Rally against spike in drug killings set
A rally organized by citizens outraged by the rising death toll in the name of the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs will take place this evening at the Edsa People Power Monument.
The call for the mass action was made over the weekend in a Facebook post, apparently triggered by the rising number of drug-related killings resulting from intensified police operations last week.
One case, in particular, incensed a lot of people after witnesses and the footage taken by a closed circuit television camera appeared to belie the Caloocan City’s police’s claim that they killed a 17-year-old drug runner after he resisted arrest.
The parents of Kian Loyd de los Santos, however, denied that their son was involved in the drug trade.
“Tama Na! Protesta Laban sa Patayan” is scheduled at 6 p.m. at the People Power Monument (PPM) on Edsa.
“On Monday, let’s all call for a stop to the killings under [President] Duterte’s war on drugs. Let’s fight to attain justice for Kian and others like him who were mercilessly killed under the current administration,” the post read.
Protesters were urged to wear black and bring a candle. “This is a day of mourning. This is also a day to fight for justice,” the post said in Filipino.
University of the Philippines professor Sylvia E. Claudio echoed the call in her Facebook post, writing: “Himagsikan #ParaKayKian #IsangLaban”.
Claudio also said: “If possible, no organizational posters. Let’s make this about our common humanity.”
Apparently, there is no single group that organized the rally. Claudio said in a separate Facebook post that has also been re-shared that it was a small group of individuals, including herself, who talked about going together to the PPM to express their disgust at the killings.
Certainly, all others will be welcome but there should be no “political factions,” Claudio wrote, thus her call to discourage political posters.
Participants, however, are welcome to bring photographs of victims and their own artwork and placards, she said.
Volunteer Candy Ramos, an active supporter of Vice President Leni Robredo, told the Inquirer by phone that she has been helping spread the announcement in her own private capacity.
“I just encourage them to come. I will be there myself,” said Ramos, president of the new volunteer group, Metro United Livelihood Initiatives, which is a donor partner of Robredo’s Angat Buhay program.
Seniors to take part
Ramos said her group is comprised mostly of senior citizens in their mid-60s.
Even at their age, she and her colleagues have been taking to the streets since last year.
“If you are angry, lend your voice. It’s a sin to be quiet now,” she said, adding: “If there are 13,000 people dead, there should be 13,000 people in the streets now.”
The online group, The Silent Majority, has also been helping spread the word for today’s protest action.
On Aug. 23, another rally dubbed “Shout for Life” will be held in front of the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame by Stop the Killings Network. This will coincide with the third month of Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“We will not allow injustice to prevail. We will speak for those who were silenced by the guns. We will fight to stop the madness of Tokhang and the rising tyranny in our land,” Stop the Killings Network said in a statement.
People from all walks of life, including senators and staunch supporters of President Duterte, have used their social media accounts to denounce the administration’s war on drugs following Delos Santos’ killing.
Facebook pages calling for justice for the 17-year-old boy have been created while the hashtag #JusticeforKian has been trending for the past days on Twitter.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple said Delos Santos’ death was “clearly an act of extrajudicial killing.”
UP Prof. Clarita Carlos, who also voted for Duterte, called on the President to “give us more reasons to support you by meting out the highest form of sanctions allowed by the law against these beings who murdered this young child.”
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