Protestors call for oust of President Duterte, citing human rights issues, threats
NEW YORK CITY — Change has come to the way protests are made, since the new President is an ally.
It wasn’t too long ago when these activist groups in New York supported Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, especially after claiming that he was one of them – a leftist.
But a little more than a year and a half into Duterte’s term – these protesters are chanting a different tune.
“Duterte has made a complete turn around from his posturing as a socialist, as a leftist, pinagmamalaki pa niya na estudyante siya ni joma,” said Gary Labao, Migrante New York. “They would do and say anything just to get the votes and to get some trusts from the people.”
In solidarity with the recent school walkouts and protests in the Philippines, they are protesting against the arrest of who they claim is a political prisoner Raffy Baylosis.
They are also protesting against the president’s threats against University of the Philippines students who walked out of their classes to join the protest.
“UP students keep walking out, those who don’t want to go to school can leave, I will replace you with bright natives, lumads, many Filipinos who want good education… UP they want to walk out, I encourage them, do not go to school anymore, stay in the streets, I will replace you.”
“Ang sinasabi lang ng president huwag naman natin sayanging ang pera ng sambayanan na ginugol natin sa free tuition ng lahat ng state universities and colleges,” said spokesperson Harry Roque.
But former UP students would know and say that walkouts do not happen everyday, and they do not last for days or weeks or months.
A Marcos martial law survivor says protesting is a right that cannot be taken away from them — not even by the president.
“UP has a tradition of protest, it’s one of the most liberal institutions na that‘s left in the Philippines, it makes me angry to see that up students are being curtailed or being stopped,” said Mon Mappala.
“This is a Marcos playbook that’s being conducted right now,” said Bernadette Ellorin. “What happened to Marcos in 1986 was he was ousted from Malacanang, and that’s gonna happen to Duterte if he keeps on with these type of fascist attacks.”
“Yung malawakang panawagan ngayon is talagang, lalong lalo na ang mga kabataan is ibagsak oust na si Duterte,” said Labao. “Kailangan natin ng tunay na pagbabago and… Hindi si Duterte ang magbibigay nun.”
Organizers say they are expecting more protests in the weeks to come.