Anakbayan chapters across the United States strongly condemn the violent dispersal of the August 25 anti-budget cut protest in front of the House of Representatives in the Philippines. We support the filing of charges against the Quezon City Police District and the Security Office of the House of Representatives who committed acts of brutality against peaceful demonstrators.
In the middle of the peaceful rally of nearly a thousand youth, students, teachers, health workers, and urban poor, police forces started charging towards the people and began hitting demonstrators with their shields and batons. Even after backing away from the gates of the House of Representatives, the demonstrators were blasted with water cannons from two firetrucks by the police and security personnel. Five were seriously injured, including two national officers of Anakbayan Philippines.
Led by the multi-sectoral alliance, “Kilos na Laban sa Budget Cuts” (Act Now Against the Budget Cuts), the protest aimed to convince lawmakers to reject President Aquino’s proposed 2012 National Budget. Aquino’s proposal would continue to allocate intolerably low funding for social services, education, health, housing, and services to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), yet would substantially increase allocation for the payment of foreign loans and military spending. Under the 2012 budget, education will be one of the hardest hit by Aquino’s austerity measures. Fifty-one State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are facing a total cut of P583.69 million under Aquino’s proposed budget.
With the growing economic crisis and Aquino’s continued disregard of issues such as land reform and the nationalization of the Philippine economy, cuts to social services will only further deepen the misery of our kababayan. Aquino should not be surprised with the growing discontent and unrest of the people. The brutal actions of his government will only fuel greater resistance among the youth and the people across the country and overseas. ###