29 July 2018

NZ, Australian groups denounce ex-Pres. Arroyo’s return to power, Cha-Cha and persecution of MAKABAYAN bloc

Migrante chapters and human rights solidarity groups in Australia and New Zealand share the Filipino people’s outrage over the latest political circus in the Philippines. After evading accountability over multi-million NBN-ZTE scam and numerous corruption issues, electoral fraud and massive extra-judicial killings led by butcher General Jovito Palparan, ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has succeeded to grab the speakership of the House of Representatives through a coup that became the highlight on the day of Pres. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

We denounce the threatened deportation and possible non-renewal of visa for Australian missionary Sr. Pat Fox who is unjustly persecuted upon direct orders of the president. We are further outraged at the latest revival of trumped-up charges against MAKABAYAN bloc leaders Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano and Teddy Casiṅo. The Arroyo-Duterte tandem is hell-bent to silence critics of government corruption, rights abuses, Charter Change, TRAIN law and other anti-people schemes.

The Arroyo coup is clearly part of the scheme of Pres. Duterte’s push for Charter Change. Cha-Cha agenda means that political dynasties will continue to rule. Cha-Cha will benefit those hungry for more economic and political power, not the poor who are further burdened with taxes and increasing prices. Instead of pushing for Cha-Cha agenda, the Duterte government can do better by junking the TRAIN law, lifting the national minimum wage and ending workers contractualization.
It is totally disappointing that peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) bogged down as a result of the militarists in Duterte’s inner circle – Generals Aṅo, Lorenzana and Esperon – refusing to sign the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). From Arroyo to Duterte, government failure to create decent jobs at home continue to force over 10 million Filipinos to work abroad even at the risk of being exploited by abusive employers. Arroyo and Duterte continued to promote labour export and rely on remittances to keep the economy afloat. They refused to heed the poor’s demands that genuine land reform and national industrialization are the most urgent economic reforms necessary to end forced migration and bring about just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
In the spirit of international solidarity, we join calls for justice and demand for Duterte to be held accountable for the 12,000+ extra-judicial killings and the on-going massive displacement of Lumad and other indigenous communities, as well as Arroyo for the 1,206 political killings plus 206 enforced disappearances while she was in power. Having Arroyo as House Speaker, Tito Sotto as Senate president, and Duterte as President with all the fascist generals standing in the way of fruitful peace negotiations is a lethal government against the Filipino people.
Filipinos deserve better. Enough of shamelessly corrupt and murderous leaders in government!

Signed from AUSTRALIA:
George Kotsakis
Chairman, Migrante Australia – gbkotsakis@gmail.com

Peter Murphy
Secretary, Philippines Australia Union Link – peter_murphy1_au@bigpond.com

Peter Brock
Chairperson, Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines (APDP) – p27brock@gmail.com

Andrew Morrison
Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA) – andrew.scott.morrison@gmail.com

Signed from NEW ZEALAND

Mikee Santos
Chairman, Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand – migranteaotearoanz@gmail.com

Murray Horton
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa – cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Helen Te Hira
Auckland Philippines Solidarity – phsolidarity@gmail.com

Rod Prosser
Wellington Kiwi Pinoy – orodi@protonmail.com