Martial law activists and youths call on the public to join the fight in the arena which the Marcoses cannot control: the streets.
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – Martial law activists, youths and progressive groups are all set for the Black Friday protest on Nov. 25, in time for the return from Peru of President Duterte. They said Duterte is accountable for the “revision of history and reversal of the people’s judgement” with the Nov. 18 hurried burial of ousted Dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
Even as they call on the public to join mass actions to resist the Marcoses’ return to power, protesting groups also dare Duterte to be true to his promise of “change” by holding the late dictator’s family accountable for the plunder and human rights violations under martial law.
“We call on President Duterte to stop the continued strengthening of influence of the Marcoses, their return to power and to Malacañang,” said Satur Ocampo, martial law activist and president of the Makabayan coalition, at the press conference today, Nov. 23, at the Archives Museum of St. Scholastica’s College in Manila.
Taking Duterte to task using his campaign line, “Change is coming,” Ocampo said: “The change needed does not include the return of the Marcoses, and giving honors to Marcos the dictator…We will continue to oppose this if your administration continues to support the aspiration for power of the Marcoses.”
Tens of thousands are expected to pour into the streets for the Nov. 25 protest in Manila and in major cities in the provinces: Santiago city in Isabela, Tuguegarao city in Cagayan, Vigan city in Ilocos Sur, Baguio city, Tarlac city in Tarlac; Los Baños, Calamba city and Lucena city, both in Laguna, in Antipolo, Batangas, Cebu and Davao.
In Metro Manila, all roads lead to Rizal (Luneta) Park in Manila, as youth and student groups will begin to assemble in various points starting noon: along Taft avenue, along Morayta Avenue and at Liwasang Bonifacio. Human rights lawyers and law students will also gather in front of the Supreme Court along Padre Faura street in Manila.
The program at Luneta Park starts at 4 p.m.
“During martial law, the people never won in Congress, the people never won in the courts. Where did the people win? In the streets. This is the one venue, the one arena that the Marcoses cannot control, this is where the people bring their sentiments,” said former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma).
Dr. Carol Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), demanded justice for countless victims of human rights violations under Marcos. “The fight against Marcos is not over. There is no moving on.”
“Things have not changed: the lavish greed, indifference and selfish machination of the Marcos family that has killed thousands and wrecked this country remains unatoned,” she said. “Let us raise our voice and make our stand: Marcos is a thief, a fascist and a dictator. Marcos is no hero.”
Bryle Leaño, chairperson of the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Diliman, said the USC has declared a whole week of protests system-wide, called “Days of disquiet, nights of rage,” after Jose Lacaba’s collection of news features about the First Quarter Storm protests in 1971. Leaño said the youth played a big role in bringing down the Marcos dictatorship, as they will continue to fight its looming return.
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Sr. also expressed support to the Nov. 25 protest, saying that he hopes such efforts “will open the eyes of the youth, especially to the evils of the Marcos dictatorship regime.” Pimentel’s text message was read by Ocampo during the media briefing.
Former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada Sr. are also expected to attend the protest.
Edita Burgos, martial law activist and widow of We Forum publisher and press freedom icon Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr., encouraged the people to express their protest, by wearing black, even in their homes or in their place of work.
“My hope is that this will not only awaken a desire to participate but to be constantly aware that there is a threat over our heads. If we don’t act – all of us, in whatever capacity – it will return,” she said.
”Dapat ipaintindi sa mga bata na kapag nangyari ito, kawawa sila. Hanggang ngayon, binabayaran pa natin yung mga utang na ginawa nila. Hanggang ngayon, di pa tayo binabayaran sa mga ninakaw nila. Sino magmamana nyan? Mga anak natin, mga apo natin, tuloy-tuloy yan,”
(We have to make the youth understand that if this [martial law] happens, it is they who would suffer. Until now, we are still paying for the debts they incurred. Until now, they have not paid us for the money they stole from us. Who would inherit this? Our children, grandchildren, down the line.)
Popular satirist Mae Paner, or “Juana Change,” asked netizens to use the hashtag, #HeroMoMukhaMo to express their protest in social media.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said discussion groups will be held at the Nov. 25 rally, which also serves as a gathering of different generations, for martial law victims and today’s youths to share stories, not just of the horrors of the Marcos era, but also of the people’s defiance and valiant fight for freedom.