“Those vowing to bring change to Malacañang must place human rights and justice on top of their agenda,” the Bayan leader added. “The accountability of public officials involved in various atrocities, from the time of Marcos to Arroyo, should form part of the candidates’ platform.”
Several times the protesters at Mendiola chanted, “Marcos, Gloria, walang ‘pinag-iba – parehong tuta, diktador, pasista!” – a view expounded upon by a number of the speakers.
Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez drew parallels between the Marcos dictatorship and the Arroyo regime, and called on the people to “end Arroyo’s tyranny.”
“We should not just suffer and endure a president who thinks like Marcos!” exclaimed Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of the Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP), who also said that women are among the worst victims of “tyrannical” regimes like those of Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, meanwhile, said that while today’s youth may have no direct knowledge of what it was like during Marcos’s time, “repression under the Arroyo regime gives (them) insights into what martial law was like.”
Pedro “Tata Pido” Gonzales, a leader of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and a victim of a frustrated killing under the Arroyo administration, took it further and described Arroyo as worse than Marcos. “The bad dream known as martial law has become an absolute nightmare under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo!” he cried.
Rain threatened to fall on the protesters toward the end of the program at Mendiola, but they stayed on. The program concluded with Cristina Guevarra of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) calling on today’s youth to follow the example of Kabataang makabayan (KM or Patriotic Youth), an organization founded in 1964 which distinguished itself in the series of anti-Marcos demonstrations that is now known as the First Quarter Storm of 1970. (Bulatlat.com)