The hashtags #NeverForget and #NeverAgain topped Twitter trends as Filipinos took to the social media platform to commemorate the 50th anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr declared martial law on September 21, 1972 by signing Proclamation No. 1081.
On Twitter, students from various universities called on their classmates to wear black as a sign of protest against the period of authoritarian rule in the Philippines marked by the death of press freedom, widespread human rights violations, and plunder.
NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
Iskolar ng Bayan, Ngayon ay Lumalaban! Wear black on Wednesday to show our resistance against the Marcos-Duterte Regime.
(@m0mmananggal) September 19, 2022
ON WEDNESDAY, WE WEAR BLACK.
In observance of the 50th anniversary of the Martial Law Declaration on September 21, 2022, everyone is encouraged to wear black.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions of the USG do not state or reflect those of the school and its management. pic.twitter.com/TBabRiFEn7
— DLSU USG (@usg_dlsu) September 20, 2022
Several Twitter users drew attention to the startling figures of corruption and human rights abuses that were recorded during the Martial Law era.
— iMPACT Leadership (@iMPACTPH2019) September 20, 2022
50 years ago, on September 21, 1972, Proclamation no. 1081 was signed by the, then, dictator-president.
I can give you 11, 103 reasons on why we should never forget what happened during the duration of martial law.#NEVERFORGET what happened so it will NEVER happen AGAIN. pic.twitter.com/syuoBojMl8
— Toby (@KeiroKeropi) September 21, 2022
35,000 sexually & physically tortured
Saying Martial Law was the golden years of the Philippines is such an insult to the countless of lives that were killed, abused & tortured during that era#NeverAgain #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/4JdiiedfGk
— francesca (@mariaIeonor) September 20, 2022
One user even reshared the image of Joel Abong, the severely malnourished child whose photo was taken in 1985 at the height of the Negros famine, when millions of individuals who relied on sugar plantations suffered from extreme malnutrition caused by the Marcos administration’s efforts to control sugar production.
This is Joel Abong from Negros. He was one of the victims of one family's insatiable greed. Let his memory haunt you. Let his image disturb so you may never forget. #NoToHistoricalDistortion#MarcosNotAHero#NeverAgain#NeverForget
Kim Komenich, 1985) pic.twitter.com/vuNTbt8LWk
— Terio Garcia (@terio_garcia) September 21, 2022
Others recognized the importance of remembering what took place 50 years ago in the context of another Marcos sitting as president.
While he did not name President Ferdinand Marcos Jr specifically, Barry Gutierrez, Vice President Leni Robredo’s former spokesperson, said he wished for him to do well since “too many will suffer otherwise,” but pointed out that recognizing the atrocities of Martial Law was important.
I want him to do well. Too many will suffer otherwise. But whatever good he does now does not erase the need to account for past crimes. Especially when they still continue to deny, while benefitting from, those crimes. Without justice we cannot move on. #NeverForget #NeverAgain
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) September 21, 2022
Creative director Gerry Cacanindin pointed out that the real legacy of Martial Law was the “extinction of intellectuals, public servants, and freedom fighters. That’s why we’re left with the dregs. Just look at the legislature and what a joke it has become,” he wrote, referring to current members of the senate (such as action star and political newbie Robin Padilla, who garnered more votes than any other senator in May’s election).
The real legacy of Martial Law is the extinction of a whole generation of intellectuals, public servants, and freedom fighters. Kaya latak na lang naiwan. Just look at the legislature and what a joke it has become. #NeverForget #NeverAgain
— Gerry Cacanindin (@GerryCacanindin) September 21, 2022
The anniversary is taking place while President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s is making his first official visit to the United States and participating in the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Marcos Jr and his mother, Imelda, face a US$353-million contempt order issued by the District Court of Hawaii in 2011 for not answering a judgement against Marcos Sr in a 1995 human rights class action lawsuit. But the US government confirmed earlier this year that, as a head of state, Marcos Jr is protected by diplomatic immunity.
Marcos Jr’s arrival in the United States was met by two opposing reactions from the Filipino community: while his supporters welcomed his arrival, groups of protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to his presidency.