Victor Wong statement

Opinion & Analysis Philippines Mar 1, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Dear President Macapagal-Arroyo:

I am writing to express my condemnation of your declaration of a state of “national emergency” in the Philippines on Friday February 24th. This shocking action announced as the Filipino people commemorate the 20th anniversary of EDSA 1, the 20th anniversary of the end of the Marcos dictatorship, is truly remarkable for its irony.

Canada and Canadians supported the restoration of democracy 20 years ago. But today we see that Proclamation 1017 is a defacto martial law declaration; it’s even close to the 1972 Marcos Proclamation 1081. Clearly this is a betrayal of the People Power ideals of twenty years ago.

There are also news reports this morning that your Government is now conducting a crackdown by arresting people including elected officials such as Representative Crispin Beltran. This is déjà vu all over again as Mr. Beltran, a well respected labour and human rights leader was arrested and detained during the Marcos regime. This unjustified arrest and detention of an elected member of the Congress must be condemned.

Madame President, your actions are a gross violation of the people’s trust. I am also writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other political leaders in Canada to urge our country to closely monitor this situation closely and to place on hold the funds that are committed to the Southern Leyte disaster and other Government-to-Government initiatives, at least until the state of “national emergency” is lifted.
Your Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and major human rights instruments and already Filipino lawmakers and peoples’ organizations have met to challenge these extraordinary powers. I urge you to immediately release Mr. Beltran and de-escalate the tensions created by lifting Proclamation 1017.

Yours truly,
Victor Wong
National Council of Chinese Canadians
cc. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Members of Parliament, NGOs Peoples Organizations