By A.L. RICALDE
“NO to tyranny. Never again!”
With this, militant groups took to the streets throughout the country yesterday, commemorating the 45h year of the declaration of martial law by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos with mass demonstrations to protest policies of the Duterte administration.
Here, activists staged a rally at the Magsaysay Park to protest “dictatorship” and “tyranny.”
Wildon Barros, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson for northern Mindanao, noted that this year’s martial law anniversary came at a time when an actual martial law was declared in Mindanao and at a time when government was threatening critics with a expanded martial law nationwide.
“Kanang pag-declare ni Duterte sa ‘National day of Protest’ pagtabon lamang kana sa tinuod nga panghitabo sa nasud,” Barros said.
Based on President Duterte’s declaration, yesterday was a “National Day of Protest.” Although not a holiday, work in government was suspended.
Waving placards, carrying streamers and flags, protesters slammed Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs as well as alleged extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, and the “repeat” of martial law, and the perceived concessions enjoyed by the Marcos family, among others.
Barros criticized what he described as Duterte’s propensity towards authoritarian rule.
The protesters in the city condemned the martial law during the Marcos years and the revival of the “same tyranny currently happening” through the declaration of martial law in Mindanao by the Duterte administration.
Barros also said they are alarmed at the unfolding of recent events starting with the siege of Isis-inspired Maute Group of Marawi City on May 23.
“Gigamit niya (Duterte) ang nahitabo sa Marawi isip rason aron pagdeklara og martial law sa tibuok Mindanao og posibleng pagdeklara usab sa martial law nationwide,” he said.
Barros cited a Karapatan report on the Marawi siege that shows more civilians were killed than the actual members of the Maute Group.
Protesters lambasted the administration “war against the poor in the guise of ‘war on drugs.’”
Barros also lamented that many of the martial law victims have yet to see justice after 45 years.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Barros, adding that nearly half a century after Marcos’s Presidential Decree 1081, thousands of human rights violation victims have yet to have closure.
“Forty-five years is too long. Hantod karon wala pa gihapo’y hustisya ang mga biktima. Samot na kadtong mga wala pa gyud nangakita nga mga desapericidos adtong panahona. Wala man lang sila’y patay nga lawas nga ilubong,” said Barros.
Youth groups and cultural minority groups from Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon, and public transportation groups took part in the protest here.
Spearheading the Divisoria demonstration are the Bayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kadamay, Anakbayan, and the Promotion of People’s Church Response. (with reports from cong b. corrales)