September 21, 2021 (6:45 PM)

4 min read


NEVER FORGET. Local progressive groups gathered at the Freedom Park to protest in commemoration of the 49th anniversary since late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the entire country. Photo by Alfonso Miguel Cordoviz

Never forget. Never again. 

Remembering the horrors of Marcos’s fascist regime, Filipinos commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration today. 

Activist groups and progressive partylists around the country gathered to recall the dark days of dictatorship.

In Davao City, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Mindanao Region (BAYAN-SMRC), ACT Teachers Partylist, Kabataan Partylist, Gabriela Partylist, Bayan Muna Partylist, and Anakpawis Partylist were a few of the many who stood their grounds at the Freedom Park, voicing their condemnation of the past authoritarian admin.

Bayan Muna Partylist – Davao Coordinator Rauf Sissay emphasized that the very heart of remembering the atrocities brought by the Marcos period is ensuring that the Filipinos have learned from the numerous crises that transpired during that time. 

Moreover, Sissay mentioned the Philippines’ political and economic predicaments and the countless human rights violations that served as a reminder of the abuses that Filipinos experienced during the Martial Law days.

“Kita noh, isip mga Pilipino ay i-commemorate o hinumdumon ang Martial Law ni Marcos every year, aron makakuha ta’g pagtulon-an sa mga nahimong kasinatian katong panahong Martial Law ni Marcos na adunay krisis sa ekonomiya, krisis sa politika, kapin libuan ang human rights violations niadto. Aron dili na mausab ang mga mapait na panghitabo niadtong panahon ni Ferdinand Marcos,” he said.

Addressing the safety protocols and restrictions, he expressed how this year’s commemoration is unique due to the pandemic. Yet, it still did not waver the activist and the various progressive groups in forwarding their protest.

According to the partylist local coordinator, this year’s organized demonstration seemed to be held back by the authorities compared to the previous years, noting the extra barricade set up by the police.  

“Karon na year, pinasahi ni siya kay we are experiencing a pandemic, and as you can see diri satong palibot, the Davao City Police is attempting to suppress our right to express, [and] our right to redress our grievances,” he said.

When asked about the effects of Martial Law that have still reflected in the present time, Sissay asserted that the oppressive laws passed by the current administration resembled the antidemocratic government back then, highlighting how it is intended to silence the people.

“Pinaka-complete na manifestation sa Martial Law sa current time kay kaning mga fascist and repressive laws na gina-implement sa Duterte administration, particularly ang Anti-Terrorism Act of 2021, gina-criminalize ang dissent, ang activism sa atong nasod, mas nahimong popular karon ang red-tagging, mga human rights members ug aktibista ginapasanginlan, para mapahilom ang kinatawhan,” he said.

Sissay also added that the country’s democracy is on the brink, underscoring that “if we really live in a democracy, the government should always uphold people’s right to express and to protest and to redress our grievances.”

BAYAN-SMRC, meanwhile, issued a press release regarding their stand on how Marcos and Duterte are no different, saying that the injustices done by Marcos to the people are “currently mirrored by Duterte, reflected on the dire situation of health workers, issues on vaccine rollout, and aid, the discrepancy in COVID-19 testing, and the existing de facto Martial Law”. 

“Duterte, just like Marcos, killed thousands of Filipinos to silence the dissent of the people. To legalize his actions weaponizes the law to justify killings and killings of the people who are pushing for legitimate demands such as free and safe vaccination. Now, under the pandemic, despite his inutile response, he weaponizes the COVID protocols to hamlet the people while he greedily pockets the people money,” BAYAN-SMRC Spokesperson Rodney Baslot said in their official statement.

Stage protest actions were demonstrated all over the country, some of which in Liwasang Bonifacio, Escolta St., Manila, and ABS-CBN Cebu’s office in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City and even abroad by United States-based organizations. 

The Declaration of Martial Law was actually enforced on September 23, 1972, but was promulgated on September 21, 1972, in Proclamation No. 1081.

End the silence of the gagged!

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