Never forget! Never again!
Fight for justice and accountability!
Statement of CARMMA
September 21, 2023
Fifty one (51) years ago, on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. signed Proclamation No. 1081 that WOULD place the entire country under martial law. We emphasize the word WOULD as the proclamation would only be made public two days later, on September 23, 1972, when the late dictator went on air to read the proclamation and cement his dictatorial and fascist rule.
What seems to be often forgotten in history is that Filipinos did not quietly accept the fascist Marcos dictatorship. In fact, on this very day 51 years ago, thousands of Filipinos gathered at Plaza Miranda to denounce the exposé of Marcos Sr.’s impending declaration of martial law.
It is this historic show of defiance as well as to cover up the horrors and corruption under martial law which the late dictator sought to erase from national memory by memorializing September 21 as a “National Thanksgiving Day”.
While the horrors of martial law never truly left even with its nominal lifting in 1981 and the subsequent overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship in the 1986 People Power uprising, what we are witnessing now with the return of the Marcoses to political power is the comeback of their nefarious and brazen schemes to distort history, to whitewash their family’s crimes against the Filipino people, and to legitimize their family’s bloody legacy of anti-people, undemocratic, and tyrannical rule.
President Marcos Jr. and his sister Senator Imee Marcos and the whole Marcos and Romualdez clan are working overtime to rehabilitate Marcos Sr.’s bloody and corrupt rule.
Meanwhile, the recent Department of Education memo to change “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum of the newly-launched Matatag curriculum can only be seen as a barefaced institutional attempt to whitewash the culpability of the Marcoses in their dictatorship. This act is a part of the increasing militarization of the Department of Education under Vice President Sara Duterte with her rabid red-tagging spree as well as the millions of confidential and intelligence funds being poured into the agency.
Senator Robin Padilla’s recent Senate Bill No. 45 even ridiculously goes as far as proposing to install a holiday on September 21 to twistedly honor the brutal enforcers of martial law as “unsung heroes” — with the obvious intent to overshadow the commemorative protests actions conducted on that day — while rehashing the same red scare hogwash to justify the imposition of martial law.
Indeed, the Marcoses are no longer hiding behind their army of online trolls and spin doctors to advance their campaign of historical distortion and mass disinformation. This campaign is now reaching institutional levels. Moreover, with the grand return of Marcosian lies also comes the return of Marcosian scams to rob the people.
An emerging pattern makes clear a conspiracy to one-by-one dismiss the graft and corruption cases filed against the Marcoses for their ill-gotten wealth. They have also shamelessly refused to pay their PHP 203 billion-worth of estate tax dues and penalties. Congress continues to abdicate its role in providing the checks and balance to Malacanang. It has fast tracked the passage of the Maharlika Investment Fund that would gamble away the people’s money along with their refusal to scrutinize the budget proposals of several agencies for humongous and unjustifiable amounts of confidential and intelligence funds especially in the Offices of the President and the Vice President. The Ombudsman, instead of demanding transparency in government, has set barriers to the publication of the statement of assets and liabilities of high government officials and recently has announced the the audit reports of the Commission on Appointments should not be made public.
These blatant schemes to distort history, to justify the plunder the nation’s coffers, and most importantly, the dire state of human rights in the country with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Anti-Terrorism Act in place all point to a reality where martial law is no longer just a thing of the past: we are living through a de facto martial law situation under the Marcos Jr.-Duterte regime. Hence, marking this day with protests to commemorate martial law and the fascist Marcos dictatorship remain relevant, especially now.
We, at the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law, declare that today, September 21, is more than commemoration. We draw upon the spirit of defiance and resistance that marked September 21, 1972 as thousands took their stand to denounce Marcos Sr.’s scheme to declare martial law and the heroism of the people who fought the dictatorship from 1972 until its overthrow in 1986.
Never again must we allow dictatorship and tyranny to prevail. The Marcoses want us to forget the truth, but remembering is resistance. We mark September 21 to assert that we will never forget the plunder and and atrocities against the Filipino people by the Marcos dictatorship.
We salute the new generation of Filipinos standing up against injustice and impunity. This generation is represented by Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano who courageously exposed their abduction by the military. Together with the new generation of activists, we pledge to continue the fight for genuine justice and accountability. ###
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
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Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.