A Joint Press Statement by Tanggol Kasaysayan & ACT for Sovereignty
09 April 2019
Tanggol Kasaysayan and ACT for Sovereignty join the Filipino people in commemorating the valor of Filipino martyrs this April 9 who fought to defend the sovereignty of our country. This is in honor and recognition of our people’s deep-rooted history of fighting for freedom and for the promotion of people’s welfare. On this day, we remember the suffering and sacrifice of patriotic Filipinos who struggled to frustrate foreign attempts to steal and colonize our territories.
As we commemorate the Philippine Day of Valor, we recognize that we are still confronted with threats and challenges to our sovereignty. We remain to be bound to unequal military pacts with the United States of America through the Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement, and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which are skewed in favor of foreign interests and leave our country susceptible to attacks from countries antagonistic towards the US government. Meanwhile, China is relentless in its aggressive take over of islands within our shores in the West Philippine Sea as it continues to assert the unrecognized 9-dash line and as China makes itself known as a new global superpower. Through the establishment of artificial islands, China utilizes our sands and the soils from our mountains to create a network of defense for the expansion of its naval bases.
China further chains the Philippines through the funding of various projects in the Philippines. Using the classic template for a skewed contract in favor of China which it has used in other economically struggling countries, the Philippines has pawned off its natural resources and rights to govern critical infrastructures in the country in exchange for huge business loans. Ridiculously high interest rates, shorter lengths of repayment plans, exclusively granting project contracts to Chinese corporations who employ only Chinese workers – these are just some of the unfair provisions in the loan contracts that the Duterte regime blindly agreed to in the interest of ‘Build, Build, Build’. Several projects are t be funded by these onerous loans, which include the Chico River Dam project, the construction of Kaliwa Dam, and the reclamation of parts of Manila Bay. Should we fail to repay these debts, China reserves the right to claim our natural resources and to control important public infrastructures to the detriment of the lives and livelihoods of the nation.
The anomalous relations between the Duterte regime and the Chinese government should be exposed. We must learn the lessons of our history – the People must fight for the country’s independence and sovereignty at the first instance of threat against it.
These lessons can be observed as we commemorate the Philippine Day of Valor. Unfortunately, even these learnings are in danger of being relegated to oblivion as the state neglects its duty to strengthen our historical consciousness. The state has abandoned its role in propagating and cultivating patriotism. Through the continuing K to 12 program, Philippine History has been removed from High School curriculum and, in tertiary education, it has been transformed from learning about events from the past towards varying interpretations of history, which runs the risk of diluting our understanding of our identity as a nation.
It is high time for us to once again assert the valor of the Filipino people. We shall put into practice the lessons of history about our tradition of resistance against foreign domination. It is time to forward the interests of the people as basis for all international relations. Our national sovereignty and the security of future generations shall take primacy over accumulation of profit and other financial gains for the few from entering anomalous contracts. These, however, will only be made possible by a people with vast and deep historical consciousness who can elevate our commemoration of days like these to reliving the lessons of the past in the face of threats against the welfare and future of our nation. These can be guaranteed through the unity of the Filipino people in advancing a society where the interests of the majority trumps those of the few and those of foreign invaders.
Learn from the lessons of history!
Commemorate the valor of the Filipino people against colonizers!
Fight for Philippine freedom and sovereignty!