Bandillo: Resist Martial Law


“My countrymen, as of the twenty-first of this month, I signed Proclamation № 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law… ” — Ferdinand Marcos, September 21, 1972

Forty-five years later, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT), a broad anti-fascist movement would be formed to lead the September 21 mobilization at Luneta and in various cities of the country as we are again threatened with a nationwide declaration of martial law.

President Duterte is forewarned to listen to the people’s just demands.  

First, the people firmly reject the bloody war on drugs. The extrajudicial killings  being committed with impunity, and the government’s obvious and blatant disregard for the value of human life and other forms of human rights violation, are unacceptable.  

After a year in office, there are about 14,000 dead in Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ and the destruction of Marawi. Human rights group Karapatan has documented 420,046 victims of forced evacuation, 891 victims of illegal arrest, and 357,754 victims of aerial bombings and indiscriminate gunfire in relation to Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. 

Second, the people vigorously oppose martial law in Mindanao. Any and all attempts by the government and the military to impose a nationwide martial rule to quell the unrest against intensifying state tyranny now meet vigorous opposition.  

Third, the people vehemently repudiate Duterte’s coziness with the Marcos family and the latter’s full restoration and rehabilitation. Historical revisionism that celebrates Marcos a hero is also rejected. 

Marcos clan is believed to have bankrolled the candidacy of Duterte. In return, like a thief in the night, Duterte gave Marcos a state burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. As of late, a compromise agreement between Duterte and the Marcoses that shall absolve them of their crimes of plunder is under negotiations. This is untenable.  

Fourth, the people greatly disapprove of the attempts to cripple or control or undermine institutions responsible for ensuring checks and balances. These include the impeachment move on the Chief Justice, the slashing of the CHR budget and the bullying and impending impeachment of the Ombudsman.

Fifth, the people vow to assert and to promote and protect human rights; and,  struggle for a just and lasting peace. They will pursue political and economic reforms that will put an end to an oligarchic system. They will ensure that the majority of our people will conquer poverty and benefit from the wealth of our country’s natural and human resources.

Never again

The Martial Law period is deemed one of the darkest periods in Philippine History. It was actually declared by President Ferdinand Marcos on September 23, 1972 but Proclamation 1081 was dated September 21. It was imposed to combat the growing unrest of students and workers in the cities opposing his rule; the Muslim self-determination movements and the communist insurgencies.  

The people would dispute that,  as ML was more a plan to make Marcos president for life to perpetuate his family’s grip of Malacañang. Under the 1935 Constitution, Marcos was limited to only two terms of four years each or a maximum of eight years.

Torture, detention, mass murder, corruption and plunder marked the period.  Scholar Liliosa Hilao was the first murder victim under Martial Law.  In total, there were 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 70,000 Filipinos – students, labor militants, alleged communists, dissidents – faced imprisonment while 34,000 were tortured.  1,000 were subject to enforced disappearance.  Of the 3,257 killed, some 2,520, or 77 percent of all victims, were salvaged—that is, tortured, mutilated, and dumped on a roadside for public display. 

Marcos went on to rule for 20 years until he was deposed by a people’s uprising in Edsa in 1986.

ML will spell Duterte’s end

Formally declared or not, the people will continue to resist fascism. If Duterte decides to impose a full-blown fascist dictatorship, he will only hasten the development of the resistance movement which will cause his regime’s downfall as did Marcos. 

Duterte’s threats to impose martial law have been primarily aimed at revolutionary forces led by the CPP, NPA and NDF. Because of the ever-worsening crisis of the domestic ruling system and global capitalism, the revolutionary forces are now in a far better position than in 1972 to confront and fight the renewed threat of martial rule under Duterte.

Indeed, the crisis of the ruling system has become so grave that the ruling classes of big compradors and landlords are increasingly unable to rule in the old way. The prospects are bright for the revolutionary cause of national and social liberation. #


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