Protests vs 'Cha-cha' mark 32nd People Power anniversary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2018 10:04 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2018 10:11 PM

Protesters at the People Power Monument say "No to Cha-cha" on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Protesters at the People Power Monument say "No to Cha-cha" on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Protesters at the People Power Monument say "No to Cha-cha" on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Protesters at the People Power Monument say "No to Cha-cha" on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Protesters at the People Power Monument say "No to Cha-cha" on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Activists march to Mendiola Peach Arc on People Power anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Activists march to Mendiola Peach Arc on People Power anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Activists hold protest along Quezon Avenue on EDSA anniversary. ABS-CBN News

Former President Fidel V. Ramos joins 32nd EDSA anniversary program at the People Power Monument on Sunday morning. Photo by Michael Bagtas for ABS-CBN News

Former President Fidel V. Ramos joins 32nd EDSA anniversary program at the People Power Monument on Sunday morning. Photo by Michael Bagtas for ABS-CBN News

Former President Fidel V. Ramos joins 32nd EDSA anniversary program at the People Power Monument on Sunday morning. Photo by Michael Bagtas for ABS-CBN News

MANILA - People from different groups and sectors, including students, protested moves to change the Constitution by the Duterte administration in rallies held Sunday to commemorate the EDSA uprising that led to the toppling of a dictator in 1986.

The rallies culminated at the People Power Monument in the corner of EDSA and White Plains Avenue where old and young activists united to denounce extra-judicial killings and defend democracy under the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

The protests at the historic EDSA People Power site was led by Tindig Pilipinas, a union of coalitions and citizens who are alarmed and outraged by alleged extrajudicial killings launched last September 2017. 

In the evening, politicians from the opposition joined the rally, with Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan taking the stage. Trillanes, who has questioned the bank accounts of Duterte, even took a swipe at the President. 

"Si Duterte na siguro ang pinakamahirap na bilyonaryo sa Pilipinas," the senator said as the protesters applauded. 

The program at the People Power Monument peacefully ended with the people singing "Magkaisa" and "Bayan Ko." 

Earlier in the morning, other groups marched to different spots in the metro, carrying placards rejecting charter change and Duterte's "dictatorship."

 

The groups that went to the Mendiola Peace Arc offered flowers and lit candles to pay tribute to the contribution of martyrs and activists during the military rule under the regime of the late dictator former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.

Farmers, who came from disaster-hit areas in Samar, also joined the militants in the march to Mendiola to denounce the alleged militarization in the regions and to demand proper rehabilitation for their lands. 

Meanwhile, groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Laban ng Masa marched to Quezon City to condemn contractualization, privatization of basic services, and unfair tax policies, which they blamed on both the Duterte and Aquino administrations.

"Under the Duterte regime today, the situation has gotten worse. We now have state-sanctioned killings. We have a deepening of the capitalists crisis through the neo-liberal macro-economic policy framework such as privatization, liberalization, deregulation, labor contractualization," said Rasti Delizo of Laban ng Masa. 

For the second year in a row, Duterte skipped the EDSA commemoration rites. The President instead called for unity in statement released to the media. 

"The People Power Revolution has become the enduring symbol of our determination to fight for what is right and—during our country's most crucial and trying times—to defend and uphold our cherished democratic value," said Duterte.

"May this occasion foster unity and solidarity as we pursue our hopes and aspiration for our nation," he added. -- with reports from Ron Lopez, Kevin Manalo, Lyza Aquino, Jasmin Romero, Jeff Hernaez, ABS-CBN News