“The country is now in a state of an undeclared Martial Law.”
By MENCHANI TILENDO
Progressive youth organizations in various universities in Metro Manila conducted a Black Friday Protest on June 29 to denounce what they call as Duterte’s de facto Martial Law.
Led by the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT), different schools such as UP Diliman, UP Manila, University of Sto. Tomas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa, De La Salle University, and Ateneo de Manila University served as protest centers for students and other sectors who are united against Duterte’s ‘anti-people’ policies.
In a statement, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny national convenor Raoul Manuel said, “The country is now in a state of an undeclared Martial Law. Duterte is set to a no-holds-barred tyrannical rule with his recent policies such as the Human Security Act, National ID system, and the Oplan Galugad, These are all mechanisms to further pacify resistance from the people; but the youth will not back down. We are geared to oust this tyrant-wanna be.”
Through their simultaneous solidarity programs, the groups registered their calls against the Human Security Act, National ID system, Oplan Tokhang, killings among church people and the recent ‘Oplan Glaugad’ or Oplan Anti-Tambay.
Based on initial reports, there were more than 20, 000 casualties under Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang and about 11,000 arrests under the latest Oplan Galugad or Oplan Anti-Tambay. One of the arrested “tambays” by the policemen was Genesis “Tisoy” Agoncillo, who was eventually found dead in his detention cell at the Quezon City Police District Station 4.
Cases of human rights violations have also intensified through the deployment of 70 percent of military forces in Mindanao, according to the reports of human rights alliance Karapatan.
Student councils inside the schools and student publications such as the Philippine Collegian were also present in solidarity with the calls to lift Martial Law in Mindanao, denounce the recent killings among the ranks of the church people, and to release all political prisoners.
Concepcion Empeno and Linda Cadapan also joined the UP students’ protest as they called for justice for their daughters, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, UP Diliman students who were abducted by suspected military elements in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Their disappearance took place during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, a time of heated conflict between the government and the New People’s Army in Central Luzon. It has been 12 years since the disappearance of the two UP students but perpetrators remain unpunished.