“Marcos, Jr.’s return to Malacanang does not extinguish the crimes and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. No amount of repetitive playing of Bagong Lipunan will change this bloody record. These will remain historical facts.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Progressive groups held a protest at the Plaza Miranda as Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took his oath as the 17th president of the Philippines today, June 30.
For martial law veteran and director Bonifacio Ilagan, it’s important that the people register their disapproval of Marcos Jr. because “he won the election through lies and historical revisionism.”
“He may have 31 million votes but that doesn’t mean that he is a legitimate president. For us in CARMMA (Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law) the pain inflicted in the past is the reason for our resistance,” Ilagan told Bulatlat in an interview.
His sister Rizalina, also an activist during martial law, was abducted by state agents and has not been found.
For Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Marcos Jr.’s inauguration is the culmination of 30 years of efforts to bring about Marcos restoration.
“In the words of Imee Marcos, her brother’s presidential run was intended to ‘clean’ the Marcos name, which also means erasing the crimes of the late dictator,” Reyes said during a protest.
Reyes reiterated that the historical truth cannot be changed – that the Marcoses have ill-gotten wealth, human rights violations were rampant and the poverty worsened with the implementation of martial law.
“Marcos, Jr.’s return to Malacanang does not extinguish the crimes and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. No amount of repetitive playing of Bagong Lipunan will change this bloody record. These will remain historical facts,” Reyes added.
Despite the Philippine National Police’s efforts to prohibit the progressive groups from conducting protests, Bayan and other groups continued with their plan.
Addressing Filipino people’s economic woes
The groups highlighted the need to address the problems left behind by the Duterte administration, from soaring prices of oil and basic commodities to increasing debt that the Filipinos will have to pay through taxes.
In the next four weeks leading to his inauguration, Reyes said, Marcos, Jr. “has failed to outline a plan for easing oil prices and inflation, creating jobs and raising wages, and reviving agriculture.”
“We challenge Marcos Jr. to increase the living wage. The price of fuel has been increasing but the increase in salary was only P33 ($.60) pesos,” said Jerome Adonis, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Mody Floranda, national president of Piston, also said that drivers are not earning due to the increasing prices of fuel. However, he said that Marcos Jr. has no plans of scrapping the excise tax.
Mimi Doringo, secretary general of urban poor group Kadamay, also lamented the effect of excise tax on the prices of goods. “This is another burden to the urban poor amid the many problems that we are facing.”
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)’s Rafael Mariano also doubted the promise of P20 per kilo of rice as long as neoliberal policies are in place.
He challenged Marcos Jr. to “implement national food self-sufficiency rather than food importation dependency policy” by the Philippines’ withdrawal from the agreements with the World Trade Organization and opposing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The struggle continues
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said they do not expect anything from Marcos Jr. in the next six years as the new administration is only keen on continuing the policies of the Duterte administration.
“The beginning and end of the Duterte administration is killing. So is the beginning of the second Marcos administration. Marcos said that he will continue the drug war and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Palabay said in Filipino.
Palabay said the fight will continue. “This is the beginning of the exciting part in the long struggle of the Filipino people,” Palabay said.
Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel also reiterated that history proved that tyrants do not rule forever.
“When Marcos Sr. held his state of the nation address in the National Museum (former Congress), many students went to protest against his administration where they were violently dispersed. And that is when the First Quarter Storm began to gain strength and eventually ousted the dictatorship,” Manuel said.