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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 12:42 GMT
Filipinos wait for drama to unfold
A state of emergency is in force across the Philippines after the army said it had foiled a coup to topple President Gloria Arroyo.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the uprising which ousted President Marcos, the BBC News website spoke to people in Manila to get their reaction to the day's events.


MEGGY GUZMAN, 22, MANILA, WRITER AND ARTIST

Meggy Guzman
Meggy Guzman would like to protest but is scared by police tactics

I believe in people power. When Joseph Estrada was ousted from government I camped outside for three days.

This is a last-ditch effort to stay in power on the part of President Arroyo. She is scared that once all the people are out on the street, then she will be out of power.

Police are everywhere and they stop people from congregating. They are hitting people and using water cannons against us. They use women in the front line of riot police barriers making it harder for protesters to push through.

I want to see her removed from power. I believe she rigged the elections and there are so many allegations of corruption around her. She has lost all her credibility.

Now there is talk of the government taking over the media. They say the media adds fuel to the fire of unrest.

I want to join the rallies but I'm scared. Big names have been arrested and detained without warrant. The police have been hitting people with bats. What would happen if they arrested me?

But the more Arroyo tries to take away our civil liberties, the more we will fight back at the growing dictatorship she calls her presidency. We will wait and see what happens.

GERARDO PANGAN, 41, IT MANAGER, MANILA

I think the government has to defend itself and this is the only legal way. All these soldiers and plotters trying to gain power are going about it the wrong way.

So I don't disagree with what the government has done. Arroyo has made the right decision.

Gerardo Pangan
Gerardo Pangan thinks Gloria Arroyo is the only credible leader

This is very different from the Marcos era. I was very young when martial law was in force but I know they arrested so many people in that time.

Now the atmosphere is calm and traffic is orderly. People talk in a balanced way - we discuss the possibilities of Arroyo's downfall over coffee. Maybe it's just that we are used to this kind of situation.

Arroyo is the credible candidate. Perhaps she has no charisma, but she has a background in economics.

The noisy left may be out on the street but people are so tired of all this chaos. People just want to stay alive by working hard and making money.

At the moment the priority has to be stability. Many have a hard enough time making their daily bread. I really don't expect much disruption. I certainly don't want any disruption.

BEN MUNDIN, 52, BUSINESSMAN, MANILA

Ben Mundin
Ben Mundin initially supported Gloria Arroyo
We had bitter experiences under the martial law imposed by Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s. There was a serious suppression of civil rights and a lot of arrests without warrant.

People have enjoyed real freedom since the 1986 revolution. But with the declaration of this state of emergency, we really do not know what the repercussions will be.

Will Arroyo imprison people? Will she too go down the road of arrests without warrant? People are so unsure about what will happen so the only thing they can do is rally against her.

We have seen rallies before. But nothing really happened because they didn't have the support of the middle classes as there were no qualified successors.

This state of emergency is highly unnecessary and it has only created a focal point for people to unite and oppose her. So perhaps rallies planned for tomorrow will be more effective.

Initially, I supported Arroyo but with all the revelations about corruption, my doubt is snowballing and the country's collective doubt could be like a volcano erupting.

TEODORO ANANA, 60, SOCIAL WORKER, MANILA

Teodoro Anana
Teodoro Anana would take to the streets if there was a popular revolt
We have a history of people power revolutions. These great turning points are led by popular uprisings and then the military joins in. Civil society has to lead the way.

And that will surely happen here.

This state of emergency is wrong. I support the popular moves to oust or ask the president to resign. Nobody really loves her. Nobody supports her now: not even businessmen or religious leaders.

I think politicians and the military are watching the situation and I believe that when they think she has fallen out of favour, they will abandon her.

We cannot continue living like this until the year 2010 - supposedly the end of her presidential term. She has to give way sooner than that. Time will tell but we may not have to wait long.

The anniversary for the great coup that ousted President Marcos is tomorrow and I'm hopeful that something will happen. I went onto the streets in 1986 when we ousted Estrada. I hope to go out on the streets again and make my point.

There is no more fear among the activists anymore. It's almost an honour to be arrested or jailed.




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Philippines emergency
24 Feb 06 |  In Pictures
In pictures: No end to poverty
24 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo brushes off coup rumours
21 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippines tax hike takes effect
01 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Arroyo escapes impeachment bid
06 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gloria Arroyo's toughest week
30 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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