TACLOBAN CITY – No amount of rain can impede the fire within the progressive groups on Eastern Visayas, along with their Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance-themed effigy, from burning. That hystorical day in the Philippines, they shouted: “We are not a Marcos country.”
Hundreds of protesters stormed the streets of Tacloban and Catbalogan City simultaneously today, September 21 to show indignation against Duterte’s dictatorial rule which they claim to be even worse than that of Marcos’. Among the organizing groups of the protest are Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) Eastern Visayas enjoined with the member-organizations of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Eastern Visayas and Sanlakas.
“We are unbent, our rich history of struggling against Marcos in the 80s and expelling Jovito Palparan in 2005 has prepared the Waray and the Bisaya of our region for the dictatorship of Rodrigo Duterte,” said Bayan Eastern Visayas.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) – Eastern Visayas, through a statement, also showed its support to the protesters of the United People’s Action against Martial Law stating that Duterte is trying to monopolize power.
“Duterte keeps coming up with his bag of tricks to monopolize power through charter change, under cover of federalism, or the outright declaration of martial law using various pretexts including false flag operations,” said NDF Eastern Visayas.
Inflation of econ and human rights abuses
Bayan Eastern Visayas pressed that Duterte’s dictatorial rule is also evident in his economic programs. The group claimed that the poverty incidence in the region and in the whole country became more intense after the first phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law was implemented this year.
In Eastern Visayas, the second poorest region in the country, the inflation rate after the implementation of TRAIN Law was recorded to be the highest at 6.3% in June and 5.9% in the month of July. Meanwhile, the purchasing power of 100 pesos has now declined according to the findings of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC)-led Regional Anti-Poverty Summit held last July.
With the full implementation of Duterte’s drug war Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Tambay, Region VIII also has one of the most numbers of human rights violations perpetrated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) according to the Commission on Human Rights. Northern Samar Small Farmers’ Association (NSSFA) reports that Oplan Tambay is now being fully implemented in the province of Northern Samar, the poorest in the region.
Under the Duterte administration, human rights group Katungod Eastern Visayas has already recorded seven cases of extrajudicial killings along with several other human rights violations which includes aerial bombing in Matuguinao, food blockades in Burauen and Carigara in Leyte and Matuguinao in Samar, schools encampment in Conception, Paranas, Paguite and Sumuroy in Lope de Vega and San Miguel in Las Navas. The last three schools have already been closed. Other abuses includes sexual assault, illegal arrests and psychological warfare.
History taught us how
MAT Eastern Visayas convener Neil Glova warned the public to be vigilant amidst threats of historical revisionism on the horrors of Martial Law.
Meanwhile, NDF Eastern Visayas reiterated that united people’s action such as those that were staged today nationwide is capable of ousting a dictator.
“History teaches us that oppression cannot last, change is inevitable and once powerful tyrants are brought down. In the experience of the Philippines, it has been twice proven that a broad united front is entirely capable of mobilizing millions and in the time to come induce the withdrawal of military and police support to cause the removal of a regime,” said NDF Eastern Visayas.
The group also forecasted today that Duterte will end up like Marcos.
“He only has to look at history and read the writing on the wall. It is our fearless forecast that Duterte will end up like Marcos and the revolutionary movement will outlive his passing until the Filipino people will attain national freedom and democracy,” the group concluded.