BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA AND GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Even with the coronavirus pandemic, several progressive groups will stage activities and protests today to mark the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.
Clarizza Singson, secretary-general of Karapatan Negros, said the September 21 Movement group will have a mass and noise barrage in Kabankalan City, while there will be an online rally in the afternoon.
She said the virtual rally will be streamed live over the Facebook page of Karapatan Negros Island.
She said the de facto martial law and the state fascism of the current administration are worst compared to the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
She said the government right now is taking advantage of the Covid-19 to push its anti-people policies, such as the Anti-Terror Law that will legalize the repression of human rights.
She also pointed out that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte killed the country’s democratic space by shutting down broadcast giant ABS-CBN, and the government has waged war against its people by being a puppet to imperialist countries, like China and the United States.
On September 21, 1972, Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 that placed the Philippines under Martial Law, which saw a number of human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, and disappearances.
Progressive groups also held online protest and cultural tribute for the martyrs of the Escalante Massacre yesterday.
Local groups such as Teatro Obrero, the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and Mothers and Relatives Against Tyranny were founded by survivors, friends, and relatives of massacre victims to hold the yearly ‘EscaM’ in a bid against historical amnesia, Arje Marangga of the National Federation of Sugar Workers in North Negros said.
Youth cultural workers gather every year to reenact the massacre in the streets.
He added, “We might not have the traditional reenactment, the crowds and the marches in the streets of northern Negros this year, but we must let the voice of Escalante martyrs and heroes be heard by the whole world.”
The call for reconciliation and healing was reiterated by government officials and massacre survivors during the 35th anniversary of the Escalante massacre yesterday.
“Let this incident served as a painful reminder for us not to commit the same mistake,” Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, who was among the speakers of the commemoration activity yesterday in Escalante City, said.
Pasaporte said the Escalante massacre incident is an unfortunate incident that was taken advantage of by the Left for the longest time.
“They use it to foment hatred and incite the people of Escalante for their selfish ideological motives,” he stressed.
Mayor Melecio Yap and city officials of Escalante spearheaded the commemoration activity, with survivors and families of the victims, military and police officials as among the participants.
Yap thanked the Philippine Army for their sacrifices, and called on the Philippine National Police to double efforts in addressing unresolved crimes in Escalante City.
Janet Pantunyaw, who spoke in behalf of the massacre survivors, said they are thanking the Escalante City LGU and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for giving them a chance to be one with the government, by giving them importance, and providing them with livelihood assistance.
“Now, we see a bright peaceful future for us,” she added.*