- N.Y. rally bids GMA 'goodbye'
Rita Villadiego, Jul 27, 2005
NEW YORK Filipino novelist Ninotchka Rosca, who won
the American Book award in the 1993, wore a party hat,
gave purple balloons and chocolate cakes to rally
supporters as they sang "Bye Bye Ms. American Pie," in
a street party.
Unlike other protest rallies, this one held Monday in
front of the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue, had
no fiery explosion of emotions, only cheerful songs
meant to send a message to President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo to step down.
"We want to express our joy at her departure," said
Rosca, founding officer of Gabriela Womens
International organization as protesters sang "Take
her out of the office," to the tune of "Take me out to
"Finding her tongue just long enough to be taped
discussing fixing one million votes. It is given that
cheating occurs in every election, even in the U.S.,
but no one has been caught, till now, with his/her
hand in the ballot box as it were," said Rosca. She is
referring to the wiretapped conversation between
Arroyo and an election official, currently the subject
of an investigation by the Philippine Congress. In the
tape, Arroyo was heard to have asked Virgilio
Garcillano if her one million lead over rival Fernando
Poe was assured.
In a display of mock-glee, some 50 protesters toasted
drinks, drank water in champagne glasses, blew paper
trumpets and sang to the tune of "Sound of Music,"
with these words:" So long, farewell, goodbye, Youre
a big cheat...the masses have spoken , so leave with
Dorothea Mendoza, secretary general of Gabriela
Network, distributed party hats as she led the noisy
and ebullient street party.
"The Arroyo regime has been plagued not only with
allegations of fraud but extreme graft and corruption.
The price of basic commodities such as food and
utilities has continued to increase. Ms. Arroyo has
not delivered on her promise to raise the minimum wage
but rather forced upon the people the value added tax
(VAT), tripling the tax burden of the Filipino people.
Health care and social services for women and children
are virtually non-existent....because of poverty,
there are more than 800,000 prostituted women and
children in the Philippines," Mendoza said.
Mendoza said a third of Filipino families go without
dinner every night and half of all children in the
country are born without access to medical care,
whether pre-natal, birthing or pediatric.
She called on the creation of a transition council
that would include farmers, workers and various
sectors of society to replace the government of
Onlookers, amused at the spectacle, weighed in on the
"Ms. Arroyo is a very smart woman. She wants to change
the government. If the charges of cheating in election
are true, then let the Filipinos decide her fate,"
said Mila Valdez, a physician in New York.
New York-based book author Alberto Florentino said
"Ms. Arroyo has no right to be in Malacanang if,
indeed, she cheated the institution that symbolizes
democracy. Its unforgivable.
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People tend to think of nonviolence as a choice between using force and doing nothing. But the real choice takes place at another level. Nonviolence is less a matter of "not killing" and more a matter of showing compassion, of saving and redeeming, of being a healing community. One can only choose between doing good to the person placed in one's path, or to do him evil. To do good is to love a person; but not to do that is as good as killing him. To love someone is to restore that person physically, socially, and spiritually. To neglect and postpone this restoration is already to kill. Andre Trocme
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