September 27, 2023 (9:54 PM)

3 min read


IN PHOTOS: Demanding for justice and accountability, local progressive groups commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Martial Law on September 21, 2023, at the Freedom Park, Davao City.

Photo by Jerachris Megaela Rosal

Local human rights advocates called for justice and accountability from the current administration regarding the worsening case of human rights violations during the 51st anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

“Walay dagkong kalainan or difference ang state sa human rights sa panahon ni Marcos Sr. ug sa panahon ni Marcos Jr.,” Bagong Alysansang Makabayan Southern Mindanao (BAYAN) member Rauf Sissay said during the rally.

Sissay further stated that there are widespread and worsening incidents of enforced disappearances or abductions, where activists, human rights advocates, and defenders of people’s rights and welfare are being abducted and are never heard from again in most cases.

According to the Philippine Star, there has been a growing number of involuntary or enforced disappearances during the first year of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s term in Malacañang, as reported by Karapatan.

This figure contributes to the existing count of 1,900 enforced disappearance victims over the past five decades, spanning from the martial law period under the Marcos dictatorship to the Duterte regime. 

With this, Sissay condemned the ongoing practice of red-tagging, which is perpetrated by state-sponsored forces, particularly the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Gina-red-tag or gina-akusahan ang mga aktibista na mga sympathizers, supporters, or members ng CPP-NPA-NDFP, ug gina-akusahan kami na mga terorista, which is not the case. We, as activists, are here to amplify and echo the people’s concerns with regard to different issues,” he told Atenews.

The organizations present also called for support in the calls for protest against the enforcement of Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) which Sissay said that it is a way for the government to militarize schools, colleges, and universities.

During the protest, Kabataan Partylist – Southern Mindanao Region member Harvey Lao also pointed out that the Maharlika Investment Fund that Marcos Jr. is hastily pushing is unconstitutional and a waste of the limited funds of the nation. 

Lao also shared that Bayan Muna filed a petition seeking to declare the law unconstitutional and void as Congress rushed its approval through a presidential certification of urgency.

“Kana ma-pondo unta sa budget cut sa mga State Universities and Colleges. Daghan unta ang maka-benepisyo sa libre nga edukasyon.”

Sissay encouraged the youth and students not to be afraid to express their appeals, as it is their right, and to join organizations that amplify their calls for accountability, justice, and democracy.

A Wall of Remembrance of human rights violations victims from Marcos Sr. to Duterte’s administration to the present time was also established during the rally, serving as a poignant reminder of the past atrocities and calling for justice.

The BAYAN representative further emphasized that this type of mass action, rallies, and protests that they are conducting and will conduct in the future are important so that people do not forget the horrors and the true state of Martial Law.

The mass action at Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue, Davao City, was joined by various organizations, including Karapatan, SELDA, Anakbayan-SMR, KMU-SMR, Gabriela-SMR, among others, on September 21, 2023.

End the silence of the gagged!

© 2024 Atenews

Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy