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Reflections on ML@51

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Reflections on ML@51
Photo credit: Bayan Facebook

It has been fifty-one years since Martial law and the Dictator Marcos wrapped the country in darkness and horror. And still it seems like martial law never left. Especially when the dictator’s son, Marcos Jr. is now in Malacanang as the President (and Secretary of Agriculture!)

Marcos Sr. wielded Martial law then.

Marcos Jr. wields the Anti-Terrorism Law now.  

The Son does not have to declare martial law. He is already doing it with the terrible powers given him and his government by the Anti-Terrorism Law. May Bagong Lipunan o New Society ang Matandang Marcos. May Bagong Pilipinas naman si Junior.

Wala namang pinagbago. Gross violations of human rights continue under Marcos Jr. He has continued the executive decrees inherited from his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, giving even greater powers to the police and the military and uninterrupted impunity to carry out extrajudicial killings, abductions, arrests and detentions, and vicious red tagging.

In the “drug war”, hundreds were killed during Junior’s first year in office. According to the UP Third World Studies Center, “397 people have been killed in ‘drug-related violence’ since June 20, 2022, the first day of the Marcos administration, up to August 31, 2023 – an average of one fatality each day.”

One death every day. Not everyone noticed because of the government’s lack of transparency coupled with the desire to project a new image different from his predecessor.

The attempts to “rebrand”, deodorize, and sanitize the Marcos dictatorship in the education curricula are deliberate and systematic. In doing so, Junior only confirms that ‘yes, the Marcoses did evil things and yes, all of these need to be swept under the rug!’ The Marcos martial law history is rewritten, the historical fact becomes historical fiction, the vampires pretend to lose their fangs and retract their claws, and their subalterns and sycophants repeat the stories a million times over until these become best-sellers! It is all in the plan to ensure Marcos Jr and the Marcoses stay in power.

The recent news of confidential funds and intelligence funds, the total lack of state transparency and accountability of programs and politicians, and the mind-boggling budgets in the millions and billions for defense, NTF-ELCAC, and other offices like the OP and the OVP  (which also find their way to the pockets of corruption) illustrate a regime that does not serve the people, but rather spies on its own people.  A government that fears its own people.

Walang pinagbago. Gutom. Kawalan ng trabaho. Napakataas na presyo ng bilihin. Libu-libong mamamayan na nagbabakasakali sa ibayong dagat para maitaguyod ang pamilya. Kawalan ng hustisya. Kawalan ng lupa. And the country has a President who has racked up thousands of airmiles with his many trips around the globe and even wants more money for his budget for travelling, more money than allotted for the farmers.

Walang pinagbago. Nagsasalita, nagsusulat, nagpapahayag, kumakanta, tumutula, naghahabi ng mga kuwento ang taong bayan. Lumalaban. Kahit na binibira, binabaril, kinukulong.

Walang pinagbago. Umaaklas pa rin ang tao. Nagmamartsa pa rin. Hindi tahimik ang lansangan. Lalong hindi tahimik sa bundok at parang.

Junior can rewrite martial law in however way he wants, with the help that his money and guns can buy. He needs to remember though that there is no truth in his storytelling, and it is bound to fail. Just like his father, the Dictator Marcos who was driven out of Malacanang by the people who fought back. Oh, I forgot, of course Junior would know, he was there too!

On September 21, join the nearest rally or event near you to show we remember martial law, that we continue to resist repression and demand justice for the many victims from Marcos Sr. to Marcos Jr.  We must continue our duty to resist, our duty to remember, and our duty to remind.###