NEW YORK CITY — Once a year, the biggest Philippine Independence Day parade outside the Philippines takes over 15 blocks of Madison Ave.
From beauty queens, teachers and migrant workers, Filipinos from all over the northeast coast celebrated the 120th anniversary of the Philippine declaration of freedom and sovereignty from Spain on June 12, 1898.
The usually non-political parade easily took a different tone — when pro-Duterte and anti-Duterte supporters dominated the event.
About three factions of Duterte fans showed their undying support for the president, painting a rosy picture of the Philippines.
While the Malaya movement, a group of Filipino activist organizations against Duterte, turned up the political heat with their message.
Protesters say this die-in at the parade review stand aims to demonstrate what they say is the atrocious nature of the growing number of killings in the president’s war on drugs in the Philippines.
This mobilization comes on the heels of US Pinoys for Good Governance — Ted Laguatan’s call for the Philippines to destroy the Chinese military bases sprouting on Philippine reefs within its exclusive 200-mile economic zone.
Meanwhile, the Philippine ambassador to the UN seems to have a better idea in safeguarding the Philippines’ freedom and sovereignty when it comes to the Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
“What we need to do is re-strengthen our ties with the US, the only force in the world that can ensure freedom. Period.” said Teddy Boy Locsin Jr.
Protesters believe that the Duterte administration’s non-action is not only disappointing to those who value Philippine sovereignty – but it’s also a national security risk for the future of the Philippines.