30 November 2016 - Gabriela Women’s Party lawmakers urged President Rodrigo Duterte during the commemoration of Bonifacio Day to get rid of the vestiges of the Marcos dictatorship which run counter to the nationalist and democratic aspirations of working class hero Andres Bonifacio.
At the Bonifacio Day rally in Manila, GWP Rep. Arlene Brosas said features of Marcosian rule are still evident up to this day under the Duterte administration, such as the continued incarceration of political prisoners across the country and the militarization of communities.
“Instead of treading the path of former dictator Marcos, President Duterte should follow the lead of Bonifacio by upholding the democratic rights of the Filipino people and fleshing out an independent foreign policy,” Rep. Brosas said.
“It is shameful that a political prisoner recently died in detention even with the national government’s pronouncements of a possible general amnesty. It is unfortunate that hundreds more, including mothers, the sick and the elderly continue to languish in jail due to trumped up charges,” the lady legislator added.
GWP is referring to Bernabe Oscala, political detainee at the Manila City Jail who died last Nov. 28 in hospital after suffering a stroke and being comatose. The group insists that the government should release political prisoners on humanitarian grounds.
The lady legislator also noted that labor contractualization and military-style operation of economic zones, which are anti-worker Marcosian legacies, remain in place more than five months into the Duterte presidency.
“Filipino workers continue to labor under slave-like conditions within the framework of neoliberal globalization, which is all for the extraction of higher profits. What Bonifacio would want to see the liberation of workers from the bonds of exploitation,” she said.
Brosas also warned Duterte against reviving several features of the Marcos dictatorship, such as the notorious Philippine Constabulary and the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
“Ours is a society that should thrive in democracy and dignity, not in fear,” Brosas concluded.