Caritas Philippines has asked Filipinos to offer special prayers for all those who gave up their lives during Martial law.
"We are asking everyone to offer special prayers for all who gave up their lives during the dark days of Martial law. Let us light a candle for truth and justice tonight at 6 p.m.,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr., Caritas Philippines executive secretary in a statement.
As a survivor of the Martial Law regime himself, the priest said "it was never easy trying to hide from a blinded government. During those years, I have seen how public officials allied to then President Marcos, can easily twist the facts and make you disappear. If we are not careful, vigilant, and become truly patriotic, the democracy and freedom that we enjoy today will soon be out of our hands again.”
Caritas Philippines national director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo also paid tribute to all the victims of human rights violations during the said period which included church workers, human rights defenders, legal aid lawyers, labor leaders, and journalists
"They say we should move on as it has been 50 years since the imposition of Martial Law but there can be no moving on when there is no justice and accountability, which resulted in more human rights abuses, and efforts to change history fueled by the desire to erase the tragedies of the past,” he said.
Bagaforo said such dark chapter in Philippine history should never be forgotten and should not be allowed to happen again.
“Caritas Philippines is joining everyone in the call to #NeverAgain let the powers that be control the narratives of the Filipino people. We call on our faithful to look out and defend the truth, fight misinformation and disinformation by supporting legitimate sources of news and information, and by demanding accountability and transparency from government officials, especially those who hold greater positions of power,” he said.
For his part, Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula asked Filipinos not to forget the lessons during the Martial law.
"Let us not forget the lessons during the Martial Law era. We have found the light. Let us not go back to the dark," he said.
Among these lessons, Advincula said, are respecting life and human rights, development anchored on justice and peace, and fighting for truth, the value of democracy and power of the people, as well as faith in God.
The country marked the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. on Wednesday, Sept. 21.