Across the Philippines, thousands marched on Monday, July 27, in protest against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and the recently passed anti-terror law. The protest march came hours before Duterte’s state of the nation speech. The protests were organized by various social movements, representing the causes of women, farmers, workers and students, along with religious groups, business leaders and academics.
The protests were held despite the pre-emptive arrests by authorities across. According to CNN Philippines, at least 34 people suspected of participating in the protests were arrested early in the day before the protests. Rappler reported that in the Calabarzon administrative region alone, next to the capital, 64 people were arrested on their way to join a demonstration.
In the capital city, Manila, hundreds marched on the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman). Participants marched by foot with placards and slogans saying “Oust Duterte”, and they were followed by a motorcade demonstration. Similarly large rallies were held across the country, with protesters demanding the ouster of Duterte, repeal of the controversial anti-terror law, and condemning political assassinations and the government’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address, Duterte very noticeably avoided speaking about the pandemic and the measures taken by the government. This was widely criticized by opposition leaders and activists alike. “He spreads lies and does not act on resolving the issues of this pandemic instead he diverts issues which are not addressing to the pandemic problem (sic),” said Ron Bautista, a demonstrator at UP Diliman.