ILPS Canada Says “Never Again to Martial Law”

ILPS Canada extends its solidarity to the Filipino people this weekend as they remember the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972. This was a dark time in the history of the Philippines where anyone thought to be in opposition to the state could be harassed, jailed, tortured, or killed. Press and political freedoms were severely limited. Amnesty International states that there were almost 70,000 unjustly imprisoned and 34,000 tortured during the Martial Law years of 1972-1981, with numerous peoples’ organizations in the Philippines believing that these figures are underestimates.
US imperialism, even though it claims to be a defender of freedom, continued to support Marcos despite these human rights abuses since he maintained the Philippines as a US neocolony. He pledged support for US military’s expansion across the world. Furthermore, he allowed US companies, the IMF, and the World Bank to plunder the labour and the natural resources of the Filipino people. At the same time, the Marcos family pocketed several billion dollars for themselves. US imperialism also supported other dictatorial regimes in Asia including the regime of South Korean President Park Chung-Hee who, perhaps inspired by Marcos, imposed Martial Law in his country in October 1972.
Martial Law is still relevant today as current President Duterte is making dictatorial changes in the Philippines. Duterte has already declared Martial Law in Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines. Elsewhere in the Philippines, he is responsible for killings of and threats made against human rights activists, peasant and rural communities, indigenous peoples, and the urban poor. Politically, he has found allies in Bongbong Marcos, son of Ferdinand Marcos, and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of whom have been responsible for grave human rights violations. Duterte continues to push his “Charter Change” plan to revise the Constitution, which would centralize power to him and other wealthy families who do not act in the peoples’ interests.
ILPS in Canada encourages our supporters to attend events organized by BAYAN-Canada and its allied organizations across Canada throughout the next week. These events will highlight the dark history of martial law but they will also celebrate peoples’ resistance in the past and present to brutal dictatorships in the Philippines. Names such as Liliosa Hilao, Edgar Jopson, Maria Lorena Barros, Emmanuel Lacaba, Macli-ing Dulag are among many martyrs who are remembered for earnestly serving the people and doing whatever they could to resist the brutal Marcos dictatorship. Today, people are fighting Duterte’s fascism by joining organizations such as the Movement Against Tyranny and providing international solidarity. In Canada, people supported political prisoners detained by the Marcos regime and this solidarity continues today, with campaigns like the one that forced the Trudeau government to cancel one of its arms deals with the Philippines. We say never again to martial law, and we remind Duterte that wherever there is oppression, there will be resistance.

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