No one can deny the horrors, terrors and rampant looting of public funds during Martial Law, during the time of the conjugal dictatorship.
The Duterte administration might be purportedly unfazed by the European Union's push for trade sanctions over what the EU lawmakers described as a "rapidly deteriorating human rights" situation and extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte but the Filipino workers’ courage to resist any further dictatorial tendency is bolstered by the recent EU pronouncement.
On the eve of the 48th year anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition is grateful for the EU support for the human rights struggle and once again reiterates the cry of the workers and their trade unions, "never again to martial law, never again to another dictatorship like that of Marcos rule! Stop the killings! No to the continuing plunder of public funds!"
On September 21, at the CHR ground, together with the Movement Against the Yerrorism Act (MATA), the trade unions and other civil society groups will remember the looting of public funds with alacrity by Marcos and his minions, the 36,000 documented tortures, 70,000 incarcerations and 3,257 known extra-judicial killings, among others, from 1972 to 1986.
As we remember martial law, we are also prompted to ask, what is happening to our country today, Mr. President Duterte? Your administration has been manifesting a strong tendency towards another tyranny. Our institutions are now severely weakened as checks and balances are almost completely eroded. Our rights – social, economic, cultural, civil and political – are constantly attacked. And corruption is back with a vengeance. Even the PhilHealth was not spared to the reign of plunder and billions of pesos were gone with impunity.
Once again, a reign of terror is upon us. Though estimates vary, killings everywhere are rampant and still on the rise.b The Human Rights Watch reported that based on police statistics, extra judicial killings went up by 50% in the first 4 months of the lockdown as compared to the months prior to the pandemic. Today, a total of 5,810 drug personalities have been killed as of January 2019. Human rights groups claim over 12,000 extra-judicial killings and increasing every day which do not spare 54 children. Other estimates over 20,000 have been killed.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague took cognizance of these killings and conducted preliminary hearings. The UN High Commission and the EU took initial actions on the death tolls and hundreds of human rights violations.
The Duterte administration is starting to institutionalize red-tagging. It is tagging a number of innocent workers as communists and asked to surrender otherwise they will be harmed, that in turn, bolsters their demand to increase its anti-communist intelligence fund without public audit.
We need to learn that “strong leadership is a myth.” Democracy requires active citizenship, not a strongman. We cannot afford to have another Marcos to plunder the economy and inflict harm on individual citizen and violate his or her rights.
No amount of disinformation would erase the fact that the human rights violation of the Marcoses and the plunder of public funds were real. Republic of the Philippines vs Sandiganbayan and the Marcos estate (GR No. 152154, July 12, 2003), Marcos vs Republic of the Philippines (GR No. 189434, April 25, 2012) and Estate of Marcos vs Republic of the Philippines (GR No. 213027, Jan 18, 2017) are the three (3) landmark cases, among others, of unexplained wealth of Marcos involving billions of dollars have long been final and executory.
This is why the Human Rights Victims Compensation Board was created by Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. The HRVCB itself said that 11,103 victims of human rights will receive monetary compensation for human rights compensation after a long and tedious process (Of course, there were more victims who did not apply for compensation and some are already dead).
Join us at CHR ground, UP Diliman, at 8am, in marking the dark days of Martial Law. Amidst the pandemic, we collectively call: Trabaho at ayuda, Hindi Diktadura!