Women hold rally to denounce Balikatan exercises

By Nuel M. Bacarra

The Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) held a rally at the United States (US) Embassy in Manila three days before the 39th Balikatan military exercises end on May 9, demanding an end to the war games they said is anti-Filipino.

The protesters denounced the Philippine government’s spending for the exercises “in outright disregard of the people’s sufferings.”

House Assistant Minority leader and GWP Rep. Arlene Brosas in her speech said: “We demand transparency regarding the utilization of taxpayers’ money, particularly in funding activities like Balikatan exercises which remain shrouded in secrecy.”

“The Philippine government is spending money for war which we do not need and definitely not the solution to the people’s poverty and hunger,” she revealed.

Brosas added: “We must get rid of the Visiting Forces Agreement and stop funding these war games.”

The 39th edition of the US-Philippine war games is reportedly the biggest yet with the participation of 14 other countries as observers and seen as directed against the People’s Republic of China.

Activists call for the release of 6 fellow protesters five days after their arrest during the Labor Day protests in Manila. (N. Bacarra/Kodao)

After their rally, the group joined other activists at the nearby Manila City Hall denouncing the continued detention of six fellow activists arrested during the Labor Day rallies at the Embassy by the Manila Police District.

They said the Mayo Uno 6’s continued detention is symbolic of the Philippine government’s subservience to US imperialism. #