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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Personal Reflection: Marcos Martial Law as a Cause for Indignation to Some and a Celebration to Many

Jun Avelino

When President Marcos placed the entire country under Martial Law on 21 September 1972, I was only 5-year then. My Manobo father was a member of the “dreaded” CHDF (Community Home Defence Forces) in our small barangay Lacaron, a very remote area belonging to the mountains of Malita municipality, Davao Occidental. He was issued a Garand Rifle which he spent most of his morning time cleaning with my help. His rifle was issued by the government, particularly the Philippine Constabulary for him to help in protecting our barangay from the enemies of the state, particularly the bandits and communists under Martial Law. I saw the pride and discipline instilled in him, seeing him giving snappy salute to the Philippine flag and his dozen other comrades who took turn in guarding the small population in our village 24/7 to make sure that we live in peace. There was no way for a stranger to come to our village without going through the process of registration with the barangay and to secure a sponsor from within to guarantee that he is not an enemy of the state. We never had television then and we were contented with AM radio station which we can only access when the “everyday batteries” brand which powered on our off and on radio unit were not worn out after drying it under the heat of the sun for the entire day. As a Martial Law baby, my experience then was one of great peaceful life in our village.

When Martial Law was lifted in 1981, I was already entering high school at Holy Cross of Malita (HCM) where the teachings provided some sort of critical enlightenment on my views about our government from a religious perspective, particularly that of Martial Law. The Presentation of Mary (PM) sisters who took me into the school as a working student allowed me to go beyond the school teachings to the extent of even being resentful. I was then a defender of Marcos in our classroom discussions and the rest of my classmates were for Cory. Well, I was bludgeoned not by arguments but by sheer number of the anti-Marcos class owing to the general sentiment of the country as a result of the People Power Edsa Revolution.

When I entered the portals of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City after EDSA Revolution in 1986, I had a change of heart about my martial law perspective. The almost every day rallies, pickets ensuing at the campus then and the amount of anti-Marcos inputs being bombarded on my head have gradually influenced my appreciation of the Marcos Martial Law – that it was an oppressive rule based on the accounts shared via leaflets, news articles and the books written by those victims of the “carnage”, as they call it. But as a full-blooded SOCEM, while in college, a moderate left group in the country’s political spectrum, I was trained to live on the principles of our philosophies on critical realism and authentic humanism which taught me to be critically analytical on insights that we are getting and formulate our stand only based on those principles as our guide and not on emotion, much less being influenced blindly by other’s assertions. In short, you have a mind, use it and don’t be stupid! It was for this reason that I shifted course from Political Science to International Relations course due to irreconcilable differences on perspectives with Professors at the Pol Sci Department who were then mostly NATDEMS. Foreign Service was to me more of apolitical course and something close to my heart the expected exposure on the global political perspectives and foreign policies as against my roots having been raised as a Manobo child – an interesting mix.

For the last 36 years or so since the lifting of the Marcos Martial law in 1981, all available records that we have in that part of our country’s history pointed to the assertion that it was oppressive, dictatorial and it claimed thousands of innocent lives aside from forced disappearance, victims of rapes and torture, human rights violations, and the likes. But how about my own personal experience in the countryside under Martial law days and I believe, there are millions more like me who had a great and peaceful lives in the mountains away from the threats of the enemies of the state with the help of CHDF and the Philippine Constabulary? Isn’t it unfair that in charting the history of our country about Martial Law, we only highlight the dark side of it as if it was a period of total eclipse on our country’s existence, thereby conveniently forgetting the opposite experience of the majority which is denied a fair space in the annals of the country’s Martial law history?

As far as Marcos and his supporters are concerned, Martial Law was declared in response to threats posed by the communist insurgency which staged several attacks on various government establishments and ambuscade of law enforcement forces. As President, Marcos had the duty to defend the state against its communist enemies and hence, putting the entire country under Martial rule was to the best interest of the country. Some quarters, particularly activists and those victims of human rights violation during Martial Law in Manila claimed that the threats from communism were not for real and in fact, the ambuscades were staged to justify the declaration but the real intent was for Marcos to perpetuate himself to power as a dictator. He padlocked Congress and the judiciary and ruled the country under his own version of semi parliamentary form of government under the 1973 Constitution. And the atrocities committed during Martial law period will bear them out that indeed the Marcos despotism deserved the highest level of indignation and condemnation by the present day Filipino people.

Other quarters however, believed that the threats were for real and it was the Communist insurgents and their sympathizers who provoked Marcos to declare Martial Law as a matter of strategy to increase the anti-government sentiments particularly among the youth which served as fertile ground for their massive recruitment to the communist insurgency movement. Membership of the NPA was at very low figures during the early days of President Marcos time where the country enjoyed massive development projects which won our country’s tag as the Tiger Economy of Asia. But when Martial Law was declared, NPA’s membership rose to a high figures as 26,000, not to mention the tens of thousands membership of their front organizations operating on the extra-legal fronts which resisted the Martial law declaration through non-stop rallies and pickets, throwing molotob bombs against government forces and vandalisms which created a horrific scenario for the country under the state of chaos and anarchy. It seems to me that the Communists are the ones who benefitted the most during Martial Law declaration with the massive increase of their membership and recruitment. While there were thousands of deaths claimed among civilians, there were also thousands of men and women in uniform who fought against the threats in defense of the Philippine flag and were killed by the communists but denied a space in our history. Since when is “death in defense of one’s flag” considered a useless cause?

One interesting point which should be brought to the fore is the fact that when Martial Law was declared, there was no nationwide protests in the country reaching the level of “people power revolution” to satisfy the claim that the people were against it. Simply put, there was general acquiescence on the declaration and Filipinos generally allowed it to go on with the center of confrontations between the government forces and the protesters being in Metro Manila while the country sides lived in relative peace with the police and soldiers until it was lifted in 1981. But if you go by the version of the activists during Martial Law, the government was the villain while those who opposed it including the Communist insurgents and their supporters in the legal fronts were projected to be heroes, the martyrs, victims of human rights violations and the defenders of freedom. Well, I find this claim to be self-serving and sacrilegious to the memories of those who perished in defending the Philippine flag. For how can you be a hero if you seek to overthrow the country’s government and in effect tear down its own flag and replace with your own Communist emblem? SANAMAGAN!

Certainly, there are malicious lies intentionally embedded on the historical accounts about Marcos Martial Law as offered by the anti-Marcos groups, the activists particularly those who belong to the First Quarter Storm, human rights victims, politicians and the anti-Marcos oligarchs by reason of business interests. If you examine the records of these people, they are either members of the insurgency movements or belonging to the front organizations of the CPP/NPA/NDF except for the limited few who fought against Marcos as a matter of principle. Haven’t you wondered why after the EDSA revolution, the CPP/NPA/NDF did not lay down their arms and instead they continued to demonize the Cory Administration which they branded as fascist and a puppet of America? Who instigated the Mendiola Massacre? It was the Communists! And when Ramos succeeded Cory, they started marching on the streets shouting “down with the US-Ramos Regime”… During the Erap administration, the same slogan with different name – “down with Erap-US Puppet Regime”, and so with GMA and PNoy Presidencies. What makes them ridiculously preposterous is when they are starting to attack Duterte with their slogan “down with Duterte-US Puppet Regime” notwithstanding the fact that Digong declared his independent foreign policy shying away from US and opened the country’s door for China and Russia and then eventually “fuck youed America”. Don’t this people read? Or they are just plain idiots camouflaging as activists! They continue to proudly display their placards with slogan “down with US Imperialism, Capitalism and Feudalism. Why can’t they include Communism, being a threat to our government? Because they cannot attack their own group! Why won’t they paint on their placards “Down with Duterte-China Puppet Regime? Fuckin idiots! For the life of me, I can’t really fathom the level of confidence and persistence of these people to continue on their street protests until they succeed in seizing the government power.

It looks to me that the problems of the Marcos Martial Law was the implementation side of it which created havoc resulting to loss of innocent lives and the human rights atrocities being committed by the government forces. But no one can condemn Marcos when it was declared with the intent of protecting the state as we cannot allow the communist emblem to fly over government establishments. Therefore, we blame the implementors for the mess up that went with the declaration. Of course, by command responsibility Marcos was partly to blame and should be held ultimately responsible for it. But the implementor of Martial Law was former President Fidel Ramos and among the brains behind it, was then Senate President Enrile. But the activists and the so called human rights violations victims chose to haunt Marcos to pay for his crimes even when he is already 6 feet below the ground several decades ago. And what is objectionably disturbing is when they are trying to turn their guns against the Marcos children demanding that they pay for the crimes committed by their father. But isn’t it that the human rights atrocities were committed by the Philippine Constabulary (PC) in Metro Manila which is actually responsible for the thousands death, forced disappearances, the torture and rape etc.? Who was the head of the PC at that time? It was former President Fidel Ramos. You claimed that the threats were staged to justify the Martial Law declaration and among those justifications was the supposed ambuscade against then Minister of National Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile by the NPAs? These 2 are still very much alive today and probably laughing at your insanity. You elected one for many times as Senator and became Senate President for a long time and the other, you elected as President of the Republic of the Philippines. Did you even bother, at one point in our recent history, run after their asses for the heinous acts they have perpetrated against your group and those who supported you? What is scandalous is when you joined Mr. Ramos is criticizing Duterte for declaring Martial Law in Mindanao for fear or human rights violations. And to add insult to injury, when Mr. Kit Tatad, the fuckin idiot who read the declaration of PD 1081 on that momentous date of 21 September 1973, is now joining your ranks in attacking Duterte for declaring Martial law. Isn’t it making your position obscenely awkward? How do you expect us to believe you for sleeping with your enemies? SANAMAGAN!

With the shallow arguments you are advancing in staging resistance of Martial Law has only exposed your demonic agenda and that you can never work with any administration until you succeed in seizing power and implement your communist form of government, at all cost. But such aspiration smacks of stupidity and idiocy at the highest level considering that your ideology is now a passe and therefore, it should only exist in your old books being rendered now as an obsolete idea whose relevance has already expired. China has ceased to operate as a communist and so with Russia which you have looked up to. So what will happen to your ideas when the world has already abandoned it?

On September 21 commemoration, you will once again attempt to exploit the innocence of the millennials, the youth, farmers, workers women and those vulnerable sectors of the society which you think can be used as pawns in sowing chaos in our country during rallies and threaten the security of our country to serve the ends of communist patrons. You want Digong to respond by declaring Martial Law because you think it will bring back the First Quarter Storm Scenario where anti- government sentiments among the youth will persist and thereby giving you the opportunity to once again increase the membership of your satanic congregation. But just to remind you, this is the 21st century, the age of digital information where social media now helps in educating the masses, overshadowing your non-sensible lectures, raising the same issues you sung some 36 years back. You will definitely look plain brainless parrots marching on the streets while the Filipinos are watching you with much amusement. You will be there for our entertainment. So go on. Savor the freedom Digong has given you. Our constitution guratees your bill of rights co be perpetually idiots in our society. Digong declared September 21 as protest day for you to maximize your display of arrogance and misguided sense of patriotism. But the moment you start to ignite trouble, this administration will slap you with a revolutionary government and the 84 Million or more Filipinos will back Digong in sweeping you off the streets of this country like pests and cockroaches to put an end to all your shenanigans and to tell you that this country is off limits to communists. There is no way for us to allow the communist emblem to be waving over the Philippine soil. NEVER!

And as for me and the many millions more Filipinos around the country, on September 21, we will reminisce the beautiful experience we had during our youthful days under Marcos Martial Law to remind us of our duty to defend this country from the enemies of the state. I recall my father who kept telling me then, explaining all their sacrifices as CHDF members, that they were being trained to protect the Philippine flag against the enemies of the state like the communists and bandits under the folds of Marcos Martial Law. He used is Garand Rifle in performing his duty then, while I am now using my laptop in doing my fair share of the same responsibility as a Mindanaoan under the Mindanao Martial Law of Duterte. – JA.

(Let the bleeding hearts bleed. Share if you see fit. JA)


Tindig Pilipinas is the opposition's battle cry to invite people to join their core, literally translated to Rise, Philippines. They are the same faces from the previous administration where the drug industry flourished, giant shabu laboratories were erected, & a Secretary of Justice who abused & prostituted her office to benefit from the industry is now in prison. They are the same people who plundered clean our coffers, disallowed flood projects & pocketed the world's generous aid when typhoon Haiyan hit us.

These are same faces who were complicit in the previous President's distributing P50 M for each Senator to oust a prestigious Chief Justice because he was unhappy that their family farm was decided due for distribution to farmers. These faces were grim silent when government forces shot dead some farmers on this farm after they cried injustice, being paid P38 a week. These same faces were stone silent, too, when Mindanao farmers were shot dead after they cried in hunger, begging for help when drought destroyed their crops.

There was one man who sent sacks of rice & bottled water to those surviving farmers in Kidapawan, Mindanao. He was also the first politician to visit Tacloban after typhoon Haiyan to distribute rice & water. He was criticized on both occasions for politicking in the guise of aiding. This is the same man who declared a non-working day of protest this 21 Sept., so protesters can have a whole free day, the man they are rallying against for being a tyrant, a dictator. I can take it when he dictates that we should all work together to help him eliminate drugs, crime & corruption in our country. I gladly support his administration especially after all he has initiated to make life decent & comfortable for the common Filipino~free education, free medical aid, less crime & instilling patriotism which we so have forgotten.

There's so much more ground work he's done. I will suffer his foul mouth & vitriol when foreign countries call him out because he is right~we are a sovereign country. I will call on his flaws as I see fit, for he is human. I voted for this man & I will defend the mandate I gave him. Call him what you want . As for me, he works his job way better than anyone before him. Call him dictator; but put benevolent before it.

~ Aimee B. de Guia

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


By Jose Alejandrino

John F Kennedy said that when peaceful change becomes impossible it makes a violent revolution inevitable.

Historically, he is right. Study the French and Russian revolutions and the American and Spanish civil wars. In the case of the French, the 'sans-culottes' who stormed the Bastille and guillotined the French King and Queen and members of the aristocracy. Same in the Russian revolution where the Czar and his family were executed and aristocrats fled abroad ending up as London taxi drivers. In the case of the American, the desire of Southern planters to retain their way of life which depended on slaves for labor as opposed to the Northeners who believed slavery was evil. In the case of the Spanish, the conservatives as opposed to the progressives. These are just a few examples.

In the Philippines, we had the 1898 Philippine Revolution and the 1986 Edsa Revolt. The 1898 was betrayed by oligarchs, the 1986 hijacked by them. Thirty years after Edsa, we have what I call the Duterte Revolution. Duterte was the only candidate who ran on a platform of change and was elected because of it. But as I wrote after the elections were over, at some point the LP, druglords and their protectors, corrupt officials, conservative bishops, big vested interests will join forces to topple Duterte whom they see as a threat to them. What I call the reactionary forces. This has now happened. They are joined by leftist and extremist elements who have their own political agenda. One big happy family on Sept. 21, 2017 which they are hoping to be a big hurrah. Let's see.

As I said before, we are in a revolutionary situation, like it or not. There is deep anger in the social media. All it needs is a trigger to ignite the revolution. It will come.

As an American friend observed, maybe that is what is needed in the Philippines to pound sense into heads that are warring tribes than a nation. It is a process to clean the body politic of its rot. Blood, my friend added, has to spill. You need sacrificial lambs.

There are two ways to have a revolution. There is the peaceful way by clipping the financial power of oligarchs through a system of taxation, as the British Labor government did, and by changing the rotten political system that kept oligarchs in power. How? By limiting political dynasties and allowing the marginalized sectors a greater participation in national decision-making through a system of meritocracy. The other way to change is by a violent revolution when the people chopped off heads, like in the French and Russian revolutions.

Since the 1890s, Filipinos have been clamoring for change. The ilustrados in Madrid petitioned the Spanish government for reforms. That was 120 years ago. Nothing happened. When the Americans took over, they imposed their system of government. You take it or leave it, Franklin Delano Roosevelt told Manuel Quezon. The 1935 Constitution was the by-product. We Filipinos improved on the worst features of the American system such as vote-buying and vote manipulation. That is why Emilio Aguinaldo and Quezon fought. Corruption entered the system through GOCCs like PNB. That is why American Governor-general Leonard Wood and Quezon fought. Wood wanted to sell off government corporations which Quezon opposed.

The American system was intended to be a showcase of democracy. But it turned out to be a sham, a mere facade to perpetuate the power of the oligarchy. The few used the system to enrich themselves. Money, not meritocracy, was the deciding factor in elections. Personalities, not platforms of government, counted for more. To amuse the public, politicians did song and dance numbers. The Senate became the launching pad of presidential ambitions. The presidency became a game of musical chairs between oligarchs. Today we are seeing the same circus in the Senate with so many brainless clowns grandstanding before TV cameras, all with a mind of being the future president and wasting taxpayers money to boot. The Senate wants to control the process of constitutional change to a few cosmetic changes in the Cory Constitution to effectively maintain the status quo. Once again, they are fooling the people.

It doesn't help that the Catholic Church supports the status quo. Like in the days of the Spanish Friars, it still controls our major educational institutions. It is exempted from taxation by the Cory Constitution, despite it being one of the richest corporations in the country, and continues to dabble in politics despite the constitutional prohibition and the separation of Church and State. Not surprisingly it opposes change.

All the above factors were responsible for our underdevelopment and immense poverty in the country where 92 percent of the population can hardly subsist on their earnings, forcing 4-5 million to go abroad to earn better wages. With higher earnings abroad, they can be said to form part of our middle class, of which only two percent remain here. Yet a strong democracy requires a strong middle class. Our middle class at home is diminishing. A hundred families own three-fourth of the wealth of the nation. How many poor countries have more billionaires in Forbes magazine than the Philippines? Henry Sy with 18 billion dollars net worth!

The harsh reality is the gap between rich and poor continues to widen in our country. Poverty forced the poor to turn to drugs, the rank-and-file in government to resort to corruption. Poverty and underdevelopment fueled insurgency and separatist movements. Ever stop to ask yourself why we have the longest lasting insurgency in the world? Like the Taliban in Afghanistan and the FARC in Colombia, insurgents and terrorists here are involved in the drug trade to finance their movement.

"Where is the country headed?" I ask myself. The Cory Constitution constricts the president's power to effect a total cleanup of our broken institutions. That is why I keep pressing people to give him extraordinary powers. The nationalist provisions on the economy limit the entry of foreign competition that only benefit local players who provide inefficient and costly services. The Cory Constitution was drawn up by vested interests to protect their interests. Will the next Constitution be any better? Only if politicians and vested interests are shut out of the process.

And if Duterte fails? Then God, as I wrote before, will take over and do the final cleansing process. It will be very painful when it comes, as Jesus said, "there will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth." When? I expect it to begin after Duterte's term is over.


Dr. Andy Suan Gerong:

This is the cry of the opposition for the Sept. 21 Day of Protest. What do they mean by it. The Philippines has already stood firm for core changes in this country beset with full of criminality during the past admin. Duterte has done it already. They are simply late. That's Duterte's cry as he ascended to power, Tindig Pilipinas against drugs and criminality.

The tindig pilipinas by the anti-admin is for them to revive corruption, drug culture, no planned change, weaklingitis of leaders, "kapit sa patalim syndrome, to shield themselves from the agony of comparison with this present administration replete with political will, courage, with a "punisher" image, and the previous one full of rhetorics and empty talks, lame duck leadership against drugs, corruption and criminal behaviour. 

Their Tindig Pilipinas is moot and academic, Duterte started it already, he is just honing it to fruition, and Duterte is not just pushing for Tindig... he wants Pilipinas to levitate, soar high, in the clouds of prominence, and stability in all aspects of national existence. "Let it be written, so it shall be done."

Duterte pa rin, mga ulol!

Van Ybiernas

Free advice ulit sa anti-Duterte forces (kasi naulanan ako at nata-trapik kaya feeling generous):

We moderate Dutertards get it! PRRD is flawed! We knew that from the start. Campaign period pa lang nag-rape joke na yan at minura na si Pope! Of course, alam na agad namin na flawed siya.

But in this climate, the Yellows are the only alternative and that is even more unacceptable than a flawed Duterte!

Plus, Duterte works! He isn't lazy like the Yellows. And we can see that what he is doing is for the country, not just his family and cronies.

So no matter how much you tell us in our face that he is flawed, it has no effect. Especially since Leni Robredo is your alternative.

Now, since you are intent to prove to us that we made horrible choice with Duterte, e di all the more that we will stubbornly stand by our choice rather than validate your pontificating asses.

Duterte pa rin, mga ulol!

So please understand why despite your best efforts you are still you and we are still we.



Manny SD Lopez:
The election of Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte into the Presidency in 2016 was premised on his declaration for real change and reform in our country, and not on any political alliances, specially with the camp of the impeached former President Joseph Estrada and other political actors - who opposed him and later joined for convenience ! Whatever political alignments the Duterte administration may have to foster in the course of assuming the mantle of national leadership will have to be aligned and remain consistent with the broader interest of the Filipino people. Any marked inconsistency or contradiction will significantly impact and jeopardize PRRD's change and reform agenda.

President Duterte was installed by more than 16.6- million electorates against great odds, on the basis of the declaration and campaign promise of combatting the drug menace, curbing criminality, zero tolerance for corruption in government, promotion of peace and order, and to work tirelessly for a better life for all Filipinos ! While the pursuit of good governance and pro-people leadership is not an easy task, we the people must remain engaged and committed to this noble cause over any other consideration. President Duterte's electoral victory is not an end in itself, he cannot effect the change and reform agenda alone. We have to engage, pursue and claim the people's victory !

Dutertistas must continue with their unrelenting support and be ready to fight for his administration against the enemies of the state: local and foreign. It is likewise incumbent upon us to monitor, evaluate and direct public policy to ensure compliance and delivery of the needed changes and reforms to uplift our country and the Filipino people. The pursuit of the common good, national interest and welfare will have to remain consistent and not subject to any compromise as PRRD himself declared and committed to. Following the people's initiative and action, we can overcome the obstacles of development and progress, perpetuated by vested interest groups in the executive, legislative and judiciary.

The war against corruption, incompetence and greed in public and private enterprises is an unending task by the concerned and empowered citizenry. Let us objectively and reasonably evaluate Duterte officials and hold them accountable for their actions and organizational performance as well - if we must ! Every policy and program undertaken by the Duterte administration should be consistent to our cause for a better Philippines. The details and monitoring of Duterte administration policies and programs is best left to the true and ardent supporters of PRRD for immediate compliance. We should never yield, nor be subservient to any rationale or excuses including the fostering political alliances for convenience and favors.

We cannot and should not allow the people's victory to be interfered upon by destructive members of the opposition, usurped by pretenders, misfits, incompetents and crooks who made their way into the Duterte administration. Neither should we allow the dictates of warring groups and their foreign supporters to go against our fundamental beliefs and way of life as a people. With an unrelenting support and commitment from the Filipino people, the change and reform committed will be delivered under the strong leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, as guided by our democratic ideals and observance of the rule of law.

So help us God !

'Ang ginagawa ng pangulo is to protect all Filipinos' Thinking Pinoy interviews DFA Sec Cayetano