By Erma Edera
“Never again to martial law.”
Thousands of protesters chant and braved the rain as they chant and gathered in different locations in Metro Manila to mark the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Over 1,000 activists from Bicol Region also join other militant groups in commemorating the martial law.
Lorna Ade, 54, from Masbate was very excited because it was her first time to join the Martial Law protest here in Manila.
“Excited po talaga ako dahil gusto namin iparating ang mga hinaing ng mga magsasaka sa amin. Kasi sobrang tagal na namin pinaglalaban walang nangyayari lalo na yung mining dahil nakakapinsala sa pagsasaka. ‘Yung tubig kontaminado na,” she said.
“Masyado po yung ginagawa ng militar sa Masbate. Marami ang harassment, nagooperation sila at pumapasok sa mga bahay, minsan paglabas nila at pagpasok ng may-ari, may mga nawawala ng pera at gamit,” she added.
Satur Ocampo, a founding member of the radical group Kabataang Makabayan was also present in the protest said that there were some “parallelism” under Marcos Martial Law and the current administration under Duterte.
“Hindi natin maikakaila na maraming pagkakapareho sa kanilang pamamahala . Makikita naman natin sa lagay ng ekonomiya natin,” he said.
“Ang pagkakaiba sa mga previous year ng commemoration ay yung mga dating grupo na opposed sa government ay magkakasama ngayon sa Kalakhang Maynila. Yan ang message kay Duterte, kaya namin isantabi yung pagkakaiba sa mga iba’t ibang usapin lalo na sa usapin ng pamamahala.,” Ocampo added.
On the other hand, former Department of Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano spoke about against unfulfilled land reform promises and the presence of large landowners in the country.
“Ang bumigo at nagpabagsak sa pasistang diktaduryang Marcos ay ang organisadong pakikibaka ng mamamayang Pilipino,” Mariano said.
Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano also said that she was against Duterte’s TRAIN Law and rising prices.
“Gutom na gutom na ang sambayanang Pilipino,” she said.
The Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon said in a statement that “hundreds of peasants joined together by indigenous people, fisherfolks, urban poor and other sectors—people of Central Luzon—continue their three-day protest march from provinces.”
Militant groups are expected to converge on Friday at the Luneta Park at 4 p.m. for the United People’s Action against Tyranny and Dictatorship.
Activists are gearing to burn a large mural of Marcos, Duterte, and former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Manila Police District placed the crowd estimate at around 4,000 protesters at 2:00 p.m. today.
No moving on’ – ADMU, DLSU
In a joint signed statement, Ateneo De Manila President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin SJ and De La Salle University Bro. Raymundo Suplido FSC said that there can be no ‘moving on’ from Martial Law and urged their students to be vigilant against efforts to forget the dark period of Martial Law .
“We invite the members of our academic communities and the Filipino people to remember the sacrifices of those who fought for our rights, freedom, and democracy,” the universities said in a joint statement released on the eve of 46th Martial Law anniversary.
“May we be inspired by their courage, learn from their sacrifices and struggles, and be true to what they fought for. Let us not allow those who seek to suppress our rights and freedom to hold sway over our future as a nation,” the universities stated.
The university officials likewise urged students to guard against falsehoods of people who wish to revise Philippine history. They hit groups who “naively” tell the public to move on from Martial Law.
“We say there can be no moving on without admittance, contrition, and reparation. Until then the evil tentacles of Martial Law will continue to fester and wound our democracy,” the university presidents said.
During Martial Law, students and universities played a key role in fighting against the injustices committed by government forces. Many of those who suffered abuses were also students and school officials.
“We do not call this day a holiday or a special day of commemoration. We cannot celebrate this day of infamy. Rather, this day must remind us of what we almost lost, and what we may lose again, if we are not vigilant and wise,” they said.
Meanwhile, University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion also announced that UP students and staff may be excused from classes and work on Friday, if they are joining activities related to the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.
“In view of our having proclaimed September 21 as UP Day of Remembrance to celebrate and perpetuate the memory of those who contributed to the resistance against martial law and to the struggle for civil liberties and human rights, I am encouraging all administrators, faculty, students, and staff throughout the system to participate in meaningful and peaceful activities for this purpose on that day in their respective classes,” he said in the memo.
“While there will be no suspension of work and classes, members of the UP community may be excused from their world or their classes for the duration of the activity (with the exception of personnel engaged in frontline and emergency services),” the UP president added.
On September 17, Conception had declared September 21 of every year as a “UP Day of Remembrance” to honor those who fought the Marcos dictatorship.