MANILA - Various groups are gearing up for a protest on Independence Day to march together for national sovereignty, judicial independence, social justice, and human rights.
Called "HINDIpendence Day," a play on the Filipino word "hindi" (not) and "independence," the activity is expected to gather groups from various sectors, including militants, women's groups and civil society organizations.
"Amid the growing crisis of governance and the burning issues facing our nation, we call on all Filipinos to gather on June 12 and show our commitment to the fight for freedom, justice and democracy," read a statement the group released Thursday.
"We cannot sit quiet in the face of such an abusive government. With the spirit and will shown by our ancestors, our heroes let our voices ring this Independence Day for true love of country and fealty to democracy."
The #BabaeAko Freedom March from Luneta to Liwasang Bonifacio will kick off the protest, with participants joining the HINDIpendence Day Rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
The #BabaeAko movement arose in reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte's statements towards women.
At least 20 groups are set to participate in the protest, including the Movement Against Tyranny, #BabaeAko, Voices of Women for Justice and Peace, Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, Win for Freedom, Coalition Against Darkness and Dictatorship, Gabriela, BAYAN, EDSA ProDem, EDSA 30, Lingap Bilanggo, Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, World March of Women, Pakisama-Kalipunan, Filipino Cultural Creatives, Alitaptap, Bantay Pilipinas, SOFA, DAMPI, and Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas.
Among "dire challenges" the groups cited in announcing its June 12 activity were China's incursions in the disputed South China Sea, "gender oppression," and issues related to human rights and labor.
Several groups have repeatedly hit the administration for downplaying the country's 2016 victory over China in an international arbitral court over a case on the South China Sea.
The landmark ruling had invalidated China's sweeping claims in the disputed waters, where it has continued island-building and militarization activities.
Government officials, however, asserted that they have taken "diplomatic actions," including filing protests, against China over its activities in the waters.
Various groups have also decried the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice, condemning the supposed rising dictatorship in the country.
In May, rights groups held "Protesta de Mayo," with women depicting human rights issues in the country.