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.


‘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)