By JULIA MARI T. ORNEDO
THE YOUTH is the “greatest danger” to the Duterte administration, said veteran activist Sr. Mary John Mananzan on the sidelines of the rally against President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon.
During the “United People’s SONA” staged at Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City, Mananzan said she welcomes the youth activists whose eyes have been opened to the ills of the country.
“Ako, 40 years na akong nagpoprotesta. Siyempre, hindi naman kami mabubuhay nang [walang] hangganan. Nasisiyahan ako na merong mga millennial. Nakikita ko ang inyong pagkamulat,” she told the Flame in an interview.
“Sa akin, dapat bigyan talaga ng lahat ng aid, lahat ng help ang mga kabataan na talagang ma-develop nila itong love of country, na talagang ilalaan nila ang kanilang buhay para sa ating bayan,” Mananzan added.
Organizers estimate 40, 000 people attended the event, many of whom are part of youth groups.
The Benedictine nun also celebrated the unity displayed by the attendees who banded together despite their differing political opinions.
“Itong pagsasama-sama, nasisiyahan ako kasi ngayon lang nangyari ito na lahat ng mga kulay—pula, dilaw, lahat—ay nandito kasi iisa lang ‘yung kanilang layunin, at ito ay pagmamahal ng bayan nila na ayaw nilang apihin at alipustahin,” she said.
However, Mananzan also lamented the prevailing culture of “barbarism and incivility” in the country, citing the president’s attacks on women and God.
“Ang new norm is kabastusan. Meron tayong kultura ng kamatayan; walang solusyon kundi ‘Patayin mo, patayin mo, patayin mo,’” she said.
Mananzan is a well-known Church militant who has been at the forefront of rallies against the Duterte administration and in favor of the Reproductive Health Law, among others.
Also present at the rally were former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chairperson Nonoy Espina, and former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman. F