KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 3 / July-August-September 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network
International Solidarity Conference 2001
Philippine Civil Society and International Solidarity Partners:
Strengthening Local & Global Advocacy Initiatives
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 24-26 August 2001
Philippines: PGX 70-I Matahimik St., Teacher's Village, Diliman, Quezon City * Telefax (063-2) 435-4533
Netherlands: KSP-PESC Kortejansstraat 2A 3512 GN Utrecht The Netherlands * Tel (0031) (30) 236-7376
STATEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE HOST COMMITTEE
We, as representatives from all the organization-members of the Philippine Host Committee, would like to join the American people and the rest of humanity in grieving for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. As individuals, as well as a coalition of numerous organizations, we express the deep sympathy of our 300 representatives from the Philippines, from Europe, from North America and from Australia to the various nations affected by this tragedy. No one can remain indifferent to the pain and suffering of thousands of families whose loved ones were killed or hurt in the airplane crashes or the collapse of the buildings. Since all of us have been involved in solidarity work and peace advocacy for so long, we firmly condemn brazen terrorist acts as a way of promoting political ideology or religious belief.
However, at the same time, we, as citizens of the world, demand that the President of the United States, George W. Bush, the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, and the President of the European Union, Romano Prodi should identify wise, just and effective solutions to the problems that have spawned terrorism in all forms, instead of reacting emotionally. We also caution the US and their allies, especially the Philippines, not to make Islam a scapegoat. We are concerned by the resolution passed in the Congress of the United States to support any military action the US President deems appropriate. Bush's statements such as: "We will not discriminate between the terrorists and those who harbor them" and, "Either you are with us or against us" are irresponsible and unbecoming of a world leader. A strike that would irrationally target the Afghan population as a whole might trigger a spiral of violence against innocent civilians and a major worldwide conflict.
In the aftermath of the attacks, many countries have pledged military assistance to the USA. The Philippines was particularly quick to back the US call for a full-scale war against terrorism. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared and reaffirmed many times her "full and unqualified support" for the anti-terrorism coalition. So far, US military planes have already been allowed to land, fuel and transit within Filipino airspace. We fear such strong commitment might lead to the expansion of the current defense policy to the possible reactivation of the previous US bases located in the Philippines. Such an option should first be submitted to the Congress and discussed within the Philippine civil society.
Nevertheless, impunity must not prevail. We urge international forces to bring all those responsible for this terrorist act to justice in respect of the international Human Rights and humanitarian conventions. Furthermore, we remind that even prime suspects remain presumed innocent as long as no evidence of guilt has been produced. We strongly voice out that civilian groups must not be targeted, their safety must be guaranteed, and they must not bear any responsibility for the criminal actions of individuals.
We call on citizens and civil societies worldwide to unite their efforts to stop the war. Everyone knows that inequity and misery all over the world is the ground where violence can flourish. Armed action is not the best way of responding to terrorist attacks. Once again, we reiterate that all those who truly care about the well being of humanity should prioritize peace as the alternative to all-out war. In the light of the Conference's Declaration, we oppose "globalization" imposed by governments in advanced capitalist countries, for example through military blackmail and economic hegemony. We believe in the "globalization" of peoples' struggles across the South-South, North-North, North-South divide through continuing solidarity work to eradicate violence and threats to the world's population.
The Philippine Host Committee
Bayanihan International Solidarity Conference
The Philippine Host Committee, which hosted the Bayanihan International Solidarity Conference 2001 held last 24-26 August 2001 in Quezon City, Philippines, is an international solidarity network composed of: Akbayan! (Citizens Action Party), Al Fatihah Foundation, ASIA ACTS, Balay Inc., Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD), Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (JPICC-AMRSP), Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino (KAKAMMPI), KANLUNGAN Center Foundation, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), Labor Rights and Democracy (LARIDE), Medical Action Group (MAG), Mennonites Central Committee (MCC), Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Services (PARRDS), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Peoples' Global Exchange (PGX), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine International Forum (PIF), Philippine Jubilee 2000, SARILAYA, Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines (TWSC) and Volens-Itinerans.