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Progressives say fight continues 31 years after EDSA

Progressive organizations marched to EDSA to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the first EDSA People Power uprising that deposed the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

While they recalled the horrors that many suffered under Marcos’ Martial Law, they said genuine change has yet to happen.

The group did not join the pro-Aquino or the pro-Duterte activities which were held separately yesterday. Read more

Activists slam Duterte on Human Rights Day

PROGRESSIVE organizations have had enough of human rights violations under the five month old Rodrigo Duterte government.

Thousands of torch-bearing activists stormed Mendiola on International Human Rights Day last December 10 to protest human rights violations under Duterte, including more than 6,000 extrajudicial killings, militarization of communities and the hero’s burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“We support President Duterte’s commitment to the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the revolutionary Moro groups as well as his pronouncements for an independent foreign policy, but we will never accept and turn a blind eye to every fascist act and tendency by the administration,” Karapatan secretary-general Christina Palabay said.

The protesters, led by Karapatan, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA), marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola bearing hundreds of torches they later used to burn an effigy of Marcos.

“During his campaign, Duterte promised change. But there has been little done for human rights under his regime,” Palabay said.

“Instead, he freed a president that launched the bloody Oplan Bantay Laya (Gloria Arroyo) and promoted Gen. Eduardo Año—the one who abducted Jonas Burgos—to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff. This is not the change we want,” Palabay added.

Not serious

The protesters also criticized Duterte for his refusal to release more political prisoners, despite his promise to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) during his campaign to do so.

Duterte said in various recent speeches that he will not release any more political prisoners unless the NDFP signs a bilateral ceasefire with his government.

“The political prisoners are already in jail. Must they be hostages now?” Boy Cadano, father of political detainee Guiller, said.

“This is blackmail, plain and simple. This is unacceptable,” Cadano added.

“How many more must die in prison before the government begins acting to release them? The political prisoners are innocent, after all,” Cadano said, citing the recent death of Bernabe Ocasla who died last month while in detention.

NDFP consultant Concha Araneta-Bocala for her part said that this was a sign that the Duterte administration is not serious in his negotiations with their group.

“The peace process is not some poker game where you can treat the political prisoners as bargaining chips,” she said.

“The president’s statements make it clear that he is not serious about addressing the roots of the armed conflict. All he wants is a ceasefire so he can carry on a charade of peace,” Araneta-Bocala said.

Mounting death

The activists condemned the increasing number of extrajudicial killings due to of Duterte’s so-called war on drugs.

“The number of victims of the war on drugs has ballooned. Over 6,000 have died in allegedly legal operations carried out by supposed vigilantes,” human rights group Rise Up’s Irma Balabad said.

“Meanwhile, most of the killers remain free, as the president has stated that he will defend the policemen,” Balabad added.

They added that the war on drugs was actively being used against activists.

“Oplan Tokhang is now being used in rural communities to harass progressives,” Balabad said.

“It is very sad that a regime that talks about change so much is slowly beginning to smell of fascism and oppression,” Balabad added.

Choose wisely

The progressives spoke against the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, as well as Duterte’s continued affiliation with the Marcos clan.

“The dictator and his clan are addicted to power. We will not allow them to be rehabilitated and reclaim it,” CARMMA lead convenor Bonifacio Ilagan said.

“Duterte must end his alliance – or whatever he wants to call it – with the Marcoses if he wants change to be real. Otherwise, his promises are all just empty words,” Ilagan added.

“Marcos has been buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but there is still no justice for victims of Martial Law. State fascism remains long after the dictator’s ouster,” Palabay said.

Ilagan said that they are not intimidated by either the Marcos’ return to power or Duterte’s multiple threats against human rights violations.

“This is not enough reason for us to stop our struggle. We have survived Martial Law and we will survive another attempt at it,” Ilagan said.

“We are ready to fight and revolt if things like Martial Law ever happen again. Don’t dare us,” Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo for his part said. (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

 

Karapatan: State terror continues

Tinay Palabay of the people’s rights alliance KARAPATAN, martial law victim Boni Ilagan of CARMMA(Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang) and Nato Reyes of BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) address a rally marking International Human Rights Day 2016 in Manila.

Protesters marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola where they burned an effigy of Marcos.

Also seen at Mendiola is human rights stalwart Rene Saguisag meeting with Concha Araneta and Alan Jazmines from the peace panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is currently imperiled by the Marcos rehabilitation by Pres. Duterte, stalled release of political prisoners, continuing militarization of communities under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, and the recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) — worrisome issues for human rights raised at the rally. Read more

Old and young meet at Black Friday anti-Marcos protest

“Millennials” and “Gen Z post-millennials” meet up with martial law veterans in an anti-Marcos march and rally at the Rizal Park on “Black Friday,” November 25, 2016.

Among the speakers who expressed elation at the huge turnout from the youth and student sector were Bonifacio Ilagan, Wigberto Tanada, Sr. Mary John Mananza, Edita Burgos, and Satur Ocampo.

Tens of thousands participated in the Quirino Grandstand protest excluding 34 other protest actions across the country, according to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan which led the activities along with the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang. Read more

Black Friday: A fiesta of furious and funny placards

Thousands of youth and students who grew up with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram stamped their mark on the Black Friday protest at Rizal Park with both enraged and funny placards that became one of the focal points of the event.

Tirelessly holding the placards aloft, the young protesters tried to outdo each other with the funniest and angriest quips they hoped would be read aloud by the emcees during the program.

The placards did not spare President Rodrigo Duterte, calling him the Marcoses’ puppet for ordering a hero’s burial for the late dictator.

Veteran activists who fought Martial Law expressed elation at the huge turnout of anti-Marcos youth at the Black Friday protest at Rizal Park last November 25. (Photos by Raymund B. Villanueva) Read more

Black Friday protests rage throughout the Philippines

FOR THE thousands of participants at the “Black Friday” protest at Rizal Park last November 25, Ferdinand Marcos’s heroes burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is part of a plan to fully reinstate his family as the country’s most powerful political clan.

Braving rains brought by Typhoon Marce, the massive rally participated by thousands of activists, university and high school students, government employees and regular citizens went on until well into the night.

The rally also turned into the biggest protest action so far against President Rodrigo Duterte who the protesters said is acting as a puppet of the Marcos clan.

“Marcos’ burial was never the endgame for his clan. Their endgame has always been to return to Malacañang and they have been trying to twist and compromise history and politics to that end,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

“Duterte must choose between his declarations to work for genuine change for the Philippines or his alliance with the Marcoses,” Makabayan stalwart Satur Ocampo for his part said.

Rage throughout

Thirty-three other cities and provinces throughout the country also held protest actions marking the Left’s first nationally-coordinated mass action against a Duterte government policy.

“We declare this day a day of unity and rage,” Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) lead convenor Bonifacio Ilagan said in his opening speech at the main Quirino Grandstand rally.

“The return of Marcosian thought – that our country needs a strongman rule, whose ruler cannot be doubted or questioned because he has the best interests for the country – has become real. We who believe in democracy must fight that,” Ilagan said.

Neri Colmenares, one of the youngest torture victims under Marcos’ Martial Law, criticized the burial’s purported objective goal of from the division wrought on the people by the latter’s strongman rule.

“There can be no reconciliation when the Marcos clan does not even acknowledge the existence of human rights violations during their patriarch’s rule. There will be no reconciliation if the Marcoses refuse to return the billions of dollars they stole from the Filipino people,” Colmenares said.

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‘The future is secure’

Elderly protesters such as Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB and Edita Burgos expressed elation at the huge turnout of youth and students at Rizal Park.

“We are old—who knows we could be gone in a year or two—but we can go happy with the thought that you (the youth) would carry on the fight we have started,” Mananzan said.

For their part, various youths spoke on the importance of their generation joining the struggle.

“We feel Martial Law never really ended. We still suffer the effects – in our expensive education and social services, the fascism against activists. Our generation and the next generations will suffer as well if we do not act now,” League of Filipino Students (LFS) secretary-general JP Rosos said.

“We, the youth, accept the challenge to arouse, organize and mobilize, and explain the need for the struggle against fascist and oppressive leaders,” Anakbayan – De La Salle University Vince Simon said.

“It would be a sin for us to sit quietly and accept defeat as Marcos is buried as a hero,” Philippine Normal University’s The Torch editor in chief Timothy Romero said.

Just getting started

The Black Friday protest is the start of the series of activities against the restoration of Marcoses to the peak of power, the organizers said.

“This protest is the second Black Friday. It will be followed by a third, a fourth, and so on. We will ensure that the official rehabilitation of the Marcos and reversal of history never happen,” Ilagan said.

“That is what my generation had sworn to do that this current generation of youth will carry on. We shall never allow our youth to live in a society where history is reversed and dead tyrants’s reputations are rehabilitated,” Ilagan added.

Reyes challenged the participants at yesterday’s protest action to take to the streets to fight against revision of history.

“The courts and politicians have failed us. We the people are the only thing standing in the way of their undeserved return to power. Our fight is no longer in the courts. The fight is in the streets, classrooms, communities, churches, social media and mainstream media,” Reyes said. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

Massive ‘Black Friday’ protest fight against revision of history, organizers say

ACTIVISTS are asking the Filipino people to join the fight against the revision of history and the total political rehabilitation of the Marcos clan.

In a press conference last November 23, members of Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) and other progressive organizations called on Filipinos to participate in the planned massive #BlackFriday protest at the Rizal Park grandstand on November 25.

“We shall not let this gross insult and historical distortion pass unchallenged,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo said.

“This is the Filipinos’ fight now. Let us raise our voice and make our stand. Marcos was a thief, fascist and dictator. Marcos was no hero,” Araullo said.

The progressives said it is the most opportune time to prevent the Marcos’s plan to return to power and twist history in their favor.

“When we say ‘never again’, we say it with a greater sense of urgency because the restoration of the Marcoses has just become very real,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

“Like a thief in the night”

The progressives condemned Marcos’ rushed and secret burial as “cowardly” as they expressed frustration that the burial took place before they had the chance to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) to the Supreme Court decision favouring President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to have the late dictator interned at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

Petitioner Neri Colmenares said they will file a motion to have the Marcos family, the military and the police as well as others involved in the burial cited for contempt.

“The decision was not yet final and executory. What happened was disrespectful to our rights as petitioners and to due process,” Colmenares said.

“We still intend to file and MR even if the burial has already rendered it moot and unacademic. It may not win, but it is still important that we put it on the record that we do not accept the decision,” he said.

“The Marcoses have practically foreclosed the legal battle already, which is why we must struggle in one arena they cannot control: the streets,” Colmenares added.

Beyond Friday

The progressives emphasized that the fight does not end with the #BlackFriday protest.

“My hope is that this will not only awaken a desire to participate but make the people constantly aware that there is a threat over our heads,” press freedom hero Edith Burgos for her part said.

“If we do not act, the Marcos and their kind will return again and again.  After all, those motivated by greed will always try to find a way to power,” Burgos said.

Burgos also appealed to Filipinos who are unable to join mass protests.

“We call on those who cannot join the protests to go beyond prayers and act to educate the children on the importance of stopping another tyrant from happening to us,” Burgos said. (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

 

Activists vow to continue fight against the Marcoses

In a forum at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines-Diliman a day after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was sneakily buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, activists vow to fight efforts to what they say are obvious moves to revive “Marcosian ideology.”

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) also announced a giant anti-Marcos rally on November 25, Friday, with the following themes: “National Day of Unity and Rage against the Marcos Burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” “National Day of Unity and Rage against the Revision of History” and “National Day of Unity and Rage against Duterte’s Alliance with the Marcoses.” Read more

Scholasticans learn about Martial Law from victim

St. Scholastica’s College-Manila students learned about the atrocities of Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law from former political detainee and torture victim Bonifacio Ilagan in a forum last October 26.

Organized by Bulatlat.com as part of its education series, the forum was aimed at informing younger generations of the dangers of romanticizing the late strongman’s rule.

Watch parts of Ilagan’s testimonial in this video. Read more

Martial Law activists call on youth to remember horrors of dictatorship

PROGRESSIVE groups marched to Mendiola last Wednesday, September 21, to mark the 44th year since dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law and to press their opposition to talk of another military rule in the country.

Martial Law survivors and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants narrated their torture under Martial Law and called for the release of current political prisoners numbering more than 500.

First Quarter Storm Movement chairperson Bonifacio Ilagan said that tyranny has not been completely eliminated by the ouster of Marcos in 1986. Read more