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Bello exposed in Vancouver, Canada

19 March 2005

Yes indeed, as Mr. Walden Bello predicted, a number of interesting things did happen in Vancouver, Canada. And they appear to have happened to him!

One interesting thing, we're sure for Mr. Bello, was that the what he called, "faceless groups allegedly representing the Filipino community" made their faces and protests known at the doorsteps and inside Mr. Bello's Public Forum held this weekend.

Holding banners that read, "Bello Unwelcome!" and "Bello: Pseudo-progressive" and chanting, "Bello's lies cost lives!" and, "Where do you get your funds, Bello?", the protestors, made up largely of young fiery Filipino-Canadians, some even with babies in tow were able to encourage the forum's participants to question Mr. Bello's proposed "pro-people" and "anti-imperialist" politics. Even passers-by and Mr. Bello's would-be-audience stopped to listen about how Mr. Bello has been hobnobbing around the globe villifying Prof. Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and terrorist tagging legitimate national democratic people's organizations in the Philippines. Meanwhile, his political party Akbayan collaborates with the Philippine military which is currently engaged in a killing spree of members and supporters of these organizations.

Even more interesting was that when Mr. Bello was questioned in the public forum about his support for the peace negotiations in the Philippines, he flat out lied! He told the audience that he supports the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the NDFP. Not allowing him to abuse his right to free speech by lying once again, Filipino-Canadians in the audience exposed him -- telling the audience that his political party has been actively involved in pushing for the NDFP's capitulation in the peace negotiations. To this challenge, Bello tried to side-step the debate and rambled on about Thailand.

It seems that Mr. Bello's invitation to the community for open debate was not sincere.

Realizing that Mr. Bello was avoiding any real debate, and that the moderator of the forum would not entertain their questions, those Filipino-Canadians present walked out of the forum and continued the discussion outside with forum participants who wanted to learn more about the real situation of state terrorism and the shared struggle of the Filipino and Iraqi people for national liberation.

It was also interesting that for a man who claimed that he single-handedly hampered the WTO Ministerial meetings in Cancun and Seattle, less then 200 people came to attend Mr. Bello's forum. A good number of the audience also left the forum before he spoke saying it was a shame for the stopwar.ca coalition to invite Bello to Vancouver. Only a little more also went to listen to his closing speech at the Vancouver's Stopwar coalition's March 19th rally. These are dismal figures compared to thousands that attended these same types of activities in the past. It shows that sincere peace loving and anti-imperialist Vancouverites are beginning to find out about Mr. Bello and what he represents particularly in relation to the national liberation struggle of the Filipino people.

With the weekend of Mr. Bello's visit to Vancouver not yet over, there promises to be even more interesting things happening. On March 20th, the anniversary of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, progressive and peace-loving Filipino-Canadians will join other anti-imperialist and anti-war forces and take to the streets to show their solidarity with the Iraqi people's heroic and militant resistance against their U.S. aggressors and with all those struggling against U.S. imperialist war and plunder.

Issued by:
B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Filipino Nurses Support Group
Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance
SIKLAB (Overseas Filipino workers organization)
Philippine Women Centre of B.C.

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