Filipino migrants and their foreign friends from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Bosch and Den Haag converged at the Vredespaleis (Peace Palace) in Den Haag yesterday, September 21  10 a.m. to commemorate the declaration of martial law in the Philippines in 1972. They belong to organizations and alliances such as MkSP, Pinay sa Holland, Migrante Den Haag and Filipinos Against Corruption and Tyranny (FACT).

Aldo Gonzalez of Migrante Den Haag and FACT welcomed the protesters and read a statement prepared for the event. The statement reminded Filipinos of the 14 dark years of martial law which ended with the overthrowing of the Marcos dictatorship. It further condemned the Duterte government for slowly and cunningly imposing fascist rule through the extra judicial killings of suspected addicts and pushers mostly coming from poor communities and later including those who criticize and oppose his regime. They include peasants, indigenous peoples, workers, lawyers, church people, journalists, human rights advocates, and students. Aside from extra-judicial killings, Duterte continues to harass and jail those who oppose him including senators and judges and has imposed an island-wide martial law in Mindanao on the pretext of rooting out terrorism in Marawi city.

After reading the statement, a Dutch volunteer for NUPL, who recently visited the Philippines for three months, shared her experience and observation, and condemned the extra judicial killings that were being perpetrated by the authorities.

Marlon Lacsamana of Migrante Den Haag and FACT shared some of the issues confronting overseas Filipinos. He discussed issues like the effects of the TRAIN law which have significantly raised prices of basic commodities and the impact of the Rice Tariffication/Liberalization Law on farmers which has kept the price of palay very low to the disadvantage of the farmers. These forces overseas Filipinos to work more hours to send money to their families reeling from the impact of these laws that only favor the rich. He also discussed the issue of the treachery and subservience of Duterte to China on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

Maitet Ledesma of Pinay sa Holland – Gabriela also condemned Duterte´s anti-women and gender discrimination.

The sharing ended with calls for justice to victims of Marcos´s and Duterte´s martial law.

After the sharing, a short mock-up of Duterte, portrayed as a ‘grim reaper’ killing democracy and Filipinos was presented. The protest action ended with calls – to oppose the return of a fascist dictatorship, to reject all forms of state repression, to stand for national sovereignty and to attain justice for victims of Marcos´ and Duterte´s martial law.#