We are one with the nation in remembering the 45th anniversary of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of the Martial Law in the country.
Words must not be minced: The Marcos Dictatorship is the darkest period of our nation’s collective history. He syphoned our national coffers and built a wealth empire for his family, brought our economy down and close to bankruptcy – his debts still paid for by the current generation, disregarded democracy and the rule of law, weakened and corrupted institutions to perpetuate the dictatorship, and persecuted anyone who dared to stand up against his tyranny.
Tens of thousands of Filipinos suffered under his military rule; they were imprisoned, murdered, and up to this very day – missing. They were political activists, student and community leaders, members of the opposition, and ordinary Filipinos who saw the ire of power-hungry state forces.
To remember the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos is of great importance this year, as the Philippines is sliding back to how it was during the Martial Law: An economy in shambles, democratic institutions eroded, dissenters silenced, police abuses normalized massive human rights violations, and accountability from the government absent.
The brutal “war on drugs” is a war against the poor. Oplan Tokhang has already claimed the lives of more than 12, 000 Filipinos, most of whom are only alleged small time offenders, belonging to various impoverished communities, and unable to defend themselves in a court of law, while big-time smugglers of shabu remain free. To date, more than 50 children and teenagers have been tagged as “collateral damage” to the war, with overwhelming evidence of abuse from the police.
While the whole country is still under a state of national emergency for a year now, Congress has allowed the declaration of Martial Law in the entirety of Mindanao until the end of the year. It has regularly undermined democratic institutions like the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, and the Supreme Court, among others.
Free speech is stifled by the administration, enabling the rise of fake journalists and propagandists in the country which routinely attack and erode the media, human rights defenders and the church.
Worst, favors were given to the Marcos family by giving the Dictator a hero’s burial and declaring his birth anniversary a holiday.
With the Philippines’ imminent return to autocracy, it is not only necessary, but a moral obligation for all Filipinos to stand up, unite, and shout for transparency and accountability. The fight for human rights should be a universal pursuit, and all roads taken by different movements lead to the same goals: to call for justice, defend our freedoms and liberties, and safeguard every Filipino from abuses perpetrated by the government.
Together, we must show our national leaders and the entire world that we have not forgotten the pursuit of justice for the victims of Martial Law.
Together, we must demand to put an end to the culture of tyranny and impunity, and to resist and reject any move to return to military and one-man-rule.
Together, we will protect our hard-won freedoms, rights, and liberties.
Tinatawag na tayo ng bansa upang sama-samang manindigan. Kailangan na nating manlaban para sa ating mga karapatan!