Martial law declaration anniversary marked by protests in regions
Activities staged by small groups of activists in several cities around the country on Tuesday to mark the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law have turned into protests against the policies of President Duterte, whom they likened to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
In Baguio City, protesters led by Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU), honored all heroes and martyrs who fought Marcos’ martial rule. They also denounced the administration of President Duterte for supposedly employing “Marcosian tactics” in its anti-insurgency campaign that resulted in “large-scale human rights violations that include arrests, abduction and killings.”
“We remember the spirit of unity as we forge a new path towards liberation from the new face of tyranny and dictatorship,” Geraldine Cacho, TTU chair, said during a protest attended by at least 30 people at Malcom Square.
On Sept. 21, 1972, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081, which placed the country under martial law. He lifted the military rule on Jan. 17, 1981, but his regime continued until he was ousted by a military-backed citizen revolt in February 1986.Cacho said the Duterte administration was using the pandemic to enforce its “antipeople policy.”
“The government’s response to the pandemic [is to enforce] militaristic lockdowns and has fallen short of what should be a proper medical solution to the pandemic,” she said.
In Southern Luzon, Kyle Salgado, spokesperson for Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, said around 50 activists staged a protest caravan in Sto. Tomas City and Batangas City in Batangas province on Tuesday to denounce attempts to distort the dark period of martial law in the country’s history.
Similar activities were held in Calamba City in Laguna province and Dasmariñas City in Cavite province.
In the Visayas, different groups on Tuesday staged protests to denounce Mr. Duterte and warn of what they called an “emerging dictatorship.”
Carrying placards through downtown Cebu City, about 200 activists, vendors, workers, farmers and jeepney drivers expressed dissent against the “atrocities of the Duterte regime.”
At least 200 members of Bayan on Panay Island also held protest rallies. In Iloilo City, pickets were held in at least four villages. Similar protests were held in Roxas City in Capiz and in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan.
In Mindanao, protesters in Mr. Duterte’s hometown Davao City called attention to the condition of health workers and the government’s failed pandemic response.
Amid threats of dispersal by the police, militant groups led by Bayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao held a rally at Freedom Park for an hour, demanding the ouster of Mr. Duterte.
Rodney Baslot, spokesperson for Bayan Southern Mindanao, said the Duterte administration should be held accountable for the atrocities committed against the people, citing illegal arrest and detention of activists and critics, Red-tagging and human rights violations.
—REPORTS FROM KIMBERLIE QUITASOL, DELFIN T. MALLARI JR., DALE G. ISRAEL, NESTOR P. BURGOS JR., NESTLE SEMILLA AND GERMELINA LACORTE
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