In its 49th anniversary, netizens recall Martial Law atrocities

·Contributor
·6 min read
FILE PHOTO: Protestors hold mock hammers with words 'No Hero' in front of a portrait of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as they denounce his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' cemetery) during a protest outside the presidential palace in metro Manila, Philippines November 22, 2016. (Source: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)
FILE PHOTO: Protestors hold mock hammers with words 'No Hero' in front of a portrait of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as they denounce his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' cemetery) during a protest outside the presidential palace in metro Manila, Philippines November 22, 2016. (Source: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation 1081, which placed the entire Philippines under Martial Law. 

On the days leading up to Martial Law’s 49th anniversary, netizens shared their thoughts on that dark chapter in Philippine history.

Twitter user @callmejates listed down 13 reasons why Marcos is not a hero.

He also shared short clips from a Martial Law documentary by CARRMA PH where millennials learn about Martial Law.

Another Twitter user who goes by the name @gakiwon showed the stark contrast between Chel Diokno and Bongbong Marcos, both sons of politicians at the time, and both interviewed by Toni Gonzaga for her vlog.

Development worker Shigemi Muramatsu, @shigemimur on Twitter even challenged the actress to interview a Martial Law survivor.

Lawyer Nico B. Valderrama pointed out the impact on social media if Martial Law were enforced today.

Activist Lean Porquia called attention to the parallels between the Marcos and Duterte regimes.

Twitter user @SaltAndReality recalled the tragic death of Archimedes Trajano who asked Imee Marcos a question during an forum, was then dragged by her bodyguards and was later found dead and tortured on the street.

@SaltAndReality also listed down the unpaid damages that victims of Martial Law have yet to receive after filing charges and winning against the Marcoses.

In a series of tweets, another Twitter user with the handle @narodski pointed out the faults in the so-called “S&T (science and technology legacy) of the Marcos era.

Critically-acclaimed author Lualhati Bautista, who wrote the novel Dekada ‘70, also shared a few from “an endless list of murder and desaparesidos committed by Marcos’ men during his time.”

UP Activist Lakan, @jacques_lakan on Twitter posted excerpts from a book detailing the tortures committed during Martial Law.

Twitter user @OneDividesToTwo, who teaches Philippine Studies in the UP Diliman recommended some books to read about the Martial Law era.

FILE PHOTO: Filipino journalists gathered at the Monument of Heroes to offer prayers and flowers to fallen colleagues on the anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines on September 21, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. (Source: Jes Aznar/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Filipino journalists gathered at the Monument of Heroes to offer prayers and flowers to fallen colleagues on the anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines on September 21, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. (Source: Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

During the Martial Law era, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended. There were over 70,000 cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture. Roughly 3,000 killed, most of them tortured.

Marcos cracked down on press freedom. The military took over news organizations in the country and later, a crony press emerged in favor of the administration.

More than 30,000 opposition leaders, journalist critics, and student activists were arrested and detained.

A strict curfew was enforced from twelve midnight until four in the morning. There was close military surveillance on personal communication lines, including telephone calls.

Ferdinand Marcos assumed all state authority and decree-making powers. He also abolished Congress and instead, created a unicameral National Assembly, known as the Batasang Pambansa.

The Marcoses extended political favors, facilitation of business monopolies to family members and friends. Cronies received government commissions and projects, many of which were later investigated for corruption, misuse of funds and disregard for the Constitution.

Four decades after, the Marcoses are slowly regaining power. 

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) has officially endorsed former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as its presidential candidate in the 2022 elections.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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