Parents, state governments, opposition urge Modi to ensure safe return of loved ones from Ukraine

Parents, state governments, opposition urge Modi to ensure safe return of loved ones from Ukraine
Parents, state governments, opposition urge Modi to ensure safe return of loved ones from Ukraine

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - MANILA: Hundreds of Filipinos gathered in Manila on Friday to mark the anniversary of a people-power revolt against late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ahead of an election that could see his family return to power.

Protesters chanted “never again” to commemorate the 1986 overthrow, with organizers describing this year’s anniversary as “the most important,” as Ferdinand Marcos Jr. holds a commanding lead in opinion polls for the presidency.

Marcos Jr. came first in a January poll conducted by Pulse Asia, chosen by 60 percent of the survey’s 2,400 respondents, with the incumbent vice president and opposition leader in distant second place with 16 percent. More than 67 million Filipinos are expected to cast their votes on May 9.

“This year … (we are) facing a very serious threat of a Marcos coming back,” Renato Reyes, secretary-general of progressive group Bayan, told reporters.

The elder Marcos ruled the Philippines for more than two decades and took control of the country’s courts, business, and media after declaring martial law in 1972.

The period that saw thousands killed and tortured was also notorious for corruption and other human rights atrocities and has been described as one of the darkest chapters in the history of the Philippines.

Friday’s rally took place at the site locally known as EDSA, where more than 1 million people had gathered in 1986 to oust the disgraced leader.

Organizers in Manila created an educational event to mark this year’s commemoration, which included mock classes detailing Marcos’ dictatorship.

Reyes said the Philippine government failed to prevent historical revisionism and collective amnesia, resulting in an entire generation who grew up thinking that the martial law or the Marcoses “weren’t that bad.”

“The Marcoses were able to take advantage of this situation to stage a comeback and this is the closest they have been … to the presidential palace over the past 36 years,” he added.

“(Marcos Jr.) poses a huge threat to the democratic aspirations of our people … That’s why this (coming) election is a huge fight, and we cannot lose this fight.”

Marcos Jr. has not commented on the anniversary, and posts on his widely followed social media pages on Friday were on upcoming events related to the campaign.

Christian leaders across the country have also raised concerns over Marcos Jr.’s potential ascent to power.

Bishops of the country’s Catholic Church, under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, on Friday highlighted the “injustice and cruelty” witnessed by many bishops during the martial law period and the well-documented human rights abuses, corruption, grave debt, and economic downturn that the Southeast Asian country endured.

“Again, we did not make these up. These are all written in our history,” CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a pastoral letter.

“We are alarmed by this distortion of the truth of history and the attempt to delete or destroy our collective memory through the seeding of lies and false narratives. This is dangerous,” he added.

Carmma, a coalition of martial law victims, also called on all Filipinos “to block the return of the corrupt and tyrannical Marcos rule.”

In a statement, it said: “Let us expose and oppose the continuing distortion of our nation’s history.”

 

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