On July 22, in pouring rain, several dozen people occupied the sidewalk in front of the Philippines consulate in midtown Manhattan to protest the corrupt, brutal and genocidal rule of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. The People’s State of the Nation Address was part of a globally coordinated day of protests, from the Philippines to Europe and the Americas, in condemnation of Duterte’s “State of the Nation” address the night before.
Representatives of local chapters of Filipino organizations such as Anakbayan, Gabriela and Malaya Movement, as well as local allies such as Harlem Solidarity and Defense, spoke out against Duterte’s policies. They highlighted his deadly “drug war,” the military and economic alliance with U.S. imperialism, and the targeted killings of revolutionaries and such oppressed minorities as the Lumad people in the southern island of Mindanao. Demands were raised to end the killings, end U.S. military occupation, and provide proper education and health care to all people in the Philippines.
Duterte and his administration were recognized as continuing the neocolonial domination of the Philippines, a supposedly independent democratic state, by exploitative corporate interests and the U.S. government. Connections were also drawn to the ongoing uprisings demanding independence from the U.S for the peoples of Puerto Rico and Hawai’i.
Cultural performers danced, sang, chanted and symbolically destroyed a paper-maché bust of Duterte before raising a banner reading “Oust Duterte!” — their rallying cry — at the entrance of the consulate.