Martial Law survivors vow to continue fighting, pass torch to younger generation

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2022/06/30: Women hold roses and placards that read
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2022/06/30: Women hold roses and placards that read "Stand for democracy" and "Never again to Martial Law" during the demonstration. Militant groups staged a protest at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo on the Inauguration Day of President- Elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. The main agenda of the protest was calling for accountability by the incoming administration to the demands of the economy and the crimes committed under the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Hours before President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s inauguration, victims of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s Martial Law on Thursday (June 30) vowed to keep fighting against what they described as continuing tyranny in the country, falsehoods, and trampling of the people’s rights and freedom.

In an “oath taking” ceremony called “Panunumpa para sa Bayan” held at the grounds of Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City, the victims, who are mostly in their 70s now, have also passed torches to the youth, a symbol that the younger generation will now continue the fight they fought before, including historical distortion and revisionism.

Civic group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), in a statement, pledged “to remain steadfast in its demand for accountability of the Marcoses for historical denialism and distortion, plunder, human rights violations and other anti-people acts.”

“In the midst of widespread disinformation, we will stand with other human rights defenders in asserting our freedoms of expression, assembly and association,” the group said.

“The sacrifices of the thousands who fell and the millions who suffered during the long dark years of the Marcos dictatorship will serve as inspiration in our continuing quest for a just and democratic nation,” CARMMA further pointed out.

Bonifacio Ilagan, a student-activist during Martial Law and one of CARMMA’s lead convenors, said in an interview with reporters that he still cannot wrap his head around the fact that the Marcoses have returned to power.

Bangungot kumbaga sa ating salita pero realidad at kailangang tanggapin,” he said.

(It’s a nightmare but a reality that needs to be accepted.)

Meanwhile, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales urged the public to open their eyes on the reality that Martial Law was a dark period in our country’s history, and that they should not become victims of historical revisionism.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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