Filipino youth stand with Hong Kong protesters

Groups also condemn 'growing influence' China is exerting over the Philippines
Filipino youth stand with Hong Kong protesters

Filipino youth groups stage a demonstration in Manila on Nov. 27 to show solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. (Photo supplied)

A group of young Filipinos staged a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in Manila to show solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong and to condemn what they described as increasing violence by the police.

The Nov. 27 protest came a day after the Hong Kong government dropped charges of unlawful assembly against a Filipino worker accused of involvement in a protest three months ago.

The decision to clear the Filipino, who works as a performer at Hong Kong’s Disneyland, came during a hearing at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court on Nov. 26.

The Filipino worker was arrested in August for allegedly participating in a protest — one in a series of mass demonstrations that have grown more tense and violent in recent months.

In Manila, Justine Balane, secretary-general of the Akbayan Youth group, said young Filipinos are in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters in their struggle to resist the "tightening grip of Beijing.”

"Our call for Beijing is clear — hands off the Hong Kong protesters," said Balane.

Gladys Milioga, spokeswoman of another Filipino group, Youth Resist, said her organization "condemns in the strongest possible terms abuses committed by the police in Hong Kong."

She said the Hong Kong government should be made accountable for the violence that erupted at Hong Kong Polytechnic University marked by the excessive use of tear gas and arbitrary arrests.

The Filipino youth groups also expressed concern at what they described was increasing Chinese influence over the Philippines.

"First, they claim our seas from our fisherfolk. Now, they want to control our electricity?" said Milioga.

"Unless the Philippine government wishes to be the next Hong Kong, we urge a national security audit on all systems and infrastructure that the Chinese government and its companies are involved in." 

While expressing solidarity with the protesters, the youth groups also lauded the victory of pro-democracy parties in Hong Kong's recent local elections.

"The increased voter turnout and the landslide victory of pro-democracy candidates is proof that protests deliver victories for the people," said Milioga.

Filipinos in Hong Kong earlier assured that they were coping well despite the worsening crisis in the city.

"The Filipino community is able to cope with the situation quite well. However, if the crisis continues it would hit the jobs of the migrant domestic workers," said Eman Villanueva, chairman of the group Bayan in Hong Kong and Macau.

He said the general sentiment of Filipino workers is to stay put.

About 230,000 Filipinos, mostly domestic workers, live and work in Hong Kong. The Philippines' Foreign Ministry has said there is no need to evacuate Filipinos.

Hong Kong's protests started in June against a now-shelved bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The demonstrations quickly spun out into a pro-democracy struggle and angry calls for police accountability.

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