PROGRESSIVE groups in Northern Mindanao will be joining other groups in other parts of the country in simultaneous mass actions on Thursday, September 21, to mark the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos 45 years ago.
Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), hundreds are expected to attend a 3-hour gathering at the Magsaysay Park in Divisoria, Davao City, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The other militant groups that are set to join the protest are human rights group Karapatan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kadamay, Indigenous Peoples group Kalumbay and various Church groups.
Wildon Barros, secretary general of Bayan-Northern Mindanao Region, said the group will also condemn the present face of martial law in Mindanao declared by President Rodrigo Duterte following the Marawi City siege.
Barros said several speakers who are victims of the Marcos' military rule will share their grim experiences of the past.
The mass action will also highlight opposition to the different forms of human rights abuses, extra judicial killings and other human rights violations.
Barros stressed that the Marcos' martial law is no different from the Duterte's declaration.
"Atong i-kondena ang halos pareho ra nga martial law declaration ni Marcos ug Duterte tungod kay daghan mga tawhanong katungod ang nalapas ug nayatakan (We condemn that the martial law declared by Marcos and Duterte are the same because many human rights have been violated)," Barros said.
Barros said many of the victims of extra-judicial killings in the Marcos regime remained missing until at present.
On the other hand, the group believes that most of the around 600 deaths in the Marawi war were civilians.
"Sa panahon ni Marcos hangtod karon naa pa wala makita nga bikitma sa EJK ug naa pud mga tigulang nga biktima sa mga pagpangulata. Sa kapin 600 nga mga namatay sa gubat sa Marawi nagtuo kita nga kasagaran niadto mga civilian (Since Marcos’ time until now, victims of violence and EJK have not been found. It is believed that mostly civilians died in more than 600 deaths in Marawi siege)," Barros said.
The group also denounced the administration's war on drugs since most of those pinned down were poor and powerless while the drug lords and producers remain protected and untouched.
"Okay ra unta ang drug war pero kasagaran sa mga namatay mga pobre man. Maihap ra ang mga drug producers. Dapat unahon ang mga producers kay kung wala sila wala may consumers (Drug war is okay but most of those who died are the poor. Drug producers are untouched. Producers should be gunned down first so there won’t be consumers)," Barros said.
Barros assured that the protest will be peacefully held in the city and that protesters will not hamper traffic flow around Divisoria area.
A similar protest action is also expected in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 20, 2017.