Thousands join rallies in Visayas to protest vs tyranny, martial law
This was the battle cry of the about 7,600 protesters joined rallies in the Visayas who marched on the streets to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos.
The protest actions were joined by 2,000 in Roxas City in Capiz, 1,700 in Iloilo City, 1,600 in Tacloban City, 1,000 in Kalibo in Aklan, 500 in Cebu City, and 800 in Kabankalan and Bacolod in Negros Occidental.
In Iloilo City, about 1,700 protesters, many of them students, held a program led by the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in front of the Iloilo provincial capitol before marching through the city’s main streets.
Therese Arianne Samson, chair of the University of the Philippines Visayas University Student Council, said hundreds of UPV students joined the protest because the abuses that were committed during the Marcos dictatorship were again happening under the Duterte administration.
Hundreds of high school students of Ateneo de Iloilo in Iloilo City also joined a forum on the horrors of Martial Law and the need to protect basic civil and political rights.
In Roxas City, protesters led by MAT and Bayan threw rotten tomatoes at a mural of President Duterte and Marcos.
In Kalibo in Aklan, protesters assembled at Crossing Banga-New Washington beforw marching to the Pastrana Park, the town’s public plaza.
In Tacloban City, Leyte, about 1,600 people joined anti-martial law rallies by Sanlakas and Bayan to call on President Rodrigo Duterte not to commit same mistakes of the Marcos dictatorship.
Larry Pascua, of the Sanlakas group, said that they were calling on the Filipino people not to allow Duterte, whom they called a “fascist,” to declare martial law again in the country.
Joshua Sagdullas, spokesperson of Bayan-Sinirangan Bisayas, said they believed that Duterte was “hell-bent” on declaring martial law and this should be stopped.
The protesters converged at the Santo Niño shrine and museum, also known as summer house of former first lady Imelda Marcos located along Real Street and marched towards Rizal Avenue.
In Cebu, at least 500 individuals in black t-shirts walked along the main streets of downtown Cebu City before they converged at Plaza Independencia to commemorate the 45th anniversary of martial law on Thursday.
Human rights lawyer Democrito Barcenas, one of those detained during the martial law, challenged Filipinos to perpetuate the memories of the martial law and learn from past mistakes so as not to repeat it.
“Signs of martial law have reemerged,” Barcenas sad. “Although it‘s not been formally declared, we can feel it.”
Barcenas denounced the series of killings that attended the administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.
He said people should remain vigilant and resist any forms of tyranny.
“In the time of Marcos, people were killed because they were suspected as communists,” he said.“Now, people are killed because they are suspected as drug personalities. All of them are persecuted and killed without any due process. That’s why the people must be vigilant and unit against the looming dictatorship.”
Protesters carried posters with messages that read: “No to tyranny,” “Stop extrajudicial killings,” “Never Again.”
They also offered a wreath of flowers and lit candles around the martial law marker at Plaza Independencia to remember the victims of human rights violations.
In Negros Occidental, a total of 800 members of militant groups joined separate rallies in the cities of Bacolod and Kabankalan.
“We are saying never again to martial law over and over again to preempt any plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring us back to those dark days,” Clarizza Dagatan, Karapatan Negros secretary general said
She said they are also reiterating their opposition to Duterte’s war on drugs, terror and the revolutionary movement that has caused the death of so many.
About 100 protestors gathered at the Fountain of Justice on Araneta Street in Bacolod to air their opposition to martial law, while about 700 were gathered at the Kabankalan Plaza.
A prayer rally was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.at the cathedral in Bacolod City . /atm
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