Monthly Archives: September 2012

Martial Law@40

40 Years...

Daily Express issue announcing the declaration
Martial Law anniversary protest. Photo credit: Mark Demayo

(Note: We are taking a cue from an editorial published in MAGDALO, VOL XVIII-1, September 2002, which was about Martial Law. Since its been ten years after the issue was created and 40 years after the infamous declaration, we figure its time to take one more stab by reviving the text of that editorial and modify it to reflect contemporary times.)

My countrymen, as of the twenty-first of this month, I signed Proclamation № 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law…

-Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, in an address to the nation, September 23, 1972, 7:15pm

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law. When an entire nation was brought to heel on the orders of one man.

How far have we gone after martial law? After EDSA I and II? After the death of an icon whose husband suffered during those dark days and whose only son is now holding the office she once held?

The youth have played a very essential role in the ousting of two tyrants, one of whom still goes out and about proclaiming to be above accountability behind a neck brace. Once, thousands upon thousands of young people lived up to the call of the time, to restore democracy and liberate the people from the shadows of a reemerging past, but as we now know, nine years of the Midget brought us nothing but shame.

Martial law will not be declared, but it need not be declared anyway. In the past weeks, we have come to grips with an idiotic senator/actor who tried to justify his copying of text from a blogger and a former US president into the various speeches he made. This same senator is now advocating a brand-new law – RA10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 – as a weapon he can use to get back at the people who truthfully criticized him online. This law, along with the Human Security Act of 2007 and the Data Privacy Act of 2012, seek to curtail press freedom and civil rights of the people. These are rediscovered camouflages of martial law – at a time when this administration seeks transparency in government and the elimination of red tape. How can this government even proclaim openness when it doesn’t even mark the Freedom of Information Bill a priority piece of legislation but grants such treatment to the RH Bill?

We must stand true to the vision of a just and civil society. Never again must we allow ourselves to fall under a dictatorship, even when the children of that hated man goes out of their way with peddling their versions of history, the kind being taught at schools in their bailiwick or even in the pages of Gregorio Zaide’s history books.

As we remember the people whose rights have been abused and whose families have been left grieving, we must keep watch on the possibility of a past recurring, the dark days of martial rule. Will history need a remedy, ultimately for the amnesia of the Filipino people?