Exactly thirty-nine years ago today, our country and people officially became national prisoners enslaved and repressed by the fascist Marcos dictatorship. Although Marcos publicly declared military rule only two days afterward, September 21, 1972 shall nevertheless, and forever, be clearly remembered as the symbolic date when Martial Law was unjustly imposed upon our society and its citizenry.
On this date every year since, and even long after the dictatorship was ousted by a revolutionary democratic mass uprising on February 25, 1986, our people never forgot their dark and evil nightmare. The national remembrance of Martial Law has almost always instilled a strong sense of collective conscious vigilance and resistance against any potential threat to our civil and political rights. This national consciousness was politically re-born on this date nearly four decades ago and it has always remained firm and steadfast among our basic masses. And at all times, we have been ready to fight against any threatening signals emanating from Malacañang’s ruling elite, its reactionary agents in Congress and in the courts, and particularly, the state’s security apparatus.
Perhaps no less than ten-thousand people fell as victims to various forms of human rights violations during the nearly fourteen-year rule of the Marcos dictatorship, and even prior to September 1972. Yet still, the Philippines’ long dark night of state-terror unleashed the same social-economic-political environment which inevitably gave rise to a broadly-based, strongly progressive and vibrantly militant anti-dictatorship movement. Eventually the revolutionary mass upsurge of the post-August 21, 1983 broad anti-Marcos united front led to the overthrow of the much-hated and brutally bloody military dictatorship. All throughout his repressive reign, Marcos was very much backed up by US imperialism and then toward the end, finally abandoned at the very last hour, to largely protect (and to further advance) Washington’s own geostrategic interests in the Philippines and the region.
For over a quarter-of-a-century now, and after five pro-capitalist elite regimes entered Malacañang (and always with the full blessings of the imperialist White House), our country still remains a backward and underdeveloped capitalist society. The Philippine bourgeois-ruling class continues to control and manage the Philippine state’s economic-social structure and inherent resources by ensuring that our society remains divided between the rich and powerful few who continue exploiting and oppressing the social majority—the broad working-class masses.
This unjust systemic setup only guarantees more and even greater mass poverty for our country and its poor masses. Clearly and fundamentally, such a system as ours can only be expected to generate a near-constant set of internal-external contradictions that is unsustainable and must urgently and immediately be replaced with a more radically progressive one if we are to collectively survive as a people.
Our presently capitalist structural framework is what basically brought about the earlier Marcos dictatorship. Even more recently, this very same system helped to bring about the elite-militarist rule of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Regime with its own long list of human rights violations and victims. In fact, the GMA Regime wanted to also implement its own brand of Martial Law in 2005, as Gloria intended to use it against the broad anti-Gloria united front in order to remain in power beyond 2010.
And still, to be sure about it, the current PNoy Regime is no different from its successors. As such, it is now producing its own new set of human rights-related violations (economic-social-cultural and civil-political). A quick review can already expose the following anti-rights-based state-policy attacks against the basic masses: Workers (e.g. assumption of jurisdiction against the Philippine Airlines Employees Association/PALEA), Urban Poor (e.g. violent demolitions against informal settler communities nationwide, especially in the National Capital Region/NCR), and Peasants (e.g. PNoy’s silence on the Hacienda Luisita issue).
There are many other equally destructive state policies and laws which the PNoy Regime continues to uphold, and which remain detrimental to our collective rights. Chief among these are pro-neoliberal (privatization, liberalization, deregulation, and contractualization) state instruments, such as: the Automatic Appropriations Law (PD 1177), the Oil Deregulation Law (ODL), the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), and the Expanded-Value Added Tax Law (E-VAT).
Other human rights violations-generating instruments are: the 1951 RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the 1999 RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the 2002 RP-US Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), and the 2007 Human Security Act (HSA/Anti-Terrorism Law). All of these state laws and policies combined remain the basic pillars upholding the Philippine capitalist state framework. For as long as they remain standing and in effect, then we can and should always expect more anti-democratic attacks and human rights violations from the present and future national governments, regardless of who leads them.
For now, the unequivocal result of PNoy’s corporatocratic national leadership is that it obviously puts a high premium on the neoliberal economic agenda instead of a more people-centered national development paradigm. There is now an abundance of recorded proof of the PNoy Regime’s ongoing destructive damage to our poor masses since getting elected last year (as mentioned earlier). And all these human rights violations-generating policies are now institutionalized in his newly unveiled 2011-16 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) or, which could also be correctly termed as, ‘PNoy’s Destruction of the People (PDP)’.
Hence, on this commemorative date, SANLAKAS strongly reiterates its principled commitment to uphold, defend and advance our people’s basic human rights. As a Left coalition, and also as a revolutionary democratic people’s organization, SANLAKAS firmly recommits itself to keep on fighting on the frontlines of the progressive mass movement in defense of democracy, freedom and social justice in the Philippines, and around the world.
We furthermore, loudly and proudly call upon all freedom and democracy-oriented organizations and individuals, especially the general public, to constantly remain vigilant in guarding our hard-won democratic space and whatever limited social gains we may still have. For these shall be the political weapons of our continuing revolutionary democratic struggles ahead to finally change the system for the liberation of all the exploited and oppressed masses.
Real Freedom and Democracy Now!
Never Again to Martial Law!
Forever onward with the struggles for genuine systemic change!