Militants slam Aquino, call him ‘farm pest’By Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Some 600 militant protesters on Tuesday burned an effigy of President Benigno Aquino, denouncing him as a “farm pest” and saying there could be no true independence without genuine land reform and with foreign troops in the country.
“It is hypocritical for Aquino to say that his government is fighting for new freedom when the exact opposite is happening,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
“This government wants to perpetuate our colonial and neocolonial past by allowing the stationing of foreign troops on Philippine soil and by allowing foreign interests to dictate our economic development,” Reyes said in a statement.
The protesters marched to Don Chino Roces Bridge, formerly Mendiola, outside Malacañang, and torched a giant image of Aquino as a snail.
The effigy stood for “Pesteng Noy, Parasite Noy and Puppet Noy,” said Willy Marbella, deputy secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. He said the President was “a pest to the Filipino peasantry.”
“There is no genuine freedom and democracy,” he said. “The intensifying US economic, political, cultural and military intervention, coupled with Aquino’s rabid puppetry is the biggest slap on Philippine independence.”
Reyes said Mr. Aquino’s “tuwid na daan (straight path) rhetoric cannot hide the fact that we are constantly being taken advantage of by foreign interests, mainly the US.”
“We cannot enjoy political and economic sovereignty when foreign interests and dictates continue to dominate us. Aquino has been all too willing to have our sovereignty undermined,” he said.
Reyes further maintained that under the present administration, there could be no freedom from poverty, no freedom from impunity and injustice.
“The legitimate cause of going after the corrupt such as former President Arroyo has itself been undermined and weakened by Aquino. While Aquino lauds his impeachment of the Chief Justice, accountability remains elusive for many other victims of corruption and gross human rights violations,” Reyes explained.
Following a two-hour rally on the bridge, the protesters proceeded toward the US Embassy, but police stopped them at the corner of T.M. Kalaw and Mabini streets, a block away.
The protesters attempted to break through a phalanx of 50 riot policemen, but were turned back, resulting in injuries to three militants, police said.