Filipino groups protest President Duterte during event at Lincoln Park in Jersey City

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Filipino Americans gathered in Lincoln Park in Jersey City on Sunday to protest the regime of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and his crackdown on civil rights.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

On the same day Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte gave a State of the Nation Address, protesters in the Philippines and abroad organized counter People’s State of the Nation addresses, including one in Jersey City yesterday.

Filipino student, youth, labor, and feminist groups that are chapters of groups involved in the National Democratic Movement in the Philippines worked together to organize the People’s State of the Nation address in Lincoln Park.

Duterte, who has been in office for four years,  recently imposed an anti-terror law that is seen by many as the equivalent of martial law on the country. It has already caused several dissenters to be locked up.

The protest was organized as a picnic with a social atmosphere while people socially distanced by sitting on their own blankets. In addition, speakers cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer before using a bullhorn.

Alphie Llantero, a member of Anakbayan Rutgers spoke to the assembled crowd.

He said the American government has supported Duterte’s regime by selling them American-made arms and munitions.

One of the companies that made the arms was Boeing which LLantero said made a deal with Rutgers University to conduct Research & Development and recruit talent in exchange for investment.

“We stand with the students and the broad Filipino masses in fighting fascism,” said Llantero.

Llantero said the three problems Filipinos are feudalism, imperialism, and bureaucratic capitalism.

“The new Filipina is first and foremost a militant, engaged in making history,” said Gabriela New Jersey Chair Cathy Gallagher.

She added that she has been involved in Gabriela New Jersey for three years.

Gallagher further stated that women and gender non-conforming people have been at the forefront of the fight against Duterte.

She compared Duterte to infamous former Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos who suppressed civil rights activists in the 1970s. Gallagher also said Duterte has done nothing but terrorize people.

“Filipinos are left with no options but to resist,” Gallagher exclaimed.

“Clearly this is a pattern amongst all types of struggle and all types of dissent, the regime will not end. They will continue to squash the resistance because they know there is power in the people’s movement. They know as the worsening conditions and the ever heightening contradictions continue to rise, the people will continue to organized and fight back.”

According to group at large, not only is Duterte oppressing people, he has done little to effectively prepare and react to the COVID-19 pandemic

“They’re vulnerable to sickness and uncared for by the Filipino government,” Gallagher said of Filipino healthcare workers. She said the money that was supposed to go to humanitarian aid has instead gone to militarizing the police.

A representative for Gabriela New Jersey spoke at a march against the War on Drugs in Newark last week.

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