Fil-Am activists protest Obama's PH visit

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 28, 2014

LOS ANGELES – A weekend of protests for Filipinos coast to coast as US President Barack Obama continues his tour of Asia, leading to his visit to the Philippines.

Activists in San Francisco and Los Angeles gathered simultaneously at the federal building on Friday night. Protests also took place in New York and Seattle.

“We’re here in solidarity with the people of the Philippines Japan Malaysia Guam, anywhere the United States is trying to expand in the Asia pacific,” Kuusela Hilo of the International League of People’s Struggles said as she protested in Los Angeles.

“They have it backwards. They spend more than 60 percent of militarization when really it should be used on healthcare, housing, and education for all the people,” Rhonda Ramiro of Bayan USA said during the San Francisco protest.

Obama is expected to work out military agreements with Asian countries including the Philippines.

“We know that with the access agreement, there will be an increased military presence in the Philippines 50 million dollars of Us aid is going to the Philippines for the Philippine military and we’ve seen again and again human rights violations being committed using these US funds,” Theresa Jaranilla of Bayan USA said.

While some see this military alliance as possible help in the Philippines’ ongoing territorial dispute with China, others say it paves the way for more human rights violations.

“I think Obama’s trip to the Philippines will help security for the Philippines,” Los Angeles community leader Thelma Calabio said.

“We don’t want to get caught in another war over that,” Hilo added.

Activists are also angered by a delay in the granting of temporary protected status which would help Filipinos who are undocumented or have expiring visas, legalize their stay to help rebuild typhoon ravaged areas of the Philippines.

“There hasn’t been any talks of President Aquino, President Obama talking about human rights, talking about what has happened with the people that were affected by the typhoon and their families. Here we’ve been fighting for TPS,” Jaranilla explained.

Obama arrived in the Philippines on Monday.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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