MANILA, Philippines – Joel Lamangan was one of several leaders who spoke at the protest action held by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Friday, January 19 at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City.
The veteran director slammed the current administration, saying their actions are an indication of a return to dictatorship.
“Kapag ang isang rehimen ay pinapatay na ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag, kapag ang isang rehimen ay pinakikialaman na ang saligang batas para sa sarili nilang kapakanan, yan ay isang malinaw na pagpapahayag na bumabalik na tayo sa madilim na aspeto ng kasaysayan,” Lamangan said. ang pagbubuo uli ng isa pang diktador,”
(When a regime kills the freedom of the press, when a regime uses the constitution for their own benefit, that is a clear sign that we are returning to a dark period of history.)
He then urged the crowd to fight against a possible dictatorship and, on behalf of the arts and media alliance LODI (Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity) thanked the crowd for proving that the people will not allow another dictatorship to happen.
“Ang LODI kasama ng iba pang organisasyong andito ngayon ay nagpapasalamat at kayong lahat ay malinaw na pagpapatunay na buhay pa ang pagasa at tayo’y hindi bulag sa katotohanan na tayo ay niloloko ng mga nasa pamahalaan, kongreso man, administrasyon man, maging saligang batas at supreme court, maaring kinukuha na nila,” he said.
(LODI and other organizations present tonight are thankful that all of you clearly prove that hope is still alive and that we are not blind to the truth that we are being manipulated by the government, whether its the congress or the administration, perhaps even the Constitution and supreme court, they’re taking too.)
He stressed that it is up to the people to defend democracy, and no one else. He then recalled the Martial Law era, saying “nalulungkot ako na hanggang ngayon yun pa rin ang pinaglalaban (I’m sad that up to now, we still have to fight it)”
While Lamangan stressed the fragility of democracy, he also said that there is still hope.
“Malinaw na hindi pa huli ang lahat. Malinaw na may pag-asa pa. Bakit? Sapagkat nasa puso at diwa ng bawat isa sa inyo ngayon ang pagpunta sa tamang lugar, sa tamang daan, papunta sa tunay na pagbabago, papunta sa tunay na pagmamahal sa bayan, papunta sa tunay na pagsisilbi sa interes ng maraming tao,” he said.
(It is clear that it isn’t over. It’s clear that there’s still hope. Why? Because the hearts and minds of each one of you tonight are headed to the right place, headed in the right path, headed to true change, headed to genuine love for the country, headed towards true public service).
Lamangan is a founding member of LODI, a group of artists, filmmakers, writers, and theater actors who have spoken out against the Duterte administration for its attacks on the media and supposed misinformation campaigns. – Rappler.com