Defend Our National Interest, Say No to War on Iraq!
This morning, February 10, 2003, representatives of the different sectors in the University of the Philippines held a press conference to present a united stand against the war in Iraq and to denounce the support of President Arroyo for US President Bush. Representatives from the faculty, administration, administrative staff, REPS and students spoke at the press conference held on the Lobby of Quezon Hall in UP Diliman.
UP President Francisco Nemenzo in his personal capacity issued a statement entitled “Hands Off Iraq”. In the statement, President Nemenzo wrote, ” I add my voice to the global chorus of protest against the impending US War on Iraq”.
The administrative staff of the UP through the president of the All UP Workers The UP Diliman University Council Committee on National Policies and Programs represented by Dean Armado Malay, Jr, Chair of the Committee read the statement prepared by the Committee entitled “Defend Our National Interest, Say No To War on Iraq”.
Union, Clodualdo “Buboy Cabrera”, the research, extension and personell staff through Dr. Leticia Tohos, Vice President of the All UP Academic Employees Union spoke on their organization’s stand on peace and against war. They pointed out the readiness of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration to involve the Philippines in an unjust and costly war while neglecting the public sector employees demand for higher salaries and payment of back COLA.
The students through the outgoing Student Regent JP Manzanilla and incoming Student Regent reiterated the students’ strong opposition to the war and reminded the Philippine government that many students have parents working in the Middle East whose safety will be compromised with the US War on Iraq.
Prof. Judy Taguiwalo of the UC Committee on National Policies and Programs and President of the All UP Academic Employees Union reminded the Macapagal-Arroyo administration that a similar UP alliance of faculty, staff, REPS, and students was in the forefront of the movement for Estrada’s resignation in 2000 and 2001. Now the UP community is once again united to oppose the US War on Iraq and the Philippine government all out support to US President Bush on the issue.
UP Diliman facutly members Prof. Aniceta Ortinera of the College of Education, Dr. Giovanni Tapang of the Department of Physics, Prof. Ramon Guillermo of the Department of Filipino, Dr. Norma Respicio of the Department of Arts Studies, Sarah Raymundo of CONTEND and Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Third World Studies also spoke at the press conference.
The unfurling of the “UP Stands for Peace” mural of the Obation wearing a peace-jacket and condemning President Bush and President Macapagal Arroyo was unfurled.
Other UP Diliman Activities for the Week are the following:
Join the February 14 UP Diliman Peace Activities! 10:00 AM March around Diliman Campus (to proceed to Plaza Miranda (Assembly AS Steps) 4:30-7:00 PM UP Community Open Discussion (AS Lobby) and Candlelight Procession (Bring Candles)
(“Light up UP for Peace” from the AS Lobby to around the Academic Oval
7:00 PM UP Fair & Peace Concert
Statement drafted by the Committee on National Policies and Programs, University Council, University of the Philippines Diliman. (For the signature of the members of the UP Community.)
In these highly volatile times, the danger of a major global armed conflict breaking out in the Middle East is much closer than it appears. Already, some 150,000 American as well as British and Australian troops have massed in territories surrounding Iraq, just waiting for the signal to unleash their massive firepower on Saddam Hussein’s army and captive population. The question is no longer when, but how soon the attack will come.
The gathering clouds of war threaten to overshadow our nation as well. There is little doubt that should the Philippines be sucked into this conflict halfway around the globe, our national interests will irrevocably suffer.
Government officials themselves have warned about the grave economic crisis which Philippine involvement in the war would entail. The massive repatriation of OFWs from the Middle East would put enormous strain on our resources and result in loss of livelihood and income. The rise in oil prices will trigger unbridled inflation and drop in the value of the peso. The perception that the attack on Iraq is another form of Islamic persecution will fan the flames of extremism that could aggravate the conflict in Mindanao. The logic of the bellicose policy of officials in Washington, DC and Manila is rushing us all headlong to a crisis whose long-term effects we can only begin to speculate upon.
Unsettling questions about territorial sovereignty and independence in foreign policy are routinely brushed aside by Philippine authorities. And yet our government leaders’ short-sightedness and long record of subservience to the overlords in Washington DC have yielded nothing of profit to our nation. Once more, today we see the life and livelihood of Filipinos abroad put at risk and our national pride and wellbeing bartered for a few million US dollars of military assistance.
But it is not only from a national perspective that we base our opposition to the US-instigated aggression in Iraq. It seems that the suffering of the innocent civilian population of Iraq is of little import to Bush and his hawks, who have short memories where the Vietnam war is concerned. But for the rest of humanity, including several hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans, the US-led war of aggression against Iraq is a naked and arrogant display of power, the incontrovertible proof that an imperial hegemon is bent on imposing its egoistic norms and values on all.
We are against weapons of mass destruction. But we do not think war will rid the world of these weapons. We support the exhaustion of peaceful and multilateral efforts to achieve this aim not just in Iraq but in all countries.
We support Pope John Paul II, Nobel Peace Prize awardees Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, Mohammad Mahathir, Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, and other world leaders who are on record as saying NO! to the US war of aggression. As peace-loving members of the UP Diliman community, we do not want our country involved in this conflict as an instrument of superpower violence and arrogance.
Defend our national interest, say no to war on Iraq ! Oppose America’s intent to use unilateral force and aggression! Fight for peace!
I support the Statement Defend Our National Interest, Say No to War on Iraq! Prepared by the Committee on National Policies and Programs, University Council, University of the Philippines Diliman.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2003