By Marya Salamat
MANILA – The first Edsa People Power Uprising swept into presidency former senator Benigno Aquino’s widow and a Cojuangco daughter, Mrs Corazon Aquino. Now on Edsa’s 29th anniversary, their only son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, is the resident at Malacañang. However, he is being criticized to have committed treachery and is being urged to resign.
The multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) is set to hold an interfaith prayer and human chain along EDSA on February 25, to mark the first month since the Mamasapano incident and the anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising that toppled the US-Marcos dictatorship. On Feb. 27, the group is set to hold a separate march to Mendiola to call on President Aquino to step down.
Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said the peaceful protests are intended to provide a venue for the people’s outrage over Aquino’s role in the Mamasapano incident. The interfaith and human chain for truth in Mamasapano is to be held in front of Camp Crame at around 3 p.m. on Feb. 25. The group will then proceed to the People Power Monument built after Edsa 1 in Ortigas, corner Edsa.
‘Aquino doing an Arroyo’
Similar to leaders the Filipino public have ousted or threatened before with people power, President Aquino is being accused of resorting to deployment of state forces to shock and awe critics. Reyes of Bayan said that “Instead of heeding the people’s call for truth and accountability, the Aquino regime is using tactics similar to Arroyo’s calibrated preemptive response policy.” He noted that Aquino is using “overkill police deployment.”
On top of that, Reyes said, legal cases are threatened to be slapped against critics of the Aquino regime. “The intended effect of all these is to discourage people from coming out and joining mass protests,” Reyes said.
But protests actions continue. Today, Feb. 24, various groups are holding separate mass actions to call on Aquino to resign.
“Aquino seems to forget the lessons of EDSA 1 and even the regime of GMA. Government-sponsored repression will only heighten public outrage,” Reyes of Bayan warned.
Farmers, farmworkers, fisherfolk and women from Pamalakaya Pilipinas, KMP, Amihan and Anakpawis are set to conduct a “public hearing” at Plaza Miranda afternoon of Feb. 24. After that, they are set to march to Mendiola.
Various alliances coming from Southern Tagalog led by “REMOVE Aquino” are set to share the “People’s Declaration” in Baclaran evening of Feb. 24. Before that, REsign MOVEment of Aquino (REMOVE Aquino) held various forms of mass-ups, community assemblies, protest actions, educational discussions, formation of protest centers and regional mobile teams in different provinces to inform and encourage the people of Southern Tagalog to join the call of “Aquino Resign.”
A separate statement emailed by Bayan – Southern Tagalog said their delegates will be in the National Capital Region from February 24 to 27 to join the nationwide protests calling for truth and accountability over the Mamasapano incident, and to unite with the growing calls for Aquino to resign.
Southern Tagalog workers led by the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU), have formed teams a week earlier to help mobilize more people to participate in the Oust Aquino rally in February 25.
The workers said they are trying to explain to the public the need and importance of their participation in the call to oust Noynoy Aquino.
In an interview with abs-cbn, PAMANTIK Secretary General Allan Bagas said, “This is the utmost time to oust an inutile, corrupt, fascist, US puppet, and incompetent president.”
Bagas decried how the workers have been suffering from slow death due to contractualization and unjust wage. “We need to oust Noynoy Aquino to finally establish a transition council that will usher genuine pro-people change in our country’s system of governance.”
Meanwhile, thousands from Cavite are set to march also on the eve of People Power anniversary, under “Aquino Resign Movement – Cavite (ARM Cavite).” In another statement, Marlene Gonzalez, spokesperson of ARM Cavite, said they will light up the streets of Cavite with blazing torches as they march all the way from Bacoor City to EDSA Shrine via the coastal road. They expect hostile reaction from state forces.
The march will be composed of sectoral church ministries, district and barangay politicians, and different people’s organizations of women, youth, workers, urban poor communities, and peasants.
For this group, Aquino’s alleged treachery in Mamasapano is another glaring reason why Aquino has to be replaced with a transition council composed of peoples’ representatives.
Under the Aquino administration and its policies which they want their transition council to reverse or change, “Our communities are always the favorite targets of commercial projects by big companies,” Marlene Gonzalez said. Echoing the vow aired by other sectors, she added, “Our houses have been demolished and our lands taken away from us, we will not endure anymore.”