Thursday, October 28

Progressive groups call for Duterte rule end, campus journalism protection

by MATTHEW DAVE A. JUCOM, ARTHUR N. APOSTOL, and BLESS AUBREY OGERIO

photo by Bless Aubrey Ogerio

PRESIDENT RODRIGO Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday led progressive groups to conduct protests in protection of press freedom and call for the end of what seemed to be a “problematic” administration. 

Kabataan Partylist National Spokesperson Raoul Manuel told The Flame that their protest is to ensure that this will be the last SONA that Duterte will deliver, given that the President publicly gave signs to run for position next term.

“‘Yong protest natin sa SONA, isa siyang malaking statement, na sawang-sawa na tayo sa kung paano pinapalakad ngayon ng Duterte administration ang ating bansa. Pagpapahirap, anti-people policies, tapos ‘pag magsasalita ka ikaw pa yung babansagan. Kung sibilyan ka, babansagan ka ng rebelde or worse, tatawagin kang terorista,” Manuel said.

President Duterte has recently been jesting about running for vice president to avoid lawsuits as multiple groups are calling for investigations on his rule, including the International Criminal Court.

Manuel also said that the Duterte-Duterte tandem for 2022 elections is a nightmare for the Filipinos that should not happen. 

Meanwhile, College Editors Guild of the Philippines Deputy Secretary-General Regina Tolentino called for the defense of Filipino students and campus journalists against the Duterte administration. 

“Sumama ako sa protesta para ipanawagan ang ayuda para sa estudyante, ayuda para sa lahat, ligtas na pagbabalik sa mga opisina ng mga mamamahayag pangkampus, at paglaban sa defunding at iba pang mga represyong pangkampus,” Tolentino said. 

Pero higit dito ang mga pagtitipon at protesta na ito sa lansangan ang nagpapatibay sa militanteng pagpapanawagan ng mga mamamahayag pangkampus para sa tunay na kalayaan sa pamamahayag,” she added.

Several student publications that have been critical of the government received backlash and threats in social media from suspected trolls and supporters of the government for their statements and posts.

Manuel also said that the good ratings of the government should not be taken “at face value” because these were accumulated due to various factors, including public deception and promulgation of “state terror.” 

“Conscious sila na nanlilinlang ng mga tao, nag-ppresent ng mga slanted na mga data tapos mga false narratives para palabasin na okay ‘yung ginagawa ng kanilang administrasyon,” Manuel said. 

Manuel and Tolentino, however, expect that Duterte’s grip on the country and for power will not loosen during the last months of his term. 

We expect na dahil patapos na ang term ni President Duterte ay lalo siyang maghahanap ng paraan paano siya kakapit sa kapangyarihan, given na sa dami ng mga kasalanan niya sa mamamayang Pilipino ay dapat siyang makulong at sa mga crimes niya against humanity,” said Manuel.

Mas lalong pagpapahirap at pagpapabaya sa taumbayan ang tanging natitira sa rehimen, mas lalo pa itong pinahahaba at pinalala dahil sa pagpostura nitong manatili sa poder,” said Tolentino. 

The protest march was conducted from University Avenue in UP Diliman to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. F

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