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Duterte critics rally vs killings, martial law in Luneta Park

Updated

By Jaimie Rose Aberia and Analou De Vera

Thousands of people chanting – “Duterte! Duterte! Huwag Kami!” and “Never Again to Martial Law!” set the mood of the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) protest rally at the Luneta on the National Day of Protest, Thursday afternoon.

The people came from various sectors to express their opposition to President Duterte’s war on drugs and imposition of martial law in Mindanao as the nation marked the 45th anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law declaration.

Students, rallyists and Anti-Administration advocates trooped in Luneta as they observed the 45th year Anniversary of the Martial Law declaration, Sept.21, 2017. MBPHOTO.CAMILLE ANTE

Students, rallyists and Anti-Administration advocates trooped in Luneta as they observed the 45th year Anniversary of the Martial Law declaration, Sept.21, 2017. (MBPHOTO.CAMILLE ANTE)

The Movement Against Tyranny (MAT), which was formed on August 28 in the wake of public outrage over the killing of Kian delos Santos and other minors, spearheaded the protest.
 
“Let this be a warning to Pres. Duterte: we will not be intimidated or cowed into silence and inaction. Tapos na po ang panahon ng pananahimik. Gising na ang buong bayan at handang ipaglaban ang karapatang pantao at hustisya,” MAT convenor Raoul Manuel, who is representing the youth, said.
 
Organizers said the rally was opened to people of “all colors, all beliefs, and all ages who want a stop to the extrajudicial killings and other acts of tyranny of the Duterte regime.”
 
Marcos’ martial law
Since the National Day of Protest marked the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by former President Ferdinand Marcos, groups also demanded that the Marcos family acknowledge the human rights violations during those dark years of the country.
 
“Hindi pwedeng mag-compromise sa mga Marcoses. Paano mag-compromise? Paano magmove-on, eh hindi nila ina-acknowledge ang human rights violations noong panahon ng martial law (We should not compromise with the Marcoses.  How do we compromise? How do we move-on, they don’t even acknowledge the human rights violations during that time of martial law),” said Rep. Neri Colmenares, a victim of martial law, who was one of the speakers during the rally.
 
” Hindi pwedeng mag-rekonsilasyon ng walang hustisya at accountability. At hindi pwedeng hindi nila ibalik ang nakaw na yaman ng mga Marcoses!” said Colmenares.
 
Colmenares said that they did not go to the protest action just to remember the Martial law anniversary, but to express their commitment to prevent the repeat of martial law.
 
“Sama-sama tayong labanan ang Martial law ni Duterte!” he said.
 
Life is sacred
Another speaker, Sister Mary John Mananzan, a nun of the Benedictine Order known for her strong idealism during the Marcos marital law years, reminded the crowd that life is sacred.
 
“Dapat nating alagaan ang buhay. Dahil ang buhay ang pinakamagaling, pinakamaganda, at pinaka-great na gift ng Panginoon sa atin (We should take good care of life.  Life is the best and most beautiful gift that God has given us),” she said.
      
Active youth sector
Praising the youth for taking a stand on national issues was Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who joined the crowd in Luneta during the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) protest.
 
“The youth has always been very active in making their feelings on matters of national interest known so magandang pangitain ito na ‘yung young generation of Filipinos mayroon silang malasakit sa bayan,” he said. 
 
“Meron silang pagkilala sa problema ng ating bansa at meron silang paninindigan na kumilos at tumaya.”
 
Young heroes
He also added that age did not matter for heroes like Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio.
 
“Jacinto was only 16 when he drafted the Kartilya; Andres Bonifacio was in his mid-20s when he founded the Katipunan,” he said. “Being young is not an excuse, it is a reason to make a difference in our nation.”
 
‘Tao po’
Meanwhile, activist Juana Change came to the protest rally her face covered by masking tape and with a placard saying –”Tao po.” She represented the victims in the government’s aggressive war against illegal drugs, many of them found dead with their faces covered with marking tape.
 
“Nakasabit sa akin ngayon ang placard kung saan nakasulat ang ‘Tao po.’ Ito ang sinasabi kapag kumakatok sa Oplan Tokhang pero ito rin ang salitang nakalimutan nila ang halaga — ang pagiging makatao,” she said.
 
Juana Change also called on President Duterte to hear the masses calling for a stop on the bloody war on drugs.
 
“Kailangan nyang (Duterte) makita ang katotohanan, kailangan nyang makinig. Ayaw na natin ng patayan dapat na itong tumigil (Duterte needs to see the truth; he needs to listen.  We do not want any more killings; killings have to stop),” she said.
 
Echoing Juana Change’s call was Emily Soriano, mother of 16-year-old Angelito who was shot dead by unidentified men in Caloocan last year.
 
“Masyado nang masakit dahil puro mahihirap lang ang nabibiktima,” she said. “Pres. Duterte, sana ay maramdaman mo ang nararamdaman naming (It’s so painful because only the poor are the victims.  President Duterte, I hope you can feel what we feel).”
 
The program ended with the simultaneous ringing of bells and mobile phone ringtones to coincide with the 8 p.m. nationwide ringing of bells called by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. 

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