15,000 join protests against martial law

15,000 join protests against martial law

More than 15,000 individuals carrying calls to end martial law and oust Duterte joined protest marches across Mindanao last October 23. Dubbed as the Mindanao Day of Action Against Martial Law, mass actions were held in Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and General Santos. In Cagayan de Oro, more than 5,000 individuals from various democratic sectors including the religious participated in the mobilization. They carried an effigy of Duterte riding a war tank as they marched to Divisoria.

In Butuan City, about 5,000 protesters paraded an effigy of Duterte riding a train depicting the adverse effects of his TRAIN law to the people. To culminate their program, Lumads and peasants destroyed the effigy to signify the people’s rage against Duterte’s anti-people policies.

Simultaneously, 600 farmworkers from Compostela Valley managed to pass through AFP checkpoints which the military mounted to delay their contingent. The workers later joined the march from Davao City to Freedom Park of more than 3,000 delegates. Cultural workers portraying blood-drenched victims were at the forefront of the march to portray the state’s fascism. The mass action was successful despite the Red-baiting and malicious attacks of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte through social media, and the harassment of Task Force Davao and PNP-Davao.

Various sectors also held a protest march in General Santos City to condemn and demand an end to militarization in their communities. Some of the rallyists were from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato where 8 Dulangan-Manobos were massacred by elements of the Philippine Marines in December last year.

Progressive groups lambast paramilitary-led rally

Various groups condemned a rally at the University of the Philippines-Diliman last October 29 organized by staunch leaders of a paramilitary group. Among them were leaders of Magahat-Bagani which perpetrated the murder of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development executive director Emerito Samarca, and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo last 2015.

The paramilitary leaders trooped to UP to accuse the New People’s Army of killing and spreading fear in Lumad communities.

According to the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC), the group led by Duterte’s former communications officer, Mocha Uson, blatantly Red-tagged progressive groups and Lumad schools. According to the students, Uson’s actions gravely endanger other Lumad groups. The USC also condemned Uson’s support to Rodrigo Duterte, a dictator wannabe who has continuously denied the Lumad people of their rights to their ancestral lands.

Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students staged a counter protest in the university on the same day to belie the allegations that are being peddled by Uson’s group.

Pro­test ca­ravan

A protest caravan led by Kilusang Mayo Uno was held by different progressive groups last October 30, in conjunction with the arraignment of the “Sta. Cruz 5” who were arrested last October 15. The five detained activists are National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva, Hedda Calderon, Ireneo Atadero, Ediciel Legazpi and Julio Lusania.

The groups criticized the arrest and demanded the immediate release of the five detained. They also added that the cases filed against them are fabricated, particularly that of “illegal possession of firearms and explosives,” because the military and police operatives only planted guns and grenade in the victims’ vehicle at the time of their arrest.

‘”Die-in pro­test’”

Last October 25, a “die-in protest” was conducted in front of Iglesia Filipina Independiente National Cathedral in Taft Avenue, Manila to decry the 13 massacres perpetrated under the Duterte regime.

Groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila lit candles and laid down across the road to depict the killings under his regime.

Based on Karapatan’s documentation, 13 massacres were recorded under the Duterte administration since 2016. Among these are the massacre of Lumad peasants in Lake Sebu last 2017, the killing of 7 Tausug youths in Patikul, Sulu last September and the brutal murder of the 9 farmers in Sagay last October.