New Philippine Human Security Act “promotes state terrorism”, say Montreal demonstrators

Montreal, Quebec, Canada -- The Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) in Montreal organized a picket in front of the Philippine Consulate here on July 23, 2007. The demonstrators exposed Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s 7th state of the nation address (SONA) in the Philippines as a “prophetic farce” and protested the implementation of the new Human Security Act (HSA) or “anti-terror law”.

The event was supported by members of PINAY - organization of Filipino women in Quebec, Québec Solidaire, the Societé Bolivarienne du Québec, Immigrant Workers Centre, Philippine Independent Church - Montreal, Front Rouge des Jeunes – Montreal chapter, Parti Communiste Révolutionaire and other groups.

Reports of Arroyo’s plan to make the Philippines reach first world status in 20 years was dismissed as nothing more than doubletalk. “When millions of Filipinos earn a mere $2 a day and go to bed hungry, when 30 million Filipinos live in slums, and when the Arroyo government refuses to implement the meagre 125 peso (Can $3.00) a day wage hike, it is ridiculous to speak of first world status, said CPC coordinator Malcolm Guy.

”Refusing any true land reform, shipping out over a million Filipinos a year to work in low paying jobs around the globe while cow-towing to US imperialist interests is what the Filipino people would classify as first class exploitation,” said Guy. “On top of that, the new Human Security Act, coming in the midst of over 850 politically motivated killings of opponents to the Arroyo regime and almost 200 political abductions, is an attempt to justify state terrorism. I would call it the ‘inhuman insecurity act’”, said Guy “and it’s part and parcel of the US-led war of terror”.

The HSA allows for warrantless arrests, three-day detention without charges, wiretapping and other forms of surveillance, indefinite freezing of bank accounts, imprisonment on mere suspicion and permits the “extraterritorial” application of the law against overseas Filipinos.

“The prevailing conditions of landlessness, joblessness and poverty will push countless more Filipinos to accept precarious jobs abroad,” explained CAP-CPC researcher Joey Calugay. “How lucky Canadian imperialism is to have an abundant source of low wage earners such as the Filipino live-in domestics and their sponsored families”. Calugay said there are over 500 applicants per year in Quebec for positions as domestic workers or nannies under Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program.

The Centre for Philippine Concerns reports that Canada does about $1.7 billion worth of trade with the Philippines and has major mining interests there, such as TVI.

“I can’t help but wonder if Canada hopes to benefit from the supposed stability that the new anti-terrorism legislation will bring,” remarked CAP-CPC member Kelti Cameron. “It’s the people’s right to struggle against exploitation and tyranny. The Human Security Act will target those struggles...”

“The Centre for Philippine Concerns believes only the Filipino people’s movement for national democracy can assure that development can take place for and by the majority of the Filipino people” said Guy. “We are also here today to support the struggle of the Filipino people for a truly secure, democratic, and independent Philippines.”

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