Oust-Duterte rally: It’s time for People Power

The ‘macho-fascist’ regime of Rodrigo Duterte must go, cry activists.  Photos by Jimin Kim

By Jimin Kim

“We’ll be here rain or shine. Duterte must resign,” shouted the more than 100 people who protested under a heavy thunderstorm what they called the “macho-fascist” regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The rally was held in front of the Philippine Consulate building on Fifth Avenue on July 22, the day Duterte gave his fourth State of the Nation Address in the Manila.

Multiple rallies around the world were held simultaneously on that day. The activists in NYC voiced their grievances against the Philippines’s struggles with increased taxes on basic goods, restrictions on press freedoms, and his government’s war on drugs that has killed several thousands of Filipinos.

Queens resident AnneMarie is an executive committee officer of Anakbayan New York and a former coordinator of Malaya Movement. She criticized U.S. taxes she charged was funding the Duterte administration and his three-year war on drugs. According to a report by Amnesty International, Filipino authorities claim nearly 6,000 people have been killed so far in the drug war, a figure that has been questioned due a lack of transparency by the Philippine government.  

Protesting in her raincoat, AnneMarie spoke of the strife caused by family separation.  Half her family is in the Philippines. Some of her relatives were able to immigrate to the U.S. while others are economically unable to. “Someone needs to be in America to speak on behalf of the Filipino natives to let the American people know Americans are complicit in this,” she said.

Chelsea, Manhattan resident Benjamin, a member of Anakbayan New York, was born in California. His dad came to America to look for work like the thousands of Filipinos leaving their country every day to find better opportunities for their families. He said being an activist is his way of giving back to his roots. “Personally I’m angered by the levels of oppression that exist in the Philippines by the hierarchy that exists there. I know people personally whose families are being affected by the extrajudicial killings.”

AnneMarie said, “Every time we come here and put our bodies on the line in the United States, it’s a message to the Filipino people who are struggling day to day to make their ends meet.” More photos here.

Benjamin stands next to a mural the activists made to criticize Philippine-U.S.-China relations.
AnneMarie, left, says mobilizing grassroots rallies will create positive change in the Philippines.  
Among the speakers was Luis Francia, a journalist, poet and an Asian American Studies professor at Hunter College.
CEO and community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis. She has been accused by the Philippine government of being behind the move to have Duterte investigated by the International Criminal Court, an allegation she has always denied.

© The FilAm 2019

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