When US President Barrack Obama comes to visit the Philippines, I will go out and protest as an expression of my opposition to America’s imperialist agenda in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific and as a symbol of my aspiration for Philippine sovereignty, independence and development.
What I oppose
I object to Obama’s push for more neoliberal economic policies as proposed in the US-brokered Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). These policies of liberalization, deregulation, privatization, denationalization and reduced social spending, falsely packaged as “economic reforms”, have brought ruin to the Philippine economy and much hardship to our people. Such policies have led to unconscionable prices of even the most basic public utilities and services, massive unemployment and loss of job security, greater poverty and income inequality, and the failure to fully develop Philippine agriculture and industry.
I object to the increased military presence brought about by the Obama administration’s US pivot to the Asia Pacific region, which is meant to secure American economic and geopolitical interests. I oppose the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) which will increase the stationing of US troops in the country, allow for the prepositioning of their arms, supplies and war equipment as well as the construction of permanent US military facilities in our military bases.
I believe it is not in the national interest to become a US military outpost and jumping ground for military agression in the region. China’s incursions into our maritime areas (exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf) does not necessitate the permanent stationing of US troops and facilities in our country. One does not stop bullying by bringing in bigger bullies.
I oppose the Aquino administration’s active and willing connivance with the US in the plunder of the national economy through unequal and unfair trade and investment deals. I likewise resent the fact that the government’s flawed, militarist approach to the decades-old communist rebellion – a strategy that has resulted in massive human rights violations – is under the guidance and funding of the US government.
What I aspire for
I want to see a Philippines that is free from the shackes of its colonial past. I want a truly sovereign and independent nation. We want a path that does not make us dependent on and dominated by other powerful, imperialist states, be it the US, Japan or China.
I believe that we will be better off pursuing a robust and self-reliant domestic economy through the twin policies of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization; the former to unleash the productive forces in the agriculture sector and the latter to reinvigorate our deteriorating agro-industries, manufacturing and heavy industries. We certainly have the talent and resources to pursue such a progressive kind of development. Keeping us shackled to US-led neoliberal policies will not make this possible.
I believe that China’s incursions in our maritime zones can still be checked through creative and aggressive diplomacy without bringing us to the brink of war or allowing ourselves to be America’s pawn in its own rivalry with China. I doubt if the Obama government will go to war with China over Scarborough Shoal or the Spratlys, although it will most likely use the issue to gain self-serving economic and military concessions from China.
History teaches us that the US government will always act for its own interest and not out of some silly, sentimental sense of “special” Philippine-American relations. It is time to get rid of that colonial mentality. We should realize that if we want to develop our country into a modern, prosperous and self-reliant nation, we have to do it mainly on our own. Any relationship of agreement we enter into with other countries should be for this purpose and should be mutually beneficial and based on respect for each other’s sovereignty.
Finally, my protest is an affirmation of my hope and belief in the Filipino – in our individual capabilities and our collective capacity to be great as a nation.
Ibagsak ang imperyalismo! Itaguyod ang pambansang soberanya at kalayaan!