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Migrant groups mark People Power anniversary

01 March 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

Representatives of more than 30 overseas Filipino workers associations in Hong Kong marched from Chater Road in Central to the Philippine Consulate offices in Admiralty on Feb. 25, to protest what they called as President Duterte’s tyrannical rule.

The march was organized by the Coalition Against Duterte’s Tyranny, which counts among its members leftist groups and other opposition organizations like The Yellow Warriors, Democratic Fighters and The Silent Majority Hong Kong.

In a statement, the group said they were united in their desire to stop Duterte from becoming a dictator like Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was toppled by People Power 32 years ago.

The protesters march from Central to the Philippine Consulate building in Admiralty.
“We cannot let Duterte become the despot that he wants himself to be. On this day 32 years ago, we succeeded in getting rid of a dictator. We can do it again,” their statement said.

Eman Villanueva, one of the rally organizers, threw scorn at the claim of Duterte and his supporters that they feel for overseas Filipino workers.

“Sa dami ng mga OFW na nagsuporta kay Duterte dito sa Hong Kong, mayroon na ba silang napakinabangang konkreto? E yung OEC nga, napakasimpleng papel, hindi maibigay sa mga OFW. Nangako pa ng iDOLE, gusto ding pabayaran. Noong nilabanan namin, ang gusto kunin naman ang pondo sa OWWA, na pera din ng OFW!”, he said.
He was referring to an earlier promise by Duterte and his labor secretary, Silvestre Bello III, to scrap the overseas employment certificate (OEC) that OFWs departing from the Philippines are required to have. Later, an OFW card called iDOLE was introduced as a replacement for OEC, but the promise to issue it starting December last year was not met.
Villanueva also hit out at Duterte for kowtowing to both the United States and China in his bid to maintain an iron-fist rule in the country.
The militant leader said the deference to China was due to a Php6-trillion loan that Duterte is trying to wangle from Beijing so he can fund his “build, build, build” program to accelerate economic growth.
“Ang tunay na kahulugan ng ‘build, build, build’ ni Duterte ay utang, utang, utang para sa gobyerno, kupit, kupit, kupit para sa mga pulitiko, at bayad, bayad, bayad para sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino,” said Villanueva.
Other speakers assailed Duterte for his campaign to change the Constitution so he can tighten his grip on power, his violent anti-drug campaign that has led to at least 13,000 mainly poor Filipinos getting killed, his attempts to stifle dissent and opposition by persecuting political opponents and human rights campaigners, and many other alleged misdeeds.
The protest, held just a few blocks where Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte Carpio launched the HK arm of an alliance said to focus on giving help to needy Filipinos, ended with the handing of the unity statement to a Consulate representative.
It also coincided with the Hong Kong launch of the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance led by Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

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