The 158th birth anniversary of Bonifacio was observed by various multisectoral groups with a protest dubbed as “Araw ng Pambansang Paniningil ng Masang Anakpawis.”

Martial law survivor and senatorial aspirant Atty. Neri Colmenares demanded accountability amid poverty, corruption, injustice, and rampant human rights violations perpetrated during the Duterte administration. Colmenares also recognized that these calls need to be heard not only in the halls of Congress but also in the streets to engage the public in various political affairs.

Colmenares also slammed the Duterte administration on the swelling government debt loaned from foreign banks even before the pandemic, saying that the culture of corruption was made worse by the inept COVID-19 response.

“Ni hindi lumapat sa labi ng manggagawa, ng magsasaka, at mamayan ang ayuda na pinapangako nila,” said the human rights lawyer.

[The promised aid did not even reach the remnants of the workers, the peasants, and the people.]

IBON Foundation once coined ‘Duterterioration’ on Duterte’s deterioration on the Philippine economy given the whopping P 10.8 trillion (March 2021) Philippine debt. The country’s debt was only at P5.9 trillion (June 2016) when Duterte began his term.

Colmenares also reiterated the call to abolish and defund the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), saying that its funds have been on the pork barrel for the military.

“It’s military pork-barrel, korapsyon ‘yan. Bakit? Kung gusto mo magpagawa ng clinic, dapat ang DOH gagawa niyan. Kung gusto mo magpagawa ng school, dapat DepEd ang mangasiwa niyan,” Colmenares argued.

[It’s military pork barrel, that’s corruption. Why? If you want to build a clinic, the DOH should do that. If you want to build a school, DepEd should take care of that.]

Various human rights groups lauded the senators move to defund the anti-communist task force by P24 billion, leaving it with only 4 billion funding for 2022.

“Kahit ilang libong school buildings ang ipamigay mo riyan, hangga’t may kontraktwalisasyon, hangga’t walang tunay na repormang agraryo, hindi natin mauugat ang problema sa usaping pangkapayapaan,” Colmenares added.

[Even if you give away thousands of school buildings there, as long as there is contractualization, as long as there is no real agrarian reform, we will not be able to root the problem on the issue of peace.]

Pambansang paniningil

“Hinding-hindi namin kayo titigilan” a poem written by slain peace consultant Randall Echanis were sung or chanted by several rally-goers.

“Kung inaakala ng mga nagdaan at kasalukuyang rehimen na matatakot ang hanay ng mga kabataan at iba pang pormasyon sa kanilang kaliwa’t kanang pagyurak sa karapatang pantao at pagpatay, nagkakamali sila,” said Anakbayan Metro Manila organizer Benedict Macabenta.

[If the past and current regimes think that the youth and other formations will be intimidated by their left and right violations of human rights and killings, they are mistaken.]

Anakbayan is a comprehensive youth group that was founded on Bonifacio Day in 1998. It became prominent during the second EDSA uprising in 2001 which toppled the Estrada administration.

Meanwhile, the underground youth organization Kabataang Makabayan (KM) also commemorated its anniversary alongside Bonifacio Day and Anakbayan. KM was founded by Jose Maria Sison in 1964 as a legal democratic organization until dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. outlawed all progressive organizations during Martial law.

Macabenta further lambasted the so-called “UniTeam” alliance forged by four political parties

Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Lakas-CMD Christian Democrats (Lakas-CMD), Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), and the Davao-based regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) in a bid to support the Marcos-Duterte tandem for 2022 national elections.

“Sa tambalang Marcos – Duterte sa eleksyong 2022, malinaw ang hangarin nilang kunin ang kapangyarihang pampulitika ng estado ng Pilipinas para mandambong ng kaban ng bayan, panatilihin ang pagyaman ng mga burukurata kapitalista at naghaharing uri, at pahirapan ang mamamayan sa kanilang pasistang paghahari,” Macabenta added.

[With the Marcos -Duterte tandem for 2022 elections, it is clear that they want to seize the political power of the Philippine state to plunder the people’s coffers, maintain the wealth of the bureaucrat capitalists and the ruling class, and oppress the people with their fascist rule.]

“Sa araw na ito ay hindi lamang natin inaalala ang naging ambag ni Bonifacio bagkus ipagpapatuloy natin ang kanilang mga sinimulan tungo sa tunay na kalayaan at pambansang demokrasya,” the youth activist continued.

[Today we not only remember Bonifacio’s contribution but we will continue what they have started towards true freedom and national democracy.]

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