The recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit attended by world leaders including US President Donald Trump seems to have displeased fellows of Eastern Visayas where the historic Balangiga bells reign. While President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the state heads with hospitality, progressive groups greeted them with simultaneous protests all over the country.
Patriotic group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Eastern Visayas and other allied organizations staged a lightning rally in Tacloban City yesterday, November 14, at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon in time for the last day of the ASEAN Summit and other related summits to show indignation over the visit of the heads of ‘capitalist’ and ‘imperialist’ countries such as Trump of US, Trudeau of Canada and Xi of China to the Philippines.
Precedent to the protest, groups hanged streamers with a “Ban Trump” call at Robinson’s mall footbridge and UPV Tacloban College campus. Police officer Sydiongco, however, mandated the removal of the streamer at the overcrossing.
In a press statement, Bayan Eastern Visayas encouraged the public to “vomit out the imperialist scourge that is Donald Trump.” The group reiterated that the US shook off the Filipinos’ demand to bring back the bells of Balangiga but push for anti-people economic policies through agri-liberal trade policies instead.
A week ago, the region of Eastern Visayas commemorated the fourth anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) where alliance for disaster survivors People Surge criticized the US for “capitalizing the people’s vulnerability to disaster.” It can be recalled that the US Navy reminded Duterte and the Filipinos about the foreign aid that reach the hands of Yolanda survivors when Duterte called for their ouster in the country last year.
In an anti-US protest in commemoration of the Balangiga uprising held last September 28, protesters held a 3-meter long Chinese banner with the remark “WE ARE BALANGIGA.”
“The Balangiga uprising in the past is a country rising today. And we choose to rise against US imperialism and fascism”, Sagdullas stressed.
Trump’s visit in the Philippines and participation in the ASEAN Summit is expected to kill the Philippine agriculture sector and its economy as it will “spur the influx of surplus goods from other countries to compete with our own agricultural products” and “inevitably result into the export of selected agri-products based on foreign demand” according to Bayan Eastern Visayas.