MANILA – Progressive organizations in major cities nationwide joined today’s Black Friday protest against the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, which President Duterte has threatened to extend to the rest of the country.
In Mendiola, protesters led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Karapatan warned that Duterte’s martial law will be no different from that declared by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1972, which was fraught with human rights violations.
The progressive’s call for Duterte to lift martial law in Mindanao was an appeal as much as an admonition, as they remind the President that the people’s democratic movement, as well as the underground revolutionary forces grew and surged under a repressive condition. Marcos was ousted by People Power action in 1986.
“We aroused, organized, and mobilized – that was how we fought the Marcos dictatorship, and that is how we will fight Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao,” said Danny dela Fuente, spokesperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees laban sa Aresto at Detensyon (Selda) and a martial law survivor.
“And he (Duterte) even plans to include Visayas and Luzon? Sige lang. Nakahanda kami. Nakahanda kami, Pangulong Duterte, sa martial law mo (Go ahead, President Duterte. We are ready),” Dela Fuente said.
The protesters were a mix of activists who survived the Marcos dictatorship’s martial law, the “martial law babies” or those who grew up under the dictatorship, and the millennials.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, a “martial law baby” who hails from Davao city, said he had seen how state forces “brutalized” people’s lives. He countered how some sectors try to distinguish Duterte’s martial law as “good,” as opposed to Marcos’s which was “bad.”
“Parehong masama (They are both bad), because the implementor, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is the same, then and now,” he said.
Zarate added that a state of lawlessness is still under effect nationwide since the President declared it in September last year, supposedly to counter terrorism and illegal drugs. He said that in spite of this given leeway for the military and police, terrorist groups such as the alleged Isis-affiliated Maute group succeeded to attack Marawi City.
“They (state forces) have enough resources to end this conflict, but they want to prolong it to declare martial law,” Zarate said.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., meanwhile, reacted to Duterte supporters who mock non-Mindanao natives who oppose the martial law.
“We are all Filipinos…You do not have to be a Mindanaoan to make a stand on what is right, on what is just, and what is for the interest of the majority,” said Reyes.
On the opening of the peace talks between government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) tomorrow, May 27, Reyes reiterated that Duterte has the option to resolve the armed conflict in the country by signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reformts (CASER), or, “he can take the reactionary path of fascism, and repression of the people.”