On January 21, 2019 a video was uploaded by a Philippine activist declaring war on Malaysia and burning its flag as an act of defiance.
The video started out with Ragen Elly Velez Lao Pamatong standing in the midst of his officials and behind a Malaysian flag. He introduced himself as the President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander and Chief of the USA Freedom Fighters of the East (USAFFE) Liberation Army.
He proceeded by saying, “On behalf of the USAFFE Liberation Army, today, I will burn this symbol of Malaysia as a final act of defiance, a final act of declaration of war against Malaysia. I declare war against Malaysia.” The rest of the clip showed him burning the said flag while his followers shouted Ibagsak ang Malaysia! (overthrow Malaysia).
Watch the video here:
PRESIDENT RAGEN ELLY VELEZ LAO PAMATONG, USAFFE LIBERATION ARMY, MNLF CHRISTIAN WING, AND PRO-DEMOCRATIC SOLDIERS OF THE PHILIPPINES DECLARE WAR VERSUS MALAYSIA!— Declares BOL unconstitutional and an act of WAR vs. the Filipino People sponsored by Malaysia and by Rody Duterte, China Communist Puppet!Please watch the videoLike and sharePublished by Filipino Tax Payers and USAFFE News and Current Affairs International
Posted by President Pamatong Supporters on Monday, 21 January 2019
This was not the first time that Pamatong has done such an act. It was only a few days ago, on January 19, when he burned the flag of China in accusation of the latter’s “economic colonisation” and “dismemberment” of the Philippines. According to The Philippine Star, more than three million Chinese nationals have been allowed to enter the country from January 2016 to May 2018, and the numbers are steadily on the increase, which could be one of the points that Pamatong was trying to prove.
Watch the video here:
PRESIDENT PAMATONG BURNS CHINA'S FLAG.Camp MacArthur, 19 January 2019, President Ragen Lao Pamatong, legitimate President of the Philippines, burns the Flag of thePeople's Republic of China in vehement protest against China's invasion of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) in violation of the final ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitrarion (PCA) that the WPS exclusively belongs to the Republic of the Philippines, recently renamed Republic of Malaya. President Pamatong also protesting against China's smuggling of three (3) million soldiers and workers into the Philippines through its puppet President, Rodrigo Road Duterte, who wants the Philippines to be a territory of China; and China's ongoing plan to bring into the Philippines five hundred (500) million more soldiers and workers to reduce the Filipinos into a helpless tiny ethnic minority into their own country.Please watch the videoLike and sharePublished by Filipino Tax Payers and USAFFE News and Current Affairs Internationalhttps://www.facebook.com/1250153354997735/posts/2387426064603786/
Posted by President Pamatong Supporters on Friday, 18 January 2019
He is the self-acclaimed founder of USAFFE in 2003, an organization meant to fight communist insurgency in Mindanao and has also declared himself to be the president of the Philippines back in 2017. This got him to being called a “colourful figure in politics” by a Philippine publication The Philippine Daily Inquirer. In fact, he ran for presidency twice in 2004 and 2010 but got shot down by the Commission on Election because he was considered to be a “nuisance candidate.”
Naturally, Malaysia is upset. Malaysia’s foreign ministry responded by saying in a press release, “Malaysia strongly condemns such act and views the burning of the Malaysian flag as a serious incident. The flag is a sacred national symbol and should be treated with respect.” Pamatong’s views and actions were considered to be “offensive” and his accusations “baseless.” Furthermore, the Malaysian foreign ministry urged the Philippine government to take “stern action” against Pamatong’s defiance so as to not put an unnecessary strain between the two countries’ bilateral relations which are currently in an excellent state.
Philippines’ answers back
Another media outlet in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin has reported that the Philippine Ambassador Charles Jose and the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur do not “condone the incident” and “deeply regrets” that what Pamatong did has offended Malaysia. The acts of defiance have been disavowed by the ambassador who also said, “His action does not represent the official position of the Philippines.”
According to Malaysian media The New Straits Times (NST), Pamatong was heard airing his disagreements in the video against the Bangsamoro Organic Law which he believes to have been an idea of Malaysia. He also claimed that the BOL “served as a great wall”, similar to that of the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.
In reality, BOL is the result of almost two decades of peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that was agreed upon in 2014. It was given the green light last year by the real Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who hopes to grant more autonomy to Mindanao, a predominantly Muslim region in the Philippines.
Burning the flag
Singapore has its fair share of activists who perceive burning a state flag to be a significant way of making a stand and expressing one’s freedom of expression. Jolovan Wham, in a tweet last year, was slammed by Singaporeans when he said, “The right to free expression should be extended to the right to burn the state flag” in relation to an article of a man who was arrested after burning the Singapore flag at a mosque. Read more below: