Ilocanos here gathered in front of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol in Laoag City on February 25, as a show of support and solidarity behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and other crimes, corruption, and poverty during the 31st anniversary of the EDSA I People Power Revolution.
Governor Imee R. Marcos invited netizens on her Facebook page two hours before the event saying, “Kas pannakikaykaysa kadagiti kailian tayo idiay Quirino Grandstand, let us support the President and say ‘NO’ to destabilization!” (Bilang pakikiisa sa mga kababayan natin sa Quirino Grandstand, let us support the President and say ‘NO’ to destabilization!)
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. revealed earlier that he had received reports of possible “destabilization attempts” against the Duterte administration.
“Oo, marami na tayong natatanggap. Bawat Gabinete iyan may binibigay na information, pero kailangang tingnan natin nang mabuti,” he said.
As a result, supporters of the President gathered at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for a peaceful rally and prayer vigil to express their support.
Filipinos nationwide, including Ilocos Norte, and overseas Filipino worker (OFW) communities in Dubai, Bahrain, Australia, Germany, and Canada, also held rallies to reiterate their support for the administration that garnered over 16-M votes last May.
Governor Marcos had supported President Duterte during his presidential campaign, and the latter allowed former President Marcos burial at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
Nineteen-year-old Patrick John Quitoriano, Vice President for Administration of the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA), was among the youth leaders who joined the vigil.
He said “naniniwala kaming hindi siya dapat alisin bilang presidente… nakikita naming na marami siyang nagagawa para sa ikabubuti ng bansa, specifically the war on drugs. We really believe in him, that’s why we are supporting him and want him to remain in position.
“It was more than 30 years that we’ve been celebrating EDSA I event yet no significant reform happened. Sawang-sawa na kami sa EDSA na yan.”
Meanwhile Professor Herdy La. Yumul, writer and sociology instructor at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), said, “the EDSA unrest in 1986 was a very big mistake in Philippine history. Ang akala ng mga tao, agad gaganda ang pamumuhay natin, malulutas lahat ng problema ng Pilipinas, pero hindi. Lumala ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas.
“Filipinos have realized that their enemy is not Marcos, but rather the system.”
Yumul also pointed out that the EDSA revolt was not a nationwide protest against Marcos, but concentrated only in Metro Manila area. Ngayon, nakikita natin na itong pagtatanggol kay Pangulong Duterte ay nationwide and global… So i-monitor natin ang mga iba’t-ibang probinsiya, mga OFW abroad, na sumusuporta kay Apo Duterte.”
He added that the percentage of Filipinos who want to oust Duterte may be small compared to the masses but, “marami ang pondo nila, at sa tingin ko, suportado sila ng Estados Unidos dahil alam naman natin na si Apo Duterte refused to bow to America. Ang gusto niya, malaya ang bansa natin.”
To the youth, Yumul urged them, “Huwag kayong matakot i-express ang mga opinion ninyo, at bantayan natin ang tunay na demokrasya.”—(Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)