Solidarity with the People of the Philippines

Vigil Honours Victims and Survivors of Marcos Dictatorship by Calling for Ouster of Duterte Regime

September 21 marked the 49th anniversary of the infamous Declaration of Martial Law by the U.S.-sponsored Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Philippines. On September 19, a vigil was held in Toronto to remember and pay tribute to the 3,257 people killed, more than 34,000 tortured, and 70,000 jailed during the time of Marcos. More than 60 people, including some survivors of the Marcos dictatorship, participated in the vigil organized by BAYAN-Canada, the alliance of progressive Filipino organizations in Canada and their allies.

Speeches, poetry and music were featured which focused on the necessity to step up support for the Filipino people's resistance to state violence and terror of the U.S.-sponsored Rodrigo Duterte regime. Speakers pointed out that since coming to power, the Duterte government has been responsible for the extrajudicial killings of more than 30,000 people under the pretext of his "War on Drugs" as well as 400 other people including human rights defenders, Indigenous leaders, members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which has been engaged in peace talks with the Philippine government, and members of the New People's Army.

Duterte's Anti-Terrorism Act 2020 and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict made up of members of the military and police constabulary were also condemned for carrying out a campaign of anti-communist terror against the people. It was pointed out that tens of millions of dollars earmarked for COVID pandemic relief have been diverted into counter-insurgency efforts by the Philippine state under Duterte.

Canada's pretense of being a human rights defender was denounced in light of Canada's support for the Duterte government despite the latter's human rights record. Speakers also denounced Canada's racist and arbitrary treatment of migrant workers in Canada, many of whom have been forced to leave the Philippines as Overseas Foreign Workers.

The youth who made up the main force at the vigil highlighted "the importance of remembering Martial Law victims and their sacrifices to fight the Marcos dictatorship, as well as the importance to today fight the tyranny and the de facto Martial Law of the Duterte administration."

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 10 - October 10, 2021

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