Leftist groups demand 'genuine change' on 31st EDSA anniversary

MANILA, Philippines – Leftist groups trooped to parts of major thouroughfare EDSA on Saturday, February 25, to call for "genuine change" on the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Dubbed as "People's Commemoration," the late morning rally at the EDSA Shrine denounced the "unfulfilled promises" of the bloodless revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

"Hindi natin matatawag na totoong rebolusyon ang nangyari sa EDSA dahil hindi naman po nagbago ang mga naghahari sa ating bayan (We can't call EDSA a real revolution because those wield power in the country has not changed)," Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary-General Renato Reyes said before sectoral groups.

"Nasaan ang pangako na ibagsak ang paghahari na iilan, 'yung mga tinatawag na oligarchs? Wala pa rin hanggang ngayon. Ang pangako ng libreng edukasyon? Wala pa rin hanggang ngayon," Reyes added.

(Where is the promise to eliminate the so-called oligarchs? It has not yet been fulfilled. The promise of free education? It has not yet been fulfilled until now.)

The groups also took the opportunity to amplify their call for the restoration of peace talks with communist rebels under President Rodrigo Duterte's leadership.

Duterte earlier cancelled the peace negotiations after the New People's Army, the  armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, lifted its ceasefire declaration with government forces, and amid NPA attacks on soldiers while the ceasefire was still in effect. (READ: Duterte bats for 'strategic shift' in ending war with Reds

"Isang pangako na ngayon ay sinisingil natin: nasaan ang kaseryosohan sa usapang pangkapayapaan? Bakit pati ang peace talks nasama na sa pangakong napako?" Reyes asked.

(One promise that we want fulfilled now: where is the government's sincerity in pursuing the peace talks? Why is the peace talks among the unfulfilled promises?)

'Marcosian rule'

EDSA 31. Militants march toward the US Embassy on February 25, 2017. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

EDSA 31. Militants march toward the US Embassy on February 25, 2017.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

The protesters also trooped to Camp Aguinaldo, the military headquarters, to denounce the all-out war declared by the Duterte administration on communist rebels, following the suspended negotiations.

Migrante Spokesperson Arman Hernando warned of Duterte's "rising Marcosian rule" that is leading the country to a "new dark era."

"We call on freedom-loving Filipinos around the world to rise against state fascism," said Hernandez.

"Let us push the Duterte government to address the root causes of the armed conflict theough the resumption of the GRP-NDF Peace Talks. The lesson of EDSA is that collective action and struggle can and will defeat fascism," he added.

Some groups went to the US Embassy in Manila earlier in the day to denounce the joint military exercises with US forces. 

"His disgust of American interventionism is apparently only directed at former President Obama and not the policies and militarism they will continue to push for under the Trump administration. Duterte has given the go signal for more than 200 joint military exercises with US troops, along with the Balikatan,” said Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap Secretary-General Carlito Badion. – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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