Activists to stage another wave of protests on martial law declaration anniversary
MANILA, Philippines — A fresh wave of protest actions would be staged by activist groups this coming September 21, this time in anticipation of the anniversary of the late dictator and former president Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law declaration.
The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) said on Tuesday that protests would center on condemning President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and its supposed mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEGP said that the movements, which would be held at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, would also focus on alleged extra-judicial killings, an issue thrown against the Marcos and Duterte administrations.
“Dubbed as ‘Tama na! Sobra na! Wakasan ang COVID-19! Wakasan ang diktadurang Duterte!’, youth groups are set to march in protest against the gross negligence of the Duterte administration at the time of the pandemic, as well as the worsening state of education in the country and call for justice amid the escalating cases of extrajudicial killings,” CEGP’s statement said.
Anakbayan meanwhile noted that there is no difference between Duterte and Marcos — the latter of which has been accused of leading attacks on opposition members, abusing his powers, and plundering government coffers.
“Walang pinag-iba si Duterte kay Marcos sa pagiging korap, traydor, at numero-unong berdugog lumalabag sa ating mga karapatan. Ito na ang panahon para tanganan ng kabataan ang tungkulin nito at dinggin ang tawag ng kasaysayan—at muling pabagsakin ang diktador,” Anakbayan spokesperson Vinz Simon said.
(Duterte and Marcos have no difference in terms of being corrupt, a traitor, and the number one killer who has violated our rights. This is the time for the government to take on this role and to hear the call of history, and to again put down a dictator.)
The planned September 21 rally is not the first protest done despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Several protests have been held before, in reaction to the Labor Day, Anti-Terrorism Act, the pandemic response, Independence Day, Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, and the release of convicted US serviceman Joseph Pemberton.
Previously, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other government agencies called on protesters to just do their protests online to avoid local coronavirus transmissions — with the police force claiming that some of the protests compromised public health.
As of now, the country has recorded one of the highest COVID-19 numbers in Asia, with 269,407 individuals infected with the virus — 207,352 of them recovered while 57,392 with still active cases.
But legal experts insisted that the Constitution and laws created during the pandemic do not ban peaceful assemblies. Activists meanwhile noted that they have observed minimum health standards to protect themselves.
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