MANILA - Demonstrators on Monday burned a Chinese flag to protest some policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, including his “weak” response on the superpower’s dominance in the West Philippine Sea.
“China, layas! [China, get out!]” a group chanted while marching along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, ahead of the President’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Fisherfolk from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon expressed anger over what they said was Duterte’s “treachery against the country and the people.”
They brought streamers and creative placards with calls to impeach Duterte, as well as a wrecked fishing boat to symbolize the livelihood of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
“Filipino fishers are most often the front-line casualties of this long-running sea row and have been enduring the Chinese-perpetrated violence and intimidation on a regular fishing basis,” said Fernando Hicap, national chairperson of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas.
He was referring to the recent maritime incident where a Chinese vessel rammed, sank and abandoned a Filipino fishing boat aboard 22 crew.
Hicap said his group would file an impeachment complaint against Duterte after the SONA on the basis of graft, betrayal of public trust, and culpable violation of the constitution after his deemed failure to implement national laws on Chinese aggression.
Hicap, a former representative of Anakpawis partylist, urged legislators in the 18th Congress to support the impeachment complaint.
“We have high hopes that this would be Mr. Duterte’s 4th and final state of the nation. The fishers are sick and tired of his pack of lies and rhetoric to cover-up his incompetence and criminal neglect to advance the interest of the country and the Filipino people,” he added.