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Philippines: 'Weapons not wages' rally as president speaks

Philippines: 'Weapons not wages' rally as president speaks
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Inside the House of Representatives, the president of the Philippines was speaking.

Outside, some 3,000 protesters marched in Manila, angry at what they see as Benigno Aquino’s failure to help the poor.

Critics, including political opponents, denounce what they claim are broken promises.

“Well if there’s any development right now, it’s not being felt by the people,” said demonstrator Renato Reyes of the New Patriotic Alliance. “It’s just being felt by the one per cent; 99 percent of the people are suffering from high prices, low wages, landlessness, unemployment and poverty.”

But weapons not wages made headlines as the president addressed a joint session of Congress.

Refusing to budge on a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea, he announced plans to upgrade the Philippines’ military capabilities.

However, poverty reduction is the priority of protesters who burned a huge effigy of President Aquino. In clashes with police a number of people were injured.