Saturday, July 19, 2008


The presence of anti-riot police force and firetrucks at the corner of Morayta Street and C.M. Recto Avenue yesterday surprised me. I had no idea there was a planned protest march to Mendiola by militant students.

And although I knew they wouldn't get to Mendiola beyond this point -- as is usually the case during any weekday -- I decided to stick around to take some video clips of the approaching march. As it turned out, this particular rally was different from the previous ones I had covered. The presence of imminent danger made it so.

What happened was, while the protesters neared the corner of C.M. Recto Avenue where the police had formed a human barricade to block their path, the fireman assigned to one of the firetrucks inadvertently released the water off the nozzle atop his truck. Many protesters in front, including some members of the police force got sprayed with water.

In reaction, the protesters got enraged; thinking it was an aggressive tactic by the police to thwart their march. And that was the scene where my video clip started (below).

I must commend the top police officials on the scene who tried to calm the incensed youths by telling them that it was a mistake that the water was released on them. The other officials, on the other hand, ordered their men not to hit anyone with their sticks -- that maximum tolerance was to be exercised. Thus, a highly volatile situation was diffused.

It was only today that I learned this rally was dubbed Black Friday; the aim of which was to call for the junking of the oil deregulation law and for a rollback of tuition rates. But nonetheless, while at the scene yesterday, all I could think of was these young peoples' intense passion to join such protest marches despite the risk of getting their heads smashed in by the sticks wielded by the anti-riot police force.

Again, kudos to both the protesters and the policemen for allowing a calm predicament to prevail at the peak of this intensely volatile situation.

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Related links:

Militants urge students to leave classrooms and join Black Friday rally

- GMA News

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posted by Señor Enrique at 9:48 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the Philippines today Eric. I admire the youth of today for goiing out of their way to be heard. I myself became part of these protests during my college years.

I just hope that our children won't have to do this or join protests like this just to be heard in the future.

July 19, 2008 3:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gutsy ka rin naman to stay put and videotape a potentially explosive event. Ingat lang, baka masaktan ka.

Kung ako I'll probably haul my ass off from there and go to the beach and videotape bikini-clad beauties instead LOL.

July 19, 2008 8:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I admire you just the same, Traveler, for your participation in keeping democracy alive and healthy in our country during your college years.

I am one of those who appreciate the idealism inherent with youth!

July 20, 2008 7:05 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You have a point there, bertN! Especially at my age, doing weddings and covering beauty pageants might prove more fun, if not lucrative ... hehehe.

However, truth be told, since I've delved into street photography and then photojournalism later on, there is a certain "rush" one gets when documenting human drama such as this one unfold before you. Somehow, the need to share with others what you see -- through your photographs and videos -- takes precedence; at times even forgetting one's safety it seems. The desire to capture the moment can be so overwhelming.

I guess, if younger, I'd probably be embedded somewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq with the US forces. Crazy, ain't it?

July 20, 2008 7:13 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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