COVID-19 Op-ed

The Continuing Struggle for Justice and Accountability: Mirrors from the Marcos Regime

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Angelyn E. TurianoBroadcasting student,
Ateneo de Naga UniversityThePillars Publication

The Duterte administration mirrored the wrath that happened
under the Marcos regime—systemic oppression, which made thousands of people
march the streets of EDSA 35 years ago.The Martial law story remains
unfinished—it continuous to unravel the theatre of torture and horror under
the presidency of Duterte, yet through the power of a collective struggle,
the new revolutionaries are determined to mark down another
narrative.On the liberation of the Filipino
masses
The bloodshed of the Filipino people will always be
remembered—the student martyrs, the journalists, political prisoners,
farmers, innocent people, and all those that are deprived from their right to
see the new face of democracy. The EDSA People Power Revolution that happened
35 years ago where people marched in solidarity with the same aspirations to
liberate the country from dictatorship. It is indeed the collective action of
the Filipino masses that championed the restoration of democracy.The alarming
accounts of torture, killings, disappearances, and harassments that occurred
even before the big mass movement challenges the ideation of EDSA People
Power as a ‘bloodless revolution’. In fact, revolutions happen through
bloodshed, a thought quite disturbing as it encapsulates the idea of violent
extremism. Though the EDSA Revolution only changed the political climate of
the nation, and has left the system unchanged, poverty and oppression
remained yet it does not disregard the fact that the people’s power is a
manifestation of a united citizenry.From the grave of
Philippine history
The rise of a Marcos-like fascistic system
manifests in the current regime of Duterte, all rooted from the
anti-democratic policies such as Jeepney Phaseout, Rice Liberalization, K-12,
and similar oppressive policies that rippled its effects to people under the
poverty line. Media coverages are censored and altered. Journalists, news
writers, and other media practitioners seemed to experience grave harassment
incidents now that the draconian law, “Terror Law”, has been passed which
institutionalized red-tagging among progressive groups and dissenters.An
administration that plays blind and deaf to the battle cry of the masses
usually sounds the alarm for the oppressed to organize themselves and take
necessary actions. It is engraved in the history of Philippine protests the
peaceful march of farmers, the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, also known
as KMP trooped to Mendiola in the hopes of being heard by the Cory
administration ended up as a violent protest as troops aligned as human
barricades and started to take arms against protesters. In 3 minutes, 7
farmers were killed.The current administration seemed to pattern various
forms of fascism from the Marcos ruling. Say, industrialization and
beautification equates to increase of economic stability, one manifestation
that honed the past generation to think that the Marcos era was indeed a
‘Golden Age’ while poverty among the masses were disregarded. As seen in the
Duterte administration, the Build Build Build program aims to focus more on
infrastructure, only to serve the interest of the capitalists and foreign
investors.Duterte shadows the atrocities of the past. The Philippines will
never forget the savagery of the Marcos era.The
battlefield
The democratic space paved its way for progressive
groups and activists their right to assemble. Since the Marcos era, big mass
actions were staged not only in Manila but also in different provinces all over
the Philippines to exhibit solidarity will under suppression. Back in 1986
when people rallied for their basic human rights, it created the idea that
the power of the people to mobilize can be strengthened and is also sketched
out under the presidency of Duterte. In fact, protests and calls were much
more reinforced by progressive groups because of how the administration
behaves. Say, the junking of the Terror Law, the call for mass testing, the
demand for free and accessible education, and also a calibrated and strategic
government response has echoed the streets since the pandemic started.
Incompetency is seen to be the root cause.Collective struggle,
collective strength
The necessity of activism ended a
dictatorial regime. It is only through collective action people can unite as
a resisting force under an authoritarian rule. Branded as new
revolutionaries, activists together with the toiling masses exhibits the
flames of patriotism.The COVID19 pandemic has restricted mobility yet it did
not hinder the youth to fight back. In fact, people are rattled enough that a
virus did not scare them but a tyrant. When people are dying right in front
of the eyes of many, it is necessary to take dissent to the streets, to rally
for the Filipino masses.To struggle collectively—because the power of a
collective struggle is grounded to aspirations for liberation, and the goal
will be handed down from one generation to another.The voices of the Filipino
masses that echoed the streets 35 years ago, will continuously mimic in every
alley of the country under a fascist regime until we can finally be freed
from a tyrannical system which we are currently enslaved in.As what Raissa
Robles said in her book ‘Martial Law: Never Again’“For all the
human rights victims of the Marcos dictatorship whose sacrifices we are
building on today, and for the unborn generation who might be asked one day
to make the same sacrifice.”

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