ILOILO City – Progressive groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Panay called for “genuine independence” 121 years after General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines’ independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.
In a picket at Plazoleta Gay here, Bayan Panay secretary general Elmer Forro pointed out that what the country had been celebrating for over a century was a “fake independence.”
“We have not achieved genuine independence because imperialist and colonizing countries like the United States, China, Japan, and Russia continue to influence and control our economic and political policies,” said Foro.
He accused the US of being behind various neoliberal economic policies from liberalization, privatization and deregulation of basic utilities and services.
“Up until now, US military forces are free to control our military. Every regime has implemented counter-insurgency policies patterned from US measures,” he added.
China, on the other hand, has been free to violate the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and other territorial waters “to which the Duterte administration has so willingly offered,” lamented Foro.
“We are not independent since hunger and poverty remain unsolved. Killings are recorded the highest under Duterte where perpetrators are immune under the culture of impunity vehemently practiced by this administration,” he said.
Filipinos are not free, Foro further said, from destructive economic policies “such as the TRAIN law, rice tariffication law and privatization of our basic utilities and services.
To be truly free, he said, “we should uphold our sovereignty and end the control of imperialist countries over us and to repeal/abolish anti-people laws.”
Bayan Panay called for genuine land reform and national industrialization, too./PN