The day we lost our freedom of speech

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

For our special presentation on Straight from the Sky tonight, we join the Cebu Media on the occasion of its 21st anniversary of Cebu’s Press Freedom Week. Few people especially those born after the EDSA Revolution remember that on that fateful day 43 years ago, then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos declared Martial Law throughout the country and literally plunged the nation into darkness and the first casualty was the media, because almost all newspapers were shut down and no one could tell you what really was the truth because when the newspapers were allowed to open, they became the propaganda machinery of the Marcos Dictatorship.

Martial Law lasted from 1972 to 1986… that’s 14 long years of one-man rule with the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan the only political party allowed to operate. Well the Marcos Dictatorship is now a distant memory, but the gap between the rich and the poor have only widened in the 29 years after operators of Martial Law were booted from power. But today, the Aquino Regime acts as if it is working on a de facto Martial Law.

To help us commemorate Cebu Press Freedom, we have with us Ms. Eileen Mangubat, publisher of Cebu Daily News who is the lead convenor of this year’s Press Freedom Week. Then there’s Quennie Bronce, editor of The Freeman and Cherry Ann Lim SunStar editor for special pages and features. If you notice… they are all women! It makes you kinda ask…what happened to the men? These ladies give you an idea of how Cebu has empowered our women, who are at the helm of upholding our precious Freedom of the Press.

So watch this interesting interview of Cebu’s Press Freedom Week in SkyCable’s channel 61 at 8:00PM with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9:00PM and at 7:00AM and 9:00PM respectively on Wednesday and Friday.


Indeed, today is the 43rd anniversary of the declaration by then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos of Martial Law and somehow that historic event in our history is fast fading away from the memories of many people, especially the youth who have no idea of how life was during the Martial Law years. In those days, soldiers were even assigned inside movie houses to catch lovers seated at the back of the theater near the projection room. A few were picked up and jailed for no apparent reason, not knowing what law was broken. The soldier was the law and the arm of the Marcos Dictatorship.

If there is anything that we learned about Martial Law, it is that Pres. Marcos used the specter of Communism to declare Martial Rule all over the country, even in places like Cebu, which was very peaceful and didn’t have an active insurgency. Martial Law should only be declared in areas where there is an active insurgency or a rebellion.

In hindsight, we know that Pres. Marcos knew the psyche of the Filipino people — that the Andres Bonifacio’s, the Leon Kilat’s or Jose Rizal’s who fought Spanish oppression lived in another era. But the ordinary Filipino of today wouldn’t join a revolution.


Last Thursday, I got a call from Mayor Mike Rama who told me that he responded to my column positively and send the Department of Engineer and Public Works  to asphalt our road leading to Martinez Compound, a very vote rich area in Barangay Camputhaw. Yes, now the potholes of our road have been patched up and we no longer have to swerve left or right to avoid those potholes. But how I wish that someday, Mayor Rama would order our road to be cemented so it would last very much longer.

Mayor Mike also reacted to what I wrote about the garbage problem and he agreed with me that something is wrong with the present system whereby garbage is being collected by the respective barangays. Like what we learned from dealing with people working in the government, they have become experts in giving excuses for their shortcomings. Most of the garbage especially in commercial areas can no longer be collected because barangay officials would only collect the garbage of residences or homes.

These barangay officials have conveniently forgot that business establishments also pay garbage tax, including Realty Taxes and machinery taxes to the City of Cebu. This is why I asked Mayor Rama to get into the bottom why many of our garbage trucks are no longer running? I also heard that the garbage in Cebu City is being dumped in Consolacion and because traffic is bad there, garbage trucks take longer to drop their load and come back. Perhaps the City of Cebu should look for a more convenient place where to dump garbage or get a Taiwanese firm to burn that garbage into fuel.


For email responses to this article, write to [email protected] or [email protected]. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.



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