Philippines

By Herbert Docena

MANILA - ON THE VERY DAY WHEN FILIPINOS were to mark the 20th anniversary of the 'People Power' uprising which ended Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship, Marcos-style dictatorship sprang a come-back: this time, in an attempt to prevent another 'People Power.' That day, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a 'state of national emergency' after preempting a group of soldiers' plan to turn their back on her and join thousands of protesters in the streets.
 
This aborted climax is just the latest episode in a simmering political crisis which first erupted in June 2005 with the release of audio tapes allegedly proving that the President cheated in the 2004 elections. Since then, calls for the President¹s resignation or ouster have grown louder and louder. Defying government restrictions, protesters have been marching on the streets on a weekly -- at times even daily -- basis. A dizzying web of political coalitions against the President, each with different configurations of political ideologies, has been spun and re-spun.

philembassyprotest1.jpgBy Joseph Purugganan

30 protestors, most of them Filipinos, entered the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok on Thursday, March. 2, to demand the lifting of the State of National Emergency decree (Presidential Proclamation 1017). 
In a meeting with Ambassador Antonio Rodriguez, the protesters also urged the Philippine envoy and Embassy staff “to join us in demanding that [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] vacate the presidency as soon as possible.  “We ask you and your staff,” the letter continued, “to uphold the integrity of the foreign service and declare your loyalty to the Republic instead of a person who has usurped power through illegal means.”

 

Manila, February 25, 2006 | Before Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced Proclamation 1017, which put the country under a state of national emergency, a spate of unsolved killings and other human rights violations of legal political activists have been on the rise. Human rights organizations and other groups claim that these human rights violations by perpetrators believed to be from the military or Armed Forces of the Philippines-sponsored vigilantes are being done on a national scale and is a direct assault not only to human, civil and democratic rights not only of the victims but on legitimate peoples’ movements as a whole.

Then, there was the declaration yesterday. The proclamation is a response to alleged “conspiracy” between “the elements in the political opposition”, “extreme left” and “extreme right”, which is fuelled by certain segments of the national media to bring down the government of Arroyo. To “save democracy”, Arroyo ordered the violent dispersals of rallies and warrantless arrests of activists by the police. The good news, though, is that all the groups of activists, who were arrested yesterday, were released last night after hours of detention at Camp Karingal.

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