“43 year later, the struggle continues.  It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on.” – Susan Tagle

“43 year later, the struggle continues. It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on.” – Susan Tagle

Source: Humans of Pinas

“August 25, 1977 is a day I will never forget. It was the day the International Congress of Jurists was holding a conference on the theme “”Human Rights as Essential to Progress Toward World Peace Under the Rule of Law.” It was decided that a symposium would be held at the St. Theresa’s College auditorium to expound on this theme. The symposium was a thinly-veiled cover to hold a protest gathering against the Martial Law Regime.

At the last minute, the STC management revoked the permit to use the auditorium. Not to be deterred, the organizers decided to hold an outdoor rally instead, right on the street of San Marcelino fronting STC. I was designated emcee of the rally on the spot.

"43 year later, the struggle continues. It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on." - Susan Tagle 1

There were several big names in attendance. I remember that Sen. Jose Diokno spoke and Walden Bello, who was a delegate to the conference, was also present along with other foreign delegates and media people.

Over an hour into the protest action, the police arrived along with water cannons. They had first used these water cannons to disperse rallyists during the May 1 Labor rally. After negotiations broke down, the cannons started to shoot streams of colored water into the crowd. They had figured that using coloring on the water would identify rallyists after the dispersal and make them easy targets.

I was immediately surrounded by the nuns present, led by Sr. Chit, RSG. They walked me out of the rally site and we boarded a bus bound for Quezon City. Even as police boarded the bus as well, the nuns kept me safe among them and the police could not do anything, even if they saw that my clothes were soaked with reddish water.

"43 year later, the struggle continues. It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on." - Susan Tagle 2

We went directly to the AS Theater in UP Diliman where a performance of UP Repertory Company’s “Pagsambang Bayan” was being held. At the end of the show, the play’s director, Behn Cervantes, asked me to narrate the incident that had taken place in San Marcelino to the audience.

This rally was my first to emcee outside of UP. It was also one of the several mass actions in 1977 that shook the Martial Law regime. To me, it will always be a milestone in my life as a student activist and mass leader.

"43 year later, the struggle continues. It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on." - Susan Tagle 3

43 year later, the struggle continues. It may be a different dictator but the conditions haven’t changed much and the fight goes on.”

“I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. ” – Bro. Armin Luistro

“I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. ” – Bro. Armin Luistro

Source: Humans of Pinas

“In 1972, I was then only 10 years old and a Grade 6 graduating student at La Salle ng Lipa. The only thing I remember—and liked—during that fateful week of September was the cancellation of classes for a week or so.

I remember seeing my father preparing a large garapon where he camouflaged (what I learned later) a gun and which he buried somewhere in a secret spot. Our black and white Zenith television went static and I grieved the sudden disappearance of my favorite cartoon program, Casper the Friendly Ghost.

"I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. " - Bro. Armin Luistro 4

Next time the channels came on air, there was nothing except replays of Marcos or Imelda in some government function, delivering a speech or cutting ribbons.

Little did I realize that those changes marked the beginnings of the government taking control of media, encroaching on the private lives of its citizens and creating an almost idolatrous personality cult around Malakas and Maganda who are the designated saviors of the Marcoses’ New Society.

The succeeding years of my life as a high school and college student were mostly unremarkable. I had no strong feelings one way or another about the ruling regime since I had no way of comparing that experience with any other.

I can still remember intoning the Marcos propaganda songs, reading nothing but apologias about government policies and reciting government slogans. Little did I realize that those years actually count as the “lost years” of my formative life.

What was promoted to citizens as a call for personal sacrifice to build a ‘new society’ turned out to be an ingenious way of indoctrinating us to support with blind obedience the Pied Piper in Malacañan.

The necessary discipline required of every citizen as our contribution towards national progress turned out to be the Marcosian way of luring us to subservience, if not blind obedience.

"I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. " - Bro. Armin Luistro 5

Unlike the other heroic survivors of Martial Law, I was among the legion of the ‘unremarkables’. We were not exactly jailed, tortured or even threatened.

But we were the youth then who lost a decade-and-a-half of opportunity to grow in a truly free society, to think critically and challenge group think, to speak truth to power, and to engage in transformational leadership.

Martial law frowned on all those as it did on sporting long hair, night outs, or anything considered unconventional and which disturbed social harmony. Ordinary citizens and the majority of the populace were expected to follow social convention, support government programs and most importantly keep criticism to oneself.

It was only in 1986 that I awoke from my stupor and realized what I lost. While I was able to roam the streets freely, I have lost my capacity to think creatively and critically and have become skeptical of anything that did not follow the official government storyline.

My sense of pride and dignity as a Filipino was based on an illusory myth written by government publicists. As a young teacher in a provincial high school, I was shaken with the news of Ninoy’s murder at the tarmac.

"I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. " - Bro. Armin Luistro 6

The anguish of the nation broke the four walls of the very classroom that insulated me from the world. It was only then that I realized that learning becomes truly engaging when one has learned to embrace the human struggle. I vowed since then never to allow myself and my country to be ruled by another tyrant.”

“It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being  challenged by another dictatorship.” – Jim Paredes

“It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being challenged by another dictatorship.” – Jim Paredes

Source: Humans of Pinas

“I was one year away from college graduation when Martial Law was declared. That morning before school, we woke up and there was nothing to listen to on the radio as we dressed up for school. Neither was there anything on TV.

In a corridor at the Ateneo, I saw some classmates had gathered. We were all wondering what was happening. It seemed like everyone was in a daze or in a state of fear.

Soon enough, some priests and administration officers told us that Martial Law had most likely been declared. Even if there was no media announcements yet, we were all sent home.

That evening, I watched Kit Tatad announce on TV that the Philippines was already under Martial Law. I felt that a long darkness had descended upon the country.

"It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being challenged by another dictatorship." - Jim Paredes 7

The weeks that followed are still vivid in my mind.

I saw with my own eyes how the military controlled everything. As a student, I saw soldiers stop buses and order people with long hair to come down.They were given instant haircuts. Why? Because they looked like hippies and subversives.

Some were picked up and put in military vehicles and brought to camps or safe houses for ‘questioning’. Some were tortured. Some were killed. Some disappeared without a trace.

Social life was heavily curtailed with curfews, checkpoints, and the presence of military and police everywhere. We had to be home by 12 midnight every night.

If you were caught on the road during curfew hours, you would be brought to Camp Crame and you had to cut grass the next morning.

If you were well-connected, however, you could get curfew passes which allowed you to be out in the streets at night. People were afraid.

Every hour on radio, you could hear the gravelly voice of actor Vic Silayan saying, “Sa ika-uunlad ng Bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” It was brainwashing.

I remember APO performing at St Mary’s College a few months after Martial Law. Everyone was having a good time. All of a sudden, the police came and ordered the concert closed.

Everyone in the auditorium was asked to join one of the two lines. Those with long hair were told to join the line on the left side.

"It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being challenged by another dictatorship." - Jim Paredes 8

Those with regular length hair, lined up on the right side. As we walked out of the concert hall, police and a few agents dressed as civilians looked at each one of us in the eye. They decided right then and there who they branded as drug addicts, pushers, and ‘dangerous’.

Danny was unfortunately told to get out of line and join the ‘criminals.’ He explained that he was there as a singer and, somehow, they decided to let him go. The rest were brought to Camp Crame.

The next few weeks and months, we heard that some classmates and people we knew had gone missing and joined the underground. Some were tortured and/or jailed just because they were activists.

Many were killed. I had at least 3 classmates who died or disappeared, and a few more jailed and tortured under the custody of the military.

I spent almost two decades of my life under the Marcos dictatorship. During those times, very few stood up against the regime. People mostly gave the Marcos dictatorship a chance in the beginning.

For a young man like me, I knew many wrong things were going on. People were being killed or kidnapped by the authorities. Human rights were violated. There was a climate of fear.

Within 2 years, people in power were already blatantly lording it over businessmen and stealing their companies, or extorting them.

New owners of media became little ‘gods’ who made sure that media promoted the ‘New Society’ that Marcos’ martial law was being touted as. Media was full of sycophants and traitors. People would not say anything critical to the government on air.

Despite the strict control of media, and the absence of social media and cellphones back then, word got out about how abusive the regime was becoming. People were slowly but surely becoming more and more informed and courageous.

"It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being challenged by another dictatorship." - Jim Paredes 9

Soon, there were small rallies despite the ban on assemblies and protests. Dangerous as rallies were, the crowds grew bigger and bigger with every scandal and abomination the dictatorship foisted on us.

It was, however, the assassination of Ninoy that eventually became the catalyst that forced Marcos to call for snap elections. The rest, as all of us know, is history.The day we won in EDSA, I promised myself that I would never again allow a dictator to rule over me.

I know many other people made that promise, too. It has been a number of decades since. And here we are, once again, being challenged by another dictatorship.

But a promise is a promise. And through hell or high water, I know many of us intend to keep it. Push is more and more coming to shove. Sorry na lang sa dictator!”

Memories of a martial law baby

Source: Inquirer.Net

By: Ambeth R. Ocampo

I come from a lost generation known as the “martial law babies.” I was 4 years old when Ferdinand Marcos became president in 1965, 11 when martial law was declared in 1972, and 24 when the 1986 People Power Revolt drove him to exile and eventual death in Hawaii.

I came of age knowing no other president but Marcos. I thought he came with Malacañang’s tacky, gold-painted, heavily carved, high-back chairs. His picture and initials “FM” were the staple in the front pages of the Bulletin and Daily Express.

He dominated the 6 o’clock and 10 p.m. TV news, too. His speeches often interrupted regular programming, and when this happened, your only option was to switch off the TV set because all five channels ran the same “Public Service Announcement.”

We knew of Imelda Marcos’ globe-trotting when TV forced her departures and arrivals on us, complete with fawning commentary by Rita Gaddi Baltazar or Ronnie Nathanielsz. Rita should have stuck to poetry and Ronnie to sports.

I grew up learning not just “Bayang Magiliw,” actually “Lupang Hinirang,” the national anthem; I was also taught the rousing “Bagong Pagsilang” (The March of the New Society) composed by Felipe Padilla de Leon with lyrics by Levi Celerio. We were made to plant vegetables in school as part of a “Green Revolution” to foil the Communist Red Revolution.

We learned slogans like “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa” or “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” We were warned not to play around with these slogans lest we suffer the same fate as the comedian Ariel Ureta.

He allegedly quipped, “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan,” and was punished by being made to ride a bike around a military camp till his tongue hung out in exhaustion.

People of my generation remember Asiong Aksaya, a comic character created by Larry Alcala, who taught us to conserve water and electricity. They also experienced strict censorship of print, TV, and cinema.

Cuss words and sex were cut out of TV and movies. Guns were allowed on screen but were blacked out on movie advertisements and billboards. Censors even banned the Japanese animated series “Voltes V” on the grounds that it incited the youth to violence.

The government warped our minds further by creating new meanings for old words and concepts: Love was associated with the air-conditioned Love Bus, Pag-ibig became housing loans, and KKK (which once stood for Andres Bonifacio’s revolutionary “Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” took on a new meaning as “Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran,” the government livelihood and socioeconomic development program.

Curfew was imposed from midnight to 4 in the morning. To get around it, you either had a curfew pass or indulged in “stay-in” slumber or pajama parties. We were taught to fear the police and the military, who were formerly seen as servants and protectors of the people.

Metrocom or “pulis” replaced “moomoo” as the new bogeyman that yayas used to scare disobedient children. They punished curfew violators and jaywalkers with exposure to the sun or doing an unreasonable number of pushups. In the early days of martial law they rounded up young men with long hair and shaved their heads.

The government before 1972 was depicted as inefficient and corrupt. Officials caught in their old ways were described as “backsliding.” Aside from police and military surveillance, one had to be careful with one’s words; eyes and ears were everywhere to catch whispered criticism of the government, which was penalized as “rumor mongering.”

If caught, you ended up in detention at A, B, or C, short for the urban military camps Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, and Crame.

The climate of fear and suspicion I grew up in is far from the “golden age” that some people would have us believe, but for college-age Filipinos born after 2000, martial law is as distant as dinosaurs and cavemen.

Why are some of them duped into believing that Marcos was the greatest president? Martial law a golden age?

Check Ferdinand Marcos on YouTube to find his 1982 US National Press Club address in multiple channels with views from as low as 37,000 to as high as 1.6 million. Marcos’ version of the past should be fact-checked and commented on fairly, but as it is, we are losing the memory game to the internet and social media.



“But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees.” – Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez

“But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees.” – Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez

Source: Humans of Pinas

TRIGGER WARNING: The following transcript may include sensitive and graphic details about violence and/or rape.

“There were sweeteners for those [in the 1971 Constitutional Convention] who would join the Marcos camp. But resistance to martial rule came naturally. Students and many youth at that time did not like Marcos even as elected leader.

In public youth rallies, Marcos had been a favorite target for his systematic thievery and abuse of human rights.

When the Marcos forces began to move to control the constitutional convention to perpetuate him in power, the battle line was drawn between us and the Marcos group. But in the end, we were only a handful, about 21, who openly defied the dictatorship and refused to sign the Marcos charter.

"But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees." - Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez 10

When a shoot-to-kill order was issued by the government on me and Congressman Bonifacio Gillego, I planned to escape. Jane Lawson was a student in Maryknoll and her father operated a fleet of cargo vessels around Asia.

While I was hiding at the house of Mr. Paco Delgado, she informed me that one of her father’s boats was docked in Manila. My best friend Ricky Delgado rushed to contact the ship captain, Mr. Stephanous Livanos, and arranged for my surreptitious voyage to Hong Kong.

Cecile had a PETA artist, Len Santos, disguise me. I had a new haircut, and I walked with a limp carrying a box like a member of the crew.

I was brought to the engine room and remained there until the vessel was outside Philippine territory. I had no travel documents of my own. I used the passport of Eduardo Pescador, one of Cecile’s actors.

Upon arriving in the United States via Paris, I applied for asylum and helped organize the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP) as secretary general with Raul Manglapus as president. I used a refugee document given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during my exile in the US.

There are recorded “salvaging” of those opposing the dictatorship abroad. Some labor leaders were killed in Seattle. Primitivo Mijares, who wrote the book Conjugal Dictatorship, just vanished from the face of the earth.

The FBI reported he was missing since a Marcos loyalist had convinced him to go home. Up to now, his disappearance remains a mystery. And of course, the globally-witnessed brutal assassination of Ninoy on the tarmac.

Personally, I received threats, sometimes delivered in a friendly manner, others ominously. But one never knew who really spoke for the government not until Mrs. Marcos invited some exile leaders (Ninoy, Steve Psinakis and myself) to meet with her one on one.

In a four-hour conversation at her Waldorf suite, Mrs. Marcos tried to cajole me into coming home. She said many of my contemporaries had done very well by cooperating with the dictatorship, and that martial law had brought a lot of tremendous improvement to the Philippines.

She told me that if I were to go home, I would have not only safe passage in her plane but even an opportunity to serve in the martial law government.

If I didn’t, she slyly threatened that President Reagan was a friend and surely we will be under FBI surveillance. In her inimitably charming way, it was a caring message of warning that our life could become very difficult as exiles.

"But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees." - Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez 11

I founded the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) overseas and built strong linkages with groups in the Philippines within the anti-martial law movement. Ninoy’s martyrdom provided a driving force to unify and harmonize and to topple the dictatorship.

We documented the hidden billions of the Marcoses and lobbied aggressively to cut US military aid.

The cut of military aid, which could not be substituted from other foreign sources because it was half a billion dollars worth of American guns, bullets, military equipment and training, was a crucial pressure point that forced Marcos to call for a snap election which later Marcos announced on American TV.

Gruesome torture and killing were used even in Latin America. This was called selective terror, where leaders of opposition who cannot be touched are hurt through their families.

I was warned to stop my lobbying in the US. A month later, my brother was tortured, his head crushed, his tongue cut, his eyes gouged out and his mangled lifeless body thrown in front of a churchyard. It made my mother almost insane and my father died of a heart attack.

Yet there was no complaint from my family. Before I went underground, I consulted with my mother and father. My father for a while cautioned against opposing Marcos, for after all he said that it was a struggle among different generations.

This was the generation of Macapagal against Marcos, and Marcos vs. Ninoy. They were contemporary political antagonists.

But my mother suggested that I was elected so it was also my battle, if I so choose to oppose, that I was in an arena where I could fully participate. My father kept quiet and so I understood that to mean that my whole family gave its consent for me to oppose.

"But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees." - Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez 12

But it was natural for me to own the blame for causing so much grief on my family. They had to move to Manila from Isabela and live almost like refugees.

Later, my mother managed to travel to Rome and from Rome to the US. She joined us in exile and took care of my baby girl Xilca. It helped her to be whole again.”

(as published by philstar.com on January 13, 2002)