September 27, 2009 in Cordillera
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
Baguio City ― The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) in a joint statement recalled the declaration of Martial Law thiry seven years ago. The statement said that the events under the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can be compared to the years under the Marcos dictatorship.
CHRA Jude Baggo said that under the Operation Bantay Laya 1 and 2 which served as national State policy behind the extra-judicial killings (EJKs), enforced disappearances (EDs) and other human rights violations, Arroyo virtually declared a Martial Law. “Currently, the whole of Northern Luzon, like the rest of the country is heavily militarized. The heavy military deployment especially in the interior communities in the Cordillera have resulted to human rights violations ranging from threats to extrajudicial killings of farmer-hunters whom the soldiers suspect to be members of the New People’s Army, and bombings of communities that are identified by the AFP as allegedly revolutionary base,” the statement said.
The satement said people’s organizations like the CPA continue to be tagged as sectoral fronts of the revoutionary Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
Baggo added that the labelling legitimizes the killings and disappearances of members and leaders of these organizations. He said these are being done despite the strong recommendations from the United Nations basing it from the reports of UN rapporteur Phillip Alston on the human rights crisis in the Philippines under the Arroyo administration. The UN recommended the Philippine government to cease from tagging legal progressive people’s organizations as enemies of the State.
The CPA further claims that the national State policy has been detailed by the Arroyo regime with a specific National Internal Security Plan-Application on Indigenous Peoples (NISP-IP). The group said the military operations are now bent not only on counter-insurgency but also focused on IP territories to secure the entry of extractive industries like large-scall and corporate mining and logging and energy projects like dams.
The statement said they recall the violation of rights by a regime that wanted to ensure an agenda that robbed the people of their dignity and respect. It added that this agenda serves the interests of the very few rich and their foriegn masters.
“We recall martial law because we need to remember a very important lesson that it taught us and the men and women who paid the cost for these lessons to be told. When people who spoke the truth were silenced, when those crusading for social justice and human rights were being jailed, tortured, abducted, enforcedly disappeared, and summarily executed, the Filipino people said, “Tama na, Sobra na, Palitan na!” Martial Law taught us clearly that the people’s right to resist against an oppressive government is just. The resistance that culminated to the 1986 Edsa People Power taught us too that the dictatorship can be brought down,” the statement said.
Baggo said that it is very important to live by these lessons as the call for justice for the victims under Martial Law alongside with the call for justice for the victims under the rule of Arroyo.
On September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law through the issuance of Proclamation 1081. It was announced to the nation on the night of September 23, 1972. Under the said declaration, thousands of student and labor activists, journalists as well as opposition figures and some criminals were arrested by the military. More than thirty thousand were imprisoned at various militray camps run by the army and the Philippine Constabulary, killed or went missing. Marcos stripped off the Philippine Congress of its powers and assumed legislative authority.
Marcos’ so called- reason of declaring marital law was to “save the Philippine Republic” and to “reform the society”. He said the the growing violence at that time caused by leftists and rightists were escalating thus justifying the imposition of a martial law.
However, many believed that Marcos declared it to prolong his stay in power and centralized this to himself and his cronies. Today, many also believe that the present President has plans for doing the same thing to perpetuate herself in power.# nordis.net