Insurgency cited for Duterte absence at Bonifacio rite
President Rodrigo Duterte cited insurgency for his absence from the main ceremony in honor of what could be the nation’s most famous insurgent—Andres Bonifacio.
In a text message, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the “problem of insurgency” kept Mr. Duterte away from Bonifacio Day rites in Caloocan City on Friday.
Panelo did not elaborate.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea took Mr. Duterte’s place during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Andres Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan.
Friday was the 155th birth anniversary of Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan and Father of the Philippine Revolution.
Malacañang did not immediately say where in Mindanao Mr. Duterte rushed off to.
If he were alive…
Labor groups said if Bonifacio had been alive today, he would be leading rallies against the Duterte administration.
Bonifacio, according to Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, would be a harsh critic of failure to end contractual labor, subservience to China and failure to improve workers’ living conditions.
Activists in Southern Luzon echoed protesters in Metro Manila in condemning a plan by the President to form death squads against communist rebels and sympathizers.
They also denounced Mr. Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32 deploying more soldiers and policemen to areas where communist rebels operate.
Casey Cruz, spokesperson of Bayan Southern Tagalog, said Mr. Duterte’s plan to form a death squad meant that “anyone who merely looked like an NPA could be gunned down,” referring to New People’s Army, the armed wing of Communist Party of the Philippines.
Protesters in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province burned effigies of Mr. Duterte, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.
A relative of Bonifacio, who attended the ceremony in Caloocan, said the revolutionary figure would be “rolling in his grave” at the planned joint exploration deal between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.
Paolo Bonifacio said the deal was “just like what happened in his time.”
“Before, Filipinos tried to sell our land to Spaniards,” Paolo said. “Isn’t that what’s happening now?”
Vice President Leni Robredo said Filipinos should live up to the ideals of Bonifacio which were to put the welfare of people above foreign interests.
Bonifacio, Robredo said, “showed us what it means to persevere in the midst of hardships.” —REPORTS FROM DJ YAP, JOVIC YEE, KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING, MARICAR CINCO AND MELVIN GASCON
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