PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte faced his critics outside the Batasang Pambansa on Monday right after delivering his second State of the Nation Address.
“I do not own the government. I am no different from you. Let’s talk again. Let us respect each other,” he said.
But Duterte, the first president to make such a move, was heckled by protesters even as they called for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.
But that prompted the President to vent his anger on the communist rebels, including those who ambushed his security detail in Arakan, North Cotabato, last week.
“Is that what you want? How can we have peace talks if I am killed? Who will you talk to?” he said.
The obviously exasperated Duterte, who even dared the protesters to shoot him, ended the dialog by throwing his microphone away and leaving the stage abruptly.
The protesters laid over 1,000 pairs of shoes, sandals and slippers along a portion of Commonwealth Avenue approaching the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City to dramatize their disappointment over the government’s war on drugs.
They did it hours before Duterte delivered his second Sona At the House of Representatives.
And as Duterte delivered his address, the group Anakbayan expressed indignation against the extension of martial law in Mindanao, the President’s long list of allegedly broken promises and Duterte’s wars of death and destruction.
“We are one with the Filipino people in strongly condemning Duterte’s genocidal war on drugs that has killed an estimated 12,000 people,” Anakbayan said in a statement.
“We strongly oppose his regime’s disastrous anti-terror war that has led to the destruction of Marawi. We denounce his all-out war against the revolutionary movement.”
Anakbayan said that, after a year of unfulfilled promises, it had become clear that no fundamental change was forthcoming from Duterte.
The group said Duterte had stepped up increasingly virulent fascist attacks against the populace.
The so-called Block Marcos Movement represented by its leader, Herbert Docena, said the arrangement of the footwear in rows within the yellow lane of Commonwealth Avenue from Amity Street to J.P. Rizal Street symbolized those who died in the bloody war of the President.
Docena said the move was a silent protest against the drug war.
“The footwear represented all those who were killed under the Duterte administration, particularly in its drug war and the martial law in Mindanao,” Docena said.
The more than 1,000 pairs of footwear were nothing compared to the 8,000 people who died in drug-related operations, he said.
The extension of the martial law would take toll on more lives in Mindanao, he said.
According to Docena, the pairs of new and used shoes, sandals and slippers were donations from people calling the government to end its war on drugs and supporting the victims of extrajudicial killings.
He called on the people to stay vigilant on the possible implementation of martial law in the entire country.
“We demand that he stop the extrajudicial killings, state-sanctioned violence and human rights violations and that he lift martial law [in Mindanao], Docena said.