Diaspora News

Kontra Libing organizers call US-wide protest a success

Youth leader Stephanie Sajor as she explains why she joins the protest. Photo © Abner Galino
Youth leader Stephanie Sajor as she explains why she joins the protest. Photo © Abner Galino

THE organizers of the United States-wide protests against the planned burial of the late dictator and former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB ) on Saturday said the Sept. 7 mass action was a “resounding success.”

The U.S. based Kontra Libing Coalition (KLC) and the Movement Against The Dictator’s Internment (MADI)-USA made this assertion after an evaluation of the different rallies held by Filipino communities in North America showed that a lot of people are against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s plan to have the ex strongman buried at the LNMB.

In Los Angeles, the KLC, MADI-USA and allied organizations Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB-Pro PeopleYouth), Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), Filipino American Service Group Inc.(FASGI), Knights of Rizal (KOR-Historic Filipino Town), JFAV, Pesante-USA, Alliance-Philippines, KDP, APC, MRCLP and other individuals, held an hour-long demonstration in front of the Philippine Consulate General at 3435 Wilshire Blvd. 

Martial law victims like Myrla Baldonado, youth activist Stephanie Sajor of KmB, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) alumnus Christian Esteban, Prosy dela Cruz of the APC and Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) National Coordinator Arturo P. Garcia spoke at the rally.

As a young person I think it is important that we remember the atrocities that the Filipino people went through under the Marcos regime. There are revisionists out there who want to ignore that part of history,but let’s not forget that thousands of Filipinos were tortured and killed during that time,” Sajor, a young LA leader said.

Fe Koons, a poet and LA-based journalist, said she came all the from the City of Carson to join the protest because she thought it was important.

Look at this people behind this banner. These are former anti-martial law activists from 80’s. We’re are going back to history. Let’s get this thing straight: Marcos was a dictator. He does not deserve to be called a hero. Period!,” Koon declared.

The protestors chanted: “No honor for Marcos, he was a Dictator!’ No honor for Marcos, he killed Filipinos.”

They sung the popular song “Bayan ko” at the close of the rally.

Bigger crowd attended the protest actions in San Francisco and New York.

Activist Art Garcia reported the following in his Facebook page:

In New York: A group led by Nintochka Rosca of AF3IRM and Loida Nicolas-Lewis went inside the Philippine Consulate and were received by consulate officials to whom they handed a signed petition signed against Marcos burial at the LNMB.

In San Francisco: The largest demonstration was held in front of the PH Consulate at Sutter St. downtown San Francisco. The protest was joined by World War II veterans, widows of veterans, youth activists and former anti-martial law activist.

In Chicago, Illinois:

I think burying Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani means a lot,” said Jerry Clarito, who has been living in Chicago for more than 3 decades. “It’s erasing the history of the people who fought against dictatorship and [an] oppressive system.”

Joseph Lariosa,a Chicago based journalist and a victim of martial law said: “I will agree [to a heroes’ burial for Marcos] only if the Marcos family will recognize the mistakes of Marcos under Martial Law and also if they return the loot that they have taken away from the Filipino people.”

Lariosa moved to Chicago in 1986.

In Washington D.C. — Former anti-martial law activist and USP4GG and ACFV led by Eric Lachica and Jun Meligrito held their rally in front of the Philippine Embassy at Bataan St. in the U.S. Capital.

Former Maryland Assembly Delegate David Valderama, in a wheel chair, lead the rally.

It has been 30 years ago when I rallied here. Here we are again protesting the burial of the dictator.”

In Vancouver,Canada: Filipino -Canadians led by the Diaspora FiL-Canada  rallied in front of the Phillipine Consulate and handed the Consulate officials with a letter that contained the reasons why they were protesting.

One of the rally leaders, Ted Acuitas said: “ My father is a veteran but he is not even buried at the LMNB. Why bury a dictator there?”

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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