The powerful force of democracy is the masses or the people. It can topple dictatorship that suppresses the basic rights of an individual; the rights for freedom of speech, freedom for want, and freedom for religion. It happened in the Philippines. Since the proclamation of Martial Law in September 21, 1972 (Proclamation No. 1081) through the government of the deposed President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, these basic rights were suppressed by the military rule.
I remember in the 70s, when you get caught roaming the street around 10 pm because of the imposition of curfew, you will be investigated. Many of those who violated were wrongly accused of subversion or those who were opposing the military rule. Many politicians, government employees, people’s organization and non-government organizations who rallied against the Marcos regime were accused of rebellion. Many were put to jail and killed without the proper judgment of the supreme court.
The youth’s unified voice were often heard in the streets. Underground movements of student militants with the help of concern businessmen and elders mushroomed in the cities and countryside. Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) was organized to oppose the bloody environment of the country. The CCP founder Jose Maria Sison (Joma Sison to his peers) escaped the arms of the Marcoses and exiled himself in Geneva, Switzerland. Big businesses were sequestered by the government and prominent families who owned it fled abroad to avoid the oppressive rule of the Marcoses. For more than a decade, Marcos and his croonies washed away the riches of the country.
From 2 pesos per 1 US dollars, it catapulted to 25-35 pesos in the 80s. Since his reign in the late 60s along with his First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos and their families, the wealth of the government were put into their own accounts. These were just a summary of the dictatorship of the Marcos regime. This hub is not enough to recount what the Filipinos witnessed until the death of exiled senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’Aquino in August 21, 1983.
Close encounter with Martial Law
Supporters of former Senator Ninoy Aquino were angered by the assassination of the lawmaker. He experienced to be in jail when he opposed the Marcos regime. He and his family were exiled in the USA for almost a decade. With his enthusiasm to be back in politics, he persuaded his wife, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, from prominent Cojuangco clan that he will go back to the Philippines. But he only reached the tarmac of the Manila International Airport. Ninoy never reached his home because he was shot dead. This triggered the unified anger of the Filipinos to stage a bloodless revolution three years later. Who can ever forget his saying: “The Filipino is worth dying for.”
In 1983-84, I was a dreamy sixth grader in elementary. I’ve witnessed military men investigating people or accusing them of connivance to the New People’s Army (NPA), the new citizen’s arm of CPP. Many intelligent students from major universities in the country joined the group and were dispersed in far flung barrios, like our place, to encourage people to join and fight the dictatorship. Many were killed; innocent barrio folks died; militarization was really making people hide in fright.
What will you feel when residents of our barrio fled their homes in the wee hours of the night because of the series of military and rebel encounters that happened in our place? My eldest uncle (brother of my father) was killed because he was a CHDF volunteer (Civilian Home Defense Force). He resisted his captors so he was left gasping for death beside the road near our rice field.Many witnessed that it was the members of NPA who were responsible for my uncle's death. They also carried the three service firearms of my uncle. My father evacuated us to the city (Naga City). Who wouldn’t be when the situation worsened. Even the wake of our dead barangay captain was disturbed by the fighting. Our place was...
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