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MAT marks first anniversary

Various personalities and groups under Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) gathered at Visual Light Studio in Makati City to celebrate their first year anniversary, August 27.

Teddy Casiño, convenor of MAT said that so far it is the broadest alliance of different sectors and political forces against the Duterte government since he took in office in 2016.

MAT was established after Kian Delos Santos killing, one of the victims of Oplan Tokhang.

The group brought the resistance against Duterte’s tyranny to a higher level and made a strong opposition against extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses of the regime, Casiño added.

The group recalled their one year report and achievements amidst the tyrannical rule of the Duterte regime.

This includes the Luneta Rally where tens of thousands participated in commemorating Martial Law anniversary.

The group position against human rights abuses of the regime on International Human Rights Day last December.

They also launched an anti-Charter Change Assembly and mass action in EDSA People Power anniversary.

Together with Coalition for Justice, they held a rally in Baguio City against Quo Warranto petition of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

MAT also led the United Peoples SONA last July 23 which is the biggest anti-Duterte mobilization against charter change and dictatorship.

Sr. Mary John Mananzan, one of the convenor of MAT pointed out that since last year there is an accumulation of combustible events that will lead to a critical mass because MAT done its part and because the government made its own destruction.

She added that MAT will lead the broad movement of active and enlighten citizens against tyranny and for democracy, social justice, human rights and good governance.

She challenged the President about his repeated pronouncement of resignation.

The group made a loud and clear answer, to Duterte’s repeated threat to step down from office.

“Ok. Just Do it. Resign!” MAT told Duterte.

Meanwhile, MAT criticized the appointment of Teresita De Castro as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice and describes as a payment of the regime for her participation on the ouster of former Chief Justice Sereno.

Anti-tyranny group assesses Duterte’s laws and bills

Days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address on July 23, the Movement Against Tyranny gathered in Quezon City to assess the government economic policies and Congressional bills.

Economic experts, legislators and legal luminaries presented before the forum their assessment of Duterte’s tax reform law as well as efforts to amend both the Human Security Law and the Constitution.

‘May prosesong sinusunod’

Activists press high court to dismiss petition vs chief justice

Activists and other civil libertarians held a rally last April 17 to press Supreme Court justices to dismiss the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

Accusing President Rodrigo Duterte’s government of masterminding efforts to oust Sereno, the protesters said quo warranto proceedings was meant to remove elected officers from office.

They added officials appointed by the Constitution, such as magistrates of the high court, should not be subject to ouster petitions through quo warranto cases.

Activists march for justice at the start of quo warranto hearings vs chief justice

The Coalition for Justice and Movement Against Tyranny, among other groups, led a March for Justice in Baguio City last April 10 at the start of the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the quo warranto petition against its Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

 

Groups award rights defenders at Araw ng Kagitingan

Civil liberty groups honored groups and individuals they said uphold human rights despite wanton violations by the Duterte regime.

On the occassion of the Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor honoring heroes who fought against Japanese imperialism in the Philippines, the groups said the honorees embody courage as they stand up against abuses of the government.

Among the honorees were journalists Raffy Lerma and Pia Rañada who are being vilified for their photos and reports critical of the government.

Chief Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno, facing impeachment moves by Duterte allies, was also honored.

Throng fills Rizal Park for anti-tyranny rally

Speeches, songs and poems filled the air last night at Rizal Park as tens of thousands of protesters condemned extra judicial killings and tyranny on the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law.

The mass protest rally at Rizal Park in Manila, one of several across the country led by the Movement Against Tyranny, is yet another huge event opposing to Pres. Duterte’s own declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the spate of extra-judicial killings (EJKs), the bombing of Marawi and the militarization of indigenous peoples’ communities.

Music by Bituin Escalante (“Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”), Tubaw (“Kapayapaan”) and Buklod (“Tatsulok”).

Anti-tyranny rallies gather tens of thousands across the country and abroad

The Rodrigo Duterte government received the biggest public condemnation yet of widespread human rights violations in the country as tens of thousands across the Philippines and abroad took to the streets Thursday to protest extrajudicial killings and tyranny.

At least 30,000 protesters braved a downpour midway through the Rizal Park protest in Manila as speakers and artists took turns in condemning Duterte’s drug war and “undemocratic government.”

Earlier, at least 20,000 activists joined 3,000 members of various national minority groups in a protest action in Mendiola that ended the three-week Lakbayan ng Moro at Pambansang Minorya 2017.

Rody’s Cube was the second Duterte effigy to be burnt by the activists. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

They burned another Duterte effigy dubbed Rody’s Cube showing the various faces of Duterte as a US puppet, Hitler and Marcos before marching to Rizal Park for the main event.

In her speech before the Rizal Park crowd, Movement Against Tyranny convenor Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB said she is heartened by the many young people who attended.

Former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares likened Duterte’s style of governance to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who he said was quick to send opposition to jail.

“The Filipino people should never allow martial law to be imposed again on the entire country,” Colmenares said.

An evacuee from besieged Marawi City demands an end to the aerial bombing of their homes. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

The Rizal Park crowd occupied Roxas Boulevard from Padre Burgos Drive to TM Kalaw Avenue.

In Bicol, 13,000 protesters held simultaneous rallies in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Albay and Sorsogon, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Bicol reported.

Thousands also held protest actions in cities across the country, including Baguio, Vigan, Tacloban, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cebu, Butuan, Tandag, Davao and others.

In Hong Kong, members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan held a protest rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in the city.

“We (migrant workers) did our part in resisting the old tyrant. We shall do our part in resisting the rising tyranny of the Duterte government. We say no to Duter-tyranny!” Bayan-Hong Kong chairperson Eman Villanueva said in a statement.

A picket protest was also held in The Netherlands as Migrante-Europe members read their statement of condemnation before officials of the Philippine Embassy at The Hague.

Saying it with a placard and shouting it too, (Photo by R. Villanueva)

In Tago, Surigao del Sur, 36th Infantry Battallion-Philippine Army elements held about 400 Tandag rally participants until rescued by United Church of Christ in the Philippines Bishop Modesto Villasanta.

Another Philippine Army unit in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur tried preventing more protesters from proceeding to Tandag while Philippine National Police personnel reportedly harassed protesters in Iligan City.

Meanwhile, the pro-Duterte rally at Plaza Miranda ended early at about six o’clock in the evening.

The Quiapo rally was attended by participants bussed in from Tondo, San Jose del Monte, and Caloocan, among others.

The controversial Lions Club feeding activity on Rizal Park’s Burnham Green appeared to have not happened, however.

Kodao observed no activity near the stage in front of the Quirino Grandstand despite the National Park Development Committee’s decision that the Lions Club needed the space more than the rally. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

The Burnham Green was empty when the Lions Club feeding activity was supposed to be held. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

Government playing dirty, sabotaging Luneta rally–MAT

Organizers of the rally at Rizal Park accused the Rodrigo Duterte government of playing dirty in its bid to undermine the protest action today.

In a statement, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) slammed officials of the National Parks Development Authority (NPDC) for assigning the area around the Lapu-Lapu monument instead of the Burnham Greens in front of Quirino Grandstand as the rally venue.

“Duterte said all parks are open to be venues of peaceful protests (today) and has even declared it a National Day of Protest. But this is belied by the actions of his officials at the NDPC who would like to relegate the rally to an insignificant portion of Luneta,” MAT said.

“The Lapu-Lapu monument is not large enough to safely accommodate the tens of thousands expected to join the Sept 21 protests,” the group added.

As a huge stage was already being erected yesterday on the Burnham Greens, the NPDC told MAT representatives of the Lions Club activity.

“Despite having been informed of our rally, they instead assigned the Burnham Green, which can accommodate a crowd of 100,000, to the Lions Club for an event that has only 2,000 participants,” MAT said.

Lions Club officials told MAT they will abide by the NDPC’s decision.

Meanwhile, pro-Duterte rallies will also be held at the Bonifacio Shrine and Plaza Miranda, in accordance with Duterte’s declaration of a National Day of Protest.

Under Rizal’s gaze

MAT announced its rally against extrajudicial killings and tyranny under Duterte shall instead be held on Roxas Boulevard from Padre Burgos to TM Kalaw avenues.

“We will gather to end the killings and fight tyranny under the gaze of our hero Jose Rizal and with the Philippine flag flying above,” MAT convenor Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB said.

“In the interest of safety, practicality and symbolism, we are gathering at the area in front of the Rizal Monument and Philippine flag. This is where we will exercise our right to free expression and assembly,” Mananzan said.

MAT said the rally shall start at four o’clock and will end at eight in the evening with the simultaneous ringing of church bells and handheld bells and ringtones by the rallyists.

Pre-rally events

Before the Rizal Park rally, organizers said various groups will hold separate assemblies and events.

At two o’clock at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Caloocan Bishop Virgilio David will lead a Mass for the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings.

An ecumenical prayer gathering will also be held at the United Methodist Church along TM Kalaw to be led by Rev. Dr. Eleazar Fernandez, President of the Union Theological Seminary.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan for its part will lead a march from the University of Santo Tomas to Mendiola at noon before proceeding to Rizal Park. Three thousand participants of the Lakbayan 2017 shall join the march.

Meanwhile, schools along Taft Avenue will gather and hold coordinated marches to Rizal Park at around three o’clock. They will be joined by students and faculty from various Quezon City schools.

Lawyers will assemble at two o’clock in front of the Supreme Court led by the National Union of People’s Lawyers, while lawyers from Makati will hold a caravan led by the Artikulo 3 group.

MAT said rallies will also be held in various parts of Southern Tagalog, Baguio, Ilocos Sur, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Tacloban, Butan and Davao City. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Streetwise by Carol Pagaduan Araullo: Clearing the air

On the eve of the September 21 protests against the Duterte regime, it has become necessary to clear the air of certain misconceptions as well as false judgments against the Left that stand in the way of forging a broad unity across the political spectrum.

To those who denigrate the Left, or more specifically, the national democratic movement, for having given Duterte the benefit of the doubt in his claim to being a Leftist and a socialist despite a checkered record as Davao City mayor, allow me to say this.

There was good reason to do so: Duterte’s solemn promise to release all political prisoners through amnesty; the resumption of peace talks; the appointment of four progressive, competent and upright individuals to the Cabinet; his stance on ending contractualization, upping SSS pension for seniors, land to the tiller, prioritizing public spending on education, health care, and other social services; his openness to dialogue with the Left on various issues; and his pronouncements to pursue an independent foreign policy.

On the other hand, there was also Duterte’s mailed-fist policy on crime and drugs; his sexism; the preponderance of crooks, militarists, neoliberals and pro-US imperialists in his Cabinet; more-of-the-same neoliberal economic policy frame, policies and programs; and not least of all, his alliance with the Marcoses and former President Gloria Arroyo.

The Left decided to gamble on Duterte, to give him time to deliver on his promises and to prove his Leftist leanings. But the leeway that the Left gave to Duterte did not preclude sharply criticizing and vigorously opposing his administration’s anti-people, anti-national policies and programs.

The open democratic mass movement was unrelenting in doing so in several venues — the parliament of the streets, the mass media, the courts and even in the Lower House of Congress where the Left has a miniscule number.

Restraint was shown only by distinguishing between Duterte and the ultrareactionaries in his Cabinet especially his economic managers and the triad of Lorenzana- Año-Esperon. For more than a year no effigies of Duterte were burned at demonstrations. Instead the Left met with him on several occasions to bring up the grievances of urban poor, the lumad of Mindanao, striking workers and land reform beneficiaries.

The armed revolutionaries under the CPP-NPA-NDFP continued to wage people’s war – armed struggle, agrarian revolution, and a shadow people’s government operating in the countryside. While initially expressing willingness to contribute to Duterte’s campaign against drug trafficking by interdicting drug lords, the CPP-NPA declared early on that they would not be a party to the kind of brutal war being waged against hapless drug addicts and small-time drug pushers.

In a short period of time, the true character of Duterte begun to reveal itself.

Duterte veered more and more to the Right: EJKs galore combined with impunity for the police and military perpetrators; all-out war against the CPP-NPA with bombardments and displacement of thousands of peasants and indigenous peoples; a militarist response to the Marawi crisis leading to the city’s destruction, civilian casualties, the exodus of the populace; the extension of martial law in Mindanao; political persecution of critics and oppositionists; attempts to neutralize government institutions that can act as a check to his tyrannical rule; the scuttling of peace talks; kowtowing to China and maintaining a modus vivendi with the US; a humongous budget going to the failed “war on drugs”, counterinsurgency, the president’s intelligence fund and building a grassroots spy network while gutting the budget of the Human Rights Commission; looming mind-boggling corrupt infrastructure deals with the “build,build,build” frenzy; coddling of pork barrel-hungry legislators; cover up of billions worth of smuggling of shabu involving his son and son-in-law; and the list goes on.

Things finally came to a head leading to the NPA’s intensification of armed tactical offensives against the military and police upon the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. This year’s State-of-the-Nation protests denounced the US-backed Duterte fascist regime. Duterte’s effigies are being burned without remorse in demonstration after demonstration.

The brazen summary execution by the police of several youths in urban poor communities sparked public outrage. Progressive church organizations and other national democratic mass organizations mounted mass protests, gave succor and sanctuary to victims, their families and witnesses.

The rejection of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano by the Commission on Appointments (CA) manifested Duterte’s utter lack of support for them. He just let the CA do the dirty job of kicking them out.

This was the last straw that led to the decision of the Makabayan Coalition of progressive political parties to bolt from the Supermajority of Duterte allies in the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, even before this move, the Makabayan congresspersons had consistently stood their ground on contentious issues such as martial law, the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal accountability of minors, oppressive tax reform measures, and many, many more.

There are those who want to place the onus of a fully evolved corrupt, puppet and fascist Duterte on the Left. In doing so, they wish to put the Left on the defensive. The charge or innuendo that the Left “enabled” the Duterte regime is patently wrong even if it appears to be a backhanded compliment to the capability of the Left to shape a reactionary ruling regime.

There are those who honestly disagreed with giving Duterte the benefit of the doubt that he could or would go in a progressive direction. Yet they acknowledge the reasons for the Left doing so; recognize the Left’s sustained, principled position on issues; and their never giving up the fight for genuine change. They are not making puerile demands that the Left apologize for having been duped by Duterte and they welcome the Left’s earnest efforts to build a strong and broad opposition against the Duterte regime’s EJKS and rising tyranny.

To the former, we say good luck to your demolition job. To the latter, see you in Luneta on September 21, 4pm. Please wear black, bring an umbrella and your own scathing placards. #

(Streetwise is Dr Carol P Araullo’s regular column at Business World.)