Makabayan groups in Bicol protest for 51st Martial Law anniversary, protesters in Albay meet counter-protest

On Thursday, various makabayan groups staged separate street protests in Camarines Sur and Albay to mark 51 years since the imposition of Martial Law in the country by then dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

To remember, on September 21, 1972, the late dictator Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 declaring Martial Law, leading to around 70,000 people being imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 deaths.

The groups’ aim is to encourage Filipinos to never forget the nearly 10-year dark chapter in Philippine history amid the battle against disinformation and historical revisionism of the Martial Law as another Marcos took charge of the country.

In the morning, protesters from Camarines Sur marched from Plaza Quince Martires to Plaza Oragon for their protest program; On the same day, Bayan Bicol together with other progressive groups in Albay gathered in front of Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) straight to Peñaranda Park for their rally program. 

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Photo by Altermidya Bicol
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Photo by Altermidya Bicol
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Photo by Altermidya Bicol


As anti-martial law protesters in Albay hold their demonstration, a pro-government crowd arrives in Peñaranda Park wearing white shirts, carrying their own banners and placards, creating tension with the protesters bussed into the area.

In a facebook post from Budyong Online, Nica Ombao, the regional director of Gabriela Bicol is seen standing in front of a counter-rallyist, showing a piece of white paper — an approved permit — which means they secured a permit to hold a rally in the area in peace, without the presence of any pro-government group.

“Habang nagfo-foot march, nakita na namin yung trolls sa tapat ng Camp Ola and we saw na dinala sila ng government vehicle na walang plaka sa Peñaranda Park. May confrontation din with police that were occupying the space designated to us by the governor’s office. After the confrontation with the police, nagpe-prepare kami nung space nung sumugod yung trolls, so we had to block them to prevent them from coming closer to our delegates. Nung hinarang namin sila, sinisigawan nila kami at nangre-red tag sila,” Ombao said in a chat interview with Bicol.PH. 

Ombao recalled how these intimidation tactics go far back in 2017 where they usually accompany their protest action with an event of their own at Peñaranda Park.

Although this time, according to her, is a new one as they hired trolls to interrupt and heckle their speakers. 

“The PNP shouldn’t have been there. Ang ginawa lang naman nila kanina is nag concert and nag Zumba. Alam naman nila na September 21 is an important date for progressive groups. It’s insensitive and inconsiderate,” She said. 

“As for the trolls, it’s what they were paid to do; yung guluhin yung program namin. Kung genuinely gusto talaga nila gumawa ng protest action against activism, may ibang araw at oras naman para gawin nila yun. Karapatan naman nila magpahayag ng saloobin nila and we’re not against that,” she then added.

Ombao described them as “walang delicadeza,” stating that the permit indicates that the patio in front of the Provincial Capitol is designated to them from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.| via Mera Melitante

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Photo by Budyong Online/Princess Lelis
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Photo by Budyong Online/Princess Lelis
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Photo by Budyong Online/Princess Lelis