By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — There is no stopping the nationwide protests set tomorrow, Sept. 21, to commemorate the imposition of Martial Law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Progressive groups encouraged the public to join the protest. In Manila, various sectors will gather at UST along Espana avenue at 12 PM and march to Chino Roces bridge (Mendiola). They will proceed to the broad rally in Luneta Park at 4:00 p.m.
Declaring a “National Day of Protest,” Duterte has suspended classes in all levels in public schools, as well as work in government offices. Meanwhile, it will be up to the private sector to suspend their work. Government also announced a nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill for Sept. 21, but had to cancel, following the President’s suspension of work in government offices.
In a press conference held yesterday, Sept. 19, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. said holiday or not, the protest will push through not only in Manila, but also in other regions.
“He can threaten the people with Martial Law using the Left as scapegoat, like what Marcos did, but it still will not deter the people from gathering in public places to voice their indignation,” Reyes said.
The 2,600-strong Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya led by Sandugo will join the rallies here, in the culmination of their protest caravan in Manila.
Protests are also set in Mindanao where President Duterte has imposed martial law since May 23. Jerome Aba, Sandugo co-chairperson said that organizations in five regions of Mindanao will hold protests on Sept. 21, including in Duterte’s stronghold, Davao City.
Rallies will also be held in Cagayan Valley, Baguio City, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bicol, Iloilo, Negros, Leyte, Cebu, as well as abroad, in Hong Kong.
Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson, said that despite suspension of classes, the students and the youth are ready to take their classes to the streets. Students and academic communities from various state universities around the country are joining tomorrow’s protests.
“The recent ‘Duterte tricks’ – from threatening martial law against protests, declaring a national earthquake drill day, to the cancellation of classes – are all desperate moves to stop big protests in the context of the growing resistance to Duterte’s tyrannical rule,” said Crisostomo.
In a statement, the Movement Against Tyranny said, “We will not be intimidated by such actions. We will not be prevented from exercising our constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly.”
“Let this year’s anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of martial law be a drawing of the line against the emergence of a new dictatorship. We shall gather at the Luneta from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. united in one call, ‘Stop killings, never again to tyranny and dictatorship,” the group said.