Militant groups honor victims of Martial Law

Protesters denounce Duterte’s indecisiveness

LEGAZPI CITY --- Some 100 militant activist from multi-sectoral progressive groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) stage on Monday, Sept. 21, protest rally marking the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law at the Albay’s Penaranda Freedom Park here.

Nica Ombao, Gabriela-National Alliance of Filipino Women Bicol regional coordinator, said the protest action was to commemorate the fallen heroes that fought for democracy during the dark days of Martial Law.

Ombao said that aside from honoring the patriots that defended democracy against the Marcos dictatorship, the protesters reiterated their call against the unabated human rights violation committed by military and police authorities, and corruption in government amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Ombao, in an interview, assailed the widespread corruption in government particularly the irregularities in the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

She said hundreds of Bicolano poor families who were supposed to be the rightful beneficiaries were delisted and the SAP were given to people not qualified for the program.

The protesters also denounced the indecisiveness of President Duterte in handling the Covid-19 pandemic as well as in addressing the PhilHealth fund anomalies.

Ombao said “ Duterte instead of heeding the recommendations of health experts, he pays attention to advises from his non-health officials.”

Dan Balucio, Bayan Bicol secretary-general, in an interview said he welcomed the move of other progressive group supporting the call of the United Nation Council to investigate the human rights violation committed by the Duterte administration citing the extra-judicial killings committed in connection with the government war on drugs.

Balucio also assailed the militarization in the countryside and the passage of the Anti-Terror Law, which according to him have questionable provisions that are unconstitutional.

The protesters also demanded the release of Ramon Rescovilla, secretary-general of Condor-Piston Bicol and national vice president of Piston and Nelsy Rodriguez of Bayan Camarines Sur, who were recently arrevsted for trumped-up charges of murder.

He said the protest rally was marred by the presence of policemen who were harassing the protesters by violating the 50-meters distance rule during protest rallies.

Similar protest action were staged in the cities of Naga and Sorsogon led by Bayan Bicol joined by members of Gabriela, Karapatan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Condor-Piston.