By Vincent Go, VERA Files
YOUTH from various sectors trooped to Mendiola on the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, citing what they called the dictatorship "continuing in essence" under the administration of President Benigno Aquino.
The struggle continues, says the the militant youth, with the upsurge in the number of political prisoners, arrests of activist and continued extrajudicial killings of, among others, anti-mining activists, environmentalists, journalists and peasant leaders.
Forty years ago, then President Ferdinand Marcos abolished Congress, closed down the media and proceeded to rule singlehandedly over the country, with aid from the military. What ensued was a regime of corruption and human rights abuses.
"There is no change, except in name, from Martial Law to Oplan Bayanihan, from Cronyism to KKK or Kaibigan, Kaklase at Kabarilan," said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.The students also lamented the enactment of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, just this month. They said the law is tantamount to electronic Martial Law.
"The cyber crime bill or e-Martial Law will severely hamper the freedom of expression on the Internet and post threats to user privacy," said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino.
Media practitioners have lamented that the Senate managed to sneak a provision into the bill that penalizes libel online, at a time when the press has advocated a decriminalization of libel.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")