Protest Against Midnight Bidding of Philippine Property in Japan Hits Arroyo and Bidders
Around thirty Filipinos barricaded the gate of Philippine ambassadors house in Tokyo's Chiyoda ward denouncing the Arroyo administration plan to demolish the historical site and replace with a 21-story building. The protest action sends signal to both Arroyo administration and the bidders to keep off with shared historical and cultural rights of Filipinos and Japanese.
The prepared press statement of the Save Fujimi Network stated, “Today we are putting our symbolic barricade to signal the start of protest movement and legal action against Arroyo and private company bidders in the act of stealing the shared cultural and historical rights of Filipino and Japanese people. This property should be preserved as a reminder to the Filipinos people who are unaware of how much we have lost and have been cheated out of deceptive 50 years Built Operate Transfer scheme used in developing the Roppongi property. We believe our people are being subjected once again to the same deception in a desperate move by the Arroyo government, which is expiring in 6-month s time, to capitalize on the Fujimi property."
Yuko Takei, one of the protest organizers, said, "In the Roponggi property, out of the whole block, only a little percentage has been allotted to house the Philippine Embassy. And in the Philippine Embassy, very little or around 10,500 Filipinos per square meter is provided for consular service use." Takei also noted, "In the highly secretive Fujimi development deal between Arroyo government and bidders, as usual, we suspect that there is the no entry for Filipinos, the rightful owners of the property, except the Philippine ambassador and their guests, provision in the development deal.”
According to Cesar Santoyo, the Coordinator of Save Fujimi Network, the Philippine government neglected totally to give support to almost 200,000 Filipinos living in Japan, including around 170,000 Filipino mothers of Japanese-Filipino children who live in Japan permanently. Santoyo noted, "There are in fact more than 300,000 Japanese-Filipino children majority of whom are now in their late teens and early twenties."
"These numbers of ignored people are enough to engage Arroyo and the private bidders in legal suits in courts of law, parliaments, as well as on streets where they can voice out aloud the protest once the Fujimi development plan pushed through,” added Anakbayan-Japan Chairperson, Anglique Shimo, a Japanese-Filipino who said that she and her group would not stop their protests until legislative measure could be in place to protect Philippine properties in Japan.
The sentiment was shared by another protester, Josie Aranjuez Nistal, President of Samahang Filipino, a member organization of the protest network. Nistal said that Arroyo should not dispose Philippine properties. Like the other members of her group, she vowed to continue joining the protests "until the Philippine government stop depriving Filipinos their right to have a say in any transaction, especially regarding Philippine patrimonies, that they do."
The protesters dispersed after two hour, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. under heavy police security.