(Filipino Youth for Peace March 20, 2004 statement)

On the first anniversary of the US air strikes on Iraq, we young Filipino peace advocates remember how a year ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tried all manners of deceit in an effort to convince us of the supposed justness of these attacks. She was the US spokesperson in the Philippines, mouthing the White House?s line that the war on Iraq was meant to eliminate erstwhile Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein?s supposed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction and thereby preempt his ?terroristic? plots.

One year after the first attack on Iraq, the US forces have yet to find a single Iraqi weapon of mass destruction there. In fact the weapons of destruction one can most easily find in Iraq today are the bombs dropped by US planes on Iraqi streets and fields.

After killing more than 10,000 Iraqi civilians, all that the US forces can show is the capture of Saddam whose alleged links to international terrorism they have most shamefully failed to prove, and the occupation government they have established which has not been able to live up to the ?humanitarian? and ?democratic? ideals they invoke in their justification of this continuing genocide.

All the while the US maintains a keen interest in the utilization of Iraq?s vast oil resources, so important to the former?s plans of exercising economic and, consequently, political hegemony over the world.

This proves that the war on Iraq is nothing but an orgy in which the blood of innocents is being traded for gold and power.

One year after the start of the US war on Iraq, the Arroyo regime continues its unabashed support for it, in the name of freedom and democracy and so many other ideals for the sake of which so many of our country?s heroes, whose feet the incumbent president is not worthy to kiss, have been giving their lives or the best of their years. In so doing President Arroyo and her pro-war hirelings have the blood of the Iraqi people on their hands.

The Arroyo regime?s support for the US war on ?terror? has taken its own forms at home?in the staged mass murders of civilians, Christians and Muslims alike, in Mindanao, used as pretexts to beg for US anti-?terror? funds for the military; as well as the ?counter-insurgency? offensives which have taken their toll not on the ?rebels? but on innocent civilians who have been driven from their homes or worse, killed for supposedly being members of insurgent groups.

In all these President Arroyo invokes the name of the Filipino people.

We, young Filipino peace advocates, do not want the blood of innocents of our hands. We call on President Arroyo to stop using the name of the Filipino people in dipping her hands into the pool of blood shed in this genocidal war. We support the Iraqi people?s struggle for freedom and the efforts of various sectors in our own country for a peace based on sovereignty and justice for all.