BAYAN Muna Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares yesterday filed a bill that aims to keep alive the memory of those who stood up to the martial law regime, which lasted from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.
“The declaration of martial law 38 years ago on September 21, 1972 by former President Ferdinand Marcos ushered in a period unparalleled in post-war Philippine history,” the lawmakers wrote in the explanatory note of the bill. “The suppression of democratic rights and civil liberties, the unbroken pattern of gross human rights violations and the systematic plunder of the nation’s treasury were its terrible legacy, the effects of which our nation still has to recover from until today.”
Casiño said: “Under the authoritarian rule of Marcos, human rights violations were the apex of a pyramid of terror – 3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured and 70,000 incarcerated. In striking contrast to Argentina, only 737 Filipinos ‘disappeared’ between 1975 and 1985.”
“However, nearly four times that number – 2,250 – or 77 percent of all victims were salvaged. Many were tortured, mutilated and dumped on a roadside for public display to create widespread fear,” he added.
“In establishing a national day of remembrance and celebration, we hope to impart the lessons of martial law so the present and future generations shall never forget what should never be repeated. The underlying objective is to teach the youth about the difference between dictatorship and democracy, between oppression and freedom, between right and wrong.”
Colmenares said the bill seeks to put into focus the “continuing struggle for justice of the victims of human rights violations of the Marcos era.”
“We hope that by taking the necessary steps toward redressing these gross violations, the long-overdue process for remembering, for recording and for atoning can be established so that the nation can come to terms with the past,” he said.
The bill mandates the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Education, National Historical Institute, Philippine Information Agency, the premier state schools and universities, and the other appropriate agencies of the government, to take the lead in activities that aims to remember the martial law.