ANTI-Marcos groups used the Bonifacio Day holiday to protest anew the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Led by labor groups Kilusang Mayo Uno, Partido ng Manggagawa, Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the protesters converged at the Mabuhay Rotonda in Quezon City around 8 a.m.
They also denounced President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed failure to end contractualization and other “anti-worker policies.”
“We joined thousands of workers and ordinary Filipinos today to remind the President that we are still here, that we have been waiting, and that we still haven’t experienced the change that he said will come if he gets elected as President,” Leody de Guzman, BMP president, said.
“It’s been six months since Duterte won and yet it seems that only the rich are again benefiting from the change in government,” de Guzman said.
Sonny Melencio, chairman of Partido Lakas ng Masa, said Filipinos were starting to question whether Duterte would indeed deliver on his campaign pledges, in particular, his promise to end contractualization, provide dignified housing for the urban poor, stamp out corruption in the bureaucracy, give tax breaks to those earning below P30,000 a month, and chart an independent foreign policy.
“It seems that there are only two groups of people that Duterte will never betray: the state forces and the Marcoses,” Melencio said.
At noontime, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and other militant and health workers’ groups joined the protest, carrying an effigy of the former president in a coffin and a poster of former first lady Imelda Marcos.
Police estimated the number of protesters at 1,200.
The rallyists marched to Manila to join other militant groups at the Don Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola Bridge), and later joined the rally at the People Power Monument on EDSA in the afternoon, where at least 3,000 people converged.
Bantayog honors ‘new heroes’
Kin of martial law victims and activists also decried the Marcos burial during the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation’s “Annual Honoring of Martyrs and Heroes” in Quezon City.
Among the 19 people honored posthumously were former Senate president Jovito Salonga, director Behn Cervantes, and journalists Chit Simbulan and Letty Jimenez Magsanoc.
Steve Salonga, son of the former Senate chief, said the recognition was a fitting homecoming for his father who “loved” all the other persons whose names are etched on the Bantayog monument in Quezon City.
“Being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani does not automatically make you a hero. Being a part of this list [on the Bantayog]is a much more accurate way of knowing who are the real heroes,” Salonga said.
Among those who attended the event were Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, National Democratic Front consultants Luis Jalandoni, Wilma Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon, National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.