Pinoys havenât learned lessons of martial law â bishop
A maintenance worker cleans the surroundings of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors those who were killed during martial law, in Quezon City yesterday. The late strongman Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law 48 years ago today and kicked off nearly a decade of corruption, human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
Michael Varcas
Pinoys haven’t learned lessons of martial law – bishop
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos have not learned their lessons from martial law, Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said yesterday.

“I think we have not learned our lessons. People are not vigilant and are not courageous enough to speak out. They do not vote seriously. They allow themselves to be bullied,” Pabillo said ahead of today’s 48th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

On Sept. 21, 1972, former president Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Proclamation 1081, which placed the entire country under martial rule, spawning a series of summary killings, arrests and other human rights abuses.

Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos also believes that Filipinos should learn from the lessons of the past to prevent the oppressions of martial law from taking place again.

“We have to learn from martial law and live its lesson, that we should never let it happen again. We have to value our freedom, defend and promote it. But sad to say we tend to forget and take it for granted,” said Santos.

“There are political leaders who are self-serving, using their position to enrich and prolong their power. And we allow ourselves to be bought during elections or we just keep silent instead to speak about abuses,” he added.

Former Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes recalled that as a priest and head of social action in the Diocese of Surigao, he was among those who suffered various forms of harassment during the dark times of the dictatorship.

He said Filipinos should not forget the atrocities that transpired during martial law and urged that it be part of the lessons in school.

“Many Filipinos seem to have a short memory of the horrors of martial law. This ignominious period of our history must be taught as a subject to our young students to warn them that never again should martial law be imposed in our country,” Bastes said.

Fight for causes – Pangilinan

Sen. Francis Pangilinan seemed to share the same view as the prelates, saying young people must remain strong and continue exercising their freedoms and speak out for truth, human rights and justice despite being subjected to cruel online trolling.

Speaking at an online forum of students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila-College of Law during its celebration of Law Day last Saturday, Pangilinan recalled the martial law days when he was a student-activist.

He was the first student regent of the University of the Philippines System, but he stood against the Marcos regime that stole billions, rampant abuses in government, and the assassination of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. on Aug. 21, 1983, which he said “opened my eyes to what was wrong in the country then.”

The senator then cited how he was being trolled and bashed every day for being critical of the Duterte administration’s wrong-headed policies and their implementation.

Pangilinan then posed the question to the 300 students who attended the Zoom forum: “Amidst all these that’s happening, where do you stand? Each of you as law students, where does your generation stand?”

“In the midst of the pandemic, while billions in public funds for health are stolen, while thousands of our countrymen are being jailed instead of given masks or jobs, while ABS-CBN was shut down, while the terror law was passed, your younger sibling will ask you: ‘what did you do during the crisis?’” he added.

Meanwhile, the August Twenty One Movement (ATOM) recalled martial law and how Marcos “used this as a license for massive thievery and state-sanctioned imprisonment, torture and killings of those who opposed him.”

The group, which initiated the mobilization of EDSA People Power that toppled Marcos in 1986, said Filipinos should resist the possible rise of another despotic rule.

“Another peril that we should guard against is the move of this administration to scuttle our democratic institutions and declare a revolutionary government. Purportedly, this will provide the present dispensation with the needed instrument that would serve as a powerful cure-all for our problems,” ATOM said.

“The grim reality is that this is nothing but a delusive fantasy that would hurl all of us to a desolate landscape of strong-arm rule, persecution, hopelessness and despair,” the group said in a statement signed by Nori Santos, Edith Reyes, Nikko Dayrit, Mae Lagunday, Mildred Juan, Olive Vicencio, Reli German, Mon Pedrosa and Sito Santillan.

However, ATOM said public vigilance should not distract citizens from confronting the coronavirus disease pandemic together. – Paolo Romero

MARTIAL LAW
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