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Solons take strong position against ruling junta


14 August 2008




Solons take strong position against ruling junta in Burma

"Rest assured that we will always support you 100% on your struggle for democracy in Burma and we will do everything not just to urge but to compel the military government to sit down in a dialogue. "

Thus said Cebu Representative Antonio Cuenco, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in response to the appeal of a guest Member of Parliament Union from Burma Khun Myint Tun for the Philippine government, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and United Nations to support the democratization process in Burma and call for the rejection of military regime's so-called Roadmap to Democracy.

In a hearing held in Congress, the Committee on Foreign Affairs deliberated House Resolutions Nos. 265, 279 and 260 specifically issuing condemnations to the brutal dispersal of protesters during the September Saffron Revolution last year in Burma. Congressman Jose Solis is the main author of HR 265, while Cuenco sponsored HR 265. Akbayan Representative Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel, with Lorenzo Tanada II and Rep. Maria Isabelle G. Climaco were the authors of HR 260. Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo also issued a resolution.

Khun Myin Tun, the guest parliamentarian read a speech echoing the demands of the peoples of Burma and their truly elected leaders. Members of the Parliament Union (Burma) on July 21 sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging the UN to reject the roadmap because it is no longer relevant in achieving democracy in Burma. The letter likewise stated the need to declare as illegitimate Burma's new Constitution because it would further legitimize the junta in power.


The guest parliamentarian, in a teary-eyed and already emotional tone narrated in Congress his life as a prisoner of Burma for more than 7 years and told Congress about the real situation of the peoples of Burma that suffer not just political persecution but also abject poverty.

Moved by Khun Myint Tun's emotional speech, Rep. Cuenco repeteadly stated "We should take stronger position against the government of Burma, and think of other ways on how to compel the regime to democratize."

Akbayan Rep. Hontiveros-Baraquel also urged Congress to support other demands including the rejection of the result of national referendum in Burma which was pursued by the ruling military regime amidst calamity situation in the said country. Baraquel said that the result of the referendum which is 92% voting YES in favor of the new Constituion is highly unbelievable.

Former Akbayan Rep. Loretta Anne Rosales on her part denounced the regime's continuous extension of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest. Rosales reiterated the demand to release the NLD leader and all prisoners of conscience languishing in various detention centers in Burma.

Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) executive director Gus Miclat Jr. said, "We laud the Congress move to address the issue of Burma by taking stronger positions against the military regime. We hope that the ASEAN and even the UN would also contribute more by echoing the calls of the truly elected leaders of Burma."

Throughout the hearing and even included in some documents presented by the Committee, Filipino solons consistently used Burma and not Myanmar as an official name to address the subject country. Democracy supporters for Burma believe that "this simply reflects the sincerity of Congress to address the Burma issue."

The Committee decided unanimously to adopt and merge all the resolutions including the recent demands of the Members of the Parliament Union (Burma). ###


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