Friday, September 21, 2012

The 40th year of the declaration of Martial Law

TIME - Marcos' Martial Law Without warning, police squads late last week walked into Manila's newspaper offices and broadcast stations, ordered staffers to leave and posted announcements Stating THIS BUILDING IS CLOSED AND SEALED AND PLACED UNDER MILITARY CONTROL.

Domestic air flights were grounded and overseas telephone operators refused to accept incoming calls. Finally, after several hours of mystifying silence, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos went on nationwide radio and TV to proclaim a state of martial law. Civil government would be continued, he said, but campuses would be closed. Restrictions on travel, the press and communications would remain in force until the government dealt with "a conspiracy to overthrow the government."

It was a drastic step; martial law had never before been imposed in the Philippines, despite the country's long history of social and political violence. And yet, though troops took up positions all over Manila, there were few other visible signs of emergency. Nightclubs, casinos and movie theaters remained open; shoppers were out in their usual numbers the next day. Filipinos accepted the measures calmly, even cynically, for they had been widely anticipated.

Only two weeks ago, in an atmosphere of rapidly increasing belligerence between the Marcos regime, its political opposition and a burgeoning Philippine revolutionary movement, the President warned that he would not hesitate to assume emergency powers if he deemed them necessary. He finally did so six hours after an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate one of Marcos' chief aides, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. As the Secretary was heading home from his office in Manila, a carload of gunmen intercepted his car and riddled it with 30 shots; Enrile, who was riding with security men in a second car, was unhurt. The gunmen escaped unidentified.

Read complete article here.

Hotmanila - What Martial Law was like In 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law with Proclamation 1081. He did it, he said, to save the Republic and to create what he called a "New Society." A whole generation of Filipinos now exists which only has the faintest recollection -- if at all -- of the Marcos dictatorship. Kids, this is what you missed. Perhaps it's what you should pass on when you have kids of your own.

The lies. The biggest lie -- the mother lie -- was that Martial Law was imposed for the good of the people. It was not. It was imposed for the good of the Marcoses and their cronies, to keep them in wealth and unassailable power forever and ever amen. Marcos was a congenital liar: he lied about the state of emergency. He lied about his ill-gotten wealth ("what ill-gotten wealth?", he would ask amusedly."Tell you what, if you can find it we'll split it". Shows how reliable his word was). He lied about his war medals (almost all of them were fake), he lied about his father's wartime heroics (it turned out Marcos Sr was a collaborator executed by the guerrillas), he lied about his health. He lied about holding free elections and dismantling Martial Law. He lied and lied and lied. This was the man Joseph Estrada wanted to give a hero's burial.

The fear. Anybody could be picked up at anytime for any reason by the military or the police. You could wind up a detainee, or you could just vanish, a "salvage" victim. If you protested against the government, you were labeled a "subversive" or a "communist" or both and you were summarily arrested. People the government didn't like were tailed by security elements, their telephones tapped. A student who spoke up to Imee Marcos was murdered. No two words were more invoked and abused for the purposes of oppression than "national security." People were afraid to speak out. Marcos logic being what it was, the silence meant the people were happy.

The injustice. Only Marcos and his cronies, who plundered the economy, were protected by the law. Nobody else was. Arbitrary arrest, detention, salvaging and torture were the standard. The Defense Minister -- a man named Juan Ponce Enrile -- said in 1982: "We presume that priests and nuns charged with subversive activities are guilty until the courts decide whether they are guilty or not." On one occasion the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, someone named Enrique Fernando, servilely held an umbrella over Imelda Marcos' head.

Read complete article here.

Martial Law Memorial Hall
located between
Manila City Hall and Universidad de Manila

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On the 40th year of the declaration of Martial Law, embarks on an ambitious project to literally give voice to more than 10,000 affidavits of human rights victims of the Marcos years.

If you can read and speak, you can help.

On September 21 - the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law -, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (UP-CSSP) and the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), will open a Martial Law museum at the UP Palma Hall Lobby.

The installations, among others, will play digitized audio files of personal accounts of a handful of people who were arrested and tortured during Martial Law.

So far, we've given voice to less than 20 affidavits. Little less than 10,000 to go.

Starting 6 p.m. on September 21, at the sides of a Martial Law Concert at the Palma Hall, and then resuming from September 23 until September 28, will set up recording stations at UP Palma Hall, Room 109. We will bring copies of more testimonials from people who were tortured, or from the families of those who were disappeared and/or killed.

All we need now are volunteers. Volunteers to read out the testimonials, as we've done in the multimedia features we've posted here, in our special coverage of the 40th Year of the Declaration of Martial Law.

Do take time to listen to the samples. We want to do that for the thousands of affidavits for which we would like to lend our voice. This will be our collective contribution towards building our collective memory. So that we will #NeverForget.

To volunteer, simply go to the Martial Law Museum at 6 p.m., September 21, and look for the desk at the Palma Hall Lobby. Also, constantly check this page for any updates in announcements/arrangements. Our recording sessions will resume on September 23 until September 28.

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  1. Pinoys do not have a long memory or are very forgiving or both. Baka maulit.

    1. It's true, bertN, that Pinoys do not have a long memory or are very forgiving or both. However, declaring another Martial Law is one onerous task and difficult to sustain. First of all, you have got to have the full support of the military. Second, the full support of the U.S. as well .. hehehe!

  2. I am old enough to remember that but not very clearly. It is terrible that such a thing could every happen ...and things like this do keep happening. Your post has reminded me.

    1. I was already in NYC that time, but I heard horror stories from the Filipino community. I just hope that Filipino voters will have the cognizance to be more judicious with their votes.

  3. What a terrible time... Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #49!

  4. My pleasure, Madge!

    Yes, terrible time for the country!