'One big fight': Ateneo, La Salle, UP unite vs Marcos burial
MANILA, Philippines – In a show of unity, the heads of the country's top 3 universities shared the stage on Wednesday, November 30, to address thousands of protesters gathered at the People Power Monument to voice their collective opposition to the hero's burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Ateneo President Fr Jett Villarin, De La Salle University President Bro Jose Mari Jimenez, and University of the Philippines-Diliman chancellor Michael Tan stood side by side onstage to deliver their messages of hope at the rally.
"One big fight!" shouted Villarin as he began his speech.
Villarin saluted the youth for joining the protest, saying they were more socially-aware than others who have chosen to ignore the situation. (READ: WATCH: Millennials lead November 30 anti-Marcos burial rally at EDSA)
"Sumasaludo po ako sa ating kabataan. Marami pong tahimik ngayon pero kayo, hindi kayo matahimik. Maraming nagtutulug-tulugan pero 'di kayo tulog. Maraming nagmamaang-maangan pero hindi kayo," he said.
(I salute the youth. There are many who are silent but you, you cannot reman silent. There are many who feign ignorance but you, you're wide awake. There are many who are in denial, but not you.)
Villarin also rallied the youth, who dominated Wednesday's activity as well as the November 25 anti-Marcos rally at Luneta, to be relentless in their fight against "deceit" and "propaganda." (READ: Protesters to Duterte, Marcoses: 'This is what democracy looks like')
"There are many lies, many deceit, not only on social media, or propaganda. Let us...stand by what it true and right," he said. (READ: Diokno: Next anti-Marcos campaign is to educate the youth)
Tan, for his part, thanked Ateneo students who attended the mass action even if it coincided with a crucial Ateneo-Far Eastern University basketball match.
He pointed out the unity among schools, as shown by the flags of hardcourt rivals Ateneo and DLSU held up high, side by side. Tan said he was even more elated by the broad alliance that the divisive Marcos burial had forged.
"Napaka-broad ng unity natin ngayon hanggang sa LGBT flag. Sana tuloy-tuloy ito (We have a broad unity now, even the LGBT flag is here. I hope this continues)," he said.
Like Villarin, Tan cited the historic significance of the November 30 rally.
"I am not so much for exhuming the remains," the medical anthropologist said. "But let us unearth the truth. You, millennials here will write it, will write the history, and it will be the history that will include this afternoon's event – that all schools came united," he said.
Uphold human rights
Meanwhile, Jimenez said no one should be allowed to trample on human rights.
"Tinutulan natin ang mga diktadurya noon at di natin papayagan ngayon. Tinutulan natin ang pagsasantabi ng karapatang pantao noon at tututulan natin 'yan magpahanggang ngayon," said Jimenez, alluding to the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and the extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration's war against drugs.
(We opposed the dictatorship before and we won't let it happen now. We opposed the disregard for human rights before and we will fight that up to now.)
He also took a jab atPresident Rodrigo Duterte's message of "change," the anchor of his presidential campaign.
"We are told that 'change is coming.' If indeed it is coming, real change must not come from one person alone. Let us not let just one person to tell us what is right for us," Jimenez said.
Around 15,000 protesters joined the rally held on the birth anniversary of peasant hero Andres Bonifacio, the father of the Philippine revolution.
The rally was largely attended by students of different universities in Metro Manila. Students of University of Santo Tomas, St Scholastica's College, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, College of Saint Benilde, and Philippine Science High School were also in attendance, among others. – Rappler.com