Robredo to Pinoys: Remember horrors of martial law

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Robredo to Pinoys: Remember horrors of martial law
“This has never been a fight between the yellows and reds, and political differences… This is a fight of every Filipino who believes in democracy,” the Vice President said.
Michael Varcas / File

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo urged yesterday Filipinos to remember the horrors of the Marcos dictatorship as the country marked the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

Robredo also reminded young Filipinos, who never knew the Marcos dictatorship, to remember that martial law was not about political feuds but about ordinary people who suffered under the abusive regime of then president Ferdinand Marcos.

“For those who did not experience the violence, maybe it’s hard to think how did we get to this point in our history,” she said.

“This has never been a fight between the yellows and reds, and political differences… This is a fight of every Filipino who believes in democracy,” the Vice President said.

Robredo also challenged Filipinos not to allow a repeat of the dark days as she enjoined them to become “tools of truth and justice.”

She said the Philippines faces a new challenge as “people who trampled our rights, and our freedom, and stole from government coffers, are returning to power.”

“More than remembering, this day is a call for all of us to fulfill our duty to ensure that there is no space for any dictator in a free country. Let’s remember that there is no leader who is more powerful than the country being served,” she said.

Sen. Leila de Lima has urged the Filipinos to continue resisting the looming dictatorship under the Duterte administration and fighting against any attempt at historical revisionism.

In her message, De Lima said remembering the dark period in the country’s history is part of the nation’s struggle for a more just and humane society that is founded on full respect for dignity and freedom of the Filipino.

“Today, as always, it is our shared obligation, our constant duty, to commemorate the declaration of martial law, to instill in the minds and hearts of our countrymen, especially the youth, the lessons from our sufferings under a dictatorial rule for us not to repeat the grievous mistakes of the past,” she said.

De Lima explained that remembering the atrocities during martial law under dictator Marcos should not be interpreted as an act of self-flagellation or masochism, but rather an effort to preserve what is left of the country’s democracy.

The Catholic Church urged the Filipino people to hold irresponsible government leaders accountable.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. said the abuses of martial law would not be repeated if the Filipinos would be involved in issues concerning the country’s problems. 

Aside from participating in social causes, Bacani also urged the public to pray that the Philippines will be spared from leaders who are oppressive and deceitful. 

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vice president Pablo Virgilio David led a mass yesterday at the Christ the King Mission Seminary Covered Court in Quezon City for the 47th anniversary of the martial law. 

David also led the call to action and launch of the #EndTheAssault campaign for human rights defenders shortly after the mass, followed by the candle lighting and signing of the people’s support for the cause. 

A militant group marked the 47th declaration of martial law with protests and an urgent call for immediate action.

The Campaign against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said brave students and youths have defied the lapdogs of the Marcos dictatorship.

The activists claimed that by the end of the Marcos regime, more than 3,000 people were killed, 34,000 were tortured and 70,000 were imprisoned with billions of pesos in public funds stolen by top government officials.

CARMMA said the country is once again called to task in the face of a new authoritarian leader.

“The Duterte regime has fed the Filipino people with so many ironies and lies – from the sham drug war, the war against human rights defenders, the surrendering of our sovereignty, the ballooning debt, the brazen corruption, the recycling of drugs and corrupt officials, the coddling of butchers and plunderers, the militarization of the bureaucracy, a long list of repressive policies and unbridled human rights violations,” the group said. – With Robertzon Ramirez, Rhodina Villanueva, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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