Anti-Marcos Cebu youth threatened with arrest
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Police threatened to arrest Cebuano youth who protested against Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr while he was in this city on Thursday, March 17.
The protesters rallied against Marcos as the vice presidential candidate made his way to the Cebu City Hall to meet with Mayor Mike Rama.
Holding banners with slogans that recall their grievances against the Marcoses, the young protesters demanded that the vice presidential aspirant, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, return the billions they stole from the Filipino people.
They said they wanted voters to know that the Marcoses cannot be trusted.
“We don’t want to miss the opportunity to educate voters on what really happened. We urge every voter to look behind the rhetoric, look behind the lies and deceptions they see on social media,” Justine Balane of Akbayan Youth said.
“Golden years? It was a very scary time because thousands of students and activists were killed. You cannot just call out all the projects they did and call it "golden years." It’s not peace and order when human rights are being violated,” he said.
The Cebu youth were stopped by local police and some staff members of Marcos as they were setting up for the protest. They were pushed away from city hall as the senator arrived.
One member of Marcos’ staff shouted: “Mga aktibista din kami dati. Respeto lang. Senator siya kaya walang bastusan (We were activists like you before. Be respectful. He’s a senator so don’t be irreverent.)
Local police threatened the students with arrest since they did not have a permit to rally. They grabbed the students’ megaphone to prevent them from shouting chants against Marcos.
“What’s happening now, we are reminded of what happened during the time of the Marcoses. We remember the times when Archimedes Trajano was dragged out of the assembly hall just because he began questioning Imee Marcos’ credibility as a public official,” Balane said.
“That’s what we are scared of. We are being pushed and prodded out of the hall just to protest against the Marcoses, just to tell the voters who are here that we are in times of danger. That we have to remember the times when the Marcoses stole our billions,” he added.
They said the scene at the Cebu City Hall was reminiscent of what happened to those who opposed the Marcos regime in the past. During the martial law years, many student activists from the country’s top universities were killed for challenging the dictatorship. (READ: 1,400 Catholic schools back call vs ‘Marcos snares, Imeldific lies’)
“Students now are being deprived of their rights to protest. This is a scary precedent of what will happen if the Marcoses go back to power,” Balane said.
The senator arrived in Cebu 3 days before the second presidential debate, to court the vote-rich province, s a stronghold of the administration’s Liberal Party.
As for the youth, they said they will not stop from voicing the truth.
“This is becoming a personal issue for us now. We are scared. We are not just here to show force but because we’re afraid for our lives. We are afraid of students being threatened everyday because of this culture of impunity that the Marcoses started,” Balane added. – Rappler.com