[From the web] Human rights, Religious and Democracy groups commemorate martial law with cultural performance

Photo grabbed from PhilRights FB page

Quezon City- Members and networks of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), Peoples’ Coalition for Authentic Democracy (PCAD) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) held last Saturday, September 21 a joint program commemorating 47 years since martial law was declared by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Titled: “Sambayanihan: Pag ala ala, Panalangin, Pagpiglas”, the one-and-a-half-hour cultural presentation featured survivors from the Martial Law era of the 1970s and today’s groups of human rights defenders fighting for sectoral and sovereign rights, and against authoritarian rule. The performance narrated the history of martial law repression, and highlighted its current vestiges in the form of martial law in Mindanao, shrinking civic spaces and assault on human rights defenders and their communities.

“It is crucial more than ever that we protect civic spaces and freedom of expression towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law in the country”, said Rose Trajano, Secretary General of PAHRA, “because these are important components for rebuilding our country long after Duterte finishes his term”.

“We did not elect a President who is a traitor and a criminal” said Wilson Tan Yu, director of Kilusan Para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), “we want a leader who will forge our country towards a progressive, environmentally sound and economically sustainable future. Duterte has proven to be a failure in all these aspects”.

The event also launched the #ENDTHEASSAULT campaign, where the groups urged the public to join efforts for the protection of democracy and human rights, and called on the government to end political repression, militarization, extra judicial killing, deepening poverty, and to protect our territorial integrity.

The cultural program was followed by a mass celebrated by Fr. Dexter Toledo,OFM, and finally a symbolic action via candle lighting and human chain formation along E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City. The group signed a manifesto of commitment to work for genuine democracy and sovereignty.

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