Two opposition senators on Tuesday, Sept. 20 urged the younger generation of Filipinos to learn more about martial law, why it is commemorated every September 21, and the horrors that occurred following its declaration during the Marcos regime.
“Huwag nating kalimutan na ito mismo ang dahilan kung bakit natin itinalaga ang araw na ito (Let’s not forget the reason why we are commemorating martial law during this day),” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Para sa henerasyong hindi nakaranas ng marahas na Batas Militar, ang Setyembre 21 ay isa sa mga paraan upang mabigyan ng hugis ang mga alaala ng madugong panahon ng Martial Law (For the generation that did not experience the violence of Martial Law, commemorating it on September 21 is one way for us to relive the memories of a bloody time of martial law,” Hontiveros further said.
Senator Leila de Lima echoed Hontiveros’ call saying the Filipino youth should study historical accounts of martial law and learn from it.
“Ang sabi nga po: Kung hindi tayo matuto sa aral ng nakaraan, siguradong mauulit ang mga kamalian at pagdurusang kasama nito (As the saying goes: if we do not learn from the past, we will surely repeat that mistake and the suffering that goes with it),” De Lima said.
Hontiveros said that even during a COVID-19 pandemic, commemorating Martial Law is crucial especially during this time, when human rights and basic freedom guaranteed under the Constitution remains a challenge.
“Kaya sa maiksing kasaysayan ng ating demokrasya, hindi natin lubos maisip kung paanong makakalimutan na kaagad ng ilang Pilipino ang matinding pinagdaanan ng ating mga kababayan sa ilalim ng Martial Law (During the short time in history of our democracy, we can’t even imagine how some Filipinos have forgotten about the atrocities experienced by our people under martial law),” she said.
“Ang araw na ito ay hindi lamang para sa mga susunod na henerasyon, kundi para rin sa mga nakakalimot sa kasalukuyan (This day is not only for the next generation, but also for those who have presently forgotten history),” she pointed out.
De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP), renewed her call for the people to resist the aggression and abuses happening under the Duterte government which she said is reminiscent of the Marcos administration.
“We deserve better. We deserve transparency and accountability. We deserve decent, honest and efficient government. We deserve patriotic public officers. We do not deserve Duterte and Duterte-anointed leaders,” she stressed.