By Chito Chavez and Jaimie Aberia
The rainy weather failed to dampen the spirits of thousands who staged the so-called Black Friday protest at the Rizal Park on November 25 to unilaterally express their absolute disgust over the sneaky burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani exactly a week ago.
Clad in black outfits, the demonstrators came from different locations, specifically from Taft Avenue and Liwasang Bonifacio, shouting “nandito na ang sambayanan (here comes the people).”
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, one of the major organizers of the anti-Marcos rally, said details to ensure the safety of the protesters have been arranged with the mayor and park administration.
As chants of “Marcos, Hitler dictator tuta’’ echoed the rally site, a large number of protesters arrived wearing their school uniforms with students from St. Scholastica’s College, University of Sto. Tomas, University of the Philippines Diliman, UP Manila, Adamson University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines waving their “Marcos hindi bayani” banners and signs in patriotic ways.
Members of the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas, ACT Teachers party-list and GABRIELA joined the youth protesters.
As they start proceeding to the protest area, youth group Anakbayan demonstrated at Mendiola outside Malacañang airing their disgust for President Duterte’s decision to allow Marcos to be interred at the heroes’ cemetery.
“Today youth and students and people from all walks of life unite to hold the Duterte regime accountable for giving a hero’s burial to a dictator, plunderer, and human rights violator. Today we link arms to denounce Duterte’s unholy alliance with the Marcoses,” said Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
Hours earlier, members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity at the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus held their annual Oblation Run, parading naked to protest the Marcos burial.
“We call on our government to truly serve the people, to protect the freedoms for which many have fought and died, and pay homage to those heroes by never forgetting the dark chapters of our history while moving towards a more just future,” the fraternity said in a statement.
The annual Oblation Run was first held in 1977 when APO members ran naked in support of stage play showing the atrocities of Martial law.
The anti-Marcos groups are clinging to the hope that the “Black Friday’’ protest will persuade President Rodrigo Duterte to end his alliance with the Marcoses.
Police authorities are expected to exercise maximum tolerance after Duterte allowed them to conduct their protest action with or without permit.
More protest actions are expected in the future with the prospect of reversing the burial of the ex-president at the LNMB cited as their main objective.
But President Duterte already defended his decision to allow the burial, saying it is within the bounds of the law to recognize Marcos’ credentials as former president and soldier.
The late President was hastily buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18 after the Supreme Court voted 9-5-1 in favor of the burial.
Martial Law injustices
Rep. Neri Colmenares said there can never be reconciliation unless the Marcoses acknowledge the human rights injustices committed during the Martial Law days and return the billions of pesos pocketed during his administration.
“Marami ang naghihirap, pati na ang susunod na henerasyon na hindi pa pinapanganak noong Martial Law, dahil nagbabayad tayong lahat sa bilyon bilyong inutang at ninakaw niya,” he said.
Colmenares said he was just 18 years old when he experienced the injustices of Martial Law.
“Hinuli ako at tinorture ng isang linggo. Apat na taon akong kinulong. Wala naman akong pinatay o sinaktan. Hindi lang ako sang ayon na i-ban ang school paper at student council,” Colmenares recalled.
Another demonstrator, 60-year-old Celso Fernandez, came wearing the same shirt he wore when he was protesting against the Marcoses as a young man.
He said he was waiting for his sister to go home from work when a Metrocom started hurting him.
“Sinasabi nilang tahimik dahil walang nakakapag-report,” he said.
Go out for the youth
Meanwhile, 47-year-old Allan Balaba did not mind joining the crowd on his wheelchair as he said he wanted to show his disappointment on the Marcos burial.
He said there should have been a referendum to determine the pulse of the whole country.
“Isang katrayduran ang ginawang pagpapalibing kay Marcos. Dapat pinakinggan nila ang kagustuhan ng taumbayan,” he said.
Fernandez said he wore the same shirt as years ago so that when those who were with him during their fight against the dictatorship see him, they would be encouraged to fight once again.
“Panawagan ko sa mga kasamahan ko noong araw, lumabas kayo. Hindi na para sa mga anak niyo, kundi para sa mga apo n’yo na.”
Colmenares said that the protest is a fight for the future generations.
“Laban ito sa rehabilitasyon ng mga Marcoses para manumbalik sa pampulitikang poder dahil tingin nila ay Martial Law ang pinakamagandang nangyari sa Pilipinas kaya hindi malayo na ibalik nila ito,” he said. “Laban ito ng hinaharap.”
Tags: Anti-Marcos groups brave the rain for Black Friday protest, anti-Marcos protesters, Black Friday Protest, burial, Ferdinand Marcos, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Manila Bulletin, Marcos burial, Martial Law, Philippine news