Provinces mark Edsa-1: Some called for Aquino’s resignation
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — Protesters urged President Benigno Aquino III to step down while other people opted for less stressful ways of marking the 29th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution in Albay and Laguna on Wednesday.
While militant groups held protest marches in various parts of the Bicol region urging Mr. Aquino to resign over the deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos in a badly planned law enforcement operation, other groups held physical fitness gatherings through Zumba and a basketball tournament that both called for peace and unity.
The protest rallies were held at the poblacion area in Legazpi City, in front of the capitol in Sorsogon City, Plaza Quince Martirez in Naga City and the “Elevated Plaza” in Daet town.
In Legazpi City, around 70 people from Gabriela Bikol, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Albay, Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakbayan and Karapatan-Bikol marched along the city center at 9 a.m., carrying placards and streamers that urged the President to resign.
Bayan-Bikol convenor Dan Balucio said they deplored the President Aquino’s denial of his role in “Oplan Exodus” that led to the carnage in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25.
“The congressional hearing shows that Aquino is behind the operation. Instead of accepting his weakness and liability in the incident, he keeps on using resigned Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima and SAF commander, Director Getulio Napeñas, to clear his name,” he said.
Jenelyn Nagrampa, head of Gabriela Bikol, said Mr. Aquino showed no sincerity in finding ways to give justice to the fallen 44 of the PNP-SAF. “Since he is the commander-in-chief, he is to be blamed and he has to resign because of incompetence,” she added.
In contrast, the PNP here was in a celebratory mood.
Around 200 policemen in Albay and 50 civilian employees of the PNP offices here joined a ”unity zumba” that formed part of the annual Cagsawa Festival held every February in Daraga town.
The event, which started at 6 a.m. at the covered court in front of the municipal hall, was described by Senior Supt. Marlo Meneses, Albay police director, as a means to strengthen the ties between civilians and uniformed personnel in achieving a peaceful community.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, in his official statement, commemorated the 1986 Edsa Revolution by calling for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
He said the BBL would be the best way to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao. “With most solemn humility in awe of heroes — the peaceful revolutionaries of Edsa and the martyrs of Mamasapano, I speak now as your elected leader to give peace a chance, to support the peace process and to support the BBL as the most viable path to peace in our times,” he said.
Salceda added: “You can not correct a wrong (referring to Mamapasano clash) with another wrong (BBL failure).”
“You will never perfect it (BBL) unless you start it and BBL is a good start. The Mamapasano tragedy has raised the national consciousness about Muslim Mindanao and we must redirect these energies to fortify the peace process,” he said.
Salceda said the fallen 44 should be given justice and that the peace talks should move on so that the heroes would be happier if there would be fewer dead heroes after them.
In San Pedro City, Laguna, the Knights of Columbus (KC) in Laguna held its yearly “Freedom Throw” basketball tournament at 9 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School to mark Edsa 1.
Restituto Ramos, head of KC Council in San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish that hosted the event, said the tournament, a worldwide event for KC members, started with a town-level competition, with the winners competing in the provincial, regional and country levels before culminating in a tournament to be held in Connecticut, United States.
The official website of KC states that the “Freedom Throw” tournament is in harmony with the Edsa 1 event as it is consistent with the group’s principle of “charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.”
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