In memory of fourty five years since martial law in the Philippines, delegates and moderators from the Philippine Model Congress and the National Youth Council made one bold statement saying “never again” and “no to martial law”.
According to the 2017 Global Impunity Index released by Universidad De Las Americas in Mexico, the Philippines scored 75.6 points in terms of the level of impunity in the country, putting it under nations with “very high impunity index.”
“The Philippines is going through one of its most critical moments, due to the increase of violence related with organized crime and increased terrorist activities from local gangs linked to the Islamic State,” the report said.
It is timely that we were able to make this statement and share it all over social media. With President Rodrigo Duterte’s equivocating language during national statements, along with his dithering decision making, it is important to remember the our past and make sure that this will never precede in the future again. It is essential to see and to realize that this part of our history is the absolute tipping point in the degradation of our worth as human beings.
I am Margaret Lee, parliamentarian from the PMC & National Youth Council and my call is #NoToMartialLaw.
We, youth leaders and parliamentarians representing our provinces, districts and cities, call on the Filipino youth to unite during these difficult and turbulent times and resist any effort aimed at restoring authoritarian rule in the country.
We are firm in forwarding this position in view of the political and constitutional crisis that looms over our democratic institutions and the inevitable threat that this poses on the free exercise of our human rights and civil liberties.
Since the first few months of the present administration, pronouncements from Malacanan have emboldened state forces in committing extrajudicial killings, harassment, arbitrary arrests, unlawful searches and other human rights violations in different parts of the country. Despite the unrelenting proliferation of propaganda and false information, history persists tirelessly to remind us that the manifestation of these unacceptable acts in any given society tends to prelude the deterioration of its democratic life and paves the way for a tyrannical regime.
The declaration of martial law in September 1972 heralded the suspension of our freedom of speech and expression, right to due process, the freedom of the press, among many other rights, civil liberties and privileges provided by law. The prevailing fears of society were meticulously exploited and bloated into exaggerated excuses for the wholesale infringement of our basic rights and liberties.
The rhetoric continues up to this day. Despite the existence of constitutional safeguards against the repeat of such a time, the essence and value of the rights and liberties guaranteed in our Constitution have too often been misconstrued and even maligned by some of those who swore to protect them. Placing our unflinching trust in these safeguards has been difficult and even disheartening.
In remembering the atrocities of martial law and ensuring that this chapter in our history will never see an adaptation in our time, we enjoin the public to remain vigilant and push the present administration to uphold the highest standards of justice and accountability.