Marcos regime "blood-soaked, not golden" - martial law victims

Today, we commemorate the 50th year after the declaration of martial law by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Also known as one of the bloodiest period in Philippine history, his family and cohorts looted the nation's coffers and blatantly committed various violations of people's fundamental rights under his authoritarian regime. Thousands of Filipinos from different walks of life were harassed, abducted, imprisoned, tortured, killed, or forcibly disappeared under Marcos' martial rule.

We, as victims and survivors of martial law, can completely attest that the Marcos regime can never be the “golden age,” as touted. It is, in fact, soaked in the blood of thousands killed, disappeared, raped, tortured and violated.

We are the living testament to the atrocities committed by the Marcoses and their cronies against the Filipino people. We are among those who endured and survived to tell our gruesome tales under martial law and to pass the torch of struggle of those who sacrificed their lives to fight for our basic rights and freedoms.

While our physical scars may have already healed years ago, our trauma and pain brought by such dark times remain. And now, with the return of the Marcoses in Malacañang and the absence of justice for those whom they had victimized over the years, it feels like we are walking in another nightmare.  

It is no surprise that Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. snatched the presidency during the national election, especially after his camp used every possible dirty tactic there is – from colluding with the Dutertes and traditional politicians, to massive vote-buying, to peddling disinformation through troll armies, and taking advantage of the lack of transparency in electronic election system, among others. As expected, the dictator's son is shamelessly flaunting his family's ill-gotten wealth and misuse of public funds through extravagant parties, as well as his family’s lack of accountability by evading their tax liabilities. He had key government posts with allies and cronies, in line with his father's deep-rooted ideals of nepotism and cronyism.

Meanwhile, the Filipino people suffer as the socio-economic conditions of the country deteriorate. Prices of oil and basic commodities are skyrocketing, while wages remain at very low levels. The government’s biggest budgetary allocation remains for debt payments, for loans accumulated for build-build-build projects that had minimal effect on the domestic economy. Marcos, who appointed himself as the agriculture secretary and previously promised to bring down the price of rice, continues to banner neoliberal policies and minimal support for the large majority of poor peasants. The witchhunt against activists and dissenters continues, as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) drags its red-tagging campaign and other programs affecting communities. Human rights violations are still committed by State forces every single day.

We have all seen this before, as these follow the pattern of Marcos Sr.’s martial law: poor economy, lack of justice and accountability, together with the fundamental issues of landlessness and social injustice, subservience to foreign powers, and rampant corruption in the government.

But all hope is not lost. Tyrants and fascists may try to twist and mangle history but the people's narratives on collective action and resistance can never be extinguished.

We, as survivors of the bloody martial rule of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., will never tire in pursuing genuine justice for the crimes committed by the Marcoses and their cohorts. We appeal to the Filipino youth to carry forward our people's legacy of upholding our rights and democracy. We are one with the Filipino nation in upholding truth, freedom, and justice.

Patuloy na makibaka, 'wag matakot! ###