LOOK: ILPS member organizations and country chapters protest in Washington, DC in solidarity with the Filipino people’s call to end Duterte’s tyranny “DUTERTE WAKASAN NA! END DUTERTE NOW!” declares DMV People’s State of the Nation Address 2021 WASHINGTON, DC – Over 100 Filipino activists, community organizers and solidarity allies from throughout the DMV region mobilized to the DC-MD-VA People’s State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Embassy on Saturday July 24th to expose the true conditions and advance demands of the Filipino people in the “five long violent years” under President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, and as a counter-protest to Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) given on July 26.
For the past five years, Duterte has been using the SONA as the vehicle for his lies and for his propaganda. From the pedestal afforded to him by the Constitution and by the Filipino people, Duterte has openly engaged in acts of deception, painting himself and his administration as saviors of the nation. But the Filipino people know the truth. Tens of thousands dead, including children, in his war on the poor masquerading as a war on drugs. Continued subservience to China and to the United States. Millions of Filipinos leave their homeland every year for better opportunities abroad. Unrelenting assaults against dissent and freedom of speech. Continued attacks against the poor, the indigenous, the LGBTQ+, workers, peasants, and other marginalized sectors of the Philippine society. Duterte’s cronies are getting richer while the Filipino masses are suffering.
The event started with a short program at Lafayette Square where Baltimore Filipinx DJ, Toyomansi, engaged the crowd with agitational hip-hop and where multiple solidarity organizations spoke about the importance of internationalism in the struggle for National Liberation. Calls to support the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA), a legislation re-introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Susan Wild in June 2021, were made throughout the program. If passed, the PHRA would stop all security aid provided by the United States to the Philippines until human rights violations cease and all state forces are held accountable. Katarungan DC members, Aimee and Gabby said, “The US has made a deal with the Philippines providing $2.5 billion in arms sales which will only contribute to further killings of the Philippine people…[the PHRA] would stop military funding from the U.S. to the Philippines.
”Nick from the Maryland Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines spoke about the responsibility we have, living in the heart of the imperial empire. “Here in the U.S. we have an obligation to stand in solidarity with these demands, and it’s not just because of our heart and our morals, it’s because our government is directly responsible for the continued immiseration of the people in the Philippines.” The calls for international solidarity were emphasized by Rasha from Palestinian Youth Movement and Rebecca from Pan-African Community Association. “As Pan Africanists, we understand that it is both our honor and our responsibility to fight alongside each other for all of our freedoms, due to the fact that our values and our struggles and our humanity are fundamentally related and interconnected,” said Rebecca. “We stand with the Filipino people in affirmation and as an enactment of our promise of joint struggle, we will only be liberated when the systems that oppress us all fall,” said Rasha.
The protesters took to the streets and marched from Lafayette Square to the Philippine Embassy as they chanted the main banner call throughout the streets, “End Duterte! Wakasan Na!” which calls to end the Duterte regime by any means necessary, even in his last year of presidency. The contingent was able to garner attention from passers-by, further strengthening the urgency of the calls.