US-led policies, root causes of rights violations – group

“AMERICANS re-elected Obama hoping for US initiated global peace but not for US instigated war in the Asia Pacific,” said Glen Malabanan of rights group Karapatan in Southern Tagalog pertaining to the recent American Presidential election that re-elected Barrack Obama to office.

Now on their 7th day of “Lakbayan ng mga Mamamayan Para sa Karapatan” that marched from Quezon province since December 3, the protesters from Southern Tagalog stormed the U.S. Embassy and expressed their indignation to “Aquino’s real boss”.

The group said Aquino government’s continued patronage of U.S. government policies resulted to “human rights violations and hinders genuine fundamental change in the country.”

To dramatize their protest, they brought a 10 x 15 feet mock helicopter named “Tutubing Bakal”. Kame Lagang, head of Artists’ Arrest narrated how they meticulously crafted the effigy made from papier mâché. “It took us about a week, but it was worth it.”

She said farmers commonly call war helicopters as “Tutubing Bakal”.

“Tutubing Bakal depicts Aquino’s bloody human rights record through the Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency program of the government,” said Malabanan.

“Aquino’s Bayanihan was dictated by the U.S. government to silence state critics in the country by targeting legal activists that already resulted to 20 cases of extrajudicial killings, 3 enforced disappearances, 43 illegal arrests and 33 illegal detentions in the region.”

This, according to her, ensures the U.S. control of economic resources in the Asia-Pacific region. “As long as foreign interests dominate on key industries such as mining, agriculture, jobs and trade, the people’s basic human rights will always be violated,” Malabanan said.

The marchers who spent their night at Redemptorist Church in Baclaran were seen walking on their knees inside the church. Rev. Fr. Jing Alea, a Redemptorist priest was heard saying during his homily, “Just how St. John The Baptist cried in the wilderness to prepare the people in the coming of Jesus Christ, so must Juan dela Cruz shall continue shouting for justice in the streets to paved the way for genuine peace in our society. I hoped in the time of Advent, peace be experienced this Christmas.”

Meanwhile, during a stopover of the Lakbayan in Luneta Park, live radio feeds of Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match were aired. “Pacquiao is an avid supporter of our call for wage increase,” Joyce Rosales, a labor leader said.

“Here in the streets and to Mendiola tomorrow, we are on a fighting stance. We are ready to face the bout against Aquino government’s state atrocities,” she added.

The Lakbayan staged a solidarity night with different groups in Liwasang Bonifacio. Tomorrow they will march to Mendiola in time of the 64th International Declaration of Human Rights.

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