By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Veterans of martial law have passed on the torch of struggle against tyranny to the youth of today during a protest action, Sept. 20 at the Rizal Park.
Carol Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and student activist in the ’70s, said in Filipino, “We are passing on the torch of leadership in the current people’s struggle to the new generation. We are confident that witht the leadership of today’s youth, a better future awaits us.”
Thousands of youth from different universities and communities clapped their hands and chanted, “Marcos, Duterte, walang pinag-iba! Parehong tuta, diktador, pasista!”
The old and the young gathered to mark the 47th year since the declaration of martial law by Ferdinand Marcos. They vowed to resist what they described as President Duterte’s tyrannical rule.
Raoul Manuel of National Union of Students in the Philippines thanked those who fought the Marcos dictatorship and accepted the challenge of fighting Duterte’s tyranny.
Marcos then, Duterte now
Sky, not her real name, cried for justice for her brother, Jesus Isugan, 27, son of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas peasant organizers who was killed on Dec. 27, 2018.
She criticized Duterte who tagged activists as members of the New People’s Army because they fight for their right to land. “Do I look like an NPA? This small (body) can be an NPA?” the young girl said.
Lumad student Chricelyn, 16, meanwhile, lamented the closure of 136 Lumad schools in Mindanao. She said their schools are being closed due to allegations of being schools of the NPAs.
“Is it right to fight for our land? To fight for our right to education and our right to ancestral lands? Then what we learn are only right and just,” she said.
Continue the fight
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares praised the youth who continue the fight against Duterte who, he said, poses as a dictator.
He said Duterte’s treatment of activists and the youth is enraging as they are being charged with absurd cases, such as the kidnapping charges against them by parents who claim that their children went missing after joining progressive youth group Anakbayan.
“It is but proper for the youth and students to continue the struggle because after all you are not only struggling for the people, you are not only struggle for the country, you are struggling for your future and the next generation of the Filipinos,” Colmenares said.
At the end, Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday led the youth and the rest of the audience reciting the Pledge of the Youth to continue the resistance amid the intensifying human rights violations against the people.