Youth and rights groups hold nationwide torch parade and candle lighting to honor nameless heroes and martyrs of Martial Law
Youth groups led by Youth for Rights (Y4R) together with human rights organization Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and members of #rememberML@40 – Never Again to Martial law campaign network held a torch parade and nationwide candle lighting to honor nameless heroes and martyrs in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.
In Quezon City, the group’s torch and candle light parade started at 5:30 in the afternoon OF September 21, along Quezon City Circle that proceeded to Palma hall in University of the Philippines where a concert which they dubbed as “Balik Himig sa mga Awit ng Pakikibaka ng panahon ng Batas Militar, the RememberML@40 concert” was being held.
“We are one with the human rights community and all the survivors of Martial Law in confronting attempts to revise and distort history. The Marcoses maimed, killed, tortured, and disappeared thousands. The families and victims of that horror have yet to find justice and closure and yet the lies of the Marcoses and their allies are being peddled as truths,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.
TFDP is a national human rights organization established in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) in response to the rampant human rights violations caused by Proclamation 1081 by then President Ferdinand Marcos.
“TFDP refuses to forget the lessons that the nation learned from that dark episode of our history. That on that faithful day of September 21, 1972, forty years ago, President Ferdinand Marcos deliberately breached his contract with the Filipino people by declaring Martial Law that would lead to unimaginable cases of human rights violations and abuses,” Amistad added.
TFDP’s documentation shows that 6,472 suffered arbitrary arrests and detention, 1,050 were tortured by government security forces and paramilitary groups.
“Under Marcos rule, many were tortured, killed and disappeared. Mostly were activists from the marginalized sectors of our society. Their only fault was that they never feared to fight for their rights and demand for change,” Amistad continued.
According to TFDP, Forty years ago, the Filipino people were faced with a corrupt abusive regime that not only fed from the nation’s wealth but from the blood of the toiling masses.
The candle lighting to honor nameless heroes and martyrs of Martial Law was also done in other major cities in Visayas and Mindanao.
Members of the RememberML@40-Never Again to Martial Law campaign network also lighted candles in Cebu Freedom Park, in Dumaguete and in Freedom Park and University of Mindanao in Davao City as well.
TFDP also initiated the online campaign #rememberML@40 in the social networking site Facebook. “It serves as venue to share stories of heroism, sacrifices and nationalism of the youth under ML,” Amistad explained.
FB users changed their profile pictures with photos and icons of pinky fingers with a red ribbon as pledge to remember, inform and inspire others about the truth and demand for justice for all victims of Martial Law.
“We call on President Aquino to honor our nameless heroes and martyrs by starting with fulfilling his promise during his 2011 SONA to compensate all victims of human rights violations of Martial Law. May he be inspired with what his father, former Senator Ninoy Aquino fought for,” Amistad declared.
“TFDP will never allow that all the sacrifices of those who fought the dictatorship will go to waste. We will continue to inform and educate the Filipino people about the truth especially our youth of today who never experienced ML. For there will be no better way to honor our heroes and martyrs not only by retelling their stories but to be inspired about their lives and to continue asserting for human rights,” Amistad concluded.