Torch-bearing Mindanao protesters converge in CDO to mark Bonifacio Day

December 1, 2017 - 12:32 AM
Protesers in Cagayan de Oro City mark Bonifacio Day. Photographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Cagayan de Oro City – Protesters from various groups in Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Lanao provinces held a flashmob-like lightning rally Thursday along the national highway here commemorating Andres Bonifacio Day and to call out the Duterte Administration for its tyrannical and oppressive tendencies.

“Today we mark the 154th birthday of our hero Andres Bonifacio, who successfully spearheaded the call for revolution against the Spanish colonizers. We call for more vigilance as this administration is slowly showing its true colors, oppressing the right of the Filipino people to speak out against the wrong doings of the government,” said Wildon Barros, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) for Northern Mindanao.

Barros added that the commemoration marks not just the birth of Bonifacio but the life that he lived.

“Bonifacio was a hero especially among laborers, the common worker, as he was himself one of us and today also happens to be Trade Union Day. Our hero was once a worker in the warehouse, he fought and pushed for fair and equal rights and compensation.”

Barros slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements tagging progressive activists groups as supporters of the rebel New People’s Army (NPA).

“Tagging us like that is the means for the administration to quell any group that wants to question the shortcomings of the government. By this means they seek the leverage they need to silence us. But we believe in the rule of law, if they want to have us arrested then they better make sure that they have sufficient evidence that would stand in court,” Barros added.

He pointed out: “We do not adhere to violence, and that is the very reason why we take our grievances to the streets and not in the mountains taking up arms.”

Kristine Cabardo, chair of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) in Northern Mindanao pointed out during the rally the misguided conception of Duterte supporters calling for a revolutionary government.

“It is very clear that they are creating a scenario for Duterte to push toward a revolutionary government under the guise of federalism, which is nothing but another form of dictatorship, this is another form of tyranny,” said Cabardo. “We condemn this rebel tagging and accusations. If calling for equal rights, adequate and proper education, equal opportunities and land reform are, for Duterte, considered a form of rebellion then so be it.”

“The people,” said Cabardo, “should know, that it is not wrong or a mistake to stand tall and hold our government accountable. Andres Bonifacio died for our freedom against tyranny and oppression. Our hero’s death should not be in vain.”

The protesters brandished bamboo torches to signify the light of the struggle and the revolution that Bonifacio started.

All photographs by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon