Warns against be Same Scenario in December ASEAN Meeting in Manila

Taking cue from Singapore's current tourism campaign tagline 'Uniquely Singapore,' Filipino protesters held up colorful placards and streamers denouncing Singapore's in protest at Singapore's banning, detaining, and deporting activists in relation the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's meeting being held in the city. The group called themselves 'Solidarity Action for Democracy in ASEAN."

Among the placards was one showing both Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"Dictators think alike. Arroyo and Lee Hsien Loong are operating police states, employing state terrorism not only against its people but against other peoples of the world," said Jess del Prado, leader from Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD) [Movement for National Democracy - Philippines].

Other placards read: "Uniquely Singapore: A Police-State Like no Other," "Uniquely Singapore: Where a Gathering of More than Four is still a Crime," "Uniquely Singapore: A World of Medieval Contrasts," etc.

"We fear the same scenario will take place here in the Philippines, with the upcoming Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Meeting in Cebu this December. As early as now, we want to get the message across that whether it is the IMF-World Bank or the ASEAN, we will prepare for massive protest actions despite the odds," said del Prado.

Gigi Franciso of the International Network on Gender and Trade (IGTN) group said that "what Singapore did was "very un-Asian" where democracy is an Asian value."

"Singapore, although one of the fastest developing countries in Asia, remains medieval in thinking. We hope that this event serves as an eye-opener for Singaporeans that their government is an authoritarian government who would do anything just to preserve its good standing with the IMF-WB," said Franciso.

Meanwhile, Rasti Delizo of Sanlakas group slammed the IMF-World Bank and the Singaporean government, saying " that the recent statement that only 22 out of the 27 activists banned will now be allowed to enter Singapore is just palliative to dampen the uproar."

"It is not the activists that are the security risks to Singapore but it is Singapore that is a security risks to Southeast Asia. Its exercise of extreme police powers has overextended itself and serves as a booster for fellow authoritarian regimes such that of Arroyo's, and a threat to other freedom-loving people in Asia," said Delizo.

"We should strongly condemn such actions of Singapore. A fitting welcome should be prepared should their Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loog visit the Philippines in December for the ASEAN Meeting. Our failure to do so would only serve as a moral booster for them to continue on with their dastardly deeds," said Joshua Mata of Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL).

Groups involved in the Solidarity Action for Democracy in ASEAN are: International Network on Gender and Trade (IGTN-Asia), Kilusang Mangingisda (KM), UNORKA, Sanlakas, Focus on the Global South, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD) Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Youth for Nationalism & Democracy (YND) and Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL).#