After many years of struggle, WeDpro and the United Philippine Amerasians (UPA) have successfully obtained a resolution from the Local Government of Angeles City headed by Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan and the Local Council or Sangguniang Bayan that declares March 4th every year as National Amerasian Day.
The quest for recognition for the plight of more than 50,000 Amerasians in the country has been finally acknowledged by the local governments of Angeles City, following the footsteps of the local government of Olongapo City, which declared March 4th as National Amerasian Day a few years ago. The recent victory ensures the higher visibility of Amerasian people – a nearly forgotten issue – that is a historical legacy of the presence of the U.S. military in the country.
The recognition moves the Amerasian struggles forward, as UPA leads the national efforts in a more organized fashion to gain more rights for the girls and boys, women and men, whose lives have been tied down to discrimination because of their circumstances as children of the bases. Racial discrimination has especially haunted the lives of colored Amerasians. Their abandonment by their American fathers and sometimes by their own mothers has thrown them into a life of marginalization: lack of education, lack of gainful employment, lack of social security and worse, lack of human rights.
The victory moves them to a higher level of struggle: obtaining equal rights as other citizens of this nation, and ensuring their protection in the ongoing negotiations between the US and Philippine authorities on the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). There are reports of the US bases coming back to the Philippines in some form or another. “Access rights” is the term bandied around. While in many ways, the US military presence in the country never really waned after its official departure in 1991, the opportunity to lobby for a more humane treatment of Amerasians and their birth mothers is more than ever a golden opportunity to once more raise the question of US military presence and its impact on the lives of people and communities. Amerasians are the children of our subservience to a neo-colonial relationship that continues to persist in clear violation of our Constitution, which guarantees freedom from foreign bases and the protection of our fundamental rights as citizens with dignity and equal rights with all peoples of the world. Amerasians symbolize our status touted as a democracy yet tied down to the wishes of imperial powers.
As authorities in Pentagon, Washington, and Manila carve out the new agreements on the continuing stay and expansion of the US military in the country, and as the US bases and personnel moving out of Okinawa, Japan are being apportioned among countries in Asia-Pacific, WeDpro links arms with the peoples of the region who have heightened their militant struggles to defend their lands from further military aggression. Militarism, as history has shown, has not promoted a people-oriented development; militarism has gone against sustainable development. We demand justice for peoples and the communities who have been negatively impacted directly by the presence of US military forces. We join hands with our sisters and brothers who oppose the expansion of the US military presence.
WeDpro prepares for continuing struggles to oppose wars, as we passionately dream of a future with genuine peace and security in a community of nations that uphold democracy and human rights.
Ref: WeDpro, Inc.
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