On the 45th Anniversary of the Martial Law Declaration By UP SESC | September 21, 2017
We, the UP School of Economics Student Council (UP SESC), vehemently condemn the inhumane policies of President Rodrigo Duterte and remember the atrocities of Martial Law under Former President Ferdinand Marcos.
On the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law, we remember the injustices of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More than 70,000 human rights violations, around 34,000 torture victims, and about 3,200 extra-judicial killings are only some of the numbers of the Marcos regime’s cruelty. Similarly with our human rights, our democracy was trampled under the Marcos dictatorship as he fraudulently passed a new constitution to prolong his term and controlled all three branches of government.
This monopoly of political power led to the 1983 economic crisis, wherein the country was buried in severe debt due to aggressive government spending to fund purported infrastructure investments. This deficit was also caused by constant foreign loans and a lack of checks and balances within the executive, legislative, and the judiciary. The increasing government intervention in economic activity also paved the way for corruption, sectoral monopolies, and lower labor productivity. Even to this day, we continue to repay the accumulated debt that stemmed from the 1983 economic crisis through our taxes.
Today, both our human rights and our democracy are under grave threat. More than 13,000 lives have been brutally claimed by Duterte’s War on Drugs, with justice and due process reserved only for the rich and powerful. Last September 12, the House of Representatives majority voted on only a Php 1000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights. Clearly, we see the administration’s utter disregard for our human rights. Moreover, we see the Duterte administration’s clamor for absolute power evident in his control of the supermajority in the Congress, usage of the executive branch and its institutions such as the Department of Justice for politicking, and attempt to undermine the judiciary’s mandate of checks and balances by pushing for the impeachment of Chief Justice Sereno. Such policies and actions of our government have no place in our democratic society.
At a time wherein fear is utilized by the oppressors, we must not let our strength as Filipinos waver. In the same way we condemn the human rights violations under Martial Law, we must also do so under the current administration. We must defend democracy from politicians neglecting their mandate from the people and subjecting themselves to the control of those in power. We must stand together as a nation and refuse to let fear rule us, even in this most trying of times.
We remember the atrocities of the former dictatorship not just by looking at the past but also by being critical of the present, and it is through remembering can we ensure that the mistakes of the past do not happen again. At a time when the people in power refuse to remember, let us show them why they should remember, and that we will not let these unjust and undemocratic policies and actions continue any further.