2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Opening Plenary
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs - Hiroshima
August 4, 2004

Corazon Fabros
Nuclear-Free Philippines Coalition

Your Excellencies Ambassador Haniff and Ambassador de Alba, the Honourable Mohamed El Din, the honorable Judge Weeramantory, the Honorable Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, friends and comrades in the peace movement,

Allow me to express warm solidarity greetings from the nuclear free Philippines and the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific Movement.

I bring you one good news today and share the joy of the Filipino nation in welcoming our troops back to the Philippines.

After some agonizing days of indecision whether to displease the United States or listen to the overwhelming clamor of Filipinos for the Philippine troops to leave Iraq, the Philippine President had no choice but to save the life of the Filipino overseas worker who had become a symbol of the eight million Filipino workers overseas. The Philippine government went to the extent of unleashing police brutality against unarmed and peaceful rallyists and demonstrators never before seen since the anti-bases campaign 10 years ago.

The withdrawal of Filipino troops from Iraq is welcomed by the Filipino people. But it is not a clear indication of any change in the government policy of collaboration with the U.S. in acts of war and repression under the pretext of anti-terrorism. Because of the collaboration, the U.S. is escalating its military intervention in the Philippines and making provocations against nearby countries under the guise of joint military exercises.

Having US troops in our homeland is the same as having foreign troops occupying Iraq. Our struggle to stop any and all plans of the US to re-establish its military facilities remain our top priority. We do not lose face, nor honor when we stand up to a bullying superpower and say NO to its wrongdoings and global interventions.

The presence of US bases and US troops in our land are not only illegal as it violates our constitution, it is as well immoral and unjust as it violates our right to live in peace and security.

I salute the peace-loving people of Okinawa in their relentless campaign to oppose the presence of US bases. I call for international solidarity during these crucial times when the United States plan to assign to its troops in Japan the responsibility of securing the entire Pacific region.

We must continue to break the myth - that our economy will collapse without the bases. The Philippine economy did not collapse when the bases left. The past victories of Asian anti-colonial struggles, including those for self-determination in Vietnam and elsewhere, the democratic movements against pro-US dictatorships as in the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggles and the dismantling of the formidable US bases in 1991, the anti-war movements against the War in Iraq, the anti-neo globalization movements that have worked to stop the new round of negotiations in Cancun on the WTO, the growing anti-bases movements in Korea, here in Japan and in Okinawa, the struggles in the Marshalls and in Guam and the recent victory of the patriotic struggle of the people of Tahiti and in the rest of Asia and the Pacific, all these initiatives demonstrate the desire of the peoples of the Asia and the Pacific to live in freedom, peace, justice and prosperity.

Our work is to inform, mobilize and organize to broaden the constituency of people who understand the issue. Our work is right there in our own communities, in every village, in every school, in every place where we need to win the hearts and minds of people so that they will take up the struggle as their own.

In closing I call on you today especially to the young generation of this land, to join the ever-growing movement to oppose the continued presence of US bases and US troops in our land. I wish for you to embrace it as a lifetime commitment and dedicate your life to realize a nuclear -free and bases-free world.

Thank you and letfs keep the fire of hope and courage in our hearts.

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Japan Council
against A & H Bombs
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