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
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.
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.