New York – Last June 3rd, around 400 joined the “March for Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines” organized by Malaya Movement, a U.S.-based coalition of individuals and organizations against the killings and dictatorship back in the Philippines. The Malaya Movement called for a Black Sunday Protest to highlight the deteriorating situation back in the Philippines.
While preparing for the march, speakers from Malaya, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) and GABRIELA New York spoke about the various burning issues in the Philippines. Atty. Rodrigo Bacus of NYCHRP talked about the ongoing human rights violations in the Philippines perpetrated by state forces. He also talked about his experiences at the recently concluded International Solidarity Affairs, organized by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) that exposed the conditions of Hanjin workers in Central Luzon. Zila Renfro of Gabriela New York, on the other hand, slammed Duterte’s misogyny and sexism against women. She condemned state violence as the highest form of violence against women. As a a Black and Filipina woman, she also made the connections with the experiences of African American community of state violence in the hands of the police.
The Malaya Movement contingent, donned in all-black, carried a 21 foot banner that says, “Resist Duterte’s Fascist Dictatorship! Defend Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines!” The marchers want to raise awareness that the Duterte regime is now a full-blown dictatorship. The contingent also showed a Duterte effigy, with a forked tongue colored in US and Chinese flags, symbolizing Duterte’s puppetry to both countries, dressed in a bloodied barong and a machine gun, symbolizing his brutal rule.
Chants of “No justice, no peace! Stop the killings in the Philippines” and “Makibaka, huwag matakot!” reverberated down Madison Avenue as the contingent joined the Independence Day parade. Crowds of parade viewers cheered and expressed their support. At the Grandstand, the contingent staged a 2 minute die-in symbolizing the more than 20,000, mostly poor, who were killed in Duterte’s drug war.
At the end, the contingent held a rally along 30th street. Speakers took turns in discussing various burning issues. Members of Malaya Movement, prominent writer Gina Apostol, professor Luis Francia, criticized Duterte’s selling out of our sovereignty as well as the ongoing human rights violations. Representative from Kabataan Alliance, Chrissi Fabro, called on the Filipino American youth to join the struggle for human rights and democracy. Eric Lachica of the US Filipinos for Good Governance criticized Duterte’s subservience to China. Gary Labao of Migrante-USA National Organizing Committee expressed the frustration of overseas Filipino workers at Duterte’s broken promises. Anakbayan-USA representative, Joelle Lingat called on the people to work towards Duterte’s ouster while BAYAN-USA chairperson, Berna Ellorin called for greater unity among various Filipino organizations to struggle to hold Duterte accountable. The rally ended with a very moving singing of “Bayan Ko”, a song that became popular as a protest song against the Marcos dictatorship.
The Malaya Movement calls on the Filipino community and allies to hold a nationwide protest in front of Philippine Consulates across the United States to counter Duterte’s lies as he delivers his 3rd State of the Nation Address. In the Northeast, Malaya Movement is specifically calling for a protest in front of the Philippine Consulate General of New York on Monday, July 23, 6pm.