Martial Law activists call on youth to remember horrors of dictatorship

PROGRESSIVE groups marched to Mendiola last Wednesday, September 21, to mark the 44th year since dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law and to press their opposition to talk of another military rule in the country.

Martial Law survivors and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants narrated their torture under Martial Law and called for the release of current political prisoners numbering more than 500.

First Quarter Storm Movement chairperson Bonifacio Ilagan said that tyranny has not been completely eliminated by the ouster of Marcos in 1986.

“The so-called ‘best practices’ of Martial Law still remain. The reality is that there are still more than 500 political prisoners today.  Their arrests were learned from Martial Law.”

Ilagan said they oppose suggestions made by politicians to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to have more power for his government’s so-called war on drugs.

The NDFP for its part called on the youth to continue the struggle for genuine democracy.

Youth groups and students from various universities and high schools walked out of their classes to participate in what they called “Youth Action Day for Education, Peace, and Human Rights.”

“The struggle needs you. The roots of the issues of the people have not been addressed. You are still strong and you must take a stand to push the government to work for genuine change for the oppressed Filipinos,” NDFP consultant Concha Araneta-Bocala said.

Kabataan Party said the youth will learn from the horrors of Martial Law and will honor the martyrs from previous generations.

“The youth of today have not forgotten the dark years of Martial Law. The valiant fighting spirit of the people during the Marcos years remains alive, and even now is manifested in our continued struggle against anti-people policies and state-sanctioned violence, as well as our push for just and lasting peace,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.

“More than four decades after the declaration of Martial Law, the same conditions exist – and have even worsened – the plight of youth and students, the climate of impunity, the worsening economic situation. And that is precisely why we marked the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law with massive protests,” Elago said. # (Report by Abril Layad B. Ayroso/Featured image by Divine C. Miranda)