By Billy Javier Reyes, Gerry Albert Corpuz and Tanya Fantasia Mendoza
Manila, Philippines– Fisherfolk activists and survivors of super typhoon Yolanda literally sent President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to “fires of hell” as they burned placard-sized photos of the Chief Executive with caption “Diablo ng Malacanang” in a rally held this morning at Mendiola Bridge.
“For promoting the no-build zone policy across the country and for reviving Charter Change in the name of his transnational clients and close business associates, we hereby send Mr. Aquino to the fires of hell. If you ask us if this burning of Aquino pictures is meant to oust Mr. Aquino or compel him to resign, we categorically say yes ,” said leaders of rally organizers identified with the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis partylist.
The group was supported by allies of Pamalakaya led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Amihan peasant federation of peasant women and National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth Sector (Nnara-Youth).
Some 200 activists took turns in burning the pictures of Aquino during the rally that lasted for two hours. Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said the “mass burning of Aquino pictures” is in response to the insistence of Malacanang to effect the no-build zone policy in Tacloban City, Eastern Visayas and other coastal areas ravaged by super storm Yolanda last year.
Before reaching Mendiola, the activists held a 10-jeepney caravan from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and staged whistle stop protests at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and at the main gate of Aquino’s ancestral house in Times Street in Quezon City.
France also said the symbolic defiance and wholesale condemnation of Aquino is also meant to show that the Filipino fisherfolk and victims of typhoon Yolanda are opposed to revived moves of Malacanang and the House of Representatives to pursue revisions in the 1987 Constitution.
“The no-build zone policy will be carried out by Malacanang to clear coastal villages of people and communities and pave way for major landgrabbing and coastal takeover by foreign monopolies and local big business groups under the banner of Chacha agenda on 100 percent foreign ownership of land and Pubic-Private Partnership,” the Pamalakaya official said.
According to Pamalakaya, the no-build zone policy and the Chacha engineered PPP projects will soon displace other fishermen in many areas of Manila Bay from Cavite to Bataan in Central Luzon and all towns surrounding Laguna Lake.
The group said the no-build zone policy coupled with Charter Change and PPP will entail the displacement of more than 6 million people in Manila Bay and 3.9 million around the 90,000 hectare Laguna de Bay. This catastrophic prediction will be rendered by the national policy on no-build, no-dwell zone program of the Aquino government. #