Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Philippines: Filipino Youth and the Parliament of the Streets

A  Filipino social media controversy erupted. It focused on the young students who protested the burial of the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Heroes Cemetery (Libingan Ng Mga Bayani).  

Last November 18, Marcos had been hurriedly and secretly buried even before legal proceedings had been exhausted by those opposing the burial.  Within the hour, and throughout the Philippines, students spontaneously took to the streets to protest. (Filipinos have coined a phrase -- "Parliament of the Streets" to refer to the resistance movement characterized by protests in the streets.)

The social media matter began when the trolls accused the youths of not knowing what they were doing, having been born after the Marcos Martial Law years. The trolls said the young people were used by grownups for political reasons, that these youths were brainwashed and forced to rally, that it was child abuse, etc. 

There's been a backlash to these accusations with the young people themselves defending their protests.

One of the youngest, Shibby Lapena De Guzman, s student of St. Scholastica College, posted online: "I'm the girl in the picture with the megaphone. Please do not underestimate the youth. We completely know and understand the injustice we are protesting against. Thank you."

It should be noted that in July, Shibby Lapena De Guzman wore a cardboard around her neck that read (translated into English): All of Us Possible Drug Pushers).

Another protester was  22-year-old Nicole Aliasas, who showed up at the gates of the Heroes Cemetery on November 18, before the other protesters.. Surrounded by police and pro-Marcos folks, she stood in front of the gate and held her left fist in the air in protest. When interviewed by the media, Nicole has this to say: 

 "True, we millennials weren't even alive at the time. But when we read the historical accounts, we found out what many people went through to gain our freedom today. Actually, it is more embarrassing for the people who were already alive back then. They knew what happened. I don't know why they choose to be blind. I don't know why they choose to set aside the human rights violations that happened during that time. I cannot stomach it."

Thousands of students from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo, Miriam, and other schools and youth clubs from all over the Philippines participated in the protest rallies. I am reminded of the anti-Marcos rallies that I and my contemporaries participated in decades ago -- see 1966 picture below. 

Someone said, when the young people protest, there's a reason. 

It is time to listen to the Filipino youth.

Read also
A History of the Philippine Political Protest
       Tags: Philippines, Philippine, Filipino, students, rally, protest, rallies, politics, government, St. Scholastica, #ThankYouStScho

     This is all for now,

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