MANILA- Over 200 students and youth groups took to the streets Tuesday to condemn alleged extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
The rally dubbed the 'National Day of Youth Resistance,' was held in front of St. Scholastica's College Manila less than a week before the the President's second State of the Nation Address.
Students who joined the rally held placards with inscriptions "Stop the Killing", "Lahat tayo posibleng drug pusher", and "Youth Resist".
Youth groups claim at least 7,000 have died in the government's war on drugs- more than the 3,000 killed during Marcos' 20 year dictatorship.
Official data from the Philippine National Police, however, peg the total number of homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 at 9,432.
Of this number, 1,847 are said to be drug-related, while 1,894 are not. The remaining 5,691, approximately 60 percent of the total figure, are still under investigation.
Duterte's anti-narcotics drive has also resulted to a 26.45 percent drop in the estimated total drug market and 28.57 percent reduction in index crime, according to police data.
Among the administration's youngest critics, 13-year-old Shibby De Guzman believes young people also need to take part in efforts to stop the killings.
"We have to encourage older people and inspire them to join us. It's about time. This has been happening for over a year now, it has to stop," she said.
De Guzman joined the rally despite being bullied online for her stand against the clandestine burial of Former President Marcos.
"We are protesting against EJKs and violations against civil liberties. The only thing that matters right now is the country. The aggressive backlash, it's better to just ignore. Engage in conversation, not fights. Don't approach someone aggressively if you're looking to make the change."
When asked whether he thinks President Duterte is a bully, De Guzman replied: "Yes, he allows people to kill people."
St. Scholastica's Vice President for External Affairs Sister Mary John Mananzan said Scholasticans came to the rally voluntarily and with the consent of their parents.
"We are happy na ang aming mga estudyante, talagang mulat sila. Ang aming thrust sa aming education, since 1975, ay education for justice and social transformation... They (students) should make a stand, they should not be afraid of being critical, and to express what they are feeling. That's our way of educating," she said.