Activists commemorate 48th Martial Law anniversary

Published September 21, 2020, 3:01 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Cries of “Never Again! Never Again to Martial Law!” once again filled the air as activists from various groups gathered Monday in different parts of Quezon City to commemorate the 48th anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law.


A wreath-laying ceremony (led by known activists and lawyers Chel Diokno and Neri Colmenares and former lawmaker Erin Tañada, among others) kicked-off the activities at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani.

“Nandirito tayo ngayon para mag-alay ng wreath sa lahat ng mga bayaning nagbuwis ng buhay para tutulan hindi lang yung Martial Law ni Marcos, ang kanyang diktatura, kundi nang panumbalik ng diktatura sa Pilipinas (We’re here to lay wreath for the heroes who sacrificed their lives to oppose not only Marcos’ imposition of the Martial Law and his dictatorship but also the return today of the dictatorship in the Philippines),” Colmenares said.

Activists claimed that Martial Law days have returned, particularly in time of the present administration, as killings and human rights abuses supposedly continue.

“Martial Law should serve as a lesson for the wannabe dictators. Like the toppling of Marcos, that’s what will also happen to you,” Diokno said in Filipino, adding in a video message posted on social media by Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, “Dapat tuloy tuloy ang laban natin, wag natin kalimutan ang kasaysayan (We should continue fighting and not forget the history).”

Some of the Martial Law veterans, including members of Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) as well as Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aretso (SELDA), also attended the gathering.

“Marcos No Hero! No To Fascist Regimes” read the message on a large dark red banner raised by CARMMA and SELDA members.

Although Martial Law days were known as “a time of suffering,” rights group Karapatan said, it “was also a time of resistance” as “dark forces of tyranny were eventually vanquished by those who dared to fight it, even at the cost of their lives.”

“Today, Karapatan joins the Filipino people in remembering and in honoring their lives, sacrifices, and their unrelenting struggle…,” the group said in a statement. “Today, on the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, we dare to return to the streets with face masks and clenched fists raised in defiance. Our faces may be masked, but our voices are not muffled in crying for justice for all the victims of the brutal atrocities and attacks of the Marcoses and Duterte against the Filipino people.”

Ending the program at the Bantayog ng Bayani, the iconic song “Bayan ko” was performed, with attendees raising their clenched fists.

Other progressive groups also held protest actions and programs at the Commission on Human Rights ground along Commonwealth Ave. and in front of the embattled broadcasting network ABS-CBN compound.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary general Renato Reyes added that a noise barrage would also be held before activists convened at the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus until 6 p.m.