Protesters gather anew at UP Diliman to call for abolition of anti-terror law

Published July 4, 2020, 3:51 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Almost a month after holding a “Grand Mañanita” protest, progressive groups gathered anew inside the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus on Saturday to call for the abolition of the newly-signed anti-terror law.

(Photo courtesy of Gabriela, Karapatan/MANILA BULLETIN)

Scores of protesters held placards, bearing “Junk Terror Law,” while chanting “Pasismo Biguin, Duterte Patalsikin [End Fascism, Oust Duterte]” as they marched through the University Ave. at about 1 pm

President Duterte on Friday signed into law the anti-terror bill amid growing opposition and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“If I do not do my duty now as President, we might just bargain away, place in jeopardy, the democratic values that the Filipinos have enjoyed for the longest time,” Duterte argued two weeks ago.

Youth, student, indigenous community, social justice, and human rights groups, among others, led the protest actions while observing quarantine protocols, including wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing.

“Activism is not terrorism,” a white banner message read. “No Safety in Silence,” read another.

“Kabuhayan, Kalusugan at Karapatan Ipaglaban [Fight for your job, health and rights],” urged a member of Kadamay, a federation for the poor.

Kabataan Partylist, in a statement, said that “in a time when the nation needs to be united in solidarity, Duterte, along with his military secretaries and cohorts, decides to further divide the nation, and chooses to display insensitivity and callousness as they turn deaf ears to the voices of the people.”

“We will avail of all avenues to challenge the validity of the terror law. We call on the Filipino people: Resist. Protest. Speak out,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes in a statement.

Members of Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties were also present during the gathering and encouraged everyone to report to them those who would be arrested for participating in the protest.

In other parts of Metro Manila, dozens also held their own rally to express opposition against the law.

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino staged a lighting rally on Mendiola St. in Manila and urged the public to “Resist Terror Law.”

Meanwhile, members of transport group PISTON also raised their placards in other parts of Quezon City, saying “Balik Pasada, Hindi Terror Law [Resume Jeepney Operations, Not Pass Terror Law].”