Cordillerans remember Martial Law, protest attacks on gov’t critics

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.com

BAGUIO CITY — Hundreds of individuals took part with the activities to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the city on September 20 despite the rains and chilling winds.

The Human Rights Summit in the Cordillera, attended by more than 500 individuals, highlighted this year’s observance of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.’s 14-year dictatorial rule. A march down Session Road to protest the intensified attacks against activists and critics of the Duterte administration capped the activity.

The people should not forget Martial Law was the core of the talk delivered by Dr. Ray Dean Salvosa who spoke before the delegates of the summit.

“We cannot do what the Marcoses say; we cannot move on. Justice requires us to remember,” he said.

Salvosa, now president of University of the Cordilleras (UC), recalled the dangers and hardships that activists and the Filipino people have to endure during the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. He was among the Baguio activists that took part when the First Quarter Storm sent waves of youth and students led protest across the country.

“Martial Law is not a thing in the past; it is in our midst,” underscored the university president.

CONTINUE THE FIGHT. Officers of the Progressive Igorots for Social Action pledged to continue the struggle of their elders in defense of their ancestral land and for self-determination. Photo by Sherwin De Vera

In her keynote speech, Movement Against Tyranny convener Inday Espina-Varona told the participants that Marcos and Rodrigo Duterte are from the same mold, but stressed that the latter is of a different breed.

She explained that both are dictators; however, Marcos declared Martial law while Duterte is doing the same “with the trappings of democracy.”

Varona said that when Marcos imposed Martial Law, she was nine years old and was a young journalist of 22 years old when the EDSA People Power toppled the dictatorship.

“I have covered massacres then and 47 years after I am still covering massacres,” she said.

The veteran journalist encouraged everyone to continue to take the courage to defend human rights and democracy.

“We (journalists) are brave because our people are brave,” she said.

The summit, held at the University of the Philippines Baguio Hymnasio Amianan, was a collaborative effort of the UP Baguio Student Council and All Workers Union, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, Cordilleran Youth Center and Cordillera Movement Against Tyranny.

UP FIGHT! Students from the country’s premier state university went out in numbers to demand accountability for the victims of Oplan Tokhang and oppose the militarization of school campuses. Photo by Sherwin De Vera

After the summit, the participants, together with students and professors from UP Baguio marched from the venue to Igorot Park. Protesters filled the whole lane of Session Road going down to Magsaysay Avenue and settled for a short program at the Igorot Park.

Speakers from different youth groups lambasted the government for the thousands killed in its anti-illegal drugs campaign. They also scored militarization of schools and red-tagging against their organizations.

Authorities have continuously tagged Kabataan Party-list, League of Filipino Students and Anakbayan as fronts of the communist rebels. Authorities implicated the same groups last year in the alleged plot to oust the president dubbed as “Red October.”

Before ending the program, members of Tanghalang Bayan ng Kabataan sa Baguio performed a street play depicting the rights violations committed under Martial Law and the people’s resistance that ended it. # nordis.net

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