Students, IPs clash with police in APEC protests
MANILA, Philippines – Various groups protesting the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit clashed with anti-riot police in different parts of Metro Manila on Wednesday, November 18.
Youth activists from the League of Filipino Students (LFS) tried to hold a protest along Buendia Avenue near the APEC venue but were stopped by police.
The students condemned APEC by burning its logo.
“Filipinos have been mired in poverty under the exploitation of foreign corporations and the dogged adherence of the government to foreign diktats, especially to the US. The Aquino government’s hosting of APEC will only ensure the implementation of onerous policies that will further stunt the country’s economic growth,” Charisse Bañez, LFS Chairperson, said.
Indigenous peoples' protest
Tribal groups and indigenous peoples (IPs) from the northern part of Luzon met with protesters in Mendiola on Wednesday morning.
They then marched to Quezon City and held a lightning protest in front of Camp Aquinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
They vandalized the walls of the camp with slogans protesting against the militarization of different parts of Mindanao and the alleged human rights abuses committed by the army.
The protesters tried to enter gate 3 of Camp Aguinaldo but were dispersed with the use of water cannons.
Malacañang, through the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP, had implemented strict security measures for APEC, in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.
Freedom parks were declared no rally zones, an act that, progressive groups said, is a curtailment of the constitutional right to peacefully assemble.
Against the US agenda
Kabataan Party-list Representative Terry Ridon called out the United States for attempting to make the Philippines look like a "powerless ragged medicant."
"We believe that what Obama has unwittingly done was to show the world how powerless the Philippines is when it comes to maritime defense. His offer for old, hand-me-down US warships highlights the fact that our nation remains vastly reliant on the US even for maritime equipment – a ragged mendicant of a nation in other words,” Ridon said.
Ridon was referring to the two ships Obama promised to give the Philippines to boost its maritime defense.
LFS also accused US President Barack Obama of using the APEC Summit to "facilitate military rebalancing" in the region.
“It’s no surprise that Obama started out his visit here by fanning the flames of the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines. Obama is challenging China and taking advantage of APEC in order to advance the US’ deployment of troops and war materiel in its policy of pivot to Asia,” Bañez added.
Progressive and leftist groups believe the APEC has 5 pillars that are detrimental to the public – Privatization, Liberalization, Deregulation, Contractualization and Public-Private Partnerships. In a forum on Tuesday, they offered alternatives to the APEC's "exploitative agenda."
The People's Forum on APEC 2015 (PFA) is set to burn effigies of Obama and other APEC leaders during their mass protest on Thursday, the last day of the APEC Leaders' Meeting.
This is the second time in 19 years that the Philippines is hosting the regional economic bloc, which accounts for nearly half of world trade, and about 57% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). – Rappler.com