Photos | Women groups picket US embassy ahead of Kerry visit

October 8, 2013

Women activists protest continuing and intensifying US military presence in the Philippines. (PW Photo)

Women activists protest continuing and intensifying US military presence in the Philippines. (PW Photo)

Women’s groups under Gabriela picketed the US embassy in Roxas Boulevard, Manila to protest the impending signing of agreement between the governments of the Philippines and United States for greater “rotational access” to Philippine bases by US armed forces.

Gabriela, together with children’s advocacy group Salinlahi as well as the group of World War II comfort women Lila Pilipina, attempted to march near the embassy when they were stopped by police in front of nearby Museo Pambata.

“(T)he US military troop build-up in our country would result in another social disaster reminiscent of Clark and Subic where thousands of women and children became victims of prostitution and sexual abuse. Only this time, it would not just be in Subic and Clark but in the whole country,” explained Joms Salvador, Gabriela secretary-general.

The picket kicked off a series of protest actions this week as US Secretary of State John Kerry is slated Manila this weekend to “seal the deal on the US’ increased rotational troop presence and access to Philippine military bases and facilities,” said Salvador.

Kerry will represent Pres. Barack Obama who cancelled his official visit to the Philippines amidst US government shutdown.

“Instead of spending money on the military war machine and meddle in economic and military affairs in Asia, the US government should just concentrate on uplifting the welfare of the American people,” added Salvador.

Photos of the picket: