why we’re here, we’re ready for people power. We are people power. Tama na! Sobra na! People Power na!” Continued Tayag.
Despite state forces like the Secret Service and Metro Police pushing the rally away from the White House, BAYAN USA and Malaya Movement activists held a powerful demonstration in the streets, which included speakers from member organizations and cultural performances. They then marched from the White House to the Philippine Embassy to confront the representatives of Duterte’s regime.
The protestors crossed the street to the Philippine Embassy Annex applifying the call to Oust the Duterte regime chanting “Tama Na! Sobra na! Oust Duterte na!,” forcing them to shut down services for the day.