By Junex Doronio
CARMONA, Cavite — There was an eerie feeling of deja vu on the martial law period when a group of activists on their way to the University of the Philippines (UPLB) were suddenly blocked along the South Luzon Expressway in this town.
The young activists, numbering only 50 individuals on board four jeepneys, momentarily held their breath anticipating their “baptism of fire” from the newly-passed Anti-Terrorism Act.
Some of them have heard from stories of older activists about repression and, worse, warrantless arrests, torture and “salvagings” (extra-judicial killings then) in the mid-70s up to late 70s and early 80s during the height of Marcos’ martial law.
“We were stopped by the police… They took the license of the jeep and were asking for everyone’s names. We asked the police if we could just go back to Cavite but they insisted we stay here,” said Joy Caldo of the Student Christian Movement — Cavite State University Chapter.
She said they were headed to Southern Tagalog’s version of the “SONAgkaisa,” a mass protest for President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.
On Monday morning, the group held a rally in Dasmariñas City, Cavite before traveling to join the 2 p.m. regional protest at UPLB.
Meanwhile, in Laguna, seven students also headed to UPLB were also “held” by the police as they were on the boundary of Calamba City and Los Baños town, said Kyle Angelo Salgado, spokesperson of human rights group, Karapatan-Southern Tagalog.
The students who were onboard a rented jeep when flagged down by the police were subsequently brought to the Los Baños police station.
Dark skies were noted hovering over Calabarzon as some sort of ominous signs of more terror ahead for those who choose not to be silent anymore.