Filipino protesters denounce US President Trump’s arrival in Manila, claiming his heightened involvement in their country’s affairs could drag them into a war
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets across the Philippines yesterday and today to rally against US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to the nation, calling upon President Rodrigo Duterte to resist US influence in Philippine foreign policy.
Members of the Gabriela Women’s Group marched towards the US embassy, holding signs and shouting anti-US government remarks. The group denounced Trump’s attendance at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which is being held on Monday in Manila.
Across town, protesters from the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) rallied outside Trump Towers, claiming the US president had the intention of using the Philippines’ territory to install more American military bases and that his heightened involvement in the country’s affairs could drag them into war.
“Trump represents the worst aspects of US imperialism,” Bayan said in a statement. “Trump seeks to maintain the grossly unequal relations between the US and the Philippines. He is right now the biggest threat to regional peace with his provocations against North Korea.”
In the southern Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro, the League of the Filipino Students-Northern Mindanao Region, a militant student group, displayed their condemnation of the US-Philippines relationship by burning American flags and images of Trump.
“We want [Trump] to know that the students and the youth here shall not allow imperialist power to plunder and continually kill our people,” the group’s chairperson Kristine Cabardo told Philippines newspaper SunStar.
The students also called on Duterte to reverse all previously signed US-Philippines treaties and end the neoliberal policies they claim resulted in socio-economic and political problems.
Protests on Thursday come after a week of smaller rallies occurred across Manila, including a #BanTrumpPH campaign on Tuesday and rallies that have been occurring outside the Presidential Palace. There was also a demonstration by the LGBT community at the University of the Philippines.
Trump touches down in Manila on November 12 and there are more mass protests expected upon his arrival.
The Philippines – a former American colony – has previously had a turbulent relationship with the US, with Duterte having frequently called out former US President Barack Obama for meddling with the country’s domestic affairs.
Despite activists having long criticised the US for what they see as an unrelenting American control over the Philippines, Duterte changed his stance toward the US after Trump’s inauguration last year.
“I don’t want to quarrel anymore,” Duterte announced the day Trump won the US elections. “He does not call me out over my campaign about human rights.”
From November 10 – 14, the Philippines will host the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings.