Forty years since the imposition of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos, still all the victims of those dark years of repression and gross violations of human rights are not accounted for. The denial that there are violations of human rights, particularly Marcos’ statement that “no one but no one has been tortured”, is perpetuated to this day.
Until today, there is no disclosure of the whereabouts and fates of the involuntarily disappeared, of the perpetrators of massacres, extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and other gross violations of human rights during that period.
Everyone, from President Benigno Aquino III down to the most miserable of the victims of military rule, feels strongly that the teaching of the martial law period in the country’s history should be institutionalized.
But how to go about it is something that divides educators, historians, social activists, human rights advocates and lawmakers.
For Education Secretary Armin Luistro, students should not be told straight out that martial law was good or bad, they must make that decision for themselves.
In fact, he said this was the new direction that the Department of Education (DepEd) is adopting in teaching about that 14-year period when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial rule, taking for himself all the powers of the state and arresting and jailing everyone who opposed him and even those who he only thought were opposing him. There was the dreaded Preventive Detention Authority.
Alyansa Tigil Mina Statement on the Remembrance of the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law
In remembering the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is in solidarity with all the victims, their families and the activists who resisted, struggled and mobilized against the dictatorship. As we honor the heroes who fought martial law, we also remember and honor the environmental heroes and martyrs who fought against destructive largescale mining.
It was political repression then, and it is environmental and ecological genocide now.
With the growing list of extra judicial killings related to mining and the destructions it has caused to the environment, the mining industry is perhaps one of the main abusers of human rights, particularly of the rights of indigenous peoples. The destruction brought by mining also deny people their basic rights for food, safe and comfortable lives, water and the right to selfdetermination for IPs.
As the nation remembers today the declaration of Martial Law and the imposition of the Marcos fascist dictatorship 40 years ago—we recall not only the crimes and abuses , but the valiant struggles of our people to end the tyrannical regime.
Today is a day of remembering, so that we will not forget this dark chapter in our nation’s history and will not allow it to happen again.
Today is a day of reckoning, as we continue to pursue justice and redress for countless victims of Martial Law abuses, including crimes and legacies that continue to hound and harm our nation and people.
All the members of the movement rememberML@40 are grateful to the National Historical Commission (NHC) and to the people who worked for this recognition of just protests and determined struggles against the trampling of dignity and the ensuing gross violations of human rights during the dark years of martial law.
By this act may we also mark every single place where protest and struggle took place, where ever it may be – in Schools, Factories, Farms, Forests, in Streets and Mountains,
Asserting and demanding for the
rights to “food and freedom, jobs and justice”.