CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – “Habang buhay kaming mga naglamay noong diktadurang Marcos, hindi namin patatahimikin itong presidenteng hibang sa martial law at gusto ring maging diktador (As long as we who kept vigil under the Marcos dictatorship are alive, we will not stand down with a president who is obsessed with martial and wants to become a dictator himself).”
These were the strong words of Trinidad Repuno, newly-elected chairperson of SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) as they joined the anti-martial law protests set Thursday in Mendiola and Luneta, led by Movement Against Tyranny and organizations under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“We have survived through the worst. Fascists like Marcos and Duterte create a mindset of possible violence and chaos in the face of nascent protests. Look at how Duterte portrayed our rallies today. But who has sowed terror and violence among the people? The militarist policies to kill in the name of the war on drugs and counter-insurgency have wreaked havoc among poor families and communities?” Repuno explained.
Selda said the Duterte regime has ceased to effect change, it has allowed the dominance of its fascist minions in the military and the Cabinet, it now transformed itself into a monstrous regime opting to oppress the people whom he has promised to liberate from.
“They are so obsessed with martial law, that they will grab every opportunity to justify a dictatorship, while the people demand a stop to killings, and respect to their rights. That only goes to show that Duterte has become another warmongering regime in favor of pursuing the interests of the few and not the people,” said Repuno.
Many of them of old age and frail health, SELDA members agreed to join the protests at their recently-held national assembly in Quezon City.
“Di pa rin kami titigil, laluna sa mga nangyayaring pagpatay sa mga mahihirap. Bilang mga miyembro ng Selda, di namin pinapayagan ang ganitong panggagahis sa mamamayan. Nilabanan namin ang pasistang si Marcos noon, lalabanan din namin ang pasismo ni Duterte ngayon (We will not stop just yet, with the poor being killed. As members of Selda, we do not allow these attacks against the people. We fought the fascist Marcos before, we shall fight Duterte’s fascism now),” said Repuno.
Repuno explained that ultimately, they continue standing for the next generation.
“The Duterte regime cannot resolve decades-old problems of the country — poverty, landlessness, unemployment. The Philippines has further wallowed in crisis, as the Duterte regime continues to adopt policies favoring foreign business and the few powerful oligarchs in the country. Duterte has turned deaf to the people’s demands — better living conditions for the people. Land for the farmers. Jobs and higher wages for the workers. Services for the poor,” said Repuno.
“Naranasan na natin ang pinakamasahol, kaya nagbabantay tayo para sa susunod na henerasyon. Ayaw na nating maranasan ninuman ang kasamaan ng pasistang diktadura, sa ilalim ni Duterte (We have suffered the worst, that is why we keep vigil for the next generation. We do not want no one to suffer the evils of fascist dictatorship under Duterte,” added Repuno.
Repuno said there is no compelling reason to declare martial law nationwide, other than Duterte’s ambition to be a dictator. Selda added that the Duterte regime postures as a strong government with the people’s support, but is weak and insecure because it has failed to deliver the much-needed change for the people.
“No military solution was ever successful because the people who are aware of their hard-earned rights rise up and resist. We call on the people not to allow a comeback of tyranny, and come together to fight for change, a change that was not simply abandoned by the current regime but used and exploited in furtherance of their own interests. We are challenged again to fight tyranny, and say a million times, never again!” added Repuno.
“Just like Marcos who chooses to advance its own interests, with only in its first year of existence, the Duterte regime is drifting fast towards isolation. In the days to come, it will suffer the same fate as that of his dictator idol, junked by the people”, said Repuno. [BicolToday.com]