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New Yorkers Protest visit of Philippine President


New Yorkers Protest visit of Philippine President

Justice Not War in the Philippines Campaign Contact: Amanda Vender

New Yorkers Decry Arroyo's Puppetry to Bush and Vow to Launch Demonstrations at Her New York Meetings on Wednesday

New York - Masked as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and George Bush, two of the Justice Not War in the Philippines street theatre players waved and blew kisses in front of the Philippine Consulate as dozens of New Yorkers gathered to protest the Arroyo-Bush meeting yesterday.

Unelected President Bush met with unelected President Arroyo on Tuesday, and elevated the diplomatic status of the Philippines to that of "major non-NATO ally" allowing the Philippines even greater access to US military supplies and equipment. Bush held a state dinner for Arroyo, only the third state dinner Bush has hosted. The mainstream media called Arroyo's visit with Bush "payback" for her support in the US war on terror. Meanwhile, in the last few days the Philippine military has attacked Muslim communities in Mindanao, supposedly to root out Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members. But the bombings have caused 19,000 internal refugees.

"Who are the real terrorists?" asked a member of the Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines (NISPOP). "The Abu Sayyaf Group is just a pretext for US military intervention to quash the MILF and National Democratic Movement which are the main forces opposing US efforts to dominate the region." He referred to the Abu Sayyaf bandit group as US-created and Philippine-government funded. Former Abu Sayyaf hostage, Gracia Burnham, in her new book backed up the claim long held by Philippine activists that the Abu Sayyaf is in collusion with the Philippine military.

Charlotte Kates of New Jersey Solidarity followed up the statements: "The bloody trail that the US leaves behind it is global terrorism. The so-called War on Terror is a War OF Terror on liberation and democracy."

Asia Wide Coalition National Board Member Tetsuo Shiramatsu from Kyoto, Japan offered a solidarity message: "The Asia Wide Coalition extends full support to the Filipino people fighting to end US intervention in their country. There have been demonstrations at the US embassy in Tokyo and other Japanese cities against US intervention in the Philippines. The US has used bases in Japan to attack Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. We will continue our struggle against US intervention in Asia and we shall overcome."

President Arroyo will travel to New York where she will meet with Business Process Outsourcing and other investors on Wednesday to seek jobs for Filipinos, just as she has lobbied for jobs for Filipinos in Iraq. "It is curious that the job categories specified are health care workers and domestic workers- which will undoubtedly involve large numbers of women," said Dorotea Mendoza, Secretary General of GABRIELA Network USA. "Why would the war-devastated Iraqis who barely have food and water need domestic workers? Or are these women destined for sexual exploitation by the US troops occupying Iraq?"

The Justice Not War in the Philippines Campaign will greet President Arroyo on Wednesday, May 21 at her meeting with investors to deliver the messages: "No to more US aid to the Philippine military and no to the continued export of Filipinos." The picket will take place from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in front of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at Park Avenue and E. 49th Street in Manhattan. For more information, please call: 212-561-1567.

The Justice Not War in the Philippines Campaign was initiated by the Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines (NISPOP) and GABRIELA Network, NY/NJ to oppose the deployment of US troops to the Philippines and human rights violations. http://www.justiceinthephilippines.org #


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