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Protestors unite during the National Day of Protest. Photo by Joseph Nasser

Progressive groups speak out against tyranny and dictatorship

“Never Again, Never Again: Never Again to Martial Law!”

In line with President Duterte’s declaration of National Day of Protest, Different sectors all over Southern Mindanao Region rallied along the streets of Davao in condemnation of Martial Law and Human Rights Abuses in the current administration, earlier today.

September 21 is the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by Ferdinand E. Marcos which formed a history of human rights violations, disappearances, and extra judicial killings.

Progressive groups who joined in the protest were unified in the aim: to lift Martial Law especially in Mindanao and to stop tyranny & dictatorship.

Mark Anthony Zarate of Promotion of Church People’s response says that Duterte should end the Martial Law since it initiates more abuses. Also, he stated that Digong’s rhetoric changed. “Sauna pro poor siya, karon gihigop na siya sa oligarkiya sa mga dato, sa mga burgis.”

“Kung si Digong parehas sauna nga makapobre, makatao, kayang-kaya kaayo niya ipaundang ang Martial Law dinhi sa Mindanao,” he said.
Groups also in the protest included the Farmer’s Association Davao City, Tamugan Farmer’s Association, PASAKA-SMR, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Mandug’s Farmer’s Association, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-SMR, CORBA, MARBAI, KARAPATAN-SMR, Save our Schools Network-SMR, Konsensya Dabaw, KMR North Cotabato.

The youth sector was represented by the National Union of Student of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), LFS, Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist.

Lito Bontolan, from the Manobo Tribe, said that the Lumad are the most affected by the Martial Law. He also emphasized that Digong should listen to their concerns especially in the issue of bombing the Lumad schools.

“Naa mi karon naga-rally, kay dili unta niya pansunugon ang among mga eskwelahan ug pangpatyon among mga estudyante.”

Also, Datu Mintroso Malibato from PASAKA-SMR highlighted the situation of the Lumad students barred at the Davao Airport, “Ang uban ang tan-aw nila sa Lumad kay ang utok kadako sa bulinaw, apan kining mga bataa kabalo mopanalipod sa ilahang mga katungod ug karapatan.”

In an interview, KADAMAY Chaiperson and Martial Law victim, Leon Bolcan voiced out his message to the President, “Kinahanglan unta siya matinud-anon, dili pwede nga karon iyahang isulti, ugma iyaha napud i-deny. Kami nagsuporta sa imoha tungod kay nagtuo mi nga adunay pagbabago, wala ma’y pagbabago. Ang pagbabago lang kay gideclare nimo ang Martial Law dinhi sa Mindanao.”

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