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23 groups form anti-war coalition

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A COALITION of 23 labor and human rights advocacy groups formed on Tuesday the No to War Network, launching a campaign to end all forms of global conflict that may impact the Philippines.

“We advocate for an unconditional and permanent ceasefire (in Palestine),” the coalition said in a statement. “We urge the Philippine government to support the UN (United Nations) resolution calling for a ceasefire and the creation of free corridors for humanitarian aid.”

In a media forum, Partido Manggagawa (PM) said the conflict in Palestine could have repercussions for the country due to its military alliance with the United States, which is actively engaged in the situation.

The coalition also disapproved of the ongoing discussions regarding the visiting forces agreement between the military forces of Japan and the Philippines, arguing that such agreements may contribute to an increase in cases of sexual harassment and human trafficking against women in militarized areas.

“Japanese ships will dock here, their soldiers will conduct joint military exercises, and women will be used for entertainment, for pleasure. Our land, especially our women, should not be commodified,” said Jean Enriquez of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women–Asia Pacific.

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. on Monday said his department has started negotiations over the reciprocal access agreement (RAA) with Japan to strengthen military cooperation amid maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

The anti-war network said it is set to hold a series of activities such as teach-ins, organizational meetings, and physical and online forums to amplify its cause.

“Overseas conflicts may extend here in the Philippines as superpowers (United States and China) have a presence here. We are not isolated from the global geopolitics happening,” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza. — Jomel R. Paguian

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