Militants in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental said that the 32 nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution is a reminder to President Rodrigo Duterte that the masses could also oust him as they did with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Michael dela Concepcion, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Negros secretary general, said the commemoration of EDSA People Power is a warning for Duterte that the people have the capability to oust him if he continues to rule with tyranny and dictatorship.
Bayan, together with Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, Kilusang Mayo Uno, National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kadamay, Anakbayan, Gabriela, and United Negros Drivers Operators Center, staged a “People's March” in downtown Bacolod City Saturday.
The about 300 protestors aired their opposition against Charter Change, the new tax reform law and media repression, and lamented the current plight ofworkers and peasants.
There protestors made five stops. First was in front of a department store at Araneta Street where they discussedthe situation of workers and peasants; in the Rotunda of the Central Market where they aired their opposition to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN);
At the San Sebastian Cathedral where Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod Director, Fr. Chris Gonzales, discussed the stand of the church on Charter Change; and at the Negros Press Club where the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Bacolod chair MarchelEspina discussed media repression.
Dela Concepcion said these organizations are against charter change as it will allow foreign ownership and a term extension up to 10 yearsduring the transition period.
He also said that this ‘People's March' is a symbol that the people should be reminded of what they can do to stand for their rights against the tyranny of the current administration.
Espina said that during Martial Law, journalists had a big role in documenting events that led to the stepping down from power of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Feb. 25, 1986.
It was also through the media that the people revolted - the public uprising caused Marcos to flee, ending his 21-year tyrannical rule, and today the Philippine media face the same challenges, she said.
“We have a President who will ban a media entity from covering the Palace just because he does not like the way they go about their coverage. We have a President who threatens to shut down media outlets just because they are critical of this administration,” Espina said.
The situation has created a “‘chilling effect” on the media, who should assert their rights to resist media oppression, she added.
“We are not anti-administration or pro-administration, we are journalists and it's time for us to do our jobs. As journalists, we have to guard the truth and be critical in our reporting,” Espina said.
KMP, NFSW, and UMA also opposed the proposed charter change the current administration is proposing, saying it will only give foreigners more power in our land and its effect will be irreversible.
“Farmers did not fight Martial Law and overthrow Marcos only to be subjected to another tyrannical rule. One dictator in this lifetime is enough. We will stop Duterte's delusion and madness -- his attempts at becoming a dictator and his Charter Change and federalism,” Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP said.
Ramos said the shift to a federal government will worsen the institutionalized bureaucratic corruption, and dominance of political dynasties and warlords in the national to local government system.
“The current Charter change proposals and the hurried shift to a federal form of government will only make worse the current Constitution and will further bastardize the system of governance that is now dominated by landlords and oligarchs,” Ramos said.
The press statement of NFSW also said that cha-cha is anti-people as among its provisions are the removal of the land reform program in the Constitution, and foreign control of some capital industries in the country like education, retail, transportation, and health.
It also said that only the big landlords, foreign transnationals, and multinational companies will benefit in the proposed cha-cha.
Dela Concepcion said that after the rally, they will continue educating people on what is currently happening in the country.
They will meet with various sectors to discuss the real situation that is happening under the Duterte administration, he said.
More lobbying for reforms that will benefit the workers, peasants and the public will also be done, he added. * MLG
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