On Nicole’s recantation, Gabriela says fight vs. VFA must go on

Mar. 29, 2009

DAVAO CITY — Members of Gabriela and March 8 Convenors are set to stage protest actions as a vow to continue the fight for the abrogation of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

Gabriela leader Lyda J. Canson said that even with Nicole’s recantation on her case against convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the fight against the onerous RP- US agreement should even intensify.

Gabriela believes that the act serves mostly the interest of the US and the Philippine government, the latter which has served as protector of Smith since the rape happened. The victim has always been not just Nicole but the Filipino people.

Who gains more from the latest retraction? It is part of a grand scheme of the US and the Philippine governments to absolve Smith and thwart the growing demand for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). We can clearly see that the Arroyo government had yet again succumbed to its master’s order, Canson said.

Under the VFA, over 6000 US troops are scheduled for deployment to the Philippines next month to conduct war exercises with the Philippines military known as the Balikatan exercises.

Canson said that under the VFA, there will be 23 Balikatan military exercises to be held in the Philippines and 15 of which will take place in Mindanao. Recently, there are already four Balikatan Exercises held in the island.

Canson said that Nicole’s retraction has heightened the opposition of the women sector in Davao City against VFA and this has caused more than enough reason for the women to continue fighting for their rights and dignity.

The fight should not stop with Nicole’s case. We must continue fighting for Nicole and for other women who fall victims of the US military intervention. We must continue the fight to end the impertinence of the United States in undermining the dignity of the Filipino people. We must not allow the Arroyo government, in its utter puppetry to US, to sell out the Filipino people. VFA should be abrogated, Canson said.

For reference:

Lyda Canson, 0917-374-7577

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