New York protest condemns massacre in Philippines

SLL photo: Greg Butterfield

Chanting “Activism is not a crime!” and “Long live international solidarity!,” a rally outside the Philippine Consulate on New York’s swanky Fifth Avenue March 15 condemned the recent massacre dubbed Bloody Sunday. The action was called by BAYAN USA and the Malaya Movement.

Nine activists in Southern Tagalog were murdered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime on March 7. The rally began with the reading of their names and a minute of silence in their honor.

Nicole from Gabriela New Jersey, who participated in a delegation that lived and worked with Lumad peasants resisting corporate and government repression, declared: “It is our duty to continue their struggle, to amplify their voices.” 

She led the crowd in chanting, “Oust Duterte now!”

People spoke representing overseas national democratic organizations of the Philippines. Several U.S.-based groups gave solidarity statements, including the Teamsters union.

“On March 5, Duterte was quoted saying ‘kill them all’ and ‘disregard human rights,’” said a statement from the protest organizers. “This was an order to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to kill ‘communist terrorist groups,’ a term the Duterte government uses to label all critics, cause-oriented groups and human rights defenders.

“On March 6, Philippine Ambassador to the United States confirmed that the Philippines will be receiving additional aid from the U.S. government. By the next day, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched a synchronized raid across the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal leaving nine activists dead and six arrested.”

One of the chants at the rally was, “From Palestine to the Philippines, stop the U.S. war machine!”

This U.S. military, political and economic support for the Philippine government continues regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans occupy the White House. The Visiting Forces Agreement ensures a continuing Pentagon occupation of the archipelago.

In February, Reuters reported that the Philippines received $3.9 billion in “counter-terrorism” support since 2002, including $689 million in military hardware. U.S. “aid” is exclusively used to suppress the movements of workers, peasants, Indigenous peoples, women and students fighting for their rights and for the country’s independence from U.S. domination.

This bloody money, paid from the taxes of U.S. workers, is meant to ensure that Wall Street can continue to extract super-profits from the Philippines and exploit the millions of workers who are part of the Filipinx diaspora. 

Last year, migrant nurses from the Philippines and Filipina-American nurses born in the U.S. had the highest incidence of death from COVID-19 of all U.S. healthcare workers, as they are often on the frontline of hospital emergency rooms.

Justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday! U.S. out of the Philippines!