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Youth groups to stage anti-Duterte rally on July 18

Youth groups on Tuesday announced plans of holding a nationwide protest against President Rodrigo Duterte and his government's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs ahead of his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.

At a press conference in Manila, the #YouthResist, a movement formed by youth groups Millennials Against Dictators [MAD], Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), Akbayan Youth and some campus- and community-based youth groups, will stage rallies on July 18.

The rallies will be held at St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, General Santos City, and Cebu City.

“Today, we are announcing that we are continuing to resist and that we are to constantly fight and struggle for this country’s future. We refuse to stop asking for a say into our officials decisions. We reject the notion that the loss of lives can be simplified as collateral damage," said Shibby De Guzman, a Grade 9 student of St. Scholastica’s College-Manila.

The 13-year-old faced backlash in November last year on social media for speaking out against the interment of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, whose 20-year rule had been marred by allegations of massive corruption and human rights violations, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Backed by the President, the burial also got clearance from the Supreme Court.

“The 18th of July marks the day that this movement is born. Forty-five years ago, a dictator was toppled down with the help of a youth movement. Today, any emerging dictator will be stopped”, De Guzman said.

De Guzman also criticized the alleged killing spree of drug suspects.

“The all-out war on drugs also kills the youth and our capacity to dream. The more it kills young and innocent people, the more it kills the hope for a better future for our country,” added Jeza Rodriguez of SCAP. 

Duterte has bristled at criticism of his anti-illegal drugs policy in which thousands have been killed since he took power on June 30 last year.

He made several outbursts against the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, human rights groups and other international institutions that expressed disagreement with his heavy handed approach to curbing the drug menace.—LA, GMA News