DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Nov) – A militant-led rally criticizing President Rodrigo R. Duterte was met with another rally organized by Duterte supporters during the commemoration of the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, dubbed as the “Father of the Philippine Revolution,” along Roxas Avenue here on Thursday.
Members of the pro-Duterte group Hugpong Federal Movement congregated at the Veterans Rotunda along Roxas Avenue in front of the Davao City Post Office. A few meters away, a Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)-led rally was also held at the Freedom Park, in front of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU).
The militants were calling on Duterte to recall his Proclamation No. 360 that terminated the peace talks with the communist group and criticized him for his war on drugs. They likewise accused him of human rights violations stemming from the military’s anti-insurgency campaign and for his pronouncement tagging the communists as terrorists.
The President’s supporters, meanwhile, urged him to declare a revolutionary government to allow him to implement his plans smoothly and unimpeded.
KMU-Southern Mindanao spokesperson Carlo Olalo claimed their rally was sabotaged as they had earlier secured a permit from the city government to hold their protest action right where the pro-Duterte supporters gathered.
He said the venue was barricaded when they arrived around 6 a.m.
Participants of the militant-led rally, who came from Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, and Kidapawan in Cotabato, marched from Magsaysay Park to the Freedom Park where an effigy of Duterte in a military uniform was burned.
Olalo appealed to Duterte to listen to the people who are wishing for national industrialization and economic development and a genuine agrarian reform program.
He also said they are urging the President to order the military to stop attacking and harassing the farmers who are being tagged as members of the communist group’s armed wing, the New People’s Army, in the hinterlands.
Hugpong Federal Movement-Davao director Jun Manigque maintained they did not intend to sabotage the militants’ activity while invoking their right to organize a rally.
The Hugpong Federal Movement also organized a “grand rally” at the Davao Crocodile Park, simultaneous with pro-Duterte rallies in 18 different venues nationwide.
“We are holding a rally today to encourage our President to listen to us, to grant our plea for a revolutionary government because it is the easiest way to bring about the real change,” Manigque said.
Under a revolutionary government, Manigque said they believe Duterte will have “complete powers” to effect reform in government and to eliminate scalawags and corrupt public officials who are conniving with the drug syndicates.
He added they envision a revolutionary government under Duterte to be different from that of the late President Corazon Aquino who put an end to the 21-year rule of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Last Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said “there is no legal or factual basis” to declare a revolutionary government.
“We appreciate the calls of the President’s supporters for revolutionary government but I think there is no factual or legal basis as of now because the President has said he will consider a revolutionary government if destabilizers will persist in their plan to have him removed from office,” he said.
Roque said they “don’t see any such threat in the future” against Duterte, who had already dismissed the idea of a revolutionary government.
“The revolutionary government they’re talking about, coup d’etat don’t mind it. That’s improbable,” he said, during “Ang Huling Tikas Pahinga: Isang Pagpupugay sa mga Bayani ng Marawi” at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on November 21.
Despite this, Manigque maintained they would continue pressuring him as they did when they urged Duterte, who ruled Davao City as mayor for 22 years, to run for president. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)