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    MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on transportation has approved a bill requiring private vehicles to install car seats for children.

    The comittee vote  11-2 to approve the proposed measure on Monday, September 18. The still unnumbered bill is the consolidated version of House Bills 1319 and 5595.

    The proposed Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2017 states that it is the policy of the state to ensure safety of children in any form of motor vehicle while in transit.

    Buhay Party-list Representative Mariano Michael Velarde, the principal author of the bill, said that while Republic Act No 8750 or the Philippine Seat Belt Law requires the installation of seat belts in front and back seats of private vehicles, it "does not require the use of child restraints or devices for young children on board."

    Infants and children need a more specific type of system to protect them in case of a collision because of their size. Seatbelts alone will not protect them against  injuries. (READ: Seat belts are not enough for infants and children)

    According to Catanduanes Cesar Sarmiento, chair of the House committee on transporation, proposed measures requiring the installation of child safety seats are the only pending road safety measures in Congress. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)

    Sarmiento, a co-author of the bill, said, "In its Health Policy notes, the Department of Health stressed that among children 0 to 17 years of age, road crashes are the second leading cause of death next to drowning."

    Under the proposed measure, owners of private vehicles should secure children in a child restraint system while in transit on any road, street, or highway.

    The bill prohibits children under 12 years old from occupying the front seat. Under the proposed measure, children must be accompanied by adults all the time.

    It seeks to mandate the Department of Trade and Industry to base the approval of child restraint systems to be sold and used in the Philippines on standards mandated by United Nations Regulation 44 and 129.

    It also seeks to mandate the DTI to conduct a mandatory testing of all locally manufactured restraint systems and to certify imported ones.

    Penalties

    Under the proposed bill, drivers of private vehicles will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and one-year suspension of driver's license for the 3rd and suceeding offenses for the following violations:

    • Failing to secure the child in a restraint system at all times while on the road
    • Allowing children to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle
    • Leaving children unaccompanied in a motor vehicle

    Drivers will also be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and one-year suspension of driver's license for the 3rd and suceeding offenses for the following violations:

    • Usage of substandard/expired child restraint system
    • Usage of restraint system without a Philippine Standards (PS) mark or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) sticker

    Tampering or alteration of the PS mark or the ICC sticker will be punished with a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 for each product as provided under Republic Act No 7349 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

    In the Philippines alone, an average of more than 600 children died in road crashes every year from 2006 to 2014.

    A child car seat system, built for children from 0 to 12 years of age, is designed to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a collision by limiting the mobility of the child's body.

    According to the World Health Organization, the system can reduce risk of injury by up to 80% for children aged 0-4 in a rear-facing restraint. Children aged 0-4 with only a seat belt can change the risk of injury only by 32%. – Aika Rey/Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Different groups from all over the country will stage a nationwide protest on Thursday, September 21, to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law. (LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests

    Organizers expect thousands of people to participate in the nationwide activities after President Rodrigo Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday and dubbed it as a "national day of protest."

    According to Manlaban Para sa Karapatan (Fight For Your Rights) organizers, it's important for protesters, expecially first-timers, to know their rights and rally protocols. 

    Rappler asked human rights advocates for important tips for first-time protesters. Here's what they said:  

    1. Bring your conviction 

    Shamah Bulangis, a Youth Resist leader, said that the purpose of rallies is to educate people. 

    Having your friends around during rallies is fun but according to Bulangis, it is beyond that – one must research about the cause being fought for before joining a protest.

    "You have to have affinity to the cause itself. Try to understand where it's coming from and do research about it."

    2. Bring water, cap, or umbrella to protect yourself from heat or rain

    Be ready, rain or shine. Also keep yourself hydrated. 

    3. Be careful who you give your name to

    According to Marj Salandanan of the Coalition of the Marcos Burial, it is important to be safe during rallies. Don't just give your name to people you don't know. 

    4. Have a buddy system

    Salandanan advised first-time demonstrators to stick to their buddies or stay with their friends in case protesters would be dispersed. 

    5. Approach the ushers or organizers for problems or other concerns

    Do not hesitate to approach the organizers or ushers in case you have questions or concerns regarding the program. 

    6. Tell your family or friends where you're going

    It's important that people know where you are. Tell people you trust where you're going. 

    7. Bring an open mind

    You're going to a social and poltical event. You will be meeting a lot of people. Bring an open mind with you.   

    8. Listen to other people

    Learn to listen to what other people think. You will be meeting different kinds of people with different opinions.  

    9. Express yourself. Bring placards or artworks, if you want.

    According to Josua Mata of KALIPUNAN, rallies are all about expression. If you have artworks, poems, or songs, you can show or perform them. Bring placards. Show your utmost support to the cause being fought for.

    10.   Don't be afraid

    Lastly, fear has no place among Filipinos who are united. – Rappler.com


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    PATHWAY TO PROGRESS. Aneth Lim, director for public affairs and corporate citizenship at Citi Philippines says the youth remain optimistic despite the changing global political and economic landscape.

    MANILA,Philippines – Young people from large global cities remain highly optimistic about future career opportunities despite changing global political and economic landscapes, according to a recent study by Citi Foundation.

    Aneth Lim, director for public affairs and corporate citizenship at Citi Philippines, said the youth’s optimism was grounded in the belief that their ability to get an education, achieve professional goals, and have opportunities for professional success are better than those of their parents. 

    “This optimism holds true despite the changing political and economic landscapes. When we did this survey, we were undergoing (the) intensifying global refugee crisis, we had the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, and the US presidential elections,” Lim said on Saturday, September 16, during the2017 Manila Social Good Summit

    The study, titled “Pathways to Progress”, was conducted between November 2016 to January 2017 and collected over 7,000 responses globally from participants aged 18-24 years old. It was conducted across 45 cities and 32 countries.

    Lim added that higher levels of optimism were likewise observed for youth in developing cities. 79% or about 8 in 10 individuals from developing markets agreed that there are opportunities to succeed in their preferred careeers compared to 64% of respondents from developed cities.

    In addition to this, Lim said about 91% of respondents in Manila agreed with this statement, ranking 3rd among the 32 countries surveyed.

    Mismatch

    However, Lim said barriers to achieveing career goals such as high unemployement rates, still exist among the youth. 

    “Your generation faces an unemployment challenge. In all corners of the globe from developing countries to developed countries, we see persistent youth unemployment at 13% or higher. What’s worse is that the number of employed young people – 156 million – who live in extreme poverty, despite having a job often can be found in developing countries like the Philippines,” she said.

    The study also revealed a mismatch between the youth’s career aspirations and current jobs held. 

    Source: Pathways to Progress Global Youth Survey 2017

    While most young people aspired to work in technology and science industries, arts and entertainment, and professional activities, most continue to work in the sales and retail, or service industries.

    This is perhaps brought about by the lack of opportunity and experience, which were considered to be key factors in finding a job. 

    As mentioned in the report, work experience as well as professional and social connections were the most cited needs for youth looking for work. However, perceived access to these was not equally distributed, with cities in developing countries placed at a disadvantage. 

    Source: Pathways to Progress Global Youth Survey 2017

    “Whether you go to Manila, Mumbai, Nairobi, Jakarta, Lima, Panama City and Delhi, if you ask the youth, they’ll say, “I wish I could be apprenticed but there’s just no opportunity for me.” There is a mismatch between the demand for opportunities and supply,” Lim said.

    Majority of the survey’s respondents also believed college was necessary to be successful, with 67% of respondents agreeing that higher education is a key factor to success. 

    Source: Pathways to Progress Global Youth Survey 2017

    Despite this, majority also cited a lack of access to higher education. “What’s unfortunate is that an even higher number, that’s 69%, believe higher education is beyond their financial means. This inequality is especially acute in developing countries like Sao Paulo, New Delhi, Mumbai, and even here in Manila,” Lim said.

    Entrepreneurial spirit

    Source: Pathways to Progress Global Youth Survey 2017

    But depsite the gaps in opportunity, experience, and education, the study said the youth’s entrepreneurial spirit remained strong across all cities surveyed. About 69% aspired to own their own business while 70% agreed that doing so would be a better path to success over working for someone else. 

    76% of the survey’s respondents also cited willingness to work long hours and take risks to achieve career goals. 

    Lim added that 89% of respondents in Manila also dreamed of owning their own businesses. In addition to this, 93% of youth respondents in Manila said that their opportunities for professional success are better than their parents’.  

    However, only 44% of the survey’s respondents globally were currently trying to start their own business. Lim also said the report showed a low of 6% were actual entrepreneurs at present, with lack of education and skills considered main barriers to achieving goals. 

    Results further showed that 68% of young people believe it is more difficult to start a business at present compared to the time of their parents. More specifically, 54% of the study’s respondents were concerned that new businesses are not likely to succeed in their city.

    Opportunity

    While hurdles to education, skills, experience, and decent work remain, Lim said the study also showed a chance to provide young people with the knowledge and skills to succeed. 

    "We are left with a portrait of incredible optimism and potential amongst young people despite numerous gaps between their expectations and hopes and the reality of their situations... We see a pressing need is to help these young people find pathways to progress and help connect them with the opportunities to succeed," she said. 

    Providing youth with employable skills through training, mentorships, and leadership development programs can help close this gap. For instance, Lim said that Citi Foundation in the Philippines will launch a learning program with the University of the Philippines (UP) Foundation, which will be developed and tested in UP Pampanga this year. 

    "This program will focus on entrepreneurial courses, and understanding that some of the potential students are already working or running their business, they can sign up for one or two certificate courses. They can (also) later choose to earn enough credits to qualify for a degree," Lim told Rappler. 

    She added, "Most critical is opening the opportunity for young people to get their first job. That really spells economic success and tests them on the right path.”

    Citi Foundation, corporate citizenship arm of Citigroup, Incorporated commissioned global market research and consulting firm Ipsos to do the survey.

    The study was built on existing research that explored the economic prospects and pursuits of young people. It also aimed to study the youth’s desired careers, availability of resources to connect to employment opportunities, and obstacles faced in achieving career goals.

    Results were collected in over 32 countries across Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. – Rappler.com 


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    FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. The organizers of Manlaban para sa karapatan. (L-R) Jean Enriquez (World March of Women), Josua Mata (KALIPUNAN), Rose Trajano (iDEFEND), Shamah Bulangis (Youth Resist), Jozy Acosta-Misperos (CAMB). Photo by Danielle Nakpil/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – For Manlaban para sa Karapatan, the organizers of one of the September 21 protests to remember martial law in the Philippines, another declaration of martial law in the entire Philippines is not a far-fetched idea. 

    Martial law was declared in the entire region of Mindanao on May 23 due to the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City. Congress extended it until December 31. (READ: Congress extends martial law to December 31

    According to the organizers, martial law can already be felt even outside Mindanao due to the thousands of killings caused by the war on drugs and now, the huge budget cut of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). (READ: House budget debates: CHR gets only P1,000 for 2018)

    "The threat of dictatorship is not a problem that we're just about to face. For us, this threat is already a clear and present danger," said Josua Mata of KALIPUNAN in Filipino. 

    Baby steps to martial law 

    Different human rights groups – Coalition Against the Marcos Burial (CAMB), In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend), and Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa, in collaboration with Tindig Pilipinas represented by Youth Resist – will stage the mass protest to "remind the public of the ills of dictatorship" and push for human rights. (LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    "We unite with everyone who is participating in the protest on September 21. For us, this is just a step towards uniting all anti-dictatorship forces in the country," Mata said. 

    He believes that the displacement of human rights as reflected in the allotment of the P1,000 budget to the CHR is a huge brick laid towards setting up the foundations of martial law. (READ: How the House voted for a P1,000 CHR budget)

    "This is the foundation of dictatorship. And that is what we're facing right now," he added. 

     

    Schedule of Manlaban para sa Karpatan protest

    STREAM 1
    2:00 pm - Misa ng Mamamayan (UP Diliman Chapel)
    4:00 pm - Martsa ng Mamamayan 1 (UP Chapel to CHR)
    5:00 pm - Unveiling of Ka Pepe Diokno's statue (CHR)

    STREAM 2
    2:00 pm - Assembly/Program (in front of Bantayog ng mga Bayani)
    3:30 pm - Picketing/Balatengga (EDSA cor. Quezon Ave. footbridges)
    4:00 pm - Ecumenical Mass (Bantayog ng mga Bayani)
    5:00 pm - Martsa ng Mamamayan 2 (Bantayog to CHR)

    6:00 PM CONVERGENCE
    MANLABAN PARA SA KARAPATAN concert rally at Commission on Human Rights

    Protests in Manila by Youth Act Now

    12:00nn Assembly at UST

    1:00pm Program at Mendiola

    4:00pm Program at Luneta

     

    FOR SCHOOLS ALONG TAFT AVENUE

    2:00pm Assembly at McDo Vito Cruz

    2:30pm Start of March

    3:00pm Convergence at Kalaw – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University will hold classes on Thursday, September 21, to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law under the Marcos regime, despite President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement suspending classes.

    "In the Loyola Schools, classes and activities will go ahead as scheduled. As a community, we are not blind to the lessons of our history," the statement announced on Tuesday, September 19.

    President Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday and declared it a "national day of protest."

    The Ateneo has lined up several activities to mark the anniversary: 

    • September 18 to 22
      • Awareness-raising campaign
    • September 18 to 22
      • Malikhaing Protesta: Banner-making contest
    • September 20
      • Organizing Dissent: A Workshop on Activitism and the Specter of Martial Law (4 pm to 6 pm at Faber Hall)
    • September 21: 
      • Sala sa Sala: Sifting Through Sins (5 pm to 6:30 pm at Leong Hall Auditorium)
    • September 22: 
      • Discussion on Political Detainees' Experiences during Martial (5 pm to 7 pm at Leong Hall Auditorium)
      • Special School Forum: Remembering Martial Law, Renouncing Extrajudicial Killings: Voice from Ateneo and Beyond (5 pm to 6:30 pm at Escaler Hall)
      • Community Mass (7:30 pm to 8:30 pm) at the Church of the Gesu

    "We, in the Loyola Schools, have various activities this week that can help us critically reflect on the past and pray fervently for the future of our nation," the statement said. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    "We stay vigilant in guarding the values we hold close to our hearts: integrity, courage, justice, compassion, and hope."

    On September 23, 1972, the former president appeared on television and by virtue of Proclamation 1081 supposedly signed on September 21, formally declared martial law nationwide. (READ: Marcos’ martial law orders)

    During Martial Law, the Philippines incurred up to $24.4 billion in debt by 1982. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data)

    Numerous stories of torture, repression, and enforced disappearances of activists hounded the darkest chapter of Philippines historyAbout 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 tortured, according to Amnesty International, while 3,240 were killed from 1972 to 1981.  Rappler.com


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    PRAYERS FOR A SCHOOLMATE. Students and faculty light candles as they offer a prayer for schoolmate Horacio Castillo III in front of the Faculty of Civil Law inside the UST campus in Manila on September 18, 2017. Photo by Ben Nabong/ Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines — Student organizations and youth groups condemned the death of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio Castillo III in the Aegis Juris fraternity initiation rights.

    Following reports on his death on Monday, September 18, #JusticeForHoracio quickly trended online as netizens took to social media to criticize the violent initiation hazing rituals of fraternities that has led to deaths.

    "Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice," UST said on its official Facebook page

    UST also emphasized that there is an ongoing investigation to find out the truth, determine liability, and institute the necessary legal actions. (READ: Aegis Juris, the UST frat allegedly behind latest hazing death)

    The Association of Law Students of the Philippines also called on the authorities to swiftly and transparently investigate the circumstances leading to Horacio’s death. 

    "We demand that the investigation must be made public and the perpetrators are made accountable, as only an honest discussion of this practice, and how it pervades to this day, will give us a chance at pushing for its discontinuance," the group said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

    What brotherhood?

    Many student organizations also raised the argument against the violent culture of hazing that still exists in several fraternities in the country. 

    Republic Act No 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, was passed in 1995 following the death of Ateneo law student Leonardo "Lenny" Villa in 1991 after joining the Aquila Legis initiation rites. The law, however, did little to discourage fraternities from practicing hazing in their initiation rites. 

    The UST Law Debate & Moot Society, where Horacio was a member, called for a stop of the practice. The group expressed its grief in a statement, emphasizing that Castillo did not deserve what happened to him. 

    "We clamor for justice and accountability. We likewise yearn the abolition of this violent culture, the organization urged," it said.

    The UST Civil Law Student Council said that it will not allow for this horrendous act to pass without having those accountable face the consequences of their actions. 

    "To those responsible for this atrocious killing, now’s the time for you to question this barbaric tradition. Did his death justify your sense of brotherhood?" the council asked. 

    Akbayan Youth also denounced the hazing incident, urging that all frat-related violence must stop. 

    "We have lost a lot of young students to this senseless act of violence that has no place in this society. In these struggling times, students should be fighting against the culture of violence, not feeding it," it said in a statement. 

    Implementation of the law

    Student Council Alliance Secretary-General Jeza Rodriguez said that fraternities and sororities can be a great avenue for honing one's potential only if they will remain consistent to their principles and be sensitive to the plight of its members. 

    "Frat-related violence shall never be a culture that will be accepted nor tolerated," Rodriguez said in a text message to Rappler.

    Should the anti-hazing law be amended? Will increasing jail time and imposing stiffer penalties put a stop to this violent culture?  (READ: What is happening to hazing cases in the Philippines)

    For Ruben Castanares, regional chairperson of the College Editors' Guild of the Philippines-Region XII, increasing the penalties will not make any difference. Castanares said that authorities should focus on strengthening the implementation of the law. 

    "The law against such activity should be strengthened and enforced strictly," he told Rappler. 

    Since 1995, at least 15 people have died allegedly due to hazing. But in the 22 years since the law was enacted, there has been only one conviction. 

    In 2014, then Valenzuela Representative Sherwin Gatchalian filed House Bill  4714 or the "Servando Act" which seeks a total ban on any form of hazing or physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury to be inflicted on a person who wants to be admitted to an organization.

    In the proposed measure, which Gatchalian, now a senator, is pushing, "Any activity that humiliates, degrades, abuses, and endangers a neophyte, is also considered hazing." The proposal hopes to repeal the existing Anti-Hazing Law which only regulates hazing activities among fraternities and sororities. — Rappler.com


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    CRASH. A trailer truck rams a van in Nasugbu, Batangas on September 19, 2017. All photos from Richard Gordon (@DickGordonDG) Twitter page

    MANILA, Philippines – Five people were killed when a trailer truck crashed into their van in Barangay Aga, Nasugbu, Batangas, on Tuesday, September 19.

    Alex Pimentel, head of the Nasugbu Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), said the trailer truck came from Tagaytay City, while the victims' Starex van was Manila-bound.

    "According to some barangay witnesses, the [truck] lost control and crashed head-on to the Starex [causing] them to plunge [into] the canal," Pimentel told Rappler in a phone interview.

    Rescuers took 15 hours to retrieve the bodies from the crushed vehicle – from 4 pm on Tuesday to 7 am on Wednesday, September 20.

    The victims were identified as husband and wife, their driver, and two house helpers.

    Pimentel said the operation took a long time because the van was flattened when the truck landed on top of it as they fell into the ravine. Rescuers had to use hydraulic machines to lift the truck.

    He added that they also had to be extra careful because one wrong move could cause the truck to fall on them.

    The truck driver and his assistant only sustained minor injuries. Charges will be filed against them.

    RESCUE. The rescue operation takes 15 hours.

    The national highway in Barangay Aga, where the crash happened, is known as a crash-prone area. Vehicles often go downhill at high speeds.

    Vehicle crashes, said Pimentel, is the third leading cause of deaths or damage to property in Nasugbu.

    He advised motorists to be alert on the road and familiarize themselves with their planned route beforehand, to prevent crashes.

    The Nasugbu DRRMO partnered with the local office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) there to improve the visibility of road signs and install rumble strips, which could lessen the number of crashes. – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – While there are different groups behind the various rallies scheduled on Thursday, September 21, all activities share common goals: to remember the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law and condemn dictatorship in all forms. 

    Organizers are expecting thousands of attendees after President Rodrigo Duterte dubbed the day as a “national day of protest.” Malacañang has suspended government work and classes in public schools.

    Aside from the pocket rallies happening around the country, there are two different assembly areas for the protests in Metro Manila: the Commission of Human Rights and Luneta Park. (LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte are also expected to hold a counter-protest in Mendiola near Malacañang.

    Here’s what you need to know and expect on September 21.

    Commission on Human Rights

    All roads lead to human rights, according to the organizers of the “Manlaban para sa Karapatan” protest.

    The group is composed of representatives from the Coalition Against the Marcos Burial (CAMB), In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend), and Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa, in collaboration with Tindig Pilipinas represented by Youth Resist. 

    "We unite with everyone who is participating in the protest on September 21. For us, this is just a step towards uniting all anti-dictatorship forces in the country," Josua Mata of KALIPUNAN said.

    Their activity starts in two assembly areas at 2 pm: the UP Diliman chapel and the Bantayog ng Bayani.

    Both streams will end at the Commission of Human Rights at 6 pm for the concert rally and unveiling of the statue of Jose W. Diokno, a staunch nationalist, human rights advocate, and defender of democracy.

    Luneta park

    The bigger rally is expected to happen at Luneta Park.

    Youth and student groups are expected to hold walkouts in their respective universities and march to Mendiola beginning at 1 pm. 

    Joining the protests in Metro Manila are students from the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, St Scholastica's College, College of Saint Benilde, Far Eastern University, Philippine Normal University, Technological University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology.

    They will march to Luneta by 4 pm to join other sectors in the rally led by the group called “Movement Against Tyranny.” (READ: Important tips for newbies in rallies)

    "Ang panawagan namin sa publiko ay wear black, bring noisemakers, and bring garbage bags. This is a...very peaceful na rally na masaya pero malinaw ang mensahe: Ayaw namin sa diktadurya at martial law," said Obet de Castro, the head of the mobilization committee for Movement Against Tyranny.

    (This is our appeal to the public: wear black, bring noisemakers, and bring garbage bags. This is a...very peaceful rally that will be fun but it has a clear message: We are against dictatorship and martial law) 

    "Movement Against Tyranny" is convened by several human rights advocates and martial law personalities including Mother Mary John Mananzan, former representative Neri Colmenares, Vergel Santos, Bonifacio Ilagan, and lawyer Edre Olalia.

    "September 21 is the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. That date takes on an urgent significance this year in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte's own drift to tyranny and authoritarian rule,” the group said in a statement.

    Nationwide

    The rest of the country will also be joining the activities through simultaneous protests in select schools.

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    According to Youth Act Now, there will be protests in UP Baguio, University of the Cordilleras, Saint Louis University, Cagayan State University, Isabela State University in Northern Luzon; UP Pampanga, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Pangasinan State University, and Bulacan State University in Central Luzon; UP Los Baños and Ateneo de Naga University in Southern Luzon; and Palawan State University in Palawan.

    Also joining the nationwide protests are students from UP Visayas, Western Visayas State University, Iloilo Science and Technology University, and Central Philippine University in Iloilo; UP Cebu, University of San Carlos, and Cebu Normal University in Cebu; and UP Visayas-Tacloban and UP SHS Palo in Leyte.

    Mindanao-based student formations from UP Mindanao, Mindanao State University-Iligan, Assumption College, University of Southeastern Philippines, Holy Trinity College General Santos, Mindanao Polytechnic College, MSU GenSan, Notre Dame of Marbel, and UP SHS Koronadal will also take part in nationwide activity.

    Counter-protest

    According to a social media post of the Interior Undersecretary Emily Padilla, Duterte's supporters will also hold a peace and unity rally from 10 am to 6 pm in Mendiola.

    It will be a show of force and support for the President

    The pro-Duterte rally is expected to overlap with the rallies of youth groups organized by the Youth Act Now against Tyranny at Mendiola park. Rappler.com

     


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    MANILA, Philippines – Organizers of various rallies happening on Thursday September 21, the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, took to social media to show anonymous text messages they received to discredit and discourage support for the scheduled nationwide protest.

    In the text messages, the anonymous senders tried to either intimidate the organizers or make it appear that the latter paid people to attend the rally.

    Among those who received the message is Obet de Castro, head of the mobilization committee for the "Movement Against Tyranny." Convened by various representatives from different sectors and groups, the Movement Against Tyranny is expecting thousands to join their nationwide activities scheduled on Thursday. 

    De Castro received an anonymous text message asking how much he paid per person attending the rally. He was also sent threatening messages.

    "Ang tantiya ko pa, pang-aasar pa 'yun – na gusto nila palabasin nila na bayaran ang mga tao (My guess is that they are trying to annoy us – they want to make it look like the attendees are paid or hired to join the mobilization)," De Castro said in a phone interview with Rappler.

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    {/source} 

    His message was echoed by Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo, calling these messages tactics to sabotage the protest and use them as a pretext to impose nationwide martial law. 

    “Out of desperation, Duterte has taken to mocking the September 21 anti-martial law rally and trivializing the Filipino people’s legitimate grievances,” Crisostomo added.

    Peaceful protest 

    De Castro is hopeful that the malicious text messages will not discourage people from joining the activities. 

    "I believe naman na 'yung mga tao matatalino at nadidistinguish nila 'yung tama ata hindi (I believe that the people are smart enough to distinguish right  from wrong [information])," De Castro added.

    The Movement Against Tyranny said it is gearing up for its biggest mobilization against the Duterte administration on Thursday. It expects at least 40,000 attendees from schools, parishes, and other sectors to join the rally in Luneta. 

    "It will be bigger than the protest [against] the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. This will be Duterte's baptism of fire," De Castro said in a mix of Filipino and English. 

    De Castro added that they are aiming for a peacefull rally that sends a clear message. (READ: What to expect on September 21)

    Pro, anti-Duterte rallies in Mendiola 

    De Castro sees no problem with a pro-Duterte rally in Mendiola park simultaneously with the protest of youth groups organized by the Youth Act Now against Tyranny in the same venue.

    "We heard na may mga counter-protest, okay lang po sa amin 'yan. We know na hindi papayag ang publiko na mapigilan sila na magtipon (We heard that there will be a counter-protests. We're fine with that. We know that the public won't allow a gathering to be stopped)," De Castro said. 

    In a nationwide televised address on September 23, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law nationwide. (READ: Marcos’ martial law orders)

    President Rodrigo Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday to commemorate the dark chapter in Philippine history. He dubbed the day as a "national day of protest." – Rappler.com 


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    LIMITED SPACE? The area assigned to the Movement Against Tyranny protest can only accommodate a maximum number of 5,000 individuals.

    MANILA, Philippines – It's all systems go for the Movement Against Tyranny protest scheduled on Thursday, September 21, but the thousands expected to attend the event may have to fight for space in the area in Luneta that the park management has allowed the group to use.

    The space in Luneta "assigned to the rally is not large enough to safely accommodate the tens of thousands expected to join the activity," according to the Movement Against Tyranny organizers.

    The National Parks Development Committee assigned the group the the Lapu-Lapu monument, which can only accommodate a maximum 5,000 attendees – far too small for the 40,000 people who are expected to join the activity. (READ: What to expect on September 21

    According to Obet De Castro, the head of the mobilization team for Movement Against Tyranny, the attendees will come from different schools, parishes, and other sectors. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests) 

    "Duterte has said all parks are open to be venues of peaceful protests tomorrow and has even declared it a national day of protest. But this is belied by the actions of his officials at the National Parks Development Committee (NDPC) who would like to relegate the rally to an insignificant portion of Luneta," Movement Against Tyranny said in a statement.  

    According to the group, the NPDC assigned the bigger area of the "Burnham Green" which can accomodate a crowd of 100,000 to the Lions Club. The event of Lions Club has only 2,000 participants. (READ: Human rights groups: ‘Martial law in entire nation not impossible'

    "The Movement Against Tyranny asserts the constitutional right to free assembly. We strongly suggest that government officials exercise common sense and cooperate with the protest coalition in ensuring a proper venue and peaceful atmosphere on the national day of protest," the group said.

    The limited space designation did little to dampen the spirit of the organizers. 

    "We intend to proceed with our original plan to hold the rally in Luneta in the big space [which] can accommodate a bigger crowd. All systems go," De Castro added. 

    President Rodrigo Duterte, through Proclation No 319, suspended government work and classes in public schools in Metro Manila on Thursday, which he dubbed the day as a "national day of protest" because of protest actions planned for that day. (READ: What Duterte's proclamation says about Marcos' Martial Law)

    Proclamation 319 recognizes that Marcos' Martial Law brought about human rights abuses. It also "recognizes the fear and indignation of the people against a repetition and perpetuation of such human rights violations and all other failings of the government." – Rappler.com


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    Q&A. DBM Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno talks with media during "Breakfast with Ben" at the DBM Executive Lounge in Manila. Photo from the DBM

    MANILA, Philippines – Every year, the government allocates P90 billion in the national budget for the retirement fund of soldiers and policemen.

    But that's just part of the story. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told reporters on Wednesday, September 20, that "(T)he unfortunate part right now is that (uniformed personnel) are not paying and not contributing anything to the pension fund."

    That is why Diokno said the Department of Budget and Management is drafting a law to address the ballooning funds needed for the pension of the military and the police to make it "sustainable." 

    Diokno said this means taxpayers are the ones paying for the uniformed personnels' pension.

    "If they (policemen and soldiers) are not contributing anything right now, it means that you pay something like P90 billion a year for their retirement. You pay for this," he said.

    He also said that if measures will not be set up, 50% to 60% of the future budget of the military will go to pension. He proposes new recruits of the military and the police to contribute to the pension fund.

    With the looming increase in salaries for cops and soldiers, Diokno said that the amendments should be done as soon as possible.

    "It will require legislation. We are drafting a legislation... We intend to file the bill before the end of the year," he said.

    Proposed measures

    Among the reforms eyed is the removal of the automatic indexation feature and the transferring of military pension to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

    The automatic indexation system is the feature that automatically adjusts a retiree's pension to match the prevailing salary of an incumbent personnel of similar rank.

    However, Diokno said that the GSIS "might not want to take over the military pension fund" as P7-trillion additional funding is needed for the program.

    "We have to identify the assets of the military to fund the P7 trillion (and) pledge it to GSIS. A big part of it will come from the budget but some parts you can pledge assets so (GSIS) will take over the responsibility of military pension fund," he said.

    Diokno attributes this problem during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos as the Armed Forces of the Philippines invested in properties that did not yield high returns. (READ: AFP yet to recover P105M paid to dead pensioners – COA)

    The pension fund collapsed as an aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and since then has been directly sourced from the national budget. The problem was also ignored by other administrations, Diokno said.

    In 1973, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 361 creating the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Retirement and Separation Benefits System. 

    It was later deactivated in 2007 during the term of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as it failed to deliver its mandate to take care of retirement benefits of its members.– Rappler.com


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    REMEMBER THE PAST. UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan said that September 21 is more than a day of protest but a day to remember the past. File photo/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan called on all isko and iska (scholars) to help prevent Martial Law from happening again.

    On Wednesday, September 20, Tan said the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law is more than a day of protest. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    Tan remarked, "I see September 21 as more than a day of protest. It is a time of remembering the past, especially martial law. It is a time of reaffirming our commitment to prevent that past from being repeated."

    President Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday, September 21 and declared it a "national day of protest."

    Tan also took a swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte's administration for failing to stay true to his promise of "change."

    "Change has not come; on the contrary, we have seen a worsening of the situation, from economic inequality to the violations of human rights, so terribly exemplified by the brutal murder of former UP student Carl Arnaiz, who overcame poverty and got into UP Diliman, only to drop out after one semester," he said.

    Arnaiz, a 19-year-old UP student, went missing for 10 days until his body was found in a morgue in Caloocan, about 20 kilometers from his house in Cainta, Rizal. (READ: Taxi driver claims Arnaiz was robber, but killing seems 'scripted')

    "We still do not know what led to that fateful night that resulted in his extrajudicial execution," he added. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)

    Commemorating the 45th anniversary of Diliman Commune as well, Tan said that the event remains as "relevant as ever."

    "The Diliman commune lasted a week but galvanized the entire nation for years to come. Few people remember the original protest call against oil prices; instead, people remember it as UP standing up for the nation," he said.

    The Diliman Commune, a 9-day protest of students, faculty members, and transport workers in 1971, stood against the 3-centavo oil price hike and the monopoly of American oil companies of that time.

    The rally resulted in the arrest of some students and teachers, and the destruction of UP Diliman properties. The demonstration was among the events used to declare Martial Law.

    "It is a time to be prophetic voices, perhaps in the wilderness at this point, to warn about a dire future if we continue to be silent about the killings, about the oppression all around us," he said.

    On Thursday, several groups will hold protests to mark the anniversary of the Martial Law declaration. (READ: What to expect on September 21)

    Duterte said he will also be protesting against what angers him about the government – the "yellows" who are "corrupt." "Yellows" in the Philippine political context refer to people associated with the administration of Benigno Aquino III and the Liberal Party.

    On September 23, 1972, former president Ferdinand Marcos appeared on television and used Proclamation 1081, supposedly signed on September 21, to declare martial law nationwide. (READ: Marcos’ martial law orders)

    During this dark part of Philippine history, the Philippines also incurred up to $24.4 billion in debt by 1982. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data) – Rappler.com


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     STOP THE KILLING. A bannercalling for an end to killings drapes the St. La Salle Hall on Wednesday evening, September 20. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – A number of schools kicked off their activities marking the the 45th anniversary of Martial Law declaration by putting up symbols of indignation early on Thursday, September 21.

    Even with classes in public schools suspended, students from state and private universities mobilized and joined marches toward Luneta Park in Manila, where all protest activities were to culminate Thursday evening. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    Here are some snapshots of how these educational institutions remembered the darkest chapter of Philippine history. (READ: What to expect on September 21)

    Ateneo de Manila University

    The Ateneo Junior High School set up posters around the campus in Quezon City. 

    "Our main objective is to make our students more aware that Martial Law was real. We try to put faces to names, and actions to words." Miko Africa, a teacher who heads the school's Christian Service and Involvement Program, told Rappler.

    This year the program wanted to veer away from the usual tragic stories regarding Martial Law. Instead, it will highlight the heroic acts of young Ateneans who stood up against the dictatorship.

    "By highlighting these positive points in a dark history of our country, we challenge our students to become agents of hope – to never stop listening to stories, so that they will never cease to tell stories. So that the future generations will never forget," Africa said. 

    In the Loyola Schools, school publications released a joint statement to condemn the closure of newspapers, including student publications that supposedly spread propaganda against the Marcos regime, during martial law.

    "Sa panahon ng pagpapatahimik, panunupil, at karahasan, huwag tayong magpadala sa lunos. Lalo tayong tinatawag na magpakatatag at manindigan para sa katotohanan at katarungan," they said in a Facebook note. (Let's not be discouraged by the tragedy of censorship, repression, and violence. All the more that we are called to be strong ans stand up for truth and justice.)

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    De La Salle University

    A black cloth with the words "Stop the killings. Start the healing" printed on it hung on the facade of Saint La Salle Hall. 

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    University of the Philippines

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    University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban

    University of Santo Tomas

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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">LOOK: UST Simbahayan launches the Martial Law exhibit at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center. <a href="https://t.co/NxOJJZbNTv">pic.twitter.com/NxOJJZbNTv</a></p>&mdash; The Varsitarian (@varsitarianust) <a href="https://twitter.com/varsitarianust/status/909995769167413248">September 19, 2017</a></blockquote>
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    Rappler.com


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    GUARDIANS OF RIGHTS. FEU academic officials, teachers, staff, and students appeal to the public to be 'guardians of human rights in every democratic space available'. File Photo/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Far Eastern University (FEU) took a stand on Thursday, September 21, and held classes to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier ordered the suspension of classes in public schools and government offices.

    Though not covered by the President's order, the private university said it was refusing to call off classes because "we refuse to consider September 21 as anything but just another ordinary day. We refuse to call off classes, because to do so is to lend importance to martial law – to honor and celebrate that dark period of tyranny and oppression in our history – whatever other reasons may be marshalled to justify not having a school day."

    In a statement, FEU President Michael Alba said, "Allow me to explain briefly why FEU opted not to call off classes today. It is because September 21 is a day of infamy, a day of national shame." 

    Alba noted that Filipinos lost the freedoms – the right to life, liberty, and own property as well as to all be equally protected by our laws – when Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972.

    Amnesty International (AI) has estimated that during Martial Law, 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed. The AI mission, which visited the Philippines from November to December 1975, found that 71 of the 107 prisoners interviewed alleged that they had been tortured. (WATCH: 'Lucky day': Surviving torture during martial law)

    'Take a stand'

    Alba challenged the FEU community to take a stand as thousands held a national protest against the spate extrajudicial killings in the country.

    "To safeguard our rights and freedoms, today we have to take a stand, we have to make a sacrifice," Alba said.

    Alba stressed the role of schools as the vanguard of the country’s democracy.

    "This stand is about our core values – the Fortitude to make the necessary sacrifices, the Excellence to discern the right moral stance, the Uprightness to hold fast to what we hold most dear under the social contract of this Republic: our human rights and civil liberties."

    Other concerned FEU academic officials, teachers, staff, and students also appealed to the public to be "guardians of human rights in every democratic space available."

    They also urged "everyone to practice responsible citizenship by protecting, respecting, and fulfilling the rights of every human."

    Duterte's war on drugs has already claimed at least 3,500 lives in police operations alone. Various reports by media and rights groups have put the number of drug-related deaths at around 12,000 deaths – including those allegedly killed by vigilantes. (READ: Things to know: Human rights in the Philippines).

    On Thursday, thousands of students and teachers joined other groups that held protests to condemn the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration. (READ: What to expect on September 21)

    Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday, September 21, and ironically declared it a "national day of protest." – Rappler.com


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    NATIONAL MINORITIES. At least 2,000 delegates from the national minorities join the September 21 protests to mark the 45th anniversary of the Martial Law. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Opening the program at the protest rally on Mendiola Thursday, September 21, a number of Lumad from Mindanao performed an interpretative dance, where President Rodrigo Duterte, wearing an American flag, is depicted as the enemy.

    “Ang panawagan talaga namin dito ay, unang-una, labanan ang rehimen ni Duterte, at dapat nang itigil ang martial law sa Mindanao, at itigil ang pagbobomba sa mga komunidad ng mga Lumad,” Kerlan Fanagel, one of the Lumad leaders who had travelled from Mindanao, said in an interview with Rappler.

    (Our call is to fight the Duterte regime. We are calling on him to lift martial law in Mindanao and stop the bombing of Lumad communities.) 

    At least 2,000 members of the national minority groups was at the Mendiola rally, joining the nation's remembrance of the 45th anniversary of Marcos' Martial Law. It was the culminating activity of their annual protest caravan called Lakbayan. 

    On Thursday afternoon, during President Duterte's visit to Marawi City, he announced that he would lift martial law in Mindanao once clearing operations were completed. Government troops have launched their final push to end the 4-month-old conflict in the Islamic city, where local terrorists group continue to hold hostages. 

    Attacks on communities

    Fanagel said they brought with them stories of incessant attacks on indigenous peoples and the worsening militarization of schools in their communities since Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in late May. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)

    On Wednesday, September 20, they received reports that the 39th Infantry Batallion dropped bombs on civilians and Lumad communities in Barangay Balite in Magpet, North Cotabato.

    "Nakikita namin na sa isang taon palang, ang listahan sa pagpaslang sa mga katutubo at pagbakwit ng mga katutubo ay mas lalong dumarami," Fanagel said. (In his first year as a president, we've seen how the number of the killings and forced evacuation of national minorities have increased.)

    One of the Lumads who directly experienced the effects of the reported militarization in their communities is Datu Jimboy. He said he has evacuated his home at San Fernando, Bukidnon, 6 times since Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao. 

    EVACUEE. Datu Jimboy says that, due to intensified militarization in their area, they have evacuated their hometown in Bukidnon at least 6 times. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

    "Sobra pong mahirap. Akala namin 'yun na ang katapusan na ng aming buhay kaya kami nag-evacuate sa tapat ng Provincial Capitol. Kitang-kita namin na ang aming mga kabataan ay nakaranas ng matinding gutom," Jimboy said.

    (It was very difficult. We thought it was going to be the end our lives, that was why we decided to evacuate across the Provincial Capitol. We saw first-hand how our children suffered from hunger.) 

    Jimboy said they decided to join the Lakbayan after the local government failed to help them.

    "Dahil sa kawalang ng hustisya sa korte at walang tulong ng gobyerno kaya kami nag-Lakbayan papunta dito," Jimboy said. (Because we did not receive help from the courts and the government, we decided to join the Lakbayan.) 

    Remembering Martial Law

    According to Fanagel, the experience of Jimboy and other members of national minorities was remniscient of what their elders went through 45 years ago. 

    “Ang naranasan ng mga katutubo sa Mindanao ay mas pinatindi ang paglabag sa karapatan ng mga katutubo, lalong-lalo nung panahon na idineklara ang Martial Law,” Fanagel said. (What the indigenous peoples in Mindanao experience is more serious violations of their rights, especially since [Duterte] declared martial law.)

    In June, the Lumad groups called on Duterte to lift martial law in Mindanao and pull out troops from their communities so the children could return to their schools.

    According to them, since the declaration of martial law, soldiers have occupied schools in their communities. They have also supposedly been accused of being members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) simply because they were taught to read, write, and count.

    Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated, a school in the mountains of Davao City, stopped classes after government troops occupied the building. According to Jinky Malibato, an evacuee from Davao, martial law has become an excuse for the military to be unnecessarily violent.

    Their plea, however, fell on deaf ears when the Congress approved Duterte’s request to extend martial law to December. Rappler.com


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    SUPPORTERS. At least 7,000 supporters of President Rodrigo troop to Plaza Miranda on Thursday, September 21. All photos by Raisa Serafica/Rappler  

    MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of people, clad in green and orange shirts, gathered on one side of the Mendiola Peace Arch, nearer Malacañang Palace. They chanted: "Duterte! Duterte! Duterte!”

    On the other side of the arch, about 5,000 protesters, minorities in indigenous attire and youth in black shirts, chorused: "Never again to Martial Law!" 

    On Thursday afternoon, September 21, the 45th anniversary of dictator Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of Martial Law, two significantly different groups of protesters simultaneously held their programs on the two sides of Mendiola – the street that has stood witness to countless protest rallies, both peaceful and bloody, against different administrations.

    President's supporters had another contigent at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, while the anti-Duterte protesters marched on to Luneta, where the culminating rally for Thursday's numerous activities across Metro Manila would be held. 

    Before Thursday, malicious messages, such as the mobilization turning violent, circulated, apparently to discourage anti-Duterte protesters from joining the September 21 activities. 

    Among the biggest delegation at the Mendiola protest came from the groups of national minorities. Around 2,000 indigenous peoples joined the activity to register their dissent from the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. 

    'Freedom of expression'

    A bigger pro-Duterte rally was held at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo. As of 2 pm, police estimated that around 7,000 individuals attended the event.

    DELEGATION. Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte join the September 21 mobilization at Plaza Miranda

    According to Anthony del Rosario, the secretary general for Metro Manila of Duterte's PDP-Laban, they gathered to show their strong support for the President on what the Chief Executive himself declared as the National Day of Protest.

    "'Yung maganda dito ay 'yung freedom to express your opinions," Del Rosario said in an interview with Rappler. (What is nice about the National Day of Protest is it gives us the freedom to express our opinions.) 

    "Kung talaga pinapairal [ni Duterte] lang 'yung puro tapang lang, eh 'di p'wede niya sanang i-suppress or 'dapat hindi payagan 'yung mga ganito," Del Rosario added. (If Duterte is really a bully, he could have just suppressed activities like this.) 

    Groups at the Plaza Miranda included the OFW Global People's Movement, I am Du30 Humanitarian Group, Du30 Riders Volunteers, Liga Independencia Pilipinas, and the Association of License Recruitment Agency.

    Delegations from Bacoor City, Olongapo City, Valenzuela City, Bulacan, and Caloocan were also present at the pro-Duterte rally.  

    DUTERTE KITCHEN. Organizers of the pro-Duterte mobilization set up a Duterte kitchen at the venue to feed attendees arrozcaldo

    Around 200 police were deployed in Plaza Miranda to ensure peace and order at the venue. 

    Through the Duterte Kitchen, organizers of the pro-Duterte mobilization served arroz caldo to the those who attended.

    President Duterte signed Proclamation Number 319, cancelling government work and classes in public schools to mark the declaration of Marcos' Martial Law. It "recognizes the fear and indignation of the people against a repetition and perpetuation of such human rights violations and all other failings of the government."

    'Effort to belittle protest'

    For the anti-Duterte protesters, however, Proclamation Number 319 was nothing but empty words.

    “That’s a big joke. He is the subject of the protest. He cannot declare a day of protest against himself. It is an effort to belittle the protest,” said Teddy Casino, a former member of the House of Representative for Bayan. 

    SHOUT Protesters converge at Mendiola for the anti-Duterte rally. They shout: "Duterte! Hitler! Diktador! Tuta!

    Casino also called it a “desperate trick” to try to neutralize the strength and message of the protest, which is to stop the killings rooted in the policees of Duterte's administration.   

    Fortunately, Casino said, the "trick" did little to discourage people from attending the protest. Police estimated as of 5 pm that around 8,000 had joined the protest in Luneta.

    Protesters reiterated their accusation that the Duterte government is trying to revise history by recognizing the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a hero, having allowed the latter to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani after several presidents refused to do it. – Rappler.com 


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    A motorist was left unconscious after hitting his head from the crash last September 17 at the Ortigas Avenue Extension. Photo from R.A.C.E.R. Facebook Group

    MANILA, Philippines – A Facebook post showed a motorist in critical condition after falling into an excavation that has been ongoing in the Ortigas extension. 

    The Facebook post was posted in the Riders Anti-Crime and Emergency Response group by Ching Pablo, the victim's sister in law, who expressed her frustrations over the unsafe condition brought by the deep excavations and rehabilitation. 

    According to Pablo, there were no lights in the area causing the victim to hit her head as she fell into the excavation last September 17 at around 12 midnight. 

    The victim, who was not wearing any helmet, was unconscious for days and had to undergo surgery.

    Pablo complained how the construction has been ongoing for almost 6 months now without having any warning signs to alert motorists on the deep excavations and uneven surface of the road.

    The mother of the victim's message to the authorities is to have lights and barricades installed along the excavation area to prevent this tragedy from happening again.

     

    CRITICAL. A facebook post shares how the motorist suffered a hematoma after figuring in a crash last September 17, 2017. Screenshot from R.A.C.E.R. Facebook group.

    Edel Rosario, Chief of Construction from the local Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), said they were doing everything they can to prevent the inconveniences brought by the rehabilitation. 

    "We have almost used up all our arrow lights, steel barriers, and orange cones because of several vehicles who keep on running over it and pushing it away. This is what the netizens do not know," Rosario told Rappler. 

    He explained that the ongoing operation is for the "totally dilapidated" condition of the concrete pavements underneath the Ortigas Avenue extension. Rehabilitation is also needed for the installation of additional utility lines like waterways and telecommunication lines.

    For many years, temporary solutions were all that were done because of the traffic inconveniences of construction. However, they had to provide a permanent and lasting solution now because of the road's overall condition. 

    Rosario explained how the pavement underneath the roads of Ortigas Avenue extension goes way back from the 60s and 70s.

    There are different factors, said Rosario, why the construction has been prolonged. The first reason is the totally deteriorated condition of the road which requires time for permanent measures. 

    Second is their working scheme. To prevent traffic jams and inconvenience to motorists, Rosario said that they were only allowed to work at night during the weekends causing them to only work 5 to 6 hours per weekend. 

    "Unless all motorists and netizens are technical people, nobody can understand what the DPWH people are doing..what is more important now is to complete our work and let them experience the smooth riding comfort of our newly rehabilitated roadway after a month or two of traffic woes and inconveniences, " he said.

    However, due to the heavy traffic and complaints, the rehabilitation was halted last September 20 until further instructions from higher authorities.

    Motorcycles and pedestrians are the most vulnerable to road crashes. In 2016 alone, there have been 218 fatalities, 11,456 injuries and 11,431 reported cases of damage to property in Metro Manila. – Rappler.com


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    MULTI-FACETED. An effigy showing the face of President Rodrigo Duterte called "Rudy's cube" was being burned at Mendiola on the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – "Marcos, tuta, diktador, pasista (Marcos, lapdog, dictator, fascist)!"

    This popular chant during the protest movement against the Marcos regime resurfaced as an effigy in a big rally in Mendiola on Thursday, September 21, the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

    The twist? The effigy depicted the "different faces" of President Rodrigo Duterte whom the militant protesters described as an "authoritarian leader and a puppet of the United States" in the mold of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

    Dubbed as "Rody's cube," the effigy mimicked the 3-D combination puzzle Rubik's Cube that featured the face of Duterte which could be matched to the images of the strongman Marcos, German dictator Adolf Hitler, and a puppet. 

    Protesters burned the 10-foot effigy as a symbol of indignation against alleged martial law abuses in Mindanao and the rising number of deaths due to the Duterte administration's war on drugs, according to organizers. 

    The war on drugs has already claimed at least 3,500 lives in police operations alone. Various reports by media and rights groups have put the number of drug-related deaths at around 12,000 deaths – including those allegedly killed by vigilantes. (READ: Things to know: Human rights in the Philippines).

    Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr said that Duterte, a former ally of the Left, is now showing his dictatorial tendencies. 

    "Tila ang gobyernong ito ay desido na sa kanyang martsa papunta sa landas ng pasistang diktadura. Tila ba ang gobyernong ito ay nangangarap na kayang-kaya nila ipitin ang mga institusyon, patahimikin ang mga kritiko, patahimikin ang media, kontrahin ang lahat ng mga nagpoprotesta," he said.

    (This government seems to be bent on marching towards the path of dictatorship. This government dreams of undermining institutions, silencing critics and the media, and stifling protests.)

    The militant leader reminded Duterte to learn from the lessons of Martial Law.

    "Mga kababayan, paalala natin kay Rodrigo Duterte: 'Ano ba ang nangyari sa huling pangulo na nagtangkang maging diktador at nagpataw ng Martial Law?' Ibinagsak ng taumbayan!" he said.

    (Fellow countrymen, let's remind Rodrigo Duterte: What happened to the last president who tried to be a dictator and declared Martial Law? The people ousted him!)

    Numerous stories of torture, repression, and enforced disappearances of activists hounded the darkest chapter of Philippines history. About 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 tortured, according to Amnesty International, while 3,240 were killed from 1972 to 1981.

    Symbols of indignation

    Another Duterte effigy – a skull clad in US flag on wild dogs – was also set on fire by activists on Thursday to protest alleged US intervention in solving the Marawi crisis and in other domestic policies.

    On Tuesday, September 19, activist artists portrayed Duterte as the "Night King," the main antagonist  of the popular US TV series Game of Thrones, as part of their activities leading up to Thursday's nationwide protests.  (IN PHOTOS: The Night King)

    Effigies have been the centerpiece of rallies organized by the Left against various administrations. Militant groups were initially cautious in creating and burning Duterte dummies when the Left forged an alliance with the Duterte administration. 

    During Duterte's first State of the Nation Address (SONA), demonstrators did not burn any effigy of the president for the first time in 15 years. Instead, a 6-panel mural dubbed "Portraits of Peace" served as the main attraction. The murals were meant to convey how the Left welcomed Duterte's presidency and how hopeful they were of the change he promised. 

    However, in December 2016, a month after Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, leftist groups burned the first effigy under the Duterte administration. (WATCH: Left's 1st effigy under Duterte depicts fascist monster)

    The effigy featured the head of dictator Marcos attached to a skeleton to symbolize the “resurrection and rehabilitation of the Marcoses” under the Duterte administration.

    The burning of Duterte's effigy on Thursday symbolized the collapse of the Left's alliance with the administration. The pivotal moment took place during the President’s second SONA on July 24, when he announced his decision to end talks with the revolutionary Left.

    On Thursday, thousands of militant activists joined other groups in condemning Duterte's alleged acts of tyranny and the spate of extrajudicial killings in the capital and other parts of the country. – Rappler.com


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    NATIONWIDE. Protesters in Naga City join the nationwide activities marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Miguel Imperial/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – From Luzon to Mindanao, various youth groups and human rights organizations staged protests and other activities on Thursday, September 21 –proof that the "national day of protest" is not only exclusive to Metro Manila. 

    In Metro Manila, supporters and critics of President Rodrigo Duterte engaged in a chant battle at the Mendiola Peace Arch. Thousands also joined the protest organized by the Movement Against Tyranny at the Luneta Park. 

    Thousands of miles away, overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) observed the particular dark chapter in Philippine history through protests in their respective host countries. 

    Across the country, protesters carried the same message: "We will never again allow Martial Law." 

    Luzon

    Despite the cold weather intensified by the rain, students and militant groups marched along Session Road in Baguio City to condemn the late strongman Marcos and his declaration of Martial Law 45 years ago.

    CHALK ART. Student organizations in UP Baguio stage a chalk art and human installation protest. Photo by Gelo Medina

    UP BAGUIO. Despite the freezing weather, students from the University of the Philippines - Baguio troop to Session Road to participate in the nationwide protest marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Gelo Medina

    SESSION ROAD. Students from the University of the Philippines Baguio bring their protest to Session Road. Their message is clear: Never again to Martial Law. Photo by Gelo Medina

    In the Bicol region, protesters also took to the streets to remind the people of Martial Law under Marcos. Activities were held in Legaspi in Albay and Naga in Camarines Sur, home to Vice President Leni Robredo.

    LEGAZPI PROTEST. Protesters in Legazpi, Albay, stage a protest in front of the PNP Regional Office 5. Photo by Twitter user @totoongtope

    NAGA. Protesters give out pamphlets to passing vehicles. Photo by Miguel Imperial/Rappler

    FIGHT DICTATORSHIP. Alex Guerro of the League of Filipino Students lead the chants during the protest. Photo by Miguel Imperial/Rappler

    Visayas

    Residents of Cebu City, the Queen CIty of the South, made sure they were well represented in the nationwide protest.

    Several sectoral groups joined the protest at Metro Colon. Organizers claimed that no one was forced nor persuaded to join the activity.DIVERSE. Several groups join the protest held at the Metro Colon, Cebu. Photo by Jumjum Ouano/Rappler

    CEBUANOS. Members of the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) hold a picket rally in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-7) office in Cebu City as they condemn the P1,000 budget that was given to the agency. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

    VISAYAS REPRESENT. Cebuanos join the nationwide activities marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

    CEBU PROTEST. Various groups join the national day of protest in Cebu. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

    Mindanao

    Xavier Ateneo in Cagayan de Oro City observed the 45th anniversary of a Martial Law through a more solemn approach but still carrying the same message: the fight for human rights and a stronger justice system, and the goal to attain peace.

    CAGAYAN DE ORO. Students and groups in Xavier University honor Martial Law victims and those who fought against the Marcos dictatorship. Photo by Angelo Lorenzo  CAGAYAN DE ORO. Students and groups at Xavier University hold a solemn ceremony to observe the martial law anniversary. Photo by Angelo Lorenzo

    – Rappler.com

    Did you join the nationwide protests on September 21? Share your photos and experience at x.rappler.com! 


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    NEVER AGAIN. Hundreds of UP students and progressive youth groups gather at Quezon Hall in UP Diliman for the 45th martial law anniversary protest. Photo by Danielle Nakpil

    MANILA, Philippines – Every generation has faced its giants. There was a generation that fought and survived the martial law regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

    Today's Filipino millennials, under the Duterte administration, see the country in trying times again, facing giants not much different from Marcos' time: martial law, killings, violation of human rights, supression of the truth via fake information, among others. 

    On Thursday, September 21, the 45th anniversary of Marcos' martial, they made sure they showed up by the thousands on the streets of Manila and other key cities to show to remind the public of the atrocities committed during Martial Law, and sound the alarm against a repeat of these abuses now. 

    At the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, UP martial law heroes were remembered through the Gunita at Kampana event. Former University Student Council chairman Chito Gascon, who is now chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said: “We live in interesting times. These are interesting times.”

    Millennials recognized that. 

    Fighting for the future

    At the Luneta Park in Manila, Seve Carlosl, an Ateneo de Manila University sophomore, wore black – the color of protest – and chanted slogans with the crowd. 

    “I’m here today because I want to be able to see my kids and tell them face to face that I am one of the people who fought for their rights,” said the communication arts student. 

    Seve Carlos, a sophomore student at Ateneo de Manila University

    “I don’t want my kids to live in the future where they’re scared to ask permission, scared whenever they go to school. I want them to live a safe life,” he said. 

    According to him, peace and safety are impossible to achieve with this kind of administration the country has at present. 

    Tristan Ortega, his friend, added that killing innocent people is not just against the law. It is against morality.

    For the sake of ‘my countrymen’

    “Ngayon ipinapakita ko na kasama kami sa mga kumikilos bilang isang kabataan. Naaapektuhan ako ng mga nangyayari sa ating lipunan kaya nararapat lang na kumilos para sa ikabubuti ng nakararami,” said Miriam King, a St. Scholastica’s College student.

    (I am here to show that I am one young person who takes a stand. I am affected by everything that’s happening in our society, that’s why we should act now for the welfare of everyone.) 

    The Scholastican went to the protest in Luneta with some of her classmates and teachers.

    Another student, who believes that going out in the streets is a statement, to call for the protection of  the rights of his countrymen.

    “We are here to protect our human rights, especially the rights of the poor people,” said Ira del Mar of Enderun Colleges.

    ‘Never Again’ 

    According to UP student Ice Punzalan, he is fighting so that no young person will experience martial law again.

    Ice Punzalan, a student-activist from University of the Philippines

    “Handang-handa din ngayon ang ating mga Iskolar ng Bayan na ipagpatuloy ito. Gawin muli para hindi na maulit ang madilim na kasaysayan na ating naransan noong Batas Militar ni Marcos," he said.

    (The scholars of the country are prepared to continue this legacy [of fighting for rights and freedoms] to prevent history from repeating itself, especially what happened during martial law.) 

    "No'ng nakita ko ang realidad at kapalpakan, 'yong mismong lipunan na kinabibilangan natin, sukang suka na ako at galit na galit," said the 3rd year speech communication student. (When I became aware of the reality and the society we live in, it disgusted and angered me.)

     

    He urged other young people to fight the possible extension of Duterte's martial law to cover the entire country. Martial law is up in Mindanao due the terrorist attack on Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. (READ: Human rights groups: ‘Martial law in entire nation not impossible’)

    These young people at Thursday's rallies are just a few voices but they were brave enough to speak up. What are you willing to speak about? – Rappler.com


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