Protests against the Anti-Terrorism Bill
“This is a mañanita, not a rally”
Coordinated mass protest actions, dubbed “mañanitas,” were mounted last June 12 in Metro Manila and 14 provinces to oppose the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The protests actions were an outright act of defiance to the Malacañang’s ban on rallies. Protesters called their protest a “mañanita” as a sarcastic reference to the birthday feast by the police in the National Capital Region for their chief Debold Sinas last May. The protest was held in conjunction with the commemoration of the 122th Philippine Independence Day. Majority of the participants were from the youth sector.
More than 5,000 converged at the campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City to conduct a “Grand Mañanita.” Similar to a birthday celebration, protesters wore party hats, brought balloons, food and cakes containing the call “Junk Anti-Terror Bill.” There were songs, dances, speeches and cultural performances.
The rally in UP was spearheaded by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and its allied organizations of workers, youth, women, health workers, government employees, urban poor and others. Public figures such as those from the Liberal Party and other organizations, as well as famous artists and cultural performers participated in the protest.
According to Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares, the Anti-Terror Bill is dangerous because it can be used against ordinary civilians who criticize or post express their sentiments against the regime.
Before the protest, the police set up a checkpoint at the entrance of the university in an attempt to stop participants from going in. Anticipating this, protesters organized a team of lawyers to defend those who would be arrested. Health workers also stood by to ensure that Covid-19 preventive measures are observed by protesters.
The protesters strictly maintained a meter distance from each other. Face masks, face shields and alcohol were also distributed during the mass action. The program ended after three hours.
Protesters pointed out that while the rally is directed against the Anti-Terrorism Bill, it also aimed to hold the regime accountable for its inetpness to ensure the health and and welfare of the people amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They called for mass testing, tracing and validation of Covid-19 cases, distribution of emergency aid, and for freedom and democracy.
Among the highlights of the rally was the speech of Marie Dinglasan, an sari-sari store vendor who trended on social media for posting a video criticizing Duterte and bravely responding to Duterte’s trolls who tagged her as an “NPA supporter.” The program also featured a performance by theater actress Mae Paner who dressed as Debold Sinas, and the collective dance and singing of the jingle parody “Don’t call me terorista (a terrorist).”
Before the “Grand Mañanita,” protests were also conducted at the De La Salle University in Manila and at Sitio San Roque, Barangay Pag-asa, Quezon City.
DID YOU KNOW?
“MAÑANITA” (which means “little tomorrow” in Spanish) is a surprise serenade to awaken a birthday celebrant early in the morning or at the crack of dawn. It is being practiced in various parts of the Philippines and has become a tradition wherein families gather to mark the start of a birthday. In Mindanao, a particular mañanita song entitled “Malipayong Adlaw” is often sang by Red fighters for their comrades who celebrate their birthdays. The was written and popularized by Agaw-Armas.
Across the country, numerous activists and youth groups took to the streets and rallied against the Anti-Terror Bill.
Baguio. One hundred individuals protested at UP Baguio. Earlier on June 3, 62 youth organizations signed a petition against the Anti-Terror Bill. The petition signing was led by the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny-Baguio-Benguet.
Nueva Vizcaya. Anti-mining and environmental advocates and residents of Didipio, Kasibu conducted a protest action in their community.
Isabela. The police stopped several students from holding a program at a school in Santiago, Isabela. They were told to take pictures instead, and immediately disperse.
Pampanga. Five activists were tailed and interrogated by police agents after participating in a program at the Plaza Miranda in Angeles City.
Albay and Naga. The Youth Act Now-Albay spearheaded a protest at the Pinaglabanan Monument in Legazpi City. According to the Justine Mesias, spokesperson of the said alliance, the regime’s Anti-Terrorism Bill will only aggravate the plight of the people. Approximately 200 members of Anakbayan-Naga City and Bayan-Camarines Sur also protested at the Plaza Quince Martires in Naga City.
Negros. Lightning rallies were mounted by the Bacolod Youth Alliance at six spots in Bacolod City including the Rizal Freedom Park, Bacolod City Plaza, Fountain of Justice, San Sebastian Cathedral, local ABS-CBN station, and in front of the office of Cong. Greg Gasataya. Simultaneously, a protest action was also held by Paghiliusa, Liberal Party Negros and the Federation of Urban Poor in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral to condemn the Anti-Terrorism Bill. That afternoon, similar protest actions were also conducted by Bayan and Karapatan-Negros in front of the Fountain of Justice.
Iloilo. A “mañanita against terrorism” was held by students and teachers of UP Visayas, the church sector and the Commission on Human Rights Region 6 in front of the university campus in Iloilo.
Cebu. With police troops encamped in front of UP Cebu and the refusal of the university administration to recognize the rights of students to assemble in the campus, progressive groups conducted their lightning rallies at the Gorordo Avenue and Escario Street in Cebu at around 6:00 a.m.
Davao. The PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organization hosted a program at the UCCP Haran in Davao City which was participated in by 500 evacuees. The participants also conducted a protest action while strictly observing physical distancing. Later that evening, Lumad leaders led a torch lighting ceremony to symbolize their detemination to bring light amid the dark times of tyranny under the Duterte regime, and how this light is further ignited through the people’s struggle.
Datu Minstroso Malibato pointed out: “We are struggling to educate our children but the government is ruthlessly closing down our schools and killing our people.” The group stressed that that the real terrorist is the Duterte government.
Butuan. A “mañanita” was also held at the Freedom Park in Butuan City.
Youth groups and lawyers also conducted “mañanitas” in Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Zamboanga and Bulacan.