Sept. 24 — Dozens of people from ANAK Bayan and other local left organizations including Workers World Party met in Clark Park in Philadelphia on the 50th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ 1972 declaration of martial law in the Philippines.
A special presentation was made to honor Baltazar “Bal” Pinguel, Bayan Deputy Secretary General and a former political prisoner who braved imprisonment and death threats to challenge authoritarian regimes in the Philippines. He moved to the U.S. as a political asylum refugee and lived as an antiwar political activist in Philadelphia, before he passed away in 2017.
Sister Gertrude, a Catholic Assumption nun, shared her experiences organizing resistance during the first Marcos regime.
Bringing the struggle of the people for a just society to the current year, Anakbayan Philly member Tarig shared his experiences as a member of the international observer mission to the Philippines during the voting that ended May 9.
The election of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., son of the dictator who ruled the Philippines 1965-1986, was marred by blatant vote buying, a disturbing level of red-tagging and a number of incidents of deadly violence. Many voters were unable to cast their vote, and the International Observer Mission reported that the vote failed to meet the international standard of a free, honest and fair election.
The IOM report concludes: “Owing to the Philippines’ history of colonialism under Spain and the United States of America and its enduring ties with the U.S. ruling elite, contemporary political leaders still bear the marks of colonial collaboration.” (The complete report can be read at tinyurl.com/7jse9njj.)
Besides the speeches, music, a dance performance and refreshments provided cultural highlights to the event. Part of the program included a lesson in how to chant “The people united will never be defeated!” in the Philippine Tagalog language: “Ang Tao, Ang Bayan Ngayon Ay Lumalaban!”
— Report and photo by Joe Piette