MANILA — To mark the 50th year of the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and the “Battle of Mendiola” that rocked the Marcos regime at that time, activists belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) held a protest action at the Mendiola bridge Thursday afternoon, warning of unrest “if Pres. Rodrigo Duterte continues on the Marcosian path of dictatorship and puppetry to foreign, imperialist powers.”
The First Quarter Storm of 1970 was a youth-led uprising against the Marcos Administration that resulted in the radicalization of youth and students all over the country, many of whom joined the underground resistance when martial law was declared in 1972.
“Duterte’s repressive acts against critics and dissenters, his brazen violation of human rights, increasing corruption and emergence of his own set of cronies, subservience to foreign powers especially China, and plans to impose a dictatorship through charter change or martial law, is straight out of Marcos’ playbook,” said Bayan leader Teddy Casiño.
“If the activists of 50 years ago resisted Marcos’ fascist dictatorship, so will the activists of today resist Duterte’s tyranny,” he said.
Protesters said Duterte’s oft-repeated threat to establish a revolutionary government showed the failure of the status quo to resolve the age-old problems of massive poverty, injustice and underdevelopment that also hounded the Marcos administration 50 years ago.
“Marcos’ solution – a US-backed fascist dictatorship – did not address these problems. Under his regime, the armed rebellion even spread and in the end, he was ousted. Duterte had better think of a better way and not fall into the same trap,” warned Casiño.
“Unless the roots of the armed conflict are addressed, there will always be unrest. That is why we are calling for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks and a shift towards nationalist and democratic reforms in our economic, political, and cultural systems,” he stressed.
“The message of the FQS rings true today: that against tyranny and oppression, people will dare to struggle, dare to win.” (Stacy Ang/IA/CPH)